Court of Justice of the European Union "confirmed the validity" of
including aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, effective Jan. 1, 2012. As
part of ETS, all airlines operating to or from EU
airports will be allocated a quota of annual emissions permits for their
flights and will be required to purchase more if they exceed their quotas,
requirements that could pressure carriers to raise ticket prices. According to
various reports, however, carriers would not be charged for most of their
ETS has been opposed by various governments, airlines and
trade associations around the globe, sparking fears of possible trade wars
between Europe and other countries.
U.S. Department of State
deputy assistant secretary for transportation affairs Krishna Urs issued a
statement opposing today's court decision: "We
continue to have strong legal and policy objections to the inclusion of flights
by non-EU air carriers in the EU ETS. We urge the EU to work with its
international partners in the International Civil Aviation Organization to
address the valid concerns that have been raised by the international
renamed from the Air Transport Association, Airlines for America in a U.K.
court argued that ETS infringed on international law and several international
aviation treaties and environmental agreements. The U.K. court referred the
case to the European Court of Justice, which found ETS infringes on "neither the principle of
territoriality nor the sovereignty of third states." It also concluded
uniform application of the scheme to all flights which depart from or arrive at
a European airport is consistent with the provisions of the Open Skies
Agreement designed to prohibit discriminatory treatment between American and
for America stated that "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.
decision does not mark the end of this case, and Airlines for America is
reviewing options to pursue in the English High Court," the association
continued. "In the meantime, Airlines for America members will comply
International Air Transport Association, which estimated the cost of ETS at €900 million in 2012 and €2.8 billion by 2020,
also expressed disappointment. "The success of Europe's plans will depend
on how non-European states view its legal and political acceptability,"
according to an IATA statement. "In this respect, there is growing global
opposition." IATA cited a recent ICAO council resolution supported by 26 countries
(including China, Russia and the United States) that "urged Europe to take
a different approach"; reports that India has "instructed its
airlines not to comply"; and resistance in the United States.
U.S. House of Representatives in October, for example, approved a bill that
would ban U.S. carriers from participating in EU ETS. The bill also calls on
U.S. government officials to "use their authority to conduct international
negotiations and take other actions necessary to ensure that operators of civil
aircraft of the United States are held harmless from any emissions trading
scheme unilaterally established by the European Union."
ETS would require airlines to pay for emissions generated from the entirety of
flights arriving or departing EU airports—including the portions of those
flights not in EU airspace—the House said EU's "extraterritorial action is
inconsistent with long-established international law and practice." The
House bill also suggested that EU's action "undermines ongoing efforts at the International Civil Aviation
Organization to develop a unified, worldwide approach to reducing aircraft
greenhouse gas emissions and has generated unnecessary friction within the
international civil aviation community."
A similar bill introduced this month in the U.S.
Senate has been referred to the commerce, science
and transportation committee.