The European Commission on Wednesday proposed to tax airlines for aviation emissions produced during the fights that take place in European regional airspace.
Airlines using EU airspace could be subject to the tax for air-polluting carbon emissions based on the portion of a flight that goes across the European Economic Area which covers the EU plus Norway and Iceland, according to the new proposal, a watered-down version of the EU's much protested CO2 emissions trading scheme last year.
A full exemption would apply to flights to and from a third country that is not developed country and responsible for less than 1 percent of global aviation emissions, said the proposal.
"Europe is taking the responsibility to reduce emissions within its own airspace until the global measure begins," said Connie Hedegaard, the EU's commissioner for climate action, showing confidence that the European Parliament and the EU Council would soon approve the proposal.
The proposal came after the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreed to regulate the industry's greenhouse gas emissions but gave itself until 2020 to work out the details.
According to the Commission, the new rule may apply from the beginning of next year, until the regulation from the ICAO takes effect. Currently the EU emissions trading scheme applies to intra-European flights.