From: Ilana Solomon, Matter Network, More from this Affiliate
Published July 14, 2011 08:48 AM

Airline Industry Fights European Union Carbon Cap

Over the last century, innovation in global air transport has opened the door for endless possibilities worldwide. Because of these innovations we get to explore new parts of the world, visit our favorite destinations, or meet with international colleagues and friends. As someone who travels quite often, my own trips abroad have introduced me to people and exposed me to new issues and ideas. On some of these travels, I have witnessed how climate change has created new vulnerabilities in the agriculture sector because climate change is challenging farmers with increasingly unpredictable water supply and temperature extremes. I have met with farmers who are unable to grow food to feed their families because of the weather changes. I have met children who must stop going to school in order to spend time searching for water or helping to cultivate their families’ small farms. The impacts of climate change are devastating.


Few of us think about how much the very flights we take are actually contributing to the impacts of climate change. Yet, as the industry grows, their emissions may triple or quadruple in the next forty years.

In order to reduce the impact of airline travel on the environment, the European Union has created a law to cap carbon emissions from flights arriving to and departing from the EU. By selling a portion of pollution permits to airlines, the law also generates finance that can be used to help poor countries adapt to the impacts of climate change. This law – even as modest as it is – helps the airline industry to face the inevitable: when it comes to climate change, no one gets a free ride.

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