BRUSSELS — The United States demanded Wednesday that the European Union exempt U.S. airlines from rules regulating greenhouse emissions, a move that makes more likely the prospect of a lengthy trans-Atlantic dispute.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, the E.U. Emissions Trading System will cover most international flights landing in and taking off from European airports. That will require some U.S. carriers, and carriers from other countries, to buy carbon permits to offset their emissions of carbon dioxide.
“We strongly objected to the inclusion of U.S. airlines” in the European system, an official in the administration of President Barack Obama said during a telephone briefing for reporters after talks with E.U. officials held in Oslo.
“We don’t feel that it’s appropriate for the European Union to apply its mechanism to all other countries,” said the official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the talks.
European officials stood firm Wednesday, saying that changes were not feasible because the law was passed two years ago with the backing of governments and the European Parliament.
“The E.U. made clear that we’ve no intention to change, withdraw or postpone this law,” said an E.U. official with direct knowledge of the talks. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks, which he said would continue later in the year.
The United States had taken a hard line against the plans during the administration of President George W. Bush. The latest message marked a toughening of the current administration’s public opposition to the law.