Airlines for America (A4A), the trade group for U.S. airlines, reports it has ended its private lawsuit against the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and urged the Obama administration to accelerate its work to reverse what it believes is a unilateral tax.
“Our legal action was critical in bringing to light that the EU ETS violates international law and is an exorbitant money grab, which are now key points in the governments’ unified opposition to the scheme,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “There is a clear path for the United States to force the EU to halt the scheme and protect U.S. sovereignty, American consumers, jobs and international law.”
The EU ETS has been met by sharp opposition from world governments and international aviation.
A4A said its members remain "steadfastly opposed to the application of this cap-and-trade tax scheme to U.S. airlines and aircraft operators, and are committed to seeing it overturned."
A4A said it has long maintained that world governments, as signatories to the Chicago Convention, are best positioned to enforce international laws and obligations and drive to a global solution within the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
ICAO, says A4A, has authority to address violations of the Chicago Convention under Article 84 of that treaty, and also is working to complete the global framework for aviation greenhouse gas emissions provisionally agreed at its 2010 Assembly.
The EU says its Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is a cornerstone of the European Union's policy to combat climate change and its key tool for reducing industrial greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively. Critics call it a power grab and a costly tax on the productive economy.
A4A said its member airlines are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and, with fuel-efficiency improvements saving over 3.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide since 1978, have a strong record of improvement.
A4A maintains that the unilateral and extraterritorial approach taken under the EU ETS not only violates international law, but imposes costly policies that siphon away funds the airlines need to continue to invest in technology, operations and infrastructure improvements that bring real environmental benefit.