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EU airline carbon tax backed by European Court

Published by Punch on Thu, 22 Dec 2011


European unions plans to levy an emissions tax on airlines are valid, according to the European Court of Justice, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported on Wednesday.The decision means all airlines flying to and from the 27 states of the European Union will face a tax on emissions from January 1.US, Canadian and other carriers argue the charges violate climate change and aviation pacts.Four Chinese airlines have also opposed the scheme which they say could cost them 95m ($124m, 79m).American carriers argue that the taxes contravene the Open Skies Agreement, which allows airlines to fly between any EU country and any point in the US.Airlines will now be subject to the Emissions Trading System used to charge industries such as oil refineries, power stations and steel works for CO2 emissions, as part of Europes efforts to combat climate change.Application of the emissions trading scheme to aviation infringes neither the principles of customary international law at issue nor the Open Skies Agreement across the Atlantic, the court decided.It is only if the operators of such aircraft choose to operate a commercial air route arriving at or departing from an airport situated in the EU that they are subject to the emissions trading scheme, it added.As a result of this choice, the EU system infringes neither the principle of territoriality nor the sovereignty of third states, since the scheme is applicable to the operators only when their aircraft are physically in the territory of one of the member states of the EU.The EU has made it clear that it will not bow to US pressure following Wednesdays decision.We will neither abandon nor delay [the Emissions Trading System]. The measure will fully enter force on January 1, 2012, said the spokesman for EU climate change commissioner, Connie Hedegaard.
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