Plan to pay for emissions is blocked by Germans

A British plan to make passengers pay for the environmental damage caused by their flights is being blocked by Lufthansa, Germany’s largest airline. Lufthansa has rejected proposals put forward by British Airways (BA) for an emissions-trading scheme, under which airlines would buy permits to cover their production of carbon dioxide. Britain strongly supports the scheme and, with the backing of France and the Scandinavian countries, hopes to introduce it within Europe by 2008.

The scheme would add up to 10 euros to the cost of an airline ticket, depending on the length of the flight and the market price of permits. But Wolfgang Mayrhuber, the chief executive of Lufthansa, said that climate change was a global issue and that it would be better to wait for a worldwide scheme covering all airlines rather than focusing on a solution within Europe. BA, however, believes that it is important to act now on aviation emissions because the industry is fast becoming the scapegoat of environmental groups across Europe. Aviation is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases, and flights within Europe are due to double by 2020. The European Commission is now studying the emissions trading scheme and is expected to produce firm proposals in September.