EBACE: Universal goes public with its emissions trading scheme 'learning process'

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Universal Weather and Aviation's regulatory services team (stand 7030) has gone public - free of charge - with what it has been learning about the European Union emissions trading scheme.

The Houston, Texas-based company has published an FAQ list on its website and welcomes operator questions that go beyond the answers it provides.

The company's regulatory services provider Adam Hartley admits that "at present we are learning about it [the ETS] like everyone else". What Universal learns in this process will eventually be consolidated into a service to small operators that want to contract out the administration of their ETS compliance and emissions credit trading.

Universal's stock in trade is providing what Hartley calls "full trip support", from flight planning to customs and security, and now, in the future, meeting emissions trading requirements.

This year is the one in which operators are expected to file their emissions for benchmarking purposes, and 2012 will be the year in which emissions will be accounted for so trading can start on 1 January 2013. Hartley says that the "pre-trading" years will be the period in which operators learn how to interface with the system, and individual EU states prepare their legal, administrative and enforcement plans for operating it.

The UK is the furthest advanced of the states in this process so far, he says. Greece will not even have an office set up to deal with it before September. The EU only sets up the rules for the ETS: the scheme is administered state by state.

This learning process is not unusual for Universal's regulatory services division, says Hartley. He explains that every time there are regulatory or compliance changes they take up what he describes as a "thought leadership" role as both the regulators, administrators and operators are feeling their way through the implementation process.