Non-European flights get a green tax break

Marion Dakers
THE EUROPEAN Union has suspended its controversial carbon emissions tax for non-EU flights, after fierce protests from authorities around the world.

Airlines operating routes within the EU will still have to pay, but the bloc has issued a year-long exemption for flights linking EU airports to the rest of the world.

The Emissions Trading Scheme was introduced on 1 January to intense opposition. Beijing instructed its airlines to refuse to pay the tax on carbon emissions, while India and the United States have also hit back, calling instead for talks about a global levy.

The European commissioner for climate action Connie Hedegaard said yesterday the bloc was “stopping the clock” on the charge in light of “very good news” last week, when the International Civil Aviation Organisation agreed to progress with talks.

The EU has always said it will alter its rules if the ICAO can agree on a similar green tax. Hedegaard said yesterday’s freeze will help “create a positive atmosphere” around the global negotiations leading up to an ICAO meeting next autumn.

But some European airlines, such as Ryanair, used the moratorium as a chance to lobby the EU to instead exclude all air travel from the “anti-competitive” green tax.