China protests ETS
China stepped up its vocal protest against the inclusion of aviation in the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and has formally banned its airlines from participating in the scheme without government approval
"Following the authorisation of China's State Council, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has recently issued a directive to Chinese airlines that without the approval of relevant government departments, all airlines in China are prohibited from participating in the EU ETS. All air transport companies are also barred from raising fare or increasing surcharge based on EU ETS," CAAC announced last week.
CAAC noted that China has repeatedly rejected the tax, saying it is in violation of the UN's climate change framework and the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) principles and provisions.
It added, "China hopes that the EU could respond to China's concerns in a pragmatic and constructive manner, and strengthen communications and coordination to find the proper solution acceptable to both sides in order to respond positively to global climate change, sustainable development of international aviation and China-EU relations." But the statement also stressed that "pending developments, China will also consider adopting necessary measures to protect the interests of Chinese individuals and companies.
Both IATA and AEA told Air Transport World ATW newsletter that China's formal declaration confirms their former warnings that the issue is becoming more of a political debate than an environmental solution, with airlines caught in the middle.
"I've already mentioned that airlines from Europe may face some form of retaliatory action. And that some airlines from outside Europe may have to choose whether to obey the law of their own land or that of Europe," IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler told the European Aviation Club in Brussels on Tuesday. He described the escalating protests and trade conflict over the inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS as "an intolerable situation for airlines concerned" and reiterated the body's call to move towards a global scheme through ICAO.
"I am sensing a growing recognition in Brussels that a global scheme developed through ICAO would provide a superior solution both for managing aviation's emissions and for resolving the political problems caused by extending the scheme beyond Europe's borders. This is encouraging and we will do all that we can to promote a pragmatic solution," Tyler said.
Meanwhile, a follow-up on the so-called New Delhi ETS Declaration, signed Sept. 30 by 21 countries and opposing EU ETS, is being formed among a group of 26 countries, wrote ATW.