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EU Adds Aviation In Its Carbon Plans, Airlines Criticize Decision

airplane_taking_off.jpgEuropean Union governments approved to include aviation in the bloc’s emissions trading scheme from 2012. The scheme is likely to affect at least 87 major airlines, of which 35 are headquartered outside the EU, Reuters reports.

The European Parliament voted 640 to 30 in July in favor of including airlines in EU’s carbon plans, forcing them to cut CO2 emissions by 3 percent in 2012 and by 5 percent from 2013 onwards.

The EU will set one EU-wide cap based on historic levels for the 27-nation bloc. According to EU Commission, the average emissions between 2004 to 2006 were around 218 million tones of CO2. The amount is expected to be 340 million by 2015, and over 400 million by 2020.

Airlines will receive 85 percent of Aviation Allowances for free from Feb. 2012, with the remaining 15 percent to be auctioned by the government.

Airline chiefs criticized the decision and said it would cost the industry at least $4.4 billion annually to comply. Giovanni Bisignani, the director general of the International Air Transport Association, told New York Times that the Europeans are “acting in a bubble – even in the middle of a global economic crisis.”

New research presented at a climate change conference in U.K. says carbon trading will not solve the problems of soaring emissions from the aviation and shipping industries.

Just recently, the Air Transport Association revealed that U.S. airlines reduced 2.5 billion metric tons of CO2 from 1978 to 2007. Shipping companies are also building bigger to curb emissions.

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