E.U. and U.S. at odds over emissions cap for intercontinental flights

In two weeks, E.U. environment commissioner Stavros Dimas will unveil draft rules for capping airline emissions, and we’ll give you one guess who’s blocking the runway. At issue is whether to regulate intercontinental flights that use European airports for takeoff or landing, or to just regulate domestic flights; E.U. states want the broader cap, but the U.S. — fearing increased fares and any chance to look good globally — says non. “We think this will violate trade rules,” said James Connaughton, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “The aviation sector has already made dramatic progress in becoming more fuel efficient because they have to. It costs a lot of money to fly people around.” Miffed Europeans say that’s bunk. “The U.S. does not have a legal point,” says Jos Dings, director of the European Federation for Transport and Environment, who says including intercontinental flights would nearly quadruple the amount of carbon covered by the rules. Nuts, anyone?