WASHINGTON, D.C. – Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today commended President Obama for signing S. 1956, a bipartisan measure that allows the Transportation Secretary to direct U.S. airlines not to participate in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
“With the President’s signature today, the United States has sent an unequivocal signal to the EU and the world that while the illegal and unilaterally-imposed EU ETS is the wrong way to proceed, there is a steadfast commitment to the right way – a global sectoral approach at the international level,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “Working within the framework of the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United States will continue to lead the effort to secure a policy that will meet the twin goals of allowing for industry growth and continuing improvements in fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.”
Earlier this month, the EU announced that it would suspend enforcement of the ETS. While the airline industry and its customers should view this with cautious optimism, the suspension is only temporary, and action from the U.S. government is still needed. Calio also indicated that, to the extent the EU ultimately withdraws its unilateral scheme on international aviation, there is hope that a legal challenge under Article 84 of the Chicago Convention would not be necessary.
U.S.-based carriers have a strong record of fuel efficiency improvements and emissions reductions and are employing operational measures and making critical investments in alternative fuel research and fuel-efficient aircraft to continue that trend. In 2011, the U.S. airlines moved passengers and cargo more than twice as far on a single gallon of fuel than they did in 1978, resulting in reduced CO2 emissions by roughly the equivalent to taking 22 million cars off the road in each of the intervening years.