EU's Highest Court Gives Green Light To Charging International Airlines For Carbon Emissions

Opposition from the US, China and other nations, equal parts legalistic and blatantly self-serving, has dogged the EU's plans for charging airlines landing in Europe for their carbon emissions. But that hasn't stopped the plan going forward, with airlines having to buy emissions credits for their flights starting January 1, 2012.

Bolstering the plan is a new ruling from the EU's highest court:

"The directive including aviation activities in the EU's emissions trading scheme is valid... Application of the emissions trading scheme to aviation infringes neither the principles of customary international law at issue nor the open-skies agreement." (The Guardian)

The International Air Transport Association says the plan will cost $3 billion on an industry-wide basis, with the EU saying that on a per-passenger basis it will add a few euro more to each ticket. In other words, not all that much for customers.

All told, as I've said before commenting on the scheme, if airlines and passengers alike can't afford to pay the true cost for flights, that is, pay for the emissions created by flying, then none of us can actually afford to fly.

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