The European Union will conditionally put on hold its rule that all airlines must pay for their carbon emissions for flights to and from EU airports, the EU's executive said on Monday.
The freeze follows intense pressure on the EU to scrap its law and threats of a trade war from other countries, led by the United States, China and India.
Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said she had agreed "to stop the clock" to establish a positive atmosphere for international talks to hammer out an alternative global plan to tackle airline emissions.
"But let me be very clear: if this exercise does not deliver - and I hope it does - then needless to say we are back to where we are today with the EU ETS. Automatically."
Flights within the European Union will still have to pay for their carbon emissions under existing rules, and EU member states will have to endorse formally the Commission's proposed exemption.