US challenge of EU’s ETS moves to the next level

Washington DC
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The English High Court today gave the US Air Transport Association of America (ATA) permission to take its legal challenge of the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS) to the European Court of Justice.

ATA and three of its members - American, Continental and United - in December 2009 formally filed a lawsuit challenging aviation's inclusion in the EU's ETS from 2012.

"The unilateral extension of the EU ETS to international aviation is contrary to international law both as an extraterritorial action and an improper tax or charge. It also clearly stands in the way of an appropriate and effective global solution," says ATA Vice President, Environmental Affairs, Nancy Young.

American, Continental and United filed the lawsuit in the UK since it is the country responsible for overseeing their ETS compliance.

ICAO is in the midst of creating a framework on global market based measures as part of its overall draft resolution on climate change it plans to present to its 190 member states at its 37th General Assembly in September.

No decision was taken in 2010 during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, giving ICAO more time to work on its proposals for the next UNFCCC meeting later this year.

The backbone of ICAO's climate change scheme is a 2% fuel efficiency reduction through 2020 with an aspirational goal of continuing that 2% benchmark through 2050.

ICAO has recently said it would examine more ambitious goals, including carbon neutral growth and moving beyond the 2% target in fuel efficiency.