The battle against the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has entered the courts, with US airlines calling for the proposed tax to be declared illegal. The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) has taken its case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), claiming that the EU’s unilateral charge violates international law. The ETS will limit the amount of carbon dioxide airlines are permitted to emit and carriers will be forced to buy more emission allowances if they surpass the amount. This had led many airlines to accuse the scheme of being unfair. China has said that the ETS is biased against carriers from developing countries, and would cost Chinese airlines CNY800 million (US$124 million) in the first year, rising to nearly CNY2.5 billion by 2020. “ATA challenges EU ETS because it is a unilateral measure, which has not been agreed by countries outside the EU, yet nevertheless applies EU law to third country carriers in third country airspace,” the ATA said in a statement. The trade body added that the proposed levies violate the US-EU air services agreement and the Kyoto Protocol. The ETS has also been criticised by IATA. The association’s former director general and CEO Giovanni Bisignani recently slammed the EU for pushing the ETS but failing to implement the single European sky policy, which IATA claims would cut emissions.”Hypocrisy is not the answer,” Bisignani said. “Instead of making that [the single European sky] a reality, Europe is single-mindedly pursuing a political agenda of emissions trading that does nothing to improve environmental performance.” The court is expected to issue a ruling by the end of 2011 or early 2012.