European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS)

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EU-ETS Update Will Be Provided at NBAA2012

October 29, 2012

NBAA Flight Plan podcast about NBAA2012 EU-ETS session.

There are few people in the United States who are as well-versed in the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) as Adam Hartley, and sometimes even he is amazed at the changes ahead.

“This is a whole new world,” he said as he prepared to lead a workshop at NBAA’s 65th Annual Meeting & Convention (NBAA2012) titled, “EU-ETS: Compliance in 2013 and Beyond.” That session will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 2:30 p.m. in Room S320C at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.

Hartley, the supervisor of regulatory services at Universal Weather & Aviation, is one of many in the business aviation industry who put countless hours into learning the intricacies of the emissions trading system. Although operators have spent the past two years preparing for full EU-ETS implementation, he said the “rubber is about to hit the road” in 2013 when the trading scheme actually begins operation.

EU-ETS is a market-based trading program designed to reward those who emit the smallest amount of greenhouse gasses and penalize those who produce the most. Each ton of carbon emitted into the atmosphere is offset by a “carbon credit.” Those credits are traded on an exchange.

On Jan. 1, the Phase III Trading Period for aircraft operators will officially “go live.” Operators must purchase and surrender carbon credits to their member state by April 30 or face the possibility of enforcement actions.

EU-ETS has sparked outrage among countries outside the European Union – especially since the amount of carbon emissions used to calculate the credits needed by an operator is determined from the flight’s point of origin rather than from its point of entry into EU airspace.

Both the U.S. House and Senate have passed measures prohibiting American operators from participating in EU-ETS. The two bills are now being merged into a single measure to be brought to a final vote in both chambers.

Airlines from India and China have refused to submit data required by the European Union under its EU-ETS mandate. In the meantime, much of the rest of the world is awaiting action from the United Nations’ aviation governance arm, the International Civil Aviation Organization, hoping that body will issue a decision that will result in a more equitable means of reducing carbon emissions on a worldwide scale.

For Hartley, even with the global-scale political maneuvering constantly droning in the background, operators still need to comply with EU-ETS for the foreseeable future.

“What we’re trying to do is help people navigate through that process. EU-ETS is mostly foreign to the people who are managing it – chief pilots, directors of maintenance, schedulers. They’re constantly getting new things that are difficult to comply with,” Hartley explained.

In 2010, it was the advent of carbon-emission monitoring plans required under EU-ETS. In 2011, the headache for operators who travel to Europe was reporting and verification, he said. “Now, creation and maintenance of registry accounts is much the same,” he concluded.

“EU-ETS: Compliance in 2013 and Beyond” will help operators not only see the big picture, but will also give them some insight into the methodology of compliance with Phase III – the actual start of carbon credit trading. This involves the maintenance of registry accounts, the purchase, dissemination and, in some cases, selling of carbon credits.