Russia has added its voice to China’s boycotting or refusing to pay a tax on air travel carbon emissions which the EU insists will come into force next January. The European aeronautic industry is shaken, warning it could start a retaliatory trade war.
On Sunday, the six companies behind Airbus plus equipment makers Safran of France and MTU of Germany wrote a formal letter of concern to the founding governments of Airbus, the French, British, German and Spanish.
The signatories called attention to what they say would be severe economic consequences to their sector. Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said the move threatens 1,000 jobs in the company itself, and another 1,000 in the supply chain.
Last Thursday, the head of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS, Louis Gallois, said Beijing was refusing to approve orders for Chinese carriers of 45 Airbus planes, including
10 double-deck, wide-body A380s – all told worth more than nine billion euros, because of the carbon tax.
The EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme calls for all air transportation companies operating within the EU to buy the equivalent of 15 percent of their C02 emissions, calculated for each whole flight to or from EU airports. The European Commission says that would work out to a 2-12 euro charge per passenger.
China has forbidden its companies to pay the tax, which is aimed at helping to offset global warming, in which C02 plays a role. Air traffic produces an estimated three percent of all man-made emissions which are said to contribute to a greenhouse effect.
On Friday, the European Union’s environment ministers reiterated their full support for the tax, and the EU commissioner in charge of climate matters, Connie Hedegaard, warned that the bloc would take appropriate measures to press its position.