x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Threats and lawsuits over EU carbon plan

Buildings Brics: Chinese airlines have been critical of EU plans to include aviation in the 27-member bloc's emissions trading scheme (ETS).

China says orders with Airbus may be reduced in retaliation.

Chinese airlines have been critical of EU plans to include aviation in the 27-member bloc's emissions trading scheme and are set to follow their US counterparts by launching legal action against the measures.

The EU scheme, due to become law at the start of next year, will require airlines flying into and out of the EU to buy carbon credits for emissions in excess of quotas.

China has asked to be exempt and has said it may reduce the number of planes it buys from the European plane manufacturer Airbus in response to the measures.

The secretary of the China Air Transport Association (Cata) last week criticised the "unilateral" scheme.

Separately, a report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the China Meteorological Association said the measures would not curb emissions.

Chinese airlines have warned that their inclusion in the scheme would stifle growth in the sluggish euro zone and result in fewer Chinese tourists visiting the EU.

The world's most populous nation was among the more than 20 countries that recently helped to secure a non-binding resolution by the UN International Civil Aviation Organization opposing the EU's inclusion of foreign airlines in the plan.

Also, Cata hopes by the end of this year to launch a legal challenge in Germany to the measures.

This follows legal action brought by the Air Transport Association of America and the US carriers American Airlines and United Airlines. The European Court of Justice is due to give its ruling early next year, although an adviser to the court has suggested the challenge be thrown out.

Airlines will initially be offered discounts on the amount they have to pay for the carbon credits, and some research has said that even when the discounts expire, the cost to airlines will be only about 0.5 per cent of revenue on affected routes.