Climate change is happening — right now — before our eyes. How we choose to respond to it will be one of the most significant decisions of our time.
Most of us want to meet the challenge by aggressively tackling the largest and fastest-growing sources of carbon pollution out there, like carbon from air travel, which is expected to double by 2020, and quadruple by 2050. Next week, governments from around the world are meeting to negotiate new measures combating carbon pollution from aircraft.
But dirty corporations like United Airlines don’t want to face the facts. And they want the rest of us to ignore the reality of climate change so that they can wring as much profit out of a rapidly-warming planet as they can get. United and others have spent millions lobbying to destroy regulation. This is our chance to do something about global warming, and we won’t let United’s greed get in the way.
When the International Civil Aviation Organization (or ICAO) negotiators meet in Montreal later this month, they will decide on the design and timeline of a system to reduce air travel’s footprint on the climate. A final vote will be held in September. But United and other US airlines have unleashed a horde of lobbyists, PR flacks, and “experts” to muscle the ICAO into making the carbon reducing proposals as toothless as possible.
This isn’t the first time United has declared war on sensible environmental regulation. Last year, the European Union passed a law requiring airlines to cut their pollution at a cost of just $3 per passenger on one-way trans-Atlantic flights. United responded by lobbying aggressively to get the U.S. Congress to pass a bill that allows the administration to prohibit U.S.-based airlines from complying with the EU’s climate law, risking a trade war with Europe. United’s CEO Jeff Smisek wrote an unhinged op-ed in Hemispheres, his company’s in-flight magazine, arguing that the EU had no right to regulate flights taking off and landing in Europe.
Even other airlines around the world think that United is extreme in its uncompromising opposition to all aviation emissions standards. And in the highly competitive airline industry, United can’t afford a reputation as the anti-environment airline. If enough consumers call United out, it will have to stand down, and we’ll have a much better shot at controlling one of the fastest-growing sources of climate pollution.
Thanks for standing up for the climate,
Angus, Rob, Claiborne, and the team at SumOfUs.org