The US Aviation Industry and Greenhouse gases

05/07/2011 / Kaj

The European Court of Justice is set to hold its first hearing today on the legality of the European Union’s emissions trading plan for the airline industry. The Air Transport Association and several of its American member airlines are suing to overturn it. If they succeed, the first and only legally binding legislation to curb climate forcing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from air transport will be grounded at the gate, leaving aviation emissions to soar into the wild blue yonder.

Many are missing the importance of this moment in history. While the aviation industry currently accounts for only 2 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions (4 percent in the U.S.) it is one of the fastest growing sectors for GHG emissions. CO2 emissions from aviation (planes also emit NOx, Ozone and other pollutants) increased approximately 45 percent between 1992 and 2005, and will increase an additional 150 percent from 2006 levels by 2030.

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