ABA 2010: Climate Change & Aviation – The Evolving Legal Landscape

October 26, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Aviation Law Current Event, Blogcast | Leave a comment

By P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

Climate Change & Aviation – The Evolving Legal Landscape was moderated by Nancy Young, Air Transport Association. Panelists included Edward L. Ferguson, Boeing; Nancy D. LoBue, FAA; Leah Raney, Continental Airline; and Andy Steinberg, Jones Day.

Raney stated that climate change was a major issue for the airlines. She stated that the majority of greenhouse emissions from airline operations are from the burning of fuel while spacecraft are in flight. She stated that there were costs and benefits involved with reducing these emissions.

Ferguson stated that a major problem was a patchwork of regulatory regimes. He stated that this could reduce the competitiveness of the entire industry. He stated that the industry needed to take the helm to fix the problem to avoid such a situation.

LoBue stated that the FAA had an interest in creating a sustainable industry, and that part of this was helping ensure that the regulatory regime was effective but not burdensome.

Steinberg highlighted the idea that the international perspective was very important in this. He endorsed the use of the ICAO regime as opposed to creating different national regimes that are not harmonized.

The panelists were then asked to respond to how a global response could be organized. LoBue discussed briefly the negotiations and work being done at ICAO. She stated that progress was being made in the ICAO assembly, but that there were still some obstacles to be tackled before international agreement on these matters would be complete.

The panel then began a discussion of the EU directive on aviation greenhouse gases and the legal challenges that are now taking place in court in the UK. Raney stated that at the heart of the dispute was the extraterritoriality of the directive. Ferguson noted that the taxes imposed were not limited to flights originating in Europe. Steinberg discussed the particular legal issues involved with the case. He said at issue was the extent that the parties can rely on international law sources (trsovereignty custom), sovereignty issues, and whether the trading scheme violates the Chicago Convention.

The panel then had an in depth discussion on specific challenges and strategies for addressing the issues of aviation emissions on a global level, with specific reference to the United States’ position and posture in this area.

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