EU Trading Scheme has Senate Attention

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to hold a full committee hearing June 6 on the European Union’s (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which includes the application of fees to airlines based on carbon emissions.

The scheme is opposed by the U.S. airline industry and lawmakers from both political parties, as well as Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Legislation prohibiting U.S. airline participation in the scheme has passed the House; however, a Senate bill introduced by John Thune (R-S.D.) has been pending since December of 2011.

Airlines and passenger-jet manufacturers have criticized the EU’s decision to include the aviation industry in its ETS, and airline leaders from the International Airlines Group met with EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas in Brussels this week, expressing frustration with the carbon permits for airlines required under the ETS. Airline representatives argue that the EU’s increasing tensions with China and India over ETS could cut the EU off from the very markets that are needed to save the region from a stagnating or faltering economy.

Meanwhile, as European leaders continue to push for a global carbon regime, Germany is calling for discussion on further EU carbon emission reductions to be on the agenda for a meeting of EU environment ministers next month. India has warned that it will ban European air carriers from Indian airspace if the EU carries out its promise to sanction Indian airlines over not complying with ETS. Some Indian and Chinese airlines have refused to provide the EU with data on their respective carbon emissions.

The United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is working to devise a global carbon plan that could go into effect ahead of April 2013. If ICAO unveils a plan, the EU has said it would replace its carbon shceme and would instead use the UN’s version.
source:RotorMay 25, 2012