Compromise deal provides certainty on EU emissions scheme

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An EU climate change package agreement between the European Parliament and Council representatives has ended uncertainty over possible changes to the terms of aviation's inclusion in the emissions trading scheme, just six months after an initial agreement.

An initial deal in July set the terms for aviation's inclusion in the scheme from 2012 covering flights within, to and from the EU. But in October the Parliament's environment committee sought to increase the amount of carbon credits airlines were required to pay for at auction from 2013 under a separate revision of the existing emissions trading scheme, dismaying airline bodies.

In a move which has been welcomed by the industry, the climate change package formally reached by the Parliament in December will not re-open the issue of how to deal with aviation within the scheme. This means that the sector will receive 85% of the allowances for free and 15% to be auctioned during the 2013-2020 period as originally envisaged.

"This latest decision of Parliament sends the signal: the time for discussion is passed timelines are tight, and the industry must prepare for the future with predictability," says Association of European Airlines secretary general Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus.