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Research shows climate change will lead to more clear air turbulence and bumpier flights

Climate change will lead to bumpier flights caused by increased mid-air turbulence, according to an analysis by scientists, at the University of Reading, of the impact of global warming on weather systems over the next 40 years. The study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The increasing clear air turbulence results from the impact of climate change on the jet streams, which are at the altitude at which airliners fly.  The jet streams are driven by the temperature difference between the poles and the tropics. More turbulence will cause more injuries to passengers and aircrew every year, as well as delays and damage to planes. There is an estimate of this costing some £100m each year. The Reading study indicated the frequency of turbulence on trans-Atlantic flights will double by 2050 and its intensity increase by 10-40%. Rerouting flights to avoid stronger patches of turbulence could increase fuel consumption and carbon emissions, make delays at airports more common, and ultimately push up ticket prices.  Ironic. Aviation helps drive climate change – and gets some of its adverse impacts. 
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Climate change will lead to bumpier flights, say scientists

The shifting of the jet stream over Europe caused by global warming will lead to clear-air turbulence
Climate change will lead to bumpier flights caused by increased mid-air turbulence, according to an analysis by scientists of the impact of global warming on weather systems over the next four decades.
The increasing air turbulence results from the impact of climate change on the jet streams, the fast, mile-wide winds that whistle round the planet at the same altitude as airliners. The shifting of the jet stream over Europe has also been blamed for the UK’s wash-out summer in 2012 andfrozen spring this year.
The rough ride ahead joins other unexpected impacts of climate change, which include dodgier wi-fi and mobile phone signals and even slower marathon race times for athletes.
Paul Williams, at the University of Reading who led the new research, said: “Air turbulence does more than just interrupt the service of in-flight drinks. It injures hundreds of passengers and aircrew every year. It also causes delays and damages planes, with the total cost to society being about £100m each year.”
The study, which used the same turbulence models that air traffic controllers use every day, found that the frequency of turbulence on the many flights between Europe and North America will double by 2050 and its intensity increase by 10-40%.
“Rerouting flights to avoid stronger patches of turbulence could increase fuel consumption and carbon emissions, make delays at airports more common, and ultimately push up ticket prices,” said Williams.
The research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, focused only clear-air turbulence, rather than the buffeting caused by major storms, which may also become more common in a warming world. “Clear-air turbulence is especially problematic to airliners, because it is invisible to pilots and satellites,” said Manoj Joshi at the University of East Anglia, who also worked on the new study.
There is evidence that clear-air turbulence has already risen by 40-90%over Europe and North America since 1958, but that is set to increase further due to global warming. The jet streams, which meander for thousands of miles, are driven by the temperature difference between the poles and the tropics, Williams explained.
Climate change is heating the Arctic faster than lower latitudes, because of the rapid loss of reflective sea ice, so the temperature difference is growing. That leads to stronger jet streams and greater turbulence. The modelling done by Williams and Joshi assumed that carbon dioxide levels will double from pre-industrial levels by 2050, which is in the mid-range of current projections for future emissions.
Most injuries caused by clear-air turbulence occur to passengers not wearing their seatbelts, who hit their heads on the aircraft’s ceiling. Williams said his new findings, the first to assess the impact of climate change on turbulence, has already changed his own behaviour: “I certainly always keep my seatbelt fastened now, which I didn’t used to do.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/apr/08/climate-change-air-turbulence
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Air travel to get bumpier as CO2 emissions rise, scientists say

8.4.2013 (Reuters)
* Turbulence to become more frequent, stronger by mid-century
* CO2 emissions forecast to double by 2050
By Nina Chestney
Turbulence on transatlantic flights will become more frequent and severe by 2050 as carbon dioxide emissions rise, leading to longer journey times and increased fuel consumption, British scientists said in a study on Monday.
Any air traveller has probably experienced turbulence. It can happen without warning and is caused by climate conditions such as atmospheric pressure, jet streams, cold and warm fronts or thunderstorms.
Light turbulence shakes the aircraft, but more severe episodes can injure passengers and cause structural damage to planes, costing around an estimated $150 million a year.
Turbulence will be stronger and occur more often if carbon dioxide emissions double by 2050 as the International Energy Agency forecasts, scientists at the universities of Reading and East Anglia said in the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Carbon dioxide is one of the most potent greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. Increasing emissions raise the global average temperature, heating up the lower atmosphere.
However, warming also changes the atmosphere 10 km above ground level, making it more unstable for planes, Paul Williams at the University of Reading and co-author of the report, told Reuters.
FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS
The scientists focused on the North Atlantic flight corridor – where 600 planes travel between Europe and North America each day – using computer simulations to examine the effects of climate change on conditions there.
They found that the chances of encountering significant turbulence by the middle of the century will increase by between 40 and 170 percent, with the most likely outcome being a doubling of airspace containing significant turbulence.
The average strength of turbulence would also increase by between 10 and 40 percent.
Bumpier air journeys would make flying more uncomfortable and raise the risks to passengers and crew.
Detours to avoid strong patches of turbulence would lengthen flight times, increasing fuel consumption, emissions and airport delays, which would ultimately drive up ticket prices, Williams said.
Air travel is one of the fastest-growing sources of carbon dioxide emissions, but the effects of climate change on turbulence have not been studied before.
“Aviation is partly responsible for changing the climate in the first place. It is ironic that the climate looks set to exact its revenge by creating a more turbulent atmosphere for flying,” Williams said.
The International Air Transport Association said the issue of climate sensitivity still held many uncertainties and the study would not change airline procedures.
The aviation sector is aiming to halve its net CO2 emissions by 2050 from 2005 levels through new technology, alternative fuels and increased efficiency.
There have also been attempts to tax the sector amid slow progress towards a global deal on curbing aviation emissions.
The European Union tried to force all airlines landing or taking off from EU airports to pay for their emissions last year through its carbon trading scheme. But opposition was so fierce it almost led to a trade war, so the law was frozen for a year for inter-continental flights. (Editing by Alistair Lyon)
 http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/08/climate-airlines-turbulence-idUSL5N0CQ3CA20130408
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AEF comment on Airports Commission climate paper: forecast demand rise remains incompatible with UK climate targets

AEF (the Aviation Environment Federation) has commented on the discussion paper published by the Airports Commission, on aviation and climate change. AEF notes that the paper appears keen for the UK to avoid disadvantaging itself economically through constraints on airport capacity. The paper also acknowledges that there have also been problems with the effectiveness of EU ETS in recent years due to over-supply of credits and that the ETS is currently partly suspended. The paper also appreciates that if UK aviation expands above its 2005 level, this would require “more challenging reductions” in other sectors of the UK economy. AEF comments that even with constraints on aviation growth from capacity constraints, taxes and inclusion in the ETS,  ”forecast demand growth remains significantly higher than the level compatible with climate targets. In other words, if we want to meet these targets, new measures should be considered for constraining emissions, and unconstrained aviation growth with new runways should be out of the question.”

 


Airports Commission publishes climate paper

Apr 5th 2013  (Aviation Environment Federation)

The Airports Commission, appointed by Government to advise on the possible need for new airport capacity in the UK, has today published the third in its series of issues papers. This most recent publication considers aviation’s climate change impacts, as well as the possible impact of climate change effects on any future infrastructure.

The Commission appears keen for the UK to avoid disadvantaging itself economically through constraints on airport capacity, and quotes the Committee on Climate Change as expressing a preference for European or international climate measures over unilateral action in the UK. Nevertheless the Commission notes that European action on aviation emissions – through implementation of the EU ETS for all arriving and departing flights – has been partially suspended for one year in the hope that progress can be made on an international approach to aviation emissions. And it acknowledges that there have also been problems with the effectiveness of EU ETS in recent years related to an oversupply of carbon credits.

In terms of UK action on aviation emissions, the paper acknowledges that while aviation is currently not formally included in the UK’s Climate Act and carbon budgets, both the Committee on Climate Change and the Government itself have made allowance in the budgets for inclusion of the sector in future. As the assumption for the purpose of the budgets has been that aviation emissions will remain constant at the level of the EU ETS cap for aviation, and as this cap is close to the figure for the 2005 emissions level from UK aviation, “a significant overshoot of 2005 aviation emissions levels in 2050 would suggest more challenging reductions in other sectors”, suggests the paper.

AEF’s view is that such an overshoot would effectively make it impossible to achieve the aims of the Climate Act, as it would assume reductions of greater than 90% from other sectors of the economy. The paper devotes a whole chapter to consideration of possible ‘carbon leakage’ that may arise if the UK were to impose constraints on airport expansion for climate reasons while other EU states imposed none (the model used assumes unlimited growth at competitor, hubs, for example).

Yet it is clear from figures presented by the Commission that, as we have previously shown, even assuming that airport capacity is constrained to current levels, that APD continues, and that aviation is included in EU ETS or a comparable global measure, forecast demand growth remains significantly higher than the level compatible with climate targets. In other words, if we want to meet these targets, new measures should be considered for constraining emissions, and unconstrained aviation growth with new runways should be out of the question.

A situation in which the UK was the only EU member to take action on aviation emissions seems, meanwhile, extremely unlikely. All major economies have committed to carbon dioxide reductions of 80% of 1990 levels by 2050, matching the UK’s legally binding commitment, and the EU-wide 2020 emissions reduction target includes aviation. It is also worth noting that both France and Germany are now witnessing significant public opposition to airport expansion on the grounds of noise and landscape impacts, with thousands of campaigners in Frankfurt meeting weekly for the past 18 months to call for closure of the airport’s fourth runway.

The Commission paper is available here. Or you can download our copy here.

 

http://www.aef.org.uk/?p=1541

 

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See also

Airports Commission publishes discussion document on Aviation and Climate Change

April 5, 2013

The Airports Commission has published its 3rd discussion paper, on Aviation and Climate Change, through which it will assemble advice and opinion on which to base its airport decisions. The consultation period lasts till 17th May. In a thoughtful document, covering a wide range of issues in relation to aviation and climate change, it sets out the usual range of issues (carbon emissions, role of international negotiations though the EU ETS and ICAO, the role of biofuels in future, role of operational improvements, impact of aviation’s non-CO2 impacts) but it also looks at the effect of both carbon constraints on future aviation growth and the effect of UK airport capacity constraints on overall emissions. It looks at the likely consequences of more long haul flights from the UK being taken from European hub airports, and the CO2 and climate effects of this happening more (“carbon leakage”). The Airports Commission has the problem of attempting to decide on CO2 issues at a time when the future of the ETS is uncertain, and effective progress by ICAO is not likely to be swift. Therefore UK policy on aviation carbon emissions is also on hold, with even agreement on non-CO2 impacts undecided.

Click here to view full story…

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Airlines that have grown rapidly since 2004/6 need to buy more ETS carbon allowances

Airlines in Europe such as EasyJet and Ryanair, which almost entirely fly within Europe, continue to need to buy carbon permits through the EU Emissions Trading System. The ETS has been temporarily suspended this year (“stopping the clock”) for flights to and from Europe.  For intra-EU flights, the ETS means airlines need to buy 15% of the carbon permits they need, and the cap for 2012 was for 97% of their average emissions between 2004 – 2006.   This falls to 95% for 2013 and future years. Therefore airlines that have grown significantly since 2004 -6 such as Ryanair and EasyJet have to pay more than airlines that have barely grown, or shrunk their emissions since then (the older legacy airlines).  It seem Ryanair emitted about 34% more carbon in 2012 and so has a shortfall of 1.9 million tons CO2 which would cost it €8.4 million based on a price of €4.44  a metric ton. Easyjet’s emissions were 25% above, so their shortage last year would amount to about 910,000 tons (costing about €4 million).

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EU Carbon Data Signals Airlines May Need to Buy Permits

By Mathew Carr

Apr 5, 2013 (Bloomberg)

Airlines in Europe may need to buy carbon permits or pay fines after data showed the carriers’ emissions in 2012 exceeded their allocation of free allowances by about 30%, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Ryanair Holdings Plc, Europe’s biggest low-cost airline, emitted 7.46 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2012, or 34% more than than its free permits, preliminary data from the European Union shows.

EasyJet Plc’s U.K. account indicates it needs 25% more allowances, while Aer Lingus Group Plc has a shortfall of 24%, the information shows.

Airlines are investing in more efficient technology even as the cost of carbon permits in the EU’s emissions trading system, or ETS, fell 25%in the past year.

Dublin-based Ryanair said it bought new fuel-efficient aircraft that cut greenhouse- gas emissions by 50%, [which is simply not true - 50% compared with what?] while EasyJet is reducing the weight of its seats and service carts.

“The scheme is designed to create a shortfall to incentivize airlines to operate more efficiently and top up” allowances, Paul Moore, a spokesman for EasyJet in Luton,  said in an e-mailed response to questions. “EasyJet has long been a supporter of the emissions trading system and will fully comply with its obligations.”

Under Europe’s carbon program, emitters must match emissions with EU allowances or United Nations offset credits by the end of April each year or pay a fine of €100 a ton.

Polluters can top up their free allocation with allowances bought in the market.

External Flights

Ryanair’s shortfall of 1.9 million tons would cost it €8.4 million ($10.8 million) based on the closing price of €4.44  a metric ton for December EU airline allowances yesterday on ICE Futures Europe in London.

EasyJet’s shortage last year would amount to about 910,000 tons, following emissions of 4.6 million tons, the EU data show.

The EU has proposed excluding from its carbon program flights that took off or landed outside the bloc’s borders in 2012, said Itamar Orlandi, an analyst in London for New Energy Finance.

Ryanair, EasyJet and Aer Lingus usually fly within the EU so their data supports the estimate for a permit shortage of about 30%, he said.

While airlines with external flights are also granted free allowances for those journeys, they may have only reported emissions for intra-EU trips, Orlandi said. Carriers must hand back the free permits for outside flights unless they choose to include those journeys in the EU program.

No Oversupply

Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA) was allocated 14.6 million tons of free allowances in 2012 and reported emissions of 6.1 million tons, according to the EU data published April 2.

Peter Schneckenleitner, a spokesman for the airline in Cologne, Germany, declined to specify what portion of the company’s free permits apply to flights outside the EU.

“The Lufthansa Group doesn’t see any oversupply of allowances,” Schneckenleitner said yesterday in an e-mailed reply to questions. The airline’s yearly carbon market costs will be in the “double-digit millions” of euros, he said.

Lufthansa had historic-low fuel consumption in 2012, he said, without providing details.

“The money we are losing because of ETS would be better invested into new, fuel-efficient technology,” he said.

Ryanair has an average fleet age of less than four years and will comply with all EU laws, Robin Kiely, a spokesman for the company in Dublin, said yesterday by e-mail.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-05/eu-carbon-data-signals-airlines-may-need-to-buy-permits.html

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EasyJet passenger growth from 2006 to 2011:

CAA data shows  2011 data

About 54.0 billion seat kilometres used by EasyJet in 2011

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CAA data shows   2006 data
About 27.6 bilion  seat kilometres used by EasyJet in 2006

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Ryanair’s passenger growth from 2006 to 2012

Ryanair had 79.6 million  passengers  in 2012  Ryanair website

  and 76.4 million passengers in 2011  Ryanair website

Ryanair had 33.4 million passengers  in 2006   Ryanair website

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There is a lot of information about the ETS and how it affects aviation.                                                                   The questions & answers below are just some to be found on this European Commission webpage:

.Why are historic aviation emissions important for aviation’s inclusion in the EU ETS?

Historic aviation emissions are the basis for calculating the cap on aviation emissions applied when the sector is included in the EU ETS from January 2012. Today’s decision by the European Commission publishes the mean average of the annual emissions for the years 2004, 2005 and 2006 of all flights that would be covered by the EU ETS performed by air carriers to and from European airports. Based on this average annual historical aviation emissions for the period 2004-2006, the number of aviation allowances to be created in 2012 amounts to 212,892,052 tonnes (97% of historic aviation emissions), and the number of aviation allowances to be created each year from 2013 onwards amounts to 208,502,525 tonnes (95% of historic aviation emissions).

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How were historic aviation emissions calculated?

The Commission has been assisted by Eurocontrol – the European organisation for the safety of air navigation. The comprehensive air traffic data contained in Eurocontrol’s databases from the Central Route Charges Office (CRCO) and the Central Flow Management Unit (CFMU) were considered the best available data for calculation of the historic emissions. These provide among other things a calculation of the actual route length for each individual flight. Emissions were then calculated on a flight-by-flight basis using the ANCAT 3 (Abatement of Nuisances Caused by Air Transport) methodology and the CASE (Calculation of Emissions by Selective Equivalence) methodology.

In addition to Eurocontrol’s data, the Commission also used information on actual fuel consumption from almost 30 aircraft operators of different types and sizes. This data was for aircraft types that were responsible for 93% of emissions in the base years.

Thirdly, additional calculations were carried out to account for fuel consumption associated with the use of the auxiliary power units (APUs). APUs are small engines that are used to provide lighting and air conditioning when the aircraft is stationary at airports. They are used when the aircraft is not connected to ground source electrical power and ventilation services. The approach taken was first to determine the average APU fuel consumption for different aircraft types. The individual emission factors of APU fuel consumption were then extrapolated to calculate total APU emissions applying a process which took into account the actual share of fuel burn for the flights under the EU ETS of each aircraft type and the use of ground power in airports. The emissions corresponding to the resulting total APU fuel consumption were included in the historical aviation emissions for each of the years 2004, 2005 and 2006.

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Why was the 2004-2006 period chosen as a baseline for aviation emissions?

The 2004-06 baseline period is defined in the legislation on the inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS. The baseline period for aviation allocation under the EU ETS is different from the 1990 baseline for the EU’s overall reduction commitment as it takes into account the significant growth in aviation over the last 15 years.

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How will allocations per aircraft operator be calculated?

82% of the allowances will be given for free to aircraft operators and 15% of the CO2 allowances are allocated by auctioning. The remaining 3% will be allocated to a special reserve for later distribution to fast growing airlines and new entrants into the market.

The free allowances will be allocated by a benchmarking process which measures the activity of each operator in 2010 in terms of the number of passengers and freight that they carry and the total distance travelled. The benchmark should be published by 30 September 2011.

Member states have agreed that all revenues from auctioning should be used to tackle climate change including in the transport sector.

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What will the effect be on aviation emissions?

The environmental impact of including aviation in the EU ETS will be significant because aviation emissions, which are currently growing rapidly, will be capped at below their average level in 2004-2006. By 2020 it is estimated that a total of 183 million tonnes of CO2 will be saved per year on the flights covered, a 46% reduction compared with business as usual. This is equivalent, for instance, to twice Austria’s annual greenhouse gas emissions from all sources. Some of these reductions are likely to be made by airlines themselves. However, participation in the EU system will also give them other options: buying additional allowances on the market – i.e. paying other participants to reduce their emissions – or investing in emission-saving projects carried out under the Kyoto Protocol’s flexible mechanisms. Providing aviation with these options does not reduce the environmental impact of the proposal since the climate impact of emission reductions is the same regardless of where they are made.

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 How big is EU aviation’s contribution to climate change?

Direct emissions from aviation account for about 3% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The large majority of these emissions comes from international flights, i.e. flights between two Member States or between a Member State and a non-EU country. This figure does not include indirect warming effects, such as those from NOx emissions, contrails and cirrus cloud effects. The overall impact is therefore estimated to be higher. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has estimated that aviation’s total impact is about 2 to 4 times higher than the effect of its past CO2 emissions alone. Recent EU research results indicate that this ratio may be somewhat smaller (around 2 times). None of these estimates take into account the uncertain but potentially very significant effects of cirrus clouds.

EU emissions from international aviation are increasing fast – doubling since 1990 – as air travel becomes cheaper without its environmental costs being addressed. For example, someone flying from London to New York and back generates roughly the same level of emissions as the average person in the EU does by heating their home for a whole year. Emissions are forecast to continue growing for the foreseeable future.

Emissions from aviation are higher than from certain entire sectors covered by the EU ETS, for example refineries and steel production. When aviation joins the EU ETS it is forecast to be the second largest sector in terms of emissions, second only to electricity generation.

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http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/transport/aviation/faq_en.htm

 

 

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There is also information on the temporary suspension of the ETS this year:

Questions & Answers on the proposal to temporarily ‘stop the clock’ under the EU’s Emission Trading System (EU ETS) for flights to and from European airports

Read more »

Airports Commission publishes discussion document on Aviation and Climate Change

The Airports Commission has published its 3rd discussion paper, on Aviation and Climate Change, through which it will assemble advice and opinion on which to base its airport decisions. The consultation period lasts till 17th May. In a thoughtful document, covering a wide range of issues in relation to aviation and climate change, it sets out the usual range of issues (carbon emissions, role of international negotiations though the EU ETS and ICAO, the role of biofuels in future, role of operational improvements, impact of aviation’s non-CO2 impacts) but it also looks at the effect of both carbon constraints on future aviation growth and the effect of UK airport capacity constraints on overall emissions.  It looks at the likely consequences of more long haul flights from the UK being taken from European hub airports, and the CO2 and climate effects of this happening more (“carbon leakage”). The Airports Commission has the problem of attempting to decide on CO2 issues at a time when the future of the ETS is uncertain, and effective progress by ICAO is not likely to be swift. Therefore UK policy on aviation carbon emissions is also on hold, with even agreement on non-CO2 impacts undecided. 

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 The Aviation and Climate Change document (39 pages)

 Airports Commission seeks evidence on aviation and climate change

Airports Commission press release

5 April 2013

The Airports Commission has today (5 April 2013) published ‘Aviation and climate change’, the third in a series of discussion papers to build the evidence base to inform its assessment of the UK’s airport capacity needs.

The paper explores the science and policy around aviation and climate change that the Commission will need to consider when making its assessment of the nature, scale and timing of the UK’s aviation capacity and connectivity needs. It discusses approaches to forecasting aviation emissions and the potential carbon implications of airport capacity constraints. It also considers the climate change adaptation issues that the Commission will need to consider when making recommendations on future airport capacity.

Sir Howard Davies, the Chair of the Airports Commission, said:

Understanding this issue is a priority for the Commission. The climate change debate has moved on significantly since the government’s last review of airport capacity in its 2003 white paper. The Climate Change Act, Aviation EU ETS, and developments in climate science are all things that we will need to take into account in the course of our work . This paper attempts to summarise our current state of knowledge and invites responses to help us to develop our understanding.

The paper further demonstrates the Commission’s evidence based approach to deciding on the scale, nature and timing on any need for additional capacity. Parties are invited to submit evidence to the Commission on the issues raised in the paper, by 17 May 2013.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/airports-commission-seeks-evidence-on-aviation-and-climate-change

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See also:

AEF comment on Airports Commission climate paper: forecast demand rise remains incompatible with UK climate targets

5.4.2013  (Aviation Environment Federation)

AEF (the Aviation Environment Federation) has commented on the discussion paper published by the Airports Commission, on aviation and climate change. AEF notes that the paper appears keen for the UK to avoid disadvantaging itself economically through constraints on airport capacity. The paper also acknowledges that there have also been problems with the effectiveness of EU ETS in recent years due to over-supply of credits and that the ETS is currently partly suspended. The paper also appreciates that if UK aviation expands above its 2005 level, this would require “more challenging reductions” in other sectors of the UK economy. AEF comments that even with constraints on aviation growth from capacity constraints, taxes and inclusion in the ETS,  ”forecast demand growth remains significantly higher than the level compatible with climate targets. In other words, if we want to meet these targets, new measures should be considered for constraining emissions, and unconstrained aviation growth with new runways should be out of the question.”

http://www.aef.org.uk/?p=1541

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Below are some extracts from the discussion document:

(see full text for references etc)

Mentions of the EU ETS

Page 15

The current Government is awaiting greater certainty over the future scope of the EU ETS, and the outcome of the ICAO negotiations towards a global deal on aviation emissions, before making a decision on whether the UK should retain a national emissions target for aviation.

Whilst the aim of constraining aviation emissions to 2005 levels in 2050 is not itself legally binding, legislated carbon budgets have been set on the assumption that aviation emissions out to 2050 are constant at the level of the EU ETS cap in 2020. Given that the EU ETS cap has been set with reference to average emissions between 2004 and 2006 (i.e. very close to 2005 emissions levels), a significant overshoot of 2005 aviation emissions levels in 2050 would suggest more challenging reductions in other sectors.
Page 25
It is important to note that, assuming the EU ETS (or an equivalent scheme) continues out to 2050, aviation continues to be included and that the scheme functions as intended, this would not result in any change in CO2 emissions at an EU level. In such a scenario, CO2 savings or displacement to other European countries by the UK aviation sector would all fall within the overall ETS cap, so there would in theory be no scope for emissions ‘leakage’ from UK to European airports.

 

Mentions of the ICAO

Page 12

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has been debating options for a global market-based measure to tackle aviation emissions.   Market-based measures could include emissions trading schemes or emissions offsetting.

ICAO believes that such a measure would contribute to achieving a specific emissions reduction in the most cost-effective and flexible manner.   However, progress towards a global market-based measure has been relatively slow, and the ICAO Council on
9 December 2012 agreed to set up a  high-level group to try to resolve the issues that had been preventing more rapid progress. The high-level group has since met three times, most recently in March 2013. It will make recommendations that will be debated at the ICAO General Assembly in September 2013. The Airports Commission will continue to monitor the ICAO discussions as our work progresses

Alongside steps towards a global market-based measure, ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) has been debating a new CO2 standard for aircraft.
Agreement has now been reached on a system for measuring emissions and on
certification procedures. Work is continuing around the stringency and scope of the standard.

However, international rules and regulations also place some constraints around potential policies to tackle aviation emissions. For example, the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation (the ‘Chicago Convention’), which established the ICAO, prohibits signatory states from imposing taxes on fuels purchased for use in international aviation.

Page 13
The aim of the EU ETS, in common with the market-based measures being contemplated by ICAO, is to deliver a specific reduction in emissions in the most cost-effective way. It is also designed to incentivise investment in emissions abatement measures, since any sector that emits less than the relevant cap can sell its surplus allowances to participants in other sectors

As a result of the formation of the high-level group at ICAO, and the potential for progress towards a global measure, the EC announced in November 2012 that it would ‘stop the clock’ on the enforcement of ETS obligations on flights between European airports and the rest of the world. This was intended as a goodwill gesture, and to enable the current negotiations in ICAO to make further progress. However, the EC has stated that if ‘clear and sufficient progress’ is not evident by the ICAO General Assembly in September 2013, then it intends to reinstate ETS obligations on these flights.

page 15

The current Government is awaiting greater certainty over the future scope of the EU ETS, and the outcome of the ICAO negotiations towards a global deal on aviation emissions, before making a decision on whether the UK should retain a national emissions target for aviation.

 

Mentions of Aircraft induced cirrus (AIC)

page 8

Less well understood are the climate effects of water vapour, sulphates, soot, linear contrails and AIC. In these cases, as can be seen from Figure 2.1, the direction of the effect (warming or cooling) tends to be known, but in some cases there are significant uncertainties around its magnitude. The effects of AIC have proved particularly difficult to
quantify, although it is thought that they may have a potentially significant warming effect.

Overall, aviation emissions have been estimated to account for around 3.5% to 4.9% of total present-day (2005) global anthropogenic depending on whether AIC is included. (Reference 9 – Lee et al)

page 23

The DfT has developed an approach to estimating non-CO2 emissions from aviation. More recently, this methodology has not been used on the grounds of the scientific uncertainty around the effect of these emissions. Similarly, in its recent advice on the inclusion of aviation and shipping in carbon budgets, the CCC recommended that non-CO2 emissions not covered by the Kyoto Protocol34 (including NOX, contrails and AIC) should not be included in carbon budgets at present, but that options to reduce them will need to be developed over the coming years.

 

Mentions of Europe

Page 26

However, the Commission recognises that there is inevitable uncertainty around the international policy framework for climate change out to 2050, so we will need to understand the potential implications of UK airport capacity for global aviation emissions
under a range of scenarios. We have therefore undertaken some provisional modelling of potential CO2 emissions savings and ‘leakage’ attributable to projected capacity constraints at UK airports, based on the latest (January 2013) set of DfT forecasts.

 

Mentions of biofuels

Mentions of biofuels

Page 10

The prospect of rising oil prices, combined with carbon constraints arising from cap and trade schemes, has resulted in growing interest in the potential use of biofuels as an alternative to kerosene in jet engines. Recent tests by engine and airframe manufacturers
have shown biofuels use in aircraft to be technically feasible – indeed, biofuels are now officially certified for use up to 50% blend with conventional jet fuel.

However, there are important questions around their sustainability which will need to be taken into account as policy develops.
There are also significant questions around the potential for biofuels to act as a  ustainable alternative to kerosene.   Whilst biofuels use in aviation has been shown to be technically feasible, the pace and timing of biofuels penetration in the aviation sector remains uncertain, owing to the technical barriers that need to be overcome and the investment
needed to achieve commercial-scale production.

In the longer term, there are important sustainability concerns around largescale biofuels use. The CCC (Committee on Climate Change) and others have highlighted in particular:
●● Emissions from producing biofuels. These are heavily
dependent on the type of feedstock used, meaning that the potential
lifecycle GHG savings from biofuels vary significantly depending on the
production route.
●● Effects of land-use change. Where growth of biofuels feedstock results in
land-use change directly (e.g. deforestation) or indirectly (e.g.
displacement of food production), this can reduce lifecycle GHG savings
significantly.

●●Competition for available biofuels.  Aviation will have to compete for scarce biofuels with other sectors such as road transport, shipping, household cooking and heating, and energy generation.
●● Tensions between biofuels and food production. Projected population growth and rising living standards in developing countries are likely to lead to increasing requirements for global food production. It is unclear whether sufficient land and water will be available for growing biofuels feedstock on a large scale.
Under the ‘likely’ scenario, a 60% increase in passengers by 2050, relative to the 2005 baseline, would be compatible with the aviation sector emissions target. Effectively, this is the level of growth that is exactly offset by fuel efficiency improvement and biofuels. The demand growth that could be accommodated within the target rises to around 135% in the ‘speculative’ scenario with its more optimistic assumptions.

[The table on page 22 shows anticipated carbon savings for aviation under the DfT's 3 scenarios, with 2.5% use of biofuel by 2050 or 10% biofuel in the higher scenarios. These are expected to cause a 2.5% to 5% carbon saving by 2050.   AW.]

Page 30

Biofuels
●● Supporting biofuels demonstration plant covering fuel production, refining and demonstration [biofuel demonstration plant]; and
●● Regulation to mandate biofuels uptake in aviation (subsidised or unsubsidised) [mandatory biofuels].

 

 

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Notes to editors on the AC press release of 5.4.2013:

The Airports Commission was launched on 2 November 2012. Its terms of reference require that it should report no later than the end of 2013 on:

  • its assessment of the evidence on the nature, scale and timing of the steps needed to maintain the UK’s global hub status
  • its recommendation(s) for immediate actions to improve the use of existing runway capacity in the next 5 years – consistent with credible long term options

Its terms of reference also require that it should report no later than summer 2015 on:

  • its assessment of the options for meeting the UK’s international connectivity needs, including their economic, social and environmental impact
  • its recommendation(s) for the optimum approach to meeting any needs
  • its recommendation(s) for ensuring that the need is met as expeditiously as practicable within the required timescale

For interview requests or other media enquiries relating to the work of the Airports Commission please call 0207 944 3118.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/airports-commission-seeks-evidence-on-aviation-and-climate-change

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Ian Jopson, of NATS, explains their new technology to reduce aircraft emissions at landing and take off

NATS, the body that deals with UK air traffic control, has been attempting to reduce aircraft fuel consumption and carbon emissions by getting planes to take more direct routes, and land and take off at a continuous rate. They have devised a programme they call Flight Profile Monitor, which helps them achieve this. It uses radar data to monitor the 3 dimensional flight profiles of individual aircraft and to then record which of those were achieving smooth, continuous climbs and descents. Ian Jopson from NATS claims that from a 12 month trial last year between NATS, BMi, BMi Regional, Loganair, easyJet, Ryanair and Edinburgh Airport they achieved a saving of “at least 800 tonnes of CO2 and 250 tonnes of fuel” (tiny in comparison with the UK total). This was done by analysing each flight to see where savings could be made. They got a 20% increase in continuous descent landings, to around 55%. They also got around 95% with a continuous climb rate.  NATS hopes to get more savings in future.

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Flight data helps plot a route to savings

4 April 2013
by Ian Jopson, (Head of Environment and Community Affairs, NATS)

In a bid to save fuel and cut carbon emissions, NATS has developed a flight profile monitor tool. Ian Jopson, Head of Environment and Community Affairs at NATS, extols the virtues of the new technology

(extracts below from full article)

NATS … No-where is that more the case than in our environmental programme where we’ve committed ourselves to looking at every aspect of what we do in order to identify opportunities for environmental improvements.

Our goal is to improve the environmental performance of aircraft under our control by up to 10% on average by 2020. This is a mighty challenge, but the detailed analysis of operational data is helping us measure our performance and identify new ways to meet that challenge head on.

One of the areas we have been looking at is the opportunity to improve the climb and descent profiles of aircraft, aiming where possible to eliminate periods of level flight prior to an aircraft reaching cruising altitude, and thereby saving fuel and cutting carbon emissions.

A flight that makes a continuous descent or climb simply burns less fuel and emits less carbon – an outcome that benefits everyone. But in order to establish a baseline performance and to enable regular monitoring, we had to develop a bespoke tool which would provide us with the data we needed on aircraft performance during each phase of flight – from airport push-back and taxi to cruise, and anything in between.

Nothing like this existed on the market, so after years of development and testing, a system that we’ve called Flight Profile Monitor was delivered and made available for operational use.

The Flight Profile Monitor is designed to use radar data to monitor the three dimensional flight profiles of individual aircraft and to then record which of those were achieving smooth, continuous climbs and descents.

We also engineered it to be able to measure any individual part of the flight in order to provide us with the most granular data possible. For example, if we need Flight Profile Monitor to look in detail at just one narrow phase of flight – say continuous descents from 6,000ft to 1,800ft, it can.

Alternatively it can provide a complete overview of an entire flight profile from ground to cruise and back to ground again. In doing so it has helped us to understand the characteristics of the aircraft under our control like never before.

In August 2011 we launched Flight Profile Monitor at our 15 major UK airport units, including Heathrow and Gatwick, in order to arm the teams there with the data they needed on their own continuous climb and descent performance.

This meant that our air traffic control teams, which previously had little or no data about the environmental performance of the aircraft under their control, could then track their performance over time and highlight any opportunities to improve.

To begin with, this data was purely for internal use. The information produced went towards monthly reports to airport unit General Managers, and included a wealth of operational data on continuous climb and descent rates, details of level off locations, level off lengths and performance, broken down by airline, aircraft type, runway direction and even by air traffic controller shift pattern. So if a particular watch [ie. team on air traffic control], for example, was achieving a greater number of continuous descent approaches, that data was made available and could help highlight techniques that could be shared amongst the other teams.

All of this allowed our teams to make real strides towards improving their own performance, but we knew that was only part of the answer.

Any environmental initiative needs collaboration to achieve maximum results and we knew that there were considerable opportunities for us to use Flight Profile Monitor to work with the airports and airlines in order to fully realise the benefits.

In December 2011, at the Edinburgh Flight Operations and Procedures Committee meeting, it was agreed between NATS, BMi, BMi Regional, Loganair, easyJet, Ryanair and Edinburgh Airport that they would be the first participants of a fully fledged Flight Profile Monitor trial which would run for the next 12 months.

Over the course of the trial, it soon became clear that while certain aspects of the trial were going very well, there were other areas where obvious improvements could be made. For example, we identified that while departing flights achieved around 95% continuous climb rate, only 55% of arriving flights were achieving continuous descent approaches.

Without Flight Profile Monitor, this kind of data would have remained hidden from us, the airlines and the airport.

So with focus from the trial along with improvements to the quality of the local radar station, between March 2012 and July 2012, we were able to use the Flight Profile Monitor data to pinpoint improvements and deliver a 20% rise in the number of continuous decent approaches being achieved.

The outcome equated to savings of at least 800 tonnes of CO2 and 250 tonnes of fuel; worth £165,000 per year to the airlines. A huge win-win situation for everyone involved, with excellent feedback from the trial participants.

……..

The Flight Profile Monitor demonstrates NATS taking an innovative approach in the original development of a new tool, but it has also shown how environmental data can be applied in practice and in collaboration across the aviation industry to deliver tangible environmental benefits.

All in all, it was great success.

Biography

Ian Jopson has almost 20 years’ experience in the sphere of environmental aviation issues in Europe and beyond, working for the Civil Aviation Authority, NATS and an independent consultancy.

As the Head of Environmental and Community Affairs at NATS, Ian is responsible for driving forward a programme targeting improvements to operational CO2 emissions and a low carbon strategy for the NATS estate – his work has enabled NATS to be the first air navigation service provider to set operational CO2 targets.

Ian is currently a member of ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) and has provided advice to ICAO’s Group on International Aviation and Climate Change and the UNFCCC negotiations leading up to the establishment of the post Kyoto climate change targets framework. In Europe, Ian leads the environmental transversal programme in the Single European Sky ATM Research programme, SESAR.

 

http://www.internationalairportreview.com/12183/international-airport-review-magazine/latest-issue/flight-data-helps-plot-a-route-to-savings/

 

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See earlier:

 

NATS meets its target in 2012 to organise UK airspace to save planes wasting fuel

1.2.2013   (NATS website)  . NATS – which provides air traffic navigation services for the UK – says it has met its target for 2012, in terms of organising airspace to minimise the amount of fuel burnt by aircraft, and hence their CO2 emissions.  Its scheme, called 3Di, aims to keep planes flying optimally in terms of both their height, the amount of level flight, and the distance they have to travel.  The ideal is for planes to land directly, on a straight line, coming down by continuous descent approach.  With the airspace over much of the  UK being some of the most crowded in the world, such an ideal is not always possible. Each flight gets a 3Di score, and then NATS gets a total score for the year.   If NATS meets a 3Di score each year of 24, it meets its requirements. If the score is over 27, it gets penalised.  If below 21, NATS gets bonuses. In 2012 its score was 23.9.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=651 

and

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NATS has data on its first 6 months of new flight efficiency metric, 3Di

3.8.2013   . NATS has released data from the first 6 months of operation of its new metric to reduce aircraft emissions of planes in UK airspace, through improved efficiency of airspace management and flight path directness.  The metric is called 3Di.  Flights are given a score depending on how fuel efficient their course has been, by continuous climb departures, cruise levels as requested by airspace users and continuous descents, as well as most direct point-to-point routeings – ie. horizontal and vertical line.  NATS claims the 3Di tool will give huge fuel savings, it ” is designed to deliver 600,000 tonnes of CO2 savings over the next 3 years – the equivalent to 10,000 flights from London to New York.” The challenge for NATS is sorting out direct flight paths with a high volume of flights and limited runway capacity (at some times of day) at Heathrow, as well as bad weather.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=2376 

and

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CAA sets new targets for NATS to cut airline CO2 and improve flight efficiency

8.11.2011 (UKPA)   . The CAA hopes new flight-efficiency targets could cut aviation CO2 emissions over the next 3 years. The new targets are being set for NATS, to reduce aircraft
CO2 emissions, with bonus or penalty payments depending on Nats’ performance.
The proposals are published for consultation. The CAA targets involve the directness
of flights and how smooth the climb and descent is for every flight. NATS and
CAA will monitor and publish monthly performance figures.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=4684

 

 

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European Parliament approves stop-the-clock proposal for ETS

The European Parliament has approved a proposal to suspend the inclusion of third-country flights (the ‘stop-the-clock’ proposal) from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Parliament had reached an agreement with Council beforehand. The decision was unanimous in Council and agreed on by over 90% of MEPs. The EU reaffirms again its position on this agreement. Rapporteur Peter Liese said “The EU will consider any further legal action only on the basis of a substantial outcome at the ICAO Assembly. This either means that ICAO finds a solution or we will continue to cover intercontinental flights in our scheme as foreseen”.

Aviation emissions trading: Parliament approves stop-the-clock proposal

MARCH 26, 2013

The European Parliament approved a proposal to suspend the inclusion of third-country flights (the ‘stop-the-clock’ proposal) from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme today. Parliament had reached an agreement with Council beforehand.

As early as 2008 the EU had agreed to include aviation in the EU Emissions Trading System. The decision was unanimous in Council and agreed on by over 90 percent of MEPs. “The European Union is ready to reach a global deal on aviation emissions. There has been huge opposition from third countries against the current EU legislation, but the EU reaffirms again its position on this agreement,” said Peter Liese MEP, who is European Parliament Rapporteur, and Richard Seeber MEP, EPP Group spokesperson on environment.

The stop-the-clock proposal is a signal to the international community that it is not the European Union that stands in the way of an international agreement. “Now, it is up to the other ICAO members. Do they want an international solution or have they just been paying lip service? Aviation emissions trading is not the problem, but the solution and our legislation is here to stay. The EU will consider any further legal action only on the basis of a substantial outcome at the ICAO Assembly. This either means that ICAO finds a solution or we will continue to cover intercontinental flights in our scheme as foreseen,” said Liese and Seeber.

“Only intercontinental flights are covered by the derogation and only for a limited period of one year. For flights within Europe everything will remain the same. It was right that the EU stood firm against international pressure. Now we have reached a suitable stage for negotiations at international level,” the two EPP Group MEPs said.

Final adoption of the proposal in plenary is scheduled for the April session, and it can enter into force before 30 April.

http://beta.eppgroup.eu/press-release/Aviation-emissions-trading:-stop-the-clock 

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Update by Annie Petsonk of the US Environmental Defense Fund on the slow grinding of ICAO on aviation CO2

ICAO continues to try and find a way to find an agreed way in which to deal with international aviation emissions. The ICAO high level group was formed last November, to provide guidance on an international approach to the problem . At ICAO’s next triennial assembly in September, governments will try to agree on the outlines of such an approach. If they do not, then the EU ETS – which has had its clock “stopped” for one year – will resume for flights into and out of Europe.  Aviation accounts for so much carbon pollution that it would rank seventh in the world if it were a country, and its emissions are projected to quadruple in coming years. Something needs to be agreed urgently for the sector. However, there are continuing disagreements between countries – on whether portions of flights over oceans are counted; whether countries could charge for over-flying; how to fairly deal with emissions from countries with rapidly growing airline industries, compared to those with mature and stagnant aviation sectors; and how to create effective but low cost solutions.  There is some hope of a lead from President Obama and John Kerry, the new US Secretary of State.

 

 

On the flightpath to success

22 March 2013

by Annie Petsonk  (US Environmental Defense Fund – EDF)

The international row over the EU’s move to include aviation in its emissions trading programme has briefly been put on pause. But will this diplomatic breather and a more outspoken US president lead to success in global talks to cut emissions?

Annie Petsonk charts the route ahead

 

If it seems a little far-fetched that two of the world’s most important powers and closest historical allies might launch a trade war over a $3 airfare dispute, then you haven’t been following what could be one of the most inane fights in memory between the US and the EU.

Under newly enacted legislation, the US secretary of transportation can prohibit US-based airlines from complying with an EU law limiting emissions from flights to and from the EU. The law in question – a part of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) – establishes the world’s only programme of enforceable limits on such pollution from the fast-growing aviation sector.

Already, aviation accounts for so much carbon pollution that it would rank seventh in the world if it were a country, and its emissions are projected to quadruple in coming years

In opposing the EU’s approach, the US and other nations have insisted that the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is the only appropriate forum for addressing emissions from international aviation – while consistently stating their commitment to reach a deal in ICAO. Now they have the chance to make good on that position.

State of play

The US and its allies in this matter – Russia, China and India, among others – have proclaimed indignantly that the EU’s law impinges on their sovereignty, inasmuch as the EU ETS calculates airlines’ obligations based on emissions from the entirety of the flight, including the portion outside the EU’s airspace. This contention conveniently ignores the fact that the US routinely imposes conditions on ships and planes arriving at and departing from its ports and airports – indeed, the US even bans gambling on international journeys to and from the country.

Several airlines have also objected loudly, predicting economic catastrophe. But the impact on fares is projected to be decidedly modest: as low as $3 per transatlantic flight, according to a US Federal Aviation Administration-supported study.

Nonetheless, the US Congress enacted anti-EU ETS legislation late last year that now risks triggering a trade war: were the secretary of transportation to implement the prohibition authorised by the bill, US airlines would be required to violate EU law.

Only twice before has Congress prohibited US companies from complying with other nations’ laws: it forbade US companies from complying with South Africa’s apartheid, and it barred US firms from furthering boycotts, including the Arab League boycott of Israel.

No winners would emerge from an EU-US trade war. There is, however, a real – though time-limited – opportunity to avoid one. Last November, ICAO formed a high-level group to provide guidance on an international approach to cutting the sector’s emissions – prompting the EU to respond by announcing that it would “stop the clock” for one year on key elements of its law. At ICAO’s next triennial assembly in September, governments will try to agree on the outlines of such an approach.

Sceptics might point out that ICAO has failed for years to agree on any global action. Indeed, it was partly that history of unsuccessful negotiations that led the EU to expand its ETS to cover aviation in the first place (the amendments were adopted in 2008 and took effect in 2012).

But the formation of the high level group, and the EU’s response, offer new momentum for a solution. The high-level group is considering a basket of ideas, including a global market-based mechanism that would complement improvements in fuel efficiency and operations and give industry key tools to meet, cost-effectively, its own stated goals of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and a 50% cut in 2005 level emissions by 2050.

Elements of an ICAO solution

At its assembly, ICAO could agree on the key elements for a global market-based measure, including – crucially – a timeline for fleshing out the details of these key elements by its next assembly in 2016.

These would include:

- a cap on carbon emissions from international civil aviation, at least as ambitious as the airlines’ own stated 50% reduction target;

- allocation of emissions reduction responsibility on a route-by-route basis in a way that gives fast-growing routes greater ‘headroom’ – an approach that would simultaneously accommodate the understandable concerns of countries with rapidly increasing aviation sectors, while meeting the Chicago Convention test of non-discrimination by country or carrier; and

- use of standard carbon market tools to allow carriers to meet the cap with maximum flexibility and minimum cost – including emissions trading and high-quality offsets generated by verified reductions in other sectors.

The alternatives to such a global approach that have been put on the table all have significant drawbacks.

Under one long-abandoned, though recently resuscitated, proposal, each country would adopt a national programme limited to its own sovereign airspace. But the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – including the US – explicitly rejected that approach more than 15 years ago for two distinct and well-founded reasons: first, because it would lead to a patchwork of different regulatory systems, and second, because it would result in gaping holes in coverage over the world’s oceans – thus missing a substantial portion of international aviation’s total emissions.

Related to this is the idea of a carbon fee for ‘overflights’ – a fee that all airlines would pay to each country through whose sovereign airspace they pass, even though they do not land in that country. Such an approach could find favour with states such as Russia, which historically has sought to charge for overflights through Siberian territory.

While the US might not be concerned about charging for Siberian overflights, since few of its carriers use that airspace, it might be more concerned about the broad application of that principle – eg, if Denmark began charging for Greenland overflights, which are frequently part of transatlantic flight paths for US-based carriers. Moreover, as with the already-rejected individual-country approach, overflight fees would fail to account for any emissions over the high seas.

Finding the right approach

Given the unattractiveness of these alternatives, and given that failure in ICAO would greatly increase the risk of a trade war, one could imagine that nations in ICAO – and the airline industry – will redouble efforts to find an effective path forward.

Agreement by ICAO on the contours of a global market-based measure to address aviation’s greenhouse gas emissions could deliver benefits beyond the aviation sector, giving a much-needed boost to the larger climate talks, which aim to conclude a new protocol or other legal instrument by 2015.

Conversely, if ICAO is unable to deliver, that failure could portend badly for the overall UNFCCC-led international climate talks. This potential confluence of circumstances – positive or negative – gives France, which has offered to host the crucial 2015 UNFCCC meeting, a special incentive to try to ensure that ICAO reaches a robust deal.

Building on the very useful work done to date by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the aviation industry now has a crucial role to play in mobilising support for such an approach – allowing the industry to live up to the commitments it has expressed in the past, and jumpstarting the ICAO process while doing so.

In the meantime, while the high-level group continues its talks, the European Parliament and Council are debating the European Commission’s ‘stop the clock’ proposal. This proposal, however, only applies to flights into and out of the EU in 2012: intra-European flights still must comply for 2012.

All carriers must still collect their 2013 emissions data, report it to the appropriate European authorities in early 2014 and be prepared to comply for 2013, because the clock will automatically re-start on 1 January 2014 if ICAO fails to reach a solution this year.

What about passengers? When the aviation provisions of the EU ETS took effect at the beginning of 2012, press reports indicated that many airlines began charging passengers increased fares to cover what the airlines hypothesised might be additional costs of purchasing pollution permits to comply with the EU ETS.

If the EU stops the clock, then passengers who travelled on flights to and from Europe in 2012 may well demand that money back, just as they – and government regulators – are demanding greater transparency from the airlines about baggage fees, fuel surcharges and the like.

But the outlook is improving. US President Barack Obama has directed his cabinet to identify executive actions the US can take now and in the future to cut emissions.

Passengers and the president: that’s a potentially powerful combination. Even as it has objected to the application of the EU ETS to international aviation, the Obama administration has consistently affirmed that aviation’s impact on climate change is a serious problem and that ICAO is the place to address it.

Now the US has the opportunity to show that its commitment to reduce emissions from aviation is not empty talk. Will new Secretary of State John Kerry, a champion of strong climate action, and the new secretary of transportation live up to the high bar set by the president in his second inaugural address in January?

The choice will be theirs whether to “respond to the threat of climate change” – or not, “knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations”. CF

Annie Petsonk is international counsel at NGO Environmental Defense Fund in Washington, DC.

 

http://www.carbon-financeonline.com/content/analysis/on-the-flightpath-to-success.html

 

http://www.edf.org/sites/default/files/CFSpring2013_On_the_flightpath_to_success_Petsonk.pdf

 

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There is more news about the EU Emissions Trading System at                      EU ETS News Stories

and about the ETS at EU Emissions Trading System

 

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Carbon trading businesses want ICAO to get airlines to offset their carbon emissions

Three lobby groups representing businesses in favour of using markets to tackle climate change (the International Emissions Trading Association, the Climate Markets and Investment Association and the Project Developers Forum) want the UN to force airlines to offset their carbon emissions.  They want this as a first step reducing their carbon footprint, and to help towards resolving the disputes at ICAO on getting some global framework on international aviation emissions.   The lobby groups say getting airlines to buy and cancel carbon offsets would provide an easy and effective short term fix while a longer term plan is agreed.  An ICAO panel is meeting this week to try and agree on proposals to deal with aviation carbon. It is under pressure to get an agreement at its annual meeting in September after the EU agreed to “stop the clock” on its ETS last  year, for flights into and out of Europe. At present the price of carbon has collapsed and is a very cheap way for airlines to offset their emissions.



 

Business groups urge airlines to offset emissions


26 Mar 2013 (Reuters Point Carbon)

Businesses, investors and low-carbon project developers have urged the U.N. to force airlines to offset emissions as a first step reducing the their carbon footprint and resolving an issue that has threatened to spark an international trade war.

In a joint letter to the U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), three lobby groups representing businesses in favour of using markets to tackle climate change said getting airlines to buy and cancel carbon offsets would provide an easy and effective short term fix while a longer term plan is agreed.

“We strongly recommend that ICAO implement a combination of sector-wide emission trading measures with the use of offsets over the medium to long-term, as well as sector-wide offsetting in the short-term,” said the letter by the International Emissions Trading Association, the Climate Markets and Investment Association and the Project Developers Forum.

An ICAO panel is meeting at its headquarters in Montreal, Canada this week to hammer out proposals for a global deal to tackle aviation’s greenhouse gas output.

ICAO is under pressure to get an agreement at its annual meeting in September after the EU said it will not enforce a law regulating CO2 from all planes using EU airports for a one-year period to buy the body more time (“stopping the clock“).

The EU’s decision came after protests from major trading partners including China, India and the U.S. that the measure infringed on their sovereignty, opposition that analysts said could escalate into a trade war.

“There is currently a diverse range of registered (offset) projects that will continue to provide a cost-effective mitigation option until such time that aviation technology allows cost-effective mitigation at source,” the lobby groups’ letter said.

It suggested recognised offsets, such as those from the U.N.’s Clean Development Mechanism, voluntary market standards such as the Verified Carbon Standard and Gold Standard as well as California Carbon Offsets could be used by the airlines.

Offset demand from the aviation sector could hit more than 100 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2020 according to a report published last December by PWC, which also said a collapse in offset prices has made it one of the most cost-effective options for the industry to reduce its emissions impact.

The price of CDM credits, the most widely traded offsets, has collapsed by 97% over the past three years to levels below 40 euro cents per tonne of CO2.

http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/1.2237867

 

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There is more news on the ETS and on the delays with ICAO at          EU ETS News Stories

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EC freezes ETS for airlines flying to and from Europe till November 2013 progress by ICAO

November 12, 2012     The EU has announced that it will delay the date by which airlines have to pay for their emissions on flights to and from Europe. This is very disappointing  news. However, they will only delay until there is progress by ICAO on producing a global deal on aviation emissions. If there is not adequate progress by ICAO when it meets in November 2013, the EU ETS will continue to include international aviation, as it does now. Flights within Europe remain in the ETS as before – whether by EU airlines or non-EU airlines – the change is only for flights to and from the EU. Connie Hedegaard, announcing the change, said EU member states will still have to formally endorse the Commission’s exemption for non-EU carriers. The change has occurred because of intense pressure from countries such as the USA, India and China – and lobbying from Airbus on fears the ETS is causing it to lose plane sales. China and India have far more to lose than us if they start a trade war, because they export far more to us than we export there. Nonetheless, the EU and UK have meekly conceded to blackmail from China instead of doing the right thing. We understand that David Cameron was lobbying the EU to defer ETS. It demonstrates, yet again, the UK and EU leaders prefer to sacrifice action on climate change in favour of narrow business interests.  The EC has repeatedly said it only included aviation in the ETS after more than a decade of inaction at the ICAO. Unfortunately the concessions made by the EC are much larger than required,  and there is no expectation that ICAO will come up with anything worthwhile in the next year.but on the positive side, the EC can no longer be accused of not doing anything in response to voluble continuing criticism over its approach to aviation and climate change.    Click here to view full story…

 

 

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Nobel prize-winning economists urge President Obama to address CO2 emissions from aviation

A group of 32 leading economists, including 8 Nobel Prize winners and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) board member, is urging President Obama to adopt a global market-based measure to reduce carbon emissions from aviation. Unregulated carbon emissions from the aviation sector currently are a large and growing source of the greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to global climate change. The open letter states that: “Pricing carbon in the aviation sector will incentivize appropriate investments and changes in operations that would reduce future greenhouse gas emissions. If climate change is to be slowed appreciably at tolerable cost, it is wise to use the market to provide incentives for individuals and firms to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.” And: “We urge you to immediately advance a US proposal for a global market based measure for aviation. In the long run it will be in aviation’s interest, as well as that of all society, to use the price mechanism to efficiently allocate over time the uncertain remaining capacity of the atmosphere to safely absorb emissions.”


Nobel Prize-Winning Economists Urge President Obama to Address Carbon Emissions from Aviation

March 14, 2013  (WWF USA press release)

by Chris Conner 

Washington, DC – A group of 32 leading economists, including 8 Nobel Prize winners and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) board member Dr. Robert Litterman, is urging President Barack Obama to adopt a global market-based measure to reduce carbon emissions from the aviation sector.

Unregulated carbon emissions from the aviation sector currently are a large and growing source of the greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to global climate change.

The open letter states that: “Pricing carbon in the aviation sector will incentivize appropriate investments and changes in operations that would reduce future greenhouse gas emissions. If climate change is to be slowed appreciably at tolerable cost, it is wise to use the market to provide incentives for individuals and firms to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.”


 

Below Full Text of the Letter:

March 14, 2013

To:

President Obama White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, DC

Dear President Obama,

One year ago we wrote to you to implore you to support, or at least to stop opposing, the European Union’s innovative efforts to place a price on carbon from aviation through the emissions trading system (EU ETS). Since that time, Europe has suspended enforcement of its law for one year, and you have signed Public Law 112-200 into law, which directs appropriate officials of the U.S. government to use their authority “to conduct international negotiations to pursue a worldwide approach to address aircraft emissions, including the environmental impact of aircraft emissions.”

Over the next eight months, your Administration may play a strong and constructive role in designing an effective mechanism to reduce aviation emissions and in finalizing an agreement within International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on such a mechanism in time for the General Assembly in September 2013. The next High Level Group meeting of ICAO will take place later this month, on March 25-27. Representatives of the State Department and the Department of Transportation can use this opportunity to negotiate and support a global agreement that uses market-based measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation effectively and efficiently. This agreement should take the form of a global market-based measure that promises to reduce emissions at the least cost to industry.

Good economic policy forces those who pollute to pay for the damage they do. Pricing carbon in the aviation sector will incentivize appropriate investments and changes in operations that would reduce future greenhouse gas emissions. If climate change is to be slowed appreciably at tolerable cost, it is wise to use the market to provide incentives for individuals and firms to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. In economic terms, the emission of these pollutants meets the classic definition of an externality-the price that individuals and firms face for emitting these pollutants is substantially lower than the social cost imposed by the pollution. Because emissions are not priced, the world is wastefully using up a scarce resource, the earth’s ability to safely absorb greenhouse gas emissions. Our selfish inaction pushes increased costs onto future generations, and dangerously increases the probability of extreme events with major impacts on their welfare.

While we recognize the barriers to a uniform global price on all carbon emissions, pricing emissions in the aviation sector via ICAO would be a good start. Absent such an agreement in ICAO this year, U.S. airlines will face a growing patchwork of international regulations and compliance costs, while aviation emissions will continue to rise and contribute to dangerous climate change. Action this year is highly desirable. The ICAO Assembly only meets every three years, the EU ETS is only suspended for one year, and the unpriced flow of carbon emission into the atmosphere is increasing the risks to society every day.

By proposing a global market based measure, the Administration will be implementing Public Law 112-200, resolving tensions with some of our closest allies, and appropriately using market forces to efficiently address the threat of climate change. We urge you to immediately advance a US proposal for a global market based measure for aviation. In the long run it will be in aviation’s interest, as well as that of all society, to use the price mechanism to efficiently allocate over time the uncertain remaining capacity of the atmosphere to safely absorb emissions.

Sincerely,

Kenneth Arrow, Ph.D. 1972 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences Joan Kenney Professor of Economics, Emeritus, Stanford University

Joseph Stiglitz, Ph.D. 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences Professor of Economics, Columbia University

Eric Maskin, Ph.D. 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences Professor of Economics, Harvard University

Roger Myerson, Ph.D. 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, University of Chicago

Al Roth, Ph.D. 2012 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences Craig and Susan McCaw Professor of Economics, Stanford University

Thomas Sargent, Ph.D. 2011 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences William R. Berkley Professor of Economics and Business, New York University

William F. Sharpe, Ph.D. 1990 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences STANCO 25 Professor of Finance, Emeritus, Stanford University

Christopher Sims, Ph.D. 2011 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences John F. Sherrerd ’52 University Professor of Economics, Princeton University

Frank Ackerman, Ph.D. Senior Economist Synapse Energy Economics Cambridge, MA

Patrick Bolton, Ph.D. David Zalaznick Professor of Business Columbia Business School, Columbia University

Mark Carhart, Ph.D. CIO and Partner, Kepos Capital, LP

Varadarajan V. Chari, Ph.D. Professor of Economics Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute, University of Minnesota

Lawrence J. Christiano, Ph.D. Alfred W. Chase Professor of Economics Northwestern University

John Cochrane, Ph.D. AQR Capital Management Distinguished Service Professor of Finance, University of Chicago

Pierre Collin-Dufresne, Ph.D. Caron Family Professor of Business, Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School, Columbia University

Kent Daniel, Ph.D. Professor of Finance Columbia Business School, Columbia University

Darrell Duffie, Ph.D. Dean Witter Distinguished Professor of Finance, Stanford University

Martin Eichenbaum, Ph.D. Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Economics Northwestern University

Christian Gollier, Ph.D. Director, Toulouse School of Economics Program Director, Center for the Economic Analysis of Risk (CEAR) at Georgia State University.

Lawrence Goulder, Ph.D. Shuzo Nishihara Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics Stanford University

Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, Ph.D. Professor of Economics University of California, Berkeley

Michael Hannemann, Ph.D. Julie A. Wrigley Chair in Sustainability, School of Sustainability and Department of Economics, W.P. Carey School of Business Arizona State University

Lars Peter Hansen, Ph.D. David Rockefeller Distinguished Service Professor University of Chicago

Dale Jorgenson, Ph.D. Samuel W. Morris University Professor Harvard University

Patrick Kehoe, Ph.D. Frenzel Professor of International Economics University of Minnesota

Robert Litterman, Ph.D. Partner, Kepos Capital LP Former Head of Risk Management, Goldman Sachs

Deborah Lucas, Ph.D. Sloan Distinguished Professor of Finance Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Scott Richard, Ph.D. Practice Professor of Finance The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Jose Scheinkman, Ph.D. Theodore A Wells ‘29 Professor of Economics Princeton University

Richard Schmalensee, Ph.D. Howard W. Johnson Professor of Management Director of the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research Massachusetts Institute of Technology

George Tauchen, Ph.D. W. H. Glasson Professor of Economics and Finance, Duke University

Jean Tirole, Ph.D. Visiting Professor Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

 

https://worldwildlife.org/press_releases/nobel-prize-winning-economists-urge-president-obama-to-address-carbon-emissions-from-aviation

 

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There is a lot more about the ETS at EU Emissions Trading System

and news stories about the ETS at EU ETS News Stories

Read more »

New study shows that global emissions trading is essential to close aviation’s emissions gap in 2050

A new authoritative study shows that only adoption of a global ‘market-based measure’ (MBM) can bring the ICAO goal, and aviation industry’s shared goal of 2020 ‘carbon neutral growth’ by 2050 within reach. The total impact of all other CO2 reduction measures currently on the table (improved technology and fuel efficiency of aircraft, improved operational efficiency and some use of biofuels) is shown to be insufficient. The report comes just before the March meetings of ICAO’s Council and its High Level Advisory Group, charged with advising on a resolution to address global emissions for ICAO’s triennial Assembly next September. Projections of future aviation emissions show by 2050 the cuts ICAO and IATA aspire to will not be met, without MBM, such as the ETS. The study demonstrates that claims from industry, ICAO and some governments that current measures being discussed will be sufficient to tame aviation emissions are false. It shows definitively that pricing carbon via a global MBM is the only way to arrest aviation’s climate impact – already at 5% of the global total, with traffic growing at 4-5% a year. The ETS, on which progress has been halted for a year, needs to be protected. 

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Global emissions trading essential to close aviation’s emissions gap in 2050 – study

Brussels,  (Transport & Environment)

4 March 2013
A new study [1] published today by leading atmospheric scientist Professor David Lee of Manchester Metropolitan University shows that only the adoption of a global ‘market-based measure’ can bring the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) and aviation industry’s shared goal [2] of 2020 ‘carbon neutral growth’ by 2050 within reach. The total impact of all other CO2 reduction measures currently on the table is shown to be insufficient.

This new piece of research comes just ahead of the March meetings of ICAO’s Council and its High Level Advisory Group on International Aviation and Climate Change, charged with advising on a resolution to address global emissions for ICAO’s triennial Assembly next September.

The research assesses emissions reduction scenarios based on three types of CO2 cutting measures: improvements in aviation technology and operations; accelerated development and use of biofuels; and application of current regional carbon pricing measures – principally at this point the EU´s Emissions Trading System (ETS).

The projections, under a ‘middle of the road’ industry growth scenario, show that an ‘emissions gap’ of 153 to 387 Mtonnes CO2 (the range depends on mitigation level assumptions) remains by 2050. These projections combine all CO2 reduction measures proposed by ICAO and airlines and assume an extension of the EU ETS until 2050. Even at the lower range of uncertainty, this gap represents about a third of today’s international emissions levels.

The study concludes that an operational and effective worldwide market-based measure such as a globalised ETS would achieve much greater CO2 emissions reductions.

T&E programme manager for aviation, Bill Hemmings, said: “This study demonstrates that claims from industry, ICAO and governments like the United States that current measures being discussed will be sufficient to tame aviation emissions are patently false. The research shows definitively that pricing carbon via a global MBM is the only way to arrest aviation’s climate impact – already at 5% of the global total, with traffic growing at 4-5% a year.

With this information, ICAO needs to face up to its responsibilities this year and act to agree a global measure. There can be no further excuses. IATA and the American carriers’ A4A need to accept and urgently embrace carbon pricing – their own numbers simply don’t add up”, Bill Hemmings concluded.

Another key finding of Lee´s study, which emphasises the importance of carbon markets in reducing emissions, is the role of regional MBMs in the absence of a global measure: The EU ETS, if extended beyond 2020 to 2050, achieves the largest reduction of any single measure analysed [3]. Such measures can deliver CO2 savings of up to 587 Mtonnes CO2 per year in 2050.

Aviation Environment Federation director, Tim Johnson, said: “Lee’s figures demonstrate that the EU ETS, if extended to 2050, will have a measurable impact on reducing global aviation emissions – and it should be protected until an agreement to implement global carbon pricing is reached. The European Union has ‘stopped the clock’ for a year to give room for ICAO to act. The ICAO Council and High Level Group are now in the spotlight. Those states and parts of industry opposing a global agreement at ICAO need to explain how their plans can achieve the stated goals given Prof. Lee’s analysis.”

Professor Lee [4] developed the growth scenarios and mitigation options based upon the methodology and databases utilised for the 2011 UNEP Bridging the Emissions Gap report.

 

1. Link to study: http://www.cate.mmu.ac.uk/projects/bridging-the-aviation-co2-emissions-gap-why-emissions-trading-is-needed/

2. ICAO resolved at the 37th General Assembly that it would work together with its Member States and relevant organizations “to strive to achieve a collective medium term global aspirational goal of keeping the global net carbon emissions from international aviation from 2020 at the same level…” This is referred to in Lee’s report as the ‘2020 carbon-neutral goal’. Likewise, the airlines, under their trade organisation IATA, pledged in 2009 to a ‘carbon-neutral growth by 2020’: http://www.iata.org/pressroom/pr/Pages/2009-06-08-03.aspx.

3. Meanwhile, Airlines for America (A4A), the U.S. airlines lobby, continues to campaign against any market-based mechanism, such as a carbon market, for the rest of the decade, preferring an approach which focuses on improving “technology, operations and infrastructure”:http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/22/eu-icao-climate-idUSL1N0BM12120130222?feedType=RSS&feedName=everything&virtualBrandChannel=11563

4. Professor David Lee was lead author of the aviation chapter of the 2011 UNEP Bridging the Gap report. He is a member of an IPCC working group on these issues and an independent scientific adviser to ICAO.

For further information, please contact:

Bill Hemmings – Transport & Environment   bill.hemmings@transportenvironment.org

Tim Johnston – Aviation Environment Federation    tim@aef.org

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ICAO Environmental Report 2010     has the 2% efficiency details at

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T&E press release at:

http://www.transportenvironment.org/press/global-emissions-trading-essential-close-aviation%E2%80%99s-emissions-gap-2050-study

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The emissions reductions available from the range of BAU (business as usual) to MFR (maximum feasible reduction) technology and operational improvements did not meet the 2% yr-1 improvement in fuel efficiency for international aviation at any point in time to 2050.
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Lee’s graph demonstrating the huge emissions gap between projections and the carbon-neutral goal

To see a larger version of this graph click here

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and by contrast:

Industry graph displaying how the 2050 goal will be achieved using ‘additional technologies’

To see a larger version of this graph click here.

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The Conclusions and Recommendations from the report:

Conclusions & recommendations

From baseline emissions of 630 Mtonnes of CO2 in 2006, total aviation emissions are projected to increase to between 1,034 and 3,105 Mtonnes of CO2 by 2050. This emission range encompasses at the extremes, high growth, BAU technology and operational improvements, compared with low growth, MFR technology and operational improvements, “speculative” levels of biofuels and extension of existing regional MBMs at the same cap level to 2050. For international aviation, the similar span of emissions by 2050 is 620 to 2,031 Mtonnes CO2, on a 2006 baseline of 391 Mtonnes CO2.

The mitigation possibilities for 2050 can be compared in a number of ways and combinations in order to understand absolute and relative reductions that may be available. Using the central growth scenario and taking S2 BAU technology and operational improvements as a ‘benchmark’ (1,638 Mtonnes CO2, 2050) one can conclude the following. The reduction in emissions from introducing a “likely” amount of biofuels to S2 BAU technology and operations is 82 Mtonnes CO2 (5% reduction). The reduction in emissions from introducing extended regional MBMs out to 2050 to S2 BAU technology and operations (i.e. no biofuels) is 587 Mtonnes CO2 (36% reduction). The combined effect of a “likely” amount of biofuels and extending the regional MBMs over the S2 BAU technology and operations scenario is 630 Mtonnes CO2 (39% reduction).

Considering a comparison of S2 BAU technology and operations against more ambitious reductions yields the following. The reduction in emissions from MFR technology and operations (S5) over S2 BAU technology and operations is 332 Mtonnes CO2 (20% reduction). The reduction in emissions from MFR technology and operations (S5) combined with a “speculative” level of biofuels over S2 BAU technology and operations is 528 Mtonnes CO2 (32% reduction). The reduction in emissions from MFR technology and operations over S2 BAU technology introducing extended regional MBMs to 2050 (i.e. no biofuels) is 761 Mtonnes CO2 (47%). The reduction in emissions from MFR technology and operations (S5) combined with a “speculative” level of biofuels, and extension of the regional MBMs over S2 BAU technology and operations is 864 Mtonnes CO2 (53% reduction).

The emissions reductions available from the range of BAU to MFR technology and operational improvements did not meet the 2% yr-1 improvement in fuel efficiency for international aviation at any point in time to 2050. When MFR technology and operational improvement reductions were combined with “speculative” levels of biofuels, the 2% goal for international aviation was just exceeded by -10 Mtonnes CO2 in 2050. Any combination of measures that included extension of existing regional MBMs exceeded the 2% goal at any point in time out to 2050.

None of the measures, or their combinations, for any growth scenario managed to meet the 2020 carbon-neutral goal, the 2005 stabilization of emissions goal, or the 2005-10% stabilization of emissions goal at 2050.

The maximum reductions over BAU technology and operational improvements were clearly achieved by the extension of the existing MBMs out to 2050. A global scheme constructed on similar lines is likely to achieve more savings, assuming that sufficient C savings can be made outside the aviation sector, and be bought at a price that does not suppress demand more than has already been assumed in the calculations (8.4%).

In order to further quantify environmental and the most cost-effective benefits, it is recommended that the CO2 radiative forcing and temperature responses be studied (as these will give a better comparative measure of environmental effectiveness than end-point emissions), and relative costs of the different measures be further studied.

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Carbon pricing needed to control airline CO2 emissions: study

An airplane flies near a gas flare from a factory at Keihin industrial zone in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo June 10, 2009. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

By Barbara Lewis (Reuters)

BRUSSELS | Mon Mar 4, 2013

(Reuters) – Aviation pollution can only be stabilized by the middle of the century if a price is set on airline carbon emissions, research said, countering industry hopes that green goals can be met via technology improvements and biofuels.

A European Union program to force airlines using EU airports to pay for their carbon emissions caused an international outcry, forcing the European Commission to propose a year-long freeze of its law.

As an alternative to the EU program, U.N. body the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is trying to agree a world-wide plan to curb aircraft emissions and meets again this month to try to make progress.

The research published on Monday by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in Britain, a specialist in environmental and aviation research, looked at all the proposals under consideration, including technological improvements, biofuels and streamlined take-off and landing procedures.

It found that the only way to have a significant impact was to put a price on carbon – in other words, to use a market-based measure (MBM), such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

“I think the simple message is that all measures are needed to reduce emissions. What we highlight is the potential gains from the MBM, which is the subject of so much political controversy at the moment,” David Lee, a professor at MMU who led the research, told Reuters.

Lee has worked on a specialist research group for the ICAO as part of its efforts to tackle aviation pollution. He is also a technical advisor to the UK’s Department for Transport on aviation, climate and air quality issues.

REACHING FOR THE SKY

In 2010, the ICAO provisionally agreed to work towards a global goal of “carbon-neutral growth” for aviation from 2020, while the European Union advocated a 10 percent reduction by 2020 compared with a 2004-2006 baseline.

With both those targets looking unachievable, the report explored likely growth to 2050. By then, EU road maps state carbon emissions from all sectors must fall by between 80 and 95 percent versus 1990 levels to limit global warming to 35.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the level scientists say is needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Assuming the EU’s ETS is extended to 2050, the report found it could deliver CO2 annual savings of up to 647 million tons by the middle of the century.

Based on scenarios of what kind of measures are agreed, it predicted total aviation emissions would rise to between 1,139 million tons and 3422 million of carbon dioxide by 2050 compared with 694 million in 2006.

Commission figures predict the EU ETS could save 70 million metric tons of CO2 a year by 2020, but global aviation emissions will still be around 70% higher in 2020 compared with 2005.

Aviation and shipping are the only sectors not covered by developed nations’ commitments under the Kyoto Protocol on tackling climate change.

Even though the Commission, the EU executive, has proposed a freeze on its requirement that all aviation pays for its carbon, the European Union is still charging internal EU flights for their emissions via its ETS.

The EU executive has said it will automatically reapply its law to all flights if the ICAO fails to agree a convincing global alternative. The European Parliament is expected to endorse the Commission plan in April.

So far, the ICAO talks have delivered little progress.

Campaigners have in particular singled out the United States, the biggest aviation emitter, as an obstacle because of a position paper showing it has proposed an airspace-based approach that would mean a huge number of emissions were not accounted for.

(Editing by David Holmes)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/04/uk-airlines-emissions-study-idUSLNE92300Z20130304

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