Since it was introduced in 2005 CO2 emissions from electricity generation and large industrial plants are limited by the EU Emissions Trading System. In 2012 the EU ETS was also applied to aviation emissions.
Since 2012, aircraft operators operating in the European Economic Area are required to monitor, report and verify their CO2 emissions and to surrender allowances against those emissions.
Several types of flights, such as training and humanitarian flights, are exempt from the EU ETS.
Non-commercial aircraft operators with total annual emissions lower than 1,000 tonnes CO2 per year (based on all their flights departing from or arriving into the European Economic Area/EEA) are exempt until 2030.
The scope of the EU ETS is currently limited to flights within the European Economic Area (EEA) until the end of 2023. This was done to support the development of a global market-based measure by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), as the ICAO measure is known, aims to stabilise CO2 emissions at 2020 levels by requiring airlines to buy credits to offset the growth of their emissions after 2020.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for administering the EU ETS for aircraft operators assigned to Ireland.
The EU regularly updates the list of aircraft operators assigned to each Member State. The main purpose of this list to facilitate good administration of the EU ETS by informing aircraft operators about who is regulating whom.
If an aircraft operator does not appear on this list, it does not mean that they are exempt from the EU ETS. Similarly, some aircraft operators appearing on the list may no longer be active or come within the scope (Annex 1) of the ETS Directive.
The EU has published an information note on the legal status of this list of aircraft operators.
Aircraft operators assigned to Ireland and coming into the EU ETS for the first time should contact the EPA by emailing AVETS@epa.ie for instructions on how to proceed.