American officials signed a statement suggesting opposition to an European Aviation Directive that would hold all airlines accountable for their emissions from flights using European airports starting in January 2012.
Critics of the U.S. position, led by the Environmental Defense Fund, say that ICAO has failed, after more than a decade of negotiations, to agree on an effective program to mitigate aviation’s impact on climate change.
“Countries say this issue should be addressed in a global forum, but after 14 years of frittering in ICAO, the tooth fairy has a better chance of delivering a serious plan to curb the rapidly rising global warming emissions from aviation anytime soon,” said Annie Petsonk, International Counsel at Environmental Defense Fund. “We don’t have time for a fantasy approach to a real-world environmental problem,” Petsonk said.
“What’s the strategy?” said Jenny Cooper, aviation specialist at EDF. “Since the United States apparently cannot lead on this issue, they are going to obstruct instead? The rest of the world is moving forward on climate change, and we need to play a constructive role.”
Emissions from aviation are expected to quadruple by 2050 if left unregulated, but the United States and the other countries who signed this declaration have repeatedly failed to take effective action to deal with the problem, whether through ICAO or other means.
“The Obama Administration pledged to lead global efforts to cut climate pollution, but with regard to aviation, the only thing the State Department and the Department of Transportation are doing now helping obstruct other nations’ efforts to tackle the problem,” Petsonk said.
Filed under: Environment, global warming Tagged: | airlines, climate change, Environment, Environmental Defense Fund, EU airline emissions plan, European Union, global warming, greenhouse gases, International Civil Aviation Organization, United States