New Year Brings New EU Aviation Emissions Tax

 - January 3, 2012, 3:25 PM

The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) went into effect for aviation users on New Year’s Day, just 10 days after NBAA lamented a European Court of Justice decision allowing European authorities to obligate all operators, including the airlines and general aviation, to comply with the program. Under EU-ETS, the European Union taxes aircraft carbon emissions at a fixed rate above their allotted emissions credits. All 27 EU member states, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, are participating in the program. EU-ETS is highly controversial because it reaches beyond the borders of Europe itself. “A flight that originates in the United States and is going to land in Europe–let’s say in Paris or in London–is going to have to pay a carbon tax for its emissions over the entire length of the flight,” noted NBAA senior vice president Steve Brown. “Even though it’s only in European airspace for about 10 percent of the flight, it would have to pay the tax based on the length of the entire flight.” According to NBAA, aircraft that can fly nonstop from the U.S. to Europe might instead make an intermediate stop for the sole purpose of reducing the impact of the EU carbon tax, potentially reducing aviation safety and increasing overall carbon emissions due to the additional landing and takeoff.