Europeans Eye Tough Emissions Rules for Airlines

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Byline: Sean Lengell, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

European regulators are demanding that airlines flying to and from European Union countries, including U.S. carriers, follow stricter emissions regulations beginning 2012.

In an effort to combat global warming, the European Commission yesterday announced a proposal to require airlines flying within the European Union to follow carbon-dioxide emissions trading in 2011. Flights to and from outside the region would be included a year later.

The plan could add $2.40 to $11.80 per ticket for a typical flight within Europe, with higher price increases for long-haul trips, according to the commission, the European Union's governing body.

The rules, if implemented, would curb carbon dioxide emissions by 183 million metric tons, or 43 percent, annually, the commission said. The savings would be equivalent to twice of all of Austria's annual greenhouse gas emissions.

"Aviation too should make a fair contribution to our efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions," Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said. "Bringing aviation emissions into the EU Emissions Trading Scheme is a cost-effective solution that is good for the environment and treats all airlines equally."

The proposal is being widely criticized in the U.S.

The Air Transport Association of America, a trade organization of major U.S. airlines, said the plan violates the Convention on International Civil Aviation of 1944, usually referred to as the "Chicago Convention," which established the International Civil Aviation Organization to regulate international air travel.

"ATA is disappointed that the European Commission remains intent on unilaterally covering the flights of non-European Union carriers in its emissions trading scheme," the group said yesterday. "This misguided decision clearly violates international laws and bilateral air service agreements."

Curbing emissions is the responsibility of the international organization, not the European Union alone, the transport association said.

The association added that the stricter emissions rules would be a "significant" financial burden to U. …