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United, American, Other Airlines Drop EU Carbon Trading Lawsuit, Urge U.S. to Act

American Airlines, United Continental and association Airlines for America have dropped their lawsuit challenging U.S. airlines’ inclusion in the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme, Reuters reports.

Airlines for America, whose members include Delta, Southwest, US Airways, FedEx and UPS, as well as industry partners Airbus, Boeing, Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney, said that opposition to the European law has grown so much that governments should now take the lead, instead of companies pursuing the matter through the courts. The association, formerly named the Air Transportation Association of America, is joining members of Congress in calling for the U.S. to bring the issue to the International Civil Aviation Organization – the U.N. body that oversees the aviation industry worldwide, Platts reports.

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives’ transportation committee urged representatives from the state and transportation departments to launch a formal challenge to the EU program at the U.N., and in committee, state department officials said that they would leave “nothing off the table.”

The trading program, which came into effect on January 1 this year, requires airlines flying through European airspace to buy carbon permits aimed at offsetting their emissions.

In December, United Continental and American Airlines saw a legal attempt to block the scheme quashed, while UPS threatened to extend its flights in a bid to circumvent European airspace and avoid buying the credits. Earlier this month, Airbus’ parent company has warned that it stands to lose Chinese business if the European Commission ignores protests from airlines about the program.

Meanwhile, India and China have both blocked their national carriers from participating.

Estimates by Thomson Reuters Point Carbon suggest that ETS participation will cost airlines around €1.1 billion ($1.5 billion) in 2012.

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3 thoughts on “United, American, Other Airlines Drop EU Carbon Trading Lawsuit, Urge U.S. to Act

  1. The only people losing money on this are the airlines that refuse to participate. The extra costs of carbon offset purchases will be passed along to the customer anyway, just as spikes in fuel costs are.

    Those not participating will start to see their routes gobbled up by companies that can make do under the new guidelines. That’s the point of the ETS system, to create market efficiencies via trading between companies despite intervening governmental requirements

  2. OR, the airlines could suck it up and get on with the new way of doing business instead of trying to continue to maintain profits at the expense of the planet!

  3. I’m not pushing anyone except for laggard airlines that don’t see the writing on the wall. Get on the bus, or you’ll be left in the dustbin of history along with other companies that didn’t evolve to satisfy their customers.

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