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EU Aviation Directive Challenge Quashed

United/Continental Airlines and American Airlines have failed in an attempt to block a European Union law charging airlines flying to the continent for their carbon pollution.

The airlines and their trade association, Air Transport Association of America – now known as Airlines for America – had challenged the legality of the EU’s Aviation Directive in May, claiming it infringed international law and the EU-U.S. open skies agreement.

But yesterday’s ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union means the EU’s Aviation Directive, which includes aviation emissions within the European Emissions Trading System, will come into effect, as planned, in January 2012. It is currently the world’s only mandatory program to address emissions from aviation.

Environmental groups have hailed the ruling. Earthjustice called it “an important victory for the planet” while the WWF-UK labeled the airlines “Scrooges” for trying to circumvent the continent’s nascent carbon trading scheme.

The global business community has reacted with less elation. Rating agency Fitch has suggested the ruling could result in a trade war between the U.S. and EU. While delivery giant UPS is threatening to reroute flights to cut the costs it has to pay under the Directive, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The president of UPS Airlines has suggested that it could, for example, route flights between its hubs in Hong Kong and Cologne, Germany, via Mumbai, India, and only owe for carbon permits for the Mumbai-Cologne leg of the trip. Such a move would cut UPS’ permit costs by a quarter, but increase the journey’s total length by 900 miles and the carbon emissions associated with it by a third, the Journal reports.

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2 thoughts on “EU Aviation Directive Challenge Quashed

  1. Watch the trade war grow and I welcome it. US, China, Russia, India are against it. Screw Europe. Their failures and bankruptcy, like California, are a result of over regulation and stupidity.

  2. This is fabulous. If we as a nation are unable to clean ourselves up, we should expect to pay the price among our neighbors. WE are now the smokers in the restaurant, and hopefully we will also be broken of our habits.

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