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26 U.S. Economists Urge the President to Support the EU's Emissions Scheme


"Your administration should endorse the EU's efforts, not oppose them."

The Blaze reported Monday that the European Commission is facing something of a revolt over its plan to price carbon emissions on all aircraft flying to and from the eurozone via its emissions-trading scheme (ETS).

European airlines and plane manufacturers oppose the ETS because a) it’s expected to cost the airline industry about €9 billion ($11.8 billion) by the end of 2020 and b) they fear it will start a trade war.

Furthermore, China has already told its airlines to ignore the ETS while both India and Russia have threatened to limit EU carriers’ traffic rights and raise charges for EU carriers.

So, to put it plainly, the EU has met some serious backlash for its emissions-trading plan.

Therefore, for some reason, 26 U.S. economists thought it would be a wise idea to write President Barack Obama a letter, urging him to stand with the European Commission in support of the ETS.

“The economists call on the U.S. to support the EU's ‘innovative efforts’ to price carbon and limit aviation emissions,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

"As you know, the uncontrolled flood of carbon emissions into the atmosphere is driving climate change and increasing the risk of catastrophic outcomes," the letter reads. "It is time we recognize this risk by putting an appropriate price on carbon emissions, in aviation and in all other sectors. The EU’s ETS is a first step in that direction. Your administration should endorse the EU’s efforts, not oppose them."

"We implore you to support the European Union's innovative efforts to place a price on carbon from aviation through the emissions trading system (EU ETS), or, at the very least, to stop actively opposing these efforts," the letter adds.

Among those who signed the letter are five Nobel laureates, including New York University's Thomas Sargent who won last year's prize in economics. The rest of the signatories come from "leading universities" including Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Princeton, and Berkeley.

But these award-winning academics may not have realized that, should the president act on their advice, he would find himself in the uncomfortable position of having to undermine Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton said last December that the U.S. “[would] be compelled to take appropriate action” should the EU try to enforce its emissions scheme.

“Under the emissions-trading system, which went into effect for airlines on Jan. 1, any carrier operating at a European airport must have special credits to offset its carbon-dioxide emissions,” the Journal’s Doug Cameron writes. “Airlines have said the system will cost them billions of dollars. Some non-EU governments have said the bloc has overstepped its authority by charging for emissions that occur outside the EU. Some opponents have warned that the system would spark a trade war.”

In fact, the CEOs of Airbus, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Air Berlin PLC and engine maker MTU wrote a strongly worded letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, urging her to convince the EU Commission to rethink its position, The Blaze reported Monday.

“This is starting to have serious consequences on the European aviation business and could proliferate at any moment,” the letter to Merkel said.

Airbus says China has already suspended a $12 billion jet deal because of the scheme and warns “more retaliation is imminent” unless the eurozone backs off (or at least reconsiders) its ill-advised plan.

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