Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Opposing Sides Dig in Rhetorically on EU ETS

Sandwiched between yesterday's announcement of benchmark values for ETS emissions allowances and tomorrow's meeting in New Delhi for ETS objectors, proponents and opponents of the scheme restated their positions today. IATA Director General Tony Tyler, speaking at the Greener Skies conference in Hong Kong, advocated what has also been U.S. thinking on the matter in saying that airlines would support reducing emissions through continued investment in fuel efficient aircraft, biofuels and improved air traffic management systems, and that airlines might be amenable to a global trading scheme, but were opposed to the EU's regional plan. See Christopher Hinton, Airlines Back 'Cap and Trade' Just Not the EU's, MarketWatch, Sept. 27, 2011 (available here). Meanwhile, Jos Delbeke, Director General of the EC's Climate Action directorate, told reporters in Brussels that the EU preferred a global solution to its current plan, but lack of progress on a global emissions scheme (notable at ICAO) had motivated the EU to take unilateral action. See Pallavi Aiyar, Fasten Your Seatbelts, Says Brussels, Business Standard, Sept. 27, 2011 (available here). As Brian F. Havel and Gabriel S. Sanchez acknowledge in their forthcoming article Toward a Global Aviation Emissions Agreement (available here), a unified global emissions agreement is infeasible in the near future, so the EU is not off base in its concern that waiting for a uniform global agreement is at best naive and at worst a stalling tactic. Though, as Havel and Sanchez also argue, the EU's unilateral application of its emissions rules to non-EU airlines operating outside of EU airspace may be no more viable a solution as it is at odds with the Chicago Convention and may not survive the legal challenge by American carriers in the European Court of Justice. Expect more statements opposing the ETS over the next two days from the participants in the New Delhi meetings. Neither side is likely to soften its stance before the ECJ ruling, expected next month.


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