EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc urged lawmakers not to isolate the bloc in tackling aviation emissions after several MEPs suggested the EU should go beyond UN-led efforts.
During an exchange of views with the EU Parliament’s environment committee in Brussels late Tuesday, Bulc cautioned the EU against isolating itself and urged the lawmakers to take a global approach.
Her remarks came after several MEPs said efforts to rein in the sector’s carbon footprint at UN aviation agency ICAO were not ambitious enough, according to a summary of the meeting compiled by monitoring service One Policy Place.
German MEP Peter Liese of the centre-right EPP party said EU lawmakers “should not fool themselves” that ICAO would solve the problem, and that they needed to be open to further steps and consider going further bilaterally with other partners such as the US.
“At a minimum … the EU should keep and perhaps reinforce its own scheme inside Europe,” he said, referring to the bloc’s ETS that currently regulates most emissions from intra-European flights.
Liese’s Belgian EPP colleague Ivo Belet said it would be hard to explain to other industries the contribution of the aviation sector if it were not deemed to be sufficient.
Dutch Greens MEP Bas Eickhout questioned whether the Commission would be willing to go further than ICAO, as he had heard the US EPA may be willing to do, while Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy of the centrist ALDE group raised concerns over ICAO’s proposed use of carbon offsets.
Gerbrandy added that he would only be willing to support their use if very strict criteria were adopted for their eligibility.
In response, Commissioner Bulc said EU negotiators were still aiming to strengthen the ICAO proposal by imposing “periodic reviews which would allow them to keep moving forward rather than take a fixed 25-year position.”
- ICAO’s General Assembly is due to craft and agree at its next meeting in October a global market-based measure to achieve carbon neutral growth and launch in 2020.
- The EU in 2012 agreed to “stop the clock” and suspend its regulation of emissions for all flights except those flying to and from airports in the EFTA/EEA.
- The European Commission is to draft a new proposal immediately following the October ICAO Assembly that could prolong the freeze if European lawmakers deem adequate the organisation’s efforts to regulate aviation emissions globally.
By Ben Garside – firstname.lastname@example.org