The Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would release the first American aviation carbon emissions standards in September 2019. This is in response to a 2016 ruling by the EPA that (surprise!) aviation is responsible for greenhouse gases.

According to the EPA, they’re likely to adopt “standards that would be at least as stringent as ICAO’s standards”—omitting the fact that the international aviation organization’s rules are widely seen as insufficient.

In Maxine Joselow’s ClimateWire story about the proposed rule, Clare Lakewood, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, explains:

The standards are long overdue…We know that aircraft are an important source of greenhouse gas emissions, but they’re not covered by things like the Paris Agreement or carbon reduction schemes in the U.S. So these standards are really going to be the best effort we have to tackle pollution from this sector…The ICAO standards themselves are pretty weak…They’re basically an anti-backsliding provision. They require CO2 reductions of 4% over 12 years…Contrary to Trump’s red-tape cutting, sometimes it’s actually easier to have regulations in place. And this is one instance where industry would prefer to have regulations in place.

Joselow goes on to quote a Boeing spokesperson Paul McElroy, who explains why Boeing might want to lock in a weak global emissions standard:

Boeing supports efforts to move forward with the ICAO CO2 standard…It’s the right thing to do—for our industry, our stakeholders and our planet. Having a single emissions standard for airplanes is important as it provides a level international playing field for all original equipment manufacturers.”

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(All bolding mine. Photo by Drew Hays.)