KCBS_740 SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — The Environmental Protection Agency has declared that jet engine exhaust is a danger to public health by contributing to climate change.

The amount of pollution created by aircraft exhaust may be surprising.

“If airplanes were considered a country, that is all the airplanes in the world, they would be in the top ten countries as far as their carbon pollution,” Annie Petsonk with the International Counsel at the Environmental Defense Fund told KCBS.

She believes two things are needed; one is transformational technology, and the other is a cap on the total airplane population.

“Even if we make each airplane more efficient, the amount of planes that are going up into the sky, and the amount of pollution they’re putting out means that pollution will grow unless we put a cap on it,” Petsonk said.

Governments will meet this September to reach an international agreement on that cap.