Going Green: Aviation’s Contributions to a Sustainable Future
For years, ALPA pilots have worked together with airline managements and regulators to safely enhance the efficiency of flight operations. Through operations such as single-engine taxi; modernized departure and arrival procedures; flying at optimal altitude to limit fuel burn based on aircraft weight, winds, and atmospheric conditions; and using continuous descent arrival and optimized descent procedures; airline pilots are working every day and on every flight to safely enhance efficiency and reduce fuel burn. As a result, commercial aircraft emissions have plummeted in recent decades. ALPA has also supported the Department of Defense’s role as a leader in the development of refining and deployment of advanced biofuels. Advanced biofuels will be an increasingly critical component in decreasing aircraft emissions when ICAO ratifies a global sectoral approach to address aircraft emissions.
In June 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an “endangerment finding” on aviation and carbon emissions as required by the Clean Air Act. The finding reiterated the United States’ commitment to working through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) process to develop a carbon dioxide certification standard for new aircraft. ALPA has long held that as an international industry, aircraft emissions standards must be developed and agreed to at the international level. ALPA fully supports ICAO’s efforts to find global solutions to reduce aviation emissions.
U.S. government policy must recognize the voluntary contributions of U.S. airlines to reducing carbon emissions. Specifically, EPA should maintain its current course of engaging via the U.S. position at ICAO regarding aircraft emissions and reject outside pressure to adopt separate rules or standards.