U.S.-E.U. Showdown Over Airline Emissions Begins

"If European lawmakers have their way, by next year any American flying from Boston to Paris will have to pay for the plane's carbon emissions over Massachusetts, Nova Scotia, the Atlantic Ocean and France.

A case before the highest court in the European Union to decide the matter starts [Wednesday]. At stake is this question: Can Europe's climate policy reach the tailpipes of planes flying to and from the continent, even when that plane is over other parts of the world?

Europe believes that under its cap-and-trade policy, the Emissions Trading System or ETS, the answer is yes. To U.S. airline operators and those in many other countries, the answer is no. American, United and Continental airlines, along with the Air Transport Association of America, filed legal action in the United Kingdom in 2009.

Arguments in the case begin [Wednesday] before the European Court of Justice. Observers expect judges to issue a ruling by winter.

Airlines are not currently covered under the European scheme. But the policy says that airlines landing or taking off in Europe will join the ETS on Jan. 1, 2012."

Saqib Rahim reports for ClimateWire July 5, 2011.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011