Sierra Club Statement on EPA Announcement on Aircraft Emissions Rule


Larisa Manescu,

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it won’t revisit a Trump administration rule on emissions standards for new airplanes, which doesn’t actually reduce greenhouse gas pollution. 

The current standard, set to go into full effect by 2028, is more than a decade behind technology already incorporated in planes flying today. It mirrors a standard set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, which intentionally sets standards at levels that the least efficient aircraft can meet.

At the same time, greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes increased by 44 percent over the last ten years and are expected to triple by 2050. The Sierra Club and its allies, eleven states, and the District of Columbia filed suit seeking to vacate the standard in January. 

In response, Sierra Club’s Chief Climate Counsel Joanne Spalding, released the following statement:

“We are disappointed in the EPA’s decision today to not review the Trump administration’s greenhouse gas standard for new aircraft, even though the agency acknowledges that the rule does nothing to reduce emissions from airplanes.

“With the ink on the Glasgow Agreement not yet dry, the Biden administration’s refusal to revise the current standard is truly disappointing. Air traffic is already close to returning to pre-pandemic levels, and ever-increasing demand for flying lies just ahead. Waiting for new international standards that would only continue to lag behind the industry’s worst performers is no answer to the climate crisis.”

“The technical means to curb aviation emissions are available, affordable and in use today. The world cannot afford to give the airlines this blank check to continue its pollution while the climate crisis wreaks havoc on us all. The Biden administration must do better and set a strong standard for airplane emissions.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit