China has announced a prohibition on its airlines participating in the EU's emissions trading scheme, escalating a dispute between the EU and a number of third countries (1). The Greens have hit out at China's announcement and called on the EU not to back down. Commenting on the developments, Green transport spokesperson Michael Cramer (Germany) said:
"The EU must hold course with the inclusion of airlines in the emissions trading scheme and not yield to Chinese bullyboy tactics.
"There is a wealth of legal advice confirming that the inclusion of airlines in the EU's emissions trading scheme is legally watertight. The claim by China and others that it is trade distorting is completely flawed, given the scheme will apply to all airlines equally. The EU must now proactively push its case."
Green environment spokesperson Satu Hassi (Finland) added:
"Greenhouse gas emissions from airlines are growing faster than most other sectors but international efforts to tackle this international problem are in complete stalemate. Against this background, the EU has no option but to push forward with its own measures to tackle the climate damage of aviation. Failure to do so would also undermine efforts by other EU sectors to reduce their emissions.
"The EU Commission and Council must do more to promote the justifiable grounds for these measures to third countries. The Council could also pledge to commit all future revenues from the emissions trading scheme to the global green climate fund - set up under the auspices of the UN climate convention (UNFCCC). This would underline that the purpose of this scheme is to ensure more comprehensive global action to tackle climate change."
(1) The inclusion of airlines in the EU's emissions trading scheme entered into force in January this year. A number of third countries (including China, Russia, India and the US) have sought to challenge the application of the scheme to non-EU airlines. In this context, China has announced that its airlines were prohibited from purchasing EU emissions permits, which they are required to do under EU legislation.