Airline Emissions: US Rejects EU Tax

US Secretary of State warns of "appropriate action" over measures

US Secretary of State warns of “appropriate action” over measures

The US has rejected new EU plans to issue an emissions tax on airlines, saying such rulings must go through the international aviation body.

The statement is an attempt to block European Union plans to charge airlines for carbon emissions created by flights to and from all 27 EU countries from 1 January.

Green initiatives

The new levy is part of the EU’s initiative to combat global climate change, and will now subject airlines to the Emissions Trading System. The ETS is used to charge industries that must pay for their CO2 emissions, such as oil refineries, power stations, and steel works.

The additional fees to airlines will only incur if firms “choose to operate a commercial air route” in or out of an EU airport, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided.

Because of this reason and the fact that the new EU regulations infringe “neither the principles of customary international law at issue nor the Open Skies Agrement,” the ECJ ruled on Wednesday that the EU climate change tax is legal.

International reaction

The US, China, and Canada all object to the plan to start levying a carbon emissions tax, as they feel their carriers will lose out heavily.

China estimates that the tax scheme could cost their airlines 95 million euros (£79 million).

Meanwhile, US and Canadian airlines are arguing that the EU charges violate climate change and aviation pacts. Specifically, American carriers say that the taxes violate the Open Skies Agreement, which allows airlines to fly between any EU country and any US city.

The US has government has also intervened in the row, saying that the issue should be dealt with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and that it was “disappointed” by the ECJ ruling.

A spokesperson from the US State Department said that there are “mechanisms” in the ICAO for addressing “the question of greenhouse gas emissions,” and therefore the issue should be settled there.

Though the EU has made it clear that it will not succumb to pressure from outside governments to repeal the tax, the US House of Representatives passed a measure prohibiting carriers from taking part in the scheme.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that he US would take “appropriate action” if the scheme should go through, but left no details on the measures.


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