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Aviation Airtravel

Published on June 27th, 2011 | by Susan Kraemer

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Obama Administration Mounts Late Resistance to EU Airline Carbon Tax

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June 27th, 2011 by  


The world has had plenty of warning that the EU was going to require that all aircraft landing in Europe have lower CO2 levels by 2012, or pay harsh greenhouse gas fines.

The tough new rule was first announced back in 2008, and, because Europe – unlike America – has a bribery-free government; the law has not been rescinded by oil-company shills in their parliament. “The EU does not intend to withdraw or amend the…directive. It is established EU law,” an EU official told Reuters, according to CNET.

But now, just 6 months before the deadline for the draconian new rule to take effect, both the US and China are crying foul.

The rule requires all airlines flying to Europe after January 1st, 2012 to be included in the ETS (Europe’s Cap and Trade: European Trading Scheme), a system that forces polluters to buy permits for each metric ton of carbon dioxide they emit above a certain cap. The idea is that with a price to pay (necessity being the mother of invention) companies will then have a motivation to find ways to reduce the greenhouse gases that threaten the future of our civilization by destabilizing the global climate and resulting ecosystem.

Within the next six months, the measure amounts to a carbon tax at the border. China alone would have to pay $123 million in the first year in pollution charges. That amount will triple by 2020. This surely puts a carbon tax not just on air travel, but also on Chinese-made goods air-freighted in to European consumers.

It is rather ironic that it is during the Obama administration that this tough European carbon tax is being carried out. The previous administration was much more unfriendly to sensible climate change prevention than the current one.

But, with the passage of time, it is the current administration that is belatedly putting up a show of a fight against the implementation of a law that – if it had the Senate and House  it might wish it had – mirrors the kind of sensible law it might have been able to pass, itself.

Perhaps that is why the resistance is so lacking in passion. “The demand we made is that the ETS should not apply to U.S. carriers. We did not talk about how that might be done,” a U.S. official told Reuters.

Most four-year-olds negotiating extended bedtimes could be more persuasive.

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



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