A Call to Regulate Aircraft Emissions

States, Cities and Environmental Groups Urge EPA to Reduce Global Warming Pollution from Aircraft

PlaneCoalition of environmental groups, states and regional governments filed petitions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, urging the agency to address the effects of vast amounts of global warming pollution from the world's aircraft fleet. The petitions are the first step in a process that requires the EPA to evaluate the current impacts of aircraft emissions, seek public comment and develop rules to reduce aircraft emissions or explain why it will not act. Earthjustice filed the environmental groups' petition on behalf of Friends of the Earth, Oceana and the Center for Biological Diversity.

Press Release | Our legal petition


Airlines Benefit from Huge Bailout;
Will Passenger Rail Share in the Feast?

There is an important environmental component to the question of rail vs. air travel. Air travel contributes significantly to global warming pollution and harms local air quality. Emissions from airplanes account for approximately 4 percent of all global warming pollution, but this amount is projected to increase to as much as 10-15 percent by 2050.

Airplane take-offs and landings make airports places with major air pollution problems. Studies show that airports release large amounts of smog and other toxic chemicals. A study done by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that LAX ranks as Los Angeles’ second biggest industrial source of smog. O’Hare in Chicago, is the region’s fifth largest source of smog, just above a power plant and below a steel mill. And residents nearby face increased respiratory diseases and cancer risks.

This is true because air travel burns huge amounts of petroleum. Air travel is less fuel-efficient than any other form of transportation. According to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory statistics, air travel is almost 50 percent less efficient per passenger than Amtrak. The disparity in efficiency is particularly severe on short hops – 300 miles or less. Because a tremendous amount of energy is consumed during high-speed takeoff, shorter air trips are more fuel inefficient per passenger than longer flights.

Read the Report