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EU delays airline cap-and-trade law

Posting in Transportation

Airlines won't have to pay for carbon emissions generated from flights to and from airports in the European Union. At least for another year.

EU regulators said they will put the controversial law on hold, following protests and intense pressure from other countries, notably the U.S., China and India.

EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said in a new conference today they would "stop the clock" on the system for one year, NYT reported. The recommendation followed Friday's International Civil Aviation Organization meeting, in which member states decided to set up a policy group to come up with an alternative global plan to regulate airlines emissions.

If these international talks don't work, the EU will go back to its original plan.

Earlier this year, the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme extended its mandatory cap-and-trade rules to all airlines, a move the United States, China and India argued was cost prohibitive and violated their sovereignty.

Under the rule, airlines traveling to and from Europe would have to buy permits for the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during the flight. Airline would be forced to pay a fine of about $125 for every excess ton of carbon emissions they failed to offset by buying permits. The payment deadline, which has now been postponed, was scheduled for April 30, 2013.

The law has been rolled out slowly. But it's done little to ease tensions. China has been particularly combative. China Air Transport Association, whose members include the three major state-owned carriers refused to meet the EU's March 31 deadline for submitting carbon emissions data. This summer, China threatened to impound European aircraft if Chinese airlines were penalized for not complying with the EU's cap-and-trade law.

— By on November 12, 2012, 2:58 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure