Emissions Trading Scheme postponed for non-EU airlines
The European Commission may back down on their plan to charge foreign airlines for carbon emissions this week, delaying the plan for one year in response to progress towards a global regime by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Under the Commission’s regulations, which would have been enforced from the beginning of 2013, airlines using an airport in Europe would be required to buy permits corresponding to the amount of greenhouse gases they emit.
However, the EU climate commissioner looked to be revoking the policy for non-EU airlines this week, following a meeting with the ICAO. Connie Hedegaard, the EU climate commissioner announced the suspension of this policy for non-EU airlines, attributed the change in stance to positive results from talks at the ICAO which could lead to an international agreement on airline pollution.
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The scheme generated opposition from foreign governments including the US, China, Russia, Brazil and India amongst others, where some countries refused to comply with the regulations. In addition to clouding international relations, there were fears that the implementation of the EU rules would provoke a trade war, after Airbus, a French aircraft manufacturer, were struggling to close an order from China, and EU carriers struggled to secure traffic rights to fly into airports.
Whilst this scheme has been postponed for non-EU countries, airlines in member states still have to pay the charge from next year.
According to Hedegaard, the EU policy change still has to be approved by the 27 EU member states, although they are already informed of the decision. She stressed that the emissions trading scheme will be automatically reactivated should the ICAO not make sufficient progress in next year’s talks.