India has joined the U.S. and 15 other major countries in opposing European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) which requires carriers flying to or from Europe to offset their carbon emissions.
The two-day meeting hosted by the United States to chalk out a common strategy against the E.U.’s emission trading scheme concluded on Wednesday.
“They (India) have been clear both in that meeting and any number of times thereafter that they are strongly opposed to the application of the ETS and have had quite strong and vigorous words concerning the application of the ETS to foreign carriers,” a senior administration official said on condition of anonymity.
Since the meeting was held under what is called “Chatham House Rules” — which is to say people are encouraged to speak freely and candidly because what they say isn’t going to be reported afterwards — the senior administration official was not at the liberty to divulge India’s point of view during the meeting.
India, in fact, has hosted meetings against E.U.’s ETS in New Delhi in the past.
“So I think you can get a pretty good flavour of where India stands, looking at other things that they’ve said, but I’m not going to discuss what they said in this meeting,” the official said, noting that probably every country outside of Europe has opposed the emission trading system on both legal and policy grounds.
“But at the same time as we have opposed the application of the ETS in that manner, we have been strongly supportive and many countries strongly supportive of the objective of reducing emissions from aviation,” the official noted.
The meeting was convened in Washington with a group of major aviation countries for supporting the process of making progress on reducing emissions in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which is the multilateral body charged with handling international aviation.
“We wanted to bring that group together to discuss ongoing progress and continued progress that can be made and also to explore whether there seemed to be some basis for an overall global solution that would have the additional effect of causing the E.U.’s ETS to be set aside with regard to foreign carriers,” the U.S. official said.
The meeting confirmed the very solid and strong opposition to the ETS as applied to foreign carriers, but also indicated that there was a lot of interest among countries in continuing to work on the suite of activities that ICAO has been working on.
“And those include developing a CO2 efficiency standard for aircraft and engines.
“There was, in that respect, a quite important development just within the last week or so from the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protections known as CAEP,” the official said.
Experts are also working on the development of the global standards needed to enhance the improvement of airline operations, things like air traffic management, which are actually enormously important, a big part of reducing emissions, the official added.
According to the U.S. official, a trading system by itself doesn’t cause aviation emissions to get reduced.
It might cause airlines to go into the market and buy reductions, buy allowances from their governments if the governments are supplying them or from other businesses, but there are a whole lot of steps that airlines can take — more efficient airplanes and airplane engines, much better air traffic management operations, the development of alternative fuels, the official argued.