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U.S. airlines vow to continue EU ETS fight

Oct. 12, London — The US airline industry has vowed to continue with a lawsuit challenging its inclusion in the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS), despite countries agreeing a global climate deal for aviation last week.


October 12, 2010
By Argus Media

Oct. 12, London — The US airline industry has vowed to continue with a lawsuit challenging its inclusion in the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS), despite countries agreeing a global climate deal for aviation last week.

The landmark agreement on aviation and climate change was reached late on 8 October at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) general assembly in Montreal, Canada. It prompted the European Commission to argue that it is now free to press ahead with incorporating aviation into the EU ETS from 2012. Under the EU's proposals, all fights in to and out of the EU will be covered by the scheme.

US airline lobby group the Air Transport Association of America (ATA) insists that its legal challenge against the EU's plans will continue. The lawsuit, which was initially filed in the UK, is now under consideration by the European Court of Justice.

“We had hoped that an agreement at the ICAO would obviate the need for our legal challenge,” ATA chief executive James May said. “The Europeans' resolve to ignore international law and key aspects of the new ICAO assembly resolution only strengthens our resolve to fight in favour of them.”

ICAO member countries have agreed under the deal to work towards a medium-term aspirational goal of capping carbon emissions from international aviation from 2020, as well as a global framework for market-based measures such as emissions trading by 2013.

The European Commission said the agreement avoids language that would make aviation's inclusion in the EU ETS dependent on the mutual agreement of other ICAO member countries. The commission also said the EU ETS conforms to a set of guiding principles for market-based mechanisms that have also been laid out in the new ICAO agreement.

But the ATA questions the commission's interpretation. “Measures such as the EU ETS and the proliferation of emissions levies in the UK, Germany and elsewhere run afoul of these principles,” May said.


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