Friday, June 1, 2012

DePaul-Beihang Workshop Recap

Last Friday, Beihang University Law School and DePaul University College of Law co-sponsored a half-day workshop on legal and policy issues related to the inclusion of foreign carriers in the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The workshop, which took place at Beihang University in Beijing, China, began with welcoming addresses by Professor Jerold Friedland of DePaul and Dean Long Weiqiu of Beihang. They were followed by opening remarks from Susan Kurland, Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, U.S. Department of Transportation, and Julie Oettinger, Assistant Administrator, Office of Policy, International Affairs and Environment U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Both officials proclaimed the United States' commitment to the goal of aviation emissions reduction, but emphasized that the government's position was that an emissions reduction agreement needed to be negotiated through ICAO.

John Mulligan, IALI's FedEx-United Airlines Resident Research Fellow, delivered the first presentation, a summary of the paper he co-authored with Professor Brian Havel, The Triumph of Politics: Reflections on the Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union Validating the Inclusion of Non-EU Airlines in the Emissions Trading Scheme. The presentation focused on the many unsettled legal questions persisting even after the Court of Justice ruling, and expressed dismay at the inability of international law to help solve what has become a primarily political dispute. His presentation was followed by a discussion period moderated by John Byerly, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Affairs.

The second half of the workshop featured separate presentations by Professor Li Bin, Associate Director of Beihang's Institute of Space Law as well as its Institute of Aviation Law, and Professor Yang Caixia, also of Beihang. Professor Li highlighted a few of the foremost legal issues connected to the dispute and questioned how effective the scheme will be in achieving its aviation emissions reduction goals. Professor Yang discussed the disparate impact the use of 2005 emissions levels as benchmarks might have on States such as China with rapidly growing aviation sectors.

Next week we'll discuss in more detail a few of the more interesting ideas raised at the workshop.

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