WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today commended the House of Representatives for approving the Senate-passed bill, S. 1956, a measure that allows the Transportation Secretary to direct U.S. airlines not to participate in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). S. 1956 was approved by unanimous consent in the Senate and by voice vote in the House, underscoring that Congress recognizes that the EU ETS violates international law and U.S. sovereignty and is counterproductive to U.S. airlines' ongoing efforts to invest in the technology, operations and infrastructure measures that enhance fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
On Monday, the EU announced it would suspend enforcement of the ETS while efforts to reach an internationally agreed approach to reduce emissions continue through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). While A4A is cautiously optimistic about that action, it does not remove the threat of the EU ETS being implemented at a later date.
"The message could not be any clearer -- overwhelming bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate have spoken: EU ETS violates U.S. sovereignty and will not do what it purports to as the funds do not have to be used for environmental protection," said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. "There is a better way to improve the environmental efficiency of the airline industry, and U.S.-based carriers are already leading those efforts."
Calio said A4A strongly supports efforts to gain full agreement on the global framework provisionally adopted by ICAO in 2010. U.S. airlines were among the global aviation leaders in developing this framework, which includes an industry commitment to a 1.5 percent annual average fuel-efficiency improvement through 2020 and carbon neutral growth from 2020 onward, subject to critical investments by industry and governments.
Further, U.S. carriers have made significant investments in alternative fuel research and in fuel-efficient aircraft and operations U.S. airlines improved their fuel efficiency by 120 percent over the past three decades, resulting in emissions savings equivalent to taking more 22 million cars off the road in each of those years. U.S. airlines have also increased traffic while using less fuel.
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive more than $1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs.
SOURCE Airlines for America