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Germany Threatens to Penalize Countries Whose Airlines Don’t Comply with EU Emissions Rules

Mar 04, 2014 5:30 pm

Skift Take

The EU and foreign airlines are coming to a head and one of the players, likely airlines, will end up bending to the others’ will.

— Samantha Shankman

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Germany has urged nine airlines in China, Russia, the U.S., Egypt, Switzerland and Moldova to comply with European Union emissions-trading rules or face the threat of sanctions, two German government officials said.

If imposed, the penalties would be the first since the EU included aviation in its carbon market, the world’s largest, in 2012, drawing protests from the U.S. and emerging countries. The system allows sanctions at the EU level and by governments.

German regulators took action after nine airlines missed an April 30, 2013 deadline to submit carbon permits to cover emissions from intra-European flights in 2012, said the officials, who asked not to be identified, citing policy.

If the companies fail to comply, Germany will send out sanctions notices before an April 30 deadline set in national rules, the officials said.

Emitters that fail to surrender the required number of permits face fines of 100 euros ($137) a metric ton of carbon under EU law. Member countries can impose further penalties.

EU and German officials declined to name the airlines. A German Environment Ministry spokesman declined to comment.

The Transport & Environment lobby group said last month it asked authorities in the U.K., the Netherlands and Germany to take steps to ensure airlines including Air China Ltd. and Air India Ltd. comply with the EU carbon rules.

The inclusion of aviation in the EU cap-and-trade program sparked opposition from countries including the U.S., India, China, Russia and Brazil, which said any curbs on discharges from airlines should be regulated by an international agreement.

The EU subsequently agreed to freeze emissions-trading obligations for flights into and out of Europe and keep them only on flights within the region in 2012. The program originally covered the entire length of flights originating or ending at EU airports.

To contact the reporters on this story: Birgit Jennen in Berlin at bjennen1@bloomberg.net; Ewa Krukowska in Brussels at ekrukowska@bloomberg.net. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at lpaulsson@bloomberg.net.

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