MEPs voted this week to bring air travel into the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, in which companies are set targets for reducing emissions.
But, Friends of the Earth say they failed to bring in the tougher measures needed to reduce the air industry’s growing contribution to global warming.
They say the EU needed a tax on aviation fuel and an end to the exemptions from the Emissions Trading Scheme for planes weighing less than 20,000kg, like many business jets.
Without tougher action on the air industry, say environmental campaigners, the EU’s plans to cut European emissions by 30 per cent by 2020 will be put in jeopardy.
“Instead of getting tough on aviation, MEPs have only voted for modest improvements to Commission plans to make aviation part of the Emission Trading Scheme,” said Friends of the Earth's aviation campaigner Richard Dyer.
“This is inadequate and threatens EU targets for cutting emissions. It's time our politicians showed real leadership on global warming.”
He said the UK government needed to take action itself on aviation emissions and called for a freeze on airport expansion plans and an improvement to high-speed rail services.
This article first appeared in the Ecologist November 2007