| GEO Business|
| EU forces CO2 caps on airlines|
| Updated at: 1852 PST, Friday, October 24, 2008|
LUXEMBOURG: EU nations on Friday agreed to bring airlines into the fight against global warming from 2012, upsetting airline associations as well as the United States, whose carriers will be included.
From January 2012 all airline companies operating in or out of an EU country, including non-European carriers, will have to limit emissions to 97 percent of 2005 levels.
From 2013 that figure will dip to 95 percent with further reductions envisaged later.
"The main objective of the new law is to reduce the impact of aviation on climate change, given the rapid growth of this sector," EU interior ministers meeting in Luxembourg said in a joint statement following the decision.
However airlines are worried more about economic cooling than global warming.
Carriers are furious about the plans which they say threaten their very survival as they struggle to cope with recent high fuel prices and have warned that it could spark trade wars with other countries.
The decision came as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released gloomy figures for air traffic in September, with the high oil prices exacerbated by a drop in demand fuelled by the economic crisis.
The figures for European carries were down 0.5 percent over the same month last year while the global figure, for the normally rapidly increasing sector, dropped by 2.9 percent.
The Association of European Airlines has estimated that the cost could be as high as 5.3 billion euros (6.7 billion dollars) annually in the first years of the scheme.