Highest Court in Europe Decides that Europe's Law Controlling Aviation's Carbon Pollution is Lawful

Image removed.The highest court of the land in Europe has just decided that Europe’s law to require that the aviation sector reduce its carbon pollution is completely legal.  The European law requires that all flights that want to use European airports must reduce their carbon pollution.  The law was passed in 2008 by the European Parliament and signed into law by the 27 countries in the European Union (E.U.).  The case in question was brought against the E.U. law by all U.S.-based carriers.  The E.U. has shown no sign of backing down, nor should they.  The E.U. program is both legal and the right thing to do to reduce aviation’s growing carbon pollution that is causing global warming.  The E.U. should continue to stand strong in the face of the complaints around their program to reduce the carbon pollution from aviation.  [For background on this law and the various myths about the program see this post.**]

Our friends both in the U.S. and across the Atlantic intervened in the case against the U.S.-based carriers.  Here is what they had to say in their press release this morning:

Today's decision, from the highest court in the European Union, makes clear Europe’s innovative law to reduce emissions from international flights is fully consistent with international law, does not infringe on the sovereignty of other nations, and is distinct from the charges and taxes subject to treaty limitations, said the coalition.

The Court’s decision makes clear that existing law bars precisely the discriminatory treatment of airlines that the United States and others are calling for, and that the US-EU Open Skies Agreement specifically provides for this type of action when pursued for environmental purposes. The decision also finds that the equivalent measures provision of the Aviation Directive  “corresponds precisely” to the objectives of ICAO Resolution A37-19 regarding interaction of market-based measures.

The coalition’s six participants include three U.S.-based groups (Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice, and Environmental Defense Fund) and three European groups (Aviation Environment Federation, Transport & Environment, and WWF-UK).

Time for the U.S. and other countries to move on and start reducing aviation’s carbon pollution.  The U.S. and other countries should stop complaining and start acting at home to reduce the global warming pollution coming from aviation.  Now is not the time for complaints but for real action. 

Lip service doesn’t reduce the carbon pollution from aviation that is causing global warming.  Only real action will suffice.


* Picture: ashokboghani, under the Creative Commons license.

**For related posts see:

House to vote on bill that tries to move us closer to a trade war with the EU over aviation's carbon pollution: bill should be rejected


US to attend India meeting to try to stop global warming action on aviation...will these countries now lead on efforts to get a global solution?

Top Myths About the European Effort to Control Aviation Emissions

Some in the US need to stop opposing the EU program to control carbon pollution from aviation

Stand Firm Europe: the sky will not fall when the European system to control aviation's pollution is implemented

US Airlines Say they are "Green" while fighting Anti-Pollution Efforts: Dirty Wings