WASHINGTON, June 10, 2015 – Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announced finding, as required under the Clean Air Act and Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on aircraft greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
U.S. airlines drive 5 percent of U.S. economic activity but account for only 2 percent of the nation’s GHG emissions. A4A and our members support the work at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to develop a carbon dioxide (CO2) certification standard for new type aircraft, as it will further support our global aviation coalition’s emissions goals to achieve 1.5% annual average fuel efficiency improvements through 2020 and carbon neutral growth from 2020, subject to critical aviation infrastructure and technology advances achieved by government and the industry. Before EPA may adopt the future international standard into U.S. law, the Clean Air Act requires the Agency to have made the proposed finding that aircraft GHG emissions “cause or contribute” to the climate change effects generally posed by GHG emissions. EPA made that general finding in 2009 and has been conducting the Clean Air Act-required assessments on a sector-by-sector basis in the years since.
“Aviation is a global industry, making it critical that aircraft emissions standards continue to be agreed upon at the international level,” said A4A Vice President, Environmental Affairs Nancy Young. “While we believe that any regulatory action must be consistent with both the agency’s authority under the Clean Air Act and the future ICAO standard, today’s action reconfirms the EPA’s commitment to the ICAO process for achieving a global CO2 standard for new aircraft.”
Young noted the U.S. aviation industry’s exceptional environmental track record, having improved fuel efficiency over 120 percent since 1978, and saving over 3.8 billion metric tons of CO2, the equivalent to taking 23 million cars off the road each of those years. Further, the U.S. airlines carried 20 percent more passengers and cargo in 2014 than they did in 2000, while emitting 8 percent less CO2.
“U.S. airlines are green and we are getting even greener,” said Young. “The technology, operations and infrastructure initiatives that our airlines are undertaking to further address GHG emissions are designed to responsibly and effectively limit their carbon emissions and potential climate change impacts while allowing them to continue to serve as drivers of U.S. and global economies.”
The ICAO work on an aircraft CO2 certification standard for new aircraft commenced in 2010 under the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection. EPA and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration are key participants in this work, which is expected to culminate in February 2016 with a recommended international aircraft standard.
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. U.S. airlines fly 2.3 million passengers and more than 55,000 tons of cargo each day. Airlines for America (A4A) advocates on behalf of the American airline industry as a model of safety, customer service and environmental responsibility and as the indispensable network that drives our nation’s economy and global competitiveness.
A4A works collaboratively with the airlines, labor groups, Congress and the Administration to improve air travel for everyone.