The European Commission has at last decided on the basis under which it will calculate the number of aviation allowances under the EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) starting January 1.
On March 7 the EC announced it would use average carbon-dioxide emissions of all flights to and from European airports that the EU-ETS would have covered in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Based on the figure for average annual aviation emissions between 2004 and 2006, the number of aviation allowances the commission would create next year amounts to 212,892,052 metric tons of CO2 (97 percent of historic aviation emissions), and the number of aviation allowances each year from 2013 onwards amounts to 208,502,525 metric tons of CO2 (95 percent of historic aviation emissions).
The EC based the calculation of historic aviation emissions on data from Eurocontrol and actual fuel consumption information provided by aircraft operators. It carried out additional calculations to account for fuel consumption associated with the use of the auxiliary power units (APUs) at airports.
The Commission said it would publish a decision on the number of free allowances it will grant operators by the end of this coming September, along with formal details of the emissions cap and the portions of the allowances open for auction, given for free and allocated to the special reserve. It plans to give 82 percent of the allowances for free and allocate 15 percent by auctioning. It expects to allocate the remaining 3 percent to a special reserve for later distribution to fast growing airlines and new entrants into the market.
The EC expects to allocate the free allowances by a benchmarking process that measures the activity of each operator in 2010. It expects to publish the benchmark by September 30.
EU-ETS covers any aircraft operator, whether EU- or foreign-based, operating international flights on routes to, from or between EU airports. It will exempt very light aircraft, however, as well as military, police, customs and rescue flights, flights on state and government business and training or testing flights.