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Commercial aircraft get their first global emissions standard

Airliners and similar planes will have to clean up starting in 2020.

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Ground-based vehicles have had emissions standards for a while (just ask Volkswagen), but commercial aircraft like passenger jets? Not so much. However, the world just took one big step toward cleaning up the skies: a total of 23 countries have agreed to set the first international carbon dioxide emissions standard for commercial aircraft. If the measures are adopted as recommended, new airplane models will have to meet the tougher guidelines in 2020. New aircraft from existing model lines will follow suit in 2023, and there will be a complete cutoff for non-standard aircraft in 2028.

So long as everything goes forward, this could go some distance toward cutting back on airplane pollution. It could cut over 650 million tons of CO2 emissions between 2020 and 2040, or as much as you'd get if you stopped 140 million cars from running for a year. This won't be as good as moving to pollution-free air travel -- humanity will need still-exotic technology like electric jets for that. All the same, it could play an important role in meeting climate change reduction goals.

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