US is opposed to the European Union’s plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes

Airplane wing above the clouds

Posted by Neno Duplan

Obama administration is opposed to the European Union’s plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes. Many argue that US is reneging on its commitment to fight global warming.

Under EU law, any airline operating to or from an EU airport after January 1 must participate in the EU’s cap-and-trade system. The U.S. government and U.S. airlines claim the legislation shouldn’t apply to U.S. carriers, arguing the EU lacks jurisdiction over foreign companies outside its borders. Other countries, including China and Russia, also oppose the EU program on sovereignty grounds.

U.S. considers EU new legislation on regulating GHG from aviation sector “the wrong way to pursue the right objective.” The U.S. says Europe should pursue its goals through the United Nations’ aviation agency. EU officials disagree.

US Environmental groups say that U.S. government is helping airlines avoid responsibility.
Air Emissions Battle Key Facts:

• EU launched emissions-trading scheme in 2005, expanding to cover aviation on Jan. 1. Any airline operating at an EU airport is covered.
• U.S. airlines filed suit against the EU law in December 2009, arguing it violates U.S. sovereignty. Case to be heard by top EU court on July 5, 2011.
• U.S. government on June 21 presented its formal objections to EU program.

Environmentalists say the EU’s plan offers the U.S. a way to meet a commitment made by the administration of President Barack Obama in 2009 to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 17% in 2020 from 2005 levels and to help raise $100 billion annually by 2020 to fight global warming.Under the EU plan, 15% of pollution credits for airlines will be auctioned off, potentially raising several hundred million dollars that could go toward the funding target. The other 85% of credits are being given without charge.

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