September 11, 2012
The Airbus ministers of Spain, France, Germany and the U.K. have come up with a joint statement in favor of finding a global emissions trading system that would replace the planned European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). “We are very aware that the clock is ticking,” the U.K.’s newly appointed Business Minister Michael Fallon said at the ILA Berlin Air Show following the Airbus ministers’ conference. “Airbus has left us in no doubt that (ETS) is a clear threat to its order list.”
European government officials and European Union executives have said in the past that they would be willing to have EU ETS be superseded by a global system, so the essence is not new. But the fact that representatives of all Airbus home countries are now pressing for a diplomatic solution that avoids more severe trade sanctions than those that are already visible, may be a new push in the process.
The statement does not necessarily mean that it is the position of the governments – other constituents may weigh into the debate as well.
“We are in a dilemma,” Germany’s State Secretary for Transport and Industry, Peter Hintze said. “ETS is European law, but other countries feel discriminated.”
Hintze made clear that given the complex situation the Airbus ministers have not made a concrete proposal to dissolve ETS in its current form, but that they are looking at ways to implement the transition from a European to a global system.
“We have some pretty good ideas about what we could do, but we have not decided on anything,” Hintze said. “We have to find a way out of this.” He is “cautiously optimistic” that a compromise can be found, but also admits that the conflict is serious.
China has been at the forefront of the global opposition against ETS and orders for around 35 A330s are shelved pending an agreement. Other countries have criticized the EU moves, as well, among them the U.S., Brazil, Russia and India. All of them take issue with the fact that, in their view, EU ETS is applied extraterritorially with even the part of flights outside of the EU airspace taken as a measurement for carbon permits.
Hintze and the other ministers proposed a global system negotiated under the umbrella of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The next ICAO assembly is scheduled for October 2013.