Two weeks after EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard announced that the European Union is “stopping the clock” on the Emissions Trading Scheme, President Obama ratified S. 1956, a law prohibiting U.S. carriers from participating in the EU ETS. In an official statement, the U.S. government reiterated its goal to “pursue a worldwide approach to address aircraft emissions,” instead of a unilateral approach.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed its own version of the “European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011” in mid-November, two months after the U.S. Senate unanimously passed Bill S. 1956. Representatives from the House acknowledged the EU’s change in stance, but said they needed to pass the bill anyway.
“Fortunately, EU leaders who have promoted imposing an unjust tax on international aviation have temporarily backed off the emissions tax proposal,” John Mica (R-Fla.) said in a statement. “The proposal must not be allowed to resurface in one year like a phoenix rising again from the ashes. We must ensure U.S. operators, airlines and consumers are not stuck with a future unfair tax burden.”
After the Senate vote, industry body Airlines for America, expressed its support of the bill. In a statement, Nicholas E. Calio, A4A’s president and CEO, said the House’s move sends a clear message that the EU ETS violates the sovereignty of the U.S. “There is a better way to improve the environmental efficiency of the airline industry, and U.S.-based carriers are already leading those efforts,” he said.
In announcing that the EU will conditionally freeze its emissions trading scheme for one year, EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said she is seeking to create “a positive atmosphere” for global talks concerning aircraft emissions management. In a press release, Hedegaard said seeking a global approach to sustainability has been the EU’s goal since day one.
“Nobody wants an international framework tackling CO2-emissions from aviation more than we do. Our EU legislation is not standing in the way of this,” Hedegaard said in a statement.