EU budget airlines reject emissions trading rules
Low-cost airlines are rejecting an EU proposal which forces them to buy more carbon credits as they fear it will turn into punitive fees for carriers and passengers.5 June 2008
BRUSSELS - Low-cost airlines on Tuesday called on the European Union to reject a plan that would force air carriers to trade pollution allowances because they say it risks turning potential environmental benefits into punitive fees for air carriers and passengers.
Under the EU proposal, debated by the member states' governments and the European Parliament, airlines would trade pollution permits, forcing them to buy more credits over a certain limit of CO2 emission or reduce the greenhouse gases of each aircraft if they want to fly more.
The EU says this would contribute to its goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by the year 2020, a first step in a strategy to fight global warming and reduce Europe's dependence on oil and gas imports. Greenhouse gas emissions from aviation increased by 87 percent in the EU from 1990-2003.
But low-cost airlines reject the idea of trading emissions permits, a system already in use by energy-intensive industries. Companies that stay below these limits can sell some of their unused quota for carbon pollution, in the form of carbon credits, to companies that have overshot their limits.
"The aviation industry cannot simply add the costs incurred by the emissions trading system to ticket prices," the European Low Fares Airline Association said.
It said high soaring oil prices have already increased the cost of flying and the trading system would simply become another punitive tax as the aviation industry cannot replace oil with more environmentally-friendly fuels.
The U.S. has warned that the EU risks a trade fight if it implements the plan. It has said the EU has no right to force airlines flying into the EU's 27 countries to participate in its programme, and that it is the International Civil Aviation Organisation - a U.N. body - that has jurisdiction over the matter.
[AP / Expatica]