A EU parliamentary committee on Oct. 2 called for the European aviation sector to be included in its emissions trading market in 2010. The move brings forward a proposal by the European Commission that the CO2 emissions rules should be imposed on intra-EU flights from 2011 and for flights in and out of the bloc from 2012.
"The introduction of a joint and early starting date is necessary and helps avoid distortion of competition at the expense of EU airlines", said Peter Liese of the committee.
The proposal to include aircraft emissions in the CO2 quotas has been heavily criticized by the airline industry, with International Civil Aviation Organization director general Giovanni Bisignani last week calling the scheme "disappointing and irresponsible". However Brussels argues that the move is necessary as the airline industry failed, despite prompting, to introduce measures into its own regulations for airlines.
Environmental groups WWF and Friends of the Earth said the parliamentary committee vote improved on the Commission's plans it nevertheless "represents a step back" from a parliamentary resolution last year.
The MEPS agreed that the aviation sector should have its emissions capped at around two-thirds above 1990 levels while the parliament had previously called for emission cuts in line with tougher Kyoto Protocol targets.
The parliamentary decision will go to the full parliament for a vote and must also be endorsed by all 27 EU nations before coming into effect.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007