President urged to file UN action to combat perceived threat to US sovereignty and jobs
US aviation groups have called on President Obama to start a UN dispute procedure in a bid to stop the EU charging airlines for emissions during flights in and out of its airports.
A letter signed by 19 bodies, including Airlines for America and the US Chamber of Commerce, urges the President to initiate an Article 84 proceeding in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), ahead of a meeting of the UN agency’s government body next month.
Including international airlines in EU emissions trading system (ETS) has caused a simmering row between nations, with the US, China, India, Russia and others lining up to criticise Brussels over what they see as a contravention of international treaties.
The threat of a potential trade war and tit-for-tat punitive legislation has alarmed the industry and businesses, who fear rising ticket prices or disruptions to routes.
Both ICAO and environmental groups have in the past opposed the idea of launching what would in all likelihood be a very lengthy arbitration process, but the signatories see it as “an appropriate and critical” response to the EU’s legislation.
“If this EU breach of US sovereignty – the imposition of an EU tax on US airlines, aircraft operators and citizens while on the ground in the United States, over our airspace and international waters – goes unanswered, it almost certainly will result in other such schemes affecting a variety of sectors of the US economy,” the letter says.
“In addition, the EU ETS will likely lead to job losses in the aviation, manufacturing and travel industries, which is undesirable under any circumstances, but especially in this time of economic uncertainty.”
The letter supports ICAO’s record of handling Article 84 disputes and advancing new environmental standards. However, it was ICAO’s failure to come up with a suitable worldwide solution to tackling rising emissions in the sector in almost 10 years of negotiations that prompted the EU to introduce a regional solution at the beginning of the year. Four potential options including emissions trading are being discussed with a final proposal due to be put forward next year.
Brussels has so far refused to back down, but has repeatedly said it will remove the legislation should equally stringent global measures be put in place.
The letter – and the potential passage this week of a bill that would effectively ban US airlines from complying with EU ETS – will heap pressure on President Obama ahead of November’s election
While he will be reluctant to start an international dispute with the EU, he will also be keen not to be seen to be kowtowing to a foreign body imposing costs on US businesses.
Originally posted at Aviation industry cranks up pressure on Obama over EU carbon law