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US rallies opponents of EU carbon tax on airlines

The US is hosting a two-day meeting of countries opposed to the EU’s controversial carbon tax on airlines.

Delegates meeting at the US Department of Transportation will explore an alternative global solution that would include the EU.

China, India, Russia and the US are among the countries opposed to the EU scheme, which took effect on 1 January.

The US says the EU’s unilateral action could lead to a patchwork system if other countries impose their own tax.

International airlines will begin receiving bills in April 2013, after this year’s carbon emissions have been assessed.

The BBC’s Kim Ghattas, in Washington, says the looming deadline to pay up and the prospect of a trade war next year may motivate the delegates in Washington to find a way out of the impasse, though no breakthrough is expected this week.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has denounced the EU tax as “a lousy policy, a lousy law”, saying the EU “should have done it in a more collaborative way”.

The EU has refused to back down and has expressed frustration that opposing countries have not come up with a serious, alternative proposal.

The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) creates permits for carbon emissions. Airlines that exceed their allowances will have to buy extra permits, as an incentive to airlines to pollute less.

The number of permits is reduced over time, so that the total CO2 output from airlines in European airspace falls.

The European Commission says Europe would be willing to join a global scheme run by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) if it matches the targets set by the EU scheme.

Source: BBC News

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