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62. Joint letter to EU re unilateral aircraft emissions controls (Apr. 6, 2007)

April 6, 2007

Ambassador Peter Witt
Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany to the European Union
Rue Jacques de Lalaing, 19-21
104 Brussels

Dear Ambassador Witt:

Our governments share with the Member States of the European Union an interest in finding approaches to limit the impact of aviation greenhouse gas emissions on global climate As you know, the member states of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), including the EU Member States, agreed to broad goals in this area at the triennial ICAO Assembly in 2004. We believe that success in addressing this matter lies in constructive consultation with international partners, a foundation of the international aviation system.

From this point of view, we want to convey our deep concern and strong dissatisfaction with the December 20, 2006, European Commission proposal to include international civil aviation in the European Union (EU) Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). Inclusion of our airlines in the EU scheme without the consent of our governments would potentially violate EU Member State international obligations under the Convention on International Civil Aviation, as well as bilateral aviation agreements.

Moreover, the proposal runs counter to the international consensus that ICAO should address international aviation emissions. ICAO is in fact doing so now. The ICAO Assembly in 2004 urged “States to refrain from unilateral environmental measures” and the ICAO Council echoed this in November 2006, urging Contracting States to “refrain from unilateral action to implement an emissions trading system.” We are disappointed that the Commission has ignored the strong objections from the international community and is bypassing ICAO by issuing this proposal.

We support ICAO’s current work to develop guidance on emissions trading for use by countries that wish to pursue this market-based approach based on mutual consent. We also believe real opportunities for addressing emissions exist in broader cooperative approaches to aviation operations including energy efficiency and traffic management. In addition, some developing countries believe that the EU’s unilateral inclusion of developing country airlines is also of concern in relation to the Framework Convention’s principle of common, but differentiated, responsibilities and respective capabilities. Obviously, Europe is free to include emissions from European aircraft in its trading system. However, the Commission proposal to include third-country carriers unilaterally would significantly undercut rather than support international efforts to carry out improvements to better manage the impact of aviation emissions. We urge you to consider fully the concerns of the international community and to exclude operations of non-European aircraft from the scope of the EU Emission Trading Scheme, unless they are included on the basis of mutual consent. If the EU insists on moving forward unilaterally, we reserve our rights to take appropriate measures under international law.

We ask EU Member States and EU representatives to participate continuously and constructively toward finalizing ICAO guidelines on aviation emissions and to reconsider the Commission’s unilateral proposal. It is our hope that by these efforts we can move forward in a manner that will lead to a successful global solution to address aviation emissions.


Alan Thomas
Ambassador of Australia to the European Communities, Belgium and Luxembourg

Ross Hornby
Ambassador of Canada to the European Union

Guan Chengyuan
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the European Union

Takekazu Kawamura
Ambassador of Japan to the European Union

Woo-seong Chong
Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the European Union and Belgium

P. Michael McKinley
Chargé d’Affaires
Mission of the United States of America to the European Union

cc: Klauss Gretschmann, Directorate-General C, Council Secretariat
Kerstin Niblaeus, Directorate-General I, Council Secretariat
Walter Grahammer, Deputy Permanent Representative of Austria
Louis Mouraux, Deputy Permanent Representative of Belgium
Roussi Ivanov, Deputy Permanent Representative of Bulgaria
George Chacali, Deputy Permanent Representative of Cyprus
Jana Reiniov, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic
Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, Deputy Permanent Representative of Denmark
Tiit Naber, Deputy Permanent Representative of Estonia
Nina Vaskunlahti Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland
Christian Masset, Deputy Permanent Representative of France
Dimitris N. Iliopoulos Deputy Permanent Representative of Greece
Egon Dienes-Oehm, Deputy Permanent Representative of Hungary
Kenneth Thompson, Deputy Permanent Representative of Ireland
Alessandro Pignatti Morano di Custoza, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy
Lelde Lice-Licite, Deputy Permanent Representative of Latvia
Romas Vedas, Deputy Permanent Representative of Lithuania
Georges Friden, Deputy Permanent Representative of Luxembourg
Theresa Cutajar, Deputy Permanent Representative of Malta
Peter W. Kok, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Netherlands
Dariusz Sobkow, Deputy Permanent Representative of Poland
Pedro Nuno Bartolo, Deputy Permanent Representative of Portugal
Mrtius Hirte, Deputy Permanent Representative of Romania
Juraj Nociar, Deputy Permanent Representative of Slovakia
Mary Veronika Tovak Pleterski, Deputy Permanent Representative of Slovenia
Cristbal Gonzlez-Aller Jurado, Deputy Permanent Representative of Spain
Ingrid Hjelt af Trolle, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sweden
Anne Lambert, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom
Miroslav Ouzk, Member, European Parliament
Peter Liese, Member, European Parliament
Matthias Groote, Member, European Parliament
Holger Krahmer, Member European parliament
Caroline Lucas, Member, European Parliament
Roberto Musacchio, Member, European Parliament
Johannes Blokland, Member, European Parliament
Paolo Costa, Member, European Parliament
Georg Jarzembowski, Member, European Parliament
Jacques Barrot Vice President, European Commission, Commissioner for Transport
Stavros Dimas, Commissioner for Environment
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations
Matthias Ruete, Director-General for Energy and Transport, European Commission
Mogens Peter Carl, Director-General for Environment, European Commission
Eneko Landaburu, Director-General for External Relations

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