EU Commission freezes EU carbon emissions law for airlines

BRUSSELS Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:18am EST

BRUSSELS Nov 12 (Reuters) - The European Union will put on hold its rule that all airlines must pay for their emissions on flights to and from Europe, but will resume enforcement if a U.N. airline body fails to deliver a global deal, Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said.

The European Union has come under intense international pressure to tear up its law making all airlines using EU airports buy carbon allowances on its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

"To create a positive atmosphere, we have agreed to stop the clock," Hedegaard told a news briefing on Monday.

"If this exercise ends in nothing, we are back to exactly where we were with the EU ETS automatically," she said, adding that this would give the U.N. airlines body, the ICAO, until next November to strike a new deal.

The European Commission, the EU executive, has repeatedly said it only put its law in place after more than a decade of inaction at the ICAO.

Hedegaard said EU member states would have to endorse the Commission's decision for it to take effect.

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