World unites in protest at European Union’s carbon law
The United States, China, India and 23 other countries have lodged a formal protest against an EU law that is scheduled to force all airlines flying to and from Europe to pay fines for their carbon emissions from next year. Brussels wants to make all flights buy carbon permits under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS). The protest, made at a meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation in Montreal, brands the EU plan illegal. The US Congress has already passed an anti-EU bill, which could ultimately result in a trade war. Lawyers say that the ICAO challenge is unlikely to make the EU change course.
The EU argues that airlines and non-EU countries have radically changed their initial position. The International Air Transport Association, which now stands resolutely against the plan, said in 2007 that the “financial impact of extending the EU ETS to airlines” would be minimal. But IATA counters that its 2007 paper was analysing a different scheme design. The EU also says that some countries would be able to seek exemptions to payments under the law.