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Wed, Aug 01, 2012

Aviation And Commerce Groups Oppose European ETS In Letter To Officials

Emphasize They Are "Fully Committed" To ICAO Solution To Emissions Issue

No fewer than 19 aviation industry and commerce organizations have sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood again expressing their opposition to the European Emissions Trading System unilaterally imposed by the EU in January. The letter was sent in advance of a two-day meeting of countries opposed to the emissions plan in Washington, D.C. held July 31-August 1.

In the letter, the groups said "we remain fully committed to the global aviation industry proposal for aviation GHG emissions under ICAO, which includes an aggressive set of measures and emissions targets. In fact, progress is being made under the global framework. Many countries reportedly have filed aviation and climate Action Plans with ICAO, and ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection just reached a significant milestone in its work to craft a carbon dioxide standard for aircraft, having agreed on the “metric system” on which the standard will be based."

The groups urged the Obama administration to file an action under Article 84 of the Chicago Convention, and to take all other action necessary to overturn this wrongful scheme. "There is strong, bipartisan support for ensuring that U.S. passengers, airlines and aircraft operators are not subject to this unlawful scheme, as evidenced by the passage of H.R. 2594 in the House of Representatives and the mark up of S. 1956, the “European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act,” scheduled for July 31 in the Senate."

The state department said that the meeting would not be a "third in the line of the Moscow and Delhi meetings." In a transcript release, the State Department said "The purpose of this meeting is really to try to explore whether there might be a basis for a global solution to addressing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and a global solution that would include the EU and would set aside or would include the setting aside of the ETS as applied to foreign carriers.

"This is going to be an informal set of discussions, I think very much of an exploratory character, where we will be talking with our counterparts about those issues. And we don’t anticipate any deliverable, per se, coming out of the meeting, but we do anticipate, again, having that kind of exploratory discussion to see if we can get on a path that could lead to a global solution that would then be considered in ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organization, which is the multilateral body that properly deals with international aviation, and go from there."

In a blog post, the Environmental Defense Fund asserted that airlines are the "seventh largest planetary polluter," and takes the position that the six dollars per ticket (on average) that compliance with the EU-ETS would cost a passenger is "the same as the cost of a beer on a Delta or United flight," and that most charge many times that for a checked bag. The also pointed out that no European countries were invited to the Washington meeting. The EDF charges that the airlines are attempting to gridlock ICAO with lawsuits so that it will be unable to "work on a serious agreement on climate change."

Reuters reports that in a Tweet posted on Monday, EU climate change commissioner Connie Hedegaard, said "The EU is eagerly waiting for countries meeting in DC to come up with CONCRETE proposals for SUBSTANTIAL aviation emissions reductions." (emphasis theirs)

FMI: www.state.gov, www.dot.gov. www.edf.org

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