Well, now. Europe has been lecturing the U.S. about the issue of global warming. But it appears that the EU isn’t prepared to wreck its airline or travel industries to save the environment. Indeed, the environmental ministers may be handing the airlines a new profit opportunity.
Aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases.
But Europe’s environment ministers look set to reject a plan for a strict cap on emissions from planes.
Instead, airlines will be given a set number of permits to pollute.
If they overshoot their limit they will be allowed to buy spare permits from firms who have managed to cut emissions elsewhere – manufacturing industry, for instance.
The ministers are expected to say this is rational, as it does not matter where emissions cuts are made – campaigners will call it a cop-out.
A UK government source has told the BBC that Europe’s ministers are also likely to decide that airlines will be handed almost all their tradeable pollution permits free of charge.
When the same system was applied a few years ago in the power sector, some firms made huge windfall profits by selling on valuable permits they had never had to buy in the first place.
Lastly, it is not expected that airlines will be asked to account for the extra damage done to the atmosphere because their emissions are created at high altitude.
I am shocked. Shocked and saddened. Politics and economics winning out over the environment! What will the Europeans do next?