U.S. airlines drop lawsuit against EU carbon emissions law

Carriers say the law is an “exorbitant money grab,” ask the U.S. government to carry the flag instead

A group of U.S. airlines have dropped their private lawsuit against the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), which implemented a law on Jan. 1 that taxes airlines for carbon emissions on trans-Atlantic flights.

The suit, brought by American Airlines Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc. and industry trade organization Airlines for America (A4A), echoed a chorus of critics clamoring against the EU ETS and its “cap and trade” principle. The EU ETS’ principle limits the total amount of certain greenhouse gas emissions, and offers parties contributing to gas emissions the ability to buy or sell emission allowances from one another as needed. The EU Commission levies heavy fines against parties that don’t have enough allowances to cover their emissions at the end of the year.

A4A says that the plaintiffs dropped the suit because of opposition to the EU ETS law now that so many worldwide voices are united against it, including the Obama administration, the U.S. House of Representatives and other world governments.

“Our legal action was critical in bringing to light that the EU ETS violates international law and is an exorbitant money grab, which are now key points in the governments’ unified opposition to the scheme,” A4A President and CEO Nicholas Calio said in a statement. “There is a clear path for the United States to force the EU to halt the scheme and protect U.S. sovereignty, American consumers, jobs and international law.”

The plaintiffs originally brought the suit to the London High Court, but it was referred to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Now that the plaintiffs have dropped their suit, they will look to the U.S. government to take up the matter. Reuters reports that EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard is in Washington D.C. this week to discuss the issue.

For more, read Reuters.

Contributing Author

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