The European Union backed down Monday from a plan to levy carbon emission surcharges on international flights entering or exiting the Continent.
Monday’s move came in the face of strong protests from the Obama administration, India, China and other nations that have protested the Emissions Trading System, or ETS, calling the tax an attack on sovereignty.
The EU instituted the unilateral plan in hopes of forcing a trade agreement.
But Monday’s surprise announcement from the European Commission for Climate Action appeared to be aimed at averting a global trade war.
Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the EU is hopeful an international agreement can be hammered out.
“I’ve just recommended in a telephone conference with the 27 member states that the EU ‘stops the clock,’” Ms. Hedegaard said. Her proposal still awaits approval from parliaments and ministers.
She warned that unless the International Civil Aviation Organization, an agency of the United Nations, approves a plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft by next year, the tax will be reinstated.