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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

EU decision to keep flights out of climate change scheme ‘a blow for the environment’ – MEP

LONDON’S Green MEP Jean Lambert has criticised a decision by MEPs today to halt plans to include flights in the EU scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

She said: “This decisions is a blow for the environment.

“Including aviation in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) was an crucial decision to get action on climate change emissions. We should be keeping the pressure on non-EU countries to comply with that decision, not stepping back in the face of opposition.

“Whatever the future of the ETS, it simply must include all flights if it is to have any hope of success – aviation’s contribution to greenhouse gas emission is rising fast, undermining global efforts to limit them and ‘cancelling out’ the efforts of other industries.”

A majority of MEPs voted to freezing the implementation of the EU emissions trading scheme for non-intra EU flights (1).

Ms Lambert added: “Freezing the inclusion of non-intra EU flights in the EU’s ETS is a retrograde move, which will let the aviation sector off the hook for its growing emissions and do precious little to improve chances of international action. The only way the Commission’s plans could have been justified would be if they had included some leverage to make progress on measures to tackle the issue at international level but the proposals voted today will fail to do so.

“The proposals would mean flights accounting for a large proportion of the emissions from international aviation will be excluded from the scheme at this fledgling stage. This is in spite of the growing emissions from the sector, which are undermining climate change fighting efforts of other sectors, and the lack of any alternative for tackling aviation emissions.

“The ostensible excuse for the proposal is to give the international aviation organisation(ICAO) time to come up with global agreement on how to deal with the climate impact of emissions from aviation but, based on latest news from the discussions, the prospects for this are not good.

“EU member states are also partly to blame for the lack of international progress, as they refuse to allow revenues from a global scheme to be channelled towards climate aid to developing countries, despite financing commitments made in the context of climate negotiations. The failure by the EU to reverse its position on this means today’s measures bring nothing to the table.”