Friday

14th May 2021

US seeks to block EU aviation carbon tax

The US congress is preparing to vote in a new law that would make it illegal for US carriers to pay into the EU's carbon aviation tax scheme.

A senate committee gave the measure, already approved by the House of Representatives, a green light on Tuesday (31 July).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • US congress is set to outlaw US airlines to pay into the EU’s emissions trading system (Photo: shugfy)

The EU emissions trading system (ETS), which puts a price on carbon, applies to all foreign airlines operating in Europe except on those arriving from countries with similar schemes. The aim, says the European Commission, is to help EU member states reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight global climate change.

But detractors claim the levy is unfair and would pre-empt countries around the world to impose similar schemes, creating a patchwork system of different policies and taxes.

"If the EU can go and impose their own system around the world in this way, there's nothing to say that five or 10 or 20 other countries wouldn't do the same thing," one senior US official on Monday (30 July) told reporters.

The move comes on the heels of a 16 non-European nation meeting in Washington DC opposed to the EU scheme.

The two-day meeting, which started Tuesday, will explore whether there might be a basis for a global solution to address greenhouse gas emissions from aviation under the UN’s aviation body, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

ICAO has for the past dozen years attempted through international negotiations to address the carbon pollution issue but has yet to adopt any standards or policies to control the emissions.

EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard wrote on Twitter on Monday that the "EU is eagerly waiting for countries meeting in DC to come up with CONCRETE proposals for SUBSTANTIAL aviation emissions reductions."

Meanwhile, environmental groups based in the US, such as Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, Sierra Club and others, are urging US senators to support the EU scheme.

"Left uncontrolled, aviation's carbon pollution is predicted to almost double by 2025 and quadruple by 2050, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization," wrote the NGOs in a letter addressed to US senators on 26 July.

The groups claim the EU carbon aviation tax will motivate airlines to deploy new operational procedures and technologies that are already in production.

The groups also argue if Congress passes the law forbidding US companies doing business in another country from complying with that country's enacted laws, other nations' legislatures may use the same tactic regarding US statutes they find objectionable.

ETS was partially activated in January when the European Commission's union registry was launched. The registry tracks emission allowances issued under the EU ETS and keeps track of the ownership.

Some 181 million aviation allowances will be handed out to airlines for free in 2012.

Brussels moves to tackle slumped carbon market

The European Commission on Wednesday announced short-term plans to bolster the carbon Emissions Trading Scheme, its flagship environment project undermined by rock bottom carbon prices.

Kerry resets climate relations before Glasgow summit

John Kerry, the US special presidential envoy, was in Brussels to discuss how to tackle climate change with the European Commission. His appearance also marked a major shift in relations after the previous US administration under Donald Trump.

Commission: Pioneering Nordics' energy mix 'example' to EU

The Nordic electricity market is an example of successful market integration plus climate action, as the share of sustainable energy keeps growing, the European Commission said. However, the decarbonisation of the transport sector remains a challenge.

Investigation

How Energy Treaty 'shadow' courts prolong EU's fossil age

The treaty enables companies to claim billions in compensation from states in front of international arbitration tribunals, if they feel unfairly treated by the states' energy or climate policies.

News in Brief

  1. No EUobserver newsletter on Friday 14 May
  2. Germany stops Facebook gathering WhatsApp data
  3. Italy rebuts reports of EU deal with Libya
  4. MEPs demand EU states protect women's reproductive rights
  5. At least nine dead in Russia school shooting
  6. Bulgaria interim government appointed until July election
  7. German priests defy pope to bless same-sex couples
  8. New EU public prosecutor faults Slovenia

EU faces long wait for full vaccine supplies

The EU is still several months away from having enough vaccines to inoculate its 450 million people, with Pfizer and BioNTech, its principle suppliers, aiming for September for delivery targets.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU aims at 'zero pollution' in air, water and soil by 2050
  2. French police arrest Luxembourg former top spy
  3. Vaccine drives spur better-than-expected EU economic recovery
  4. Slovenia causing headaches for new EU anti-graft office
  5. 'No place to hide' in Gaza, as fighting escalates
  6. EU chases 90m AstraZeneca vaccines in fresh legal battle
  7. Fidesz MEP oversees FOI appeals on disgraced Fidesz MEP
  8. Belgium outlines summer Covid relaxation plans

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us