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EU Carbon Emissions Bill

The United States Senate unanimously passed a bill in September which will prevent EU carbon emission regulations for airlines from applying to U.S. flights.

The European Union has been attempting to apply across-the-board carbon emissions so both domestic and foreign flights abide by the same rules, but this action from the U.S. Senate has escalated pressure on the EU to back down on enforcement.

The Emissions Trading Scheme, which contains an overall goal to combat climate change, has been advocated since January by the European Commission, and it requires all airlines to participate. However, it is that requirement which has caused distress between the EU and some other countries. China and India missed an interim deadline to submit required information, which resulted in a $14 billion Airbus deal being frozen between the EU and China, and China threatened to impound European airplanes if the EU punished China for not meeting the deadline.

Republican senator John Thune, a sponsor of the measure, said it sent a “strong message” to the EU that it cannot impose taxes on the United States. “The Senate’s action today will help ensure that US air carriers and passengers will not be paying down European debt through this illegal tax and can instead be investing in creating jobs and stimulating our own economy,” Thune said in a statement.

While Thune makes somewhat of a legitimate argument, it seems improbable a trading scheme which aims to combat climate change is secretly a measure for the European Commission to pay down European debt.

However, the sentiments which Thune expresses seem to be the standard for the current Republican Party, which is very willing to sacrifice pro-environment domestic and foreign policies for just about anything. Even if the EU is scheming to get money from foreign sources to pay its debt, the regulations on carbon emissions are still going to benefit the environment.

Combating climate change has to be a global effort, and if the U.S. is holding out, it is unlikely to be successful.

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