Monday, January 14, 2008
Cap and Trade Scheme Flawed
Cap-and-Trade Scheme to Reduce Airline Emissions is Flawed. Commentary by Dan Hamilton, SFChronicle, January 13, 2008. "There's a big hole in the Kyoto Protocol: Airline emissions aren't covered. This emission omission has officials in California and Europe worried, so each acted recently to plug the hole. In December, ministers from 27 different countries agreed to cap carbon emissions from aircraft flying to and from the European Union. California joined a host of other U.S. states and municipalities to petition the EPA to institute a similar system on all aircraft flying to and from American airports. The new EU system, slated to go into effect in 2012, would cap carbon dioxide emissions for European and foreign airplanes alike, while allowing airlines to buy and sell pollution credits on the EU carbon market... The pollution credit scheme could mean windfall profits for some companies and major losses for others. It is a unilateral approach to a global problem. Undaunted, EU activists are pressing ahead, and have found American allies - not in Washington, but in California and a host of other states. The states have petitioned the EPA to impose a cap-and-trade system, similar to that of the EU, on domestic and foreign aircraft departing or landing at American airports... Activists on both sides of the Atlantic are hoping that their newfound partnership can set the stage for U.S. action at home and abroad, should the policy door open in Washington following the November elections. They will be better able to walk through that door, however, if they use the time they have now to fix the flaws in their cap-and-trade plans for aviation." Dan Hamilton is a professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University.