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Opposition to EU's carbon law reiterated

By Wang Wen and Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)

13:51, June 12, 2012

Chinese airlines have underlined their opposition of the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme, at the 68th IATA Annual General Meeting, currently being held in Beijing.

Wang Changshun, chairman of Air China Ltd, said on Monday that Air China will continue to follow the government's policy of fighting the emissions-trading scheme.

"Air China will not participate in the EU's emission scheme," Wang said.

According to industry estimates, following the ETS standards will cost China's aviation industry 790 million yuan ($124 million) this year and an estimated 3.7 billion yuan in 2020, said Wang.

"The scheme will result in growing costs for air carriers and these costs will be transferred to passengers," he said.

He said the government and airlines always pay attention to cutting carbon emissions, and there are several ways other than levying a tax.

Liu Shaoyong, president and chairman of China Eastern Airlines, insisted his carrier also remained in line with the government's stance.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China independently issued an order in February forbidding Chinese airlines from abiding by the ETS.

Eight Chinese airlines, along with two of their Indian counterparts, are still to submit any carbon emission data from last year to the EU, whereas 1,200 carriers across the world are reported to have already handed over details, EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard said on May 16.

The EU has said it will impose penalties on airlines if they do not report the data by mid-June and they could face fines or even be banned from flying to Europe, according to industry insiders.

However, the Chinese airlines have received support from within the international industry.

"I think it's a good thing that China's response to the ETS has been strong, mandating its carriers not to be a part (of the scheme)," said Tony Tyler, CEO of the International Air Transport Association.

IATA has also reiterated its call for a comprehensive global solution on aviation emissions to be negotiated through the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The international air transport industry is committed to three goals to manage its estimated 2 percent share of global man-made carbon emissions.

To meet the targets, they will need a globally agreed approach covering technology, operations and infrastructure, as well as other "positive market-based measures", said Tyler.

However, he added that the EU's unilateral and extra-territorial inclusion of international aviation in its emission-trading scheme is creating discord when it needs harmony.

The ICAO is currently working on options for a single global market-based measure for international aviation.

Liu from China Eastern said a global agreement could be reached on the issue next year through the ICAO.

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