Airlines drop challenge to EU carbon rules, ask US to intervene
Washington (Platts)--28Mar2012/257 pm EDT/1857 GMT
A trade group representing US airlines withdrew from the UK High Court
late Tuesday a lawsuit that challenged the European Union's aviation carbon
The decision by Airlines 4 America, which represents US commercial
airlines, ended, at least for now, litigation over the EU Emissions Trading
System for aviation, which went into effect January 1.
Now, A4A CEO Nicholas Calio said the US should bring a formal claim
against the EU ETS in the International Civil Aviation Organization, the
international body that oversees aviation issues.
"There is a clear path for the United States to force the EU to halt the
scheme and protect US sovereignty, American consumers, jobs and
international law," Calio said in a statement.
Although the aviation portion of the ETS began this year, airlines will
not be required to pay for emissions allowances until 2013. But if no
compromise is found before then, observers, including the US airline industry
and the Environmental Defense Fund, have warned the ETS dispute could bloom
into a trade war.
Supporters of the EU carbon regulations, including EDF, said airlines
withdrew their suit because they had already lost two earlier rounds of the
litigation and did not want to lose a third time.
"Although we are pleased this avoids a pointless legal challenge in the
UK, it is disappointing that US airlines are refusing to accept the ECJ
ruling, and may simply be moving the battlefield elsewhere," EDF said in a
In a US House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure
meeting Wednesday, A4A Vice President for Environmental Affairs Nancy Young
pressed US lawmakers to challenge the EU carbon regulations at ICAO under
Article 84 of the Chicago Convention on international aviation.
"In our view, that's necessary to get the EU member states to the table,"
If ETS opponents were to win such a challenge, EU nations would face the
loss of voting rights at ICAO and their airplanes could be denied the right
to operate in the airspace of other ICAO nations.
But ICAO will have to weigh the same legal arguments as EU courts, which
have repeatedly upheld the aviation ETS, Annie Petsonk, international counsel
for EDF, said Wednesday in an interview. "Procedurally it's different, but
the legal arguments are the same," she said.
And even if the EU loses a vote at ICAO, it can appeal to the
International Court of Justice, which likely will take into account decisions
by the EU courts, Petsonk said.
--Keith Chu, firstname.lastname@example.org