EU stands firm as polluting tax row threatens Airbus sales

June 25, 2011
EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard is pictured on June 21. The EU refused Saturday to back down on a planned pollution tax on airline companies after reports China has put an Airbus order on ice and growing discontent in the United States.

The EU refused Saturday to back down on a planned pollution tax on airline companies after reports China has put an Airbus order on ice and growing discontent in the United States.

Expectations that Hong Kong Airlines would announce a contract to buy billions of euros worth of aircraft failed to materialise this week at the Paris air show, prompting fears Beijing may have blocked the order.

A source close to the matter who asked not to be identified told AFP he was aware of "the possibility that China could put the deal on ice."

He said it is well known that "the Chinese government is very unhappy" about legislation bringing airlines operating in Europe into the EU's system.

That comes as US companies fine-tune their legal challenge to the European Union in a Luxembourg court -- a hearing is set for July 5 -- and follows concerns expressed this month by Airbus.

Isaac Valero Ladron, spokesman for EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard, said the row has resurfaced because companies are looking at the award in September of emissions allowances post-2012 based on past pollution data forcing airlines to pay for their pollution.

"I cannot comment on internal dealings between Chinese authorities and companies," the spokesman said, indicating that the anticipated political pressure from Beijing over commercial plane-buying decisions.

"Whatever the Chinese or the Americans are saying, there is no Plan B -- we don't intend to back down," he said.

The legislation, adopted in 2008, is to enter into force on January 1, 2012.

Based on figures from 2004-6, companies get a set emissions allowance and then bid to buy the remaining 15 percent of the available polluting rights -- the equivalent of 200 million tonnes of annually.

The spokesman said "the only other possibility open to the Chinese or the Americans" is a provision to exempt companies where their countries have implemented "equivalent measures" to reduce carbon emissions.

He added that Airbus planes are considered "fuel-efficient, meaning lower emissions."

China earlier this year announced reductions in its emissions targeted for 2020, which is "something we're analysing," the commission spokesman said.

While the commission is "confident" its case will stand up in court, Chinese airlines have also indicated they plan to lodge legal action alongside the China Air Transport Association.

They fear the country's aviation sector will have to pay an additional 800 million yuan ($122 million) a year on flights originating or landing in Europe, and that the cost could be almost four times higher by 2020.

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1.7 / 5 (11) Jun 25, 2011
Are politicians really concerned about pollution?

Has pollution outstripped global warming as their main concern?

Or are both of these issues simply being used for some other purpose?

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel

3 / 5 (8) Jun 26, 2011
omatumr, carbon dioxide pollution causes global warming.
3 / 5 (6) Jun 26, 2011
I will be brave and suffer the howls of protest. I try to protect myself with qualifiers; atmospheric pollution is bad, climate is changing and human associated emissions whether through rice crops, cow farts or hydrocarbon related emissions etc must have some effect ... BUT ribond86 it is not an established fact that carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming (even if I believe it true). The evidence is that climate change (specifically global warming) precedes rises in atmospheric carbon dioxide content and is therefore unlikely a specific cause but rather an effect. Even if an amplifying or feedback inducing effect, still not a prima facae cause.

2.1 / 5 (7) Jun 26, 2011
The EU is going down to tube just listen to the talking heads.
Listen to the Jill Duggan interview about ½ way through @:


EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard is as thick as a brick as are most people in her department. In Australia recently she sent down Jill Duggan the EU carbon commissioner. As an expert on carbon markets for the European Commissions Directorate-General for Climate Action, Duggan will help mastermind the EUs bold and massively expensive plans to reduce Europes carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.
Turns out she could not answer the most basic of climate, Temp, costs or CO2 questions on a radio interview.
She was asked: Cont....
2.1 / 5 (7) Jun 26, 2011
1st question: Whats the expected cost is of this grand Europe-wide scheme to reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. Duggan says she doesnt have a figure. So her interviewers put to her the estimate by (non-sceptic) Richard Tol: $250 billion.

2nd question: Does Duggan know what the estimated effect on global temperatures will be if Europe goes it alone in its carbon emissions reduction campaign? Her interviewers tell her 0.05 degrees C by 2100.

Youre in charge of a massive programme to re-jig an economy and you dont know what it costs and you dont know what it will achieve,

Duggan claims that a million green jobs have been created in Germany; and that many hundreds of thousands of green jobs are going to be created in Britain. Really?.That would seem to contradict the real world evidence, which shows that, far from creating jobs; government investment in renewable energy is in fact destroying jobs in the real economy.
1.9 / 5 (9) Jun 26, 2011
omatumr, carbon dioxide pollution causes global warming.

Science does support that conclusion [1,2]. Eisenhower explained on 17 Jan 1961 why a "scientific-technological elite" of government-funded scientists would claim it does [3].

1. "Super-fluidity in the solar interior: Implications for solar eruptions and climate",
Journal of Fusion Energy 21, 193-198 (2002)

2. "Earth's Heat Source - The Sun", Energy and Environment 20, 131-144 (2009)

3. Eisenhower's Farewll Address to the Nation (17 Jan 1961) with a warning about future dangers of a federal "scientific-technological-elite"
3.7 / 5 (6) Jun 27, 2011
Let's see if I get this straight. Omatumr and others fear the dangers of a "scientific-technological-elite" so therefore reject science based findings on climate change, regardless of the outcome.

I think that meshes well with the denial activity I've seen thus far.
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 27, 2011
It is clear that global-warming / climate-change is being used as an argument for control over the masses. But not all at once, only in incremental steps. These people do not believe in individual freedom, they believe that only the enlightened, as they define it, can understand and therefore must regulate the un-enlightened. They claim that this is "a moral issue" (thus stifling further debate and avoiding the need for justification), and that their ends justify the means. Already these policies have demonstrated themselves to be costing jobs overall. The green job revolution has thus far proven itself an oft-repeated myth.

"A lie told often enough becomes the truth."
- Lenin (1870 - 1924)
4 / 5 (4) Jun 28, 2011
So you can't stand a "scientific-technological-elite", you clearly don't want an artistic elite, in fact the only elite you can stand for is a religious one, provided they spout the same fantasies which your parents fed you as children.

Where have we seen this attitude before...? Oh yeah. Islamic fundamentalists.

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