US climate bill passes through Congress

June 26: The US House of Representatives passed the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act by a vote of 219 to 212, to the concern of the US Air Transport Association (ATA).

The bill places limits on US carbon dioxide emissions and creates a ‘cap-and-trade’ regime for those industries intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The ATA is concerned that the cap-and-trade bill will create an “onerous fuel tax on the airline industry” through a surcharge on fuel purchases to cover the cost of carbon permits for the fuel manufacturers, estimating it could add $5 billion to airlines’ bills in 2012, rising to $10 billion by 2020.

ATA President and CEO James May said “Fuel costs will skyrocket, hindering the ability of US airlines to continue to improve their environmental performance through fleet modernization and technological advances, weakening their ability to compete in the global markets.”

The bill will now move to the Senate for approval.

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