Obama gets it right on EU airline tax

For those of you who say I never write anything complimentary about President Obama: He done good this time. From The Hill:

President Obama has signed into law a bill that requires U.S. airlines be excluded from European carbon emissions fees.

Environmentalists had framed the bill as the first test of the president’s commitment to fighting climate change in his second term and urged him to veto it. Obama quietly signed it Tuesday over their objections.

The European Union has been trying since I was living in Brussels to tax any airline, regardless of where it’s based, for the entirety of any flight that enters EU airspace, regardless of how little time the flight actually spends in EU airspace. So, a flight from Los Angeles to London would be taxed for the entire length of the trip, even though only a fraction of it was spent in EU skies.

I don’t think it diminishes what Obama did here to add: He really had no choice. Allowing another government to tax our businesses in this way would open the door to all kinds of mischief — such as taxing a U.S. manufacturer for all its carbon emissions anywhere, not just at its European operations. The U.S. simply can’t cede sovereignty to another government in that way. We fought a war over a similar concept, as you might recall.

As a side note, this issue brings to mind one of my favorite interviews I’ve ever done, with Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary back in 2007. Ryanair is Europe’s leading low-cost air carrier, and O’Leary is one of the most colorful personalities in business, anywhere. The entire interview was fun, but this is the section that’s relevant here:

Airlines have become an enormous target for global-warming doomsayers. Last month, campaigners staged a nine-day protest outside London’s Heathrow airport, hoping to discourage summer vacationers from flying. Mr. O’Leary points out that air transport accounts for only 2% of carbon dioxide emissions world-wide — “It’s less than marine transport, and yet I don’t see anyone [saying], you know, ‘Let’s tax the [bleep] out of the ferries.’”

(”Bleep” was one of the most-used words in my write-up of the interview, as there really was no other way to quote O’Leary at length in a family publication.)

As for Obama: Well done. But if he follows through with that idea of pushing for a global tax on all flights, I’ll be right back to criticizing him …

– By Kyle Wingfield

Find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter

199 comments Add your comment

BW

November 28th, 2012
10:54 am

Wow Kyle….highlighting an obvious issue of national security as praise…I guess that will have to do….more interested in your opinion of saxby winning another term though

Centrist

November 28th, 2012
11:01 am

The left has co-opted AGW issues as an excuse for transfer payments. Never mind all of the junk science invoked for the cause. Flora and fauna thrives in interglacial periods. History demonstrates that warming has been good, and cooling bad, for civilization – be glad we are closer to the last ice age than the next one. The Little Ice Age (LIA) from about 1350 to 1850 was brutal while the Medievil Warm Period (MWP) of 950 to 1250 was considered the most recent Climate Optimum when Greenland was settled.

In a warmer world, less energy is needed for heating and transportation, resulting in less air, land, and water pollution. Snow and ice that seriously hamper movement and increase the costs of land and water shipping are reduced. Roads, bridges, and other infrastructure maintenance costs drop, as there would be less freeze/thaw and ice damage. Clothing expenses obviously reduce in a warmer world, and construction costs plummet as less insulation is required in all buildings.

The benefits of warming are especially prominent in agriculture. Longer frost-free periods will extend growing seasons as well as the extent of agriculture in middle- and high-latitude regions. More and greater varieties of food are then possible in areas that are currently agriculturally marginal.

Contrary to the assertions of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a warmer world is a wetter world with less, not more, droughts. This is because evaporation increases with warming, putting more moisture into the atmosphere, more clouds reflecting sunlight back into space (cooling feedback). Temperatures at high latitudes rise the most, reducing the difference between arctic and tropical temperatures. Since this differential drives weather, we should see weaker mid-latitude cyclones in a warmer world — less extremes in weather, not more.

Kyle Wingfield

November 28th, 2012
11:06 am

BW @ 10:54: How am I supposed to gauge that without knowing who’ll run against him? As Romney just proved, it is all too possible to lose a race against an incumbent believed to be eminently beatable.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

November 28th, 2012
11:07 am

That’s maybe the worst global-warming rationalization I’ve ever heard.

MANGLER

November 28th, 2012
11:13 am

Centrist … there is a certain validity to some of those points. However, in the years 950 – 1250 humans hadn’t bulldozed nearly as much of the worlds forests and prairie land or created farms in every corner of planet (less Antarctica, for now) like we have today. Oh, and there weren’t quite 7.2 billion little Terrans milling about cars, boats, planes, and burning fuel for power generation like there are today. So while yes, there may be a nominal increase in global precipitation as the atmosphere warms up, we already suck more fresh water from all aquifers than the rate in which they get naturally replenished and I don’t see that trend stopping until we hit a population tipping point (if we’re not already a little close to it already).

You don't say

November 28th, 2012
11:15 am

Obama did what any President would have did.

As for anything negative written about Obama, it didn’t work all that well in terms of the election, so please continue to express your opinions as you see fit.

MANGLER

November 28th, 2012
11:19 am

So if there is a global tax on all flights … does that go into an International Fund and get distributed evenly throughout participating Countries, or does each participating Country charge it’s own tax for flights originating, terminating, or merely passing over it’s airspace? What about flights that don’t do any of those things? Say, from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur? Would we also tax that flight, since we all share the same atmosphere? Can we tax China for it’s Coal generators which are wreaking havoc on it’s population and airspace and will eventually cloud it’s way to our shores? Will Finland tax the US for each of our F-150 extended cab super diesels?
You’re right, cross national taxes such as these lead to ridiculous places.

md

November 28th, 2012
11:28 am

And if they had a clue, they would just tax the fuel in their own countries. ALL International flights would be affected as there is no way the plane can get there and back on a full tank. But I’m guessing they don’t want to do that because it isn’t “fair” to their domestic carriers……share the misery is the idea over there, right?

Aynie Sue

November 28th, 2012
11:30 am

“Conservative” Americans and Chinese love hydrocarbon emissions, so defeating an attempt to encourage emission-conscious airlines by penalizing emission-careless airlines is bound to be popular among those who don’t give a damn about the environment.

Rest assured, Kyle, that your next trip to Brussels aboard one of Delta’s aging 767s will spew filth over two continents and an ocean. Just look out the window midflight to enjoy a view of the brown haze that now extends over the once-pristine Arctic regions.

Those silly Europeans, thinking that they can actually do something about the environment!

md

November 28th, 2012
11:42 am

And the irony continues as Aynie posts from a device that requires electricity……is that irony or hypocrisy?

A bit like Gore living in his mansion and flying around on his private jet…..but the masses jump up and down about the message.

md

November 28th, 2012
11:46 am

And for the record, I have no problem taking baby steps toward a greener world, but I have a MAJOR problem implementing tax after tax on a global economy that is 1 step away from recession….that just makes no sense. What good is a super clean world if we can’t afford to live in it? I guess eliminating humans would be the best solution for the earth though.

Centrist

November 28th, 2012
11:52 am

Mankind affecting a small portion of the earth’s surface and atmosphere is negligible in comparison to to all the other inputs – like volcanoes which pollute much more than man. Forestation in higher temperate zones substitutes a bright snow-dominated region that reflects the sunlight with dark forest canopies. A study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, USA, found that trees in temperate latitudes have a net warming effect on the atmosphere. The reforestation of the northeast allowed old growth trees to topple and cut off electricity for weeks after the relatively moderate non-tropical storm previously named Sandy struck. (Most of the damage was due to the easterly winds to the north of the storm in densely populated areas which combined with a high tide made even higher by the full moon).

Of course the sun, earth’s tilt/wobble/orbit impacts climate thousands of times more than mankind – but such science has been negated by economic and political interests.

Linda

November 28th, 2012
12:06 pm

Carbon dioxide is the gas humans breathe out & that plants absorb. How can a gas that has always been necessary to sustain life on earth all of a sudden be a pollutant & is causing the globe to warm?
Is it airplanes or humans the ones who “spew filth” & that cause this “brown haze” Aynie is seeing from her window?

Isn’t carbon dioxide the gas added to soft drinks to keep them from being flat? It’s polluting soft drinks?

Centrist

November 28th, 2012
12:12 pm

Carbon is the sixth most abundant element in the universe and is the most abundant element found in organisms.

CO2 and other trace gases in the atmosphere are measured in parts per million while Nitorogen makes up 80%, and Oxygen 20%. CO2 parts per million have been in much higher concentrations in the past with teaming flora and fauna. Plant life thrives in higher concentrations of trace CO2, and animal life largely lives off of plants. No “tipping points” and massive land swallowed up by ice melt when the poles and glaciers were much more receded, and CO2 was not the factor that caused those warmer periods. The intentionally alarmist left is using junk science for their economic and political ends.

Linda

November 28th, 2012
12:20 pm

John Q@12:12, I guess that means you can’t answer any of my questions.

TBone

November 28th, 2012
12:24 pm

Only rich people fly in air planes so this is an acceptable tax in my eyes. Yeah tax those dastardly filthy rich frequent flyers.

Big Chuck

November 28th, 2012
12:28 pm

The president won re-election easliy. Please just get over it Kyle. There’s no crying in politics. MAN UP!

Linda

November 28th, 2012
12:34 pm

Everyone in the country knows Obama was re-elected except Obama. He’s back on the campaign trail today. The legislators in DC have a matter they want to discuss with him, something about a cliff & a recession.

Kyle Wingfield

November 28th, 2012
12:42 pm

Big Chuck: ICYMI, I was applauding him on this. But are you suggesting he’s now immune from criticism? Did it work that way with Bush from 2005-09?

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

November 28th, 2012
12:52 pm

So, a flight from Los Angeles to London would be taxed for the entire length of the trip, even though only a fraction of it was spent in EU skies.

We are no longer kids in the backseat fighting over who is crossing the center line of the bench seat. A plane takes off and a plane lands. It doesn’t matter where it originates from or ends up. Two actions, neither of which can occur without the other action.

whaaaaa, joey’s spending more time on my side of the car. His leg is crossing the center line.
whaaaaaaaaa

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

November 28th, 2012
12:56 pm

Did it work that way with Bush from 2005-09?

No, we kept criticizing but the Cons closed their ears since W had a mandate and all.

Thomas Heyward Jr

November 28th, 2012
1:08 pm

So the Fed.gov can balk at paying taxes to other crooks but………………sovereign states within the U.S. can NOT balk at paying taxes to Fed.gov.
.
Washington boot lickers have no principles.
.
lol

getalife

November 28th, 2012
1:10 pm

The only regulation stopping our economy is the gop.

We will cut that regulation in the next election.

RIP gop.

CC

November 28th, 2012
1:14 pm

Kyle:

You can’t even COMPLIMENT Obama without drawing fire from leftist idiots! In order to compliment him, though, your words brought out all the man-made global warming freaks!

BenDaho

November 28th, 2012
1:16 pm

So the governments confiscate the money through tax and use the money to repair the damage caused to the environment. Got it. ;)

St Simons

November 28th, 2012
1:21 pm

‘Did it work that way with Bush from 2005-09?’

ok, using that std then,
by criticizing him you’re a ‘merka-hatin surrender monkey
just why DO you hate ‘merka?
do you hate us fer our freedums?

BenDaho

November 28th, 2012
1:22 pm

getalife

November 28th, 2012
1:10 pm
The only regulation stopping our economy is the gop.

We will cut that regulation in the next election.

RIP gop.

After the budgetless libs ruin the economy further, voting will sweep back toward conservatives who will then impose punishing austerity on government handouts.

CC

November 28th, 2012
1:26 pm

Linda:

“The legislators in DC have a matter they want to discuss with him, something about a cliff & a recession.”

Trivial matters, both of them . . .

He prefers to wait and discuss the hyper-inflation and coming depression.

Linda

November 28th, 2012
1:41 pm

Kyle, If the Republicans hold out to prevent taxes increasing on the top 2%, they will be blamed by the corrupt MSM for allowing taxes to increase on all taxpayers. If the Republicans cave & allow taxes to increase on the top 2%, they will be blamed by the corrupt MSM for the increased unemployment, etc.
Can the Republicans do the same thing Obama did almost the entire time he was a senator which is to vote “present,” thus allowing the Democrats the be solely responsible for the outcome?

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

November 28th, 2012
2:03 pm

“Obama gets it right on EU airline tax”

Even a blind squirrel will eventually find some nuts.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Obama has about the same success rate in 4 years, however.

carlosgvv

November 28th, 2012
2:06 pm

“the U.S. simply can’t ceded sovereignty to another government”

By the time global warming has reached runaway effects, the number of excuses for not doing anything to fight it will be enough to fill a large book.

Centrist

November 28th, 2012
2:10 pm

@ carlosgvv – You can’t fight Mother Nature (successfully).

Sunny

November 28th, 2012
2:18 pm

“Obama has about the same success rate in 4 years, however.”

And how sad is the commentary that the Republicans could not find one person to beat him in two elections?

Time to look inward when a mediocre at best President wipes the Electoral College floor with Republican candidates.

Sunny

November 28th, 2012
2:19 pm

However true to form, you and others will continue to make excuse after excuse.

But it is amusing to read.

Now carry on.

Linda

November 28th, 2012
2:20 pm

John Q@1:55, If the Republicans refuse to extend the tax cuts on the lower 98% without extending the tax cuts on the upper 2% & the Democrats refuse to extend the tax cuts on the upper 2%, that is a stalemate, but the corrupt MSM will place all the blame on the Republicans.

Sunny

November 28th, 2012
2:21 pm

“Linda – It’s all the MSM’s fault, huh?”

Well it does make for a great built-in excuse.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

November 28th, 2012
2:21 pm

“And how sad is the commentary that the Republicans could not find one person to beat him in two elections?

Time to look inward when a mediocre at best President wipes the Electoral College floor with Republican candidates.”

Sad, yes. But when the electorate is the dumbest on record, and they vote personality over substance, that’s what you get, Sunny.

The Obama phenomena is over now. Thank God. We just have to survive these next four years and hope that the Dems don’t find another vapid celebrity to run in 2016.

Sunny

November 28th, 2012
2:30 pm

“But when the electorate is the dumbest on record, and they vote personality over substance, that’s what you get, Sunny.”

True to form: excuses

Nothing about how Romney and his team were unable to attract more voters to the polls. Heck, 40% plus of eligible voters did not even vote. Forget who voted for Obama, where did the Romney team fail and how does the Republican party regroup on a national level?

Republicans are doing ok on the state and district level, however that advantage is slowly going away in certain areas do to demographics. Demographics over the next two or three cycles will overcome any gerrymandering (yes both parties are guilty as charged) advantages that can be put in place for certain states.

Social issues might be a winning ticket in certain states, but to continue to accentuate them or to be associated with them because of certain elements in the party is not a winning ticket on the national level.

Hopefully we get better candidates in the future, however I doubt either side will have too many good ones.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

November 28th, 2012
2:38 pm

“Forget who voted for Obama, where did the Romney team fail and how does the Republican party regroup on a national level?”

You cannot just dismiss out of hand the voters who enabled this clown, Sunny. THEY’RE the problem.

And this isn’t the column to re-hash what Romney did or didn’t do, and what the GOP needs to rework.

Sunny

November 28th, 2012
2:40 pm

Tiberius

Are you Kyle in disguise?

As for the column: Obama did what any other President would have done. Nothing special or unexpected.

Sunny

November 28th, 2012
2:42 pm

Tiberius

Please note: You are not being forced to comment to anything I post not do I care if you comment or not.

But thanks a million for your concern.

have a super day

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

November 28th, 2012
2:45 pm

I have NO “concern” for you or your posts, Sunny. Don’t flatter yourself.

Sunny

November 28th, 2012
2:47 pm

That’s why I post and you respond, huh?

Pavlov anyone?

iggy

November 28th, 2012
2:47 pm

Global warming is no more than a farce disguised as a united nations and govt power grab.

Linda

November 28th, 2012
2:47 pm

I guess Romney could have bought a bunch of cell phones with his own money, but not too sure about food stamps.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

November 28th, 2012
2:50 pm

In case you missed reality, Sunny, it was YOU who first responded to one of my posts.

Pavlov, anyone? :D

Rafe Hollister, dreading the eventual decline caused by Obamanism

November 28th, 2012
3:00 pm

Who was it that said, we can survive Obamanism, but can we survive the people that elected him?

That is the question. I’m with Linda, if CO2 was as big a problem as the left alleges, we would have all been dead years ago. Rather than taxing airlines, it would be more productive to eradicate termites, the worlds largest producer of CO2. Just think how high the limbs and dead trees would be stacked if there were no termites. Maybe tax the people with too many termites on their property.

Rafe Hollister, dreading the eventual decline caused by Obamanism

November 28th, 2012
3:03 pm

Regarding better candidates, anyone who aspires to make their career in politics, is kinda flawed to begin with.

Sunny

November 28th, 2012
3:09 pm

“I guess Romney could have bought a bunch of cell phones with his own money, but not too sure about food stamps.”

Phone program was started under a Republican administration not Obama and it is not paid via tax dollars.

Now go look up what the telecoms received from Uncle Sam when the program started. Problem was that they turned around and lobbied Congress and the FCC to say that they would provide the service as agreed but wanted to pass on the cost. Uncle Sam backed off their own “deal” that said we provide X and you provide y, and allowed the telecoms to pass on the cost.

So cry about the election as well as the phone program that started under a Republican, was approved by an FCC head that was appointed by a Republican and was approved by both parties in Congress.

Facts will be your friend one day. Probably not in the near future, but hopefully one day

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

November 28th, 2012
3:10 pm

“The U.S. simply can’t cede sovereignty to another government in that way. We fought a war over a similar concept, as you might recall.”

SOME might recall that event, Kyle.

Sadly, far too many others were never taught it’s importance.