European Union's New Emmissions Proposal Term Paper

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(Jordans, 2008) "Europe's unilateral approach will only lead to legal battles and trade wars," Bisignani also stressed. (Jordans, 2008) a hint of this contention occurring in the future was evidenced recently when 27 nations, including the U.S., China and 25 other countries, registered opposition to the EU's attempt to include commercial airlines in its cap-and-trade program by supporting an ICAO-run program. This signal confirmed united opposition to the European Union's intentions to develop a separate, regional emissions trading system. U.S. officials warn that the inclusion of U.S. And other non-European airlines in the EU cap-and-trade program "may break international aviation and trade laws." (Jordans, 2008) Although reasons differ, along with official warnings, scientists raise questions regarding the European program. Airlines, experts basically agree, contribute approximately 2% of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas reportedly contributing to global warming. Perceptions, nevertheless, differ regarding the impact of other gases aircraft emit, also potentially adding to the reported global warming effect. The FAA insists the EU's proposal to include aviation in its emissions trading scheme not only violates the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and other international agreements, but also disregards U.S. And EU aviation systems' differences. It also pays no heed to the performance-based approach where countries determine which measures prove most pertinent for aircraft emissions' goals. A number of researchers are currently conducting studies relating to the EU emissions trading system, along with consequential, possible impacts on U.S. airlines, and additional concerns connecting to climate change evolving from aviation. ("Aviation and the Environment," 2008)

U.S. Stance Regarding the EU's Proposed Plans

Binding" Reductions

As the Kyoto Protocol, the UN agreement which mandates emissions reductions for industrialized nations through 2012, does not cover developing nations, the United States refuses to sanction because it. According to a February 25, 2008 AFB report, albeit, although the U.S. does not agree with EU's proposed plans regarding solutions to aircraft emissions, an announcement may be made by July 2008 to confirm: "The United States is ready to accept "binding international obligations' to reduce greenhouse gases...." ("U.S. ready for 'binding' reductions," 2008) the undertaking, however, Daniel Price, assistant to President George W. Bush for International Economic Affairs, stated, must be a factor of a "global agreement" where all major economies agree to the same commitment of a long-term global goal to reduce greenhouse gases that reportedly impel climate change.

Currently, the U.S. emits the highest levels of greenhouse gases in the world. Repeated criticisms that the U.S. launched the initiative focusing on technology-driven solutions to climate change to compete with UN-sponsored negotiations are false. "The major economies process is intended to supplement, compliment and support the UN negotiations. It is not an alternative to those negotiations," Prince argues. ("U.S. ready for 'binding' reductions," 2008) Prince points out a number of national programs the U.S. has implemented since 2001 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency and insists this confirms the United States' willingness to engage in binding agreements. One mandate, which proposes to replace 15% of current oil fossil fuel consumption with renewable alternatives, would increase production of renewable fuels by 500% before 2022. Prince argues that, contrary to numerous contentions by other countries, the U.S. does not only favor voluntary, non-binding goals.

Unnecessary Hindrance?

On May 28, 2008, the Independent reported that on May 27, 2008, the European Parliament proposed to accelerate including the aviation industry in the Emissions Trading Scheme, the carbon credit system, the primary component of efforts to curb climate change. The Parliament's environment committee voted to approve the requirement that all aircraft landing in the EU from 2011(a year earlier than previously proposed) adhere to pollution targets the scheme stipulates. In addition, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) recommended the required amount of carbon permits airlines buy be increased from 10 per cent to 25 per cent. Carriers promptly objected to this particular proposal. One spokesman for easyJet argued:

We have a more fundamental problem with the proposed level auctioning at 25 per cent.... Auctioning at that level seems an unnecessary hindrance at this point." (Fortson, 2008) a Virgin spokesman stated its airline did not object to the plan if it preludes a global program.

According to estimates, a flight within the EU would increase approximately €10 (£8) per trip, while intercontinental trips could increase up to four times that amount. (Fortson, 2008)

Whether the full Parliament will vote to ratify these changes is expected to be known in July. Carbon emissions constitute an issue prompting the airlines to attempt to minimize the financial hit on one side, while on the opposing side; politicians strive to ensure Europe remains at the battlefront against climate change. (Fortson, 2008)

How EU's Proposed Plans May Potentially Impact U.S. Based Airlines Even though the EU's proposal to include international aviation in its emissions trading system may intend to delay anticipated predicted catastrophic climate change effects, to FAA and airlines argue it will definitely adversely affect the aviation industry's financial health. The FAA and airline and aircraft and engine manufacturing industry representatives particularly purport that the EU's proposal may more negatively affect U.S. airlines with older, less fuel-efficient fleets than it would European competitors. According to U.S. airlines, having to pay for emissions credits may cost U.S. airlines money earmarked for investing in newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft, or funds allocated for technological improvements to increase flight efficiency and reduce fuel usage, or other needs. In addition, EU's current "proposed trading scheme unfairly penalizes the aviation sector because it lacks a readily available non-carbon-based alternative fuel, whereas other sectors can use alternative fuels to reduce their emissions." ("Aviation and the Environment," 2008) Stavros Dimas, environment commissioner, argues that including aviation in the EU ETS appears to constitute the most cost-efficient and environmentally effective means to control aviation emissions. "The commission proposal will give airlines annual, tradable CO2 emission allowances. At the end of each year, operators must exchange a proportion of their allowances in relation to their emitted tonnes of CO2." ("Aircraft emissions capped...," 2006) in the future, the airlines' total allowances available to will be capped at the average level of emissions (in tonnes of CO2).

Price hikes are reportedly expected to be limited as airlines may reduce emissions in a number of ways, particularly by investing in more efficient aircraft and engines and optimizing operations. The ticket price for a return flight within the EU could possibly rise from €1.8 to €9 by 2020. ("Aircraft emissions capped...," 2006) Statistics notes that aircraft engines contribute approximately 1% of mobile source NOx emissions in the U.S. On average, however, the number rises to as much as 4% in airport regions. According to FAA predictions, commercial air carrier flights "will increase 9% from 2002 to 2010 and 34% from 2002 to 2020, which means commercial aircraft emissions will increase during a time when other significant mobile and stationary sources are reducing emissions." ("EPA to Revise Aircraft Engine Emission Standards," 2005)

Current air travel growth, which averages approximately 5 to 6% a year, some experts warn, could undo improvement other industries have contributed, ultimately undermining international targets to halve emissions by 2050 compared with 1990.

Jordans (2008), nevertheless, relates warnings that EU's hastily imposed program could worsen contributions aviation currently make to counter climate change as it encourages more fuel-efficient aircraft and less harmful gases. The aircraft industry, along with the scientific and policy community need to join minds and efforts to frame the aviation emission problem, David Fahey, a research physicist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, states. Even without a trading system such as the EU proposes, with fuel expenses for the industry totaling U.S. $156 billion (euro98 billion) during 2007, airlines and aircraft makers have incentives to lower fuel consumption. (Jordans, 2008) Aircraft primarily contributes to aviation emissions, however, airport operations, which include service and passenger vehicles, produce emissions as well. Aircraft operations in airport regions, along with other airport sources emit nitrogen oxides, which lead to ground-level ozone (also known as smog) and other substances, such as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The resulting substances, which rise into the atmosphere, contribute to climate change, in turn, increasing local air pollution. In the upper atmosphere, aircraft operations serve as "the primary aviation-related source of greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, according to EPA estimates, aviation emissions account for less than 1% of local air pollution nationwide and about 2.7% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions." ("Aviation and the Environment," 2008)

Regardless of anticipated fuel efficiency improvements, projected increases in air traffic are expected to contribute to an increase in aircraft emissions. If not addressed, the FAA notes, nitrogen oxides emissions from aviation sources will increase by more than 90% by 2025. In turn, this increase is expected to increase ozone, potentially aggravating respiratory ailments. According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), increased traffic also contributes to increases in carbon dioxide emissions and, consequently reportedly increases aviation's contribution to climate change. ("Aviation and the…[continue]

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