Moscow effort to coordinate resistance to European climate law fizzles

February 22, 2012

Annie Petsonk, 202-365-3237,
Jennifer Andreassen, 202-288-4867,

(Washington — Feb. 22, 2012) Airlines, represented by their trade association, and aviation officials from more than two dozen countries widely dubbed the “Coalition of the Unwilling,” closed their two-day meeting in Moscow today with a lot of angry words, but no agreement on any coordinated measures to try to block a European law that limits the global warming pollution of flights using EU airports, according to press reports. 

“The airlines ginned up a laundry list of actions they wanted governments to take so that airlines don’t have to comply with a reasonable law to cut global warming pollution,” said Annie Petsonk, International Counsel at Environmental Defense Fund. “Today’s failure to reach agreement on a coordinated attack indicates cooler heads may have prevailed, and if so, they are to be commended.”

In the weeks prior to the Moscow meeting,Raymond Benjamin, Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) had warned that a decision by any nation to launch, under Article 84 of the Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation, a formal protest against the EU law would distract ICAO from designing and obtaining global agreement on effective, market-based measures to address aviation greenhouse gas emissions.

“Had an Article 84 case been launched, that surely would have called into question the seriousness of the claims of industry and some nations that they truly want a solution in ICAO,” said Petsonk.

EDF is unaware of any “civil society” groups being invited to the Moscow meeting, but press reports indicate the industry trade association International Air Transport Association (IATA) was present.

“With such a limited invite list, the meeting didn’t present an opportunity for a balanced discussion,” Petsonk said. “Civil society must be afforded equal opportunity to participate in ICAO’s work going forward. Such participation can help ICAO achieve an effective and durable outcome.”

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