Tension Escalates on Both Sides of the Atlantic with EU Airline Emission Targets

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Tension between the European Union and American airline companies will continue to escalate, warns UK-based carbon credit information portal ( As the US House of Representatives adopted a bill excluding US airlines from the EU ETS, the road to a much needed resolution to the aviation emissions dispute will become even longer.

A few days ago, the US House of Representatives voted to allow airline companies to ignore the EU’s regulation on including airline emissions in its “cap and trade” system and carbon credit market , as reported by EUobserver. According to invezz, an investment portal, operated by green investments media Dezz, a solution between the United States and the European Union will have to be reached soon as the current impasse will have grave consequences both for the airline industry and the millions of passengers flying over the Atlantic with the approach of January 2012 when the EU measure is intended to take effect.

The background of the current situation is quite complex, as both sides of the airline emissions conflict have compelling arguments. examines in detail the two conflicting points of view – the EU’s striving to reduce the global environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation sector, as opposed by the doubts of American airlines toward the right of a regional body to impose financial obligations and restrictions on an international scale by adopting unilateral decisions.

The EU Emissions trading system (EU ETS) is currently the most integrated carbon credit market, as it now comprises a total of 30 countries – the 27 EU Member States and the other EEA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It operates on the basis of the cap-and-trade principle, as industries receive emission allowances within the “cap”. As defined by the European Commission, the inclusion of the airline industry in the EU ETS means that airlines will receive a number of allowances covering a level of CO2 emissions from their flights per year. After each year operators will have to surrender a number of allowances equal to their actual emissions in that year. The condition that this requirement does not refer only to EU-based airlines, but to all companies flying to and from airports located in Europe, provoked the discontent of international airlines and governments alike.

The conflict escalated as earlier in October 2011, the German advocate general of the European Court of Justice, Juliane Kokott, declared the EU’s directive to be compatible with international law. The legal opinion followed the decision of the American Air Transport Association (ATA) and three of its individual members to file a lawsuit against the application of the EU ETS to international aviation. Even though this statement is not a verdict, it is not uncommon for the Court’s final decision to confirm such preliminary opinions.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the countermeasure was the proposed bill giving airline companies the right not to buy carbon credit units when flying in and out of the EU, and if adopted, it will further complicate the situation.

Therefore, focuses on the possible outcomes of the controversial US bill, should it pass through the US Senate and receive President Obama’s approval, and in particular, how the US-EU aviation emissions conflict will affect American airline companies from 2012.

Furthermore, comments on the lack of international agreement so far in the field of airline industry emissions reduction, which led to the EU’s decision to include the aviation sector in its emissions trading system as well as on the effect that the American-European dispute might have on the forthcoming climate talks in Durban.

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About Dezz (
Dezz is a UK-based boutique digital media company providing original and reliable up-to-date information in the area of carbon credit trading and sustainable investments to large investment company decision makers, NGOs and to eco-minded individuals.

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John Adam
Dezz Limited
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