A long and comprehensive piece in Aviation Week, discusses the likely outcomes from the ICAO Assemby, on the issue of aviation carbon emissions. The most likely scheme to be agreed in the next two weeks is for aircraft emissions during the part of the flight in EU airspace (including Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) to be taxed. There are some technical challenges in implementing it. It would not include overflights. Whether ICAO’s 191 contracting states will support the deal at the Assembly is not known, but according to one commentator: “it seems unlikely that delegates will wish to reopen substantive debate on such a hard-won consensus text.” However there are concerns about the impact of this tax on European airlines. The Federal Association of German Aviation and Space Industry, of which Lufthansa is a founding member, objects to the compromise, claiming it represents “a massive distortion of competition for European airlines.” The European Low Fares Airline Association also says it is discriminatory. An effective market based measure agreed globally still seems a very long way from agreement. Tweet
Emissions Trading Will Dominate ICAO Assembly
by Jens Flottau, Cathy Buyck
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
No issue in aeropolitics is as contentious as the introduction of charges for carbon emissions. The European Union almost caused a trade war over its Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), but it seems a global deal is in sight.
Agreeing on the basics and a schedule for the introduction of a global structure of market-based measures (MBM) to limit aviation’s greenhouse gas emissions will be the most important topic at the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) 38th General Assembly, which begins Sept. 24 in Montreal.
While it is clear no agreement on the details of a concrete global system will be sealed, progress has been made on a compromise solution that would commit ICAO to develop a method for tackling aviation’s carbon emissions and decide its details by 2016.
The global MBMs would be fully implemented from 2020 as part of a basket of measures involving technology and operational improvements (including adopting a global CO2 standard for aircraft by 2016) and sustainable alternative fuels. They are intended to achieve carbon-neutral growth beginning in 2020.
The proposal, endorsed by ICAO’s governing council on Sept. 4, accepts the principle of regional or national MBMs, such as the EU ETS, until the global system is in place.
At the request of the EU, which is not a member of ICAO, the council’s draft resolution recognizes that states (or groups of states) may choose, before the full implementation of a global MBM, to implement systems that apply to flights to/from third countries, which depart or arrive at airports in that state, for the portion of those flights within the airspace of that state, and which would fully cover all emissions from flights that both depart from and arrive in that state. [ie. for the EU, any flights to or from other countries only tax the emissions for the part of the journey in EU airspace].
Negotiations on the compromise accord were difficult. Several states on the 36-member council, including Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, India, Saudi Arabia and the U.S., had strong reservations, yet they did not raise formal objections.
Whether ICAO’s 191 contracting states will support the deal at the pending Assembly is unknown, but “it seems unlikely that delegates will wish to reopen substantive debate on such a hard-won consensus text,” says Chris Lyle, chief executive of Canada-based Air Transport Economics. “The question is how meaningful and committing the resulting, formally adopted Assembly resolution will be,” he adds.
This will be key for the EU, which has demanded that the Assembly agree “meaningful” international action on a global MBM.
Last November, the European Commission (EC) agreed to “stop the clock” on the application of the ETS to routes beyond Europe for a year to give ICAO time to devise a global solution. Until the end of this year, operators (regardless of their nationality) must surrender emissions allowances only for air traffic between European airports.
As part of the compromise, and only in return for a global deal, the EC has pledged to extend the moratorium to 2020, although the scope will be slightly amended to include emissions from all arriving or departing flights (also to third countries) using European airspace. Overflights will not be included. For example, a London-New York flight will be included in the plan for the segment using European airspace, comprising EU-member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
“There are some technical challenges in implementing a ‘territorial airspace’ approach, but it does address head-on what was the most-cited problem with the original ETS, namely its extraterritorial reach,” notes John Byerly, former U.S. State Department deputy assistant secretary for transportation affairs.
The concept of a trading system constrained to European airspace is not new.
A group of European carriers led by Air France urged the EC to kick-start the principle of curbing and taxing emissions within the limits of the bloc’s airspace to let airlines and states gain expertise with the new cap-and-trade mechanism and avoid international opposition. Also, before the EU adopted the ETS, the U.S. had signalled it might accept a version that applied only to intra-EU flights by U.S. carriers. Despite this, the EC stuck to its overzealous environmental aspirations and in 2008, adopted legislation to bring international aviation into the ETS from 2012—all flights arriving at and departing from a European airport were included for the total length of the flight. [This was always somewhat surprising, as many expected the most that would be agreed to would be flights departing from Europe; not departing and arriving].
The EU now is lowering its ambitions, with the EC’s directorate general for Climate Action (DG Clima) recognizing it is “a multilateral negotiation where you give-and-take.”
The approach is not undisputed, however. Inside the EU, critics warn that some countries might still opt out and claim exemption under the broader climate-change principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” (CBDR). Under this United Nations notion, developed countries have greater responsibility and capacity for taking action to address climate change.
Developing countries, in particular China and India, dispute the compatibility of the EU ETS with the CBDR principle. China has prohibited its airlines from complying with ETS legislation and its airlines operating intra-European flights face fines for non-compliance. Also, Indian airlines have not complied.
Surprisingly, China appears to be willing to accept the proposed ICAO Council deal because, insiders say, it hopes to name the next ICAO secretary general succeeding Raymond Benjamin, whose second three-year term ends in 2015.
The Federal Association of German Aviation and Space Industry, of which Lufthansa is a founding member, objects to the compromise, claiming it represents “a massive distortion of competition for European airlines.”
Also, the European Low Fares Airline Association decries the intra-EU-only application as discriminatory and urges the EU to “honour its oft-repeated public commitment to ‘automatically snap back’ to the legally proven, all-flights scope for EU ETS, pending implementation of any equivalent MBM by ICAO.”
For International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General/CEO Tony Tyler, a positive conclusion at the forthcoming ICAO Assembly “is far from assured,” and he warns, “if an agreement is not reached, and individual regions go their own way, then the threat of a trade war will loom again.”
The IATA general Assembly in June in Cape Town backed a resolution calling for governments to agree to a single global MBM. IATA’s stance is that a single mandatory carbon-offsetting system, without a revenue-sharing element, under which all operators would have to buy carbon credits from other industries to offset their future growth, would be the quickest and simplest MBM to introduce and administer. It would also minimize competitive distortion, it states.
It took IATA almost two years to align the majority of its 240-member airlines (representing 84% of global air traffic), but its efforts are bearing fruit. The council text, which will be discussed by the Assembly, “notes the support of the aviation industry for a single global carbon-offsetting scheme, as opposed to a patchwork of state and regional MBMs.”
ICAO established a high-level group last November to try to find a way to implement a single, global mechanism and/or a framework for states establishing their own MBMs.
Options for a single system adopted by all states include a mandatory emissions offset, a mandatory offset with an added revenue charge and a global emissions-trading system similar to the EU ETS’s.
An NGO message for the ICAO Assembly: Introduce a global market-based measure now
September 18, 2013 .The Assembly of ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organisation) takes place in Montreal between 24th September and 4th October. A decision on how to deal with global aviation emissions needs to be taken – if aviation globally was a country, it would rank 7th highest, after Germany. It is widely acknowledged that a market based measure (MBM) would be the most effective mechanism through which to do this. James Lees, from the Aviation Environment Federation, and Bill Hemmings, from Transport & Environment, writing in GreenAir online, say the solution to aviation’s runaway emissions is a “global MBM decided on now and to be introduced by 2016. It is no longer an option for continued disagreement in ICAO to prevent action on aviation’s contribution to climate change. At a time when President Obama has said so much about leading the way [on climate], the White House must finally ensure that the US becomes the global leader for action at the ICAO Assembly. It is time for everybody to take responsibility, stop shielding such a high emitting industry and act….now.” .Click here to view full story…
EU agrees to deal on watered-down version of ETS for emissions only in EU airspace – with more ICAO delay on any global measure
September 6, 2013 The EU has agreed to a deal to scale back its inclusion of aviation in the ETS as UN negotiators at ICAO agreed at talks in Montreal to only include emissions from flights over European airspace. This is a substantial scaling down of the initial plan to include all flights to and from Europe. The ICAO deal, which still needs to be signed off by a full meeting ending October 4th and by EU lawmakers, was immediately criticised by green groups. ICAO will delay implementing any more effective mechanism for another 7 years. The deal falls short of the worldwide pact the EU had hoped for in November 2012 when it exempted foreign flights for one year (“stopping the clock”) to give ICAO more time to develop a global deal. At present airlines need only surrender carbon permits for flights within the EU, so requiring permits for the miles in European airspace is a slight improvement. However, it means that for a long haul flight to or from the EU, most of the carbon is not included in the ETS. Peter Liese, a senior member of the EU Parliament, said “It is far from an ideal solution… (but) I’m really concerned that if we just oppose what is on the table then we may see a total collapse of our effort.” Click here to view full story…
The Assembly of ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organisation) takes place in Montreal between 24th September and 4th October. A decision on how to deal with global aviation emissions needs to be taken – if aviation globally was a country, it would rank 7th highest, after Germany. It is widely acknowledged that a market based measure (MBM) would be the most effective mechanism through which to do this. James Lees, from the Aviation Environment Federation, and Bill Hemmings, from Transport & Environment, writing in GreenAir online, say the solution to aviation’s runaway emissions is a “global MBM decided on now and to be introduced by 2016. It is no longer an option for continued disagreement in ICAO to prevent action on aviation’s contribution to climate change. At a time when President Obama has said so much about leading the way [on climate], the White House must finally ensure that the US becomes the global leader for action at the ICAO Assembly. It is time for everybody to take responsibility, stop shielding such a high emitting industry and act…now.”
An NGO message for the ICAO Assembly: Introduce a global market-based measure now
from ICSA, T&E, AEF
17 Sept 2013
by James Lees, at AEF and Bill Hemmings, at T&E
– In his groundbreaking speech on climate change this June, Barack Obama asked “whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late”. His own administration answered the question with a resounding “no” when they pushed to delay decisions on the regulation of the aviation industry’s ballooning CO2 emissions. President Obama spoke of the need for the United States of America to maintain its role as a global leader on climate change.
At ICAO’s special Council meeting in Montreal earlier this month, his administration ensured that the international community continued to avoid acting on aviation’s contribution to global warming – currently at 5% and rapidly growing. The time has now come for the White House to lead the international community into taking action at the forthcoming ICAO Assembly, urge James Lees and Bill Hemmings.
Of course a decision requires support from many contracting States, but the draft ICAO resolution considered by the Council strongly reflects US interests. On a global market-based measure (MBM), weak wording alluded to the possibility of a decision on a measure in 2016 and nothing more. On regional measures, where the subtext is aviation’s future in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), any environmental credibility was nullified by US insistence on limiting emissions covered to those within regional airspace. If all 191 member states of ICAO decided to take part in such regional schemes, only 22% of international aviation emissions would be captured.
Lobbying from officials of the “greenest ever President” would suggest that MBMs must be bad for aviation. On the contrary, there is a consensus from industry, scientists and NGOs that a global MBM is now urgently needed to limit and reduce aviation’s vast emissions. While industry has promoted the importance of technological, operational and alternative fuel measures, it now acknowledges the necessity of market-based measures at least in the short-term. In fact, as well as being cost-effective, research has shown that a global MBM is essential for the industry to meet its long-term target of 50% emissions reduction by 2050.
While ICAO has understood for over a decade the important role that a global MBM can play, a lack of action drove the EU to include aviation in its own emissions trading scheme (the EU ETS). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the EU’s decision to include all emissions from flights in and out of the EU led to confrontation over alleged infringements of foreign sovereignty – led particularly by the US. To deal with pressure from dissenting countries, the EU put its faith in the ICAO process and announced it would limit coverage of its scheme to intra-EU flights for one year – known as the stop-the-clock exemption – so that ICAO could work out a global MBM. A postponement of a decision on a global MBM until 2016 means that President Obama’s newfound commitment to tackle climate change has actually seen the rug pulled from under attempts at ICAO to promote MBMs either globally or regionally.
The US strategy on international aviation goes against everything Barack Obama held dear in his climate change speech given aviation and his own industry’s huge (North American aviation emissions amount to almost a third of global aviation emissions) contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. If aviation were a country, its CO2 emissions alone would rank seventh in the world, just behind Germany. These emissions are set to double by 2030. A global MBM is the only approach that could limit and reduce these emissions immediately.
The cumulative nature of CO2 means that delaying action on an MBM will lead to further build up of CO2 in the atmosphere and even greater climate change impacts in the future. A recentreport showed that if a global MBM was introduced immediately, it could reduce the climate change impacts of aviation’s emissions by as much as 31% in 2050.
The solution to aviation’s runaway emissions is simple and exactly what we will be pursuing at the ICAO Assembly: a global MBM decided on now and to be introduced by 2016. It is no longer an option for continued disagreement in ICAO to prevent action on aviation’s contribution to climate change.
At a time when President Obama has said so much about leading the way, the White House must finally ensure that the US becomes the global leader for action at the ICAO Assembly. It is time for everybody to take responsibility, stop shielding such a high emitting industry and act…now.
In recent years, Europe has tried to make aviation pay under itsemissions trading system (ETS), and with good reason.
Airlines are the fastest growing source of global greenhouse gas output. Already responsible for 5% of the world’s annual global warming, by 2030 their emissions are projected to double from 2005 levels.
It seemed an odd move for a president who supported the ‘cap and trade’ principle which underpins the scheme. The US has only rarely authorised such prohibitions, such as when Congress banned investment in apartheid South Africa, or outlawed compliance with Arab nations’ boycott of Israel.
But the aviation situation is very different.
Only six countries emit more CO2 than the air industry does each year. Obama’s act allowed the US to hide behind three of them – China, Russia and India – all playing political games at the Icao in the run-up to talks on a 2015 global climate deal.
Washington has finally emerged to push for Wednesday’s text blocking any global carbon pricing mechanism until 2016 at the earliest. It also insisted that states and regional blocs only charge for emissions over their own land airspace – thus omitting the 78% of emissions that take place over water.
This formula underpins the thinking behind the expected Icao text, which restricts the ETS to emissions over European airspace.
It is no surprise that the US position seems to have won the day. Kicking the can down the runway has been the Icao’s default setting since it was tasked with cutting emissions under the Kyoto protocol in 1997.
Europe’s politicians should baulk at the situation, but appear to have been cowed by lobbying from the aviation industry that the carbon charging scheme will result in economic costs for the continent. But if Europe allows the ETS to hollow into a husk that is unable to meaningfully reduce emissions, it will rightly spur calls for more radical action against the international aviation industry.
The dissonance between the US position on tackling emissions from aviation and Obama’s language in June – “Convince those in power to reduce our carbon pollution. Push your own communities to adopt smarter practices. Invest! Divest!” – could hardly be greater.
The EU must stand firm and insist on actions, not words, to curb aviation emissions. US environmentalists must also move beyond ‘greenest-president ever‘ soundbites and try to hold Obama to his rhetoric.
This, after all, is the president who said that office-holders such as himself “will need to be less concerned with the judgement of special interests and well-connected donors, and more concerned with the judgement of posterity.” It’s time Obama heeded his own advice.
TUI Travel, which owns six European leisure airlines including Thomson Airways and TUIfly, has called for an industry standard on reporting fuel and carbon efficiency for UK airlines. TUI says a set of common metrics to report airline carbon emissions would ensure greater transparency so customers can make informed decisions about which airlines to choose. TUI Travel currently reports its airlines’ carbon emissions on a per revenue passenger kilometre (gCO2/RPK) basis, a common standard but, it points out, not yet the standard unit of measurement used by all airlines to communicate their efficiency, and it accuses some airlines of failing to measure or report their carbon emissions. New carbon reporting legislation has been announced by the UK government for the largest companies and the UK Civil Aviation Authority has been tasked with communicating the environmental impact of aviation.
Leading European leisure group calls for greater airline industry transparency in carbon reporting
Tue 17 Sept 2013 (GreenAir online)
TUI Travel, which owns six European leisure airlines including Thomson Airways and TUIfly, has called for an industry standard on reporting fuel and carbon efficiency for UK airlines.
A set of common metrics to report carbon emissions would ensure greater transparency so customers can make informed decisions about which airlines to choose, it argues. TUI Travel currently reports its airlines’ carbon emissions on a per revenue passenger kilometre (gCO2/RPK) basis, a common standard but, it points out, not yet the standard unit of measurement used by all airlines to communicate their efficiency, and it accuses some airlines of failing to measure or report their carbon emissions.
New carbon reporting legislation has been announced by the UK government for the largest companies and the UK Civil Aviation Authority has been tasked with communicating the environmental impact of aviation.
“This new legislation presents a great opportunity for the airline industry to harmonise its reporting of carbon emissions and develop common metrics,” said Jane Ashton, Director of Sustainable Development at TUI Travel, a leading international leisure travel group serving more than 30 million customers.
According to research it carried out in December 2012, TUI Travel found that 50% of customers felt it was very important that their holiday company be more transparent about what it was doing to reduce its impact on the environment and to support local communities. Two thirds of customers stated issues about carbon emissions, climate change and pollution were very important to them, reports TUI Travel.
Adds Ashton: “It’s clear to us that our customers are starting to take this kind of information into account when booking holidays, which is why we believe we should be doing more as an individual company as well as an industry to make this type of information accessible and easy to understand.
“If all airlines were reporting on carbon emissions using consistent metrics and sources of measurement then we believe the government could start to use this information to adjust taxes that they are currently imposing on airlines.”
TUI Travel claims its airlines are among the most fuel-efficient in Europe, with average emissions of 73.0gCO2/RPK (see article).
The CAA has just closed a consultation into stakeholder views on how it should provide better information to the public on aviation performance, such as for consumers looking to make sustainable travel choices. The authority says consumer awareness of the CO2 impacts of aviation is rising and there is increasing availability of tools such as carbon calculators for individuals seeking to assess the environmental impact of their flights. However, it adds, there is no standard methodology behind these calculators, which can result in significantly different calculations of CO2 emissions and therefore lead to confusion and scepticism.
The CAA says it would prefer to develop its own standardised methodology for calculating CO2 emissions using factors such as actual fuel burn and passenger loads, which, it argues, would give significantly more accurate results. It then proposes to accredit operators using this standardised methodology, possible through the use of a ‘CAA CO2 endorsed’ brand or similar.
“It has the potential to provide customers with a comparable and trusted measure of carbon impact, allowing them to make more informed judgements when comparing the CO2 impact of different flights,” says the CAA consultation document. “The CAA metric will help drive the airline industry to provide the best possible estimation of the CO2 impact and in turn act as an incentive to reduce the CO2 emissions per passenger of their operations.”
Participation by industry in the scheme would initially be voluntary but, says the CAA, consideration could be given to making it mandatory “if poor comparability continues to be an issue with regard to the provision of emissions data.”
The CAA is due to issue a report on the consultation’s findings later in the year, although a CAA spokesman said it was unlikely more details of the metric would be presented by then.
The RSPB had an email action, to ask people to write to Sir Howard Davies, the Chairman of the Airports Commission, to remind him of the biodiversity, habitat and climate change implications of his committee’s decisions on airports. Proposals to build new airports or expand existing ones could have devastating impacts on some of our most vulnerable wildlife and habitats, and our ability to tackle climate change. The Thames estuary is under threat from airport development, and is a globally recognised and protected area as it is a vital home for wildlife, including hundreds of thousands of wintering wildfowl and wading birds. Climate change is the greatest threat to wildlife and biodiversity, and carbon emissions from aviation are increasing rapidly. The RSPB believes there should be no further aviation expansion unless the Government can demonstrate how such expansion can take place within the UK’s legally binding climate change limits. The email action closed at the end of September, at the closing date for submissions.
RSPB - (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds)
Proposals to build new airports or expand existing ones could have devastating impacts on some of our most vulnerable wildlife and habitats, and our ability to tackle climate change.
Even the spectacular Thames Estuary is under threat again. The estuary is globally recognised and protected because it is a vital home for wildlife, including hundreds of thousands of wintering wildfowl and wading birds, and since the end of World War II a series of airport proposals have all been rejected on a combination of business, aviation, safety and environmental grounds.
Climate change is the greatest threat to wildlife and biodiversity, and carbon emissions from aviation are increasing rapidly. We believe there should be no further aviation expansion unless the Government can demonstrate how such expansion can take place within the UK’s legally binding climate change limits.
However, the Government seems determined to push forward major projects like these and last year set up an independent Commission to review aviation expansion and airport capacity. Whilst the Commission has been impartial and objective so far, some of the proposals they have received are very worrying, with far-reaching impacts on our nature and climate.
The Commission are now calling for comments on the proposals so we have a brief window of opportunity to encourage them to take our wildlife and environment into consideration as they draw up their short-list.
To help you the RSPB have prepared a template email to the Airports Commission, which is chaired by Sir Howard Davies – you can personalise both the subject line and message itself to help increase its impact.
Sir Howard Davies
Dear Sir Howard
I was pleased to hear your announcement that the Airports Commission is taking into consideration the effect of aviation expansion on our environment and climate in short-listing the aviation proposals you have received.
I am, however, particularly concerned about the number of proposals submitted that would have a devastating impact on vulnerable wildlife and habitats. In particular those proposals for the Thames estuary, a coastal wetland of such international importance that it has the highest level of protection possible, yet is still under considerable threat of development.
I am equally concerned that any airport expansion risks the UK’s ability to meet its legally-binding climate change commitments because of the significant additional carbon emissions it would generate.
I urge you to keep these issues at the heart of your short-listing decisions.
The EU has agreed to a deal to scale back its inclusion of aviation in the ETS as UN negotiators at ICAO agreed at talks in Montreal to only include emissions from flights over European airspace. This is a substantial scaling down of the initial plan to include all flights to and from Europe. The ICAO deal, which still needs to be signed off by a full meeting ending October 4th and by EU lawmakers, was immediately criticised by green groups. ICAO will delay implementing any more effective mechanism for another 7 years. The deal falls short of the worldwide pact the EU had hoped for in November 2012 when it exempted foreign flights for one year (“stopping the clock”) to give ICAO more time to develop a global deal. At present airlines need only surrender carbon permits for flights within the EU, so requiring permits for the miles in European airspace is a slight improvement. However, it means that for a long haul flight to or from the EU, most of the carbon is not included in the ETS. Peter Liese, a senior member of the EU Parliament, said ”It is far from an ideal solution… (but) I’m really concerned that if we just oppose what is on the table then we may see a total collapse of our effort.”
EU to Limit Aviation Carbon Cuts as ICAO Studies Global Plan
By Ewa Krukowska - Sep 4, 2013 (Bloomberg)
The European Union agreed to limit the scope of its carbon curbs on airlines as the United Nations aviation panel’s council pledged to work on a global plan to cut pollution from the industry beginning in 2020.
The International Civil Aviation Organization’s Council agreed today to have tools in place by 2016 needed to develop a global market-based measure to reduce greenhouse gases, according to Jos Delbeke, director general for climate at the European Commission. The outcome is weaker than what was sought by the 28-nation EU, whose move to include international flights in its carbon market as of last year sparked opposition by countries including the U.S. and Russia.
“There are some bits and pieces in the text that made everybody unhappy,” Delbeke told a conference in Brussels today. “So it may be not far away from an ideal compromise.”
The deal is subject to approval by the ICAO general assembly from Sept. 24 to Oct. 4 in Montreal. The Council, which includes 36 member states of the organization, agreed that the existing emissions trading system may cover airlines in regional airspace until a global system replaces it.
“That means that the EU ETS will be able to continue for intra-European flights,” Delbeke said. “We would also have this part of international flights that is covered by regional airspace.”
The EU agreed last year to suspend emissions trading obligations on flights into and out of Europe. Any extension of the rule or a change to the bloc’s carbon trading law would require approval by member states and the European Parliament.
“We will have a controversial debate in the Parliament,” said Peter Liese, a German member of the assembly. “We need to look carefully at what kind of legislation we can have.”
(Reuters Point Carbon) – - The EU agreed to a deal late Wednesday to scale back its law regulating carbon from flights as U.N. negotiators pledged to craft a global pact on aviation emissions that would not take effect for seven years.
EU officials agreed at U.N. talks in Montreal to only include emissions from flights over European airspace in the bloc’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), said the EU’s top climate official Jos Delbeke, a move that would scale down a law that covers all flights to and from Europe.
The deal, which still needs to be signed off by a full meeting of the U.N.’s aviation body ICAO ending October 4 and by EU lawmakers, drew fire from green groups and sparked a renewed threat of legal action by European airlines.
“There are bits and pieces of that text that make everybody unhappy. So it’s maybe not too far away from an ideal compromise,” said Delbeke at an event at the EU Parliament in Brussels.
The deal falls short of the worldwide pact the EU had hoped for in November 2012 when it exempted foreign flights for one year to give ICAO more time to strike a global deal and avert
The agreement will force airlines to surrender more permits for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than the current temporary practice of regulating domestic EU flights, boosting Carbon analysts said this week.
Bill Hemmings from the environmental group T&E said the move was an “unnecessary concession” that had little to do with efforts to tackle climate change and did not amount to a guarantee that ICAO would tackle aviation emissions globally.
“This is appeasement on a grand scale. How can it be that the future of EU policy in this sector can be decided behind closed doors by 40 faceless men and a few women in Montreal?” he told the Brussels event.
Peter Liese, a senior member of the EU Parliament, said the assembly needed to scrutinize the plan further but hinted that it may have to accept the measure as the best possible compromise.
“It is far from an ideal solution… (but) I’m really concerned that if we just oppose what is on the table then we may see a total collapse of our effort,” said Liese.
He said the Parliament might propose to merely to extend its suspension the global reach of the EU ETS rather than re-working its law permanently.
“Personally I would not be ready to give another blank check to ICAO and say if they don’t agree in 2016 we just look at it then,” he added, referring to when the U.N. body has pledged to finalize the global deal.
The EU Parliament and member states would have to agree to the new law by early next year to prevent an automatic resumption of existing legislation.
But this could re-start a legal case from the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) over fears it will distort competition, said John Hanlon, secretary-general of the group.
“We will be watching very closely… If (the deal) is not going to deliver what we have a right to expect, we will reactivate that suit,” said Hanlon.
ELFAA represents some of Europe’s biggest carriers including Easyjet and Ryanair and believes its members face discrimination under an EU-only scheme versus carriers with dominant business outside Europe.
ICAO Council meets to hammer out a compromise on implementing a global MBM to limit growth of aviation emissions
Tue 3 Sept 2013 –
As negotiations continue at ICAO on an agreement to implement a global market-based mechanism (MBM) to reduce the net growth of international aviation emissions, there are signs that progress is being made towards a compromise that has the backing of a number of important States, including the United States, those from the EU and possibly China. However, it is believed the wording of the resolution being prepared for the upcoming ICAO Assembly later this month stops short of agreement to adopt a global MBM but merely that a scheme be developed for a decision in 2016. The draft resolution, to be discussed at a special meeting of the ICAO Council tomorrow (Sept 4), is said to carry a US-led proposal that would allow the EU to re-include intercontinental flights into the EU ETS on an airspace limitation basis pending a global scheme. Trade body Airlines for America said it was opposed to such a move.
Last November, the EU ‘stopped the clock’ on the controversial inclusion of intercontinental flights to and from Europe into its emissions scheme (EU ETS) to allow ICAO to continue its work on a global MBM but warned the clock would be restarted in full if the outcome was not a “meaningful” agreement at the ICAO 38th Assembly that starts on September 24. All sides now accept that a global MBM will not be adopted at this year’s Assembly but the EU, as well as industry and NGOs, are looking for substantive progress and a roadmap towards a formal acceptance of one of three possible schemes by the following 39th Assembly in 2016.
Following divergent views amongst the 36 governing ICAO Council members, ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh González has managed to broker a compromise text for the Assembly climate change resolution over the summer that will see three possible schemes narrowed down to one over the next three years – at this stage, a global offsetting rather than an emissions trading scheme is considered the more likely option – and set out mechanisms for its implementation from 2020. The Council will then be expected to report the results for a decision by the next Assembly, although there is no commitment at present that a scheme would be agreed in 2016.
This would appear to be a postponement of an anticipated decision and fall short of earlier demands by EU climate officials, but reports suggest EU States on the Council have broadly accepted the draft resolution. The EU had also been looking for a framework on the implementation of national or regional MBMs pending the introduction of a global scheme. It was prepared to accept an agreement that would allow it to restart the inclusion of intercontinental flights into the EU ETS on an outgoing flights basis, rather than total emissions on incoming and outgoing flights as previously regulated before ‘stop the clock’. However, it appears the EU may have to compromise still further and accept it can only regulate on emissions within EU airspace.
The airspace restriction though answers the objections of sovereignty infringement that had caused heavy political opposition from countries such as China, India, Russia and the United States. In the past, ICAO has ruled that regulating airspace emissions was impractical and a study by MMU CATE earlier this year found that only 22% of international aviation emissions would be covered under sovereign airspace constraints, even if every country was to adopt such a measure.
At a Brussels seminar in April (see article), Jos Delbeke, Director-General of the European Commission’s Climate Action directorate and the lead EU negotiator in the ICAO MBM discussions, said the airspace approach would be “damn difficult” to implement, but it appears EU States may be willing to accept the limitation. A Bloomberg report suggests the Commission may make proposals in the first half of October on how the EU should respond to the ICAO Assembly outcome with respect to the Aviation EU ETS.
Legislative agreement on the future direction of the EU carbon scheme would be required from the European Parliament, which may not be so accommodating with either the environmental limitation of the airspace approach or the uncertain commitment to agree a global MBM by the 2016 Assembly. The Parliament’s rapporteur on the Aviation EU ETS, Dr Peter Liese, is hosting an open seminar tomorrow evening (Sept 4) at the Parliament, with senior representatives from the European Commission, the aviation industry and environmental NGOs on the panel.
At the April seminar, Dr Liese, who steered the ‘stop the clock’ legislation through Parliament, said the one-year suspension of intercontinental flights from the EU ETS would not be continued unless “very clear expectations” were met at the Assembly. “It is not an option to wait another three years,” he told delegates. “I could not defend this in the Parliament.”
The aviation industry, meanwhile, believes sufficient progress towards a global MBM will be made at this coming Assembly.
“What we would like is for the Assembly to agree a roadmap for developing a global offsetting mechanism to be then agreed at the next Assembly in 2016, for implementation from 2020, along with a work programme covering how monitoring, reporting and verification should be done and agreement on the quality of offset credits. There should also be the means for ensuring the properly designed MBM is in a package with improvements in technology, operations and infrastructure, so they are complementary rather than conflicting,” Nancy Young, VP Environment at trade body Airlines for America (A4A), told journalists recently.
“I am more than cautiously optimistic the Assembly will make significant progress in this regard,” she added.
A coalition of aviation industry interests has just submitted a working paper for consideration by the Assembly setting out its proposals on addressing carbon emissions from international aviation.
However, the industry is likely to be unhappy with the prospect of an ICAO agreement covering the interim period before a global MBM comes into operation that may well see the rapid reintroduction of intercontinental flights into the EU ETS.
Although the EU had pressed for an agreement that would allow it to include emissions from flights departing from European airports, it appears to have settled for the far more environmentally limited airspace proposal. In return for which, opposing states appear to have dropped demands that national or regional MBMs could only be applied on a mutual consent basis. Should a State or group of States wish to go further than the airspace limitation then it or they would have to negotiate an agreement with other States first, says the draft resolution. Exemptions should also be made for States with low air traffic activity on affected routes.
The implication, therefore, is that States that have been staunchly opposed to their airlines’ participation in the EU ETS may no longer have a case for refusing to comply, assuming the EU modifies its directive accordingly. US major airlines had successfully lobbied for domestic legislation that they hoped might see them off the EU ETS hook but now, if the current draft resolution passes its way through the Assembly, they may find themselves once more in the clutches of the EU carbon scheme, this time as a result of a proposal put forward by their own government.
“A4A is part of the global aviation coalition calling for the ICAO Member States to commit to the development of a global emissions offsetting scheme that could be employed to fill the gap should aviation not reach its goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 through concerted industry and government investment in technology, operations and infrastructure. As such, we oppose the application of country-based or regional market-based measures to international aviation absent the consent of the country of an airline’s registry and otherwise consistent with the principles in the 2010 ICAO Assembly Resolution,” A4A’s Nancy Young told GreenAir.
Even if the climate change resolution, which covers many other ICAO environmental protection activities, is adopted at the upcoming Assembly, it is not binding on ICAO States. As happened with the climate resolution (A37-19) passed at the 2010 Assembly, States can put in ‘reservations’ on paragraphs within the resolution after the completion of the Assembly that they disagree and will not comply with. India, for one, remains implacably opposed to any application of market measures to its airlines. Brazil, China, Russia and other fast-developing nations have fought hard against the application of MBMs to international aviation, although China is reported to have softened its position.
“Resolutions are legal instruments indicative of policy decisions that the Organization’s supreme body, the Assembly, takes and they have no definitive binding nature in international law; they rather take effect as a form of moral suasion or back up to legal process,” writes Chris Lyle of Montreal-based Air Transport Economics, who has long experience of the ICAO process, in a GreenAir Commentary article published yesterday.
“The Assembly will surely agree on some skeleton for aviation emissions mitigation but how meaningful will it be? The devil will lie in the nuances of the text and in the reality of the follow-up.”
A global deal to reduce emissions from the aviation industry is looking increasingly unlikely to be agreed at the ICAO international negotiations taking place next week in Montreal. The text is still in its draft stage, and will be debated by the ICAO Council on the 4 September before being presented to the General Assembly on the 24th. It proposes that states should work towards the development of a market based mechanism (MBM) to reduce emissions. But in a move branded by NGOs as “disappointing” and promising little except more talk and delay, it states that no decision will be taken until the 39th General Assembly in 2016 – one year after countries are set to cement a binding UN climate agreement in Paris. The document requests the ICAO Council to “make a recommendation on a global MBM scheme that addresses key design elements … and the mechanisms for the implementation of the scheme from 2020.” There has been little action to reduce the aviation sector’s growing greenhouse gas emissions since ICAO was assigned the task under the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. This additional delay is likely to be seen as another victory for the airline industry.
Aviation industry unlikely to agree emissions reduction deal until 2016
30 August 2013 (RTCC – Responding to Climate Change)
Draft text to be presented at ICAO Council meeting next week suggests decision on global deal will be delayed
A global deal to reduce emissions from the aviation industry is looking increasingly unlikely to be agreed at the international negotiations taking place next week in Montreal.
A draft text of the resolution to be discussed at a council meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) seen by RTCC proposes that states work towards the development of a market based mechanism to reduce emissions.
But in a move branded “disappointing” by NGOs, it states that no decision will be taken until the 39th General Assembly in 2016 – one year after countries are set to cement a binding UN climate agreement in Paris.
The document requests the ICAO Council to “make a recommendation on a global MBM [market based measure] scheme that addresses key design elements … and the mechanisms for the implementation of the scheme from 2020.”
It highlights that an MBM should “contribute towards achieving global aspirational goals” for the aviation industry – improving the efficiency of the world fleet by 2% per annum up to 2050 – but equally “should not impose inappropriate economic burden on international aviation”.
China, America and the EU are said to be keen to move the text forward at the Council meeting, while developing countries are less enthusiastic, worried that any form of MBM could stifle their growing aviation industries.
There has been little action to reduce the sector’s growing greenhouse gas emissions since ICAO, the industry-influenced aviation arm of the UN, was assigned the task under the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.
This additional delay is likely to be seen as another victory for the airline industry. Many had hoped that the added threat of a controversial Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) imposed by the EU would help bring matters to a head.
Under this system, all aircraft flying into or out of the EU were required to monitor and pay for their carbon emissions.
The outrage of other countries, which saw this system as a threat to their sovereignty, meant that last November the EU ‘stopped the clock’ on the proposed ETS for a year, in order to allow political breathing space for an international agreement to take place.
The approaching reinstatement of the EU ETS for international flights to and from the continent means that negotiations on a global deal have been gaining pace.
Many observers had hoped that an agreement for some sort of market based mechanism could be reached by the ICAO General Assembly at the end of September.
This text promises little but more talk and delay by ICAO and the aviation industry, according to Jean Leston, transport policy manager for WWF.
“It is not 100% disappointing, but it’s certainly 80% disappointing,” she says. “On the plus side, it is still calling for an MBM,”
Leston told RTCC there are fears that the industry may rely on implementing a “basket of measures” – a combination of technological and operational improvements aimed at improving the fuel efficiency of aircrafts – instead of committing to carbon trading scheme.
“If there is an agreement at the assembly then that is a victory of sorts, although the NGO community would say that’s a hollow victory because we don’t know what kind of MBM that’s going to be.”
Range of options
ICAO is currently considering three types of MBM: carbon offsetting, offsetting with an added revenue generation mechanism, and a cap-and-trade ETS.
The latest version of the draft text instructs the council to “finalize the work on the technical aspects, environmental benefits, economic impacts on international aviation and modalities of the three options for a global MBM scheme.”
The document acknowledges that the industry’s preference is for offsetting without generation – the least environmentally effective scheme – but continues to keep all three options on the table, to be decided upon at the 2016 General Assembly.
“ICAO is not making any meaningful decisions, and meanwhile the aviation industry can continue to pollute,” says Leston. The report itself emphasises that any mechanism eventually adopted should continue to promote the sustainable growth of the industry.
The aviation industry currently represents a significant chunk of net carbon emissions. In 2005, it was responsible for about 2.3% of CO2 emitted globally. If the international fraction of these emissions – about 62% of the total figure – were a country, it would be the 17th largest emitter of CO2 in the world.
Studies from Manchester Metropolitan University indicate that a market based mechanism is essential if the aviation industry is to achieve its ICAO-set goal of carbon neutral growth in the aviation industry from 2020.
Its most recent report, released this week, said that it was essential that a market based mechanism was achieved as soon as possible, in order to avoid the global warming that would be triggered by the carbon emitted between now and 2020, after which the aviation industry is bound to limit its emissions.
Professor David Lee, the author of the report and a scientific advisor to ICAO, explained to RTCC that, because CO2 is a long term pollutant that builds up in the atmosphere, the end point of policy negotiations is less important than immediate action – a fact which is says is often forgotten by policy makers.
“These early savings pay off,” he says. “Actually, the whole issue is about timing. You can translate this through to the whole of CO2 emissions; not just aviation – everything. Timing is everything.
“We have to reduce the emissions early. Otherwise the end point is really almost irrelevant.
“If we reduce emissions very late to achieve our emissions goal and pat ourselves on the back, actually the real environmental outcome could be so much worse than if we adopted early measures.”
The text is still in its draft stage, and will be debated by the ICAO Council on the 4 September before being presented to the General Assembly on the 24th.
This means that changes could still take place – or that it could be rejected entirely. Leston describes this as being a “worst case scenario”, as it leaves the negotiations at an even weaker stage than they currently are.
RTCC understands that some of the key countries who have typically been seen as an obstacle to negotiations, in particular China and America, are intending to support the text, while it is the developing states such as India and Brazil that are likely to put up opposition. The EU is said to support the text.
“A lot of the developing states are still questioning the need for an MBM at all,” says Leston.
“They’re looking for a lot of exemptions, and some of them will arbitrate against the idea of a global MBM, saying it would cost their economies, their industries, and that they don’t think it’s a universal requirement.”
A new scientific report produced by CATE (Manchester Metropolitan University’s Centre for Air Transport and Environment) called “Mitigating future aviation CO2 emissions – timing is everything” shows that the real climate benefit of any action to cut aviation’s carbon emissions depends on the cumulative emission reductions between now and a future date, and not just on achieving a certain amount of emission reductions by a specific year (as ICAO has focused on). This is because CO2 has a long lifetime so concentration levels are determined by cumulative emissions over time. Early reductions result in a lower emissions trajectory than equivalent annual savings made at a later date. This highlights the critical importance of ICAO taking early action to cut emissions quickly, and increases the pressure on ICAO not to defer a decision on the adoption of a market-based measure (MBM). The report finds that biofuels are not effective as a solution to the aviation emissions problem, but that improvements in technology and operational improvements offered the second best mitigation potential as a single measure.
Immediate global action needed to reduce aviation climate impact – Report
August 27, 2013 (Transport &Environment)
A new scientific report(see below – full report here) released today highlights the critical importance of taking early action when implementing measures to reduce the climate impact of rapidly increasing emissions from aviation. With a decision expected shortly on how and when to tackle international aviation emissions, this new report increases the pressure on the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) not to defer a decision on the adoption of a market-based measure (MBM).
Over the past 2 years momentum had been building towards a decision at the 38th ICAO General Assembly, scheduled to begin in Montreal in late September , on the need for an effective global MBM. But political differences amongst key states now threaten yet again a decision this year on how and when the sector should address its growing contribution to climate change – the next Assembly is not until 2016.
The report by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Centre for Air Transport and Environment (CATE) “Mitigating future aviation CO2 emissions – timing is everything”shows that the real climate benefit of any action depends on the cumulative emission reductions between now and a future date, and not just on achieving a certain amount of emission reductions by a specific year (as ICAO has focused on): CO2 has a long lifetime so concentration levels are determined by cumulative emissions over time. Early reductions result in a lower emissions trajectory than equivalent annual savings made at a later date.
The report shows that while the technology, operations and alternative fuels measures that are ICAO’s focus have the potential to make significant reductions in the climate impact of emissions from aviation, these will only come in the longer term given the lead times needed to develop and bring to market whereas immediate reductions from effective market based measures implemented now far outweigh the climate impacts of ICAO’s approach.
The report shows that a global MBM such as emissions trading introduced in 2012 and the existing European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) for aviation provide the largest single incremental improvements in radiative forcing (RF)  and temperature response by 2050 (a 30.1% improvement in RF for a global MBM and around 15% in RF for the EU ETS compared to a business as usual scenario based on technology and operational improvements).
Based on best estimates of likely future uptake, biofuels would have a minimal climate impact by 2050.
Commenting on the report’s conclusions Bill Hemmings of T&E said: “This robust analysis is compelling and should be a wake-up call to States and industry as they prepare for ICAO’s Assembly. ICAO’s traditional approach focussing on technology, operations and biofuels falls far short of what is needed.”
Meanwhile, Tim Johnson of NGO Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) said: “ICAO has already demonstrated that its own modest goal of carbon neutral growth by 2020 will be impossible to achieve without market-based measures, while the scale of reductions required to contribute towards a 2 degree pathway reinforces that argument unequivocally. It’s time to stop debating the ‘if’ and focus on the ‘how’.”
What is the best and most cost-effective way of mitigating future aviation emissions? Undoubtedly a mix of strategies is required to tackle the rapidly growing emissions of CO2from aviation. However, there are some clues to guide decision makers available from the well-established science of CO2.
In our last report we looked at ways in which aviation CO2 emissions could be mitigated, and how far the mitigation potential of each measure got us towards various ‘goals’ for the reduction of international aviation emissions of CO2. ‘Goals’ tend to be focused on achieving an emissions target by a certain date. However, this approach does not factor in the physics of CO2 – namely the accumulative nature of CO2, its long lifetime in the atmosphere and its consequent effect on climate. The emissions’ pathway by which a goal is achieved over time matters more than simply achieving the goal itself.
In this work we conducted over 11,000 complex calculations to rank the ‘best’ mitigation strategies, both as individual measures and combined strategies, in terms of their climate impacts – calculated as radiative forcing and global mean temperature response.
We find that emissions trading, as a measure, offers the single largest incremental improvement in climate impact by 2050.
The least effective strategy isbiofuels, using the assumptions of the UK Committee on Climate Change’s assessment of potential biofuel availability in 2050, even at what they termed “speculative” levels.
Maximum feasible reductions from improvements in technology and operational improvements offered the second best mitigation potential as a single measure.
The clue as to why an efficiently operated emissions trading system is so effective lies in its possibility to reduce emissions quickly. This is a fundamental point.
Other mitigation strategies (which must still be pursued) tend to offer ‘late savings’ as the relevant technologies and fleet infiltration develop.
What matters more is the total cumulative emissions from aviation by 2050, rather than simply achieving some arbitrary goal by that date.
This accords with the physics of CO2 but is often ignored by policy makers and the developers of organisational emission goals and targets.
[BAU = Business As Usual]
Figure 1: CO2 radiative forcing savings for international aviation from business-as-usual (BAU) technology and operations improvements in combination with different mitigation options, compared with the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario.
Figure 2: CO2 radiative forcing savings for international aviation from maximum feasible reductions (MFR) from technology and operations improvements in combination with different mitigation options, compared with the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario.
Click here to download hi-res figures from the report (as a single zip file).
This new analysis comes at a very crucial moment, as the International Civil Aviation Organization (the UN agency responsible) meets this September to decide on whether to delay a global market-based program for curbing aviation emissions (again) or begin implementation as soon as possible. If a decision to implement is not reached at the ICAO meetings in September, the next opportunity for a decision will not be until 2016 at the next general ICAO assembly.
A further delay is not an option according to this report’s authors. Their modeling shows that all the efforts already underway by airlines to reduce their emissions are not enough and that a global market-based trading system must also be implemented sooner, rather than later. If a decision is put off again by ICAO to 2016, we lose the cumulative financial and environmental benefits that are necessary to meet the aviation industry’s future reduction targets. Early reductions result in a lower emissions trajectory than equivalent annual savings made at a later date.
Three more years of delay, means three more years of massive amounts of climate pollution being pumped into our atmosphere as airlines whisk more passengers than ever around the world.
One would think, with the worldwide impacts of climate change and atmospheric disruption we are already witnessing, that the aviation industry would feel a sense of urgency at putting in place a global reduction plan. After all, the estimated impact of the aviation industry on climate change so far is a whopping 5%.
The report also shows that a global market based emissions trading program and the existing European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) for aviation provide the largest reductions in climate change impacts by 2050. (A global market based trading system provides a 30.1% improvement from business as usual; the EU ETS provides a 15% improvement; and better technology, adoption of biofuels, and operational changes combined provide a 9% improvement.)
So far, American airline companies have been a proverbial fly in the ointment when it comes to seeing a global market-based trading system. Last year, the industry went so far as to seek (and receive) federal legislation that would exempt them from a market-based system in the European Union. US airlines do not want to pay a fee for the pollution they are responsible for and have spent millions on lobbyists in Washington, DC to avoid a tax on the carbon they emit.
Regardless of past indiscretions, this new report should serve as a wake-up call to ICAO, the US government and the US airline industry. If they don’t listen, it is not just the airlines that will suffer in the long term.
A new report has found that meeting the aviation industry’s “carbon-neutral growth” target from 2020 could add as little as $1.50 to $2 to the price of a transatlantic one-way ticket in 2030. Aviation intends to make its growth “carbon neutral” buy buying carbon offsets from other sectors, rather than making actual cuts in the sector’s own CO2 emissions. The report is by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF – Guy Turner, Chief Economist) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF – Annie Petsonk, International Counsel). Their analysis shows that surplus offset credits already available in the world’s carbon trading systems could, in principle, meet just under 50% of the industry’s potential need for the 2020 to 2050 period. The cost of carbon credits to the aviation industry would represent less than 0.5% of international aviation revenue, or roughly 25% to 33% of what airlines bring in from ancillary revenues such as checked bags and selling snacks. Under a moderate scenario for aviation growth, the amount of carbon credits needed range is 8 to 14 billion tonnes, over the period 2020 – 2050.
Net cost to the aviation sector of achieving carbon-neutral growth from 2020 will be trivial, finds report
Net cost to the aviation sector of achieving carbon-neutral growth from 2020 will be trivial, finds report | EDF,Environmental Defense Fund,Bloomberg New Energy Finance
A global carbon offset scheme could add less than $2 to a one-way fare between Paris and New York
Fri 2 Aug 2013 ( GreenAir online)
Meeting the aviation industry’s carbon-neutral growth target from 2020 could add as little as $1.50 to $2 to the price of a transatlantic one-way ticket in 2030, estimates a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Their analysis shows that surplus offset credits already available in the world’s carbon trading systems could, in principle, meet just under 50 per cent of the industry’s potential need for the 2020 to 2050 period. As long as governments adopt tough criteria to ensure their environmental integrity, the cost of credits to the aviation industry would represent less than 0.5 per cent of international aviation revenue, or roughly a quarter to a third of what airlines bring in from ancillary revenues such as checked bags and snacks.
With the aviation industry recently reinforcing its goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 (CNG2020) through a global offset scheme and the controversial issue under discussion at ICAO ahead of its triennial Assembly next month, the authors of the report – Annie Petsonk, International Counsel for EDF and Guy Turner, Chief Economist at BNEF – have analysed what it might cost the sector in the 2020-2050 period.
To estimate the size of the emissions gap that will need to be bridged in order to achieve CNG2020, the authors base their findings on a recent analysis carried out by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), which showed a cumulative shortfall in international aviation emissions over the 2020-2050 period of between 6 billion and 17 billion tonnes, depending on efficiency improvements from technology and operational measures. Under a moderate scenario for growth, the range is 8 billion to 14 billion tonnes, with a central estimate of around 10 billion tonnes.
Offsetting this growth should not be expected to pose a problem for the industry, says the report. There are four main potential sources that could be used to provide emissions units to meet its goals:
- Emission allowances from national or regional cap and trade programmes, such as those operated in Europe (EU ETS), New Zealand, California and Quebec, with other countries considering or planning such schemes such as China, South Korea, Mexico, Kazakhstan, South Africa and Brazil;
- Emissions allowances created under the Kyoto Protocol at the national level, although there is uncertainty as to whether existing allowances will come into future emissions trading schemes;
- Credits from UN-registered emission reduction projects (CDM and JI), although not all of these credits will be available to the aviation sector; and
- Credits from voluntary offset projects – BNEF estimates that by 2020 there will be around 360Mt of surplus voluntary credits that could potentially be used by the aviation sector.
Assuming environmental integrity concerns can be addressed, BNEF estimates, excluding the surplus emission allowances created at the national level under the Kyoto Protocol, the remaining sources total a maximum available supply of up to 4.4 billion tonnes by 2020, just under a half of the anticipated 10 billion tonne demand. This supply is what is likely to be left unused, based on historical and expected credit generation and compliance use in the existing UN, EU ETS and voluntary markets, and does not include the potentially substantial new supply of carbon units to meet additional demand.
As the authors point out, what ultimately matters is the price paid for these offsets. Today, the different types of carbon allowances and credits have different prices, which are likely to rise over time as the surplus of banked allowances is gradually drawn down and more jurisdictions impose emissions caps.
Analysis by EDF shows the unit cost of offsets increasing from about $4-6/tonne in 2015 to around $25-33/tonne in real terms by 2050. Taking the 8-14 billion tonnes shortfall range over this period and under two different potential emission reduction requirement scenarios for existing and newly-formed cap-and-trade programmes outside the aviation sector, the annualised cost of CNG (in 2015 prices) through to 2050 would be between $1.8bn and $4.6bn per year.
Citing IATA figures, the report says the global aviation industry had sales of around $680 billion in 2012 and, on the basis that international flights make up around 60% of the total, international revenues would be some $408 billion. Assuming airline revenue grows broadly in line with emissions, the authors estimate international airline revenue in 2035 – the mid-point to 2050 – would be around $1.2 trillion in today’s prices. Assuming an annualised cost of the offsetting scheme of around $5 billion over the period, this would therefore represent less than 0.5% of international aviation revenue.
Compared with ancillary revenues of $27 billion collected in 2012 for services such as checked bags, extra legroom and snacks, the cost of CNG to the international sector would be roughly a quarter to a third of what airlines bring in from these revenues.
“These costs are clearly small, to the point of being trivial compared to other costs of running airlines,” says the report. “The net effect on the airlines themselves, however, will be even less as these additional costs will most likely be covered through higher ticket prices.”
The authors calculate that CNG2020 would add between $1.50 and $2 to the price of a one-way fare from Paris to New York in 2030 and between $10 and $20 in 2050 in real terms. This is based on an assumption that cost of offsetting by the industry beyond 2020 is spread evenly across all routes, existing and new. Assuming no change in the costs of flying the Paris-New York route, the costs of CNG2020 in today’s prices would therefore represent an increase of between 0.3% and 0.4% on the ticket price in 2030 and between 2% and 4% in 2050.
“This analysis demonstrates just how affordable a market-based mechanism can be in limiting carbon emissions,” commented Petsonk. “While aviation’s formidable technological ability can help reduce its carbon footprint, our analysis shows the critical role that high-integrity, low-cost reductions in other sectors can play in meeting the industry’s goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020. As governments in ICAO consider how to address aviation’s contribution to climate change, this should give them the confidence to move ahead with a market-based mechanism for carbon-neutral growth.”
Turner believes the widespread availability and low cost of carbon credits could enable the industry to take on more ambitious targets.
“These findings show that the international aviation sector can control its CO2 emissions relatively cheaply by using market-based mechanisms,” he said. “The small cost and the ability to pass any costs through into ticket prices should encourage the international aviation sector to accelerate and deepen its emission reduction pledges. More ambitious emission reductions now look much more doable than mere stabilisation from 2020.”
Peter Liese, a key member of the European Parliament from Germany, who has led Europe’s efforts to curb aviation CO2 emissions, has urged Barack Obama to live up to his sweeping promises to act on climate change, and help advance stalled negotiations for a global aviation deal. He said Obama must act fast to avoid a trade war over the battle caused by the EU ETS (Emissions Trading System) . Liese, speaking after meetings with administration officials in Washington this week, said he feared efforts to reach a global deal on aviation carbon had stalled. He thought there was a 50% chance that the ICAO talks would fail to produce a deal by its early September meetings, triggering a transatlantic trade and diplomatic crisis. ”For me and I think for the European parliament this is a test case: how serious is Obama on climate change? Is it only a speech, or is it serious? ” Liese said. He said he was disappointed with the state department’s position in the aviation talks, saying it lagged behind Obama’s sweeping climate change speech last month.
Barack Obama has been urged by a member of the European parliament to help advance negotiations for a global aviation deal. Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP
Barack Obama must act fast to avoid a trade war over Europe’s efforts to curb airlines’ carbon pollution, a key member of the European parliament has warned.
Peter Liese, a Christian Democrat in Germany who has led Europe’s efforts to curb airline carbon emissions, urged Obama to live up to his sweeping promises to act on climate change, and help advance stalled negotiations for a global aviation deal.
Liese, speaking after meetings with administration officials in Washington this week, said he feared efforts to reach a global deal on aviation carbon had stalled.
He now saw a 50-50 chance the talks would fail to produce a deal by the early September meetings of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, triggering a transatlantic trade and diplomatic crisis.
“For me and I think for the European parliament this is a test case: how serious is Obama on climate change? Is it only a speech, or is it serious? ” Liese said.
He said he was disappointed with the state department’s position in the aviation talks, saying it lagged behind Obama’s sweeping climate change speech last month.
“The momentum and dynamic that we saw with Obama’s speech and Obama’s plan has not been included in the ICAO position,” Liese said.
“From where I see it now, there is more than a 50% chance that we will fall,” he said.
Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
Failure to reach a deal before the ICAO meeting could trigger a crisis in the European parliament, and inflame diplomatic and trade tensions between Europe and America.
“It’s a legal mess, it’s a trade mess, and its a diplomatic mess,” said Annie Petsonk, who covers international climate law for the Environmental Defence Fund.
Under a deal reached last spring, the European parliament extended a deadline for airlines to comply with new regulations requiring carriers to pay for carbon emissions on flights to and from European airports.
Efforts then moved to the ICAO to develop “global market-based measures” for curbing carbon emissions.
The compromise averted the risk of a trade and diplomatic war over the aviation carbon tax.
US airlines, along with those carriers from India, China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, balked at paying the carbon tax – which added on average just $2 to the cost of a flight.
In a move that frustrated campaigners, Obama then signed a bill into law last year exempting US airlines from the tax.
Now Liese argued it was time for Obama to make good on his renewed climate change commitments, and push the state department to make greater efforts to reach a deal.
The White House endorsed curbs on emissions from the aviation industry last month, when Obama delivered his landmark climate change address.
John Kerry, the secretary of state, also endorsed a carbon charge for the airline industry in his years as a senator as co-author of a climate bill that failed in the Senate.
The state department did not respond to requests for comment for this story.
Obama’s bold climate speech last month has stoked expectation that he would now help efforts to advance a global deal on aviation emissions – and not stand in the way.
“The state department’s position on aviation pollution is completely out of sync with the direction the rest of the administration and the American people are going in,” said Glenn Hurowitz, executive director of the Catapult campaign group.
“The president has indicated a new commitment to tackling climate pollution but at the same time the administration is opposing other countries from taking modest and affordable action themselves.”
EU/US : IN WASHINGTON, MEPS URGE AMBITION ON AVIATION EMISSIONS
by Brian Beary in Washington
Europolitics (daily in English)
July 18, 2013
Amidst modest signs of progress toward a global deal to cut carbon dioxide emissions from airplanes to address climate change, MEPs travelled to Washington this week urging the US to be more ambitious. A delegation of seven deputies led by rapporteur Peter Liese (EPP, Germany) met top US trade, aviation, environment, and diplomatic officials, as all eyes turn to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Montreal, Canada, which has its Assembly from 24 September to 5 October. Speaking to Europolitics at the end of his trip, Liese said “we have a new dynamic” in Washington with President Barack Obama’s recent announcement of bold administrative steps on climate change but “we are not there yet” for aviation.
LIMIT ETS TO EU AIRSPACE?
While the US sees itself as something of a broker in bridging the EU’s ambitious goals with more reluctant nations, Liese said that Washington continues to move “too slowly”. In particular, he felt that the US should push harder at ICAO to pass a resolution giving a clear commitment to agree a global “market-based mechanism” (ie some kind of cap and trade) by 2016. He insisted that the current wording in the draft ICAO resolution is far too weak, as it only commits the 191 member countries to “discuss” the issue again in 2016. Just as sensitive – and a more immediate concern – is whether the ICAO will give the green light for the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) to be extended to intercontinental flights before the global system is set up. Washington is touting a “compromise” to limit the EU ETS to the parts of flights that are over EU airspace. But Liese said this would not be enough as “it’s not a concession to be allowed to regulate your own airspace”. He stressed that a more EU-friendly compromise was needed if MEPs were to agree to further delay in applying the ETS to aviation. One possible compromise, he said, would be to let the EU ETS apply to EU and international airspace – but not US airspace to assuage American sensitivities over sovereignty violations.
Meanwhile, the US feels that the EU is focusing too much on emissions trading, which they point out is just one part of the “basket of measures” that the ICAO is putting together. Plans to enable planes to burn biofuels, improvements in how energy-efficient planes are designed, and devising more energy-efficient flight paths are equally key to reducing emissions, they say. Liese acknowledged that the Americans had a point on one issue, namely the EU ETS does not oblige member states to spend revenues earned from selling emission permits on projects to tackle climate change. However, he insisted that revenues needed to be on the table, in line with the “polluter pays” principle. On the move within ICAO to set a goal of keeping aviation emission levels stable from 2020, he said “it’s an option” but he voiced disappointment that the goal for aviation is so much lower than for other sectors. n
The international community has struggled with aviation emissions for the past 20 years. Firstly, after failing to include it in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, they left it to the ICAO, another UN agency, to resolve. Frustrated by years of scant progress at the ICAO, the EU decided unilaterally, in 2008, to apply its ETS to aviation from 2012. This created uproar among other major economies like China, India, Russia and the US. In November 2012, President Obama signed a bill allowing his administration to bar US airlines from participating in the ETS. In response, the EU agreed, in March 2013, to suspend rollout of the ETS to aviation until after the ICAO’s September-October 2013 Assembly. The ICAO Assembly is held only once every three years. Should ICAO fail to strike a deal in September, the EU intends to revoke its “stop-the-clock” decision and start applying ETS to flights entering and exiting the EU from May 2014.
EU in last lap of talks on global aviations emissions deal
23 July 2013
Diplomatic talks on a deal to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the global aviation industry have intensified recently as EU and US officials try to stave off the threat of a trade war, lawmakers and observers said.
Peter Liese, a member of the European Parliament from the conservative German Christian-Democratic Union, led a delegation to meet with Obama administration officials in Washington last week to discuss the issue.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations’ civil aviation body, has until September to complete a resolution on a market-based plan that would curb rising greenhouse gas emissions from global airlines.
Should the UN organisation fail, the EU could try to re-impose an emissions trading system on global airlines. The EU postponed the implementation of the law in 2012 to give the ICAO time to devise a global approach.
Liese sees only a 50% chance the ICAO talks can deliver a deal strong enough to avoid a revival of the law and avoid threats of a trade war.
“Unless we have progress in the next six to seven weeks, we will run into a big problem,” Liese told Reuters.
Liese said drafts of the resolution that ICAO assembly delegates will consider at their triennial meeting, which starts in Montréal on 24 September, might not be not ambitious enough to pass muster.
“We made very clear that what is on the table now is not enough,” Liese said.
He added that a deal acceptable to Europeans would unambiguously clarify that there will be an international agreement from 2020 onward.
The ICAO narrowed its options in May to three market-based measures, including a mandatory offsetting scheme.
The following month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), set up to help the UN harmonise aviation after the second world war, backed a system in which airlines would offset increased emissions after 2020 by buying carbon credits from projects that cut them in other sectors. A wider coalition of aviation groups endorsed the plan in recent weeks.
Nancy Young, vice president for environmental affairs for US airline lobby group Airlines for America, said the strong industry backing of a market-based emissions plan should give the ICAO “very strong momentum to reach an agreement.”
The agreement, she said, will not be a detailed framework, but “a glide path toward a single market-based measure by 2016,” the year the next ICAO assembly takes place.
The ICAO’s 36-member leadership council is scheduled to meet on 4 September.
Meetings between countries with similar views on the issue also have been taking place. For example, China and India, which along with the United States strongly opposed the imposition of the European trading scheme on their airlines, are likely meeting ahead of the assembly to coordinate objections to the ICAO’s proposed resolution.
Liese said US and EU officials might also have to consider a potential bilateral agreement if the ICAO fails to agree on a deal that would stave off the threat of a trade war.
But Jos Delbeke, director-general for climate action for the European Commission, was optimistic and said he was confident a useful resolution is going to be adopted in September or October.
Damian writes that the turbo-charge to the lobbying for more airport capacity comes from the prospect of short-term economic growth, sought at any cost by the government. In contrast, the issue of the heavy and fast growing impact of aviation emissions on climate change has faded like a vapour trail in the hurricane force PR campaign. The fundamental problem is that aviation is a rogue industry, darting across international borders to escape climate justice. While paying lip service to environmental concerns, its masters use the complexity of attempting to curb the carbon emissions of a global business to avoid any curbs at all. With many UK airports, particularly Stansted, very underused, the argument for new runways is shaky at best. But it is the global problem of climate change that is fundamental to UK aviation growth. So far the industry has cleverly used the global nature of the problem to avoid action. When the permissible CO2 emissions come to be divided up between flights, farming, factories and fuelling the UK, it’s quite possible that soaring emissions from aviation are not seen as the top priority. At that point, any new runways will stand only as multi-billion-dollar monuments to the hubris of an industry accustomed to operating without constraints.
“Aviation is a rogue industry on a runway to nowhere”
New runway proposals at Heathrow and beyond are the right answers – to the wrong question. The right question is how many flights can the climate withstand?
Damian Carrington’s Environment Blog
In the debate over building new runways in the UK, we are getting a lot of new answers – to the wrong questions. A huge lobbying effort has successfully changed the argument from whether we need more tarmac for more flights to how many new runways we need and where should they be laid.
The turbo-charge to the lobbying comes from the prospect of short-term economic growth, sought at any cost by the government. In contrast, the issue of the heavy and fast growing impact of aviation emissions on climate change has faded like a vapour trail in the hurricane force PR campaign.
The fundamental problem is that aviation is a rogue industry, darting across international borders to escape climate justice. While paying lip service to environmental concerns, its masters use the complexity of attempting to curb the carbon emissions of a global business to avoid any curbs at all.
With aviation an outlaw, it’s impossible to say exactly what number of flights would be compatible with the UK’s pledge to cut 80% of the greenhouse gases driving global warming by 2050. The harder other industries are pushed to cut carbon, the more headroom there would be for aviation.
But there is plenty of flak available to down the high-flying claims of the aviation industry, such as arguing that its emissions are a tiny part of total emissions. Aviation made up 6% of UK emissions in 2011 but will make up at least 25% of the total in 2050. What happens with aviation will have a huge influence on whether the UK keeps its climate promises, particularly because it will rely on fossils fuels for decades to come.
Another claim is that new capacity is desperately needed to avert economic catastrophe. Yet, as George Monbiot has pointed out, business flights to and from the UK have fallen by 25% since 2000 and make up just 12% of flights. Furthermore, London is already miles ahead of any competitors: it is the busiest city in the world for flights and has at least double the number of flights to business destinations than any competitor.
The number of flights may well be able to increase in future, if emissions are offset by more efficient planes and air traffic control systems and are part of a national carbon budget. But with many UK airports, particularly Stansted, very underused, the argument for new runways is shaky at best. There is also little sane reason why so many slots at London airports should be taken up by flights to such exotic locations as Manchester and Edinburgh: short haul flights only add up because the outlaws of aviation pay no tax at all on their fuel nor VAT on their tickets and complain bitterly about air passenger duty.
Local environmental problems of noise and air pollution will, rightly, rank high among objections to specific plans. But it is the global problem of climate change that is fundamental.
So far the aviation industry has cleverly used the global nature of the problem to avoid action. You can’t act nationally or regionally, they say, because you’ll just displace the planes and airports somewhere else: it’s global action or nothing and the latter is the less bumpy ride, thank you very much.
But this will change, I think. Aviation will be brought under national and regional carbon caps as progress continues on international action on climate change.
When the permissible emissions come to be divided up between flights, farming, factories and fuelling the UK, it’s quite possible that soaring emissions from aviation are not seen as the top priority. At that point, any new runways will stand only as multi-billion-dollar monuments to the hubris of an industry accustomed to operating without constraints.
There are a large number of comments under this article, and surprisingly (for a change) a large number of them are sensible and intelligent.
Below are just four:
Every large problem looks scary when we view it as a whole and don’t know where to start with solving it.
The general approach to problem-solving is to recursively break the solution down into component steps, continuing until each step becomes manageable. If a problem can be broken into steps simple enough for a machine to perform, then we can automate the solution. That is what software developers do to solve problems for a living.
We probably can’t reduce the aviation problem to a mere algorithm yet, but we can simplify it greatly by understanding its true nature.
In Damian Carrington’s headline and article, he refers repeatedly to aviation as an industry, as if that is the level where society decides how many flights (and therefore runways) there will be.
In fact, the decision to have aviation occurs at the granularity of the individual who decides to take a flight. The aviation industry, its lobbying, and the government being swayed by it – merely reflect the underlying demand by individuals for this service. When we think of “aviation”, therefore, we should think of the decision by the individual to fly. If individuals stopped deciding to fly, the industry which owes its entire existence to the individual would vanish.
Therefore, if a solution to the aviation problem is possible, it must occur at the individual level. To “see this being negotiated rationally to a consensus”, pick any individual you know who flies an appreciable amount. At the moment, that individual places more value on:
* Consuming the immediate tangible benefits to self that result from flying (e.g. recreation; access to remote environments or people)
than he or she places on:
* Minimizing his or her individual contribution to man-made climate forcing.
To get rid of aviation we must persuade (or less likely coerce) the people who fly to reverse the above valuation. That is, they must choose to stop benefiting themselves at the cost to the climate.
They must choose to become less selfish.
When you look at the aviation industry as a whole, it seems impossible that you, the (presumably) ordinary individual, could do anything about it. But when you view aviation at the granularity of the individual, which is where demand for aviation is created, and thus where aviation is created, we can begin to imagine persuading just one individual to stop flying. That is a problem we might manage to solve.
Boeing’s forecast is a straightforward extrapolation from past history. But during that past history, aviation had no serious opposition, apart from a few local protests from airport noise.
Looking into the future, aviation faces at least three potentially huge opponents:
1. Computers. Anyone who buys a computer and then shops for another one five years later will note how dramatically computers have improved for a given price during that span. This observation is called Moore’s “law”. Progress in computing seems likely to continue for some decades. As aviation is primarily a tool for moving information (contained in human brains) and to connect people to remote environments (thus allowing their brains to access information and sensation they couldn’t get at home), it directly competes with computing.
For the past 50 years, computers have gotten twice as good about every 18 months. Aviation has not improved in terms of speed since the 1960s when jet airliners became common. Attempts to go faster (e.g. Concorde) proved uneconomical. Air travel has even slowed down recently due to security concerns. Thus it is only a matter of time before computers largely wipe out aviation for business travel at least.
Somewhat perversely, until now computers have helped to stimulate travel, by giving people a taste of remote environments they might not otherwise become aware of and desire to visit. But as the computerized “taste” becomes ever more like the real thing, the need to waste the time to go visit could decline.
2. Peak oil. Aviation for the masses is an artifact of cheap oil. We can expect the price of oil in real terms to increase at some point in the future, as the easiest reserves play out and the oil industry must resort to poorer quality reserves. People might even begin to realize, at some point, that burning oil for amusement means, ultimately, that there is less oil to burn on other things, such as growing food.
3. Climate change. Aviation is a significant contributor to climate change at the granularity of the nation. At the granularity of the individual it can bemuch more significant. Individuals who fly a lot have among the highest individual carbon footprints, as a single return flight can cause the emissions of 0.5 to 2 tonnes of CO2e per passenger, depending on flight distance.
Given that there is no credible scheme for providing carbon neutral aviation fuels at scale for the next several decades at least, the individual who chooses to fly a lot invariably produces a lot of emissions by flying.
Whether individuals and the societies they form continue to tolerate aviation, in light of climate change, depends on two main factors:
a. Whether they decide to mitigate climate change.
b. If so, then whether they decide to mitigate it equitably.
Under an equitable solution to climate change, each individual will be allocated an equal ration of the total allowable emissions. Under such a regime, the people who will have to change their behavior the most are those individuals who currently have the highest individual carbon footprints. As many of those individuals are frequent fliers, a large fraction of passenger load would vanish right there.
Given that the total allowable emissions might share out to something under 2 tonnes CO2e per person per year, it’s hard to imagine anybody being able to squeeze much of any flying (or driving, for that matter) under the limit.
Thus aviation can be viewed as an “indicator species” for our seriousness about mitigating climate change. As long as we tolerate letting some people fly – especially, people who fly a lot – then we probably aren’t serious about mitigating climate change, and we certainly aren’t serious about mitigating it in an equitable way.
You are right. The aviation industry is as concerned about climate change as the oil, gas or coal industry. The pressure on aviation from China will seal all our fates. Lets die rich or at least as rich as possible before the price on this insane Faustain pact is due.
The last few years weather has made the news across the world as storm, wild fires floods and heatwaves remind us daily of the effect of 1 C rise in temperature. In a few years the news will be dominated by floods, famines and droughts, starving climate refugees looking for any haven. Then inevitably the news will be dominated by wars as desperate peoples fight fow dwindling resources and water in a world of withered crops.
So what the hell. Who gives a toss,. With luck we will all be dead before we have to explain to our kids and grand kids that a cheap flight to Malaga was far more important than their future. So lets tarmac this entire country from Heathrow to Newcastle.