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EU emissions trading to include airlines

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The European Commission has welcomed the positive second vote in the European Parliament in favour of including airline emissions in the EU Emissions Trading System.

From 2012 all flights within, to or from the EU will be included in the trading scheme. So airlines will either be able to sell their allowances if they do not use them or will have to purchase more if they emit more than expected.

From 2012 airline emissions will have to be 97 per cent of what they were as an average between 2004 and 2006, falling to 95 per cent in 2013. But 85 per cent of allowances will be free to start with. It is of course possible that a shrinking market will cause emissions to fall anyway by then without action from the airlines - airlines are already claiming to be reducing top speeds as a result of rising fuel prices.

In other Brussels news, the Commission has released a draft copy of proposals to restrict standby functions on TVs and other electronic devices. This is part of the Commission's "Ecodesign Directive" which aims to reduce energy required by products which are put into standby mode.

The Commission wants, eventually, to reduce standby consumption - first to 1W by 2010 and then to 0.5W by 2013. This should reduce EU electricity consumption by 50 TWh, or Denmark's annual consumption.

Presumably, though, this saving depends on consumers not doing more "cold-starts" instead of using the standby mode. ®

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