NY Times editorial on aviation spot on: European plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions makes sense

The New York Times has a terrific editorial today about the European Union’s law to regulate carbon emissions from airplanes that use European airports.

Closely in line with what EDF and our partners have been saying about the world’s first program that holds airlines accountable for reducing their global warming pollution, the Times says the EU Aviation Directive “makes sense.”  And absent a global deal to limit greenhouse gases — which the Times says world leaders should have reached long ago —

the European Union’s plan to regulate the carbon emissions of all airplanes that land or take off from European airports is a reasonable attempt to address an urgent problem.

The Times also says that given the glacial speed at which international aviation negotiations are moving, the Obama administration’s arguments that a global solution is better than Europe’s plan “are not very strong.”  With aviation emissions rising sharply as air traffic increases, the Times says:

A global deal would be great. But international talks to regulate airlines’ emissions have been going on fruitlessly for almost 15 years. The European Union’s plan is a much needed first step to controlling a growing source of dangerous emissions. It may even encourage nations to work toward something broader.

Three U.S. airlines — United/Continental and American — and their trade association, Air Transport Association of America (ATA), have challenged the legality of the EU law in Europe’s highest court.  EDF, in partnership with U.S. and European environmental organizations, has intervened in support of the EU law.  Oral argument was held July 5, 2011, and a decision may be handed down within the next few months.

Read The New York Times editorial Airlines and Carbon: The European plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions makes sense and learn more about EDF’s work on aviation at edf.org/aviation.

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