Under a new ruling last year, all airlines flying in and out of European airports were going to have to pay for permits to cover their emissions. But, this has sparked legal action by US airlines and threats of a trade war from China, due to the inclusion of aviation in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme.
The plans have been put on hold for a year while international talks go ahead to tackle aviation emissions go ahead.
“The EU has always been very clear: nobody wants an international framework tackling CO2-emissions from aviation more than we do,” said EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard in a statement. “[But] finally we have a chance to get an international regulation on emissions from aviation. This is a long sought for opportunity that we must use.”
For the next 12 months, the EC will watch and wait while the ICAO General Assembly takes place in 2013 and will work closely with the ICAO leadership.
“But let me be very clear: if this exercise does not deliver – and I hope it does, then needless to say we are back to where we are today with the EU ETS. Automatically,” Hedegaard warned.
UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey has welcomed the move, and urged the ICAO to maintain the current momentum on reaching a global deal.
“We welcome the Commissions proposed approach to “stop the clock”. It is right that ICAO are given more time to make progress on reaching a global deal on aviation emissions,” he commented.
The UK will review it’s plans for an auction of permits once more information is received from the Commission and will be actively supporting to secure a positive outcome as soon as possible.