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Aviation: Carbon Emissions

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how she plans to measure the emissions from UK aviation when the sector is included in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. (218791)

The UK reports annually to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFGCC) estimates of emissions from UK sales of aviation fuels—known as "bunker fuels"—for domestic and international aviation. In doing so, the UK follows guidelines published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Estimates of emissions from fuel used for international aviation do not form part of the UK's national emissions inventory, as there has been no international agreement on how to allocate them to individual countries.

The Government will continue to press internationally for an approach that would allocate responsibility for international aviation emissions, and therefore require action to be taken globally to address them. Such allocation may be, for example, to countries or to the international aviation sector as a whole.

The inclusion of aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) will not change directly international reporting arrangements. The Government do not believe that inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS will provide a suitable emissions allocation methodology. Responsibility for meeting the cap will be placed directly on airlines; responsibility for regulating airlines will be placed on member states, in a process designed to achieve administrative simplicity. As a result, the UK regulator will be responsible for administering airlines from the UK and other countries, some of whose flights will not pass through UK airspace or land at a UK airport.

The EU ETS will cap emissions from flights arriving in, or departing from, the EU. Any growth in emissions above that cap will require airlines to pay for equivalent emissions reductions from elsewhere within the scheme, thereby maintaining total emissions below the cap. The UK's reports to the UNFCCC on emissions from bunker fuels would not reflect achievement of the EU ETS cap. The differences between the UNFCCC and EU regimes reflect the different purposes for which they were established.