AIR FLIGHT EMISSIONS WAR HEATS UP
Most people in the U.S. seem unaware of the deep hostility there is in the EU toward them over greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures (and the U.S. failure to legislate any mandatory controls).
Another aspect of the controversy is emerging in an airlines war. Last year, the U.S. and the EU concluded an Open Skies agreement allowing essentially unencumbered flight between destinations. Since then, more definitive data about global climate change has emerged suggesting the problem is worse than thought, the EU has moved forward more aggressively with emissions reductions and it is growing impatient with the U.S. for not joining in.
Mark Lynas, author of National Geographic’s Six Degrees Could Change the World, recently said that after the Iraq War, climate change is the issue Europeans are most resentlful toward the U.S. about.
Jacques Barrot, EU transport commissioner, seems determined to at least make U.S. airlines as responsible as EU airlines will be required to be after 2012. Barrot says he will require all airlines flying into EU destinations to purchase credits offsetting airliner emissions. He says he will reduce U.S. flights into Europe if the airlines refuse to comply.
Why is Barrot taking a hard line? It seems he has been advised by a U.S. insider that things will soon be different: "He told me that attitudes are changing. Particularly with Bush and Cheney gone, there is a real hope of things moving on. The new administration will be under pressure to take new measures."
It doesn't take a scientist to understand - air flight generates worse emissions than a Hummer. (click to enlarge)
US told to go green on carbon emissions or lose EU flights
Dan Milmo, March 15, 2008 (UK Guardian)
US airlines; Jacques Barrot, transport commissioner, EU Commission; International Air Transport Association (IATA); Ruth Kelly, UK transport secretary; UN International Civil Aviation Organisation (UN ICAO)
Air travel takes manmade spew to new heights. (click to enlarge)
Barrot wants to rewrite the terms of the Open Skies treaty between the EU and the U.S. and require U.S. airlines pay for their emissions or cut their flights to Europe. Barrot also does not want to provide security data required by the U.S. government.
- The treaty takes effect March 30, 2008. The next phase of the EU emissions reduction measures begins in 2012 and EU airlines will be required at that time to pay for emissions. Barrot wants U.S. airlines to do the same.
- Official EU action may be as early as 2010 though flight restrictions won’t come before 2012.
click to enlarge
- The present agreement allows open flights and competition between U.S. and EU airports.
- All airlines flying in and out of EU airports are required to pay for emissions according to the EU emissions reduction plan.
- The extra cost of emissions for flights into European airports could be as much as £13 ($26.10) /ticket. There would be a significant competitive advantage if U.S. airlines are allowed to avoid the charge while EU airlines are required to cover it.
- Barrot says the EU transport commission would cut back on U.S. flights to restore competition.
- The IATA says 170 nations in the world who oppose the EU requirement. The EU sees the issue as a way to leverage greater worldwide participation in emissions reduction efforts.
- UK transport secretary Ruth Kelly accused the UN ICAO of failing to create a universal framework to resolve this conflict.
There is variation in calculations of emissions and emission costs, which means there is room to negotiate. We need to talk. (click to enlarge)
- Barrot, on what the EU might do if U.S. airlines refuse to pay the emissions charges: "It's always possible to imagine reducing the number of flights or suspending certain rights…"
- Barrot, on security data demanded from EU airlines by the U.S. on international passengers: "Any demand has to be a proportionate response to existing security problems."