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Watered-down carbon tax?

October 16, 2013

The European Union executive has said it does not want to completely scrap its regional aviation carbon tax until a global deal comes into effect in seven years. An interim EU proposal foresees fewer costs for airlines.

FILE - In this March 31, 2010 file photo, a GP7000 turbofan engine is seen during a media day tour at Pratt & Whitney company headquarters in East Hartford, Conn. United Technologies Corp. says it may furlough more than 5,000 workers if the U.S. government shutdown continues into November 2013. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, file)
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said Wednesday Brussels was not willing to completely give up its aviation carbon tax for flights starting and ending on the 28-member bloc's territory.

She proposed the EU offer a concession to international airlines by making them liable for their pollution footprint only for emissions generated over EU territory rather than for the harmful gases generated during the whole flight.

Earlier this month, the EU convinced the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that it should seek a global agreement by 2016 on a taxation system for airline emissions to be launched in 2020.

Approval required

But Brussels made it clear on Wednesday it did not intend to remain idle in the meantime. "The aviation sector has to contribute to curbing emissions as the latter are increasing fast, doubling since 1990," Hedegaard said in a statement.

Germany looks to avoid planned CO2 limits

The commissioner conceded that her new proposal foresaw exemptions for flights to and from developing countries emitting less than 1 percent of global aviation emissions.

The new measure has to be approved by the EU's government and parliament. If both play along, it would apply from January 1, 2014.

"With our proposal, Europe is taking the responsibility to reduce emissions within its own airspace until the global measure begins," Hedegaard concluded.

hg/ipj (dpa, AFP)