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Time for the airlines to join the fight against Climate Change: de Brún

13 November, 2007


Speaking in a debate in the European Parliament in Brussels last night, Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún MEP called for the European Commission and MEPs to vote to 'end their [airlines'] special treatment and to take into account their effect on our environment and in contributing to climate change'.


Pointing out the lack of participation on the part of the aviation industry in fighting climate change Ms de Brún, who is a member of the European Parliament's Climate Change Committee, spelt out what needs to happen- " It is time for the airlines to join the fight against climate change. Since 1990 greenhouse gas emissions from EU international aviation have more than doubled and now stand for 5-12% of the total EU CO2 emissions. In March this year, the EU leaders made a commitment to reduce the EU's emissions by 20% by 2020 from 1990 levels. We now have an opportunity to show that we can meet the targets laid down."


de Brún called for the European Commission to ensure that the polluter-pays principle was adhered to. She also said that the inclusion of the aviation activities in the EU ETS (emissions trading scheme) must only be seen as a first step in addressing this sector's impact on climate change. She concluded. "Just as we, the Members of the European Parliament, recognized in our resolution in June 2006, complementary measures such as a kerosene tax are needed." ENDS


Full text of speech:


"Tá sé in am do na haerlínte bheith páirteach sa troid in aghaidh athraithe aeráide. Tá níos mó ná an dá oiread gáis cheaptha teasa ann anois ó eitlíocht idirnáisiúnta an AE ó bhí 1990 ann. Sin idir 5% agus 12% de éalú dé-ocsáid charbóin iomlán an AE.


Thug ceannairí AE comitmint i Mí Márta na bliana seo laghdú 20% ar leibhéal éalú dé-ocsáid charbóin na bliana 1990 a thabhairt isteach roimh 2020. Tá deis againn anois taispeáint don domhain mhór go mbainfear amach na spriocanna atá leagtha amach.


It is time for the air lines to join the fight against climate change. Since 1990 greenhouse gas emissions from EU international aviation have more than doubled and now stand for 5-12% of the total EU CO2 emissions. In March this year, the EU leaders made a commitment to reduce the EU's emissions by 20% by 2020 from 1990 levels. We now have an opportunity to show that we can meet the targets laid down.


The Commission is proposing that the aviation sector shall only cap its emissions to the average level in the years 2004-2006. That is 90% above 1990 levels! It is also proposing that only about 3 % of the total allocation of allowances shall be auctioned. But free handouts of permits will only reduce the incentives for the airlines to reduce emissions themselves. 100% auctioning, that we and the Greens are proposing, would be in line with the 'polluter-pays-principle'.


Moltar sa tairscint ón Choimisiún nach mbeadh ar earnáil na heitlíochta ach cloí le meánleibhéal na blianta 2004-2006. Sin 90% níos airde ná leibhéal na bliana 1990. Molann an Choimisiún fosta nach mbeadh ceantáil ann ach do 3% de na liúntais. Tá easpa dreasachta ann do na haerlínte leibhéal astiúchán s'acu féin a laghdú má thugtar cead astaithe carbóin dóibh saor in aisce. Bheadh leibhéal 100% de cheantáil mar atá muid féin agus na Glasaithe ag moladh ar aon dul leis an phrionsabal 'íoc mar a thruaillaítear.'


Creideann grúpa GUE/NGL gur chóir go mbéadh

  • méid na liúntais a dháiltear amach 50% de meánleibhéal na blianta 2004-2006
  • srian curtha ar méid na liúntais gur féidir leis an earnáil eitlíochta a cheannach ó earnálacha eile nó ó thionscadail CDM
  • leibhéal 100% de chantáil


Is mór-rannpháirtithe iad aerlínte i dtaca le giniúint gháis cheaptha teasa san Eoraip agus ar fud an domhain. Tá an t-am buailte linn chun deireadh a chur leis an láimhseáil speisialta agus chun éifeacht s'acu ar ár gcomhshaol agus ar athrú aeráide a ghlacadh san áireamh.


The GUE/NGL group believes that:

  • the quantity of allowances to be allocated shall be equivalent to 50% of the average level in 2004-2006;
  • there needs to be restrictions on the number of allowances that aircraft operators can buy from other sectors or from CDM projects;
  • full auctioning;

Airlines are major contributors to the output of greenhouse gases in Europe and across the globe. The time has come to end their special treatment and to take into account their effect on our environment and in contributing to climate change.


Furthermore, a multiplier should be a temporary provision and should be removed as soon as measures to effectively reduce NOx emissions are in place.


We also need to remember that the inclusion of the aviation activities in the EU ETS (emissions trading scheme) must only be seen as a first step in addressing this sector's impact on climate change. Just as we, the Members of the European Parliament, recognized in our resolution in June 2006 complementary measures such as a kerosene tax are needed."


Let us give a strong signal to the Bali conference in December.


Thank you." Deireadh


Note to editor


Low-cost airlines and increased business travel are just two factors that have led to growing passenger numbers. CO2 emissions from planes have risen 87% since 1990, just at a time when the EU is trying to bring emissions down to meet Kyoto targets. the European Parliament will vote on a proposal for the Emissions Trading Scheme to apply to all European air traffic by 2010 alongside steep cuts in emissions.

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