The European Commission (EC ) has reportedly established a unified registry that allows airlines to track their carbon dioxide emissions. All airlines subject to the European Union’s (EU ’s) Emissions Tracking System (ETS ) are required to open accounts in the registry, which will replace the current system of separate registries administered by each EU member state.
According to the EC , the unified registry—effective in June 2012—will help protect the cap-and-trade system against fraud by allowing system administrators to suspend or close accounts and provide more freedom to share infractions with law enforcement. Despite opposition from U.S. and global airlines, EU ’s ETS became effective in January 2012 and covers all emissions for flights that arrive at or depart from an airport in the EU .
Under the system, airlines receive allowances covering a certain level of carbon dioxide emissions from their flights per year. They must surrender the number of allowances equal to their emissions. If emissions are below its allowances, an airline may sell the extra allowances on the carbon market or save them to cover future emissions. If emissions exceed allowances, the airlines must buy allowances or carbon credits produced from clean energy projects. The registry will track airlines’ transfers of allowances, annual emissions and surrendering of allowances. See BNA World Climate Change Report, January 30, 2012.