Aviation Trade War Great News for the Climate

Good news from the American Senate: They have unanimously adopted the bill that prohibits the American aviation industry from observing EU law (MotherJones).

As the article notes, it is rare these days for Democrats and Republicans to share an opinion on any issue. But since this bill will greatly help the climate, I for one congratulate the Americans to their new found unity.

Some people might raise some eyebrows about the unprecedented fact that the American government orders their airlines to violate EU law.

Some people might view this as a serious challenge to the rule of law, and as an violation of EU sovereignty.

Some people might see this as a FU to the EU.

Some people might think it unfortunate that the American Senate votes one hundred to zero in favor of making climate change worse.

But I for one think that the benefits for the climate outweigh these negative aspects. American environmental organizations opposed to this law should reconsider. Let me explain.

As blogged before, the relevant EU Directive has sanctions: An operating ban against any airline that is in violation. I post the relevant text again here:

Directive 2008/101 has this to say about enforcement (amending Article 26 of Directive 2003/87):

“5. In the event that an aircraft operator fails to comply with the requirements of this Directive and where other enforcement measures have failed to ensure compliance, its administering Member State may request the Commission to decide on the imposition of an operating ban on the aircraft operator concerned.

6. Any request by an administering Member State under paragraph 5 shall include:

(a) evidence that the aircraft operator has not complied with its obligations under this Directive;

(b) details of the enforcement action which has been taken by that Member State;

(c) a justification for the imposition of an operating ban at Community level; and

(d) a recommendation for the scope of an operating ban at Community level and any conditions that should be applied.

7. When requests such as those referred to in paragraph 5 are addressed to the Commission, the Commission shall inform the other Member States through their representatives on the Committee referred to in Article 23(1) in accordance with the Committee’s Rules of Procedure.

8. The adoption of a decision following a request pursuant to paragraph 5 shall be preceded, when appropriate and practicable, by consultations with the authorities responsible for regulatory oversight of the aircraft operator concerned. Whenever possible, consultations shall be held jointly by the Commission and the Member States.

9. When the Commission is considering whether to adopt a decision following a request pursuant to paragraph 5, it shall disclose to the aircraft operator concerned the essential facts and considerations which form the basis for such decision. The aircraft operator concerned shall be given an opportunity to submit written comments to the Commission within 10 working days from the date of disclosure.

10. At the request of a Member State, the Commission may, in accordance with the regulatory procedure referred to in Article 23(2), adopt a decision to impose an operating ban on the aircraft operator concerned.

11. Each Member State shall enforce, within its territory, any decisions adopted under paragraph 10. It shall inform the Commission of any measures taken to implement such decisions.

12. Where appropriate, detailed rules shall be established in respect of the procedures referred to in this Article. Those measures, designed to amend non-essential elements of this Directive by supplementing it, shall be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny referred to in Article 23(3).”

In this procedure to get operating bans against all American airlines it is of interest to note that the American Senate approved the law with one hundred to zero votes. That in turn makes it not “appropriate and practicable” to have any consultations with the American regulators under Paragraph 8. They clearly have made up their mind.

That’s good, because it means that the Commission can adopt the Decision banning all American airlines from operating in the EU all the more swiftly.

Once that happens, the obvious merit for the climate will be that all those planes that would have crossed the Atlantic in the absence of the new American law will stay on the ground. Planes staying on the ground emit zero CO2.

Which will be great news for the climate.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

One thought on “Aviation Trade War Great News for the Climate

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