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UPDATED: March 7, 2014 NO. 4 JANUARY 26, 2012
Unfriendly Skies
Airlines around the world are angry over new EU emissions tax on flights to Europe
By Yu Lintao

"The unilateral extension of the ETS to non-EU airlines violates the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, which stipulate that developed and developing countries have common but differentiated responsibilities in coping with climate change," said Shen of the CASS.

Although according to the carbon tax scheme, the EU will grant airlines a certain quota for free carbon emissions based on the records of their flights to and from Europe, it is utterly inadequate.

"Based on existing records, the total free emission quota for four Chinese airlines that have routes to Europe will be no more than that for a single established European airline," said Lu Lingfei, Deputy General Manager of Air China's Strategy and Development Department.

Chinese airlines eyeing expanding their operations to Europe may suffer more than their counterparts in developed countries.

Some Chinese critics also believe, in the long run, the EU tax scheme is a wake-up call for China. China's aviation industry should develop in a more sustainable manner by improving fuel efficiency and better arranging airline routes.

The EU carbon tax plan is consistent with China's long-term goals of saving energy and reducing emissions. But industrial upgrading should be conducted gradually; or it might cause a shock to the international aviation industry and damage the interests of passengers, said Zhou of the CAS.

"China should pay more attention to energy conservation when developing its own large passenger aircraft. It should step up research on alternative fuel to reduce carbon emissions," said Shen. "It should also set its own standards on carbon emissions trading."

Email us at: yulintao@bjreview.com

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