The Los Angeles Times reports:
The Obama administration faces a possible confrontation with Europe over reducing carbon emissions when representatives of 191 countries gather this month in Montreal to develop global standards for aviation emissions…
If the Sept. 24 meeting in Montreal falters, it remains unclear whether the Obama administration is ready to embrace the stringent cuts to aviation emissions that Europe has devised.
“Aviation is one of the fastest-growing emissions sectors in the world,” said Deborah Lapidus, campaigns director at Catapult, a liberal consulting group. If the Obama administration hewed to its current policy, “it would be a complete contradiction stated to their commitment to battle climate change. They would be wasting another historic opportunity”…
The administration persuaded the EU to delay implementation of the carbon fee scheme to let ICAO devise its own plan this year. Congress also passed a measure that would give the secretary of Transportation authority to protect U.S. air carriers from the EU emissions fee, which Obama signed in November 2012.
If ICAO fails to issue a binding worldwide standard, the EU emissions legislation will go into effect for international carriers, with payments for 2013 emissions due in April 2014.
Those who fail to pay will face penalties of 100 euros ($132) per metric ton of greenhouse gases. If U.S. carriers ignore the penalties, the EU might take retaliatory steps, sparking a “trade war,” as Secretary of State John Kerry spoke of in July 2012, when he was a senator.
“We do have a president who understands the need to fight climate change and yet is not willing to put the full resources of the administration to it,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.
“For every three steps forward, there are one and a half steps back,” he said. “It’s a constant ebb and flow.”