Blakey blasts European greens for aviation emission proposals
US FAA Administrator Marion Blakey on 9 May issued a fierce counter-punch against a movement in Europe to “unilaterally” impose an aviation emissions trading system.
“In Europe, there are factions working to curtail aviation growth regardless of the benefits we offer to the economy and quality of life,” said Blakey, who addressed the Phoenix Aviation Symposium.
“Trying to force a European solution on the world given the different aviation sectors, economic circumstances, and environmental issues of countries is unworkable, not to mention illegal,” she added.
Blakey described several anecdotes to illustrate the seriousness the issue of aviation emissions is in Europe, even as no public outcry exists so far in the US. Blakey described an attempt to impose a $200 green tax on all flights to Europe and Africa and $500 on flights to the rest of the world.
In her speech, Blakey mocked a proposal by the residents of one region of Belgium to use airborne surveillance to monitor emissions from backyard “barbecue grills”.
“It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s a helicopter with a thermal imaging sensor that’s cracking down on backyard BBQ,” she said, using the American acronym for barbecue. “So eventually cooler heads prevailed. But keep in mind that even if the average civilian helicopter burns about 10 or 12 gallons of fuel an hour --. We’re laughing, but it’s really not funny.”
The level of concern in Europe raises fears of a rapid backlash against aviation in the US as well.
“One thing is for sure: This shift in the European view toward aviation happened virtually overnight,” Blakey said. “We should not be so foolish as to presume that it can’t happen here.”
As a way of illustrating her point, I've noticed that the media seems to be jumping onto this bandwagon in a big way. Note this article from the BBC on aviation in India. It contains what is by now the almost obligatory reference to environmental concerns.
Few of those flying today, though, know what all this will mean in terms of pollution and carbon emissions.
"I'm not thinking about all that right now," said Anita Gupta as she arrived to catch her flight to Mumbai.
"How it impacts the environment is difficult to grasp," added Anjali, as she queued at the security gate.
Danesh, a businessman, was the only person we found who was concerned.
Aviation is getting a bad rap IMO and it's going to get much, much worse.