Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Congressional Research Service Report Released: Update on Controlling Greenhouse Gases from International Aviation

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), the public policy research arm of Congress, just issued the report Update on Controlling Greenhouse Gases from International Aviation (Nov. 19, 2012). The 10-page report authored by Jane A. Legget discusses the,

European Union’s (EU’s) decision in 2008 to control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international flights under its Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS),effective January 1, 2012, has been contentious among nations, prompting threats of noncompliance and retaliatory trade actions. The U.S. Administration and other national governments have objected to the EU law for intruding on national sovereignty with regard to its application to flight operations outside EU airspace. Strong industry opposition has led both the U.S. House and Senate to pass a bill (S. 1956) that directs the Secretary of Transportation to prohibit U.S. airlines from participating in the EU ETS if he determines that doing so is in the public interest. The EU has refused to eliminate the international aviation provisions but has proposed to suspend enforcement on flights to and from EU countries until September 2013. This “stopping the clock” is intended to allow time for nations to agree on equivalent, global actions under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Details of the proposed EU amendment are not yet available. The EU ETS inclusion of international aviation, the reasons leading to it, its costs, and other aspects are discussed in CRS Report R42392, Aviation and the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme. This report summarizes a few recent developments in the continuing debate over whether and how to address GHG emissions from international aviation.

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