Brussels (Brussels Morning) The EU wants to cooperate with the US on lowering aviation greenhouse gas emissions, Reuters reports. If it proceeds in line with European Commission planning, a deal could include the introduction of pollution standards for jet fuels.
The bloc’s green transition plan requires each sector of the economy to do its part in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
This applies to the transport sector and its aviation segment, where greenhouse gas emissions have been rising over the past 20 years or so, only to drop steeply last year because of the impact of pandemic-imposed restrictions.
Besides emitting CO2, the aviation industry emits other greenhouse gases and soot as well as generating contrails, which contribute to global warming.
Accounting for non-CO2 impacts
Damien Meadows, acting head of the EC’s International Carbon Market, Aviation and Maritime Unit, pointed out that, historically, “non-CO2 impacts haven’t really been taken into account”, an issue that working with the US could help resolve.
Last November, an EU study showed that CO2 emissions were responsible for approximately one third of the aviation segment’s effects on global warming.
“If we worked with the United States we could try to raise fuel standards to diminish the amount of soot elements causing non-CO2 impacts”, Meadows said. Optimising transatlantic flight routes could help minimise the problem of contrails, he noted.
One sign that the US administration may examine the environmental effects of aviation is the appointment of Annie Petsonk, an environmental attorney, as Acting Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs.
Petsonk has worked at the Environmental Defence Fund advocacy group for years, pushing the US to adopt stricter aviation emissions policies.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the EU is planning to propose new rules for aviation in the second quarter, including fuel quotas and new taxes.