EU's airline carbon tax may backfire

By Mei Xinyu
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail People's Daily, December 29, 2011
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So begins the bailout fund [By Jiao Haiyang/]

 So begins the bailout fund [By Jiao Haiyang/]

The European Court of Justice ruled on Dec. 21 that the European Union was within its rights to impose a carbon tax on flights to and from its 27 member states starting Jan. 1, 2012.

The ruling exposed the union's hypocrisy, instead of showing its strong competitiveness. It may trigger a global trade war and force more high-tech companies to leave Europe, instead of helping stop the decline of the continent.

After learning about the European Union's policies, regulations, and actions in reducing emissions and protecting the environment, one can easily see its hypocrisy and inability to coordinate the action of its member states.

There are efficient and effective ways to reduce transportation-related carbon emissions, including accelerating the development of clean technologies such as hydroelectric power generation and nuclear power generation, reducing fossil-fueled thermal power plants, implementing austerity measures, and reducing energy demand.

Instead of making practical efforts to improve their public transportation system, Europeans want to pay as little as possible for continuing to enjoy the convenience of traveling by private car or plane.

They are unwilling to give up their luxurious lifestyle even at the risk of national bankruptcy, and are opposed to the construction of nuclear power stations or dams in their backyards in the name of "environmental protection." In addition, the European Union has provided strong support to Airbus in the production and export of its products. The union's practices are undoubtedly hypocritical.

Ultimately, these measures will hurt the European Union itself too. First, the aviation carbon tax may lead to international economic and trade disputes in large scales and the international aviation market may therefore be disordered. Second, the tax may restrain passenger flows to Europe. Further more, excessive controls will increase the European Union's commercial and administrative costs inevitably and stimulate enterprises to escape from Europe in order to evade the excessive control regulations and various tax items.

As Europe's portion in the international economic and political structure is shrinking, its strength of shifting pressure to outside world is also becoming weaker. That is the reason why United States sacrificed Europe's portion and voting right to satisfy emerging markets' demands in the International Monetary Fund and World Bank reforms in recent years.

If European enterprises and governments pin their hope on the "European fortress" to isolate it from outside competitions, Europe will do nothing but decline more rapidly and severely.


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