Although the intentions were good, in reality rolling out the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS)–considered a cornerstone of the European Union’s policy to combat climate change and the key tool for reducing industrial greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective manner–to international aviation has backfired spectacularly.
European Climate Change Programme
All aviation eyes were turned toward Montreal early this month as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) tries to get its arms around a worldwide plan to control jet aircraft emissions.
The big question is whether ICAO’s 191 member states can agree on a plan to curb emissions to the satisfaction of the European Union (EU), which has unilaterally crafted its own emissions trading scheme (ETS) that would capture not only EU aircraft, but also airplanes flying into, out of and through the 28 EU member states.
President Barack Obama closed the legislative loop on U.S. refusal to comply with the European Union’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) on November 27, when he signed S.1956, legislation that orders the Secretary of Transportation to prohibit U.S. aircraft operators from participating in the carbon tax plan. The legislation also calls for the government “to conduct international negotiations to pursue a worldwide approach to address aircraft emissions.”
The European Commission has suspended the implementation of its emissions trading scheme for international flights in and out of the European Union for 12 months on the grounds that it now expects to see a deal on a multilateral global alternative at the next ICAO Assembly.
The long-simmering dispute over Europe’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) heated up after a U.S. Senate committee advanced legislation that would empower the secretary of transportation to prohibit American airlines from participating in the carbon cap-and-trade construct.
While business aircraft operators tear their hair out trying to comply with the European Union’s controversial emissions trading scheme, the issue is threatening to escalate into a full-blown trade war. But an EBACE panel on ETS here in Geneva yesterday heard that the EU appears to have no intention in backing down, with the discussion underscoring the vast gulf between the aims of the carbon cap-and-trade policy and the realities of compliance.
The governing council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), meeting on November 2 in Montreal, adopted a declaration opposing the European Union’s “unilateral” action to include non-EU aircraft operators in its emissions trading scheme (ETS) as of January. By endorsing the declaration, expressed in a “working paper” advanced by 26 countries, ICAO aligned with the international airline industry and a collection of countries including Brazil, China, the U.S., India, Japan and the Russian Federation, in fighting the EU requirement.
The U.S. House of Representatives helped stoke a threatened trade war with Europe, passing legislation October 24 that would prohibit U.S. aircraft operators from participating in the European emissions trading scheme (ETS).
Europe’s regional airlines achieved 7.1 percent passenger growth during the first six months of 2011, according to figures published by the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) at its annual general assembly held in Rome last week.
The European Commission is refusing to back down over the implementation of its controversial emissions trading scheme (ETS), even in the face of possible new legislation that would make it illegal for U.S. aircraft operators to comply with its requirements.
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