By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief
The European Union has delayed implementation of its controversial airline carbon tax to 2014, citing progress on a global carbon emission effort by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). However, the U.S. House of Representatives increased the pressure against the EU's plan with passage of a bill that will make it illegal for U.S. airlines to pay the tax. The bill passed after only a few minutes of debate Tuesday. "In my view, the EU's proposed emissions trading scheme is inconsistent with international aviation law and practice," said Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. "It goes against international law and agreements. It brings the hand of European regulators into our own airspace."
The tax would add a few dollars to the price of each ticket for flights landing and departing from EU airports, but most House legislators characterize it as a "tax grab" and don't want to rely on the ICAO for a solution. "ICAO does not set policy for the United States of America. We are a sovereign nation, and we must again, I think, defend ... our position, our sovereignty," said House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla. "We've got to hold people's feet to the fire in respecting also, again, U.S. sovereignty." But California Democrat Henry Waxman urged his colleagues to take a more global view of the issue, and cast the lone dissenting vote, invoking the memory of Hurricane Sandy. "This is what global warming looks like, and if we continue to ignore it, it will look far worse," he said. "We should be doing all we can to reduce carbon pollution, and slow global warming."