The USA is questioning the Paris Agreement before the final details have even been negotiated. The aviation industry is a step ahead of the Paris Agreement because a unique international climate protection instrument will be introduced in 2020. EU’s changes to ETS legislation might jeopardise the international consensus.
The aviation industry’s historic climate protection undertaking
In autumn 2016, all 191 countries which are members of the International Civil Aviation Organisation ICAO pulled off a diplomatic coup by agreeing a global market-based measure to control CO2 emissions. ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) makes the aviation industry the first sector in the world to commit to specific climate targets. Growth-related CO2 emissions will be offset by special UN-supervised climate protection projects from 2020 onwards. The TUI Group has actively supported CORSIA from the outset.
EU should not jeopardise its success
Now the historic agreement is in jeopardy. The US administration is already questioning the merits of one international agreement after the next. Now the EU is fuelling criticism of CORSIA. The Council of Ministers and EU Parliament aim to include CO2 emissions from aviation in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) beyond 2020. That contradicts the recent worldwide compromise negotiated by the ICAO covering the carbon footprint of all international flights, which the USA has been involved in since day one. That’s why it makes sense to take the intra-European aviation industry out of the ETS from 2021 onwards, otherwise it faces the double burden of paying into both schemes and the international compromise will be jeopardised.
The aviation industry relies more than most other sectors on planning certainty and a stable legal framework. Airlines depend on receiving air traffic rights, and they need enough lead time to prepare for regulatory changes. It is clear that to support the aviation industry’s exemplary global market-based measure, the EU should put a stop to all its discussions about a special ETS path for the EU.