China aviation industry chief backs legal action on EU CO2 plan

China’s top aviation industry body ramped up pressure on the European Union on Monday, saying it would give full support to legal action against the forced entry of airlines into the EU’s carbon trading scheme.

From Jan 1 next year, the EU will require all airlines flying to Europe to be included in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), a system that compels polluters to buy permits for each tonne of carbon dioxide they emit above a certain cap.

But China has resisted, saying the scheme is unfair for developing countries and costly.

China Air Transport Association (CATA) says the scheme will cost Chinese airlines 800 million yuan ($123 million) in the first year and more than triple that by 2020.

The European Commission, which administers the ETS, says governments can apply for an exemption if they take what are called equivalent measures to curb aviation emissions but hasn’t spelled out what measures would be acceptable.

Such an exemption would reduce the carbon costs for an airline flying to Europe.