European environment commissioner Stavros Dimas has welcomed the political agreement struck by EU ministers on aviation’s future inclusion in the emissions trading scheme.

EU ministers yesterday reached a political agreement on including aviation in the EU emissions trading scheme. Dimas says ministers’ position, based on a new text put forward by the Portuguese EU presidency, remains close to that of the EC proposals.

 “Today's political agreement on including aircraft in the emissions trading scheme sends an important signal about the EU's determination to put in place concrete measures to combat climate change,” he says.

The ministers’ position calls for a single start to airlines incorporation into the system from 2012. The EC proposals had envisaged a phased introduction, applying it first to EU member states only from 2011, before widening the scheme to all flights in or out of the EU in 2012. The European Parliament had in turn called for it to apply to all flights to, from and within the EU from 2011.

It has stuck to the EC proposals for emission-trading allowances for carbon dioxide at 100% of aircraft operators’ average annual emissions during 2004-06. The Parliament has adopted a position seeking this to be set at 90%.

Other measures adopted by the ministers include increasing the level of auctioning 10%; including an exemption for operators with very low traffic levels serving developing countries with very limited air link; creating a reserve of free allowances for new entrants or very fast growing carrier.

The measures will now be put it to the European Parliament for a second reading as the two sides work to reach a common position.

Secretary general of the Association of European Airlines, Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, broadly welcomed the ministers position. “This is a process of compromise on a range of highly technical subjects across a range of political views and standpoints. We welcome the fact that the Council did not endorse some of the most radical proposals of the European Parliament which would have crippled the European airline sector.

“But other issues remain, such as the level of auctioning foreseen for airlines, and it remains unclear how the EU can ensure that all carriers globally will be covered by emissions trading without discriminating against European airlines,” he adds.

“We call on the EU institutions to weigh carefully the consequences for European industry and European citizens, and to ensure that any negative impacts are not grossly disproportionate to the environmental benefits.”

Source:'s sister premium news source Air Transport Intelligence news