EU Looking At China's Airline Carbon Plan

April 19, 2012

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EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said on Thursday that officials were looking at a Chinese plan for its aviation carbon emissions, but did not yet have enough information to see if it could count as an "equivalent measure" under EU carbon law.

China confirmed earlier this week that it would use revenue from a passenger tax on international flights to cut carbon emissions in the aviation sector, adding that the tax itself would not increase, according to Chinese media.

"We asked our delegation in Beijing to look into what this might mean," Hedegaard told reporters at a meeting in Denmark.

Asked whether this was something that could be seen as an equivalent measure to the EU's efforts to reduce carbon output, she said: "We don't have enough information yet."

EU legislation aimed at making airlines pay for carbon pollution allows Europe to exempt carriers from countries that are taking "equivalent" steps to curb greenhouse gases from aviation.

China's Ministry of Finance told state-owned news agency Xinhua that a tax on passengers on international flights operated by China-registered airlines will be used on a number of new initiatives, including cutting emissions, Point Carbon reported earlier this week.

The funds will now be redirected to the newly established Civil Aviation Development Foundation, which will focus on emission cuts, security enhancement and research and development.