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            september 18, 2019

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Eight Nobel Prize winners urge Obama to support EU-like carbon tax


Eight Nobel Prize winning economists have written to US President Barack Obama urging him to support a carbon tax on aviation similar to that advanced by the European Union, Reuters reports.
The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) last year raised an outcry, leading to a Chinese boycott of Airbus's long-haul aircraft, with the US banning its airlines from co-operating with the EU tax collectors. One big objection, dismissed by an EU court, was that the tax applied equally to carbon emissions outside EU airspace.
Mr Obama signed the "EU ETS Prohibition Act" into law to shield US airlines from complying with the EU tax.
Eventually, the EU dropped the tax for a year, pending a replacement by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the United Nations agency charged with governing international aviation regulation.
The Nobel laureates, together with 24 other economists (the New York Times's Paul Krugman was not on the list), called on Obama to back a market-based tax, like the EU scheme, as the cost-effective way to encourage technological change and lower emissions.
"While we recognise the barriers to a uniform global price on all carbon emissions, pricing emissions in the aviation sector via ICAO would be a good start," the letter said.
"Absent such an agreement in ICAO this year, US airlines will face a growing patchwork of international regulations and compliance costs, while aviation emissions will continue to rise and contribute to dangerous climate change," the letter said.
ICAO meets at its headquarters in Montreal on March 25-27 to raise the issue again. The US position paper, seen by Reuters, put forward the idea of an airspace approach that would leave the bulk of emissions unaccounted untaxed.
EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard in a Twitter message said she hoped Obama would take the Nobel Prize winners' advice. "Nobel Prize winners are normally wise persons," she said.

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