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Planet Ark World Environment News Airlines Should Buy More CO2 Credits in EU Plan - MEP

Date: 13-Apr-07
Country: BELGIUM
Author: Jeff Mason

Peter Liese, a German conservative lawmaker charged with steering a bill on the issue through the European Parliament, said deputies would push for more CO2 credits to be auctioned to airlines rather than given free of charge by EU governments.

A draft proposal from the European Commission unveiled in December foresees auctioning only about three percent of the CO2 permits to airlines in 2011-2012, when the aviation sector is first slated to join the scheme, Liese told reporters.

A non-binding European Parliament report approved in July called for 100 percent auctioning of permits to airlines.

"We don't have a final view in the parliament as of yet, but I think there's going to have to be a compromise somewhere between 3 percent and 100 percent," he said.

"It's the most fair allocation," he added. "When a percentage of permits is auctioned, then it's a clear market-based instrument without any political decision about how much permits anyone would get."

Airlines say it is unfair to make them buy more permits when other industries already involved in the scheme are given most of theirs for free.

Liese said money from such auctions could be used to help transport modes that are more friendly to the environment such as railways.

Both parliament and EU member states must agree on a final version of the proposal before it can become law.

The EU's emissions trading scheme is its key tool to fight global warming and meet commitments to cut emissions of greenhouse gas emissions agreed under the Kyoto Protocol.

NO ROYAL EXEMPTIONS

The scheme sets limits on the amount of CO2 -- the main greenhouse gas -- that big industries can emit and allows companies to buy or sell emissions permits depending on whether they exceed or undercut their limits.

Airlines are not currently in the scheme. The Commission has proposed that inter-EU flights be included from 2011 and international flights that land in or depart from the 27-nation bloc be included from 2012.

Liese said lawmakers did not favour a staggered approach and would suggest one date for aviation to join the system. He declined to name a date on Thursday, but said it would not be as late as 2013 as some have suggested to make the timing correspond with the start of the second phase of Kyoto.

The parliament would also quash an exemption that would exclude government flights and those taken by royal families in EU member states from the scheme, he said.

"I don't think that's right," Liese said. "We want that exception withdrawn from the Commission proposal, and I'm sure the parliament will confirm that when it votes."

He said a vote on the draft legislation would likely be held in the parliament's plenary session in November.

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