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E.P.A. Says It Will Set Rules for Airplane Emissions

E.P.A. Says It Will Set Rules for Airplane Emissions

Postby smix » Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:38 pm

E.P.A. Says It Will Set Rules for Airplane Emissions
The New York Times

URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/11/busin ... sions.html
Category: Aircraft
Published: June 10, 2015

Description: The Obama administration on Wednesday said it would regulate greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes, a move that could significantly strengthen President Obama’s environmental legacy, but also present major new challenges for the airline industry. The Environmental Protection Agency found that emissions from airplanes endanger human health because of their contribution to global warming. That finding does not yet impose specific new requirements on airlines, but instead requires the agency to develop the new rules, as it has done for motor vehicles and power plants. The announcement represents the latest of Mr. Obama’s major initiatives to combat global warming. Next week, the agency is expected to propose new rules on emissions from heavy-duty trucks, and in August it is expected to announce new rules to rein in power plant pollution. Environmentalists hailed the announcement, saying that it could drive aircraft manufacturers to research innovative new ways to reduce emissions from a major source of pollution. “With today’s announcement, President Obama has a unique and extremely important opportunity to demonstrate leadership not only domestically but around the world,” said William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. But the airline industry contends that it has already worked aggressively to reduce fuel use and increase efficiency, and that demands to do even more could raise costs. Already, airlines are looking into new technologies and alternatives like carbon-neutral — but expensive — biofuels. In their never-ending drive to reduce fuel costs, airlines have turned to a variety of strategies, like taxiing with a single engine, fitting winglets to improve plane aerodynamics, or using lighter material for seats, galleys or in-flight magazines. Since every pound matters, some have cut back on the ice they bring on board. Each 5.5 pounds of weight reduced on an airplane means a one-ton reduction in carbon emissions per year, according to calculations by the International Air Transport Association. But making big cuts in greenhouse gas emissions is a hard task. The industry’s efforts to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions have been more than offset by the growth of the aviation sector around the world. Aviation accounts for about 2 percent of global emissions, but it is among the fastest-growing sources of global greenhouse gas emissions as air travel becomes more affordable and more people travel around the world. By 2020, international aviation emissions could be 70 percent higher than in 2005, even if fuel efficiency improves by 2 percent a year, according to estimates cited by the European Commission.
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