Aviation emissions no longer included in DECC carbon calculations ?
An article in the Guardian, on cuts to subsidies for UK onshore wind turbines mentions that a recent DECC report states that the amount of renewable electricity that needs to be generated in the UK by 2020 is now magically lower, due to aviation emissions now being removed from the carbon calculations. This is news to everyone. Another recent DECC document states that: ” International aviation and shipping emissions are not currently included in the UK’s 2050 target and carbon budget system, although international aviation is included in the EU ETS. The Government must decide whether to include them by the end of 2012, or explain to Parliament why it has not done so. This decision will need to be considered alongside development of the UK’s sustainable aviation policy framework through 2012/13, which will also consider whether to adopt the previous administration’s 2050 aviation CO2 target”. So, has somebody jumped the gun?
The article in the Guardian below, about wind farms, ends with this paragraph:
The pledge to supply 15% of energy from renewables can be met despite building less generating capacity partly because since the last analysis, aviation emissions – which would have to be offset by renewable electricity in the short term at least because of the difficulty of finding affordable alternatives to kerosene – have been removed from the calculations.
The ENSG report also assumes 12% of heat and 10% of transport will be powered by renewables by 2020.
[The figures were published on the website of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) (pdf) in the past few weeks but not publicised]
This DECC document says, on Page 11 : The exclusion of energy used in the aviation sector from the overall target calculation which reduces the amount of renewable capacity required to meet the 15% target. This would also result in a reduction in the overall renewable capacity in the scenario. This reduction has been applied to wind generation capacity required as it is the main source of renewable energy. [ By 2020 ].
on page 41:
Increase in assumed nuclear generation due to potential 10-year extensions of
existing plants. Results in lower coal generation. Differences in calculating the exclusion of energy used in aviation sector from overall target calculation reduces renewable capacity required to meet 15% target.
By contrast, shipping is not mentioned. Normally international shipping and international aviation are mentioned together.
At present, the government is considering how to include aviation in UK climate totals.
A DECC report, December 2011, called “The Carbon Plan: Delivering our low carbon future” states on Page 48 :
2.81 Domestic aviation and shipping are already included in UK carbon budgets and so will need to contribute to meeting the 2050 target. International aviation and shipping are not currently included; a decision whether to include them is due by the end of 2012.
and on Page 56:
2.109 International aviation and shipping emissions are not currently included in the UK’s 2050 target and carbon budget system, although international aviation is included in the EU ETS. The Government must decide whether to include them by the end of 2012, or explain to Parliament why it has not done so. This decision will need to be considered alongside development of the UK’s sustainable aviation policy framework through
2012/13, which will also consider whether to adopt the previous administration’s 2050 aviation CO2 target [of no higher aviation emissions in 2050 than in 2005. AirportWatch comment].
So the government is now trying to reduce the apparent total of UK carbon emissions by around 6 – 7 %, and thereby produce less renewable electricity, as a proportion of the total.
Sounds like deeply dodgy mathematics, and more sleight of hand with the figures, rather than any practical solution to either producing low-carbon electricity, or reducing carbon emissions.
It is akin to, instead of marking an exam out of 100%, reducing that to a maximum of 93%, so your previous mark of, say, 60% now appears to be 64%.
Aviation emissions are about 6.5% of the UK total
The DECC figures refer to domestic aviation, which is included in UK carbon totals, while international aviation is not.
In 2010 the UK used around 150,000 million barrels of oil equivalent. The electricity consumption was 28,230 million barrels of oil equivalent. http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/stats/publications/energy-consumption/2324-overall-energy-consumption-in-the-uk-since-1970.pdf
Fuel used by air transport was 12,288 thousand tonnes oil equivalent in 2010.
(Aviation is about 6.5% of UK carbon emissions, excluding radiative forcing).
Net UK emissions were 495 million tonnes CO2 and 156 million tonnes CO2 from power stations in 2010.
In 2010 carbon emissions from international aviation were 31.5 m tonnes CO2 and 8.7 m from international shipping bunkers in 2010
The carbon emissions from civil aviation (domestic, cruise) 1.3 m tonnes CO2 and
civil aviation (domestic, landing and take off) 0.5 m tonnes CO2 = 1.8 m tonnes CO2,
(which is 6.7%).
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