The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) has vowed to continue fighting against the European Union emissions trading scheme (ETS), following a recent preliminary opinion by an European court which believes that the scheme does not contravene international law.
ATA chief executive Nicholas Calio said US airlines will continue to fight "very hard" against the scheme, which will impose caps on carbon emissions from airlines flying into Europe. It is scheduled to come into force on 1 January 2012.
Despite widespread criticism of the ETS and threats of retaliatory action from governments and airlines worldwide, the EU has not indicated it would budge on implementing it.
The European Court of Justice issued a preliminary opinion earlier this month, concluding that the scheme is in line with international law. Calio, speaking at a luncheon today organised by the Aero Club of Washington, called the court a "political institution".
"The emissions trading scheme, I'm tempted to say, stinks," he added, saying that the European Commission imposes regulations "without worrying about the consequences".
A final ruling from the court is expected in end-2011 or early 2012. While the preliminary opinion is not binding, the ATA believes that it would not be unusual for the final decision to differ from the initial opinion.