UPDATE 1-EU court to rule on airline CO2 cap on Dec 21
* EU's top court sets date for airline CO2 ruling
* Non-EU airlines fight inclusion in scheme from 2012
By Barbara Lewis and Nina Chestney
DURBAN, South Africa, Dec 6 (Reuters) - The European Union's highest court is expected to give its final ruling on Dec. 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 (1000 GMT)," an EU diplomatic source said at United Nations' climate talks in Durban, South Africa.
From Jan. 1 next year, 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.
Nations opposed to the plan say it 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. Continued...