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Congress threatens trade war with Europe over aviation climate policy

The possible passage of HR 2594, the House bill that would make it illegal for US airlines to comply with EU aviation environmental policies, is sparking serious worries about a trade war between the US and Europe.

The cause? A greenhouse gas emissions trading plan that would add about $3 to the price of a ticket from New York to London. To compare, the US charges a September 11 Security Fees that adds $2.50 to the price of a New York—London ticket. (Why is it wrong to charge $3 to fight global climate change, but OK to charge $2.50 to fund post-9/11 airport security theater?)

Writes the BBC:

“Behind the scenes, a growing international row over air travel threatens a new trade war. From 1 January next year, the EU plans to make any airline that wishes to land or take off inside the EU take part in the regional bloc’s emissions trading scheme. This is a first for a sector that, by international agreement, pays no tax on its fuel or its emissions.…IATA says the move is in effect a tax imposed on airline emissions and so may break international conventions…’This is not a tax, it’s a pollution saving,’ says the EU’s Mr Valero. These will be divided up between carriers according to how much pollution their flights caused in 2010. Airlines will get 85% of their permits free, with the remaining 15% being auctioned. Because so many are given away, the EU says the whole scheme will add just over £2 to a London-to-New York flight. If airlines want more, they have to buy them, but equally if they have too many, they can sell them to other carriers.” (source)

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