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Fri, May 25, 2012

EU Shows Potential For Flexibility On ETS

Will Consider Review If A 'Global Solution' Is Reached

With China continuing to refuse to release carbon emissions data to the EU, and ongoing pushback from countries like the U.S. on its Emissions Trading System, the European Union on Wednesday seemed to at least hint that there could be some flexibility on the issue ... but not much.

At an aviation conference in Beijing, industry leaders continued to voice strident opposition to the ETS. The head of China's' Civil Aviation Administration Li Jiaxiang confirmed that his agency had not reported carbon emissions data to the EU, and it had no intention of doing so. The data provides the foundation for the assessment of fees to be collected by the EU.

The Chinese news service Xinhua reports that Assistant Transportation Secretary Susan Kurland said the EU should stop insisting that other countries comply with the ETS and go back to work finding a solution through the ICAO. She called the unilateral imposition of the tax "the wrong way to achieve the right objective."

It is estimated that as many as 4,000 airlines will be required to pay for emissions permits under the ETS. In a joint statement last November, 26 countries declared the scheme "illegal."

That message may be getting through. At the Beijing meeting, the director for the EU's Air Aviation and International Policy Matthew Baldwin told reporters that there was a possibility for "dialog" on a multi-national solution. In a marked contrast to earlier statements from the body, Baldwin said that it might be possible to "review and amend" the plan if the parties could agree on a global solution.

So far, the ICAO has not been invited to be involved in the discussions, according to ICAO council president Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez.



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