EU reaches landmark deal to cap airline emissions
BRUSSELS: The European Union reached a landmark agreement Thursday to cap emissions from aircraft, raising the stakes in an increasingly ferocious battle with the United States over how to regulate global greenhouse gases.
In the first requirement of its kind, all airlines arriving or leaving from airports located in the EU would be obliged to buy some pollution credits beginning in 2012, joining other industrial polluters that trade in the European emissions market. That includes non-European carriers like American Airlines and Singapore Airlines.
Including airlines in that system is the boldest move yet by the EU to stamp its environmental policies on the rest of the world.
For consumers, such rules could mean further fare increases in the wake of a steady rise in fuel surcharges imposed by airlines - a trend that looks set to continue. On Thursday the president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries warned that oil prices could reach levels of up to $170 a barrel this summer.
"At the end of the day it's the people who fly" who will pay more under the new system, warned Anthony Concil, a spokesman for the International Air Transport Association, the industry's biggest lobbying group.
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