House to vote on bill that tries to move us closer to a trade war with the EU over aviation's carbon pollution: bill should be rejected
“The Secretary of Transportation shall prohibit an operator of a civil aircraft of the United States from participating in any emissions trading scheme unilaterally established by the European Union…The Secretary of Transportation, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, and other appropriate officials of the United States Government shall 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.”
- The European’s waited 15 years for a global solution which never materialized so they acted. For almost 15 years the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) – the U.N. body tasked with coordinating international aviation – has failed to come up with mandatory global actions to significantly reduce aviation’s carbon pollution. After this failure, Europe took the reasonable step of passing a law to require carbon pollution reductions from flights that use European airports. The Europeans tried to get a global solution, but a global solution never materialized.
- European program is legal. Independent assessments have concluded that the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation in the EU’s program: “is consistent with all relevant international provisions and therefore permissible under international law”. In fact, a preliminary court finding from the EU courts has found that the law is legal.
- The EU program will not lead to massive price increases and will not have huge impacts on airline travel and the airline industry. When the European’s had this system independently evaluated they found that the program would add a mere $11-57 to a roundtrip ticket – less for shorter flights. On a ticket that easily costs $800-1400 this is a very marginal price change. In fact, it is about the same as the price that airlines charge per checked bag on a domestic flight in the US – which is typically $20 per bag. Instead the E.U. program will provide an incentive for airlines to find the best way to reduce their fuel use and encourage them to purchase the most efficient aircraft that are already rolling off the production line. These are investments that will spur savings to American consumers as US-based carriers improve the efficiency of their aged fleet.
- US companies are already competing to produce better airplanes. US-based aircraft and engine manufacturers are already making strides to produce more efficient airplanes. Boeing and Pratt & Whitney tout the fuel saving benefits of their aircraft and engines.
- The European program regulates only carriers that use their airports. They aren’t applying an arbitrary program targeted at the US or one that is different for flights from another country. Their program applies the same standard for all flights that land at and take-off from European airports – regardless of where that flight takes off. Indeed the EU program allows completely exempts foreign carriers whose own governments take any comparable measures. But rather than clean up carbon pollution here at home, the House wants to prohibit American carriers from complying with other countries’ laws.