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Why This Matters: Transportation emissions are one of the largest sources, and even though airline emissions are only around 9% of the U.S. total, they had been increasing greatly pre-pandemic. Airline efforts are far behind other transportation sources when it comes to developing control technologies and biofuel alternatives. Without a strong push from the government, no airline or airplane maker is likely to tackle the difficult challenge of making more fuel-efficient and lower-emitting airplanes. Hopefully, the incoming Biden administration, particularly the Defense Department, can push the airline industry to build back better given all the COVID relief it has received.
The environmental community was swift to criticize the new rule. Annie Petsonk of the Environmental Defense Fund said in a release, “This do-nothing rule is totally inadequate in light of the climate crisis. That the EPA’s rule is being finalized concomitantly with Congress issuing another multi-billion-dollar COVID-19 rescue package for airlines — with no enforceable requirements for airlines to improve their environmental performance — underscores the need for swift regulatory action by the next administration so that airlines put climate at the core of their recovery.” Similarly, Liz Jones, with the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute argued, “This rule is especially infuriating because there are effective ways for the aviation industry to modernize and decarbonize. What we desperately need are technology-forcing standards to get the industry on track.”
EPA reverted to the usual jobs versus the environment argument saying of the rule that it is a “pragmatic approach to climate action [that] has produced meaningful results without unnecessarily sacrificing American jobs.”
Democratic Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Ed Markey have in the past called for the big airline industry bailouts to come with some corresponding commitments to reduce their emissions. “Carbon offsets should be a condition for any such bailouts,” Senator Whitehouse tweeted last March after the airline industry received its first $50B in relief funding. He went on to say, “Airlines that want public support should live public values.”
What You Can Do: Keep meeting virtually. The pandemic could lead to a more sustainable amount of business travel, but only if that is more acceptable once it is safe to travel by air in large numbers again.
Bike riders and commuters across the nation will be getting some special benefits for purchasing an electric bicycle. Included in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget plan is $7.4 billion in tax credits for e-bike purchases. The administration hopes that it can encourage more people to choose biking instead of driving to help curb transportation emissions, […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Those three arrows in a triangle are an easy shorthand for recyclables, but there’s one problem: just because the symbol is printed on a product, doesn’t necessarily mean the item is recyclable. It simply informs consumers of the type of plastic used based on the number within the arrows. […]
“Recycling just got saucy.” Taco Bell has announced that it’s teaming up with recycling firm TerraCycle to keep its iconic sauce packets out of landfills. The company says that more than 8 billion of their spicy sauce packets end up in landfills each year, but with this new partnership, those friendly packets can become something […]
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