By David Shepardson | Reuters
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed C. B. “Sully” Sullenberger to be the U.S. representative on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations air safety body.
Sullenberger rose to fame in 2009 as a commercial pilot who safely landed an Airbus A320 on New York’s Hudson River after hitting a flock of geese – known as the “Miracle on the Hudson” flight.
In September, Sullenberger said Belarus should be temporarily barred from voting at the council in response to its May diversion of a Ryanair flight.
One big issue at ICAO for Sullenberger, whose post carries the rank of ambassador, will be global efforts to reduce aviation emissions.
Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it would not rewrite the first-ever standards regulating greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes finalized in the last days of former President Donald Trump’s administration.
Sullenberger said in September he “would underscore the administration’s commitment to meaningful action on carbon offsets, sustainable aviation fuels, and gradual direct emissions reductions.”
The Biden administration said it will press for ambitious new international emissions standards at the upcoming round of international negotiations in February at ICAO.
Airplanes have been the largest source of transportation greenhouse gas emissions not subject to rules. In 2016, ICAO agreed on global airplane emissions standards aimed at makers of small and large planes, including Airbus SE and Boeing Co, which both endorsed the rules.
Last month, the United States set a goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. aviation sector by 2050. The White House said in September it was targeting 20% lower aviation emissions by 2030, as airlines facing pressure from environmental groups to lower their carbon footprint pledged to use more sustainable aviation fuel.
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