Letter To The President Calls For An 'Article 84' Proceeding With The ICAO
A group of 19 aviation organizations has sent a letter to President Obama calling for him to take legal action against the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS). The groups include airline, business aviation, general aviation, and sport aviation associations ... the so-called "letter groups."
In the letter dated September 17, the coalition asks Obama to file an “Article 84” proceeding with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), to challenge the EU's inclusion of international aviation operations in its regulation on carbon emissions, arguing that only ICAO has the authority to regulate such matters on a global scale. Article 84 of the Chicago Convention allows the ICAO to resolve aviation-related disputes among member states if prior attempts at reconciliation prove futile.
“Standing up against the application of this unilateral scheme on U.S. airlines and general aviation aircraft operators is necessary to protect U.S. sovereignty and jobs,” the letter states. “The United States must answer, and an Article 84 action is an appropriate and critical part of that answer.”
Under EU-ETS, carbon credits would be available to be bought, sold and traded on the open market.
The aviation industry has opposed the proposal because it has been developed as a unilateral, regional dictate that does not promote harmonization, and instead sets in motion a patchwork of separate and potentially conflicting regulations. Additionally, the EU-ETS violates international agreements and U.S. sovereignty by taxing emissions on even the portion of flights to the EU that take place over U.S. airspace. Finally, the proposal does not demonstrably advance environmental objectives, because revenues collected through the scheme are not required to be invested in emission-abatement initiatives.
The coalition’s letter to Obama notes the industry’s ongoing concern about aircraft emissions, and the important work being done, appropriately, through ICAO to develop a global approach to emissions policy. "Our organizations continue to support the global framework for addressing aviation greenhouse gas emissions as agreed to at the 2010 ICAO Assembly," the letter states. "Work is going on now to further flesh out that agreement and to put it into operation. However, the EU-ETS has been a roadblock to reaching full agreement and it must be removed."
The coalition’s letter comes amidst significant government and industry activity on the EU-ETS. In June, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that “as badly as commercial airlines are treated, non-commercial aviation is treated even worse” under EU-ETS, and appealed to Senators to support legislation barring U.S. participation in the scheme.
Also recently, China has threatened to pull orders for Airbus commercial airliners if the EU takes action against Chinese operators, prompting representatives from the four partner nations of the Airbus consortium to ask for suspension of the international provisions under EU-ETS.