A refreshing perspective on the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme went largely unnoticed last week, when organizers of a conference call to discuss a new study commissioned by the German Marshall Fund of the United States canceled the event due to a lack of registrants.
U.S. airlines and their Congressional allies have based their opposition to the European Union’s emissions trading scheme largely on the bogus contention that it amounts to an infringement of national sovereignty, according to a policy brief commissioned by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and produced by Washington, D.C.-based consultancy Climate Advisors. The new report, published on October 11, argues that international aviation rules generally allow nations to regulate flights in and out of their territories, as long as they don’t discriminate against foreign carriers.
Several aviation groups, including NBAA and Airlines for America, applauded the Senate’s passage of legislation in the early hours on Saturday that prohibits operators of U.S. aircraft from participating in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), which would require them to buy carbon credits to cover aviation carbon dioxide emissions. The Senate bill, S.1956, the “European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act,” directs the transportation secretary to prevent all U.S.
Nineteen U.S. aviation organizations–including NBAA, NATA, AOPA and GAMA–sent a joint letter to President Obama yesterday urging him to “challenge the inclusion of international aviation under the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) by initiating an Article 84 proceeding in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).” Invoking Article 84 allows the ICAO council to decide disputes that cannot be settled between member states.
The political momentum pushing for the European Union (EU) to abandon the unilateral imposition of its controversial emissions trading scheme (ETS) on non-European states increased last week, when four senior government ministers from France, Spain, Germany and the UK publicly called for the policy to be suspended or at least implemented more flexibly. The so-called “Airbus ministers,” representing the four partner nations in the Airbus consortium, made the announcement during a press conference at the ILA airshow in Berlin.
The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change has introduced a process that will allow small emitters to opt out of compliance with the emissions trading scheme, but this applies only to static installations (ground-based industries). The option, which applies to facilities generating less than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), is not being made available to the aviation sector.
“All of aviation, including general and business aviation, as well as the airlines, is working together really well to continually improve the environment,” NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen declared last month during opening comments on a panel discussion about the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme. But he quickly added, “We are also working together to fight wrong-headed environmental regulations that don’t work.”
The airline industry, major manufacturers and some two dozen nations have argued that aviation emissions should be addressed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), not by the European Union and its
Gulfstream Aerospace senior flight operations technical specialist Leo McStravick testified at a House aviation subcommittee meeting yesterday to express the business aviation community’s opposition to the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS). In addition to imposing a costly administrative burden on businesses flying from the U.S. to European destinations, McStravick noted that EU-ETS is discriminatory because businesses that use general aviation are not eligible for carbon offsets, as they are not defined as “commercial.”
Critics vented frustration with Europe’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) during the FAA Forecast Conference March 8 in Washington, D.C. Leading the chorus of criticism, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood hinted that the U.S. government is considering “enforcement measures” to counter the European Union regulati