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International Update Volume 46, Issue 36

EU COURT UPHOLDS CARBON TAX ON SWISS FLIGHTS

EU

Last week, the European Court of Justice ruled that the EU was within its right to apply carbon taxes to flights between Switzerland and member states, even though flights to and from other countries outside the bloc are exempt. Lufthansa-owned Swiss International Air Lines brought the case to court, arguing that its treatment under the EU's Emission Trading System infringed on the principle of equal treatment under EU law by treating Switzerland differently from other third countries.

MYANMAR REDRAFTING NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY

Myanmar

Already party to the Paris Agreement and UN sustainable development goals for the reduction of hydrofluorocarbons, Myanmar is moving forward in revising its national environmental policy, which could be implemented as early as 2017. The new policy will address climate change, pollution, and waste from the expansion of industry, as well as environmental harm caused by natural resource exploitation.

CHINA VOWS TO CREATE ENVIRONMENT TAX

China

Earlier this month the Chinese State Council vowed to introduce an environment tax by 2020. The tax would tackle “chronic and intractable pollution” by raising the operational costs of polluting industries, encouraging them to install cleaner technologies. Although China has had a pollutant discharge fee since 1979, the system has been exploited by local governments, among others.

EU PROPOSES TO INCLUDE SHIPPING INDUSTRY IN CARBON TRADING SYSTEM

EU

In recent weeks, the European Union has voted in favor of including shipping in its carbon emissions trading system (ETS). The proposal will be addressed in a plenary vote and by the EU’s lawmaking bodies in February, despite concerns from the shipping industry that such a unilateral move by the EU would distort world trade. The proposal follows a 2015 study by the European Parliament that estimates that international aviation and maritime transport will together contribute to 40% of global carbon emissions in 2050.