Nations agree options to fight EU airline CO2 rule

  • World
  • Wednesday, 22 Feb 2012

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Countries opposed to an EU law forcing the world's airlines to pay for carbon emissions have agreed on a basket of retaliatory measures but will leave it up to each country to choose among them, Russia's deputy transport minister said on Wednesday.

Each country has the options of barring its airlines from participating in the European Union's carbon scheme, lodging a formal complaint with the U.N.'s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), ceasing talks with European carriers on new routes and imposing retaliatory levies on EU airlines.

"Every state will chose the most effective and reliable measures that will help to cancel or postpone the implementation of the EU ETS (Emissions Trading System)," Valery Okulov, whose ministry hosted the meeting of 26 nations, told a news conference.

Since the start of this year, all airlines using EU airports are required to buy permits under the ETS, which has prompted international outrage and threats of a trade war. Russia hosted a two-day meeting of countries opposed to the EU scheme, which ended on Wednesday.

Some countries including Russia had suggested the conflict could be deferred to the ICAO for a global compromise solution agreed with the European Union.

But the Russians appeared to have hardened their stance in comments this week.

"We have demonstrated our determination to ask for a cancellation or postponement of the EU ETS" in regard to airlines, Okulov said.

On Tuesday Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin told national transportation officials and representatives from ICAO and from the International Air Traffic Association assembled in Moscow that Russia would consider a ban on ETS participation.

China's central government State Council, or cabinet, earlier this month said all airlines were barred from taking part - unless they received government approval to do so.

Okulov said Saudi Arabia would organise the next meeting of the so-called "coalition of the unwilling" in the summer.

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