EPA’s Proposed Aircraft CO2 Standard Wholly Insufficient to Tackle Climate Change

EDF statement from Annie Petsonk, International Counsel

July 22, 2020
Raul Arce Contreras, (240) 480-1545, rcontreras@edf.org

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its first ever proposal for a greenhouse gas emissions standard covering carbon dioxide from aircraft and aircraft engines. EPA is legally obligated to issue aviation pollution standards and has been working on this proposal since 2016. The proposal will be subject to public comment and Environmental Defense Fund will be providing written objections showing that the proposal, as drafted, contravenes EPA’s responsibilities under our nation’s clean air laws to protect public health and the environment from dangerous air pollution. 

“Airlines need to put climate change at the center of their recovery from COVID-19. But the EPA’s proposed carbon dioxide emissions standard for aircraft is wholly insufficient to put the aviation industry on a trajectory of declining emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“It will be up to Congress to provide real leadership for the aviation sector, not only by putting in place rules to safeguard airline passengers from COVID-19, but also by making any further aviation bailouts contingent on tough emissions limits for the sector. Opinion leaders, including the UN Secretary General, have said aviation bailouts should be conditioned on aligning with the Paris Agreement, and such conditions have already been adopted by America’s aviation competitors. 

“As the last U.S. bailout showed, simply infusing cash to rebuild the industry on its old template isn’t staunching the hemorrhage of jobs from the aviation sector. Instead, to help support new high quality jobs delivering the sustainable fuels and aircraft of the future, Congress should move swiftly to set aviation on a science-driven path toward net zero climate impacts, with strong emission reduction targets that address all aircraft pollution. That will do far more to aid the sector economically and protect the climate than EPA’s current proposal.”  

  • Annie Petsonk, International Counsel, Environmental Defense Fund 

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