ATW Editor's Blog

Europe’s pursuit of ETS is not green; it’s a fundraiser

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The more Europe “stands its ground” – its term on aviation emissions taxes, the more ridiculous it looks, not to say downright unstatesmanlike.

As if the whole saga of the European Commission’s unbelievable stance on its emissions trading scheme – EU-ETS – could not get more astonishing, the European parliament’s environment committee said today it would back EC proposals to impose an emissions tax on those parts of long-haul flights that are in European airspace.

What this will achieve, or the logic of it, is very hard to make out. The parliament's own transport and industry committees are against the proposal, fearing – quite rightly – severe international diplomatic retaliation and a potential trade war that would harm the European economy.

The foolhardy move also shows huge disrespect to ICAO and its membership, which is the properly recognized authority for global commercial aviation.

What it also demonstrates is that climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard was insincere when she made her infamous “stop the clock” announcement on ETS, saying she was willing to give ICAO the breathing space to forge an international agreement on aviation emissions. ICAO then accomplished that in September and the entire global aviation community applauded those who worked hard to make it happen, giving public credit to the EC.

As I’ve said before, Hedegaard poked ICAO in the eye with her rebuke of the ICAO MBM agreement so soon after it was made. Europe’s latest move shows the commissioner did not actually believe ICAO would be able to reach an emissions agreement and proves what was likely true all along. The EC’s true interests are not about the environment; they are about filling the treasury.

Discuss this Blog Entry 3

on Jan 31, 2014

Quite true Ms. Walker. I have long referred to the EU ETS as the "EU Emissions Taxing Scam" because it is exactly that. I find it interesting that as long as this argument has been made by the EC, they have yet pointed to anything that they intend to do with the funds that are raised. That leaves one to believe that the funds would not go toward protecting the environment or even building schools & hospitals but rather the coffers of some government agencies.

on Feb 4, 2014

I feel that mrs Hedegaard has a greet problem in understanding aviation policy and strategic .the ICAO have excellent training centres hope they help her to know more so as to be able to take the appropriate decision in aviation issues and to stop opposing the international aviation agreements

on Feb 17, 2014

From the start of the EU ETS, I said it was all about the money and nothing else. Trying to portray the EU of taking the high moral ground did not work.
The economies in Europe are in the dumps with high unemployment and unsustainable pensions and health care and bailing out several of its member countries draining the coffers, this scheme was to make up some of the loses incurred by member countries. China and other countries saw right through it and they were ready to retaliate.
Does the EU REALLY want to reduce emissions, stop local opposition from halting and delaying adding more runways to large airports which will reduce taxi times and holding patterns for landing aircraft and thus reduce emissions.

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