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European Aviation GHGs ‘Likely to Fall 1.5% in 2013’

Greenhouse gas emissions from flights within Europe are likely to fall by around 1 million tons or roughly 1.5 percent this year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The drop should come as carriers bring newer, more fuel-efficient fleets online and pack their planes more tightly as a result of high oil prices, New Energy Finance’s London-based analyst Itamar Orlandi told Bloomberg.com.

Last year, airlines’ emissions in the European Union fell by around 2 million metric tons, or about three percent. Flight activity in Europe probably fell about 1.5 percent in 2012, Orlandi said.

Airlines including British Airways, EasyJet and Emirates Airlines have been pushing manufacturers to develop more efficient aircraft, Bloomberg reports.

Under the EU’s trading program, which came into effect on January 1, 2012, airlines flying through European airspace are required to buy carbon permits aimed at offsetting their emissions. For flights covered by the program in 2012, emissions probably stood at 15 million tons, or 31 percent, more than the 49 million tons of free allowances that were allocated to the aviation industry, Bloomberg reports.

But in November, the European Commission suspended its carbon emissions laws on flights taking off or landing from EU member states. The move followed a decision by the International Civil Aviation Organization to consider a global market-based mechanism — such as carbon trading — to encourage airlines to cut their emissions. The EU plans to “stop the clock” for a year on aviation’s inclusion within the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme until after the ICAO General Assembly this fall.

Also in November, the president signed legislation shielding US airlines from compliance with the EU law.

Last year, 26 ICAO member counties including the US and China lodged a formal complaint through the organization urging Brussels not to require compliance from non-EU carriers. The airline industry said the rules could cost it €1.2 billion in 2012, an amount equal to a quarter of 2011’s profits.

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