The U.S. House approved legislation to oppose the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, set to go into effect January 1, 2012, and to protect U.S. aircarriers. In 2009, The Air Transport Association of America, along with American, United and Continental have a suit pending before the European Court of Justice (can you believe that?) arguing the “unilateral imposition of emission rules violates international aviation agreements.” You can likely see the cost of that ongoing lawsuit in the price of your airline ticket.
The measure directs the transportation secretary to prohibit U.S. carriers from participating in the program if it is unilaterally imposed. It also tells other federal agencies to take steps necessary to ensure that U.S. carriers are not penalized by the emissions control scheme.
Can there be a single U.S. carrier (or EU or that matter) wanting to voluntarily or by law, be a part of this program? Here is what this boondoggle means:
Under the program, similar to the cap-and-trade concept that President Barack Obama unsuccessfully tried to move through Congress, each airliner is issued permits to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide. They can buy extra credits if they emit more than their allowed limit, or sell credits if they emit less. Payments would be made to the EU country to which they most frequently fly.
The EU says the costs to airlines will be modest and will have minimal impact on passenger fares. The U.S. aviation industry says the cost between 2012 and 2020 could hit $3.1 billion. It says it is unfair that a flight from the United States, for example from Los Angeles, would have to pay for emissions for all parts of flights to Europe, including time spent over the United States and the Atlantic.
“It’s a tax grab by the European Union,” Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., said. “The meter starts running the minute the plane departs from any point in the U.S. until it reaches Europe.”
The U.N. lurks in the wings to tax the skies. And fossil fuels. And Land. And Currency. It’s called the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (UNMDG). Maybe the EU is the forerunner for these one-world taxes.