China’s ambassador to the European Union, Wu Hailong, is the first official from that country to weigh in on the controversy over the EU’s carbon levy on airlines. Speaking Friday, Hailong said it “makes sense” for Chinese airlines to turn away from sales deals with Airbus. The comment comes a day after Beijing announced it will block its airlines from buying planes from Airbus, an aircraft maker based in Europe, because of the EU’s levy on carbon emissions from jetliners.
Louis Gallois, the chief executive of Airbus, said Thursday that his company is being subjected to unfair “retaliation measures” over the levy. China’s decision to block Airbus sales could affect the delivery of at least 24 of the companies A330 planes, the BBC reported. “The Chinese government refuses to approve airlines’ orders for long-haul planes,” said Gallois.
The EUs Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is the largest cap-and-trade system in the world. Starting on Jan. 1, the ETS created a system of carbon permits for airlines operating in the EU in an effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Under the system, an airline must buy more permits if it is going to emit more than legally allowed. Criticism over the EUs airline emissions levy have come from countries such as Britain, Russia, the U.S., Canada and China. These critics have argued that the levy breaks international law because the EU has no right to impose levies on flights that are traveling to and from destinations outside of its jurisdiction.