Environmental Groups Defend European Efforts to Reduce Aircraft Emissions

28 May 2010

A transatlantic coalition of environmental groups was today given permission to intervene in an action at the High Court to defend Europe’s right to tackle carbon emissions from aircraft that fly into and out of Europe.

The coalition, consisting of three US-based organisations, the Environmental Defense Fund, Earthjustice, and the Center for Biological Diversity, as well as WWF-UK, Transport & Environment, and the Aviation Environment Federation in Europe, is intervening in a Judicial Review being sought by several US airlines – United, Continental and American – and their trade association, the Air Transport Association of America (ATA).

The airlines allege that the extension of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to cover emissions from aviation activities is incompatible with international law.  In particular, they allege it is incompatible with the EU-US open skies agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation 1994, and customary international law.

The environmental groups, together with the Secretary of State for Climate Change, oppose that case.

The matter will shortly be referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The environmental groups are represented by Jon Turner QC, Kassie Smith, and Laura Elizabeth John.

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Jon Turner QC
Kassie Smith QC
Laura Elizabeth John