A European Court held today that the European Union can proceed with ambitious plans to implement its Emission Trading Scheme on 01 January, 2012.
European Court of Justice Advocate General Juliane Kokott said the “EU legislation doesn’t infringe the sovereignty of other States or the freedom of the high seas guaranteed under international law, and is compatible with the relevant international agreements.”
The court opinion, which isn’t binding but typically serves as a first draft of a final ruling, also states only sovereign states can appeal the EU plan. A final ruling is due in several months from the court, which rules on EU disputes.
In the coming days, I will publish a detailed post on what exactly the ETS means for you, but today I simply want to underscore the gravity of this initial court ruling.
India is threatening to close off its airports to European airlines. Russia has promised to exponentially raise the fees levied to European airlines that fly over its airspace. China recently blocked the announcement of an order for planes from Airbus due to its anger over the ETS.
This is big news, folks. I expect the EU will delay the implementation of this, but a nasty fight will be ongoing over the next several months as airlines and governments grapple with balancing global warming concerns with the very realistic ability that the ETS will drive down airline passenger demand and lead to job losses during a time in which so many are looking for work.