Aircraft emissions

Aviation emissions currently account for approximately three percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, but keep increasing rapidly – by 87% since 1990.

In the Czech Republic, aviation accounted for 0.7% of total CO2 emissions in 2004.  Estimates say that, by 2020, emissions caused by aviation will probably be more than double today’s level.  On 20 December 2006, the European Commission issued a draft amendment to Directive 2003I87/EC, with the object of including the greenhouse gas emissions from aviation into the already introduced EU scheme for trading these gases from major technological sources (EU ETS – the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme).  Integration into the EU ETS scheme, presently only used by the operators of large stationary sources, should ensure a greater effectiveness of the entire market, as it will make it possible to implement emissions reduction measures in places where the costs are the lowest.

From 2011, the Directive is to apply to all domestic and international flights between airports in the EU, and from 2012 also to international flights departing from, or landing at, EU airports.  It is estimated that, by 2020, CO2 emissions could be lowered by 46 percent, i.e., by 183 million tonnes.

It is not yet entirely clear in what form the final draft will be approved.  Presently, it is expected that the obligation would apply to the operators of all aircraft with a maximum take-off weight in excess of 5,700 kg, except for enumerated aircraft (e.g., military).  Only CO2 would be a regulated substance.  The scheme would operate as a unidirectional open system – which means that aircraft operators could purchase credits from other industries (but other industries could not purchase credits from aircraft operators).  To a limited extent, the purchasing of credits from projects directed to CO2 emission reduction could be permitted, under what are known as the flexible mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol.

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