Tue 13 July 2010 – Help is at hand for small aircraft operators and those with few flights to Europe who are faced with the administrative burden of complying with the monitoring and reporting provisions required by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. The European Commission has adopted a Regulation approving the use of a free-of-charge Small Emitters Tool developed by Eurocontrol that enables eligible operators to model the fuel consumption of their flights rather than requiring them to measure actual consumption of each flight. Using a simple spreadsheet, the operator enters the route length and the aircraft type, and the tool calculates fuel consumption and carbon emissions based, says Eurocontrol, on “statistically robust” fuel consumption coefficients for the majority of common aircraft types, as well as widely recognized emission factors for all other aircraft.
A small emitter is defined as a non-commercial operator that operates fewer than 243 flights to, from or within the EU over three consecutive 4-month periods (the periods are Jan-Apr, May-Aug and Sep-Dec), or emit less than 10,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. Small emitters make up the majority of the operators affected by the Aviation EU ETS.
The tool can also be used by other aircraft operators to determine estimates of fuel consumption for specific flights where actual fuel consumption data is missing.
“The development and approval of this tool to estimate the fuel consumption of small emitters is a good example of how European cooperation and a common, cost-effective approach can benefit both companies and the climate,” commented Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action. “I welcome the cooperation between Eurocontrol and the Commission that has made this possible.”
Operators that select this method for completing their Annual Emissions reports must indicate this intention in their monitoring plans.
The tool is based on the method developed by Eurocontrol for the assessment of the historical aviation emissions which would have been covered by the EU ETS in 2004-2006, the period that is being used for basing the still to be determined emissions cap for the sector.
The Commission also announced that it plans to cap greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) covered by all installations currently included in the EU ETS at 1.927 billion tonnes of CO2e in 2013, although aviation, which joins in 2012, has been excluded from the decision. This is part of measures to implement major revisions to the EU ETS that will apply from the start of the 2013-2020 trading period. The cap will decrease each year by 1.74% of the average annual total quantity of allowances issued by the Member States in 2008-2012. This annual reduction will continue beyond 2020 but may be subject to revision not later than 2025.
However, the proposed cap is likely to change as new sectors, such as aviation and aluminium production, and new gases, including nitrous oxide, will be included in the scheme. The cap could again change significantly if the EU agrees to raise its target for cutting GHG emissions by 2020 from 20% to 30% below 1990 levels. This translates into a 21% cut in emissions from installations in the EU ETS by 2020 compared with 2005 levels.
Some analysts are predicting the tightening of the cap through to the end of the 2013-2020 trading period will drive up the cost of carbon to between €40 and €50 ($50-63) by 2020, from a current price of around €15 ($19).
Update 15 July:
According to Eurocontrol, of the 4,279 operators on the original list published by the European Commission as coming within the scope of the Aviation EU ETS, 3,820 are described as ‘small emitters’. Of these, only 2,092 operators carried out flights in 2009 that would have been covered by the scheme, the remainder therefore being exempted.
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