The EU faces the “serious risk of some sort of retaliation” if it persists with its controversial Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
The warning came today (September 20) from Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, secretary general of the Association of European Airlines (AEA).
He told the ISTAT association of aircraft financiers: “If the EU persists in an approach which some have called imperialist, the question is posed as to how they will ensure compliance.
“The EU faces a serious risk of some sort of retaliation," which could dwarf a record trade dispute over aircraft subsidies between Airbus and Boeing, the Reuters news agency reported.
Schulte-Strathaus’ warning comes days after Steve Ridgway, ceo of Virgin Atlantic and the new AEA chairman, also voiced concern over aspects of the scheme.
Ridgway told the European Aviation Club that he was “concerned” that the “success of aviation’s inclusion in the EU ETS risks being undermined.”
There was an anti-EU ETS bill in the US and speculation that China, which strongly opposes the scheme, might somehow retaliate. Ridgway said it was also necessary to understand the Russian view.
The EU's Emissions Trading Scheme, which comes into force for aviation in January 2012, will compel airlines flying to or from Europe to buy permits for 15% of the carbon emissions they produce in the year.
Opponents say ETS will hit Asian airlines in particular because of the long distances to Europe.
The EU says the plan is key to limiting greenhouse gases and climate change.
Schulte-Strathaus said the new rules would cost the industry €3.1bn a year until 2020 of which €1.1bn would go to European governments.
"This is money that won't be available for aircraft or engines. If applied it will good for lawyers but not necessarily the environment," Schulte-Strathaus said.