Energy

EPA Gives Itself The Power To Regulate CO2 From Airplanes

REUTERS/Louis Nastro

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a report claiming greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from airliners contribute to “to the pollution that causes climate change,” thereby giving the agency more power over air travel.

EPA officials released an endangerment finding on airline emissions “in preparation for a future domestic rulemaking process to adopt future GHG standards,” according to the agency. EPA now has the self-proclaimed jurisdiction to regulate the greenhouse gases emitted every time Americans travel.

“Addressing pollution from aircraft is an important element of U.S. efforts to address climate change. 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,” Janet McCabe, the head of EPA’s air office, said in a statement.

EPA began working on its endangerment finding in 2014 as bureaucrats were in the final stages of imposing rules on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. EPA already regulates greenhouse gases, like CO2, from cars and trucks.

“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,” McCabe said.

The Obama Administration’s effort to justify regulating airline emissions comes after European Union officials tried to tax all flights going into and out of their airspace. Obama teamed up with Republican lawmakers to stymie the effort, and supported a United Nations solution to dealing with airline emissions.

Now, Obama is moving ahead with regulating airline emissions on his own, likely in an effort to help meet his promise to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025. Obama made that promise to the UN in an effort to get China to promise to peak its emissions by 2030.

But airline emissions only make up 3 percent of the U.S. total, according to EPA, so clamping down on them won’t make a dent in global temperatures based on the agency’s own climate models.

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