US airlines have begun legal action in an attempt to exempt themselves from a European carbon emissions trading scheme, due to come into force in 2012.
From that date, all airlines flying into EU airports will be required to submit carbon credits for both the inward and outward legs of their journey.
However, leading American airlines, represented by the Air Transport Association of America (ATA), say this would impose costly policies on international aviation, is a violation of international law and would take money away from funds they need to continue to improve their 'strong record of continuous environmental improvement'.
The ATA is seeking a juidicial review of the scheme and wants the international airlines to be excluded.
'The legal case is important as a means of addressing what is wrong with the European scheme, but also as an opportunity for us to continue to pursue an approach that is appropriate for this global industry,' said ATA's Nancy Young.
Tim Johnson, director of the Aviation Environment Federation, said US airlines were against any form of emissions trading and that something needed to be done to tackle aviation's growing emissions.
'Global negotiations to limit aviation emissions have made virtually no progress since 1997, so the EU was right act. By seeking to avoid Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme with no credible alternative, the airlines are showing that they are not serious about tackling climate change,' he said.
WWF accused airlines of using 'every trick in the book' to try to stop international efforts to tackle emissions through regulatory measures without providing 'any credible alternative to put a cap on emissions'.
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