Russia’s action against Finland’s national carrier, Finnair, significantly raises the stakes in the standoff between the European Union (EU) and opponents of its emissions trading scheme (ETS). The European Commission (EC) protested the move, saying that Russia is now in breach of its obligations as a new member of the World Trade Organization.
But others are joining the fray and this is probably focusing the attention of the main protagonists on finding a new solution through ICAO. Also in June, the China Air Transport Association said that the Chinese government will start impounding EU airliners if European officials start punishing Chinese airlines for their officially sanctioned defiance of the requirement to comply with ETS monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon-dioxide emissions.
At least 10 non-EU airlines–understood to be from China and India–refused to meet an EU compliance deadline of March 31, 2012. EU climate commissioner Connie Hedgaard has given non-compliant airlines until June 15 to submit CO2 data and has threatened them with unspecified enforcement action if this doesn’t happen. India also has declared that it will start withdrawing overflight rights from EU carriers if these threats materialize. As of press time, there was no word from the EC as to whether it has taken any sort of action against the non-complying operators.