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EU Legislation To Cap Airline Emissions

The European Union has passed legislation to cap airline emissions, beginning in 2012. The system would affect all airlines that land or take off in Europe, who will have to buy 15% of their permits in auctions. The legislation has been met with some criticism, as airlines are already suffering due to higher fuel costs.

The estimated cost of the new plan is 4.8 billion Euros, a number that, when compared with the airlines 3.7 billion profit, seems unreasonable to airlines. Many are expecting European airports to suffer from the legislation, since international planes will now re-route to non-European airports.

The legislations also includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the business sector, using a cap-and-trade system. The planned cuts are 3% in the first year, and 5% in the second year onward. Airlines account for 3% of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions, but with airline traffic expected to double by 2020, lawmakers are determined to cut their emissions now.

There are already many airlines that offer carbon offsets to passengers. Will this increase the use of offsets to help reduce the impact on revenues?

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