The European Union and China are continuing to "agree to
disagree" over the EU's controversial carbon cap and trade scheme
which the Union hopes to impose on any airline operating in
European airspace after January 1.
Under the plan, which is seeing strong opposition from China as
well as U.S.-based carriers, airlines would have to pay for any
"surplus emissions" using carbon credits. The government would
charge based on the length of the overall flight, not on the amount
of time spent in EU airspace.
Recent discussions with China were described as a "very useful
exchange of ideas" by Jos Delbeke, the Director General for Climate
Action at the European Commission. Reuters reports that Delbeke
also said the Europe has the legal standing to enforce the scheme
because other countries have not agreed to voluntarily curb
aircraft emissions. He said the EUs legislators "got impatient"
when multilateral agreements failed to materialize, and that the EU
is "entitled" to take the steps in the absence of those
China has tried to leverage its position by suggesting that its
orders of Airbus airplanes could be reduced if they are forced to
comply with the scheme. Two U.S. carriers have also filed legal
challenges to the plan, but Delbeke said that a recent ruling the
the EU's advocate general that the plan did not violate either the
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change or the Chicago Convention
on Civil Aviation makes him confident that those challenges would