Europe’s go-it-alone approach on its controversial airline carbon tax is driving discord where there needs to be harmony, IATA DG Tony Tyler told a Washington audience Thursday.

Delivering a keynote speech at the FAA Aviation Forecast Conference, Tyler touched on a subject that was repeatedly raised during the conference’s opening day panel discussions and which drew universal condemnation. The European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) tax was described as “very, very bad law” and “plain wrong” by US regulators and airline CEOS attending the conference (ATW Daily News, March 9).

Tyler’s speech concurred with their view that Europe had made matters worse by implementing a unilateral tax without international discussion and negotiation. “Unfortunately, Europe has chosen a go-it-alone regional approach with the inclusion of international aviation in the EU ETS from this year (ATW Daily News, Feb. 23). This is driving discord at a time when we need harmony. Why? Because non-European states, the US included, see the intention to tax non-EU airlines for emissions over non-EU territory as an attack on their sovereignty,” Tyler said.

“No one wants a trade war. But the prospects are growing more likely.”

He said it was now time for Europe to sincerely take a stake in making discussions and decisions at an ICAO level a success.

“If I understand the international mood correctly, non-European states will be looking for some proof of Europe’s sincerity. That will mean doing more than simply reiterating its determination to implement its scheme even as it professes to support a negotiated agreement through the ICAO process,” he said.