As the delegates departed Montreal from ICAO’s 38th Assembly, there were early signs that the agreement on Market Based Measure on Carbon emissions was not as “agreed to” as the UN organization’s press releases seemed to suggest. Soon thereafter, the EU made it clear that its interpretation of the Resolution did not concur with the view of many ICAO members. . Whatever appearance that there may have been on international concord (or is it “concorde” to satisfy our French brethren) is now clearly false hope.
The Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Committee, John Thune and his fellow Committee Member, Democratic Senator Claire McClaskill have written a joint letter to DoT Secretary Foxx, US Ambassador to ICAO Woerth , FAA Assistant Administrator Oettinger and State Department Special Enjoy Stern to thank them for their work at Montreal. The real intent of this bipartisan letter is to instruct the senior members of the US MBM negotiating team that the EU’s efforts to initiate an Emissions Trading Scheme is unacceptable to these two Senators. The letter also cites the European Union Emission Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011 (P.L.112-200), which prohibited US carriers from paying such fees/taxes.
ICAO is an important global aviation body and it develops global aviation standards. Typically its internal processes grind exceedingly fine in order to create standards which can be applied around the globe and to which the 191 Members can agree. The apparently vacuous nature of the MBM resolution seems to indicate that the words agreed to have no real impact; if one body believes that it can impose ETS taxes and many other countries assert that the ICAO agreement prohibits such an action. Thinking of the real impact of the ICAO agreement on MBM, Shakespeare’s famous line from Macbeth comes to mind:
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,