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BILL RADKE: Airplanes, we know, are big polluters. How to regulate them is a worldwide conundum. The United Nations is about to consider a global standard for airline carbon emissions.
Marketplace's Eve Troeh reports, American trade groups are pushing for a standard that's less tough than the one coming out of Europe.
EVE TROEH: Unlike, say, a bricks-and-mortar factory, airplanes pollute while circling the globe. Steve Lott is with the International Air Transport Association. He says that's why it's best to regulate planes globally. Regional systems would just compound penalties.
STEVE LOTT: You could have one flight going from the U.S. to London to Sydney and that one flight would be taxed three times for a single amount of emissions.
But efforts to set a global standard have taxi-ed on the runway for more than a decade. So the European Union took off with its own system.
By 2012, any airline landing at an EU airport will pay for emissions over a certain limit.
Lott says that could cost airlines up to $3 billion a year. So...
LOTT: It would be less costly to avoid Europe and travel through another international hub to get to their destination.
Lott says the U.S. is determined not to let Europe set the standards for the world. But EU officials say emissions standards have to start somewhere.
I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.