Addressing the aviation and climate change challenge: a review of options

Greenhouse gas emissions from aviation are rapidly increasing. The EU and Norway, Iceland and Switzerland argue there is no other way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from aviation but through the inclusion of aviation in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). Meanwhile, a coalition of developing and North American countries sees this expansion as a breach of sovereignty and of international law. Based on a complaint by several US airlines, the European Court of Justice ruled in December 2011 that the inclusion of aviation into the ETS is legal under international law. Since then, the two opposing sides have become even more entrenched in their positions. In this paper, the motivation and the legal positions of the most important actors are identified in the field of aviation and climate change. It analyses the political context and alternatives for the aviation and climate-change challenge, focusing on the growing importance of emerging powers and their perspectives, and drawing on comparative lessons learned from other similar problems such as noise from aircraft.