International Update – More Posturing, Little Advancement


There have been two recent developments in the international reaction to the EU’s unilateral decision to apply the EU ETS to foreign operators, but it remains unclear what effect either move will have.


The first development is the Swiss Government issuing a consultation on an Ordinance which would require operators flying to and from Switzerland to submit tonne kilometre data (TKM) from January 1st. They have been in negotiations with the EU about linking their own domestic ETS (which does not include aviation) with the EU Scheme for some time, but this is clearest indication so far that the EU’s system is going to be linked to another.


The exact purpose of collecting this data is unclear, as TKM data was only collected in 2010 for existing operators to claim free allowances under the EU ETS. New entrants can monitor TKM data in order to claim from a special reserve set aside, but as most operators affected will already be complying with the EU ETS, it is unclear why they are making all operators carry this out.


In fact the cover letter for the consultation actually states:


The Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) wishes to emphasise that the above-mentioned Ordinance does not envisage the integration of civil aviation into the emissions trading scheme, but is solely intended to regulate the advance acquisition of data in order to secure the rapid implementation of a measure that has yet to be decided.”


So it is very unclear as to the intentions of this Ordinance are, but it is an interesting move from a country which is not currently party to the EU ETS considering the political landscape.



The other development in the international situation surrounding the EU ETS is the House of Representatives in the US approving an amendment to an appropriations bill to prevent either the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) or the Department of Transport (DoT) from using funds to impose the EU ETS on their airlines.


As neither the FAA nor DoT has a role in regulating the EU ETS, and does not authorize any direct action aimed at fighting the scheme, this move would appear to be more symbolic than practical.



Neither of these developments change anything substantial. Both sides continue to talk in resolute language, but no definitive action has been taken by non-EU governments who oppose the scheme. April 30th is effectively the deadline for a resolution to this dispute, as it is the final date that allowances have to be surrendered for 2012, so lets hope something is agreed before then.