Chinese Airlines See Government Support on EU-Emissions Snub

Chinese airlines will snub a mid- June deadline for submitting carbon-emissions data to the European Union and anticipate that any fines or bans would be met with retaliatory measures.

The China Air Transport Association “expects that the Chinese government will impose similar penalties on European airlines swiftly after any EU action,” Secretary General Wei Zhenzhong said yesterday in an interview in Beijing. The group, whose members include China’s big three state-controlled carriers, hopes a trade dispute can be avoided, he said.

The European Commission has already given Chinese and Indian airlines an extra two and half months to submit 2011 emissions data as it tries to avoid a trade spat with the world’s two most-populous countries. The Asian nations have led multinational opposition to the addition of intercontinental flights to a European-run emissions-trading system because of concerns about cost and sovereignty.

Chinese airlines want the EU to delay the start of the emissions levies and instead wait for a global system to be devised through a United Nations aviation body, Wei said before the International Air Transport Association annual meeting in China’s capital. Other countries opposed to the EU plan have also backed letting the International Civil Aviation Organization regulate emissions worldwide.

EU Stance
The EU has repeatedly said it will not give up the curbs on emissions from the aviation sector, which became part of the bloc’s legislation in 2008. Airline carbon-dioxide discharges in Europe doubled over two decades and international organizations failed to enact pollution curbs.

“All this retaliation talk isn’t in anyone’s interest,” said Isaac Valero-Ladron, climate spokesman for the European Commission, the EU regulatory arm. “It would be much wiser to spend all this energy to get a global deal in ICAO.”

The Commission said last month there had been “systematic non-reporting” of emissions data to and from Europe by 10 airlines based in India and China. Other carriers serving the region met a March 31 deadline, it said. The airlines weren’t obliged to hand in permits for 2011 emissions.

China is also looking at setting up its own emissions system, Wei said. The EU law allows an exemption for overseas airlines from the cap-and-trade system on incoming flights if the home government introduces similar measures.

When asked about the possible effect on Toulouse, France- based aircraft manufacturer Airbus SAS from the emissions row, Wei said any reductions or delays in plane orders would reflect “commercial decisions” and the wider travel market.
source:Bloomberg (June 10, 2012)