The International Air Transport Association has stepped up its war of words with the European Union by describing plans to charge the industry for emissions as “illegal”.
The global aviation body said the new regulations merely echoed environmental failures of the past.
IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani, said: “Uncoordinated and punitive regional measures distort markets and undermine global efforts to reduce emissions. The EU ETS is a $1.5 billion cash grab that will do nothing to reduce emissions. BASTA! (Enough!) to Europe’s short-sighted actions. It’s time to be serious about climate change and honest in developing global solutions.”
The attack came as the European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard refused to renege over EU plans to force airlines to buy permits for carbon emissions above a certain level. The new legislation comes into effect on 1 January 2012
“She would do well to listen to the growing chorus of countries strongly opposed to an illegal extraterritorial scheme,” Bisignani is quoted by Reuters.
“The last thing that we want to see is a trade war. Chinese delegates were in Brussels recently; many other countries have formally expressed concerns,” he said.
It is understood that China has threatened retaliation against European airlines and aircraft manufacturer Airbus if the EU goes ahead with its plans.
“We have to absolutely avoid retaliation because the risk of retaliation for a Europe that is in survival mode would be the kiss of the death,” Bisignani said.
“I hope that, once Europe starts receiving this kind of strong message, they would understand that you cannot go on with an illegal scheme. This is illegal,” he added.