EPA Determines Aircraft Emissions Contribute to Climate Change
The EPA recently finalized a determination that certain types of aircraft engines contribute to the pollution that causes climate change.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized a determination under the Clean Air Act that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from certain types of aircraft engines contribute to the pollution that causes climate change and endangers Americans’ health and the environment. The findings are for carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), all of which contribute to GHG pollution that represents the largest driver of human-caused climate change. These particular GHGs come primarily from engines used on large commercial jets.
“Addressing pollution from aircraft is an important element of U.S. efforts to address climate change,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for Air and Radiation. “Aircraft are the third-largest contributor to GHG emissions in the U.S. transportation sector, and these emissions are expected to increase in the future. EPA has already set effective GHG standards for cars and trucks, and any future aircraft engine standards will also provide important climate and public health benefits.”
The agency is not issuing emissions standards for aircraft engines in this action. The final endangerment and contribution findings for aircraft engine GHG emissions are an important step that EPA must take prior to adopting domestic GHG engine standards. The rulemaking process for aircraft GHG emissions will provide opportunities for industry, NGOs and other interested parties to provide their input through public review and comment. EPA reportedly anticipates that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will formally adopt its environmental committee’s February 2016 agreement on international aircraft CO2 standards in March 2017. EPA anticipates moving forward on standards that would be at least as stringent as ICAO’s standards.