A bottom-up analysis of including aviation within the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme

European nations agree they must tackle escalating greenhouse gas emissions arising from energy consumption. In response, the EU has set an emission reduction target for 2050 chosen to correspond with stabilising the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases at a level likely to avoid ‘dangerous climate change’ or to not exceed a 2ºC rise above pre-industrial levels. By selecting a target related to global greenhouse gas concentrations, governments have, perhaps inadvertently, accepted such targets must include all greenhouse gas-producing sectors.

Furthermore, aiming for a target percentage reduction by a particular date neglects the crucial importance of cumulative emissions. By addressing these two issues, this analysis quantifies the contribution of the aviation industry to future EU climate change targets. Moreover, it assesses the implications of including aviation within the EU’s emissions trading scheme.

Results indicate that unless the scheme adopts both an early baseline year and an overall cap designed to be in keeping with a 450ppmv cumulative emission pathway, the impact on aviation emissions will be minimal.

Larkin, A., and K. Anderson

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