The European Union expanded its Emissions Trading Scheme to cover all airlines, including non-European airlines on Jan. 1, 2012. The EU will now levy an emissions tax on all flights to and from the EU.
U.S. passengers will now have to pay a tax for the entirety of their flight, not just the portion over EU airspace, which will raise flight costs. World governments are accusing the EU of assaulting their sovereignty. The ETS was launched in 2005 as a means of fighting climate change. Many countries, including China, India, Russia, Japan, and Brazil have resisted the scheme, reports The Daily Caller
South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune told the Senate, “The unilateral imposition of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme is a violation and is hurting U.S. airlines, manufacturers, and consumers.” His office issued a press release stating that the tax will cost U.S. airlines and passengers $3.1 billion dollars between 2012 and 2020.
In hopes of preventing the EU from levying a tax on flights traveling through U.S. airspace, Thune introduced the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011. The bill currently sits idly in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
The airline industry has also come out in opposition to the tax. Trade association Airlines for America says, “The EU and its states are in violation of the Convention on International Civil Aviation,” which is “fundamental to enabling airlines to transport people and critical goods around the globe without undue trade blocks and interference.” They also noted that none of the funds collected through ETS are required to go towards environmental purposes.
Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders expressed concerns that new European Union carbon emission charges for airlines could spark a trade war between Europe and the rest of the world.
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