Insight: U.S., China turned EU powers against airline pollution law
(Reuters) - The European Union's landmark effort to charge foreign airlines for carbon emitted on flights in and out of Europe was already failing by the time French President Francois Hollande shared his deep concerns with the European Commission chief in October.
The U.S. aviation industry had mustered fierce political opposition, China was threatening to withhold aircraft orders from Airbus and the most influential European nations feared retaliation against their national carriers. Chinese and Indian airlines refused to submit emissions data; U.S. lawmakers were readying a law that could make it illegal to pay the tariff.
Ultimately it came down to an economy-versus-environment debate, with issues of national sovereignty and freedom of the skies also playing a decisive role in grounding the effort for now, to the relief of global carriers and airplane makers whose businesses stood to lose out.
Direct pressure from the EU's three most powerful members, and France in particular, forced an abrupt one-year postponement of one of the most contentious efforts to curb global greenhouse gas emissions since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, according to European sources familiar with the negotiations.