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Caving To Pressure, Isolated EU Halts Aviation Emissions Scheme

Will Nichols and James Murray, BusinessGreen

Brussels today announced it will freeze its carbon regulations on flights to and from the EU for a year, giving the UN’s international aviation body 12 months to deliver a global deal for tackling greenhouse gas emissions from the sector.

European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the move followed the “very good news” coming out of last Friday’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) meeting where delegates recognised global market-based measures (MBMs) for tackling emissions are feasible and agreed to deliver a final package of proposals at its conference next September.

She added that in a “gesture of good faith” the EU would suspend the inclusion of flights to and from the EU in its Emissions Trading System (ETS) in order to create space for the next phase of ICAO negotiations.

She said the decision demonstrates confidence on the side of the EU it can work with international partners at ICAO to agree on meaningful international action.

But she also stressed that the EU would immediately re-activate its current plans if ICAO fails to deliver an ambitious package of measures for curbing emissions next year.

The decision comes after Brussels faced down pressure from the US, China, India, and several other major nations who viewed the regulation as a breach of international agreements.

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