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China Asks EU To Withdraw Unilateral Carbon Tax Plan

China today asked the European Union to take into consideration the serious concerns of the international community over its carbon emissions tax plan for air and shipping services, warning the 27-nation bloc not to complicate the matter.

“China, like many other countries, is firmly opposed to the EU’s unilateral legislation on carbon tax,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Le told a media briefing.

“The truth is that the unilateral move is unpopular, and is unlikely to meet the EU’s expectations,” Hong said. He was replying to a question regarding the EU Commission’s plan to impose carbon emissions tax on sea transportation from June this year.

He said the carbon tax issue on air and sea transportation should be solved within a multilateral framework through thorough consultation.

“The settlement of the issue should not be separated from the legal framework of the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. “Meanwhile, it should not violate the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ and fair spirit,” he said.

Hong urged the EU side to commit itself to solving the matter instead of complicating it.

On January 1 this year, the EU began charging airlines using EU airports for carbon emissions based on its Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). Under the scheme, it is estimated that around 4,000 airlines will pay the EU for pollution permits, rendering the ETS one of the widest-reaching emission-regulative measures adopted by any country or regional bloc.

The move aroused strong opposition from India, China and several other governments. A total of 29 countries signed a joint declaration in Moscow on February 22 opposing the EU’s carbon tax plan.

The declaration specifies a variety of measures intended to be used against the ETS, including allowing any country to introduce measures in line with national laws to either completely scrap the ETS or postpone it.

The Times of India, 2 March 2012