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Thu, Oct 20, 2011

EU, China Continue To Squabble Over Carbon Caps

Controversial Scheme Goes Into Effect January 1

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 agreements.

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 be dismissed.



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