EU Emissions Proposal Alarms U.S., Airlines

The European Union's plan to include all airlines flying in its territory in its emissions-trading system is enraging the U.S., but is finding acceptance as the least bad alternative from the industry, the Wall Street Journal reports. The European Commission said it will publish its plan, which it says is crucial to fighting global warming, by year end. Although jets account for only 2% of carbon-dioxide emissions, commission officials warn that airline emissions are on the rise as air travel booms. If accepted by the European Parliament and national governments, the plan would force airlines to monitor their pollution from 2010 and cap their emissions from 2011, according to reports citing a draft proposal. Capping jet emissions will provoke some serious opposition, particularly outside Europe. The U.S. has slammed Europe's unilateral move, which it says will hurt U.S. airlines. Given the choice, the aviation industry has said it prefers emissions credits to an expensive kerosene tax or a flat per-passenger fee—both alternatives that have been discussed and rejected. Climate change is fast becoming a global political priority amid rising fears about its economic repercussions.

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