China refuses to pay any carbon charges incurred by the EU’s emission trading scheme (ETS) for global airlines, thus increasing political escalation over the EU’s controversial new climate change initiative. The new ETS has been the source of considerable political tension since the EU unilaterally decided to impose the new carbon-cutting program on airlines back in 2008.
Although technically the ETS for airlines began on January 1st, airlines do not have to pay their carbon fees until March 2013, thus allowing some extra time for further negotiation.
But the message from China’s aviation industry suggests defiance at the current measures rather than a willingness to cooperate.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei stated: “China opposes the European Union’s unilateral legislation. China has expressed to the EU our deep concern and opposition many times on a bilateral level.”
China is joined by 20 other countries who oppose the new scheme, including the US, Russia, Brazil, and others. Although airlines and governments from around the world claim the EU ETS contravenes sections of the Chicago Code, a preliminary EU court decision reveals that the new scheme is legal and will go ahead as planned.
Airlines that do not pay for carbon allowances risk facing a fine. Continual non-compliance could result in a complete ban from any EU airport.
In response, China has threatened retaliatory trade measures and the US has drafted a new law making it illegal to comply with the EU law.
But although opposition to the EU’s stiff climate change law continues to escalate, the EU shows no sign of bowing to political pressure. However, it will allow “equivalent measures” to be taken instead of purchasing carbon offsets, such as investing in other forms of carbon reduction.
What are your thoughts on the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme? Do you think that tension levels will continue to escalate, or will both sides eventually reach an agreement?
Image CC licensed by alleswasfliegt