On November 27th Obama signed a bill that protects American airline companies from paying a carbon tax for each tonne they emit when flying into and out of Europe. The bill is an intricate piece of legislation as it allows the American transportation secretary the power to protect US airlines from obeying the laws of the EU ETS. The US Senate passed the bill even with the recent decision of Connie Hedegaard, EU Climate Commissionaire, to pause all negotiations for an aviation emissions law.
“The Obama administration is firmly committed to reducing harmful carbon pollution from civil aviation both domestically and internationally, but, as we have said on many occasions, the application of the EU ETS to non-EU air carriers is the wrong way to achieve that objective,” stated Clark Stevens, a White House spokesman.
Clark Stevens declared that the Obama administration is focused on making progress toward a global solution to reduce aviation emissions under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the U.N. body that deals with aviation issues.
Negative Economic Results
Airlines for America, the U.S. airline industry’s main lobbying group, praised President Obama for his decision. The lobbying group also favored working through the ICAO to solve this problem. According to estimates made by Airlines of America, complying with the EU law would have cost U.S. airlines $3.1 billion between now and 2020.
“It never made a bit of sense for European governments to tax our citizens for flying over our own airspace – and with the passage of this law we’ve got the tools we need to prevent it from happening and protect American jobs,” said Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, a co-author of the bill.