EU to Decide on Its Carbon Market for Airlines After ICAO Deal

  • European and global emission programs can co-exist, EU says
  • EU will encourage wide participation in ICAO offseting system

The European Union will decide about the exact emission-reduction rules for airlines only after the United Nations’ aviation panel reaches a historic agreement on how to limit pollution from the industry next month.

It is possible that the European cap-and-trade emissions program, which includes aviation, will continue along the planned post-2020 global offsetting system, according to an EU official. The EU and UN measures could remain complementary, avoiding duplication, said the official, who asked not to be identified, citing policy.

The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization is aiming to strike the first global deal to put a lid on pollution from airlines when its 191 states meet in Montreal on Sept. 27-Oct. 7. The goal is to agree on a system where greenhouse gases related to the growth of the industry are offset by investment in emission-reduction projects in other sectors of the global economy.

The 28-nation EU, which wants to be the leader in the fight against climate change, has a different emission-reduction program for utilities, manufacturers and airlines, where companies are subject to caps on pollution and can trade their allowances. The bloc will look at the interaction of its Emissions Trading System with the global offsetting program after ICAO agrees the details of its plan, the EU official said.

Under a draft resolution to be considered in Montreal, the first phase of the worldwide offsetting mechanism for aviation will begin in 2021, with a possibility for some poorer, developing nations to opt out of the system for the initial six years. Nations with a very small aviation sector and least developed countries will be exempted from the program.

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