Monday, 13 February 2012

UN May Get Global Carbon Tax on Air Travel to Avert “Trade War”

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The United Nations may be able to seize an opportunity — presented by mass resistance against the “carbon tax” on air travel imposed by the European Union — to extract global taxes from airline passengers, with claims that failure to adopt a worldwide taxation regime under the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) could result in a “trade war.”

The EU, which has been among the chief promoters of international taxation, announced that it was open to discussions about substituting its own scheme for a global tax. Global airlines, meanwhile, are fervently pushing the idea of a UN-brokered “solution” to the impasse, saying the disagreements could affect global air travel and lead to counterproductive retaliation by governments.

"Europe deserves credit for pushing this issue up the international agenda and it is at the forefront on emissions trading,” claimed International Air Transport Association boss Tony Tyler during a speech at the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit. "But its unilateral approach must change."

In an interview with Reuters, the Director General the IATA — a lobbying group that represents over 200 airlines — alleged that the UN’s aviation arm was the “only” forum to resolve the controversy. He also said the EU would almost certainly cooperate to avoid further isolation.

"I very much hope that the EU and all its member states will work hard with ICAO to come up with a global solution,” he told the news agency, noting that the regional entity was generally supportive of a global tax instead. “It is not going to be easy."

The EU’s tax on flying is supposedly based on dubious theories about “climate change” and the alleged effect of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by human activities – a tiny fraction of the overall “greenhouse gases” that exist naturally. Critics and cynics, however, argue that the regional body is simply desperate for its own independent revenue streams.

The EU taxation scheme, known as the “Emissions Trading System,” forces all passengers on flights to or from Europe to pay for so-called “emissions credits.” Much of the revenue generated from the controversial permits – which have been associated with widespread savagery from Uganda to Honduras as natives are kicked off their land to plant trees - goes to the budding regional government.

The problem for the EU, however, is that global opposition to the scheme has been overwhelming. From India and China to Russia and the U.S., dozens of governments and hundreds of airlines have balked at the idea of paying the regional entity for CO2 emissions.

Earlier this month, the communist dictatorship ruling mainland China prohibited its airlines from participating in the European scheme. The regime’s civil aviation authority even warned that the Chinese government would take “necessary measures” to protect the public from the EU’s “illegal” taxes.

Before that, the U.S. Congress and the Indian government also threatened to retaliate if the EU did not back down. The U.S. House of Representatives blasted the tax as “illegal” while the government of India threatened to impose fees on European flights over Indian airspace.

Of course, as The New American warned repeatedly, most of the opposition to the carbon tax was based on the EU’s “unilateral” approach outside of the UN – not the concept of imposing supranational taxes based on questionable global-warming theories. And, as if on cue, the calls for a global CO2 regime are now growing ever louder.

"The Chinese move to prevent its airlines from taking part in the Emissions Trading Scheme is a very bold move and it pushes the Chinese carriers very much into the front line of this particular dispute," said IATA chief Tyler, noting that non-EU governments see the tax as an attack on national sovereignty. And the aviation industry, he said, could not afford to be stuck in the middle.

"This is an intolerable situation which clearly has to be resolved; it cannot go on like this,” said Tyler. “I very much hope of course that we are not seeing the beginning of a trade war on this issue and eventually wiser counsels will prevail.”

The EU, which claims it “had” to act because the UN had failed to do so, said it would drop its controversial tax if a global carbon regime comes to fruition. But legions of bureaucrats in Brussels were quoted in press reports saying that, despite the global opposition, the regional entity would not back down until a worldwide tax is approved.  

“We’re ready to negotiate within our framework,” said European Commission Vice President and Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas during the aviation conference in Singapore. “We aren’t trying to dominate the world.”

Kallas claimed the EU regime — which has become notorious for international bullying and power grabs — was “sincere” in its desire to achieve a global tax under the UN’s ICAO. But until then, he added, it remains unclear how the continental entity will deal with dissenting governments.

The UN, of course, has been fiendishly seeking any opportunity to impose global taxes, especially on carbon emissions. But everything from financial transactions to the internet has been targeted for a tax by the global body - whatever the world’s governments might be willing to accept.

And like the EU, the UN is desperately trying to secure independent revenue streams to bypass member-state contributions and increase its power. Once the tax is secured and the precedent established, analysts say, there will be no going back.

But as “global-warming” theories continue to crumble, the international body is in a race against time if it hopes to use climate hysteria to achieve its taxation goals. Even the upcoming UN “sustainability” conference in Brazil this June, dubbed Rio+20, has decided to avoid the controversial topic of “climate change” altogether.
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