Aviation: EU refuses to reconsider its carbon tax

The European Union warned Monday that it would not reconsider its legislation requiring all airlines operating in its territory to pay a “tax” on their emissions, despite the refusal of China and other countries.

“We will not yield on our legislation,” said the spokesman of the European Commission for the climate, Isaac Valero-Ladron, in response to the ban by the Chinese government to its airlines to pay the tax.

“The Commission remains confident in the fact that Chinese companies will respect our laws if they want to operate in Europe,” he added. Because the penalties provided by the European Union, “it would be more costly for them to against this legislation,” warned the spokesperson.

At the same time, he assured that the Europeans were willing to “talk” to unhappy countries or companies to “consider their concerns.”

And the spokesman reiterated that the EU was ready to exempt companies from countries that would establish a system of pollution rights to the airline industry equivalent to the European system.

Similarly, he also stressed that the EU was willing to “amend” its law if a global agreement on reducing CO2 emissions was signed by the sector.

By this law came into force on 1 January, the Europeans want to force all airlines, irrespective of their nationality, to buy the equivalent of 15% of their CO2 emissions, or 32 million tonnes, to fight against global climate.

In China, the European law will cost 800 million yuan in 2012 to its airlines, and this cost will be multiplied by four in 2020.

The arrangement integrates European airlines in the system of emissions trading scheme (ETS) established in 2005 in the EU to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. At eight euros per ton of CO2 currently, the measure would bring 256 million euros in 2012, according to the European Commission.

If companies do not comply with the European law, they must pay fines of 100 euros per tonne of CO2 and can be banned from flying in the European Union.

Since 1 January, all airlines operating in Europe, including foreign companies, must begin to buy “the rights to pollute”. But the actual payment of these fees will intervene only in April 2013.

The spokesman of the Commission is assured that currently Chinese airlines were playing the game. “The fact is that all companies have so far respected the law and have applied for free permits to cover their obligations,” he said.