Foreign Policy Blogs

Aviation and the EU

A story from the "NY Times" , Plan on Airline Emissions Hints at U.S.-Europe Rift , is a window onto an interesting bigger story:  how global warming is impacted by aviation.  I've written on one aspect of this recently in a story I did for "Planning" on Sustainability at the Airports.  I also blogged on Green Flying in July, with a great video included from the EU. 

Here's a sense of the overall contribution of aviation on carbon dioxide emissions, as of 2002.


The EU came out with a draft policy about a year ago to regulate emissions from aircraft flying into or out of their countries' airports.  You can refer to this memo for an explanation of the ins and outs of the policy.  Included here is also the answer to the essential question:  "How do aircraft affect the global climate?"  EU Environment Ministers meeting in Brussels last week agreed to the policy of including aircraft in the overall European emissions trading scheme, but with some softening of the draft plan.

The US doesn't like the idea of requiring limits as the "NY Times" article referenced above indicates.  They don't like it in anything as we know from the Bush Administration's continuing opposition to national or international caps on GHG emissions.  (For the latest evidence of this, witness the EPA's refusal to grant California and other states the right to regulate GHG emissions from cars.  See this from Environment News Service, this from AFP, and this from Time/CNN, an interview with the Governator and the Chair of the California Air Resources Board.)

Some of the environmental community in Europe think that the EU environment ministers have fatally dumbed down the policy.  The European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E) issued this release:  Aviation emissions plan could derail international climate targets.  T&E have this informative briefing on the subject. 



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change