After months of negotiations and debates, green taxes on flights to and from Europe are still pending a global deal, although international governments finally agreed that airlines should be part of a scheme to reduce carbon emissions.
This new development emerged after heated discussions in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The final negotiations are expected to take place in 2016. Until then, the aviation sector has a goal to convince the European MPs that a market-based mechanisms is the way to tackle emissions from aviation. All technological innovations should be implemented by 2020, a deadline synchronized with the anticipated UN climate deal. Regardless of these extended deadlines, however, the EU considers this an achievement despite the mixed reactions.
Although it might not sound like the outcome of a discussion that many environmentalists were hoping for, the fact that something is agreed upon after more than 15 years of negotiations can already be considered a victory. Experts in the field describe the agreement between international governments on a global scheme for reduction of emissions from aviation as a historic resolution and a sign for a significant progress.
But while the EU is celebrating their success, world’s emerging economies including Brazil, China, India and some countries in Africa, are ready to resist and even fight back with securing of complete get-out clauses. In this respect, Bill Hemmings from the group Transport & Environment, points out that the EU ETS, as it is right now, has holes, which can be used by many who are anything but interested in protecting the environment.
Other experts are even more critical. Samantha Smith from WWF considers the postponing of decision until 2016 and action until 2020 as a failure, especially when governments in ICAO had a clear chance to take action against global carbon emissions.
The reality is, it is unclear what the EU will do with their ETS aviation scheme. According to the agreement, no country can impose restrictions and regulations on emissions without a global agreement. Some expect discussions within the EU to take place, as many are not entirely certain to exactly how binding the vote is.
In any case, it will be very interesting to see how a global deal on greenhouse gas emissions will be made by 2020, as the UN expects. The aviation sector is only one of the many that should establish global agreements, and it is already proving to be very difficult. The question is, what will happen once all the others get involved?!