NEW DELHI, India – India has strongly opposed the European Union’s move to slap carbon emission charges on airlines using its airspace, joining a growing global chorus against the move led by China and the United States.
At an interministerial meeting between officials of the external affairs, environment and aviation ministries along with representatives from the domestic airline industry, India said the move will lead to retaliatory action by the rest of the world. “The EU has legislated without consulting the rest of the world and they might have to face retaliatory measures from other countries of the world.
Therefore, they might have to reconsider whether their call is worth taking,” said a senior aviation ministry official, who was part of the high-level meeting. But a final decision on India’s stance will only be taken some time in February, officials said.
The European Union recently announced that all international airlines using its airspace will have to pay for their carbon dioxide emissions. They will have to pay 15% of the pollution rights accorded in 2012, which will rise to 18% between 2013 and 2020.
The EU scheme will kick off on January1, 2012 and has already been strongly opposed by China and the United States. China has said that EU’s move will provoke a global trade war, while US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned of reprisals against the move.
The cost for airlines is likely to rise if the EU directive is implemented. Indian government officials say there is no need to pay for the emissions from January 1, but all airlines will have to make the payment on an annualised basis if they exceed their carbon credit entitlements.
The annual outgo for the Indian airline industry towards the EU emission trading system is pegged at about 400 crore, which could very well rise in the future if the domestic carriers expand more in the region. This directly implies that the cost for airlines for flying to Europe will increase and air tickets will become more expensive.