Is there growing international opposition to the ETS?

By Patrick Burnson · October 25, 2011

There’s more than meets the eye in the EU carbon trading story unfolding today.

Last week, John Mica, Petri and other members of the Committee led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to Montreal to meet with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) leaders, representatives of the EU, and other officials regarding U.S. opposition to the EU’s tax scheme.  ICAO is the primary organization that sets international aviation standards.

If imposed on January 1, 2012, the EU aviation tax scheme would apply to U.S. and other nations’ flights into or out of an EU airport, regardless of how long that flight is in EU airspace.  Airlines would be required to pay an emissions tax to the EU Member State to which they most frequently fly, without any requirements that EU countries even use these fees in aviation emissions reduction efforts.

H.R. 2594 prohibits U.S. aircraft operators from participating in the ETS.  The bill also instructs U.S. officials to negotiate or take any action necessary to ensure U.S. aviation operators are not penalized by any unilaterally imposed EU scheme.

The Obama Administration testified before the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure in July that the EU ETS is inconsistent with international aviation law.  According to additional testimony from that hearing, the Air Transport Association suggested that this scheme would cost U.S. airlines more than $3.1 billion between 2012 and 2020, which could be used to sustain more than 39,200 U.S. airline jobs.  Moreover, these costs could double if the cost of carbon allowances in Europe returns to where it was within the past two years, in which case more than 78,500 U.S. airline jobs could have been supported.

There is growing international opposition to the ETS, said Mica.  He maintained that other nations that have voiced opposition include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and the member States of the Latin American Civil Aviation Commission (LACAC).

According to Mica’s office, even EU Member States, including Italy, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Spain, are calling for postponement of the EU ETS due to confusion over its implementation and opposition and potential retaliation from other nations.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson
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]

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