Pressure on the US government to address the impact of aviation on climate change increased this week with a letter to the US Environmental Protection Agency from Edward J. Markey, chairman of the House of Representatives' Select Committee on Energy Independence.
In the letter, Markey asks the EPA how it plans to regulate "heat-trapping global warming emissions from America's aviation sector". In a press release to highlight the letter, Markey (a Democrat) chides the Bush administration's record on addressing climate change and its threat to take legal action against the European Union over including aviation in its emissions trading scheme.
"Unfortunately, the Bush administration has taken no actions to regulate global warming emissions, and is threatening legal action if other countries move to cut heat-trapping emissions from their airplanes," says Markey.
While rhetoric is bound to be particularly high in this US election year, it does seem that the US airline industry's days of getting off lightly on its contribution to climate change may be numbered.
Whoever takes the White House in November will undoubtedly face growing pressure to improve the USA's reputation on its approach to the issue of climate change. And the EU, for its part, will probably be keeping its fingers crossed for an outcome that involves either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. It's going to be an interesting year!