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Carbon neutral goal for aviation won’t neutralise its climate impact – it needs Market Based Measures too

A report from the Manchester Metropolitan University shows that the emissions from global aviation will continue to have a climate impact for years and decades after they are emitted. CO2 stays in the atmosphere for a long time, and continues its warming impact. For this reason, the proposal of the aviation industry to go for “carbon neutral growth” after 2020 will have the effect of increasing the climate impact of aviation.  ”Carbon neutral growth” in the way the industry sees it, by use of reductions in CO2 emissions from technical, operational and biofuels measures, will not keep emissions and their climate impact low enough. For there to be real “carbon neutral growth”, so argue Transport & Environment in Brussels, and the Aviation Environment Federation in the UK, requires an effective market based measure MBM) as well. The MMU report concludes that to mitigate aviation’s climate warming impact in 2050 through carbon neutral growth in 2020 will require a basket of measures, including MBMs, (such as the EU ETS) to bridge the gap between what can be achieved by the industry and ICAO’s proposed measures, and what is actually needed.

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Carbon neutral goal for aviation won’t neutralise its climate impact – Report

30.9.2013  (Transport & Environment)

Latest research shows that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and industry goal of carbon neutral growth in 2020 will not, as the name might suggest, neutralise aviation’s climate impact.

ICAO is meeting this week in Montreal to attempt to conclude 16 years of negotiations on a set of measures to tackle climate-change emissions from international aviation.

Even if ICAO and industry were to be successful in stabilising aviation’s CO2 emissions at 2020 levels, which is an established goal, this would not correspond to a stabilisation of aviation’s climate warming impact.

The longevity of CO2 already emitted into the atmosphere means that the sector’s climate warming impact will continue to grow long beyond 2020 because CO2 emissions accumulate in the atmosphere faster than they can be removed.

The report by climate researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) shows that even constant, or ‘neutral’, annual aviation CO2 emissions from 2020 still result in an aviation ‘radiative forcing’ (warming effect) increase by a factor of 1.6 in 2050 over 2020 levels, and by a factor of 2.5 in 2100. Real and effective measures to achieve the carbon neutral growth at 2020 goal would, the study says, reduce aviation’s radiative forcing in 2050 by 21% over the business-as-usual scenario. Previous research by the MMU has shown that deploying the maximum feasible reductions from technical, operational and biofuels measures, favoured by ICAO and industry, would only reduce aviation’s climate warming (RF) impact in 2050 by 9%.

The report concludes that to mitigate aviation’s climate warming impact in 2050 through carbon neutral growth in 2020 will require a basket of measures, including market-based measures, to bridge the gap between what can be achieved by the industry and ICAO’s proposed measures, and what is actually needed.

Bill Hemmings, sustainable aviation manager at Transport & Environment, said: “ICAO’s head-in-the-sand approach, focusing on technology, operations and biofuels, falls far short of what is needed for our climate. This robust analysis is compelling and the science is clear: ICAO needs to consider the climate impacts of its CO2 mitigation goals when determining policy in Montreal.”

Analysis has already shown that continuing with the EU ETS will reduce the 2050 radiative forcing by 19.5%. Achieving a 21% result through carbon neutral growth in 2020 will require ICAO to agree to implement a market-based measure (MBM) which is as effective as the EU ETS in delivering real emissions reductions.

Combined with other measures, a global MBM starting in 2012, coupled with technology and alternative fuels, could reduce radiative forcing by around 30% by 2050, but ultimately stabilising the climate impact will require a more ambitious goal. The report did not consider aviation’s non-CO2 effects which will also contribute to a significant increase in radiative forcing nor whether offsets would bring real emissions reductions.

Tim Johnson, Director at the Aviation Environment Federation, said: “Even the modest goal of carbon neutral growth by 2020 will be impossible to achieve without a market-based measure as effective as the EU ETS, which Europe has been pressured to weaken. The international aviation community says it is serious about combatting the harm its industry does to the climate – now it must act to show these words are more than just hot air.

ENDS

Click here for the full MMU report.

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Climate impacts from aviation 2020 Carbon Neutral Goal: stabilized emissions but increasing radiative forcing and temperatures

Date added: September 27, 2013

A new, and rather technical, paper has been produced by CATE, the Centre for Aviation Transport and the Environment, at Manchester Metropolitan University. They have looked at the climate impacts of future scenarios of aviation emissions. The ICAO process that is attempting to deal with aviation emissions only deals with international aviation, ie between countries. Not domestic aviation, which is flying within a country, and of which there is a great deal in countries like the US and China. CATE has produced various scenarios which show that even if the global aviation industry managed to achieve its stated aim of “Carbon Neutral Growth” after 2020, for domestic and international flights, there would be a continuing increase in both radiative forcing (ie. the difference of radiant energy received by the earth and energy radiated back to space) and global temperatures from the aviation emissions. This is because although 30% of CO2 emissions are removed in a few decades, some 50% is not removed for several centuries, and about 20% remain for millennia. This is why under overall climate (temperature) stabilisation scenarios, global CO2 emissions must be reduced dramatically.

Click here to view full story…

Click here for the full MMU report.

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A Market  Based Measure is defined by ICAO as:

Market-based measures include: emissions trading, emission related levies – charges and taxes, and emissions offsetting; all of which aim to contribute to the achievement of specific environmental goals, at a lower cost, and in a more flexible manner, than traditional command and control regulatory measures. Market-based measures are among the elements of a comprehensive mitigation strategy to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international aviation that are being considered by ICAO.

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Wikipedia defines Market Based Environmental Policy Instruments as

In environmental law and policy, market-based instruments (MBIs) are policy instruments that use markets, price, and other economic variables to provide incentives for polluters to reduce or eliminate negative environmental externalities.

and

Examples include environmentally related taxes, charges and subsidies, emissions trading and other tradeable permit systems, deposit-refund systems, environmental labeling laws, licenses, and economic property rights. For instance, the European Union Emission Trading Scheme is an example of a market-based instrument to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

and


Emissions trading
 or cap and trade is a market-based approach used to control pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants.

A central authority (usually a governmental body) sets a limit or cap on the amount of a pollutant that may be emitted. The limit or cap is allocated or sold to firms in the form of emissions permits which represent the right to emit or discharge a specific volume of the specified pollutant. Firms are required to hold a number of permits (or allowances or carbon credits) equivalent to their emissions. The total number of permits cannot exceed the cap, limiting total emissions to that level. Firms that need to increase their volume of emissions must buy permits from those who require fewer permits.

 

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Climate impacts from aviation 2020 Carbon Neutral Goal: stabilized emissions but increasing radiative forcing and temperatures

A new, and rather technical, paper has been produced by CATE, the Centre for Aviation Transport and the Environment, at Manchester Metropolitan University. They have looked at the climate impacts of future scenarios of aviation emissions. The ICAO process that is attempting to deal with aviation emissions only deals with international aviation, ie between countries. Not domestic aviation, which is flying within a country, and of which there is a great deal in countries like the US and China. CATE has produced various scenarios which show that even if the global aviation industry managed to achieve its stated aim of “Carbon Neutral Growth” after 2020, for domestic and international flights, there would be a continuing increase in both radiative forcing (ie. the difference of radiant energy received by the earth and energy radiated back to space) and global temperatures from the aviation emissions. This is because although 30% of CO2 emissions are removed in a few decades, some 50% is not removed for several centuries, and about 20% remain for millennia. This is why under overall climate (temperature) stabilisation scenarios, global CO2 emissions must be reduced dramatically.

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Climate impacts from aviation 2020 Carbon Neutral Goal: stabilized emissions but increasing radiative forcing and temperatures

Click here for the full report.

26.9.2013 (CATE -MMU)  CATE = Centre for Aviation Transport and the Environment, at  Manchester Metropolitan University

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The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has set itself a goal to:

to strive to achieve a collective medium term global aspirational goal of keeping the global net carbon emissions from international aviation from 2020 at the same level…”

How might the emissions reductions required to stabilize emissions at 2020 levels be achieved?  What does achieving this goal mean in terms of climate impacts? If international aviation emissions are stabilized at 2020 levels and don’t grow further, will the climate impact also stabilize?

Building on two previous reports, which examined whether projected aviation emissions will meet such goals and quantified the ‘climate impacts’ of various proposed mitigation measures (using the accepted science metric ‘radiative forcing’) (weblink to RF report), this new report answers these questions above. [ Radiative forcing is defined as the difference of radiant energy received by the earth and energy radiated back to space.]

How would aviation CO2 emissions be stabilized at 2020 levels? ICAO is still discussing how this might be achieved, given that aviation CO2 emissions are projected to grow strongly to 2050 under a business as usual scenario. It is envisaged that a basket of measures including technological and operational improvements, alternative lower-carbon intensity fuels, and market-based measures (such as emissions trading and offsetting) will be needed to achieve the ‘2020 Carbon Neutral Growth’ emissions stabilization from 2020 to 2050.

ICAO only has a mandate for international aviation emissions of CO2, some 62% of the total, yet consideration is still required of what may happen to global ‘domestic’ emissions of aviation CO2.

We formulate 3 scenarios of ‘2020 Carbon Neutral Growth’ (CNG2020) and analyse them for their comparative impacts on climate through radiative forcing, and temperature response using sophisticated calculations and nearly 2,000 model simulations.

  • Scenario 1 includes stabilization of international aviation CO2 emissions from 2020 to 2050 (CNG2020), and business as usual growth of domestic emissions (‘S2’ BAU technological and operational improvements)
  • Scenario 2 includes stabilization of international aviation CO2 emissions from 2020 to 2050 (CNG2020), and growth of domestic emissions applying ‘maximum feasible reductions’ from technological and operational improvements plus speculative levels of biofuels (‘S5’ MFR + biofuels)
  • Scenario 3 is a world in which both global international and domestic emissions of aviation CO2 are stabilized at 2020 levels through to 2050.
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The resulting reductions in radiative forcing from aviation CO2 over the S2 business as usual baseline for international and total emissions are shown in the animations below.

Click here to download hi-res figures from the report (as a single zip file).

Figure 1. Effect of CNG2020 international mitigation on CO2 RF to 2050 attributable to international aviation (upper panel), and total aviation (lower panel). The central aviation growth scenario with the RCP8.5 background scenario has been used, for the purposes of illustration.

 

What the simulations show is that, as might be expected from ‘textbook’ climate science, even if all the aviation CO2 emissions stabilize, the radiative forcing and temperature responses never stabilize but inexorably increase as shown below.

This is because COemissions accumulate faster than they can be removed, since although 30% of COemissions are removed in a few decades, a very large fraction of CO2 emissions (50%) are not removed for several centuries, and the remaining 20% remain for millennia. This is the reason why under overall climate (temperature) stabilization scenarios, global CO2emissions must be reduced dramatically.

Figure 2.Total global G-CNG2020 emissions (i.e. international and domestic at 2020 levels), and the absolute CO2 radiative forcings from total global aviation in mW m-2 for scenario 3. The central aviation growth scenario with the RCP3-PD background scenario has been used, for the purposes of illustration.

 

Moreover, comparing the radiative forcing impacts from CNG2020 international emissions with a previous assessment of mitigation measures from technological and operational improvements, and use of biofuels, we show that these measures do not appear to provide enough CO2 mitigation by 2020, which means other policy measures must be introduced, such as emissions trading or quality offsetting, in order to at least stabilize aviation COemissions by 2020.

Such market-based mechanisms have the advantage of being able to reduce emissions quickly, an important aspect when considering ‘climate impact” as highlighted by our previous report.

Click here to download hi-res figures from the report (as a single zip file).

http://www.cate.mmu.ac.uk/projects/climate-impacts-from-aviation-2020-carbon-neutral-goal-stabilized-emissions-but-increasing-radiative-forcing-and-temperatures/

 

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The report’s conclusion states:

Conclusions


• As the ICAO 2020 Carbon Neutral Growth goal applies to international aviation,
scenarios of global domestic emissions need to be considered in order to
calculate total climate impacts in terms of radiative forcing and temperature
response for total aviation. Such scenarios have been formulated as a range
between domestic ‘business as usual’ emissions, and ‘maximum feasible
reductions’ emissions from technology and operational improvements, coupled
with “speculative” levels of biofuels. These combined scenarios of CNG2020
international emissions and S2 or S5 plus biofuel domestic scenarios, result in
reductions in radiative forcing over the baseline ‘business as usual’ scenario of
~21.5% (range 16.3 to 25.4%) or ~26% (range 20.5 to 30.5%) by 2050.
• A combined domestic and international aviation Carbon Neutral Growth
scenario, i.e. stabilized domestic plus international emissions from 2020 to 2050
does not result in stabilized CO2 radiative forcing; rather, as expected, the
radiative forcing never stabilizes but constantly increases, as CO2 accumulates
faster in the atmosphere than it is removed. This is also clearly illustrated in a
hypothetical simulation of constant 2020 emissions to 2500, in which the
radiative forcing increases by nearly a factor of 7 over this timescale from the
constant emission rate.
• Considering the potential achievement of the ICAO 2020 Carbon Neutral Growth
Goal on international aviation alone, this would result in reductions of aviation
CO2 radiative forcing of ~21% (overall range 16 to 25.3%, depending upon
growth scenario) by 2050 over a baseline ‘business-as-usual’ scenario. The way
in which the CNG2020 goal might be achieved is not prescribed, but by
comparison with other previous work with scenarios of mitigation, it is apparent
that in order to achieve the CNG2020 goal, a substantial fraction of the emissions
reductions would need to come from MBMs such as emission trading or carbon
offsetting in addition to the necessary reductions from technology and
operational improvements and low-carbon alternative fuels to fossil-fuel
aviation kerosene.
• It is noted that whilst a constant stabilized emission rate from 2020 would be a
remarkable achievement for the aviation sector, the overall requirements across
all sectors, together, to stabilize global mean surface temperatures to an increase
of 2 °C or less, over pre-industrial values by 2100 requires large reductions in
global CO2 emissions after peaking around 2020. In such a case, the IATA goal of
halving 2005 emissions by 2050 is more in line with keeping climate impacts
from aviation within the 2 °C goal, than aviation emissions stabilization from
2020

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Human influence on climate clear, IPCC report says. Target of staying below 2 degrees C rise in global temp harder to attain

The Working Group I (WGI) contribution to the IPCC  (International Panel on Climate Change) Fifth Assessment Report  has been published. Its Co-Chair said: “Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”  Projections by the IPCC of climate change are based on a new set of 4 scenarios of future greenhouse gas concentrations and aerosols, spanning a wide range of possible futures. The Working Group I report assessed global and regional-scale climate change for the early, mid-, and later 21st century.  “As the ocean warms, and glaciers and ice sheets reduce, global mean sea level will continue to rise, but at a faster rate than we have experienced over the past 40 years.” The report finds with high confidence that ocean warming dominates the increase in energy stored in the climate system, accounting for more than 90% of the energy accumulated between 1971 and 2010.  “As a result of our past, present and expected future emissions of CO2, we are committed to climate change, and effects will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 stop.”
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IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5) is at http://www.ipcc.ch/

This is the 5th Assessment’s Summary for Policy Makers

This is the 5th Assessment Full Report, chapter by chapter –  to be available alfter 30th September, and in full with the summary after January 2014.

 


IPCC PRESS RELEASE

27 September 2013

Human influence on climate clear, IPCC report says

STOCKHOLM

- Human influence on the climate system is clear. This is evident in most regions of the globe, a new assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes.

It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. The evidence for this has grown, thanks to more and better observations, an improved understanding of the climate system response and improved climate models.

Warming in the climate system is unequivocal and since 1950 many changes have been
observed throughout the climate system that are unprecedented over decades to millennia.

Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850, reports the Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group I assessment report, Climate Change 2013: the Physical Science Basis, approved on Friday by member governments of the IPCC in Stockholm, Sweden.

“Observations of changes in the climate system are based on multiple lines of independent evidence. Our assessment of the science finds that the atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, the global mean sea level has risen and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased,” said Qin Dahe, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

Thomas Stocker, the other Co-Chair of Working Group I said: “Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Global surface temperature change for the end of the 21st century is projected to be likely to exceed 1.5°C relative to 1850 to 1900 in all but the lowest scenario considered, and likely to exceed 2°C for the two high scenarios,” said Co-Chair Thomas Stocker. “Heat waves are very likely to occur more frequently and last longer. As the Earth warms, we expect to see currently wet regions receiving more rainfall, and dry regions receiving less, although there will be exceptions,” he added.

Projections of climate change are based on a new set of four scenarios of future greenhouse gas concentrations and aerosols, spanning a wide range of possible futures. The Working Group I report assessed global and regional-scale climate change for the early, mid-, and later 21st century.  “As the ocean warms, and glaciers and ice sheets reduce, global mean sea level will continue to rise, but at a faster rate than we have experienced over the past 40 years,” said Co-Chair Qin Dahe.

The report finds with high confidence that ocean warming dominates the increase in energy stored in the climate system, accounting for more than 90% of the energy accumulated between 1971 and 2010.

Co-Chair Thomas Stocker concluded: “As a result of our past, present and expected future emissions of CO2, we are committed to climate change, and effects will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 stop.”

Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, said: “This Working Group I Summary for Policymakers provides important insights into the scientific basis of climate change. It provides a firm foundation for considerations of the impacts of climate change on human and natural systems and ways to meet the challenge of climate change.”

These are among the aspects assessed in the contributions of Working Group II and Working Group III to be released in March and April 2014. The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report cycle concludes with the publication of its Synthesis Report in October 2014.
“I would like to thank the Co-Chairs of Working Group I and the hundreds of scientists and experts who served as authors and review editors for producing a comprehensive and scientifically robust summary. I also express my thanks to the more than one thousand expert reviewers worldwide for contributing their expertise in preparation of this assessment,” said IPCC Chair Pachauri.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (WGI AR5) is available at www.climatechange2013.org or www.ipcc.ch.
Key Findings
See separate Fact Sheet of Headline Statements from the WGI AR5 Summary for Policymakers, available at www.climatechange2013.org.
Background
Working Group I is co-chaired by Qin Dahe of the China Meteorological Administration, Beijing, China, and Thomas Stocker of the University of Bern, Switzerland. The Technical Support Unit of Working Group I is hosted by the University of Bern and funded by the Government of Switzerland.

At the 28th Session of the IPCC held in April 2008, the members of the IPCC decided to prepare a Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). A Scoping Meeting was convened in July 2009 to develop the scope and outline of the AR5. The resulting outlines for the three Working Group contributions to the AR5 were approved at the 31st Session of the IPCC in October 2009.

The Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC WGI AR5 was approved at the Twelfth Session of IPCC Working Group I meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, 23 to 26 September 2013 and was released on 27 September.

The Final Draft of the Working Group I report (version distributed to governments on 7 June 2013), including the Technical Summary, 14 chapters and an Atlas of Global and Regional Climate Projections, will be released online in unedited form on Monday 30 September. Following copy editing, layout, final checks for errors, and adjustments for changes in the Summary for Policymakers, the full report of Working Group I will be published online in January 2014 and in book form by Cambridge University Press a few months later.

The Working Group I assessment comprises some 2,500 pages of text and draws on millions of observations and over 2 million gigabytes of numerical data from climate model simulations. Over 9,200 scientific publications are cited, more than three quarters of which have been published since the last IPCC assessment in 2007.

In this IPCC assessment report, specific terms are used to indicate the assessed likelihood of an outcome or a result. For those terms used above: virtually certain means 99–100% probability, extremely likely: 95–100%, very likely: 90–100%, likely: 66–100%. For more information see the IPCC uncertainty guidance note: https://www.ipcc-wg1.unibe.ch/guidancepaper/ar5_uncertaintyguidance-note.pdf

 

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 IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers  (36 pages)

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This is a short analysis of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, by the Climate News Network,

at   http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/2013/09/the-ipccs-fifth-assessment-report/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

27.9.2013

By the editors

Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group I contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report

A note from the Climate News Network editors: we have prepared this very abbreviated version of the first instalment of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) to serve as an objective guide to some of the headline issues it covers. It is in no sense an evaluation of what the Summary says: the wording is that of the IPCC authors themselves, except for a few cases where we have added headings. The AR5 uses a different basis as input to models from that used in its 2007 predecessor, AR4: instead of emissions scenarios, it speaks of RCPs, representative concentration pathways. So it is not possible everywhere to make a direct comparison between AR4 and AR5, though the text does so in some cases, and at the end we provide a very short list of the two reports’ conclusions on several key issues. The language of science can be complex. What follows is the IPCC scientists’ language. In the following days and weeks we will be reporting in more detail on some of their findings.

In this Summary for Policymakers, the following summary terms are used to describe the available evidence: limited, medium, or robust; and for the degree of agreement: low, medium, or high. A level of confidence is expressed using five qualifiers: very low, low, medium, high, and very high, and typeset in italics, e.g., medium confidence. For a given evidence and agreement statement, different confidence levels can be assigned, but increasing levels of evidence and degrees of agreement are correlated with increasing confidence. In this Summary the following terms have been used to indicate the assessed likelihood of an outcome or a result: virtually certain 99–100% probability, very likely 90–100%, likely 66–100%, about as likely as not 33–66%, unlikely 0–33%, very unlikely 0–10%, exceptionally unlikely 0–1%. Additional terms (extremely likely: 95–100%, more likely than not >50–100%, and extremely unlikely 0–5%) may also be used when appropriate.

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Observed Changes in the Climate System

Atmosphere

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased

Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850.

For the longest period when calculation of regional trends is sufficiently complete (1901–2012), almost the entire globe has experienced surface warming.

In addition to robust multi-decadal warming, global mean surface temperature exhibits substantial decadal and interannual variability. Due to natural variability, trends based on short records are very sensitive to the beginning and end dates and do not in general reflect long-term climate trends.

As one example, the rate of warming over the past 15 years, which begins with a strong El Niño, is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951.

Changes in many extreme weather and climate events have been observed since about 1950. It is very likely that the number of cold days and nights has decreased and the number of warm days and nights has increased on the global scale

Ocean

Ocean warming dominates the increase in energy stored in the climate system, accounting for more than 90% of the energy accumulated between 1971 and 2010 (high confidence ). It is virtually certain that the upper ocean (0−700 m) warmed from 1971 to 2010, and it likely warmed between the 1870s and 1971.

On a global scale, the ocean warming is largest near the surface, and the upper 75 m warmed by 0.11 [0.09 to 0.13] °C per decade over the period 1971–2010. Since AR4, instrumental biases in upper-ocean temperature records have been identified and reduced, enhancing confidence in the assessment of change.

It is likely that the ocean warmed between 700 and 2000 m from 1957 to 2009. Sufficient observations are available for the period 1992 to 2005 for a global assessment of temperature change below 2000 m. There were likely no significant observed temperature trends between 2000 and 3000 m for this period. It is likely that the ocean warmed from 3000 m to the bottom for this period, with the largest warming observed in the Southern Ocean.

More than 60% of the net energy increase in the climate system is stored in the upper ocean (0–700 m) during the relatively well-sampled 40-year period from 1971 to 2010, and about 30% is stored in the ocean below 700 m. The increase in upper ocean heat content during this time period estimated from a linear trend is likely.

Cryosphere

Over the last two decades, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass, glaciers have continued to shrink almost worldwide, and Arctic sea ice and Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover have continued to decrease in extent (high confidence).

The average rate of ice loss from the Greenland ice sheet has very likely substantially increased … over the period 1992–2001. The average rate of ice loss from the Antarctic ice sheet has likely increased … over the period 1992–2001. There is very high confidence that these losses are mainly from the northern Antarctic Peninsula and the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica.

There is high confidence that permafrost temperatures have increased in most regions since the early 1980s. Observed warming was up to 3°C in parts of Northern Alaska (early 1980s to mid-2000s) and up to 2°C in parts of the Russian European North (1971–2010). In the latter region, a considerable reduction in permafrost thickness and areal extent has been observed over the period 1975–2005 (medium confidence).

Multiple lines of evidence support very substantial Arctic warming since the mid-20th century.

Sea Level

The rate of sea level rise since the mid-19th century has been larger than the mean rate during the previous two millennia (high confidence). Over the period 1901–2010, global mean sea level rose by 0.19 [0.17 to 0.21] m.

Since the early 1970s, glacier mass loss and ocean thermal expansion from warming together explain about 75% of the observed global mean sea level rise (high confidence). Over the period 1993–2010, global mean sea level rise is, with high confidence, consistent with the sum of the observed contributions from ocean thermal expansion due to warming, from changes in glaciers, Greenland ice sheet, Antarctic ice sheet, and land water storage.

Carbon and Other Biogeochemical Cycles

The atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. CO2 concentrations have increased by 40% since pre-industrial times, primarily from fossil fuel emissions and secondarily from net land use change emissions. The ocean has absorbed about 30% of the emitted anthropogenic carbon dioxide, causing ocean acidification

From 1750 to 2011, CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production have released 365 [335 to 395] GtC [gigatonnes - one gigatonne equals 1,000,000,000 metric tonnes] to the atmosphere, while deforestation and other land use change are estimated to have released 180 [100 to 260] GtC.

Of these cumulative anthropogenic CO2 emissions, 240 [230 to 250] GtC have accumulated in the atmosphere, 155 [125 to 185] GtC have been taken up by the ocean and 150 [60 to 240] GtC have accumulated in natural terrestrial ecosystems.

Drivers of Climate Change

The total natural RF [radiative forcing - the difference between the energy received by the Earth and that which it radiates back into space] from solar irradiance changes and stratospheric volcanic aerosols made only a small contribution to the net radiative forcing throughout the last century, except for brief periods after large volcanic eruptions.

Understanding the Climate System and its Recent Changes

Compared to AR4, more detailed and longer observations and improved climate models now enable the attribution of a human contribution to detected changes in more climate system components.

Human influence on the climate system is clear. This is evident from the increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, positive radiative forcing, observed warming, and understanding of the climate system.

Evaluation of Climate Models

Climate models have improved since the AR4. Models reproduce observed continental-scale surface temperature patterns and trends over many decades, including the more rapid warming since the mid-20th century and the cooling immediately following large volcanic eruptions (very high confidence).

The long-term climate model simulations show a trend in global-mean surface temperature
from 1951 to 2012 that agrees with the observed trend (very high confidence). There are, however, differences between simulated and observed trends over periods as short as 10 to 15 years (e.g., 1998 to 2012).

The observed reduction in surface warming trend over the period 1998–2012 as compared to the period 1951–2012, is due in roughly equal measure to a reduced trend in radiative forcing and a cooling contribution from internal variability, which includes a possible redistribution of heat within the ocean (medium confidence). The reduced trend in radiative forcing is primarily due to volcanic eruptions and the timing of the downward phase of the 11-year solar cycle.

Climate models now include more cloud and aerosol processes, and their interactions, than at the time of the AR4, but there remains low confidence in the representation and quantification of these processes in models.

The equilibrium climate sensitivity quantifies the response of the climate system to constant radiative forcing on multi-century time scales. It is defined as the change in global mean surface temperature at equilibrium that is caused by a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely in the range 1.5°C to 4.5°C (high confidence), extremely unlikely less than 1°C (high confidence), and very unlikely greater than 6°C (medium confidence). The lower temperature limit of the assessed likely range is thus less than the 2°C in the AR4, but the upper limit is the same. This assessment reflects improved understanding, the extended temperature record in the atmosphere and ocean, and
new estimates of radiative forcing.

Detection and Attribution of Climate Change

Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes. This evidence for human influence has grown since AR4. It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.

It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together. The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period.

Future Global and Regional Climate Change

Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

The global ocean will continue to warm during the 21st century. Heat will penetrate from the surface to the deep ocean and affect ocean circulation.

It is very likely that the Arctic sea ice cover will continue to shrink and thin and that Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover will decrease during the 21st century as global mean surface temperature rises. Global glacier volume will further decrease.

Global mean sea level will continue to rise during the 21st century. Under all RCP scenarios the rate of sea level rise will very likely exceed that observed during 1971–2010 due to increased ocean warming and increased loss of mass from glaciers and ice sheets.

Sea level rise will not be uniform. By the end of the 21st century, it is very likely that sea level will rise in more than about 95% of the ocean area. About 70% of the coastlines worldwide are projected to experience sea level change within 20% of the global mean sea level change.

Climate change will affect carbon cycle processes in a way that will exacerbate the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere (high confidence). Further uptake of carbon by the ocean will increase ocean acidification.

Cumulative emissions of CO2 largely determine global mean surface warming by the late 21st century and beyond. Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 are stopped. This represents a substantial multi-century climate change commitment created by past, present and future emissions of CO2.

A large fraction of anthropogenic climate change resulting from CO2 emissions is irreversible on a multi-century to millennial time scale, except in the case of a large net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere over a sustained period.

Surface temperatures will remain approximately constant at elevated levels for many centuries after a complete cessation of net anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Due to the long time scales of heat transfer from the ocean surface to depth, ocean warming will continue for centuries. Depending on the scenario, about 15 to 40% of emitted CO2 will remain in the atmosphere longer than 1,000 years.

Sustained mass loss by ice sheets would cause larger sea level rise, and some part of the mass loss might be irreversible. There is high confidence that sustained warming greater than some threshold would lead to the near-complete loss of the Greenland ice sheet over a millennium or more, causing a global mean sea level rise of up to 7 m.

Current estimates indicate that the threshold is greater than about 1°C (low confidence) but less than about 4°C (medium confidence) global mean warming with respect to pre-industrial. Abrupt and irreversible ice loss from a potential instability of marine-based sectors of the Antarctic Ice Sheet in response to climate forcing is possible, but current evidence and understanding is insufficient to make a quantitative assessment.

Methods that aim to deliberately alter the climate system to counter climate change, termed geoengineering, have been proposed. Limited evidence precludes a comprehensive quantitative assessment of both Solar Radiation Management (SRM) and Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) and their impact on the climate system.

CDR methods have biogeochemical and technological limitations to their potential on a global scale. There is insufficient knowledge to quantify how much CO2 emissions could be partially offset by CDR on a century timescale.

Modelling indicates that SRM methods, if realizable, have the potential to substantially offset a global temperature rise, but they would also modify the global water cycle, and would not reduce ocean acidification.

If SRM were terminated for any reason, there is high confidence that global surface temperatures would rise very rapidly to values consistent with the greenhouse gas forcing. CDR and SRM methods carry side effects and long-term consequences on a global scale.

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Then and Now

 

For comparison, here are the IPCC’s projections in four key areas: from the 2013 AR5, in bold – from the 2007 AR4, in regular type

Probable temperature rise by 2100:  1.5-4°C under most scenarios – from 1.8-4°C

Sea level rise: very likely faster than between 1971 and 2010 – by 28-43 cm

Arctic summer sea ice disappears: very likely it will continue to shrink and thin – in second half of century

Increase in heat waves: very likely to occur more frequently and last longer – increase very likely.

http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/2013/09/the-ipccs-fifth-assessment-report/

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Some other articles on the IPCC paper:

s by Damian Carrington:

by Pilita Clark:

by George Monbiot:

by Ben Webster:


 

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The IPCC Report should act as a wake-up call to the aviation industry

27.9.2013  (Blog by John Stewart)

It is just coincidence.  On the day that the IPCC report, calling for immediate action to tackle climate change, is published – ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organisation) is continuing its leisurely deliberations in Montreal to find a way to reduce CO2 emissions from aviation that is acceptable to the governments of the world.

ICAO, an arm of the United Nations specializing in aviation, moves at a snail-like pace. It has been considering aviation emissions for years but still made no recommendations. Its latest round of deliberations has been prompted by the recent inclusion of aviation into the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme which would have hit all planes using European airports. But, since most of the rest of the world refused to play ball, the EU suspended the scheme and everybody crawled back to ICAO for yet more negotiations.

The words “urgent” and “ICAO” have never really gone together but today’s IPCC Report suggests that ICAO needs to take lessons from Usain Bolt and get sprinting.

Aviation is set to become a serious obstacle to the worldwide community achieving the reductions in global warming gases required to prevent runaway climate change.

The industry keeps quoting the figure that aviation only accounts tor 2% of worldwide emissions. That figure is utterly misleading. It emerged in the early 1990s since when the number of aircraft in the world’s skies has mushroomed. Although aircraft are becoming cleaner, a more realistic figure is thought to be between 3.5% and 5%. And in rich countries the proportion of their total emissions from aviation is higher. The worldwide average is only so low because so many people in poorer countries never set foot in an aeroplane. According to the WorldWatch Institute, only 5% of the world’s population has ever flown:
http://www.worldwatch.org/node/4346

But it is in the future that aviation will become the real culprit. While every other industry believes it can find ways to cut its emissions, aviation will struggle to do so. This is not surprising since aviation is so dependent on oil. But it means that aviation could account for 25% of UK emissions by 2050, according to the UK Committee on Climate Change. Worldwide, aviation emissions are set to triple by 2050.

Today’s IPCC Report should act as a wake-up call to the aviation industry. It doesn’t mean the end of aviation as flying brings important cultural and economic benefits. It ought to, though, focus minds on the tax-breaks aviation receives: tax-free fuel and VAT-free travel. A sizeable proportion of flights are over short distances – for example 45% of flights within Europe are 450 kilometres or less. http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/reports/planes_trains.pdf

Aviation emissions can be cut without crippling the industry. The industry won’t do this of its own accord. It needs Government action. And fast. That probably rules out the snail-like ICAO which will probably still be debating its next small step when half of Bangladesh lies under water. Now there’s a thought: shouldn’t ICAO move its meetings from Montreal to Dacca. It may concentrate minds.

 

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Deal time in Montreal – the 50/50 basis solution for the ETS ?

It is deal time in Montreal. Over the next two weeks 191 countries will decide what to do about climate-warming emissions. If aviation were a country, it would be the 7th largest emitter in the world, based on CO2 alone. And aviation emissions are set to triple by 2050, so this is no small task. Aoife O’Leary, who is Sustainable Shipping & Aviation Officer, for Transport & Environment in Brussels, writing in the Huffington Post, says of the current position on the EU ETS, that the recent offer by the EU to only regulate aviation emissions in EU airspace would mean 60% less intercontinental emissions than were covered by the original law. Even if every country regulated aviation emissions in its own airspace, that would still mean 78% of global emissions would still not be included, with flights over international waters and third countries uncovered. Aoife says a far more sensible and politically viable solution would have been to revise the ETS on the basis of a 50/50 system, which means each country regulates half the carbon of each international flight.That means countries such as the US that do not want to be regulated do not need to include emissions in their airspace but the EU continues to exercise its sovereignty over flights landing at its airports.

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Aoife O'Leary

by , Sustainable Shipping & Aviation Officer, Transport & Environment, Brussels

24.9.2013 (Huffington Post)

Global Deal or No Deal for Aviation?

It is deal time in Montreal. Over the next two weeks 191 countries will decide what to do about climate-warming emissions. If aviation were a country, it would be the 7th largest emitter in the world, based on CO2 alone. And aviation emissions are set to triple by 2050, so this is no small task.

The responsible UN body, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), based in Montreal, has been discussing the issue for 16 years now. But it took the EU’s inclusion of international aviation in its Emissions Trading System (ETS) to really focus minds.

Aviation was included in the ETS on the basis of EU sovereignty – if you fly into Europe’s airports, you comply with Europe’s laws. The EU required airlines to surrender pollution permits for the carbon emitted during the entire length of all flights to and from an EU airport. Europe did so in the belief that it had the responsibility to reduce emissions from aviation, just as from any other sector of the economy. But other countries cried foul, especially the USA – the world’s biggest aviation emitter, accusing the EU of breaching its sovereignty by regulating emissions outside of Europe’s borders.

Let’s be clear: international law allows countries to set rules for aircraft landing at their airports. The US uses this provision to full advantage by requiring full passenger information before you even board a US-bound aircraft, nevermind before you enter US airspace. And the EU Court of Justice declared the EU’s plan legal when it dismissed a challenge from US airlines. No country has ever brought an appeal to the ICAO Council to challenge the legality of the EU action, but the cries of sovereignty breaches continue.

This leads us to where we are today. In order to foster a consensus, the EU recently offered to cut back the EU ETS by regulating emissions only within EU airspace. This is a reduction of over 60% of the intercontinental emissions covered by the original law. In exchange, the EU hopes the ICAO countries will finally agree in Montreal to develop details of a global market-based measure over the next three years, then sign off on the global measure in 2016 and begin implementation in 2020. But divisions amongst ICAO members run deep and it is not clear that this can even be agreed, never mind actually achieved in 2016.

And in any case, even if every country implemented an airspace regime, 78% of global emissions would still be uncovered, with flights over international waters and third countries uncovered. It’s hard to see this approach as robust guidance on how to tackle an industry whose climate impact accounts for 5% of global warming.

The aviation ETS became EU law in 2008, and it seems extraordinary that EU member states, with the backing of the European Commission, can now see fit to concede on such a grand scale when the clear divisions in ICAO could well undo any delicate conclusion reached at this Assembly. The fact that the European Parliament has been side-lined in this whole process, not to mention relevant stakeholders like you and I, only makes the story more incredible.

A far more sensible and politically viable solution would have been to revise the ETS on the basis of what we call 50/50. To explain this, let’s take a London to New York flight. Under 50/50 the EU would regulate the first 50% of emissions of flights departing London and the last 50% of all flights returning from New York. The US would then have the option to enact a regulation for its 50% of each journey if they wanted to (they won’t). Importantly, this solution keeps the environmental integrity of the system. Emissions over the US continent are not taken into account (solving the supposed violation of US sovereignty) and the EU continues to exercise its sovereignty over flights landing at its airports.

It is clear that the EU’s concession will fatally weaken EU action on aviation emissions. We can only hope now that as a result of this concession, the US and other countries show sufficient political determination to broker the best possible global deal. After 16 years of delay and the EU’s massive retreat, international aviation must now take responsibility for its ever-growing climate impact.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/aoife-oleary/aviation-global-deal_b_3981807.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

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T&E Briefing

If the ETS is to be amended, it should be on the basis of maximum coverage of emissions generated by international flights. The most promising option to keep an environmentally sound ETS while addressing the concerns of other countries is for the EU to regulate extra-European flights on a 50/50 basis: the first 50% of any departing flight and the last 50% of any arriving flight. This, and the other options on the table, are fully explained in the briefing below.
Briefing: Aviation ETS: a meaningful future?   PDF, 1.8 MByte

http://www.transportenvironment.org/sites/te/files/publications/TE%20Briefing%20Parliament%20Airspace_final_final.pdf

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Many more news stories about the EU ETS over the past few years at 

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Lord Stern says the EU must halve its CO2 emissions by 2030 – not just cut by 40%

Renowned economist, Lord Nicholas Stern, says an ambitious climate change target would boost certainty for investors in energy efficiency and in renwables, in the UK and Europe. The EU should halve its carbon emissions, from their 1990 level, by 2030. Ahead of the launch of the IPCC 5th assessment report, Lord Stern said “vacillation” by the UK government on its commitment to cutting carbon was very damaging to investment in low carbon technologies. While the UK has adopted targets to halve CO2 emissions by 2025 and put the UK on course for a 60% cut by 2030, these are due to be reviewed next year, and could be altered if the UK finds it is out of sync with lower ambition in Brussels. The EU is considering a 40% cut by 2030, but even that is not enough – Lord Stern believes this needs to be a 50% cut in total emissions and a 30% share of renewables in the energy mix.  The EU is already on track to meet its target of cutting emissions 20% by 2020, in part thanks to the economic crisis which has reduced output. Meanwhile, on EU aviation CO2 emissions, the uncertainty remains of even their inclusion in the ETS. 

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Lord Stern: EU must halve emissions by 2030

Renowned economist says ambitious climate change target would boost certainty for investors in the UK and Europe

By Jessica Shankleman (Business Green)

24 Sep 2013

The European Union should set an ambitious goal to halve emissions from 1990 to 2030, in order to help build confidence among businesses and other countries that it is serious about limiting climate change risks.

Lord Stern, former World Bank chief economist and author of the landmark 2006 report on the costs of climate change, also said setting a strong carbon reduction target was more pressing for the EU than specific technology targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Speaking to reporters today ahead of this week’s launch of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) fifth assessment, Stern warned that “vacillation” by the UK government on its commitment to cutting carbon was very damaging to investment in low carbon technologies.

The UK has adopted targets to halve carbon emissions by 2025 and put the UK on course for a 60 per cent decrease by 2030. But these are due to be reviewed next year, and could be altered if the UK finds it is out of sync with ambition in Brussels.

“So in that context, the European Union deciding soon to go to 50 per cent reductions by 2030 would be a major contribution to the overall clarity,” said Stern.

The Commission now intends to present concrete legislative proposals on its 2030 climate and energy package by the end of year, and has already floated plans for a 40 per cent carbon reduction, plus a 30 per cent share of renewables in the energy mix.

But Stern maintained a 40 per cent reduction would be too modest, given that the bloc is already on track to meet its target of cutting emissions 20 per cent by 2020, in part thanks to the economic crisis which has reduced output.

“If you take the sluggishness of this extended period… targets which were set some time ago, look modest because emissions are closely related to output. So 40 per cent would look and be quite modest, and wouldn’t be much of acceleration down the path we need to go.”

But Stern said he also agreed with Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey, who is opposed to fresh EU renewable energy and energy efficiency targets.

Green businesses are lobbying for a legally binding 2030 target on renewable energy, warning that the current investment momentum will be lost without a longer term target in line with the long investment cycles in the energy sector.

But Stern said an overall carbon target was more important than technology-specific targets.

“I understand the UK is pushing very strongly, and rightly so for a 50 per cent reduction on 1990-2030 on greenhouse emissions.

“That’s very important, and I trust that in so doing it will move quickly to confirm the fourth carbon budget.

“Both of these things would restore confidence in where the EU is going and they would go some way to meeting the problem of lack of credibility in the climate policies in the European Union,” he added.

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2296548/lord-stern-eu-must-halve-emissions-by-2030

 

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Europe weighing 40% 2030 carbon-cutting goal: EU sources

By Barbara Lewis  (Independent)

BRUSSELS

Sep 19, 2013

(Reuters) – European Union regulators are considering doubling the bloc’s target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and setting a tougher binding goal for renewable energy use, EU sources said.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive, outlined new targets earlier this year but has yet to follow up with a firm legislative proposal. That is expected around the end of the year.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one source said the Commission was considering two legal targets to follow the three green energy goals that expire at the end of this decade.They would be a 40 percent carbon-reduction goal and a 30 percent renewable energy use target. That compares with the 2020 targets of a 20 percent carbon cut from 1990 levels, a 20 percent share of renewable energy and a target to improve energy savings to 20 percent.

“The Commission at the moment is looking at a 40 percent domestic greenhouse gas target and a 30 percent EU-wide renewables target, but no third target,” the source said, adding some commissioners opposed the goals and debate would be difficult.

In addition to cutting domestic emissions by 40 percent, another source said the EU could commit to further cuts through international offsets if a global climate change deal is agreed.

The source added Commission experts were analyzing the economic impact of a 35-45 percent range for carbon cutting.

Traditionally, EU climate policy has been the preserve of the Commission’s climate and energy departments. But Europe’s economic struggles have prompted influential officials, including EU Economic and Monetary Affairs chief Olli Rehn, to insist green policy must not undo fragile recovery.

IMPACT

The European Union’s goals can influence the international debate on climate change and also have a bearing on the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which fell to record lows earlier this year under the burden of surplus permits.

Tougher policy goals could help to limit the oversupply of carbon allowances.

If agreed, the new European goals would be more ambitious than other nations have managed.

The U.S. Senate has refused to legislate cuts favored by U.S. President Barack Obama and Australia’s new conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who won power last month, has promised to scrap taxes on carbon pollution.

Still, environmental campaigners say the 2030 EU carbon-cutting goal should be 60 percent.

“The greenhouse gas numbers that the Commission is currently going for gives us only a 50:50 chance of preventing run-away climate change,” said Brook Riley, climate and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth (FoE).

He said the range used to model the economic impact was far too low and the Commission was putting short-term political pragmatism before science.

The Commission does not comment on proposals before they are published.

Speaking in Vilnius, where EU energy ministers are meeting on Thursday and Friday, Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said only the debate was open.

“It’s up to member states to bring some input, to bring some constructive priorities,” he told reporters.

Member states appear deeply divided. Denmark has advocated a new set of three targets, but others, including Britain, have said they want just one carbon-cutting goal.

EU member Poland, which will host the next U.N. talks on climate change in Warsaw this year, says the European Union should not make any promises until there is a global deal, which is not expected until a U.N. summit in Paris in 2015.

Even U.N. officials have voiced concern that nations will not promise sufficient carbon cuts.

Echoing disagreement at the government level, the business community is also divided on the need for binding EU targets.

An open letter to EU energy ministers and commissioners, signed by 61 companies and associations, including energy firms Alstom and Acciona, called for a binding 2030 renewable goal, but did not specify a level.

(Additional reporting by Alister Doyle in Oslo, Andrius Sytas in Vilnius and Nina Chestney in London; editing by Jason Neely)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/09/19/us-eu-climate-idUKBRE98I0RP20130919

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Europe must cut emissions 55% by 2030 to tackle carbon credit glut

Greenpeace calls for major strengthening of 2030 emissions target, as European Commission seeks to shrink list of companies receiving free permits

By Jessica Shankleman (Business Green)

12 Jun 2013

The European Commission should aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions 55 per cent against 1990 levels by 2030 if it is to tackle the glut of allowances that has undermined the price of carbon in its flagship emissions trading scheme (ETS).

That is the conclusion of a major new Greenpeace-commissioned report from consultancy Ecofys, which examines the impact of the European Commission’s proposed 2030 climate and energy package, which is likely to be finalised by the end of this year.The Commission has suggested it could target emissions reductions of 40 per cent by 2030, based on the EU’s 2011 roadmap that aims to deliver a low carbon economy by 2050.

But the new report, published yesterday, argues that much steeper cuts of around 49 per cent will be needed if the bloc is to remain on track towards its goal of 80 per cent cuts by 2050. Additionally, it argues that the current surplus of permits from the EU’s ETS, now representing around 1.7 billion tonnes of carbon, would mean even more demanding targets will be needed to stop polluters simply holding on to excess allowances and using them to continue to pollute through the 2020s.

As a result, Greenpeace is now calling on the Commission to up its ambition and set a 55 per cent carbon reduction target, which would both put the EU on track towards its 2050 goal and wipe out the surplus supply of credits in the ETS.

Greenpeace EU climate policy director Joris den Blanken said the 40 per cent proposal put forward by the Commission was “woefully inadequate”, given the impact of a failing ETS. If the EU fails to agree a short-term backloading plan to prop up the carbon price next month, the surplus is expected to grow to two billion tonnes by 2020, meaning that without later action to retire excess credits the market will continue to be dominated by over-supply through the 2020s.

“The EU needs a stricter 2030 target if it wants to keep the ETS alive and avoid the most severe effects of climate change,” he said.

Greenpeace’s proposals are closer to the UK’s plan to introduce a 50 per cent CO2 reduction target for 2030. However, unlike Greenpeace the UK has rejected proposals for a renewable energy target that would sit alongside the greenhouse gas goal.

Ecofys director of energy and climate policy Niklas Höhne said any new emissions target must take into account the effectiveness of the EU’s ETS.

“Given the currently expected surplus, the 2030 target or the trajectory towards it would need to be significantly more stringent than otherwise,” he said.

The report comes just a day after the Commission revealed plans to reduce the number of sectors that receive free carbon allowances from 2020. The so-called Carbon Leakage List, which is designed to address industry concerns that the ETS will push up the cost of doing business in Europe prompting some firms to migrate overseas, currently includes 154 sectors and 16 sub-sectors for the period 2009-2014, including steel and cement.

But green businesses and NGOs have argued the list is outdated, as it was drawn up in 2009 and based on a carbon price of €30 per tonne. In reality, the glut of allowances has pushed the carbon price to lows of €3 per tonne.

Any plans to shrink the carbon leakage list are likely to be contested by heavy industries, which argue the ETS is pushing up the cost of energy. Once approved, the new list will apply from 2015 to 2019.

However, a spokesman for Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard told BusinessGreen that to date nocompanies have quit the EU citing the carbon price, suggesting the concept of “carbon leakage” is currently more of a perceived than a real threat to industry.

“We’re just giving all these free allowances to sectors today under the assumption that the carbon price is €30,” he said. “So they are getting a huge surplus of allowances and that’s one of the reasons why we want to revise the list.”

Some of the groups campaigning for the EU to tackle the oversupply of allowances in the carbon market have argued in the past that if efforts to reduce the supply of carbon credits are blocked then the Commission should take steps to limit the distribution of free allowances to businesses.

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2274160/europe-must-cut-emissions-55-per-cent-by-2030-to-tackle-carbon-credit-glut

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Major fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground to protect climate, senior diplomat warns

The former Irish president and UN high commissioner for human rights, Mary Robinson, is to spearhead a new international push aimed at breaking the climate talks deadlock and silencing sceptics, with a group of senior diplomats and politicians from around the world. She says world governments must get used to the idea of leaving fossil fuel reserves – and accompanying economic value - in the ground unexploited and unburned, if runaway emissions were not to threaten the climate.  That has huge implications for economic and social development. She said climate sceptics are “not based in reality” and parts of the business community are “trying to cloud and distort the science”, adding that strong political leadership was needed to counter them.  She acknowledged that some countries and many businesses with fossil fuel interests would be hostile to the proposal. Recently, the International Energy Agency said: “No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2 °C goal unless carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is widely deployed. 

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Major fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground, senior diplomat warns

  • Mary Robinson says governments must confront this harsh reality if runaway emissions are not to threaten the climate
  • by , environment correspondent
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Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, accused Rio+20 leaders of backsliding on women's rights

The former Irish president and UN high commissioner, Mary Robinson, is to spearhead a new international push aimed at breaking the climate talks deadlock and silencing sceptics. Photograph: Martin Argles for the Guardian

World governments must get used to the idea of leaving fossil fuel reserves in the ground unexploited and unburned, one of the world’s most senior diplomats has said, ahead of a landmark report on climate science to be unveiled this Friday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The former Irish president and UN high commissioner for human rights, Mary Robinson, is to spearhead a new international push aimed at breaking the climate talks deadlock and silencing sceptics, with a group of senior diplomats and politicians from around the world.

Climate sceptics are “not based in reality” and parts of the business community are “trying to cloud and distort the science”, she said, adding that strong political leadership was needed to counter them.

Robinson told the Guardian that governments would have to confront the harsh reality that much of their fossil fuel reserves, and accompanying economic value, would have to be left behind if runaway emissions were not to threaten the climate.

“There is a global limit on a safe level of emissions. That means major fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground. That has huge implications for economic and social development.”

It would mean creating incentives for countries to look at other resources, as well as carbon pricing to penalise fossil fuel use, and most of all “political certainty” coming from global leaders.

She said it was also vital that developing countries should not be put at a disadvantage by this process, as many rich countries have had more opportunity to exploit their fossil resources and have benefited from them over decades. “It must be managed in a fair way. Developing countries must not bear all the burden. We need a robust and fair climate change agreement.”

She acknowledged that some countries and many businesses, particularly those with fossil fuel interests, would be hostile to the proposal. The current economic value of the resources left unused – without taking into account their effects on the climate – is likely to run into hundreds of billions of pounds. “We are already talking to the business community that wants change, but there is obviously a business community that is trying to cloud and distort the science.”

She said going for green growth instead of fossil fuels could create jobs and prosperity, as well as improving health and avoiding the danger that the ravages of global warming could destroy the gains made in lifting developing countries out of poverty.

Robinson called for strong messages by world political leaders on tackling global warming, which she said were needed to combat the growing chorus of climate sceptics, emboldened by recent media coverage ahead of the IPCC report. “The best way to counter the sceptics is to have strong political leadership. They [the sceptics] are not based in reality.”

Robinson, who was the first woman to be president of Ireland, from 1990 to 1997, then United Nations high commissioner for human rights to 2002, and is a member of the Elders group of dignitaries that includes Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu – is widely respected for her role on the world stage, particularly in focusing attention on women’s rights.

….. and the article continues  ……

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/23/fossil-fuel-reserves-left-in-ground

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Earlier:

Australia’s Climate Commission urges government to leave coal in the ground

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June 17, 2013

fossil fuel reserves

80% of the world’s fossil fuel reserves will have to stay in the ground if the planet is to avoid dangerous climate change, according to the latest report by Australia’s Climate Commission.

The international community has agreed that global temperature rise must be kept with 2ºC on pre-industrial levels, and that any rise above this is unacceptably high. The new report warns that with the world already approaching a 1ºC rise, only 20% – or 600 billion tonnes – of the 2,860 billion tonnes of CO2 in known fossil fuel reserves can be burned in order to give the world a 80% of remaining within the 2ºC limit.

Australia’s coal reserves alone represent about 51 billion tonnes of potential CO2 emissions – around a twelfth of the total global carbon budget.

In a significant update to its comprehensive 2011 report, the Climate Commission says that many of the dire consequences of climate change it and the global scientific community have warned about are already evident.

One quarter of the way through Australia’s ‘Critical Decade’, they say there is already clear evidence that the changing climate will bring more ‘Angry Summer’ heatwaves, droughts, floods, strong tropical storms and rising sea levels to Australia, damaging the country’s environment, threatening health and impacting the economy.

The risks posed by an increasingly warming world are now better understood, the scientific consensus is stronger than ever and the financial sector is waking up to the fact that global society must virtually decarbonise in the next 30-35 years to keep the world within the internationally agreed 2ºC limit.

To keep the temperature rise, and by extension the damage of extreme weather, at a “manageable” level the report says global emissions must be trending downwards by the end of the decade.

Professor Will Steffen, a climate commissioner who co-authored the report, said:

We have to get global emissions trending downward by the end of the decade to have any reasonable chance of meeting that 2 degree target. We need to make the right investment decisions. We have to leave most of the fossil fuels in the ground and of course that has obvious implications for investment decisions this decade.

We have to put in place a very clear pathway to a decarbonised economy in the next 30-35 years. That requires us to make smart decisions on investments now.

If an orderly transition from coal, oil and gas to renewable energy is not made, Australia’s economy and investor capital could face huge risks and potential asset stranding, as the majority of fossil fuel reserves become worthless as governments take action on climate change.

http://tcktcktck.org/2013/06/80-of-fossil-fuel-reserves-must-be-left-in-the-ground-says-australias-climate-commission/53547

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IEA acknowledges fossil fuel reserves climate crunch

12th November 2012
 

The International Energy Agency released its annual flagship publication today, the World Energy Outlook. The IEA made an historic statement in the executive summary.

It said, “No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2 °C goal”, the internationally recognized limit to average global warming in order to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Let me rephrase that.  Over two-thirds of today’s proven reserves of fossil fuels need to still be in the ground in 2050 in order to prevent catastrophic levels of climate change.

We congratulate the IEA for recognizing this crucial point and encourage the organization to prioritize this message in its presentations and public messaging. It is especially important given that the world’s fossil fuel industry is working overtime to increase its proven reserve base.

Let’s take the Canadian tar sands industry as an example. As the chart below shows,the tar sands industry has enough projects producing, under construction and approved to blow well past the climate limits prescribed by the IEA. Nevertheless even more projects are lined up for regulatory approval leading to a possible trebling of production capacity over and above the IEA limit.

….. and the article continues, at length  ….

http://priceofoil.org/2012/11/12/iea-acknowledges-fossil-fuel-reserves-climate-crunch/

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WEO 2012 – Executive Summary – English version (by the IEA  - the International Energy Agency)  which says:

“No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to
2050 if the world is to achieve the 2 °C goal, unless carbon capture and storage (CCS)
technology is widely deployed. This finding is based on our assessment of global “carbon
reserves”, measured as the potential CO2 emissions from proven fossil-fuel reserves.
Almost two-thirds of these carbon reserves are related to coal, 22% to oil and 15% to gas.
Geographically, two-thirds are held by North America, the Middle East, China and Russia.
These findings underline the importance of CCS as a key option to mitigate CO2
emissions,  but its pace of deployment remains highly uncertain, with only a handful of commercial scale projects currently in operation.”

 

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Environmental NGOs call for ICAO to bring forward global MBM adoption to 2015 for implementation in 2016

The ICAO draft resolution to be considered by the 38th Assembly later this week appears equivocal on whether to adopt a global market-based measure (MBM), leaving it to the 39th Assembly in 2016 to make a decision. However, environmental NGOs say that evidence shows early action must be taken to ensure the climate impact from rapidly increasing aviation emissions is minimised. In a submission to the Assembly by their representative body, the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA), they call for ICAO member states to agree now to develop a global MBM for adoption in 2015 and implementation in 2016. This would be 4 years earlier than the aviation industry is calling for under its “carbon-neutral growth” target (CNG2020). This would require the holding of an Extraordinary General Assembly in 2015, which although not unprecedented would be highly unusual. The NGOs are convinced, and backed by recent research, that a global MBM is the only feasible way to get meaningful CO2 reductions. 

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Environmental NGOs call for ICAO to bring forward global MBM adoption to 2015 for implementation in 2016

23 Sept 2013  (GreenAir online)

The ICAO draft resolution to be considered by the 38th Assembly later this week appears equivocal on whether to adopt a global market-based measure (MBM), leaving it to the 39th Assembly in 2016 to make a decision.

However, environmental NGOs say that evidence shows early action must be taken to ensure the climate impact from rapidly increasing aviation emissions is minimised. In a submission to the Assembly by their representative body, the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA), they call for ICAO member states to agree now to develop a global MBM for adoption in 2015 and implementation in 2016. This would require the holding of an Extraordinary General Assembly in 2015, which although not unprecedented would be highly unusual.

The NGOs cite a recent study by Manchester Metropolitan University’s (MMU) Centre for Air Transport and the Environment, which showed a global MBM was the only feasible mechanism to close the ‘emissions gap’ between the growth in aviation emissions and the ability of technology to reduce them but that there was a critical importance for taking early action in its implementation. The study showed 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 reductions by a specific year. Early reductions result in a lower emissions trajectory than equivalent annual savings made at a later date, it found.

The ICSA paper requests ICAO States at the Assembly to formally commit to adopt in 2015 a global MBM for international aviation for implementation in 2016, four years earlier than the aviation industry is calling for under its carbon-neutral growth target (CNG2020). The Assembly resolution, says ICSA, should direct the ICAO Council to request ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) to develop and agree the many crucial details necessary to the proper functioning of a global MBM. “CAEP should be duly authorised and resourced with proper funding to complete the work in time for an Extraordinary General Assembly in 2015 which would pave the way for implementation in 2016,” it adds.

Brad Schallert, Senior Program Officer for International Climate Change Policy with WWF, told journalists last week in a conference call with other NGOs: “We need action now. The sooner we act, the more of a chance we will have of [global warming] staying under two degrees Celsius, which is confirmed in MMU’s research. That’s why we’re calling for adoption in 2015, and swiftly implemented a year afterwards in 2016.”

Annie Petsonk, International Counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) said it was important that industry was given a long lead time to prepare for a global scheme.

“Obviously we would like the emissions caps to start as early as possible,” she said. “If they can’t start as soon as 2016, as we would like, having the rules established and the mechanism take effect right away, even if the caps don’t start until 2020, which is not our preferred approach, it would still allow for early reductions to begin to occur.

“As outlined under IATA’s Cape Town AGM resolution earlier this year and as recognised in the ICAO draft resolution, early movers can be encouraged and incentivised for their actions.”

According to an ICAO insider, there have been a few Extraordinary General Assemblies over the decades, the most relevant taking place over an aircraft noise issue in 1990 following the failure of the 1989 Assembly to reach agreement on the phase-out of Chapter 2 aircraft. “The problem is that even if ICSA gets support – and as ICAO Observers, their own paper will not even be discussed in substance without two State delegations endorsing – the funding requirements for an Extraordinary Session would almost certainly rule it out,” he said. “Given that it is a new idea, the not insignificant cost would have to be added in short order through Assembly action to the already largely determined budget for the next three years.”

Saudi Arabia is calling for the Assembly to take place every two years instead of the current three but the proposal has already been rejected by the ICAO Council and has little chance of adoption.

Although the NGOs wish to see a global MBM implemented as a matter of urgency, it believes national and regional MBMs are essential tools in the interim period before a global scheme takes effect, or beyond in the absence of a global MBM.

“The alternative, namely neither action at a State level nor a global MBM taking effect, cannot be supported,” says the ICSA paper, which also condemns the “unacceptably low coverage” of emissions limited by sovereign airspace, as provided for under the draft ICAO resolution.

“If there is to be any reference to national or regional MBMs, then from an environmental perspective it must be based on either departing flights or a ’50-50’ approach representing 50% of arriving flights and 50% of departing flights,” it adds. “For the 38th Assembly to conclude that States could only act within their airspace nine years after it had already recommended that States could implement emissions trading systems represents no progress on this issue.”

http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=1746

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Letter from the NGOs to:

Mr José Manuel Barroso, President
Mr Siim Kallas, Vice President
Ms Connie Hedegaard, Commissioner
European Commission,
200, Rue de la Loi
BD1049 Brussels
20.9.2013

Re: EU position at 38th ICAO Assembly

Dear Members of the Commission,

We write to express the grave concerns of NGOs at developments in the run up to the ICAO
Assembly and to suggest possible ways forward.

NGOs understand the extraordinary diplomatic and political obstacles preventing progress
on climate change issues at ICAO and have always supported the EU’s ambition for the EU
ETS to be a stepping stone towards a global agreement on aviation.

But we fear that the EU has effectively given away a large part of the proverbial ‘bird in the
hand’ (shrinking coverage of the aviation ETS by two thirds) for the ‘two birds in the bush’
(an aspirational future global deal on aviation emissions) very early and with unclear
conditions. Moreover, we feel the way this decision was reached – in a Coreper meeting,
without any consultation of Parliament or other stakeholders – runs contrary to the
Commission’s Treaty obligations to uphold EU legislation until any proposal to amend,
backed by a full impact assessment, is adopted by the College.

Moreover, confining the ETS to “regional airspace” sets a dangerous precedent for global
climate policy. A decision that states or regions can only regulate emissions in their own
airspace implies that no-one would even be allowed to take responsibility for the 78% of
global aviation CO2 emissions that fall outside of this scope. There is a big difference
between not)formally) assigning responsibility for these emissions, the current situation, and
formally)not)assigning it, a likely outcome of Europe’s concession to the Assembly.

Any ICAO agreement that falls short of a robust commitment now to prepare and
implement a global measure that will be effective in reducing emissions and that at the
same time binds Europe (and other states) to an airspace regime would be the worst of all
worlds. To date, Commission officials have provided assurances that the concession on
airspace and a strong outcome on a global MBM should be viewed as a package: one is only
acceptable with the other. We urge EU member states and the Commission to hold to this
stipulation at the Assembly. Any weakening of ICAO’s commitment to implement a global
deal should put the scope of the aviation ETS back on the table.

We have always felt that a ‘50/50’ solution – covering half of emissions from both inbound
and outbound flights – matches the environmental integrity of the ‘departing flights’
approach and addresses the question of responsibility for overflight and high-seas emissions
without provoking sovereignty concerns. As to any eventual post-Assembly proposal
amending the ETS, we note that the current Assembly draft allows for a wider geographic
scope than airspace.

NGOs share EU concerns that the Resolution should not place distortive or environmentally
unsound requirements on either regional or global schemes. Europe should defend the
existing level of de)minimis provisions in the ETS and strongly resist calls for a threshold of
1% or any figure remotely close to that.

Lastly, the NGO Observer to ICAO, ICSA, has proposed the organisation undertake a wide-
ranging review of decision-making processes and transparency. European members of ICAO
are bound by Aarhus to support more transparent procedures in ICAO – procedures that are
sadly lacking. We are firmly convinced that a far more transparent and consultative ICAO
decision-making process can help unlock the intractable issues that bedevil the organisation.

We ask for your active support for our proposals during and after the Assembly so that the
process towards a global solution can be successful.

Yours sincerely,

 

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Tim Johnson, Director, Aviation Environment Federation

Jos Dings,  Director, Transport & Environment

Célia  Gautier, EU  Climate  Policy  Officer, Reseau  Action  Climat  France

Kerstin  Meyer, Secretary  for  Transport  Policy, Verkehrsclub  Deutschland   

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ICAO Seeks Global Emissions Pact as Europe Dilutes ETS

SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
by CHARLES ALCOCK

The general assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) this week will debate proposals for a global market-based mechanism (MBM) to control the increase in carbon-dioxide emissions from air transport. As an interim measure aimed at reaching consensus, negotiators for the 28-state European Union (EU) have offered to alter its existing emissions trading scheme (ETS) so that it would apply only to flying activity within EU airspace and not to all stages of intercontinental flights.

Delegates to the 38th triennial ICAO assembly, which begins on September 24 and runs through October 4, plan to begin discussing draft resolution A37-19 on September 26 and conduct a final vote on October 2. The proposals call for ratification of the envisioned MBM by the 39th assembly in 2016 and full implementation in 2020. In the meantime, the EU-ETS would remain in force, although with a more limited scope.

On September 18, lobbying groups the Environmental Defense Fund, the World Wildlife Fund and Transport & Environment called for ICAO to bring forward ratification of the new plan to 2015 and implement it in 2016.

Although all sides of the sometimes fractious debate seem ready to compromise to avoid a trade war that threats of retaliatory sanctions from leading opponents of EU-ETScould spark, some significant complications remain in terms of what form the MBMwould take and how the EU would have to amend its established ETS legislation to take account of the revised terms.

For example, it remains unclear whether the MBM would amount to a full-blown emissions trading scheme, or whether it might instead take the form of a simpler carbon-offsetting program (as favored by IATA) or a revenue-generating carbon offsetting program through which credits sold at elevated rates would divert some funds into climate-change-mitigation programs. Quite apart from wider objections to ETS, the system has drawn criticism for being excessively bureaucratic and disproportionately burdensome for smaller operators.

Another potential sticking point centers on a proposal that exempts some developing countries from MBM if their air transport emissions defined in revenue ton kilometers amount to less than 1 percent of the global total. Environmental groups also have expressed concern that the MBM might not apply to portions of flights conducted in international airspace (i.e. more than 12 nm from the boundary of national airspace).

Assuming adoption of the draft resolution, for EU officials to fulfill their commitment to stop applying ETS to flying activity outside EU airspace they will need to change the existing ETS regulation, which would involve returning to the European Parliament to ask for a retroactive “rubber-stamp” of any deal reached through ICAO.

As things stand, the EU has suspended ETS for flights outside its airspace under the “stop the clock” initiative, which stands contingent on the implementation of a global alternative. ETSwould go back into full force beginning January 1 next year unless a plan acceptable to the EU becomes final.

http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/ain-air-transport-perspective/2013-09-23/icao-seeks-global-emissions-pact-europe-dilutes-ets


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Global analysis of aviation CO2 shows Heathrow far above any other global airport and UK 9th highest aviation CO2 per capita

Dave Southgate is an Australian aviation expert, with many years of experience of working on the measurement of aviation emissions. He has produced a new e-book, on the carbon footprint of global scheduled domestic and international passenger flights in 2012. It contains detailed information covering some 85% of global aviation emissions, and gives some interesting insights. For the UK, domestic flights are a very much smaller proportion than in larger countries. However, Heathrow remains by a very large margin the airport with the largest carbon emissions of any worldwide, about 16,584 thousand tonnes of CO2 per year, with Los Angeles in second place with some 11,866 thousand tonnes. The book also shows the UK ranks 9th in the world for carbon emissions per capita from aviation, with (of European countries) Switzerland in 6th place, the Netherlands in 8th place, far above Germany (12th) and France (13th), with the highest per capita aviation emissions being Qatar, UAE, Singapore and Hong Kong, Australia and USA. By total emissions per airline, Lufthansa and British Airways are almost the same, ranked 5th and 6th, with Air France ranked 8th and Ryanair ranked 20th.

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United States’ aviation carbon footprint in 2012 dwarfs that of other countries, finds new global analysis

by Dave Southgate (in GreenAir online)
Thu 12 Sept 2013

The carbon footprint from global scheduled domestic flights was around 39% of emissions from all scheduled operations in 2012.

Combined with international emissions, the United States’ aviation carbon footprint dwarfs that of other countries, being almost three times the size of the country – China – with the second largest footprint (Figures 1 and 2 below). Although 39/61 domestic/international is the average global split between domestic and international emissions from scheduled flights, US domestic emissions are around double those from international operations, whereas in China they are three times higher.

These stats can be found in a comprehensive new study by aviation carbon footprint expert Dave Southgate, the latest in a trilogy of national and global analysis he has undertaken. Although data and calculation tools are readily available, Southgate says he has found a surprising lack of consolidated aviation carbon emissions reporting at the country level.

Latest figures from IATA show total global carbon emissions from aviation were around 689 million tonnes in 2012.

In his e-book, Carbon footprint of global scheduled domestic passenger flights 2012, Southgate’s analysis covers emissions from domestic as well as international scheduled flights of around 584 million tonnes in 2012, about 85% of the aviation sector’s total output.

“While the carbon footprint of domestic aviation is not of direct interest in the discussions currently taking place within ICAO on the future management of international aviation’s carbon footprint, it is not unrelated,” he writes. “Many of the initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of aviation capture both domestic and international aviation – for example more efficient aircraft and improvements in the efficiency of ATM and airports – and many government officials involved in the discussions have responsibilities for both domestic and international aviation.”

His 196-page book, which can be freely downloaded, breaks down scheduled domestic aviation emissions by country, airline, airport and aircraft type, and adds comparisons with scheduled international flights to provide a global overview.

Southgate has also provided a ‘league table’ of the top 30 country total carbon emissions on a per capita basis by using country population data generated by the United Nations. Qatar, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong – small but prosperous nations with major airport hubs – far outstripped other countries. Australia and Switzerland then follow behind, just ahead of the United States. Although China is the second biggest emitter of carbon from aviation activities, it ranks 28th on the list.  [The UK ranks 9th on the list, with Switzerland 6th and the Netherlands 8th, as the top European emitters]. 

In a chapter on ‘Monetising carbon’, Southgate has converted CO2 values into monetary values and shown them as a carbon cost per passenger. If a carbon charge of $20/tonne had been in place for all global scheduled domestic passenger aircraft departures in 2012, approximately $4.5 billion would have been raised, he calculates. On average this would have equated to a carbon charge of around $2.30 per passenger.

Countries with large land areas and widely spaced major economic centres would, not surprisingly, have resulted in higher charges. In 2012, Russia would have had the highest average cost per passenger ($3.80) and South Korea the lowest ($1.20) of the top 30 countries ranked by domestic footprint. For a passenger in the United States, the cost would have been $2.90 and in China it would have worked out at $2.40.

In a ranking of airline scheduled domestic operations worldwide, the top five airlines – Delta, United, Southwest, American and US Airways – make up around 35% of the global domestic footprint, while the top 10 contribute close to 50% of that footprint (Figure 3). All but one (All Nippon) of the top 10 carriers are Chinese or American.

Adding the domestic and international operations together shows that while the top three airlines – United, Delta and American – have significant domestic and international footprints, many of the major international airlines in the world have no, or very small, domestic footprints (Figure 4). United and Delta would occupy the third and fourth positions in the country hierarchy if they were countries.  [ie. the carbon emissions of these two airlines are greater than all the aviation emissions of all countries, other than the USA and China]. 

The book also ranks the top 30 airports in the world by the carbon footprint of departing domestic aircraft and compares domestic and international footprints. Unsurprisingly, 22 of the top 30 domestic airports are in the United States, with six in China and one each in Japan and Indonesia. Atlanta has the highest domestic carbon footprint followed by Los Angeles (Figure 5). These two airports have far higher footprints than the next three: Beijing, Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago.

Combining domestic and international airport operations, a different and globally diverse picture emerges with London Heathrow having the highest carbon footprint in the world, followed by Los Angeles, Dubai, New York, Frankfurt and Hong Kong (Figure 6).

Southgate has based his calculations on aircraft operations data supplied by Innovata and has used a freely available software tool, TNIP Carbon Counter, which is a great circle carbon counting application developed by the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Transport. The software contains all the information that is required to compute the weight of CO2 generated by a flight between any city-pair, he says. The fuel burn algorithms are the same as those contained in the ICAO Carbon Calculator. The counter also applies the great circle distance adjustment factors that are used in the ICAO calculator.

Southgate is a retired Australian Government self-styled ‘environmental bureaucrat’ and was Australia’s representative on ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) between 2004 and 2012, and a member of the CAEP group that developed ICAO’s calculator.

Carbon footprinting, he says, underpins the management of aviation’s contribution to climate change. “There is likely to be little confidence in any internationally agreed climate change management programme if its CO2 outcomes cannot be independently tracked and validated.

At the present time, the confidence that can be placed in the validation of global aviation’s carbon footprint is weakened due to a number of issues. There are no published consolidated reports, derived from a common base of computation, which provide verified carbon footprint information for the global aviation network. There are a number of ‘official’ published sources of fuel use and/or CO2 generation for aviation, both international and domestic, but they are not consistent.”

In his book, Southgate acknowledges there are ‘data gaps’ in his analysis that constitute about 10-15% of the total global domestic aviation carbon footprint. “Ideally, it would be desirable to present a complete picture of the carbon footprint of all global aircraft operations but much important data is not readily available to members of the public,” he writes. “To present a complete global carbon footprint picture of domestic aviation data would need to be available on other sub-sectors contributing to the carbon footprint such as airfreight, non-scheduled aviation, business aviation and general aviation.”

Despite this, Southgate has managed to accomplish his aim of presenting a comprehensible picture of the composition of airline, airport and country footprints in order to raise awareness, aid understanding and to generate thinking on new approaches to managing aviation’s carbon footprint.

Although ICAO’s remit covers only international and not domestic civil aviation emissions, in its submission to the upcoming 38th ICAO Assembly later this month concerning the establishment of a global market-based measure, the aviation industry calls on ICAO to develop an ICAO standard for monitoring, reporting and verifying emissions from aviation.

The 38th Assembly climate change resolution is likely to request work be undertaken at ICAO on methodologies and a mechanism to measure, monitor and verify global emissions from international aviation, as well as annual reporting of traffic, fuel consumption and emissions data.

Southgate says that if a carbon management regime for aviation involves a financial liability, there will be a need for detailed, formal verifiable tracking. However, such verification systems are by necessity complex and have significant time lags between CO2 emission and reporting, he cautions, and they are also non-transparent except at an aggregate level due to airline commercial confidentiality issues.

“Verification systems solely based on non-transparent reporting are likely to generate mistrust and to ultimately be challenged,” warns Southgate. Footprint transparency could be introduced by running some form of parallel carbon footprint reporting/tracking regime based on great circle analysis, which would facilitate open and rapid third-party verification, he suggests. “In order for this to take place, key aviation bodies would need to play an active role.”

http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=1737 
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Link:

‘Carbon footprint of global scheduled domestic passenger flights 2012’ – David Southgate

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Figure 1. Country Top 30 by global domestic/international/total scheduled passenger movements 2012:

 

 

Figure 2. Country Top 30 by global domestic scheduled passenger movements 2012:

 

 

Figure 3. Airline Top 30 by global domestic scheduled passenger movements 2012:

 

 

Figure 4. Airline Top 30 by global domestic/international/total scheduled passenger movements 2012:

 

 

Figure 5. Airport Top 30 by global domestic scheduled passenger movements 2012:

 

 

Figure 6. Airport Top 30 by global domestic/international/total scheduled passenger movements 2012:

aviation co2 per capita worldwide southgate
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Emissions Trading Will Dominate ICAO Assembly

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. 

Emissions Trading Will Dominate ICAO Assembly

by Jens Flottau, Cathy Buyck

Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

20.9.2013

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.

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_09_23_2013_p43-617654.xml&p=1

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Two recent news items on ICAO and the EU ETS:

EU ETS News Stories

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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…

 

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An NGO message for the ICAO Assembly: Introduce a global market-based measure now

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.”

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An NGO message for the ICAO Assembly: Introduce a global market-based measure now

from ICSA, T&E, AEF

An NGO message for the ICAO Assembly: Introduce a global market-based measure now | 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.

James Lees is the Research and Communications Officer at Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), a London-based environmental NGO working on aviation. Bill Hemmings is Aviation and Shipping Programme Manager at Brussels-based Transport & Environment (T&E).   AEF and T&E are founding members of the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA) and will be pressing the concerns of civil society at ICAO’s triennial Assembly in Montreal at the end of September.

http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=1743

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Earlier:

Barack Obama should practise what he preaches about climate change

Grand speeches on fighting global warming are meaningless if US keeps blocking EU’s efforts to cut carbon emissions

by 

theguardian.com

When President Barack Obama gave his long-awaited climate change speech in June, [YouTube 36 mins] many US environmentalists bought the notion that a green giant was awakening in the White House.

“Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm,” Obama warned climate laggards then.

Here’s a problem though. One environmental foot-dragger President Obama could have addressed this comment to is … President Obama.

On Wednesday, the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) is expected to approve a US-backed text that would restrict Europe‘s efforts to make airlines pay for their emissions under its carbon trading scheme, and stall global efforts to charge airlines for their pollution until 2016 or later.

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.

Yet last November, Obama signed a Congressional act authorising the US transport secretary to prevent US airlines from participating in the ETS.

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.

The EU has pledged to restart its aviation-charging scheme if Icao fails to come to an effective agreement, as now seems likely. Yet it will now have the threat of a trade war hanging over it if it does so, unless it restricts the carbon charges to EU airspace. It’s an absurd situation, when you consider Obama’s climate rhetoric.

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.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/04/barack-obama-climate-change-carbon-emissions

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