Conservation groups pin hopes on global airline emissions deal
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Obama administration may be talking the talk on climate change, but it’s not clear if the president is ready to walk the walk — especially after signing into law a bill that was partly driven by Jim Inhofe, the U.S. Senate’s most infamous global warming denier.
The new law gives federal officials the ability to prevent U.S. airlines from complying with European Union airline emissions regulations — rules that have been suspended for a year while the International Civil Aviation Organization tries to develop a global mechanism for controlling airline emissions.
Obama’s signature of the measure drew a mixed response, with some groups panning the president for his actions, while others said they are hopeful that the U.S. will help lead the aviation community to a solution.
“Facing the climate cliff, President Obama has evidently decided to step on the accelerator. Doing so during international climate talks is especially shameful,” said Brad Johnson, campaign manager of Forecast the Facts, a grassroots human rights organization.
Johnson was referring to the fact that Obama not only signed the airline bill, but also announced a massive offshore drilling lease sale of 20 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico that could produce 200 million barrels of oil and 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas, resulting in 114 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution.
“The American people did not vote for a continuation of the George Bush legacy of selling off our country’s future to Big Oil. The president claims to respect science and care about the fate of future generations. His decisions today instead show contempt for both.”
Other environmental groups said they are hopeful that Obama will follow through on efforts to gain a global airline agreement.
“WWF called for a veto of this bill and we are disappointed that it passed. However, there is a silver lining here. The administration has appointed high level representatives to pursue a global solution for aviation and climate. The White House now must endorse a global, market-based measure to rein in carbon pollution from aviation. If they do, we are optimistic that the U.S. can work with ICAO to develop a package of policies that will reduce our share of global emissions,” said Keya Chatterjee, director of international climate policy at WWF.
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases Tagged: | airline emissions, Environment, Environmental Defense Fund, global warming, International Civil Aviation Organization, President Barack Obama