EU urges global deal on airline pollution

September 24, 2013
EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas gives a press conference on May 23, 2013 at the EU Headquarters in Brussels.

The EU on Tuesday urged nations to accept a compromise on plans to curb airline carbon emissions at a key UN conference, though resistance to striking an overall deal remains fierce.

"We believe a solution is now in sight," said the spokeswoman for EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas.

Kallas was set to make a plea for an EU-led pollution-cutting scheme later Wednesday at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Montreal, the UN agency that sets global aviation standards.

"A truly is long overdue and the world justifiably expects an agreement," the spokeswoman said.

But several nations—including the United States, India and China—have balked at a scheme for airlines and fought fiercely against a 2012 plan launched by Brussels that threatened to tip into a trade war.

Under the EU's ill-fated arrangement, airlines flying in EU airspace were required to buy pollution credits to cover 15 percent of their CO2 emissions for the entire flight, wherever it originated.

But 26 of the ICAO's 36 members opposed the move, saying the levy violated international law.

At the time, plane maker Airbus, plus half a dozen major European airlines, warned that the tax could cost them billions of dollars in lost orders and business and lead to the loss of the thousands of jobs.

Faced with the storm of criticism, last year the EU suspended its CO2 Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for intercontinental flights, saying it wanted to give all sides more time to reach a global accord.

In suspending its programme, the Commission on Tuesday said it had done its part to "avoid a trade war" and that it was now up to other countries to do their part.

A European source said earlier this month that the EU is ready to compromise over its tax if opponents, led by the United States and China, apply a similar levy by 2016.

In the new offer, airlines would be subject to the EU tax only for the portion of flights that pass through European airspace.

In the runup to the conference, on Monday the International Air Transport Association warned that a piecemeal approach to battling aircraft could lead to trade feuds.

But IATA general manager Tony Tyler said he was "optimistic" that countries will come together on a plan.

Explore further: Airline industry calls for CO2 emissions plan

Related Stories

Airline industry calls for CO2 emissions plan

September 24, 2013

The airline industry's mouthpiece called Monday for uniform global measures by 2020 to curb all aircraft carbon emissions, warning that a patchwork of competing proposals could emerge otherwise.

EU ready to suspend CO2 air travel tax for a year

November 12, 2012

The European Union executive on Monday offered to "stop the clock" on its controversial carbon tax on air travel by suspending the measure for a year on flights to and from non-European nations.

Aviation agency asks EU to delay airline carbon tax

March 6, 2012

The head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Tuesday urged the European Union to delay rolling out a carbon tax on air travel next year, warning it could provoke trade wars.

EU puts airline carbon tax on hold for a year

March 21, 2013

The EU will put its controversial carbon tax on intercontinental airline flights on hold for a year to give time for international talks to reach a compromise on the issue, a European source said Thursday.

EU should scrap airline emissions tax: IATA

July 25, 2012

The European Union should scrap a controversial carbon tax on air travel and seek a global solution to the emissions problem, the global aviation industry's chief said on Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Scientists determine source of world's largest mud eruption

October 17, 2017

On May 29, 2006, mud started erupting from several sites on the Indonesian island of Java. Boiling mud, water, rocks and gas poured from newly-created vents in the ground, burying entire towns and compelling many Indonesians ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.