March 22 - India has formally joined China in asking its airlines to boycott the European Union's carbon scheme, stoking a diplomatic row over the issue. Ciara Sutton reports.
A treaty confirming the air industry's commitment to battling climate change. But as aviation leaders signed the pact in Geneva, the threat of a global trade war edged closer. India has become the latest country to threaten a boycott of the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme. It will ask local airlines not to buy carbon credits from, or share emissions data with the bloc. China has already suspended the purchase of 14 billion dollars worth of planes from Airbus due to the dispute. Head of Public Affairs at Airbus, Rainer Ohler says the EU measures are inappropriate. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT, PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND COMMUNICATIONS AIRBUS, RAINER OHLER, SAYING: "This industry is already impacted by the retaliation measures. And we believe it is time for the EU to consider this. Is EU ETS worth a trade conflict in one of the most important motor transport industries? I don't believe - this is not the case." The scheme could levy charges for carbon emissions for flights in and out of Europe. China and India say the EU is breaking rules by charging for an entire flight, and not just the part covering Europe. But Europe's high court ruled in December that the law does not breach international agreements. The scheme has been widely criticised by the aviation industry. Paul Steele is Executive Director of the Air Transport Action Group. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AIR TRANSPORT ACTION GROUP, PAUL STEELE, SAYING: "It is no longer a climate change issue. It's no longer a question of economics. This has now become a major political fight and between different blocs, and at the end of the day it is the industry that is somehow caught in the middle. So we want to see a solution to this as quickly as possible." India's announcement will be a blow to Airbus. It has a 73 percent share of the commercial plane market in India. It says a solution now lies with the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization. But EU officials say the organisation has been talking about the issue for more than a decade without reaching an agreement. They say they'll only modify the law if a convincing alternative can be found. Ciara Sutton, Reuters