International flights in and out of the European Union could be exempted from emissions limits for at least another four years to give the United Nations time to implement a global system to curb pollution from planes.
The EU proposed extending the exemption, which was set to end at the start of 2017, on Friday to avoid a repeat of tensions when it tried to include all flights in 2012.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) clinched a deal on a global market-based measure for offsetting airline emissions in October, but it will not be mandatory until 2027, prompting criticism from environmental campaigners.
Airlines strongly backed the ICAO deal as they want to avoid a patchwork of national and regional schemes.
But it was seen as not being ambitious enough by the European Parliament, which along with member states, will have to approve the EU exemption proposal.
This foresees an indefinite extension of the so-called “stop the clock” provision exempting airlines from surrendering carbon allowances for flights into and out of the bloc.