Skip to content

U.S. Lawmakers Seek To Bar Airlines From EU Carbon Program

Members of the House of Representatives are seeking to keep U.S. airlines from being part of the European Union’s cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers today introduced a bill to bar U.S. carriers from participating in the EU’s efforts next year. The program, aimed at emissions such as carbon dioxide that are linked to climate change, would cost U.S. carriers $1.3 billion in its first year and may top $3.5 billion, Representative John Mica, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman, told reporters in Washington.

The EU plan is a “cash grab,” said Mica, a Florida Republican.

Starting next year, international airlines will have to account for emissions on flights to and from EU airports, and offset that amount with carbon permits from the bloc’s exchange. The EU will give airlines free allowances in 2012 for 82 percent of their historic emissions, with 15 percent auctioned and the remaining 3 percent held in a special reserve.

“The European Union plans to unilaterally thrust an emissions trading scheme upon U.S. airlines in violation of international agreements and laws,” said Representative Nick Rahall of West Virginia, the top Democrat on the committee.

The EU trading program is “a shell game,” Rahall said, because “no one can say with certainty that the money will be used for its intended purpose.”

The bill would direct the U.S. Transportation secretary to prohibit carriers from participating in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme. U.S. officials also would be instructed to negotiate or take action to make sure the carriers aren’t penalized by the EU plan.

Full story