Air Travel News
EU’s emissions trading plan raises opposition on Capitol Hill
That controversial Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) that the European Union started applying to the international airline industry in January continues to draw flak from non-EU governments whose carriers are facing new carbon taxes on their flights in and out of Europe. Last week, the U.S. Senate’s Commerce Committee added its voice to the debate.
In a vote with bipartisan support, the committee approved legislation that would allow the Transportation Secretary to bar U.S. airlines from participating in the EU’s ETS, which sets greenhouse gas emissions allotments for international airlines and requires them to pay for additional credits if they exceed their allowed amounts. The emissions allotments are calculated for the entire length of a flight into or out of the EU, not just the portion in EU airspace.
The program has already drawn strong opposition from the governments of several other nations, including China and India, which have also indicated they might not allow their airlines to participate in it.
The Senate committee vote follows a vote last fall in the U.S. House of Representatives on a bill that orders U.S. carriers not to take part in the EU program.
Airlines For America (A4A), the lobbying group for U.S. carriers, said it is “committed” to seeing the EU program overturned. Airline industry groups and governments that oppose the plan are arguing that a worldwide solution to aviation emissions should be developed through the International Civil Aviation Organization, an affiliate of the United Nations.
“Diplomacy is not working,” said A4A CEO Nicholas Calio, “and we encourage the administration to file a legal challenge, forcing the EU to work toward a global sectoral approach” through ICAO.