International commercial flights should be granted a further exemption from the EU’s carbon emissions controls, but only until 2021, MEPs agreed today.

A report by Conservative Environment Spokesman Julie Girling MEP proposes that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) be allowed more time to establish a global carbon offsetting scheme, which would freeze emissions at 2020 levels. The current exemption expires in March 2018.

She also calls for much greater transparency and information sharing from the ICAO to enable the EU to decide how its existing aviation emissions trading scheme (ETS), which covers flights within the European Economic Area, will link into the proposed new global initiative.

Mrs Girling, Conservative MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, said: ” It is sensible that we extend the exemption for international flights to and from the EU until there is greater clarity on the ICAO scheme. However, unlike the European Commission, I believe this exemption must be time limited so that we can be sure that the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation will deliver its objectives.

“Aviation contributes 1.3per cent of global CO2 emissions and that will increase significantly over the coming decades unless effective action is taken. The EU is already leading the way on tackling this issue and we must not let the pace slacken.

“As the rapporteur for EU ETS phase 4, I am well aware of the need for the aviation sector to do its fair share for emissions reduction.”

Her recommendations were approved today by members of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee and are expected to be considered by all MEPs in September.

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