EU Climate Chief Defends Law On Airline Pollution

November 2, 2011

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The European Union's climate chief said she hopes to avoid a confrontation over EU legislation that will charge airlines for pollution, despite a protest by global airlines.

Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard defended the EU legislation shortly before airlines in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged the EU on Wednesday not to go ahead with its plans to charge for carbon emissions on landing and take-off from Europe from January 1.

"I think in the way the European Union constructed its law there is plenty of room for flexibility and manoeuvre," Hedegaard told reporters in an interview in Moscow, leaving open the possibility of exemptions for companies that make up for the harmful emissions in other ways.

Hedegaard did not give any details but said she did not believe the dispute would lead to US air companies cancelling flights to Europe.

"I cannot imagine that. I think no one can. It is definitely not the intention of the European union to make this a very, very big battle," she said.