EPA Sets Sights on Airline Industry
Any day now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to release an endangerment finding suggesting that greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes pose a risk to human health. Such a finding will then require the agency to regulate emissions under the Clean Air Act. Similar endangerment findings have been released over the years in order for EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from mobile sources (i.e., vehicles) and, most recently, fossil fuel-fired power plants.
All told, the airline industry represents roughly 12 percent of total U.S. carbon dioxide emission from the transportation sector and 2 percent, overall. Due to increase demand, global aviation emission are on pace to triple by 2050 if left unregulated. American aircraft are currently responsible for about 29 percent of all aircraft emissions worldwide.
However, the airline industry has already made significant strides in becoming more efficient and emitting less. Today, jets are over 70 percent more fuel efficient than jets in the 1960s and the industry expects fuel efficiency to continue increasing by roughly 1.5 percent per year between now and 2020.
ALEC will continue to monitor EPA’s plan to regulate emissions from airlines on this blog.