The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), along with a coalition of industry groups, has sent a letter to two top government officials requesting that the Obama administration take further action to oppose the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), a carbon-trading tax that weighs especially heavy on business aviation.
The coalition’s letter, sent July 30, comes as representatives from a number of countries meet in the U.S. this week to coordinate on further action to oppose the implementation of the carbon-trading scheme.
In the letter, sent to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the coalition wrote, “We are pleased that the U.S. government is taking the initiative to host a meeting of countries that are opposed to the unilateral imposition of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) to international aviation. We are hopeful that the July 31-Aug. 1 meeting will provide further impetus for withdrawal of the unlawful EU scheme and for going forward with the global framework for aviation and climate change provisionally agreed at the 2010 Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).”
The EU-ETS is a tax on aircraft emissions which applies for the entire duration of any flight into the EU. Therefore, a flight departing Los Angeles en route to the EU would pay a carbon tax even on the portion of the trip flown in U.S. airspace. Equally troubling, the EU's scheme is discriminatory because businesses that utilize general aviation do not benefit for carbon offsets, as they are by design meant to benefit “commercial” flights. NBAA and the other organizations signing the letter have continuously raised these and other concerns about the EU-ETS with administration officials and members of Congress.
“As you recognized in your Dec. 11, 2011 letter to EU officials, the U.S. aviation industry has a strong record of fuel-efficiency improvements and GHG emissions savings,” the coalition’s letter continues. “And 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 target.”
In their letter, NBAA and the other organizations urged the administration to file suit against the European Union under Article 84 of the Chicago Convention, which governs worldwide civil aviation.
“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 letter concluded. “We appreciate Congress’ action and support and trust that it will give the Administration further impetus for action.”
In addition to NBAA, coalition members include: Aerospace Industries Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Air Line Pilots Association, Airlines for America, Airports Council International - North America, American Society of Travel Agents, Cargo Airline Association, Consumer Travel Alliance, Interactive Travel Services Association, International Brotherhood of Teamsters – Airline Division, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, National Air Carrier Association, National Air Transportation Association and Regional Airline Association.
The groups’ letter was sent as the U.S. Senate took further action this week to oppose the EU-ETS. Today, the Senate Commerce Committee approved by voice vote a bill (S.1956) offered by Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to “prohibit operators of civil aircraft of the United States from participating in the European Union’s emissions trading scheme…”
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen welcomed the committee’s bipartisan support for the measure, which was first introduced last year. “The business aviation community applauds Senators Thune and McCaskill for co-sponsoring this legislation, and we thank the committee members who supported it,” Bolen said. “The vote sends a strong, unified signal to EU officials that the carbon-trading scheme just won’t stand. We look forward to working with all supporters of the measure as it continues through the legislative process.”