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Curbing Greenhouse Gas Pollution From Ships, Aircraft, And Non-Road Vehicles & Engines

Aircraft emit 11 percent of carbon emissions from U.S. transportation sources.

Aircraft emit 11 percent of carbon emissions from U.S. transportation sources.

Photo by Angelo DeSantis

What’s at Stake

Earthjustice is challenging the EPA’s failure to address major sources of greenhouse gas pollution and soot from aircrafts, ships and other non-road vehicles and engines.

Overview

Aircraft, ship and non-road vehicles and engines are major contributors to climate change pollution.

In late 2007, Earthjustice petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate these sources of climate pollution under the Clean Air Act. In early 2008, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act. In June 2010, a day after the U.S. Senate voted to uphold EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases, Earthjustice filed a lawsuit, challenging the EPA’s failure to address to regulate GHG emissions from ships, aircraft and non-road vehicles.

In July of 2011, a federal court ruled that under the Clean Air Act, the EPA must address greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft. The court ordered the EPA to conduct an endangerment finding for aviation emissions, although it was also determined that the EPA has greater discretion regarding marine and non-road emissions.

In 2021, Earthjustice sued the Trump administration over its finalization of the nation’s first-ever airplane climate emissions standards, which don’t actually reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

Planes are already the third-largest source of transportation-related greenhouse emissions. Over the past decade, airplane emissions rose by 44%.

There are currently many cost-effective technological solutions to reduce GHG emissions from these sources. Earthjustice will continue to work to compel the EPA to regulate marine and non-road sources of pollution as soon as possible.

Case Updates