The EU Emissions Trading System


Facing the serious consequences of global warming, climate change has emerged as a real global challenge.

Having been active in the field of environmental protection for more than 50 years, TÜV NORD, as one of the leading technical inspection organisations worldwide, has resolved to meet the challenge of climate change.

Since the introduction of an EU-wide emissions trading system (EU ETS) TÜV NORD has been active as one of the leading verifier organisations in Europe. Beginning with the first baseline verification campaign till today TÜV NORD has verified several 100 million tonnes of CO2 in the framework of the scheme.

Emissions trading systems are among the most cost-effective tools for cutting greenhouse gas emissions

EU ETS: Key Facts

  • Operates in the 28 EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway
  • Limits greenhouse gas emissions from:
    • More than 11,000 heavy energy-using installations in power generation and manufacturing industry
    • Operators of flights to and from EU, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway
  • Covers around 45% of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions

The European Union launched the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) in 2005 as the cornerstone of its strategy for cutting emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases at least cost. In contrast to traditional "command and control" regulation, emissions trading harnesses market forces to find the cheapest ways of reducing emissions.

The EU ETS is the world's first major carbon market and remains by far the biggest today. The first international emissions trading system to address greenhouse gas emissions from companies, the European system accounts for over three-quarters of the trading volume of the international carbon market and functions as its engine.

By putting a price on carbon and thereby giving a financial value to each tonne of emissions saved, the EU ETS has placed climate change on the agenda of company boards across Europe. A sufficiently high carbon price also promotes investment in clean, low-carbon technologies.

By allowing companies to buy credits from emission-saving projects around the world, the EU ETS also acts as a major driver of investment in clean technologies and low-carbon solutions.

EU ETS Compliance for airlines - Background Information

  • Based on EU Directive number 2008/101/EC that was revised to include Aviation activities allowing greenhouse gas emissions to be traded within the EU.
  • Emissions reports for 2014 and 2015 need to be submitted by the 31st March 2016. Allowances need to be cancelled from the registry by the 30th April 2016.
  • From 01/01/2013 to 21/12/2016 only airlines whose flight originate and finish within Europe are covered by the EU ETS.
  • However, all airlines need to submit emissions reports to the Member States which States which confirm that they did not have flights within Europe.
  • Additionally, if a non European based airline move aircraft between European airports, they must report those emissions.
  • Non commercial aircraft with total emissions of less than 1000 tCO2 per year are exempt.
  • Aircraft operators emitting less than 25,000 tCO2 per annum do not need to have their annual emissions reports verified.
  • Verification can only be carried out by an accredited verifier such as TUV NORD.
  • Verification involves an onsite visit to the aircraft operators premises and a detailed check of the primary data (flight logs, fuel slips, etc).

Greenhouse gases and sectors covered

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from

  • Power and heat generation
  • Energy-intensive industry sectors including oil refineries, steel works and production of iron, aluminium, metals, cement, lime, glass, ceramics, pulp, paper, cardboard, acids and bulk organic chemicals.
  • Civil Aviation

Nitrous Oxide (N2O) from production of nitric, adipic, glyoxal and glyoxlic acids

Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) from aluminium production

Penalties for non compliance:

  • Any aircraft operator who has not surrendered sufficient allowances by the 30th April to cover the emissions for the preceding year will be held liable by the EU member state it has been assigned to.
  • There is a penalty of Euros 100 for each tonne of CO2 emitted for which the aircraft operator has not surrendered allowance + the duty to surrender an amount of allowances equal to those excess emissions.
  • If an aircraft operator does not comply, an operating ban will be imposed on the aircraft operator.

TÜV NORD's complete service portfolio is at our client's disposal all over the world.

In all TÜV NORD operates in more than 70 countries throughout the world. The team members in our worldwide active TÜV NORD carbon service section are experienced, highly professional and very committed to the topic.

We are looking forward to your enquiry


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