GLOBE Foundation

Airlines may escape EU carbon law penalties


Source: GLOBE Foundation

Countries opposing an EU law that charges airlines for carbon emissions should consider seeking waivers by adopting equivalent emission reduction measures, says the EU's new ambassador to India.

Any airline that does not comply faces fines of €100 for each tonne of CO2 emitted for which they have not surrendered allowances. In the case of persistent offenders, the EU has the right to ban airlines from its airports.

'There is space in the legislation that has not yet been explored regarding exemptions for equivalent measures,' said the new EU ambassador in New Delhi, Joao Cravinho.

'There is room for negotiation, not for annulling the law.'

The EU law allows for equivalent measures to be taken into account, which analysts said would cover other ways of reducing emissions in the airline sector.

But the rules do not specify what could constitute equivalent measures.

'Flights coming from countries that have equivalent measures can be exempted. So we need to look at what equivalent measures can be,' Cravinho said.

The EU says it needs to put a price on CO2 emissions to guard against impacts of global warming such as crop failures, droughts or flooding.

The airlines carbon tax forms part of measures the bloc says will help it fulfill its pledge to reduce emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

Critics have said that its unilateral nature violates the Chicago Convention on international aviation, as well as some World Trade Organisation provisions.

Some countries have threatened retaliatory measures, but Cravinho said the EU would not back down on a measure that affected European companies as much as others.

The US Congress is considering measures that would prohibit US airlines from taking part in the EU-ETS. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton has written to the Commission warning the US will 'be compelled to take appropriate action' if the charges are not postponed. (See GLOBE-Net article 'Every Cloud has a Silver Lining - US Airlines to Profit from ETS')

'Any measures that discriminate against European companies will obviously be taken to ... international court,' he said.

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