By Wang Wen and Zheng Xin
18 May 2013
(China Daily) – A senior official from the Civil Aviation Administration of China said on Friday that the country disapproved and "will not accept any unilateral and compulsory market measures", after the European Union threatened Chinese carriers with fines for non-compliance with its Emissions Trading System, or ETS.
Speaking at the 2013 China Civil Aviation Development Forum in Beijing, Yan Mingchi, deputy director-general of the policy, law and regulation department under the CAAC, said that "airlines in developing countries should be provided with financial and technological support in their efforts at coping with the effects of climate change".
He added that a balance must be maintained between the development of the international aviation industry and emission reduction targets.
Eight Chinese and two Indian airlines are facing possible fines for not paying for their emissions during flights within the EU, the European Commission announced on Friday.
It said member states could fine the companies under the terms of the ETS, which is designed to cut CO2 emissions.
Greenhouse gas emissions from those countries participating in the ETS dropped by 2 percent in 2012, and aircraft operators responsible for 98 percent of the 2012 aviation emissions covered by the ETS have taken the necessary steps to date to comply with the ETS legislation, the EU said in a statement.
"All cases of non-compliance will be examined … in accordance with established procedures," it added.
The Chinese and Indian airlines identified have not submitted their 2011 carbon emission data to the EU yet, whereas 1,200 other carriers have already handed over their reports, said the statement.
The Chinese carriers could face fines totaling 2.4 million euros ($3.09 million), and the two Indian airlines face fines of 30,000 euros, The New York Times reported.
The EU decided to suspend its ETS in February to wait for a global market-based mechanism to cut emissions, to be discussed at the International Civil Aviation Organization's meeting in September.
However, Yan insisted that technology and operational improvements are the most effective methods of aviation emission reduction, rather than the carbon tax, and that developing countries should be assisted in achieving those.
Statistics from the CAAC show that the Chinese civil aviation industry reduced its carbon emissions by 240,000 metric tons in 2012 compared with 2011.
Yan added that the country has continued to attach huge significance to aviation emissions and has made progress through optimizing its airspace structure and other technological methods. [more]