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EU to tackle aircraft emissions

Europe's airlines are expected to have limits set on the amount of greenhouse gases which they can emit.

The EU's environment commissioner is to propose including airlines in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which aims to tackle climate change. At first the plan would include flights within the EU, expanding to include flights in and out of the EU by 2012. The ETS aims to meet Europe's obligations under the Kyoto protocol to deal with greenhouse gases. Up to now, the aviation sector has been outside the carbon trading scheme. That was simply due to its exclusion from the Kyoto protocol discussions, which set out the roadmap for cutting dangerous gases from the atmosphere. But EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas has said he hopes to aim for a 30% cut in EU emissions by 2020. Air travel currently accounts for between 3% and 8% of unwanted gases - figures issued by the industry and environmental groups vary within this range. The BBC's Joe Lynam in Brussels says the aviation industry admits it has a role to play combating climate change. But is also quick to point out how important air travel is to economic growth. Aviation body Iata contends that grounding all airliners would have a small impact on CO2 emission - but a dramatic one on the global economy. Consumer groups are worried that it will be travelers and not the airline companies who will end up paying to make the skies greener, our correspondent adds. (BBC NEWS)