China continues opposition to EU emissions scheme

Updated: 2012-05-24 03:41

By Xin Dingding (China Daily)

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China's civil aviation authority on Wednesday reiterated its opposition to the European Union's imposition of an emissions trading scheme on global aviation, despite a threat from the EU last week to punish Chinese airlines for not cooperating.

As talks have so far proven futile, the parties involved expect that a framework of market-based measures, which will be submitted next year to the International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly for review, might put an end to disputes over the issue.

Li Jiaxiang, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said on Wednesday that Chinese airlines have not provided emission data to the EU and will not do so even though the EU warned about punitive measures.

"The air transport industry is a global industry ... Any regional policy should not stand in the way of global economic development," he told reporters on the sidelines of the 2012 China Civil Aviation Development Forum that started on Wednesday.

"But some of the rules will clearly not play an active role in promoting the industry's development," he said.

China will talk with the EU about this issue, and "I believe negotiations will help solve the problem," he said.

All flights departing or landing at EU airports have to participate in the emissions trading scheme starting Jan 1, 2012.

Airlines that exceed their carbon dioxide limit will have to buy unused quotas from more energy-efficient businesses or face a fine.

However, emissions will be calculated from a flight's point of departure, and includes emissions outside EU airspace.

China is not the only country opposing the scheme.

Susan L. Kurland, assistant secretary for aviation and international affairs of the US Department of Transportation, said at the forum that the move to include non-EU airlines in the emissions trading scheme is the wrong way to achieve the right objective.

She said the US will continue to urge the EU to halt the application of the scheme to non-EU airlines.

Matthew Baldwin, director for air transport of the European Commission, said at the forum that the EU wants to tackle the aviation emission issue through a global solution.

He said the EU does not want to see antagonism or a trade war.

In the event of a global solution at the International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly next year, the EU is fully ready to review and amend the scheme, he said in a group interview at the forum.

The assembly in 2010 decided that a market-based framework would be submitted to the next assembly in 2013 for review.

Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez, president of the International Civil Aviation Organization Council, said on the sidelines of the forum that in June the council would consider market-based measures and recommend one or two to the assembly.

But the market-based measures are not a mandatory solution to address the aviation emission issue, insiders said.

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