Eurozone’s misguided “green” air cargo policy

Several countries, including India and China, have prohibited their airlines from participating in the EU scheme.

By ·

Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, is joining Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in resistance to the application of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), which seeks to unlawfully tax U.S. airlines and establishes a dangerous precedent that could be used to tax the products and services of other U.S. industries.

Several countries, including India and China, have prohibited their airlines from participating in the EU scheme. The U.S. House of Representatives has taken similar action and A4A called on the Senate to pass S. 1956, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act, which would similarly prohibit U.S. carriers from participating in the EU ETS.

“Urgent, concrete action by the United States is needed to overturn the EU ETS and bring the EU back to the negotiating table in support of a global framework,” said A4A Vice President, Environmental Affairs Nancy Young, recently testified before the Senate Commerce Committee. “The United States, in its role as a world leader, must wield the tools it has to remove the wrong measure in favor of the right one.”

A4A urged the United States to initiate a legal challenge under Article 84 of the Chicago Convention through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in order to drive the EU to negotiate a resolution. ICAO has authority to address violations of the Chicago Convention and also is working to complete the global framework for aviation greenhouse gas emissions provisionally agreed at its 2010 Assembly.

A4A, its members and every impacted non-EU country opposes the application of this cap-and-trade tax scheme to airlines and aircraft operators, and are committed to seeing it overturned. As currently administered, U.S. carriers must account for emissions on the ground in the United States, across Canada and across the open seas, paying tax on 100 percent of the emissions of flights to and from the EU, even though only a small portion of those emissions occur in EU airspace. The funds collected do not have to be used for environmental purposes and in fact can be used to stave off Europe’s debt crisis.

Young noted that aviation is not the only U.S. sector at risk. “Simply put, if the EU can tax the emissions over the entirety of a flight merely because it touches down in Europe, what is to keep the EU from imposing greenhouse gas import taxes on U.S. autos, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and other goods? And on what basis will the United States stand up against other countries that seek to do the same?” Young said.

At the same time, it is important to note that A4A and its member airlines are aggressively reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and, with fuel-efficiency improvements.

They have been eliminating 3.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide since 1978, and have a strong record of meeting that commitment.

By investing billions of dollars in fuel-saving aircraft and engines, innovative technologies and advanced avionics, the U.S. airline industry improved its fuel efficiency by 120 percent between 1978 and 2011, resulting in emissions savings equivalent to taking 22 million cars off the road each of those years.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Green · Trade · Transportation · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Case Study: LEAN Yields Big Results
Every day, companies across a wide range of industries use LEAN in their supply chains, warehouses and distribution centers, finance departments, and customer service centers, among other areas. LEAN practices improve safety, quality, and productivity by extracting cost and waste from all facets of an operation – from the procurement of raw materials to the shipment of finished goods.
Download Today!
From the October 2016 Issue
Over the past decade we’ve seen a major trend in regards to safety regulations for freight transport within the United States as well as for import and export shippers—that trend is the “international­ization” of rules and regulations.
European Logistics Update: Post-Brexit U.K. moving ahead, but in which direction?
Badcock Home Furniture &more: Out with paper, in with Cloud TMS
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
How API Technology Connects the Transportation Economy
Dynamic decision making is made possible through accurate, actionable data. When combined with progress in data science and the Internet of Things, technology companies that add value to direct-to-carrier APIs and combine them with high-power data analytics will create new concepts for the information economy.
Register Today!
Motor Carrier Regulations Update: Caught in a Trap
The fed is hitting truckers with a barrage of costly regulations in an era of scant profits....
25th Annual Masters of Logistics
Indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and...

2016 Quest for Quality: Winners Take the Spotlight
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers and U.S. ports have crossed the service-excellence...
Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...