Today, Wednesday 20th December, after much leaking, the European Commission (EC) has released its proposals to bring airlines into its Emissions Trading Scheme. It has received a cautious welcome across the airline and airport sector, with IATA, the Association of European Airlines, ACI Europe and easyJet all commenting swiftly on the proposal.
As advocated by Airline Business, the scheme will not apply from the outset to non-European Union carriers. In fact not until 2012. This is a year after the scheme applies to carriers flying inside the EU. After that those flying to and from the continental will have to trade their carbon. This is a pragmatic move, but may still not be enough time for some states, such as the US, to stomach.
The EC's move is an important step in a scheme that surely is the only sustainable way for airlines to play their part in addressing climate change - ie paying for their polluting effect - and still offering the ability to grow.