A bill that could ban US airlines from participating in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has been approved by the US Senate.
The bill would give the US Transportation Secretary the opportunity to order US-based carriers not to participate in the ETS. Current Transport Secretary Ray LaHood, along with President Barack Obama, has been a vocal opponent of the carbon tax.
Airlines for America (A4A), the body representing US airlines, hailed the move. “Congress has spoken — US airlines should not be subjected to this illegal scheme that amounts to little more than a cash grab for the European Union as none of the funds collected are required to be used for environmental purposes,” said A4A President & CEO, Nicholas E. Calio.
The decision piles further pressure on the EU to find a compromise in the ETS row. Non-EU countries argue the tax infringes their sovereignty by charging airlines for their emissions outside EU airspace. China and India have already expressed their unwillingness to comply with the ETS, while several other countries and IATA are urging a global solution led by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Aircraft are believed to be responsible for 3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.