On Thursday, an industry group representing the majority of major airlines slammed the European Union's Parliament for attempting to expand the union's emissions trading scheme to include all flights departing the bloc.
Existing rules for airlines to acquire credits for the greenhouse gas emissions that their flights cause should be extended to all airlines that leave the EU, Norway, and Iceland, EU legislators voted Wednesday. Only flights inside that area are subject to the current guidelines.
The International Air Transport Association cautioned on Thursday that such a move might jeopardise the CORSIA deal, which allows airlines to buy credits to offset their emissions. Critics, on the other hand, claim that the system is ineffective.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which claims to represent 290 airlines that account for over 83% of global air traffic, expanding the EU's emissions trading system as planned would cause serious competition distortions and weaken the global competitive position of EU airlines and hubs.
This decision by the European Parliament is disturbing because it endangers international cooperation to tackle aviations climate change impacts," IATAs director general, Willie Walsh, said in a statement.
He encouraged EU countries to reject the initiative and instead commit to forging a worldwide aviation emissions deal.
Environmentalists applauded the EU Parliament's decision, which was part of a package of climate-related measures approved by legislators, which included plans to phase out the sale of new automobiles with combustion engines by 2035.
The EU vote, according to Jo Dardenne, aviation director of the Brussels-based group Transport and Environment, was a significant step forward in addressing highly polluting long-haul aircraft.