Three U.S. airlines and the Air Transport Association sued the U.K. government to challenge the first stage of the country’s implementation of European Union emission-trading regulations. American Airlines, Continental Airlines and United Airlines joined the ATA in the complaint, saying the rules “violated the U.S.-EU bilateral Air Transport Agreement of April 2007 and the Kyoto Protocol.”
The EU is adding airlines to the European emissions-trading system, the world’s biggest greenhouse-gas market, in 2012 to fight climate change. The system imposes a cap on industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for rising temperatures. United Nations scientists say reductions in emissions are needed to keep the planet from overheating.
By 2020, developed nations must cut emissions 25 percent to 40 percent from 1990 to “stand a chance” of keeping the global temperature within 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit of pre-industrial times, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said. According to experts, Jet planes, which account for 5 percent of U.K. emissions, could contribute 40 percent by 2050, depending on how fast the industry grows.
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