Nobel Prize winners urge Obama to back carbon pricing

Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:54pm EDT
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* High-level group meets March 25-27 in Montreal

* Progress so far has been slow

* European Union has given ICAO a year to get a global deal

By Barbara Lewis

BRUSSELS, March 14 (Reuters) - A group of leading economists, including eight Nobel Prize winners, has written to U.S. President Barack Obama urging him to support a carbon price on aviation.

An EU law requiring all aircraft using EU airports to pay for emissions via the bloc's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) last year stirred international outcry and threats of a trade war.

Eventually, the Commission, the EU executive, announced it would freeze its law for a year, to spur agreement of a less contentious global alternative at U.N. body the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

In the letter, dated March 14, the eight Nobel Prize winners and 24 other economists call on Obama to back a market-based measure, 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.   Continued...