The airline industry has expressed its disappointment in a preliminary opinion from a European Court of Justice (CJEU) advocate general who believes that the European Union emissions trading scheme (ETS) is in line with international law.
"While the advocate general of the CJEU believes that Europe is within its rights to move forward with this extra-territorial measure, that opinion is not shared in the international community," said Tony Tyler, the director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
He pointed out that more than 20 countries had signed a declaration last week promising to challenge the scheme at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
"Rather than risking a further escalation of tensions amongst states, I encourage Europe to support a successful, global and effective solution through ICAO," said Tyler.
The ETS, which will come into effect from 1 January 2012, will impose caps on carbon emissions from airlines flying into Europe.
The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) said it is disappointed with advocate general Juliane Kokott's initial opinion. A final ruling is expected by end -2011 or early 2012.
"In complex cases such as this one, it would not be unusual for the full court's final opinion to vary from the preliminary opinion," said the ATA.