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Airlines Strike Global Deal on Emissions Cuts

The European Union can move ahead with plans to charge airlines for emissions permits starting in 2012, after airlines agreed to a global deal on emissions cuts, according to the European Commission, reports Reuters.

In 2008, the EU agreed to include aviation in its emissions trading scheme (ETS), under which airlines would pay permits for each ton of carbon dioxide emitted.

Since the plan was announced, major airlines have challenged the EU’s plan to curb aviation emissions under the ETS, including American Airlines, Continental Airlines and United Airlines and the ATA, which filed a lawsuit in 2009, arguing that the rules were in violation of a 2007 bilateral air transport agreement between the U.S. and EU. The EU regulators say including the airlines in climate regulations was overdue because international aviation was not included in the Kyoto Protocol, according to the article.

Helen Kearns, spokeswoman for the European Commissioner for Transportation Siim Kallas told AFP that the resolution endorses a European plan for imposing a carbon emissions tax starting in 2012 on flights destined for or originating in Europe.

Under the agreement, which will cover 90 percent of worldwide air traffic, the sector will target annual two percent improvements in fuel efficiency and start capping emissions in 2020, reports Energy Efficiency News.

The agreement was struck thanks to exemptions for small emitters and nations with less than one percent of international air traffic, which don’t have to submit action plans for cutting emissions, according to Energy Efficiency News.

However, the goal is not binding and the resolution includes many stipulations such as “special circumstances” of developing countries, the maturity of aviation markets and sustainable growth of the industry, reports AFP.

The resolution, adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), includes a “roadmap” up to 2050 for the 190 member states, according to Reuters.

Currently, aviations accounts for around two to three percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, reports Energy Efficiency News.

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