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House votes against EU air carrier carbon trading

These initiatives could have an adverse impact on air cargo by increasing costs, delaying shipments and sparking potential trade wars, said U.S. air forwarders.
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
October 25, 2011

The U.S. House of Representatives today voted by a wide margin against U.S. participation in the European Union’s costly emissions trading scheme (ETS) that would impose new emissions taxes on U.S. and other nations’ air carriers flying into and out of the EU.

As reported in LM, the “European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011” (H.R. 2594) is bipartisan legislation that was introduced in the House by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL), Full Committee Ranking Democrat Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-WI), Aviation Subcommittee Ranking Democrat Jerry Costello (D-IL), Aviation Subcommittee Vice-Chair Chip Cravaack (R-MN), and other Members of the House.  The bill passed the House overwhelmingly by voice vote.

U.S. air cargo shippers, however, were less than pleased with the news.

“The Airforwarders Association is extremely concerned about both the proposed EU Emissions Trading Scheme in the US legislation drafted in response, said Brandon Fried, executive director of The Airforwarders Association (AFA) “These initiatives could have an adverse impact on air cargo by increasing costs, delaying shipments and sparking potential trade wars.”

In an exclusive interview, Fried said that the AFA was hoping for a more cooperative solution where all countries work in drafting sound harmonized policy instead of the EU’s unilateral attempt to solve the problem.

“If mutually acceptable climate program agreements fail to materialize, and unilateral initiatives such as the EU emissions trading scheme prevail, the resulting retaliatory trade wars between nations could create more damage to the world economy than global warming itself,” said Fried. “The preferred alternative is to endorse an integrated approach to climate and energy policy that commits all nations into a highly efficient, low carbon aviation industry.”

Fried admitted that this is undoubtedly a global challenge— savings on one continent will do little to solve a worldwide crisis if other countries are not included.

“In order for a worldwide solution to be mandated, countries need to reach a mutual agreement,” he said. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is the best forum to address these emissions issues and to assure global aviation industry sustainability.”

Fried said that unilateral and mandatory moves taken without the agreement of all involved parties are unacceptable.

“Such solutions will have an extremely negative impact on the world’s aviation industry,” he added.

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 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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