EPA ruling an opportunity for EU and America to cooperate on aviation emissions

Today’s finding by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it will regulate US greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft is an opportunity for bilateral action between America and the EU to reduce aviation’s growing climate impact, Transport & Environment has said. The Brussels-based sustainable transport group welcomed the EPA’s decision to set a CO2 standard that is “at least” equivalent to the one agreed at UN-level.

A series of lawsuits by US NGOs forced the EPA to issue today’s ruling that it must act to regulate US aviation GHG emissions. The ruling comes after agreement last february at the UN aviation body ICAO on a CO2 standard for new aircraft that will have no impact on reducing emissions. One of the possible courses of action for the EPA is to introduce a more effective US standard that would apply to US-built aircraft and other aircraft sold to US registered airlines.

Bill Hemmings, aviation director at Transport & Environment, said: “We now have the real possibility of the EU and the US cooperating to fix the deeply-flawed UN aviation efficiency standard. The European transport commissioner Violeta Bulc should grab this opportunity with both hands.”

In contrast to this long-awaited first sign of US ambition on reducing aviation emissions, the EU transport decarbonisation strategy, published last week, was disappointingly silent on what will be done in Europe to reduce aviation’s climate impact. However, the EPA ruling creates a possibility for effective EU-US cooperation. Both markets account for over half of global aviation emissions, and Boeing (US) and Airbus (EU) aircraft are responsible for over 90% of global aviation CO2.

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