The First Climate Change Trade War Breaks Out?

|

Pay up to fly the carbon friendly skies of Europe.

Starting January 1, the European Union has begun imposing a requirement that all airlines landing in Europe must show that they have bought carbon emissions permits equal to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the aircraft. Airlines without the proper number of allowances would be fined up to $130 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions and could be barred from European airspace. In November, the International Civil Aviation Organization issued a statement urging the E.U. to exempt international airlines from its carbon rationing scheme. The ICAO was backed by 26 countries, including the U.S., Russia and Japan, who argued that the plan violates international law.

In December, the European Court of Justice ruled against U.S. carriers who are contesting the plan. As Euronews reported:

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned that Washington will take action over the move. Proposed legislation in the American Congress could make it illegal to comply with the EU law.

The U.S. is not alone in objecting the new carbon tax on international travel. China and India have declared that their airlines will refuse to pay for the permits. India may ask its airlines to refuse to supply E.U. regulators with emissions data. In the meantime, USA Today is reporting that Delta, United-Continental, and U.S. Airways are adding a $3 surcharge to tickets for flights to Europe.

From the E.U. point of view the question is: why should their airlines be put at a competitive disadvantage because of their compliance with carbon emissions restrictions? This airline tariff fight could be the first shot in the future trade wars that result from climate change protectionism.

Advertisement

NEXT: Reason Writers on TV: Matt Welch Talks Iowa & Ron Paul on The Real News Network

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. While I am opposed to what the EU is doing on principle, I must admit a little pleasure at the prospect of U.S. airlines being driven further into the red.

    As long as those [expletive deleted]ing [expletive deleted]s continue to be the TSA’s [expletive deleted]ing [expletive deleted]s they deserve to die.

    1. I don’t like taxes, the government makes you pay taxes, therefore you’re an [expletive deleted]ing [expletive deleted] who deserves to die?

      Some fine logic you’re tossing around there…oh crap, that’s not logic you [expletive deleted]ing [expletive deleted]! Good thing I didn’t step in it.

      1. He wasn’t saying the people working for the airlines deserve to die, just the companies themselves. You know the ones that provide such an inferior product that they’ve been bailed out by the government multiple times?

        And since when did everything ever uttered on here have to be logical. Dick.

        1. Designate, be nice, it’s not good manners to point out that someone’s name is a synonym for “big dick”. It’s too ad hominemy

          1. Mmmmmm hominemy. *droooooool*

      2. No mister Johnson,

        The TSA is entirely a creation of airline lobbying to evade liability for their failure to secure their property. And now they refuse to stand up to the bulling thug they brought into the world.

        Fuck ’em. I’ll defend them against the EU’s “we’re members of a superstitious doomsday cult – pay us” tax. But I’ll do it from principle, much like I would defend Ted Bundy from charges that he destroyed wetlands.

        1. airlines didn’t create the TSA, the Bush WH in conjunction with Congress did as part of the oh-so-necessary Dept of Homeland Security. I certainly feel much safer knowing that airport security is largely in the hands of people whose previous employment was in airport eateries.

          1. And it was the airlines screaming that they needed a solution that relieved them of liability that prompted the govt to offer the TSA.

            1. so it’s the airlines fault that govt action (predictably)created an unforeseen problem? Frankly, security should be the carriers’ responsibility. No one stands to lose more from a bad outcome than the airline itself. Seems counter-intuitive to hold business liable for the potential fallout of govt policy. Then again, counter-intuitive pretty much defines govt policy.

              1. In th eafter-math of 9-11 the airlines repeatedly, through press release and lobbying, pressured the government to do something about their liability problem.

                If you keep asking a guy with only a hammer to screw in a screw, don’t be surprised if he smashes the screw with his hammer and claim it’s an unforeseen consequence that you had no responsibility for.

    2. No, he’s right. Fuck commercial aviation. Rent seeking cocksuckers. They love the TSA and they love market fixing regulation and they love massive subsidies and they love giant centralized airports.

  2. In the time we have left here, it can no longer be about us versus them. We all face the same challenge together. We’re running out of time. It’s unfortunate that there have been problems with the process, difficulties with certain parties being willing to come to the table, all kinds of discussions and disagreements, sometimes about the past rather than about the future.

    12/19/09

  3. The Europeans are voluntarily putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage- so what?

    1. Exactly – so what else is new.

    2. For certain values of “voluntarily”.

    3. Competitive disadvantage? This looks more like a way to even out the sort of open market for domestic flights that currently allow American operators such as Delta to fly, and give preference back to their own airlines. The U.S. government hasn’t allowed foreign carriers to fly domestic flights.

  4. From the E.U. point of view the question is: why should their airlines be put at a competitive disadvantage because of their compliance with money be extracted from airline passengers to fund carbon emissions restrictions scams?

    1. How dare you accuse a major organized religion with millions of members in Europe of being a scam!

      1. Basic Christianity, or any reasonable moral creed, plus scientific reality equals action against fossil carbon.

        Protecting it is worshiping a calf, not golden, but made of coal, covered in crude, with fossil methane flames from its nostrils.

        Protecting this old, anachronistic technology, whose time is 50 years past, leads to more drought, flood, & acid oceans, leading to lower crop and fishery yields, higher food prices, economic downturn, increased poverty and hunger, political instability, more war and death.

        1. You know, I miss the Hare Krishnas. They used to give out books with loriously lush illustrations and were pretty non-violent.

          The AGW cultists like our friend Andrew Lane here, on the other hand, are unremittingly annoying, peddling the base superstitions of their official, state-sanctioned religion as science.

          1. One single industry–though the most wealthy–that has outlived itself, versus science, technological progress, growth, quality of life, and humanity’s future.

            1. andy,
              since the industry has outlived itself, as you claim, what has stepped forward to replace it? Seeing as how this “old anachronistic technology” remains the global default choice, the rest of your argument becomes pointless.

              1. Well, it wouldn’t be a zombie if it wasn’t shambling along with most of the market share despite being obsolete, would it?

                Existing non-fossil energy should be further built out, and improvements to non-fossil energy should continue, at the expense of fossil energy.

                1. Except the alternative technologies don’t produce or deliver the needed energy output demanded by consumers. Just admit that what you people want is to shut down businesses and return everyone to the yolk and plow. Well everyone except the anointed few who deserve to live in luxury.

          2. maybe the Krishnas should sue over violation of religious freedom since the advent of the TSA means they are no longer able to roam terminals. They always had flowers to hand out, too, and added to the people-watching allure of the airport.

          3. My aunt told me she bought those books for me. Wow. to find out like this, thirty years later that she was lying. I still have like four different versions of the krsna series. When she shows up for my cousin’s birthday Monday, I’m gonna confront her about this.

            1. She might have bought them. I made it a habit of giving them a couple of buck in a donation if the book looked nice.

              It freaked my ultra-catholic wife out when 3 years into my marriage, I unpacked my library for the first time and she saw my collection of hindu texts.

    2. Not quite, RC –

      “From the E.U. taxpayer’s point of view…”

  5. I assume, of course, that the EU will also be requiring charter and private flights to buy carbon tickets or pay the fine, yes? If not, why not? Is a CO2 molecule emitted from a plane owned by an airline different from a CO2 molecule emitted from a charter?

    1. I assume that the EU is also fining all breathing beings within the jurisdiction of the EU.

      1. Fossil carbon cheats the natural carbon cycle. Breathing, burning wood, burning cow farts or sewage gas, returns carbon to the atmosphere that was captured in recent time. There is a natural circumstantial pressure to not use it fast enough to increase atmospheric concentration non-negligibly. But burning fossil carbon releases carbon that was captured over eons. Further, we can burn it much faster than it was made, and we are.

        The CO2 concentration for as far as we can measure in ice cores was below 300ppm. It is now at 390ppm. It is estimated that 350ppm is the absolute maximum needed to keep climate stable.

        Fossil carbon energy must be completely removed in order to even stabilize at present levels. Every year, every minute, that an energy transition plan with teeth is not being implemented, we are all responsible for worsening our future economy, and the health and quality of life of billions less fortunate.

        1. just stop. This notion of a ‘transition plan’ has been around for longer than I have. Windmills, solar, and a slew of alternatives date back several decades yet not a one is viable on a mass scale. Most folks would call that a clue. And by the way, man’s ability to harvest relatively affordable sources of energy that you find problematic are among THE reasons for why global health and quality of life have done nothing but improve during our lifetimes.

          1. Exactly, but you would have us stagnate with current energy technology and lax efficiency, and eventually fester. All rather than take a little from the old and give it the whole economy so that the market can decide if the new is ready or not.

            1. Who says it should stagnate?

              I’m sure Wareagle wouldn’t lift a finger to prevent you from starting a company that provides energy more cheaply and reliably than an oil company does.

              Have at it, dude! If it’s promising enough, I’d be happy to kick a few bucks your way.

        2. Well at least you finally admitted that you want everyone to live in abject poverty with no electricity. Good for you.

          1. The cults we notice are the ones that have a fetish for poverty and privation.

  6. The airlines should lie and say that they’ve converted to nuclear fission. The vapor trails aren’t fuel; they’re coolant.

    Could be a bit tricky when they want to refuel, but I’m sure they can figure that out.

    1. We use hydrocarbons as coolant because polluted water would be bad for the environment. Hydrocarbons produce clean water when heated to combustion by our coolant process.

      1. And yes, there’s a little radiation leakage, but, as one of your philosophers said, “Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich st?rker.”

    2. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convair_X-6

      1. That’s what I’m talking about, Willis.

  7. I used to think all those apocalyptic science fiction novels from the fifties and sixties were ridiculous hokum. After all, how would the accumulated knowledge of western civilization be completely wiped out?

    Apparently, we will willfully reject the lessons learned over centuries.

    Medieval fiefdoms FTW!

    1. The Dark Ages were dark on purpose.

      1. The Dark Ages were dark on purpose.

        But they didn’t have a consumerist society!

  8. From the E.U. point of view the question is: why should their airlines be put at a competitive disadvantage because of their compliance with carbon emissions restrictions?

    It’s a legitimate point.

    And I have to admit it’s a better solution than simply restricting the number of flights, not that being better than a worse solution is a great argument in favor of something.

    Still, if the U.S. wanted to put itself at a competitive disadvantage with some onerous environmental regulations, I expect we’d insist that the Europeans play by our rules when in our airspace too.

    1. “if the U.S. wanted to put itself at a competitive disadvantage with some onerous environmental regulations, I expect we’d insist that the Europeans play by our rules when in our airspace too.”

      and we’d look like idiots just like they do

      1. We already put ourselves at a disadvantage with environmental and working rules that we impose on industries within our borders but if they move they no longer have to follow those rules and still have free access to the US market.

        1. Restricting imports in that situation would be incredibly stupid–just like discouraging carriers from bringing more tourists to the EU is stupid.

          There may be some legitimate scientific debate about the real extent of AGW, but restricting imports really is incredibly foolish.

          I’m all for Europeans or Americans being free to implement their own policies within their own borders, but restricting imports is still stupid like hitting ourselves in the head with a hammer is stupid.

          1. I wasn’t implying that we should, just stating a fact.

  9. The EU is determined to create a social utopia if it requires them to bankrupt every citizen there.

    1. That is not a flaw, its a feature. Poor peasants are much easier to control.

  10. Ron,

    Any thoughts as to why the Obama Administration is going to bat on this issue? Seems like it would be better for him to quietly let things be, given that his fighting back is pissing off the greens.

    1. Lots of unionized jobs at the airlines that might be put at risk, would be my guess.

      1. That’s the basic problem of keeping more than one mistress at a time.

        1. yeah the enviros vs the unions is probably the one really big conflict within the dem coalition at the moment.

  11. “From the E.U. point of view the question is: why should their airlines be put at a competitive disadvantage because of their compliance with carbon emissions restrictions?”

    As penance for years of enacting stupid leftist policies?

    1. It is a good point. I can think of other ways to fix it, though.

      1. You know who else tried to fix things in Europe?

  12. The U.S. is not alone in objecting the new carbon tax on international travel. China and India have declared that their airlines will refuse to pay for the permits.

    China and India refuse. Not about to be outdone, the US objects. LOL

  13. What’s really cool is that these rules violate the Chicago Convention, which regulates international air travel. The EC claims it isn’t bound by the Convention since it didn’t sign it. Which is not surprising, since it didn’t exist in 1944. Of course, every member of the EC did sign it. But the EC says that doesn’t count. So not only is this a trade war but it has potential repercussions for other treaty issues.
    Ain’t war fun!

    1. You’ve got to be kidding me. The Euros are essentially revoking every treaty signed by European countries, because the EU hasn’t signed them as well?

      Well, religion makes people do crazy things. . . .

      1. Especially with the EU possibly crumbling. Or, at least, downgrading.

        I heard someone on the radio saying that the EU has two choices–double down and actually become a single, federated government, or blow apart the Euro and some other parts of the economic unification. The latter would likely gut the EU as a single political entity, making it more like the old Common Market.

        1. Blow apart. No one is going to let the Germans run everything in Europe except the Germans, and maybe the Belgians and the French, but they’ve had time to grow accustomed to Germans telling them what to do.

        2. Someone (at slate or salon) was saying the EU was at the same place as states were as the confederation began to come apart in the 1780’s.

          1. Which is where the two options come in. Unify the way the U.S. did, more or less, or go back to just being a trade zone.

            I think the UK should get the hell out, by the way. All that EUness is wrecking their system.

            1. Yup, that was the basic point of the article.

              1. I doubt they’ll unify more, so the other option seems more likely.

                1. Seems like the right time to start the EU death-watch office-pool.

          2. Russians = Indians
            Arabs = British

        3. Wouldn’t be surprising if Merkozy were using this as yet another means of trying to push the EU Superstate on an unwilling populace.

    2. Yay! We’re out of NATO!

      1. And we can stop messing around trying to keep the Middle East quiescent for our former allies.

  14. “…future trade wars that result from climate change protectionism…”

    CORRECTION: “…future trade wars that result from insanity of a large share of the population, including Ronald Bailey…”

  15. *Sigh* I can just see it now. It is the year 2018, and President Obama declares war on France to force it to live within its allotted carbon budget.

    1. Declare war?

      How quaint.

      1. See, they do that for history. Technically, the U.S. hasn’t been in a war since 1945.

    2. We haven’t declared war since WWII.

    3. 2018 – so the 22nd Amendment will have been repealed and Obama will be in his 3rd term?

      1. Why repeal anything? He’ll just ignore it like every other part of the Constitution he doesn’t like.

      2. Not repealed, just ignored. Like the rest of the Constitution.

      3. Obama declared it repealed during a Congressional recess despite the protests of the 76 senators present and working during the “recess.”

        Notably Senator Rand Paul was absent as he is still being indefinitely detained after calling Obama a dictator and threatening to run against him in the next “Constitutionally mandated” election, which Obama had already abolished by executive order.

  16. We should tell the EU if they don’t purchase carbon credits from us for all of the co2 their citizens emit we’re going to have to nuke them.

  17. Dear EU,

    Sorry we couldn’t visit you this summer as it’s gotten so expensive and all.

    We realize that our visits were really financially helpful to you, but we’re kind of tapped out at the moment.

    Your Child,

    America

    1. We are bringing all of our military members, and their cash, home in order to save some money.

  18. OK well, they seem to know exactly what the del is. WOw.

    http://www.Privacy-Pros.tk

  19. The First Climate Change Trade War Breaks Out?

    CRIPPLE FIGHT!!!

    /Cartman

    1. We have to destroy the planet in order to save it.

  20. Apparently the EU is not yet satisfied with the economic destruction is has wrought already. It’s now going to try even harder.

    1. Is it bad that I’m actually enjoying the show?

  21. STOP RESISTING!

  22. why should their airlines be put at a competitive disadvantage because of their compliance with carbon emissions restrictions?

    From the brilliant minds who brought you mercantilism, ladies and gentlemen, I present, Carbon Trade War.

    This time…it’s personal.

    1. Sir Galahad: Is there someone else up there we can talk to?
      French Soldier: No, now go away or I shall taunt you a second time.

  23. From the E.U. point of view the question is: why should their airlines be put at a competitive disadvantage because of their compliance with carbon emissions restrictions?

    The better question is why they should allow their airlines to be put at a competitive disadvantage for having to pay gaia taxes that are fucking worthless?

    1. This. Whatever one thinks of the theory of AGW, I’ve never seen even an attempt of an explanation of how schemes like this will fix things.

      1. Re: Enjoy Every Sandwich,

        I’ve never seen even an attempt of an explanation of how schemes like this will fix things.

        That’s because the purported fixes are not supposed to do anything except satisfy the “do something!” crowd and pick the pockets of millions of saps who buy into the AGW religion.

        1. and pick the pockets of millions of saps who buy into the AGW religion

          I wish those were the only pockets getting picked. Problem is that the cult fuckheads insist that all pockets must be picked.

        2. herp -dee – doo

          If I don’t understand it, it is a scam.

  24. China and India have declared that their airlines will refuse to pay for the permits.

    Thus ended any relevancy the EU might have thought it had, ever.

    And it’s a good thing, too. The EU was dead even before being born. It is now just festering and attracting flies and other vermin.

    1. Herp – doo – dee

      China’s economy is smaller than the EU by quite a bit…are you an economic ignoramus?

  25. What’s the carbon footprint of delicious, fresh, organic Chilian raspberries sold during the winter at the local market on Castro in San Francisco?

    What’s the carbon footprint of corked, glass-bottled, fermented grape juice from France?

    And what is to stop the thug-state here from taxing the domestic operations of a multinational, the foreign carbon-dioxide-generating operations of which are deemed irresponsible?

    And why not tax a firm because, although it does not itself belch the CO2, it either earns its profits selling to the big-belch sector, or uses inputs that derive from that sector?

    I see $$$$$$$$$$$ in them thar rent-seeking hills.

  26. This is a joke, right? Carbon credits are like indulgences in the middle ages, extortion by the establishment that preys upon the guilty mind of the brainwashed. And I suspect they will do about as much good.

  27. “From the E.U. point of view the question is: why should their airlines be put at a competitive disadvantage because of their compliance with carbon emissions restrictions?”

    The real question is why did the EU put itself at a comptetive disadvantage by enacting that carbon emission nonsense in the first place.

    If you shoot yourself in the foot, don’t expect others to hobble themselves with a ball and chain to “equalize” to your mobility.

  28. I am torn. On the one hand, it is great that Americans traveling to Europe should have to pay extra for the environmental damage they are doing, either via a surtax on the ticket or generally higher ticket prices. On the other hand, making it harder for Americans to go to Europe means that fewer Americans will see how truly superior Europe is in every way and therefore less likely to see how wise Obama is. This is quite the conundrum. Note to ignorant Reason-tards: conundrum means dilemma.

  29. “From the E.U. point of view the question is: why should their airlines be put at a competitive disadvantage because of their compliance with carbon emissions restrictions?”

    Answering that question that they should not is an inherently protectionist point of view. Why should any company suffer a competitive disadvantage for the tax and regulatory schemes the government’s they exist under come up with? That their native businesses suffer a competitive disadvantage should be a check and balance against the wild excesses of government limiting freedom. In fact, this whole type of logic is what justifies monstrosities like Obamacare’s individual mandate. The government breaks the market for whatever goal, and instead of not breaking it tries to ameliorate the damage by breaking it in other places.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.