The European Union’s emission trading scheme (ETS) as it applies to airlines is “nonsensical,” Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said at a press conference at the Paris Air Show on Wednesday morning.
Through the ETS, the EU has put a cap on carbon emissions produced by flights to or from European airports, in an effort to mitigate the industry’s impact on the climate. Airlines are given tradeable allowances for CO2 emissions per year.
Because China, the United States, and other “sensible economies,” in O’Leary’s view, have resisted participating, however, the rules are applied most stringently to airlines operating short-haul flights in Europe — including Ryanair.
O’Leary accused “incompetent European politicians” of “taxing Europe’s consumers so that they can do something about climate change.” He is not a believer, he said, in the nefarious effects of a warming planet: “The climate is always going to change.”
“Only in Europe,” he continued, “would you get that kind of stupidity.”
The notoriously outspoken CEO had not even been asked about the carbon taxing scheme. His tirade was sparked by a question about Ryanair’s interest in green taxiing, a way to improve fuel efficiency in planes on runways.
O’Leary also shared his thoughts on how to cut unemployment in Europe’s: through tourism.
“If you got these idiots to get up off their asses and instead of trying to solve a nonexistent issues like climate change, why don’t you actually get young people in EU back to work?” he railed.
“The best industry to do that is tourism. The best way to create tourism is actually to lower access costs, government taxes, airport fees, that kind of nonsense. Then stand back and let us create millions of jobs across the continent.”
At the press conference, O’Leary and Ray Conner of Boeing announced the budget carrier’s order of 175 737-8 jets, for $15 billion.
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