UK government delays decision on aviation and shipping emissions

Posted at December 20, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on UK government delays decision on aviation and shipping emissions

The UK government announced yesterday that it is to delay its decision on whether aviation and shipping emissions should be included in carbon budgets until 2016.

Under the Climate Change Act, the government was required to say by the end of this year whether it intended to bring in aviation and shipping – or ‘excluded sectors’ – into the fifth carbon budget.

But in a statement, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said waiting until 2016 would give more clarity on how aviation emissions will be tackled by at a European and global level.

The European Union’s stance on aviation emissions is in disarray after threats of a trade war with the US and China led to a suspension of international aviation from the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

But while the EU is tied over its action on aviation, it has tired of waiting for the shipping industry to start regulating its emissions and has vowed to take its own measures.

“Given the uncertainty of what is happening at the EU and global level in managing aviation emissions, we think it sensible to defer our decision on the inclusion of aviation and shipping emissions in the UK’s carbon budgets,” said UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

He argued that the decision did not undermine the government’s commitment to meeting its 2050 emissions reduction target.

Davey said that the first four carbon budgets, covering 2008-2027, have been drafted to allow for aviation and shipping emissions while still keeping the UK on its trajectory to meet its 2050 target and limit global temperature rises to 2°C.

With the latest decision – or lack of one – 2016 looks set to be a busy year, with the decision on a 2030 decarbonisation target of the power sector also deferred to the same period.

But environmental group Friends of the Earth accuses the government of “dither and delay”.

“Aviation and shipping are significant sources of pollution; they should be included in UK carbon budgets,” says executive director Andy Atkins. “Yet again the Coalition has ducked a key decision on tackling climate change – if only Ministers put as much effort into taking action to cut emissions as they did in finding reasons to avoid it.”

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Related stories:
EC freezes plans to include airline emissions in trading system (13-Nov)
UK government urged to include aviation and shipping in climate target (7-Nov)
EU launches plan to start monitoring shipping emissions (2-Oct)
IMO fails to agree on ways of curbing shipping emissions (6-Mar)

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