NGO’s urge U.S. government not to cave to industry pressure
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The political war over the European Union’s carbon cap-and-trade plan for airlines is set to continue next week in Moscow at an international trade conference.
U.S. airlines unhappy with the plan have been pressuring lawmakers and the Obama administration to reject the plan, even though its been found consistent with international law by the European Supreme Court.
Here’s what Airlines for America (formerly the Air Transport Association) had to say after the European Supreme Court ruling:
“Today’s court decision further isolates the EU from the rest of the world and will keep in place a unilateral scheme that is counterproductive to concerted global action on aviation and climate change. The court did not fully address legal issues raised and has established a damaging and questionable precedent by ruling that the European Union can ignore the Chicago Convention and other longstanding international provisions that have enabled governments around the world to work cooperatively to make flying safer and more secure, and to reduce aviation’s environmental footprint.”
“Today’s decision does not mark the end of this case and Airlines for America (A4A) is reviewing options to pursue in the English High Court. At the same time, the U.S. government and dozens of others around the world are increasing pressure on the EU to come back to the table to consider a global sectoral approach. In the meantime, A4A members will comply under protest and will continue to operate safely and efficiently to Europe when the scheme takes effect Jan. 1.”
In advance of the meeting, top leaders of seven prominent non-governmental groups have sent a letter to the U.S. representatives at the meeting, Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Michael Froman.
- The EU law puts a quantity limit, or cap, on the total amount of climate pollution of all flights landing at or taking off from EU airports. Every company whose planes land at or take off from airports in Europe has to ensure that at the end of each year, the amount of pollution of its planes is less than the amount of its cap. It’s that simple.
- The EU could have slapped a tax on air travel in order to drive up the price and therefore reduce demand for air travel as a means of cutting down aviation pollution. But this law doesn’t do that.
- The EU could have required the airlines to install particular pollution control technologies. But the law doesn’t do that either.
- Using gradual “continuous ascent” and “continuous descent”, which saves a lot of fuel, instead of today’s steep, fuel-guzzling climb-ups and climb-downs.
- Using climate-friendlier fuels like sustainably produced biofuels.
- Putting modern, high-efficiency engines on existing planes.
- Adding “winglets” and other structural modifications to planes to improve flight efficiency.
- Buying or leasing new, more fuel-efficient planes.
- Purchasing pollution credits from a wide array of projects in different countries that reduce emissions outside the aviation sector, or purchasing emissions allowances from the EU.