Contradiction between Obama's speech and administration's position on aviation / Clock will start again if there is no improvement

"We have been very impressed about the new dynamic in the US climate policy after Obama's speech but we were disappointed about the administration's position on aviation", stated the rapporteur for the inclusion of aviation in the Emission trading system (ETS) Peter Liese (European Christian Democrats) after a visit of a delegation of the European Parliament's environmental committee to Washington.

The delegation of seven parliamentarians from different political groups and countries met among others with several senators, congressmen and the US chief climate negotiator Todd Stern. The main focus of the discussions was President Obama's plan to mitigate climate change and the ongoing conflict between the EU and the US on how to address aviations emissions.
On June 25th President Obama as the first president in history of the United States determined an important speech only on the issue of climate change at Georgetown University, Washington. He announced a plan to reduce the US emissions mainly in the power sector which can be implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency without a decision of the Congress.

"The commitment of Obama and his administration to tackle climate change is impressive, especially against the background with a majority in the House of Representatives which is clearly against the plan. On the other hand we are still in tremendous difficulties in the question of aviation. The European Union stopped the Clock to help to reach an agreement at the meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) this September. But what is on the table and what is supported by the US negotiators is very disappointing", said Peter Liese. The current language only proposes to mandate the ICAO Council to discuss further. The next ICAO Assembly in 2016 should consider the results. "This is less clear and less ambitious than the process under UNFCCC where everybody understands that in 2015 in Paris we need to get a global agreement.

Even more disappointing is the position of the ICAO Council and the US on the time in between because the international agreement will not enter into force before 2020. We need to have a framework for the time in between. It is seen as a concession by the US administration that they will "allow us to regulate our own European airspace". But is this really a concession? It is very clear that European car manufacturers like Peugeot, Fiat or BMW need to comply with US environmental standards on cars. The challenge is international aviation. Two thirds of the emissions that are covered by the EU scheme come from international aviation and we need to find a solution here. Of course, we are ready to compromise. But no one can expect an unconditional surrender of the European Union. To extend the time of the Stop the Clock needs another co-decision procedure and I cannot see how I can convince my colleagues in the European Parliament to stop the clock again if nothing substantial is on the table. But the show is not over.

I have trust in the commitment of President Obama and especially Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry sponsored the Kerry-Liebermann-Bill which foresaw an emissions trading scheme for the US, including aviation. The bill then did not get the necessary majority in Senate. But how can a Secretary of State that sponsored a bill for ETS including aviation attack the European Union for doing exactly the same", said Liese, member of the biggest group in the European Parliament (EPP-Christian Democrats).