The European Commission has suspended its carbon emissions laws on flights taking off or landing from EU member states.
The move follows a decision by the International Civil Aviation Organization last week to consider a global market-based mechanism — such as carbon trading — to encourage airlines to cut their emissions.
Although the ICAO has not yet decided to implement such a system, EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard called the the ICAO’s movement toward a worldwide market-based mechanism “very good news,” and “progress” toward an international regulation on aviation emissions.
She said the European Union will “stop the clock” for a year on aviation’s inclusion within the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme until after the ICAO General Assembly next fall. The EU regulations required airlines to limit carbon emissions or buy permits to make up the shortfall, and applied to all flights within, to and from the EU.
The Commission has also suspended aviation’s carbon monitoring and reporting obligations until 2013, when the Assembly meets.
However, Hedegaard warned that if the ICAO Assembly does not move forward with emissions regulations, then the EU carbon penalties on flights will resume in 2013.
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