LUXEMBOURG/BRUSSELS - Europe's highest court gave unreserved backing on Wednesday to an EU law to charge airlines for carbon emissions on flights to and from Europe, a decision likely to escalate tension with trading partners, especially the United States.
The court ruled against a group of US airlines that had challenged a law requiring that all airlines flying to and from European Union airports will have to buy permits under the EU's emissions trading scheme from Jan. 1. The initial cost is expected to be minimal but would rise to an estimated 9 billion euros ($11.8 billion) by the end of 2020.
"Application of the emissions trading scheme to aviation infringes neither the principles of customary international law at issue, nor the open-skies agreement," the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said.
Wednesday's ruling was expected after a senior adviser to the court issued a preliminary opinion in October that found the EU legislation did not infringe other states' sovereignty and was compatible with international accords.