This news is simple at its core: the Eropean Union wants to impose pollution charges on airlines and China’s government opposes, as of today. What’s more complex is that this could degenerate into a row between EU, China and other countries not agreeing to the law and leading to fines applied to the “unlawful” airlines or even prohibiting them to land on EU airports.
Actually, U.S. airlines have also railed against the E.U. law, because the passengers would have to pay extra if they travel to Europe. In 2011, the European Court of Justice has ruled against a group of several U.S. companies challenging the European legislation regarding a carbon cap on the airlines flying in and out of its airports.
Any airlines that do not comply face fines of 100 euros for each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted for which they have not surrendered allowances. In the case of persistent offenders, the EU has the right to ban airlines from its airports.
The China Air Transport Association (CATA) has also opposed the pollution tax in December, before seemingly escalating the matter to the government.
However, EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said she is open to discussions for alternatives to the tax, including a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from the respective airlines. This shows that the law, unlike some have said, is not only intended to bring money to crisis-stricken European countries, but will actually invest in carbon reducing technologies.
Chinese authorities have also said they’re willing to “find an appropriate solution acceptable to both sides,” (Xinhua) and will most likely discuss this matter at the summit between Chinese and EU leaders set to take place next week.