The US House of Representatives has resumed its attack on the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS) after it passed a bill prohibiting US carriers from taking part in the programme.
The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011 was passed "overwhelmingly" by voice vote, said the House committee on transportation and infrastructure. If passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Barack Obama, the bill would prohibit US airlines from taking part in the scheme, which imposes emissions taxes on carriers flying into and out of the EU.
The bill also instructs US officials to take any action necessary to ensure that US carriers are not penalised by any unilaterally-imposed EU scheme.
"Only through international dialogue will we reach consensus on how to deal with a global challenge, but I am confident that - if our European friends will act in good faith - we will more than rise to the occasion," said Congressman Nick Rahall, one of the representatives who introduced the bill. "For the meanwhile, this bill will protect US airlines and all Americans who rely on them for travel and employment from the unjust effects of the EU's plan."
Two airlines have added their voices to chorus of disapproval surrounding the ETS. Speaking at a parliamentary reception in London, Phee Teik Yeoh, Singapore Airlines' UK general manager, said the best way of tackling emissions from aviation was a scheme that incentivised carriers to "purchase the best aircraft and develop greener solutions and practices", citing its operation of the Airbus A380 as an example.
"We do not believe that the EU's emissions trading scheme is the best way to incentivise improvements," he added. "It is impractical for some economic zones to have an emissions trading scheme for aviation and others not to." Dr Christoph Franz, chairman of Lufthansa Group, also criticised the ETS. Speaking at a press conference unveiling the German carrier's nine-month results, he called for its implementation on 1 January 2012 to be suspended, if agreements with other countries cannot be reached by the end of the year. "European airlines must not become victims of this kind of struggle," he added.
Both carriers called for a global scheme to be hammered out through International Civil Aviation Organization.