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AEF responds to Government’s consultation on the future of UK carbon pricing

July 15, 2019

With the UK expected to leave the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS), which includes intra-EU flights, after Brexit, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been consulting on the Future of UK Carbon Pricing, and, specifically, a proposal to create a UK ETS. The proposed scope of a UK ETS will include all domestic flights and international flights departing the UK for destinations in the European Economic Area and Switzerland.

AEF’s response to this consultation, which closed on Friday 12th July, sets out our general support for UK carbon pricing as part of a package of measures needed to achieve emissions reductions in the aviation sector. However, we express our concern about the possibility of using CORSIA eligible offset units as a means of compliance. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has advised that the UK’s own net zero target should be met through domestic effort without reliance on international offset credits. We argue, therefore, that any use of CORSIA units in the UK ETS should not be counted for compliance purposes with carbon budgets.

Our full response to the consultation can be viewed here.

Update June 2020:
The outcome document reinforces that “the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations have higher climate change ambitions than those set by ICAO”, hence their plan “to go beyond participation in CORSIA by targeting further emissions reductions through the inclusion of aviation in a UK ETS”. It remains unclear whether this will operate entirely as a standalone scheme, or whether it will be linked to the EU ETS. On the issue of offset credits – the focus of our short submission – the document says that “International credits will not be permitted in a UK ETS at this time. This is without prejudice to ongoing reviews on how best to implement the UN global offsetting scheme, CORSIA, alongside a UK ETS.