Following White House comments earlier in the week over the Obama administration's "committment" to reducing airplane carbon emissions through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the controversial idea of adding a carbon tax as part of a deal on the fiscal cliff is emerging in numerous circles in Washington. During President Obama's press conference earlier this week, he was asked about a carbon tax, leading him to give an extended answer on climate change and how he will approach the issue during his second term.
As the recently passed bill to allow the Department of Transportation to exempt U.S. airlines from the European Union's emissions trading scheme awaits President Obama's signature, everyone is watching to see whether Obama will sign the measure. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), the author of the bill, has expressed concern that "green groups" will sway Obama toward a veto. The legislation passed the Senate by unanimous consent and the House by voice vote, shielding lawmakers from a potentially tough vote. A roll call would have put lawmakers on record as either opposing the wishes of the U.S. airline industry or ignoring environmentalists' pleas to not send a message that opposes efforts to cut down on carbon emissions.