Nations opposed to EU ETS agree on retaliatory measures

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A list of retaliatory measures has reportedly been agreed at a meeting in Moscow by a group of countries opposed to the inclusion of aviation in the European Union's Emissions Trading System (ETS).

Reports quote Russian deputy transport minister Valery Okulov as saying during a news conference in Moscow that each of the 26 nations opposed to ETS - including the USA, India and Russia - will be able to choose "the most effective and reliable measures that will help to cancel or postpone the implementation of the EU ETS".

The agreed retaliatory measures are said to include barring national carriers from participating in ETS and lodging formal complaints with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

A European Commission spokesman says that the EC has not yet received a full account from today's meeting in Moscow, but adds: "Unfortunately our questions for the Moscow participants remain unanswered - what are your concrete and constructive alternatives for a global agreement [on addressing aviation emissions] at ICAO?"

The spokesman says that "nothing new and nothing concrete" appears to have come out of today's meeting, adding that the world needs concrete proposals, "not declarations of possible counter-measures".

The EU will "review its position" on emissions trading the day a global solution is proposed, says the spokesman. Until then, airlines that do not comply with the ETS legislation will risk a fine of €100 ($132) per non-surrendered tonne of carbon dioxide emitted.

Persistent non-compliers could face a ban on operating into the EU, although the spokesman says: "I hope this very last resort will never need to be applied."

Association of European Airlines secretary general Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus says that retaliation is not the solution to the ETS dispute and airlines should not become a target for retaliatory action.

"This situation is totally unacceptable. Airlines must not be taken hostage by politicians or be forced to compete with serious market distortions," says Schulte-Strathaus.

"We urgently need both sides to focus on the core objective - managing global aviation emissions - rather than on winning a battle of sovereignty." This, he adds, should be pursued through ICAO.