The New York Times reports the Environmental Protection Agency will soon establish emissions rules for airplanes, as it has for motor vehicles and power plants, to limit airlines’ contributions to global warming.
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.
Don’t expect the airlines to take this lying down. According to the Times, the industry has made big moves in recent years to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, though “improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions have been more than offset by the growth of the aviation sector around the world.”
One wonders what restrictions the EPA can put in place to curb the industry’s environmental impact in a meaningful way, and if there aren’t bigger-impact solutions to be had elsewhere. “Carbon-neutral” biofuels? Electric aircraft? Intercontinental hyperloops?