Home United Kingdom Carbon pricing in the UK/Europe: ETS and CORSIA developments

Carbon pricing in the UK/Europe: ETS and CORSIA developments

Carbon pricing in the UK/Europe: ETS and CORSIA developments


Operators in the aviation sector and the ‘stationary sectors’ (energy era, vitality intensive industries, and so on.) would possibly maybe maybe well silent showcase that the environmental regulatory framework for carbon pricing and emissions trading in the UK/Europe modified in 2020, and will continue to alternate. 

In this blog, we present a excessive-stage summary of three most recent key UK/European developments that influence operators: Brexit/UK ETS, the Swiss ETS-EU ETS link and CORSIA implementation.

Early Newspaper


In the course of 2020, as the UK moved in the direction of the finish of the Brexit transition length, there used to be distinguished discussion regarding what fresh carbon pricing mechanism the UK would deploy upon leaving the EU Emissions Trading Procedure (EU ETS) on 1 January 2021. It looked likely that a brand fresh UK ETS (broadly a like-for-like substitute for the EU ETS) used to be the preferred option, rather than the main quite a couple of – a carbon tax.

Nonetheless, uncertainty remained resulting from blended messages from the UK Executive – as an illustration, in November, the creation of a legislative framework for the UK ETS (the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Intention Train 2020) and simultaneous comments from Executive that the carbon tax quite a couple of had not been taken off the desk.

Then, in mid-December 2020, the Energy White Paper confirmed that the Executive would place the fresh UK ETS – noting that:

“the UK is open to linking the UK ETS internationally in principle and we’re considering a range of solutions, but no resolution on our preferred linking companions has yet been made”

As talked about in our blog on the Energy White Paper, the assumption at the time of the white paper used to be that this observation used to be implying a that you just would also imagine link with the EU ETS.

Shortly after the white paper’s publication, the EU-UK alternate and cooperation agreement (TCA) used to be agreed – including a particular carbon pricing article (Article 7.3) in the ‘Ambiance and climate’ stage playing discipline chapter (Chapter seven). This text crystallised the above assumption by stating:

“The Occasions shall cooperate on carbon pricing. They shall give serious consideration to linking their respective carbon pricing techniques in a system that preserves the integrity of these techniques and affords for the likelihood to increase their effectiveness.”

There will not be any link yet, then again, so, from 1 January 2021, operators now want to grapple with two parallel neighbouring ETS regulatory regimes – the EU ETS and the UK ETS.

Greenhouse gasoline emissions permits for UK stationary installations maintain now moved over from the EU ETS to the UK ETS (discipline to certain guidelines for Northern Ireland). Operators want to initiate thinking about compliance with permitting, monitoring, reporting, and so on. necessities under the UK ETS going forward (albeit with some residual compliance necessities under their final EU ETS tasks for the 2020 intention one year).

On the other hand, airplane operators (especially these flying to and from a few UK and EU airports) are likely to find themselves in a more advanced space. They will maintain fresh UK ETS tasks for UK domestic flights and flights from the UK to the EEA (with such flights now carved out from existing EU ETS tasks – again, excluding some residual EU ETS compliance for the 2020 intention one year). This would possibly maybe maybe well indicate dealing concurrently with two regimes rather than one (though the principles/processes of the two techniques are identical).

Looking forward (bearing in mind the above comments in the white paper/TCA and the natural compatibility of the two techniques), would possibly maybe maybe well the linking of the UK ETS and EU ETS occur in the future and what would possibly maybe maybe well even this survey like?


The understanding of linking ETSs has lengthy been discussed as a system of expanding international carbon markets (with doable advantages associated to cost effectiveness, liquidity, compliance and carbon leakage). The importance of ETS linking arrangements in the arsenal of climate alternate measures is illustrated by the Paris Agreement’s reference (in Article 6) to such international cooperation on carbon markets.

In 2020, there used to be a grand second in this apartment – The ETS linking agreement between the EU and Switzerland entered into force. Right here is the first such linking agreement (with the Swiss ETS being the first to link with the EU ETS). The European Price commented:

“[This agreement] demonstrates that emissions trading techniques can pave the diagram to broader international carbon markets”

As a results of the link, emission allowances aged for compliance under the EU ETS are recognised for compliance under the Swiss ETS (and vice versa) and the switch of these allowances is enabled between the EU and Swiss trading registries. A provisional electronic link between the registries used to be launched in September 2020 so that inter-ETS allowance transactions will be done.

The link covers each and every stationary installations and aviation – setting out “well-known criteria” in each and every areas. This implies that the EU and Switzerland want to be certain that their respective ETSs meet not less than the “well-known criteria” so that their regulatory regimes for stationary installations/aviation maintain compatibility.

This EU-Swiss ETS linking agreement would possibly maybe maybe well effectively be the starting point for discussions between the EU and the UK in their “serious consideration” under the TCA regarding the linking of the EU and UK ETSs – there is certain precedent for the way this would possibly maybe maybe well work. Stakeholders will be watching carefully how the EU-Swiss link operates in note to find a system of what would possibly maybe maybe well even also be coming in an EU-UK context.


For airplane operators, as effectively as thinking about compliance with a few ETSs, the Carbon Offsetting and Slash fee Intention for International Aviation (“CORSIA”) comes into play.

Developed by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (“ICAO”), CORSIA is a global market-primarily based intention designed to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions from international civil aviation by requiring operators to offset any increase in their emissions above a particular baseline.

Even supposing dealing with the identical thing, i.e. aviation greenhouse gasoline emissions, the mechanism of CORSIA is extremely assorted to the EU and UK ETSs, and its geographical scope is international rather than accurate European. 

The UK and EU maintain each and every been consulting on the system to implementing CORSIA alongside their ETSs. The EU session has already closed, and the UK session closes rapidly on 28 February 2021.

The UK’s session includes a draft instrument on CORSIA MRV (monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions) which is intended to come into force by spring 2021.  The most contentious section of the session, then again, pertains to the interaction of the offsetting of emissions under CORSIA and the surrendering of allowances under the UK ETS – taking into legend the likelihood that every regime would possibly maybe maybe well chunk on the identical tonne of emissions. The UK’s session has position out six solutions for CORSIA-UK ETS interaction – with Option 2 (Present-Adjusted Hybrid) singled out as the preferred option.

In short, Option 2 would involve airplane operators claiming reductions in their UK ETS responsibility to hand over allowances akin to their CORSIA tasks on certain flights – with the UK ETS allowances cap then adjusted to legend for emissions covered by CORSIA. This way would maintain the present-demand balance.

A second UK session is expected later this one year to win into legend the system to CORSIA-UK ETS interaction in increased technical detail (likely focussing in on Option 2 if this preferred option is chosen as the way forward).

Concluding thoughts

UK and European regulation surrounding the reduction of greenhouse gasoline emissions in the principal emitting sectors is changing and developing. Right here is particularly so in relation to the aviation sector, the place there is a further international angle to the regulation. Given the zero carbon commitments made by many developed international locations, this apartment of regulation can additionally be expected to tighten over the coming years. Aviation and ‘stationary sectors’ operators will would possibly maybe maybe well silent be agile to acknowledge the regulatory changes that are expected in the coming years.

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Carbon pricing in the UK/Europe: ETS and CORSIA developments – JD Supra