EPA Makes Plans to Curb Plane Emissions

The Obama Administration has initiated talks on restricting the aerospace industry’s greenhouse gas emissions, stating that it might take some time before exact regulations take effect.

According to the EPA, like the automobile industry and power plants, airplanes also negatively impact human health; thus, restrictions are necessary. Creating the regulations will take some time — nothing will be enacted while Obama is in office, and will be the next president’s responsibility.

The EPA is waiting for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is tasked with creating international aviation regulations, to develop worldwide carbon emission rules. The deadline is February 2016; ICAO members are obligated to enact international regulations approved by the agency. The EPA is collaborating with multiple international agencies, like the ICAO, to create aerospace regulations.

Environmentalists would like the EPA to issue their rules before February 2016 because they worry that the ICAO — an agency that works with both the EPA and airline industry — will be biased and present lenient restrictions. Environmental groups want the US to lead the way.

Per the Flying Clean campaign, flights in and out of the US constitute almost one-third of the world’s airplane emissions; airline emissions will likely double by the end of 2020 if nothing is done soon.

Of course, Republicans have their issues with Obama cutting airplane emissions, specifying that airfare prices will skyrocket and hurt domestic air travel. Airline companies agree, explaining that they have already done so much to curb emissions, including using fuel alternatives, enhancing aerodynamics, and using lighter inflight materials. As reported by the International Air Transport Association, decreasing an airplane’s weight by 5.5 pounds is equivalent to a one-ton cut in yearly carbon emissions.

But the aviation industry continues to grow: more and more people are flying each year. Although air flights only comprise 2 percent of worldwide emissions, it’s projected that by 2020, international flights can reach 70 percent above 2005 numbers, regardless of whether fuel efficiency is advanced by an annual 2 percent.

To combat this, in the past, the EU tried to enact the Emissions Trading System, which was subsequently banned by the US, China, and other countries. With the support of both Democrats and Republicans, Obama even passed the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011, which banned American airlines from partaking in the EU’s system.

Airlines have pledged to limit their emissions by 2 percent every year until 2020, when emission growth will cap. The ultimate goal is for the aerospace industry’s emissions to be at half 2005′s numbers by 2050.

At this point, using newly-made airplanes that have better fuel economies are our best bet. Boeing has introduced its new 787 Dreamliner and Airbus has introduced the A350, both of which are more fuel efficient but not in wide use just yet.

(From New York Times)

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

June 16, 2015

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Copyright 2015. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

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“Your Biggest Carbon Sin May Be Air Travel” – New York Times, 26 January 2013

For the last few years, the world has been going green — embracing everything environmentally-friendly from cars to lightbulbs. Obama, too, has made promises, citing in his Inaugural Address that climate change is a high-priority in his second term. However, reversing the effects of climate change is global effort, and it seems that the world is disagreeing one on major aspect: aviation’s carbon footprint.

Last fall, amid many a Congressional disagreement, Democrats, Republicans and Obama were able to agree on one bill: the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011. The law bans American airlines from partaking in the European Union (EU) Emissions Trading System, Europe’s method of curbing carbon emissions. According to the eight-year-old EU Emissions Trading System, European power plants and manufacturers have to pay a fine if they exceed carbon emission rates. This year, the aviation sector was also set to begin paying for emissions produced during flights in and out of EU airports.

After American, Indian and Chinese airlines and governments threw a fit, the European Commission delayed the aviation sector’s joining for one year, allowing those governments to come up with a more feasible course of action. Next September, the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization is holding a multinational meeting in order to sort the issue.

Most people don’t know that airline travel is a large contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. A round-trip flight from New York to Europe is equal to emitting 2-3 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The typical American adds almost 19 tons of carbon dioxide per year, while the typical European adds 10. Currently, air travel emissions make up 5% of global warming; and that statistic is slated to increase, as the amount of air travel will surpass achievements in flight fuel efficiency.

Though the airline sector has successfully avoided paying any monetary fees for its emissions, that seems to be changing. Last year, US airlines made their case in front of the European Court of Justice, poorly arguing that EU’s taxing emissions on trans-Atlantic flights was illegitimate because those flights flew into international space.

It really is a matter of money. Though the price of carbon credits is currently at an all time low, those prices could skyrocket, increasing ticket prices and lowering US aviation sector’s profits. The trade group for American carriers, Airlines for America, has suggested a plan in which all flights until 2020 will have set emission rates, and any fines will be determined later — such a plan might help to ease the financial burden. Though analysts’ insights vary, the real test will be how Obama follows through on his climate-change-promise, and how the US will engage with the issue in the international arena.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

February 18, 2013

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

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Phinix LLC Publishes Sustainability Gone Postal!, a book based on our 15-part blog series inspired by the USPS “Go Green” Stamp Collection

Phinix LLC is very happy to announce the publication of our new book, Sustainability Gone Postal!, a short book based on our 15-Part blog series inspired by the United States Postal Service’s “Go Green” Stamp Collection.

This 15-Part volume describes practical, real-life tips for achieving a greener lifestyle. Each colorful chapter offers valuable insights from leading experts in ecology, environmentalism, and energy efficiency. Sustainability Gone Postal! addresses the following topics:

  • Local Produce Reuse Bags
  • Walking as Transportation
  • Recycling More Often
  • Using Public Transportation
  • Fixing Water Leaks
  • Bicycling as Transportation
  • Using Efficient Light Bulbs
  • Carpooling and Ride Sharing
  • Working with Compost
  • Planting Trees and Vegetation
  • Controlling Your Thermostat Efficiently
  • Saving Electricity
  • Using “Natural” Power
  • Insulating Your Home
  • Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure

Following the launch of our book, we plan to develop a presentation and lecture materials to broad audiences interested in topics concerning ecology, sustainability, and green living.

To learn more about our book, and order your copy, please visit: http://www.lulu.com/shop/subodh-das-and-austin-mckinney/sustainability-gone-postal-a-blog-series-inspired-by-the-usps-go-green-stamp-collection/paperback/product-20591643.html?showPreview=true

Conceived, Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Austin McKinney.

January 7th, 2013

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

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U.S. Post Office “Go Green” Initiative: Tip #8: Share Rides

Last week we blogged on Tip #7: Use Efficient Light Bulbs. As part of our ongoing 15-week blog series promoting the United States Post Office “Go Green” Stamp Collection, this week we are blogging Tip #8: Share Rides.

In previous blogs, we’ve discussed various methods for reducing our carbon footprint when travelling or commuting, including biking and using public transportation. Ride sharing, or carpooling, is another great way to reduce the impact on the environment and your wallet.

What is carpooling?

According to Rideshare.511.org, “Carpooling is a fast, convenient and less-expensive way to get to work. And, carpooling keeps the air cleaner. Carpool as many days as you want, one way or round-trip. All you need is one or two other people. Carpool with neighbors, coworkers, family, friends from the gym.”

HowStuffWorks.com offers a more detailed definition, “Carpooling, which falls under the ridesharing umbrella and is closely related to van pooling, is simply when a group of people decide to ride together. They usually share the cost of the trip and take turns driving. Often, carpools are formed by commuters who want to avoid driving during rush hour. In a small way, these commuters help to alleviate that traffic. Carpools are also formed by parents who want to divide the task of driving children to and from school and extracurricular activities.”

The Benefits of Carpooling

Carpooling provides many great benefits. HowStuffWorks.com observes a few:

  • Cut down on gas prices by “sharing the energy burden” between several passengers.
  • Extend the life of your vehicle by reducing the daily wear and tear on your car.
  • Several organizations, such as the Clean Air Campaign, “offer reward programs to local carpoolers. You can log your carpool commute with these organizations and get cash in your wallet. Some insurance companies offer discounts to people who rideshare, and sometimes carpoolers receive access to special parking spots.”
  • Reduces traffic congestion.

Starting Your Own Carpool

Starting your own carpool may seem like a hassle, but with the power of the web at your fingertips, forming a carpool can actually be fairly simple. The following websites offer great information and resources for starting your own carpool, including a community of fellow ride-seekers in your local area:

This list is by no means comprehensive, but should provide a good starting point in your carpool search.


We hope you’ve found these carpooling tips to be helpful and informative. Ride sharing is an excellent way to conserve natural and financial resources, while reducing our daily carbon footprint.

Next week we will be blogging on Tip #9: Compost. Stay tuned.

Conceived, Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Austin McKinney on January 5, 2012

All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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