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US says EU carbon emissions plan violates international aviation treaty

[JURIST] The European Union [official website] may face a legal challenge from the US over plans to extend the EU's greenhouse gas emission allowance trading program to cover all international flights to and from Europe. The European Union's Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) [EU materials], based on European Commission Directive 2003/87/EC [text], began in October 2005 as the largest multi-country, multi-sector greenhouse gas emission trading scheme world-wide. Senior US officials quoted in British media reports Thursday said that the EU's plans to apply the ETS to civil aviation would be a violation of the 1947 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation [text] and has called for the ETS extension to be limited only to internal EU flights. The US fears that a more comprehensive scheme would cause financial hardship on airlines and airports by adding 35 euros to the cost of international flights. EU Environmental Commissioner Stavros Dimas [official website] has said that the plan is consistent with International Civil Aviation Organization [official website] rules and that it complies with the Chicago convention because it will be applied on a non-discriminatory basis to all airlines.

The plan to extend the ETS to civil aviation is due to be adopted by the full European Commission on December 12. The Guardian has more.

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