US Court Rules on EPA Oversight of Aircraft Emissions

Today a US District Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency must move forward under the Clean Air Act and determine whether carbon emissions from aircraft endanger society.

This is an important move - air traffic accounts for vast amounts of pollution and fuel consumption. U.S. airlines alone used over 16 billion gallons of fuel for scheduled flights in 2010, a figure that is projected to increase.

The Center for Biological Diversity weighed in on this ruling in a press release yesterday:

“Climate change is not a threat in the distant future — it’s already happening all around us,” said Vera Pardee, a lawyer with the Center for Biological Diversity. “But greenhouse gas pollution from aircraft, ships and nonroad engines and vessels is increasing — and increasing its contribution to climate change — even though technologies exist to reduce it. Today’s ruling establishes once again that the Clean Air Act is an effective tool that the EPA must employ to prevent even greater damage from these harmful emissions.”