Thu, May 24, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Europe, China could reach agreement on emissions charges

AP, Beijing

A European envoy held out a possible compromise in a fight with China over carbon emissions charges on airlines, saying yesterday that Europe might alter its system if Beijing helps negotiate global regulations.

China, India, the US and Russia oppose the EU charges that took effect on Jan. 1. Beijing has barred its carriers from cooperating and has suspended purchases of European aircraft.

Talks on a global system have begun in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN body, said Matthew Baldwin, director of aviation for the 27-nation EU. He said Europe might alter its Emissions Trading System (ETS) if an agreement is reached.

“We would very much like to see a stronger role played by China in those talks,” Baldwin told reporters at a European-Chinese aviation conference. “In the event of a global solution in ICAO, the EU is fully ready to review and amend the ETS directive to take account of that global solution.”

Baldwin said he would press that appeal during talks with Chinese economic planners and airline regulators this week.

Baldwin said the ICAO talks are looking at four possible “market mechanisms” to regulate carbon emissions, but gave no details.

Under the European system, airlines flying to or from Europe must obtain certificates for carbon dioxide emissions. They will get free credits to cover most flights this year, but must buy or trade for credits to cover the rest.

It is unclear how far Europe might be willing to go to compromise with Beijing.

Public attitudes in Europe have hardened because China’s emissions have risen steadily, despite a credit system that channeled billions of US dollars from European utility customers and others to Chinese companies to pay for cleaner technology.

India also has barred its carriers from paying the European charges, which the EU will start to collect next year.

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