DURBAN, South Africa (Reuters) - The European Union's highest court is expected to give its final ruling on December 21 on a European law that would force all airlines to pay for their carbon emissions, an EU source said on Tuesday.
The ruling was previously expected early next year.
"It will be on December 21 at 1100 CET (5 a.m. EST)," an EU diplomatic source said.
From January, all airlines will have to buy permits under the European Union's emissions trading scheme to help offset the carbon emissions of flights that land or take off in Europe.
The plan has prompted a bitter battle between the European Union and the aviation industry, as the United States, China and two dozen other nations have urged the European Union not to include non-EU carriers in its plan.
Opposing nations say the plan would infringe a "cardinal principle of state sovereignty" by basing its charges on the distance flown by each flight, which means calculations would include foreign airspace, in violation of a 1944 pact that gives each country exclusive authority over its skies.
It would also discriminate against nations located furthest away from Europe.
In October, an adviser to the European Court of Justice said the EU's rules were within the law. The opinion of the advocate general, though not binding, often influences the court's final decision.
(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Writing by Nina Chestney; Editing by Jon Boyle)