EU firm on charging airlines for carbon emissions

Vidya Ram London | Updated on March 12, 2018

The European Union is standing firmly by its plan to charge airlines, including non-EU airlines, for carbon emissions despite growing international opposition, including from India.

“There is no plan B,” a spokesman for the Commission told Business Line on Monday following the ICAO meeting in New Delhi. A joint statement by a group of 26 non-EU countries, including India, described the plans as discriminatory, following a meeting in New Delhi The new EU regulations are due to come into effect at the start of the year.

The European Commission spokesman said the EU would continue with existing plans to implement the legislation, which was adopted three years ago.

“We are of course open and willing to discuss and engage constructively with our partners – India and others – but our intentions are very clear,” he said. He attributed the EU's decision for unilateral action to a lack of progress in international talks.

From 2012 onwards, under the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) airlines will need to hold permits to emit tonnes of carbon above a certain cap, facing stiff penalties (potentially including being banned from operating in the EU) should they fail to comply.

Fierce opposition

It is a plan fiercely opposed by many non-EU states and their airlines, with warnings that it will cost the industry billions a year. Opponents of the legislation argue that – among other things – it violates various international standards including the aviation industry's Chicago Convention.

One body, the Air Transport Association of America, is challenging the legislation in court. There have also been warnings that it could have a negative impact on Europe's own aviation industry, with other countries imposing additional tariffs on European carriers in retaliation.

Individual EU member states remain strongly in favour of the emission trading scheme.

“The ETS is a cost-effective means of tackling CO2 emissions from aviation and is founded on the principle of non-discrimination between airlines of different nationalities to ensure that competitive distortion and carbon leakage are minimised,” said a spokesperson for Britain's Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Published on October 03, 2011

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