Obama fails first climate test by rejecting EU aviation carbon regime

• November 28, 2012
Airplane in flight

Creative Commons: Dries Buytaert, 2012

Barack Obama has signed a law excluding US airlines from the European Union’s carbon trading scheme, delivering a blow to campaigners’ hopes for stronger climate action during the president’s second term.

Environmental campaigners had urged Obama to veto the aviation bill as a sign of his commitment to fighting climate change in his second term.

The White House said in a statement Obama still saw climate change as a priority but that he disagreed with subjecting US and other foreign airlines to the EU emissions trading scheme.

“The Obama administration is firmly committed to reducing harmful carbon pollution from civil aviation both domestically and internationally,” a White House statement to reporters said. But “the application of the EU ETS to non-EU air carriers is the wrong way to achieve that objective”.

The White House said the Obama administration would work to resolve airline emissions through the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

But the move was disappointing to European officials and to campaigners in the US who had urged Obama to veto the bill.

After winning re-election Obama listed climate change as one of the three main challenges facing the country. Campaigners had hoped he would make the fight against climate change part of his legacy.

Read more: Guardian UK >>

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About the Author

Karl Burkart is the Digital Communications Director for the GCCA, the Global Call for Climate Action, and TckTckTck, a network of 400+ diverse organizations working around the world for greater action on the growing problem of climate change. Karl also blogs on technology and the environment for a variety of publications. You can follow him on Twitter @greendig.

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