The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has proposed carbon dioxide limits on coal-fired power plants, is nearing a decision on whether to regulate aircraft emissions in response to global warming.
The federal agency is scheduled to issue a determination this month on burning jet fuel and its potential danger to human health by increasing the risks of climate change.
Such a finding “may open the door for meaningful regulation,” said Joel Finkelstein, a spokesman for Climate Advisers, a Washington-based group that advocates for carbon limits. He said a decision could come as soon as this week and he believes the agency will conclude that aircraft emissions endanger the climate.
Environmental groups such as Oceana, Friends of the Earth, the Center for Biological Diversity and Earthjustice petitioned the agency in 2007 to take action. The EPA issued a finding in 2009 that greenhouse gases were a danger to public health, part of the agency’s effort to establish fuel-economy standards for automobiles and trucks. The same finding was used last year in proposing regulations for power-plant emissions.