Energy & Environment

Biden administration proposes aircraft standard as climate ‘step,’ though it won’t cut emissions

The Biden administration is touting airline standards it is proposing to adopt as a climate win, even though its technical documents say that the rule isn’t expected to cut planet-warming emissions. 

The Federal Aviation Administration announced on Wednesday that it would propose to implement airline climate standards put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Trump administration. 

In a statement on Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that the proposal to adopt the airline standards is “an important step forward in reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released by our nation’s airplanes.”

However, the agency’s technical documents indicate that the rule won’t actually cut emissions. 

“The EPA estimated that there would not be reductions in fuel burn and CO2 emissions beyond the business as usual baseline,” said the rule’s regulatory impact analysis, citing a Trump-era finding. 

Asked about the apparent discrepancy between its statement and the technical documents, the Federal Aviation Administration argued that setting the standards in the first place is a win, since it expects to tighten the standards in the future. 

“Setting the first-ever standard for more efficient aircraft is an important step toward reducing CO2. We anticipate tightening that standard over time,” the agency said in a statement to The Hill.

The EPA signaled in court last year that it would keep the standard

The draft standard in question is in line with those issued in 2017 by the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization and would apply only to future planes and not to those that are already in service. 

Tags Biden Joe Biden Pete Buttigieg
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