Airlines must pay for carbon emissions on European flights, high court rules
By ECOTRADE on 12/26/2011 02:17:09
Europe's highest court ruled Wednesday that the European Union has the legal right to force foreign airlines to pay for their greenhouse gas emissions, a decision that could boost ticket prices but also encourage airlines to curb their carbon output.
Starting in January, any airline that lands or takes off in Europe will have to offset the greenhouse gases it emits during the flights by buying carbon allowances as part of the E.U. Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The European Commission estimates that the carbon permits could add a cost of $2.66 to $15.96 per ticket over the coming decade.
The industry trade group Airlines for America (A4A), American Airlines and United Continental filed suit against the rules in the European Court of Justice, saying E.U. officials had overstepped their authority in imposing their climate policy on foreign airlines. In a statement Wednesday, the European Court of Justice said that was not the case because it applies only to aircraft either landing or taking off in Europe.
Airlines for America issued a statement saying its members would "comply under protest" but continue to seek a reversal of the E.U. policy. The case now returns to the U.K. High Court — where airlines had originally brought suit by challenging British regulations implementing the law — which is obligated to carry out Wednesday's ruling.
"Today's court decision further isolates the E.U. from the rest of the world and will keep in place a unilateral scheme that is counterproductive to concerted global action on aviation and climate change," the statement read. "Today's decision does not mark the end of this case and A4A is reviewing options to pursue in the English High Court. "
source : The Washington Post