Green War in the Skies: US Airlines vs. EU Emissions Law
US airlines fume as the EU announces it will begin charging for planes’ greenhouse gas emissions.
Planes flying over the North Atlantic, where the Arctic and Caribbean air currents collide, are generally accustomed to heavy turbulence. But there is something new happening in that airspace that is creating profound turbulence on the ground: The EU is now counting those planes’ greenhouse gas emissions. The aviation industry is about to be added to the thousands of industrial sites subject to the emission limits of the Kyoto Protocol.
For the first time, U.S. and other foreign airlines will be asked to pay for their contribution to climate change, shaking up the globally intertwined aviation industry like never before, and threatening a trade war in the skies. American air carriers are fighting back. Led by three U.S. airlines – United, Continental and American, as well as the Air Transport Association – they have filed a legal challenge at the European Court of Justice to Europe’s efforts to slow the contribution of airplanes to climate change. An initial opinion on the case by the court’s top judge will be issued tomorrow; a final decision is expected early next year.
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