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Public Statements

European Union Emission Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SHUSTER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I couldn't agree more with my colleague from Florida (Ms. Brown) on her support for H.R. 2594. And to my colleagues watching or listening to this debate tonight, I would urge you to listen closely because this is a serious situation that's going to occur, and it's up to Congress to send a message to the European capitals of the world that the United States will not stand for this. This will be a terrible burden for not only our carriers but for aviation airlines, air travel, commercial travel around the world.

There has never been to my knowledge a more ill-conceived program than what the European Union is putting forth in this emissions trading scheme. They're going forth with this; and first of all, I believe it's violating international law, the Chicago Convention which was signed in the mid-1940s, which set up ICAO which is the International Civil Aviation Organization, which coordinates and allows for transportation, commercial transportation, aviation transportation around the world to go forth in a way that is orderly. We come together at this international organization and build on consensus with rule-makings and regulations that help us to not only build our airplanes but to fly them around the world.

What the Europeans are doing is they want to impose a tax on American air carriers, on all air carriers from their points of departure. So from our sovereign Nation and sovereign nations around the world, they're going to tax us to fly from, for instance, Los Angeles to Paris, which I believe, again, is a violation of the international agreement. I believe it is going to throw international aviation into an uncertain time period and may cause tremendous disruption in the flow of commerce through the air.

The air transportation industry worldwide accounts for 8 percent of global GDP, but only accounts for 2 percent of the CO2 emissions. And the airline industry has a great incentive to decrease the amount of fuel they have because it is one of if not their largest expense. So air travel with the airliners we build today, with the way we organize our air traffic control patterns in the United States, we've been able to reduce CO2 emissions over the last 10 years significantly, and we'll continue to do that because, as I said, the incentive is there for the airline industry in America to use less fuel, not more fuel. It's better for their bottom lines.

Once again, this trading scheme, this emissions

trading scheme is going to impose a tax on our carriers. The Europeans estimate it will be about $2 a ticket. Our aviation industry believes it will be somewhere between $2.50 and $4 a ticket. We're not sure, but let's take the European numbers. So $2 a ticket, if you look over the last 10 years in the aviation industry in this country, we have lost $2.80 per ticket sold. So you're talking about an industry that is now recovering, an industry that seems to be making profits. If the Europeans are allowed to impose a $2 tax, it will probably wipe out the entire profits of our airline industry, so we can't let it stand.

Also, it is a counterproductive measure. The Europeans say they're going to reduce emissions by this. I believe it is going to do the opposite. What's going to happen is these planes, not the new planes, but the old ones, refurbished ones, are going to go to other parts of the world. And these old planes do emit more CO, and so there are going to be places in Africa and Asia and countries that can't afford the newest, latest, greatest Boeing or Airbus planes; and they're going to be spewing more emissions into the air. So it's counterproductive.

And if you want an industry to invest in more fuel-efficient airliners, they need to make a profit. So you're going to take that profit away, and they will not be able to invest in new ways to reduce emissions coming from these airliners. So it's counterproductive.

Also, if the Europeans want to reduce emissions, which they have not in their airline industry over the last 10 years, one of the things they could do, a huge step in the right direction, is to create a single European airspace. And they've been unable to do that.

Today, when you fly in the United States, because we're so much more efficient than the Europeans, our planes land quicker. That means they're not up in the atmosphere putting out CO2 emissions. In the European theater, what you have are 25 or 30 different airspaces. So planes tend to circle around the airport for longer periods of time emitting more CO

2. So if the Europeans are really serious about this, instead of just doing the easy thing and tax the Americans or tax the Chinese or tax the Russians, they should look seriously at turning their 30 different airspaces into a single European airspace. That would be a tremendous improvement and be a tremendous reduction in the CO2 that they are putting into the air.

So my colleagues, if you're listening to this tonight, I urge you strongly to support the gentlelady from Florida and myself and others in a bipartisan way to send a strong vote, a strong message to the Europeans to don't go down this path. Let's sit down at the table and work together. We can do something that reduces CO2 without taxing American carriers and disrupting an international organization that's been so positive and so vital to commerce in this world.


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