BRUSSELS – A total of 10 Chinese and Indian commercial airlines have broken EU law requiring them to offset their carbon emissions, while all other international carriers flying to or from Europe have complied, the European Union’s climate chief said on Tuesday.
The EU law demanding all airlines participate in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has prompted outcry and threats of a trade war.
But only eight Chinese and two Indian airlines have delivered on threats not to comply, while more than 1,200 airlines have met the EU’s requirements.
"We have given them (India and China) until mid-June to report back their data," EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard told a news briefing.
The Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has the option of fining airlines that break its law, or even banning repeat offenders from flying to Europe, although this would be a last resort.
To reduce tension, the Commission has looked to the UN’s International Civil Aviation Administration (ICAO) to come up with a global approach to curbing emissions from airlines.
The body is expected to meet next month to review progress.
"We are using a lot of time and energy in trying to ensure a global solution through ICAO," Hedegaard said. "Nobody would be happier than the EU if it could achieve (that)."
The Commission has said it only decided on its plan after more than a decade of talks at the ICAO failed to agree on a global scheme to combat rising carbon emissions. It has also said it would modify its law if ICAO can deliver a deal.
Penalties for breaking the EU law start at 100 euros ($130) per ton of carbon airlines fail to pay for, while the cost of compliance is estimated at about 2 euros per passenger for a flight from Shanghai to Frankfurt.
Opponents of the law accuse the European Union of imposing an extra-territorial tax and say it sets a dangerous precedent. — Reuters