Airlines Must Take Air Pollution Seriously

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Target: The United States Senate

Goal: Hold U.S. airlines accountable for carbon emissions caused by aviation.

Global warming is having devastating effects on humans and wildlife, affecting our ecosystems, causing natural disasters, and leading to damaged food supply and health complications. Pollution caused by aviation plays a huge factor in climate change—aviation pollutes the atmosphere as much as the entire country of Germany each year.

A study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded that air pollution annually causes 13,000 premature deaths in Britain. These carbon emissions are not good for the atmosphere either, and this certainly contributes to global warming.

The European Union recognized the seriousness of this issue, and they passed a law requiring airlines flying in and out of Europe to cut that pollution. This “Aviation Directive” is the only program in the world to set enforceable limits on aviation pollution. All airlines landing in or taking off from EU airports are now accountable for their air pollution. In addition to drastically cutting carbon emissions, this law creates a larger dialogue around pollution caused by aviation. Abiding by the law is relatively low-cost for airlines and encourages the development of green energy sources and fuel efficiency.

The United States would be wise to adopt a similar policy, but US airlines are resisting. They are lobbying Congress to pass a bill that would actually make it illegal for them to participate in the EU system, a measure titled the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act (S. 1956). If US airlines fail to comply with EU laws, they may face penalties as large as $2 billion dollars—a burden that could fall on taxpayers, as a provision in the bill would legally protect airlines that don’t follow the policy.

US airlines should see the EU Aviation Directive as an opportunity to create better aviation technology and help the environment. Urge senators to oppose the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act and encourage airlines to make cuts to their carbon emissions. We should be working towards improving our systems instead of looking for an easy way out.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear United States Senators,

Aviation pollution plays a huge factor in climate change—the pollution caused by aviation each year is the same amount as the entire country of Germany. In addition to damaging our ecosystems and atmosphere, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimated that air pollution causes 13,000 premature deaths annually in Britain alone.

The European Union recently passed the Aviation Directive, which requires airlines landing in or taking off from EU airports to reduce their carbon emissions. It holds these airlines accountable for their pollution, and it encourages the development of green technology and fuel efficiency.

US airlines should comply with this policy and create guidelines of their own, but instead airlines are lobbying for a way out. They are asking to pass the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition (S. 1956), which would make it illegal for them to participate in the European program. We urge you to oppose this bill and force airlines to take responsibility for their carbon emissions. We should take air pollution seriously and see the EU’s new policy as an opportunity to expand aviation technology and create sustainable solutions.

Sincerely,
[Your Name Here]

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