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Curbing Aviation Emissions 101

Curbing Aviation Emissions 101

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Rebecca Lefton and Samuel Grausz explain U.S. and EU policies reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation sector.
Rebecca Lefton and Samuel Grausz explain U.S. and EU policies reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation sector.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Jul 21, 2012
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07/24/2012

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 Blue Skies Project| Curbing Aviation Emissions 101
Curbing AviationEmissions 101
Everything You Need to KnowAbout U.S. and EU Policies
By Rebecca Lefton and Samuel Grausz July 2012
 Addressing he projeced growh in greenhouse gas emissions rom heaviaion secor will be inegral o solving climae change. Aviaion accounsor 13 percen
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o global ransporaion carbon dioxide emissions, and emissionsrom aviaion are on rack o quadruple by 2050 i le unchecked.
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 Te share o aviaions conribuions o oal global ransporaion emissions iseven larger i non-carbon-dioxide emissions are included. In addiion o carbondioxide, aircra emi oher gases ha lead o global warming—including waer vapor, black carbon, nirogen oxides (NOx), and sulur oxides (SOx). Te climaeimpac is poenially double, oo, because airlines emi all o hese greenhousegases direcly ino he upper amosphere.Complicaing he problem, he number o passengers on U.S. airlines is projecedo double o 1 billion in he nex 10 years, and he number o passengers globally  will more han double o 6 billion by 2026.
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 Blue Skies Project| Curbing Aviation Emissions 101
Susainable growh o he airline indusry—which already conribues $1.3 ril-lion o he domesic economy annually,
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suppors 10 million U.S. jobs and 15million jobs worldwide, and susains ens o millions more jobs or he ourismindusry—is key o he healh o our economy and our environmen.
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 So wha is being done o cu greenhouse gas emissions in he aviaion secor? How can public and privae secors ensure he growh o he airline indusry wihouharming he climae?Tis issue brie will examine hese quesions by looking a seps he Unied Saesand Europe are aking.
 What the United States is doing tobring down aviation emissions
What is the United States doing to lower aviation emissions?
Te Unied Saes does no regulae greenhouse gas emissions rom aircra.Bu he U.S. governmen is aking seps ha could reduce emissions includingdeveloping a more modern and sreamlined air rac conrol sysem and pro-ducing advanced je biouels wih he goal o creaing a compeiive naional biouels indusry.Nex Generaion Air ranspor Sysem, or NexGen, is a new saellie-based airrac managemen sysem using GPS ha i ully implemened aims o replaceradars by 2025. NexGen is a win or passengers, airlines, he environmen, andhe economy.
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Te Federal Aviaion Adminisraion esimaes ha more direcroues—and planes circulaing less overhead waiing or clearance o land—willresul in 35 percen ewer delays and save 23 million hrough 2018.
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Wha’s more,improved roue eciency will save 1.4 billion gallons o je uel and reduce carbondioxide emissions by 14 million ons in 2018.Furher, on Augus 16, 2011, he Obama adminisraion announced a join iniia-ive wih he Deparmen o Agriculure, Deparmen o Energy, and he Navy oincrease he use o je and marine advanced biouels. Te plan
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is par o a broadergoal o reduce dependence on oreign oil and improve energy securiy as laid ouin a March presidenial direcive—“Blueprin or A Secure Energy Fuure,” which
 
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 Blue Skies Project| Curbing Aviation Emissions 101
prioriized reducing oil impors by one-hird by 2025. Increasing he use o biou-els is a key par o reaching ha goal.
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What are potential U.S. policy responses to greenhouse emissions?
 A 2009 Governmen Accounabiliy Oce, or GAO, repor explored greenhousegas emissions rom he aviaion secor and regulaory opions or reducion.
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 Measures GAO considered included a carbon ax or cap-and-rade mechanism,perormance or echnology sandards, and increasing governmen research anddevelopmen or low-carbon echnologies.GAO preerred marke-based measures such as cap and rade or a ax because o heir greaer economic eciency. Tese measures can achieve emissions reduc-ions by puting a price on emissions hereby allowing rms he exibiliy oachieve reducions wih he lowes cos.Te repor ound ha sandards or aircra or engine emissions provide rms wihless choice and increase coss, and also provide ewer incenives o reduce emis-sions beyond he se requiremen.R&D provides minimal incenives o reduce emissions bu could provide break-hrough echnologies and direcly bene rom a marke-based measure as rev-enues rom he measure could be direced oward R&D invesmen.
How do market-based measures work?
Marke-based measures pu a price on emissions, creaing an incenive o reducehem.Te price is usually accomplished by limiing overall emissions, allowing rms orade he righ o emi (cap and rade), or direcly axing heir emissions.Mos economiss believe ha in many cases such programs reduce emissions a helowes cos because hey provide more exibiliy or rms o decide how o reduceemissions. Tese programs also oen generae revenue ha can be used o inves inclean echnologies, emissions miigaion, and adapaion o climae change.For hese reasons, marke-based measures or greenhouse gas emissions in he avia-ion and mariime secor have generaed much atenion—boh as an environmenalsoluion and as a revenue raiser or meeing climae goals. In he 2010 Conerence

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