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US House targets EU airlines emissions rule
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Oct 24, 2011

US lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Monday to strike a blow at a controversial European Union plan to require non-EU airlines to buy carbon permits to fly to and out of the 27-nation bloc.

The US House of Representatives by voice vote approved a bill directing the US government to forbid US carriers to take part "in any emissions trading scheme unilaterally established by the European Union."

The measure, which must also clear the US Senate and by signed by President Barack Obama to become law, also directs top US officials to undertake talks to ensure that US operators of civil aircraft are "held harmless" from the plan.

US airlines have argued that the rules violate international climate change and aviation agreements, while Chinese and Indian carriers have said they could take legal action against the new rule before it takes effect January 1.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, a Republican, crafted the measure, which enjoyed significant support from President Barack Obama's Democratic allies.

The EU drew up the law as part of long-running efforts to mitigate the greenhouse gasses scientists blame for climate change.

After taxing industry's emissions in this way, the EU now wants airlines -- which contribute 3.0 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions -- to reduce their carbon footprint.

Several carriers and airline associations have challenged the decision by the 27 EU states to force airlines flying in and out of Europe to buy the permits under the bloc's Emissions Trading System (ETS).

Under the scheme, airlines will be given emissions allowances based on their size and polluting record.

Initially they will only have to pay for 15 percent of the polluting rights accorded to them, the figure rising to 18 percent between 2013-2020.

If credits are not fully used, they can be traded -- which means polluters can buy extra rights, which carriers see as a tax.

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China's aviation sector sees slower growth: report
Shanghai (AFP) Oct 20, 2011
China has slashed official forecasts for its aviation industry this year, with both passenger and cargo volume hard hit by a downturn in global and domestic demand, state media said Thursday. China's total air passengers - both domestic and international - were expected to grow eight percent in 2011, slower than an originally forecast 13 percent, the China Business News said. China's a ... read more

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