Europe won’t be bullied, Nessa Childers said this afternoon from Brussels. She was responding to today’s rejection of an increasingly controversial provision that allowed airlines to sidestep CO2 emission targets.
‘These were only ever supposed to be watered down, temporary proposals – and for as long as they were in place, no meaningful environmental change could be achieved.’
‘Spiralling pollution from air traffic is a very real problem,’ Ms Childers added in response. ‘And I believe a better deal can be struck for the people of Europe on the back of today’s rejection by Environment Committee MEPs.’
Countries such as Brazil, China, Russia and the US are eager for EU aviation emissions regulation to apply only to flights within Europe.
‘Airlines make lots of money and we should get something in return – namely a firm commitment to bettering the quality of air around us,’ Ms Childers added.
‘If international carriers had their way, they would have pushed this issue down the road for another two years.’
A year ago, the ‘stop-the-clock’ provision was implemented by Minister Phil Hogan during Ireland’s EU Presidency as a means of allowing the International Civil Aviation Organisation to negotiate global measures to address aviation emissions.
Ms Childers, an independent politician, also said that ‘now it is the job of all MEPs to ensure that the aviation industry simply must address this problem with far more urgency’.
She concluded: ‘Because let’s face it, regulating only internal EU flights would be totally ineffective.’
EU aviation emissions make up a third of global totals and have doubled since 1990. They will triple by 2050 if unchecked.
British MEP Chris Davies has previously said he was being bullied by China and the US over the issue and that China threatened ‘to cancel Airbus orders’ if a more stringent scheme comes into force.