Wei Zhenzhong, secretary-general of the China Air Transport Association (CATA), said he has asked all domestic airlines to refuse to participate in the scheme, according to a report by the official China News Service today (15 December).
He has also requested domestic airlines not to submit carbon dioxide monitoring plans to European officials or to enter into negotiations for preferential treatment, the report said.
Starting in January, all airlines landing in Europe will be subject to a carbon cap and will be obliged to cover surplus emissions through the purchase of credits on the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
The China Air Transport Association says the scheme will cost Chinese airlines 800 million yuan (€94.7 million) in the first year and more than triple that by 2020.
Airlines across the world have criticised the scheme as "unilateral" and "protectionist", and have threatened legal action, saying it violates the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, the Kyoto Protocol and the rules of the World Trade Organisation.
Threats of retaliation
Wei said the Chinese government should consider adopting retaliatory measures were Europe to continue with the scheme in the face of "global opposition".
He said CATA was currently choosing the most appropriate time to take formal legal action against Europe, but admitted the prospects of success were "not optimistic" after preliminary opinions from the European Court of Justice in October declared the scheme to be within the law.
The court is expected to give its final ruling as early as 21 December.
EU officials have said Europe is entitled to impose the scheme following the failure of multinational talks on curbing aviation emissions.
They have also rejected claims that the scheme will impose a heavy financial burden on global airlines, noting that 85% of emission permits were granted free of charge in the first year of implementation.