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Nobel laureates demand European Commission action to classify oil from tar sands as very high carbon

Twenty-one Nobel prize winners, many of whom have won Nobel Peace Prizes, have urged the EU to immediately implement the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) which would label tar sands as higher carbon (“dirtier”) than other fuels. The Nobel laureates say the extraction of unconventional fuels – such as oil sands and oil shale – is having a particularly devastating impact on climate change. The powerful letter has attempted to restart the discussion about how tar sands and oil shale should be treated in the EU, a discussion that has been delayed for too long, following a massive lobbying campaign by Canada, the US and the global oil industry. Conventional oil has been given a value of 87.5g of CO2 equivalent per megajoule. In comparison, tar sands oil has a value of 107g, oil shale 131g and coal-to-liquid 172g.  The laureates quote IEA warnings that unconventional fuel sources are especially damaging to the environment and climate, and its calculation that two-thirds of known fossil-fuel reserves must be left in the ground ‘to avoid catastrophic climate change’. The letter says the time for positive action is now. The EU can demonstrate clear and unambiguous leadership on this.
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Nobel laureates demand European Commission action on tar sands

October 28, 2013   (Transport & Environment)

Twenty-one Nobel prize winners have urged the EU to immediately implement the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) which would label tar sands as dirtier than other fuels.

“The extraction of unconventional fuels – such as oil sands and oil shale – is having a particularly devastating impact on climate change,” wrote the laureates in a letter to European commissioners and environment ministers earlier this month.

The powerful letter [copied below] has attempted to restart the discussion about how tar sands and oil shale should be treated in the EU, a discussion that has been stalled following a massive lobbying campaign by Canada, the US and the global oil industry. The lobbyists want to stop the EU valuing fuels from unconventional oil sources differently from those made from conventional crude oil.
The FQD was adopted in 2009 and sets a target of a 6% reduction in the carbon intensity of fuels used for transport by 2020.
To achieve that, it has to set values for CO2 emissions from different fuel production processes. Conventional oil has been given a value of 87.5g of CO2 equivalent per megajoule.
Following an assessment of the production process of unconventional fuels, tar sands oil has a value of 107g, oil shale 131g and coal-to-liquid 172g.   [ Euractiv link 5.10.2011 ]  Yet a Commission proposal on how to implement the FQD has been delayed because of lobbying. 
The laureates quote International Energy Agency warnings that unconventional fuel sources are especially damaging to the environment and climate, and its calculation that two-thirds of known fossil-fuel reserves must be left in the ground ‘to avoid catastrophic climate change’.
Their letter adds: ‘The time for positive action is now. The European Union can demonstrate clear and unambiguous leadership by upholding its climate principles.’
An unpublished impact assessment prepared for the Commission is believed to say applying higher values to unconventional fuels would have only a tiny effect on the fuel prices paid by motorists. The European news agency EurActiv quoted an unnamed Commission official as saying that ‘pump price impacts for all production methods are roughly the same at substantially less than one cent per litre’.
T&E clean fuels manager Nusa Urbancic said: “There isn’t much fuel from unconventional sources in Europe at present, but the battle is over what signal the EU sends to the world about how the climate impact of a fuel’s production process will be assessed. Canada is lobbying so hard, because it wants key oil markets like Europe to keep ignoring that the production of tar sands is essentially dirtier than conventional fuels. If Europe is serious about decarbonising its transport energy, it shouldn’t listen to the siren voices on the other side of the pond.”
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Letter to EU Commissioners and Environment Ministers re EU climate legislation and unconventional fossil fuels

The world can no longer ignore, except at our own peril, that climate change is one of the greatest threats facing life on this planet today. The impacts of climate change and extreme resource extraction are exacerbating conflicts and environmental destruction around the world.   The extraction of unconventional fuels—such as oil sands and oil shale—is having a particularly devastating impact on climate change.

For this reason, we are writing to urge you to support the immediate implementation of the European Union’s (EU) Fuel Quality Directive in order to fulfill its 6% reduction target in greenhouse gas emissions from fuels used for transportation by 2020. We have no doubt that the Directive must be applied fairly to unconventional fuels to ensure their climate impacts are fully taken into account.  It follows that the fuel-producing companies should report their climate emissions and be held responsible for any emissions increase.

We welcome the EU’s scientific analysis—as it is now proposed for the implementation of the EU Directive—that the extraction and production of fuels from unconventional sources fuels including oil sands, coal-to-liquid, and oil shale leads to higher emissions and that this should be reflected in the regulations.

The International Energy Agency  (IEA) is warning that unconventional fuel sources are especially damaging to the environment and climate, and is concerned that these fuel sources are now increasingly competing on a par with conventional fuel sources.  In order to avoid catastrophic climate change, the IEA calculates that two thirds of known fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground.

Now is the time to transition swiftly away from fossil fuels, with a special focus on those that pollute the most. We must all move toward a future built on safe, clean and renewable energy.  Fully implementing the EU’s Fuel Quality Directive will send a clear signal that the European Union is committed to action that supports the rights of future generations to a healthy planet.

It is not too late to avert our actions that only amount to palliative care for a dying planet. The time for positive action is now.  The European Union can demonstrate clear and unambiguous leadership by upholding its climate principles.  We look forward to working together as we move forward to confront this frightening challenge to our global survival.

 

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize, 1976, Ireland

Roger Guillemin, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1977, France

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize 1980, Argentina

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize 1984, South Africa

Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Peace Prize, 1992, Guatemala

Richard Roberts, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1993, United Kingdom

Paul Crutzen, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1995, Netherlands

Harold Kroto, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1996, United Kingdom

José Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Prize, 1996, East Timor

John Walker, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1997, UK

Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize, 1997, USA

John Hume, Nobel Peace Prize, 1998, Ireland

Paul Greengard, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2000, USA

Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize, 2003, Iran

Gerhard Ertl, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2007, Germany

Mark Jaccard, member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Nobel Peace Prize, 2007, Canada

John Stone, member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Nobel Peace Prize, 2007, Canada

Martin Chalfie, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2008, USA

Thomas Steitz, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2009, USA

Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Prize, 2011, Liberia

Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Prize, 2011, Yemen

http://nobelwomensinitiative.org/2013/10/nobel-peace-and-science-laureates-calling-for-eu-action-on-tar-sands/?ref=204

The Nobel Women’s Initiative was established in 2006, and is led by Nobel Peace laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Leymah Gbowee, Tawakkol Karman and Mairead Maguire. The Nobel Women’s Initiative uses the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize and of courageous women peace laureates to magnify the power and visibility of women working in countries around the world for peace, justice and equality.
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Earlier

UK signals support for EU import of Canadian tar sands oil

Leaked papers show UK rejects proposal to classify oil from tar sands as highly polluting, a label that would deter EU countries from importing it


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 see earlier

European Commission recognises climate impact of unconventional oils

26.10.2011

The EU is committed to cutting the CO2 impact of fuel production by 6% by 2020
from 2010 level. So it has to set “values” for each fuel, on the carbon intensity
of the extraction process. Conventional fuels have a value of 87.5 gCO2/ MJ of
energy. Fierce lobbying from Alberta, which has huge tar sands reserves, led to
a delay in setting a tar sand oil standard.. The EU plans to give oil from tar
sands a value of 107g CO2/MJ and oil from shale 131.5 g. To be decided in December.
UK is one country to oppose the higher tar sand level. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=4647

 

Commission recognises climate impact of unconventional oil in fuel quality directive

26.10.2011 (Transport & Environment)

Petrol and diesel made from tar sands, coal, gas and oil shale will be assigned
a different carbon footprint than fuels from conventional oil, if a proposal from
the Commission is supported by EU member states. After years of lobbying by Canada
and some sections of the oil industry, the Commission has stuck to its original
plan to assign different values to fuels dependent on their source. The values
are needed as part of EU efforts to reduce the climate impact of fuel production
by 6% by 2020.

Article 7a of the Fuel Quality Directive, proposed in 2008 and agreed a year
later, sets the target of a 6% reduction in climate-changing emissions from the
fuel production process by 2020, based on the level in 2010. In order to achieve
that, it has to set ‘values’ for each fuel depending on the carbon intensity of
the extraction process. Conventional fuels produced from crude oil have a value
of 87.5 grams of carbon per megajoule of energy.

Most other fuels had been given their value by the end of last year, but fierce
lobbying from oil interests in the Canadian state of Alberta, which has huge tar
sands reserves, led to a delay in setting a standard for that source. Very little
oil from these sources is currently used in Europe, but Alberta was worried that
a high-emissions value from the EU would set a precedent that would reduce the
market for its oil in the future.

At one stage the Commission was considering giving oil from tar sands the same
value as conventional fuels, but following loud protests from MEPs, NGOs and private
citizens, it has now reverted to its original plan. It will therefore assign oil
from tar sands a value of 107g CO2/MJ and oil from shale 131.5g CO2/MJ.

T&E director Jos Dings said: ‘This move sends a signal to the oil industry
that dirty fuels should either clean up or stay away. In particular, the climate
commissioner Connie Hedegaard should be applauded for not backing down in the
face of huge pressure from Canada and the oil industry. It’s now up to member
states to give this proposal the green light, and thereby give producers a real
incentive to invest in cleaner technologies and stop dirty habits such as flaring.’

http://www.transportenvironment.org/News/2011/10/Commission-recognises-climate-impact-of-unconventional-oil-in-fuel-quality-directive/

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See also

German research institute pulls out of Canadian tar sands project

 19.3.2013  (Euractiv)

“A 2011 report commissioned by the EU from Adam Brandt, an Assistant Professor at Stanford University, found that the lifecycle emissions of fuel from tar sands – also known as oil sands – were between 12-40% higher than conventional crude, with the most likely barrel being 22% more carbon intensive.

“Brandt wrote that tar sands were “significantly different enough from conventional oil emissions that regulatory frameworks should address this discrepancy with pathway-specific emissions factors that distinguish between oil sands and conventional oil processes.”  ”

http://www.euractiv.com/science-policymaking/german-research-institute-pulls-news-518608

Read more »

India and the USA oppose EU plan to include flights within European airspace in ETS

India has said it will oppose the EU’s plan to include flights from all airlines in European airspace (other than airlines from most developing countries).  The USA also opposes the plan, with a US  politician saying the EU proposal is contrary to  a law intended to shield US airlines from such charges. Last week the European Commission proposed making all airlines pay for emissions only over European airspace – rather than the original system in which the carbon from the full length of all flights using EU airports.  USA, India and China want the EU to back down, so no aviation emissions anywhere are included in a charging system. India and China contribute well over 1% of global aviation CO2, so they were included, unlike smaller and poor countries. Reuters says that along with China, India has defied the EU, even refusing to submit emissions data before the EU suspended it for a year amid threats of a trade war.  The US might go as far as invoking a law signed by President Barack Obama in November 2012 that would shield Us airlines from what US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx may deem to be an unfair charge.
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India, US dig in against EU air carbon charge

By Valerie Volcovici and Devidutta Tripathy

WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI | Tue Oct 22, 2013 (Reuters)

India voiced firm opposition on Tuesday to EU plans to impose a scaled-back carbon charge on flights over European airspace while a senior U.S. lawmaker said the EU proposal runs afoul of a law intended to shield U.S. airlines from such charges.

The European Commission, the EU executive, last week proposed to make all airlines pay for emissions over European airspace in a retreat from a suspended EU law that covered the duration of flights using EU airports.

India said the EU proposal defies a global aviation agreement hammered out in Montreal earlier this month at an assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the U.N. body in charge of civil air travel.

“What they (the European Commission) have now done is in total conflict with what the ICAO has decided. The multilateral body has to intervene in this matter,” K.N. Shrivastava, India’s aviation secretary, told Reuters.

Along with China, India has defied the European Union move, even refusing to submit emissions data before the EU suspended it for a year amid threats of a trade war.

The EU proposal also could push the U.S. government to invoke a law signed by President Barack Obama in November 2012 that would shield U.S. airlines from what Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx may deem an unfair charge.

Republican Senator John Thune, who introduced the measure in the Senate, will raise the issue in a letter to Foxx and other U.S. officials, his office said. The law gives the secretary of transportation the authority to ensure that U.S. carriers are not penalized by unilateral EU emissions charges.

“Senator Thune believes that any such effort by the European Commission would be in direct violation of the legislation that was signed into law last year to hold U.S. air carriers harmless from such unilateral actions,” Thune spokesperson Andi Fouberg told Reuters.

ICAO negotiators this month reached a consensus on a market-based system to curb carbon emissions from airlines by 2020, but rejected a proposal to let Europe apply its own plan to foreign carriers in the meantime. The deal averted a looming global trade dispute over aviation emissions.

U.S. airlines hope that because the European Commission’s most recent proposal was a draft, the Europeans will revise the plan in line with what was agreed to at ICAO, according to Vaughn Jennings, spokesman for the industry group Airlines for America (A4A).

The European Commission said it is acting in good faith.

“Limiting it to EU airspace and not touching on somebody’s else’s airspace. That’s our interpretation of what was said in Montreal,” Artur Runge-Metzger, director for international climate strategy in the Commission’s climate department, told Reuters.

For the proposal to go into effect, it needs the approval of member states and the European Parliament.

 

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/10/22/us-eu-airlines-carbon-idUKBRE99L16I20131022

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Earlier news stories about this are below:

 

European Commission proposes applying EU ETS only to European regional airspace from 1 January 2014

October 16, 2013

The European Commission has proposed amending the ETS so that aviation emissions would be covered just for the part of flights that takes place in European regional airspace (including over the North Sea or Mediterranean). The adjustment in the legislation would apply from 1 January 2014 and until a planned global market-based mechanism (MBM) becomes applicable to international aviation emissions by 2020, according to ICAO. European Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, said “Europe is taking the responsibility to reduce emissions within its own airspace until the global measure begins’. Also that the aviation sector, like other sectors, has to contribute to cuts in EU carbon emissions, as aviation emission are increasing fast – doubling since 1990. The proposal needs to be agreed by the European Parliament and the Counci, before April 2014. The proposal covers all CO2 emissions from flights between airports in the European Economic Area (EEA), including Norway and Iceland. Parts of flights outside the EEA are not covered, and flights of developing countries – of which their aviation emissions are less than 1% of the global whole – are not included.     Click here to view full story…

Grey day for environment as Europe reduces its aviation ETS coverage to only European airspace

October 16, 2013     The European Commission has, under intense international pressure, proposed to reduce its ETS for aviation to only cover flights in European airspace. The proposal would only cover 35% of aviation emissions compared to the original aviation EU ETS. It would cover flights by all airlines, except from less developed countries, which contribute 1% or less of global aviation CO2. Bill Hemmings, aviation manager at Transport & Environment, said: “It is disgraceful that foreign and industry pressure has obliged Europe to shrink its own aviation emissions law to the bare minimum.” The EC’s text comes shortly after the conclusion of the ICAO triennial assembly, where delegates, in a political decision, finally agreed to talk about the details of a global market based measure for 2020 but rejected interim measures like the EU ETS. The current proposal would leave the vast bulk of EU aviation emissions – which come from long-haul flights – unregulated. T&E urges the European Parliament and Member States to include an option to extend the aviation emissions coverage of the ETS to a 50/50 basis in 2017.    Click here to view full story…

 

WWF: ICAO forgoes immediate emissions reductions for only promise of a future global plan

October 4, 2013     .In their response ot the disappointing outcome of the ICAO negotiations on curbing global aviation emissions, WWF said ICAO had missed the opportunity to start reducing emissions immediately. They have only committed to possibly agree an MBM in 2016, to come into effect in 2020. There is no guarantee they will agree it. This means little will be done before 2020. WWF said the science is clearer than ever – and 2020 is too late. Jean Leston, Transport Policy Officer of WWF-UK, said: “The world has waited 16 years for ICAO to demonstrate its serious commitment to reducing aviation emissions. What we got today seems a very small return for that effort. We expect a lot more ambition and commitment from ICAO over the next three years if a global, market-based mechanism is ever going to materialize. …..By essentially restricting the EU’s ETS for aviation to its own carriers and airspace, ICAO has handicapped the world’s leading legislation to put a price on aviation pollution and once again allowed skyrocketing emissions to continue climbing.” With the IPCC saying we need to cut CO2, leaders need to be taking every opportunity to do so.   Click here to view full story…


 

EU Emissions Trading System reduced to only intra-European flights

October 4, 2013    .The EU was defeated in its efforts to have ICAO recognise its right to continue charging aviation in its own market-based mechanism, the ETS. Earlier this month the EU offered to exclude emissions emitted outside EU airspace from being covered by the ETS in exchange for a deal at ICAO. Even this did not happen. “ICAO is going even beyond what the Chicago Convention allows,” said Bill Hemmings of campaign group T&E. “They’re telling the EU what it can do in its own airspace.” A spokesperson for the Commission said the EU would have to consider its next steps. Any change to the ETS scope, whether to exclude non-EU airspace or to go further and exclude all foreign airlines, would need approval from member states and the European Parliament. The European aviation industry would be likely to fiercely resist any move to exclude foreign airlines but leave them included, as it would raise competitiveness concerns. Green MEPs reacted with dismay to the ICAO outcome. “The international aviation organisation (ICAO) is both seeking to block EU action and once more stalling on urgently-needed international measures”     Click here to view full story…


 

Weak ICAO aviation emissions deal with action delayed till at least 2016 strikes harsh blow to EU ETS

October 4, 2013      .The ICAO talks in Montreal are now closed. ICAO cobbled together a weak resolution, that lays the foundation for a Market Based Measure (MBM) perhaps some time in future. This is to be brought to the next ICAO Assembly in 2016. ie more years of delay. The resolution states that, if an agreement on a global MBM is decided upon at the next Assembly, it must be implemented by 2020 – the year after which any growth within the industry must be carbon neutral. Jean Leston, Transport Policy Manager at WWF-UK, said: “There is nothing in this resolution that guarantees an MBM. All we’ve got is a decision to develop one over the next 3 years and then that has to go to Assembly for agreement in 2016.” Bill Hemmings, aviation manager at Transport & Environment, said, “The EU put its faith in the ICAO process, and because of unacceptable weakening and delay, this faith has now been shattered.” The ICAO agreement has also decimated the EU’s ETS, which has been reduced to the bare minimum. The EU can now only impose its ETS on flights that both depart and land from within its own airspace. For aircraft emissions emitted in EU airspace by planes that have come from outside the EU, this can only be done with the consent of the other country.  Click here to view full story…


 

Read more »

Greenwash (inaccurate) statement: “Less CO2 per passenger by air than by car says Virgin”

The aviation industry knows it is provides an exceptionally high carbon way to travel, and is keen to find ways to try to disguise this fact.  In reality, a passenger on a medium length flight (2,000 – 4,000 miles or so) in a modern plane is probably responsible for roughly the same amount of carbon as someone driving the same distance  alone in a car that does an average around 48 miles per gallon (like at Toyota Yaris).  That is excluding non-CO2 climate effects. Approximate figures – each car trip (including number of passengers) is different, as is each plane trip. Saying that air travel per passenger is lower carbon than a car journey is missing the point for two important reasons: 1. Most people would think twice about driving 3,000 or 4,000 miles. And back. It is easy and quick (as well as much cheaper) by plane.  So people make these trips more often, and are encouraged to travel more.  2. Figures do not take in to the non-CO2 impacts of aircraft emissions, which are likely to approximately double the climate impact.  So now Virgin are trying to make out that flying is lower carbon than driving. This is disingenuous nonsense – comparing chalk and cheese – and is choosing very carefully which figures to use. As WWF-UK point out, Virgin is increasing its number of passengers, and getting people to fly more often, as fast as it can, so raising the overall emissions. Don’t be hoodwinked by the greenwash!
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Aviation growth in passenger kilometers flown, with tiny reductions in per passenger carbon emissions:  “Like beating your wife more often, but with a slightly smaller stick…”

 

Virgin’s Sustainability Report 2013      2 page summary                                   They say  “In 2012 our total carbon footprint was 5.9 million tonnes CO2″

The Virgin Sustainability Report 2013 full report 

 

 

Less CO2 per passenger by air than by car says Virgin

 

21 October 2013, source edie newsroom

 

Investment in new, more efficient aircraft has cut CO2 by 30% in some cases, says Virgin

Investment in new, more efficient aircraft has cut CO2 by 30% in some cases, says Virgin

Virgin Atlantic has claimed that travelling by air is greener than travelling by car. 

Related article     - 

In its 2013 sustainability programme update, published this week, the airline states that last year its CO2 emissions per passenger kilometre (PK) fell to 119.3g.

This is “interesting”, the company states, given that in the UK the average new car emissions were “133.1gCO2/km in 2012″.   (see http://www.smmt.co.uk/co2report/)

119 gCO2/km is about 48 mpg.  

133 gCO2/km is about 49 miles per gallon.                      

187 gCO2/km is about 35 mpg.  

The airline said the fall in UK emissions is due to carrying “more passengers at higher load factors”.

Virgin also confirmed that it continues to cut its overall carbon footprint – 80% of which comes from flying. Huge investment in new, more efficient aircraft has cut CO2 by 30% in some cases, it said.

Environmental groups have questioned whether Virgin is focusing on the wrong impacts, with more people flying than ever before. The company’s carbon footprint, though reduced by 6% since 2007, still stands at 5.9m tonnes.

WWF-UK head of business, Dax Lovegrove, told edie.net that Virgin Atlantic and other airlines should “focus less on per passenger and per kilometre CO2 efficiencies and more on managing the overall carbon footprint from the general rise in passengers travelling over great distances”.

He cited a raft of changes that are required to ensure “climate smart mobility” including electric vehicles, better public transport and more car sharing. Indeed, a Virgin spokeswoman admitted that the car emissions are based on one person travelling in the car.

Aviation emissions have doubled since 1990 due to increasing passenger demand, with most growth coming from international flights, according to the Committee on Climate Change.

In 2011 the aviation sector accounted for 6% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, with the vast majority (95%) resulting from international flights.

Writing in the company’s 2013 sustainability update, Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger claimed: “We fully accept our part in reducing the negative consequences of air travel so that we can all continue to make the most of its benefits. Our number one priority is to reduce the carbon emissions from flying our aircraft.”

Earlier this month, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) agreed on a global strategy to progress technology, operations and alternative fuels in a bid to reduce emissions.
However, the European Commission’s proposal to have foreign airlines included in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) was opposed by China, India, Russia and the US, who argue that the scheme impacts flights far outside the EU.

Virgin Atlantic also confirmed that work on its low carbon aviation fuel, in partnership with LanzaTech, continues; the aim is to make the fuel “a commercial reality” within the next couple of years.

The technology uses a microbe to convert waste carbon monoxide gases from
steel mills into ethanol. The alcohol is then converted to jet fuel through a second stage process.

edie staff

http://www.edie.net/news/6/Less-CO2-by-air-than-car-says-Virgin/

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Some comments from Airport Watch members:

The devil is, as always, in the detail of the base data and the assumptions: both for aircraft and cars.  Everyone knows that vehicle manufacturers’ fuel consumption data is obtained by such artificial means as to be meaningless to anyone outside the EU bureaucracy, and most also for most people going on a holiday, the average load factor for car journeys is in excess of unity.  ie. not one person  holidaying alone.   [Most plane trips are for holidays or leisure].

The derivation of the figures in the Sustainability Report are not clear.  Are Mr. Branson’s men are speaking with forked tongue before we look at exactly what fuel burn figures they’re using for aircraft: e.g. are they using the cruising-speed consumption figures and conveniently ignoring the 30% of fuel that’s burned during climbout and approach for “the average flight”?

A key thing is that the climate impacts of aviation are likely to be twice that of the CO2 alone, (NOx, water vapour, contrails) so by that reckoning they are still roughly double the climate impacts of car travel even with 1 pasenger per car.  In addition it is hard for a car driver to frivolously drive 8000 miles, but easy to fly to Los Angeles or Las Vegas, so the real impacts are much higher.

What they are doing is using the worst case scenario for a car (pretty much) and comparing it with the average case scenario for flying.  All per KM of course, failing to take any form of totals into account.

No surprise, based on this comparison, that flying is “greener” than driving. Typical of the greenwash spouted by the industry on a daily basis.

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Below are some indicative figures of CO2 emissions for various ranges of cars, from tiny to huge.

From a website called Clean Green Cars.

http://www.cleangreencars.co.uk/jsp/cgcmain.jsp?lnk=330

Environmental Scores by Vehicle Type

We have rated each model range according to its CO2 output within its segment. The reason for categorising CO2 by segment is that an MPV like a Ford Galaxy is bound to produce more CO2 than a city car – but if you have a large family it is not very helpful to be told that a Toyota Aygo is environmentally-friendly. We have rated each model against the average for its segment, so a CO2 output of 140g/km would be very good for a large family car like a Vectra, but very poor for a city car like a Ford Ka.

Incidentally we have taken the average CO2 figure for each model range. That does not mean that every version of a model range has the same star rating (e.g. a Focus TDCi is much better than a Focus ST). However, it shows how well the model range performs overall.

For reference, these are the upper limits to earn a five star CO2 rating in each segment:

Segment CO2 g/km
City car (e.g. Ford Ka): 120
Supermini (e.g. Renault Clio) 130
Small MPV (e.g. Vauxhall Meriva) 140
Small Family (e.g. VW Golf) 140
Small Sports (e.g. Mazda MX-5) 150
Large Family (e.g. Ford Mondeo) 150
Medium MPV (e.g. Vauxhall Zafira) 150
Compact Executive (e.g. Audi A4) 160
Executive (e.g. BMW 5 Series) 180
Large MPV (Renault Espace) 180
Off Road (e.g. Toyota RAV4) 180
Performance sports (e.g. Porsche 911) 200
Luxury (e.g. Mercedes S Class) 220

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and another assessment of the issues:

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Flying vs Driving: Which is Better for the Environment?

Driving emits less carbon than flying, but flying costs less on long trips

By 

from About.com

Dear EarthTalk:
How can I determine if it is more eco-friendly to fly or drive somewhere?– Christine Matthews, Washington, DC

 

The simple answer is that driving in a relatively fuel-efficient car (25-30 miles per gallon) usually generates fewer greenhouse-gas emissions than flying. In assessing the global warming impact of a trip from Philadelphia to Boston (about 300 miles), the environmental news website Grist.org calculates that driving would generate about 104 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2)—a leading greenhouse gas—per typical medium-sized car, regardless of the number of passengers, while flying on a commercial jet would produce some 184 kilograms of CO2 per passenger.

Flying vs Driving: Carpooling Generates Fewest Greenhouse Gases Per Passenger

What this also means, of course, is that while even driving alone would be slightly better from the standpoint of greenhouse-gas emissions, carpooling really makes environmental sense. Four people sharing a car would collectively be responsible for emitting only 104 kilograms of CO2, while the same four people taking up four seats on a plane would generate some 736 kilograms of carbon dioxide.

Flying vs Driving: Cross-Country Calculations Show Stark Contrasts

Journalist Pablo Päster of Salon.com extends the comparison further, to a cross-country trip, and comes to similar conclusions. (Differences in the math are attributable to the use of slightly varying assumptions regarding fuel usage and source equations.) Flying from San Francisco to Boston, for example, would generate some 1,300 kilograms of greenhouse gases per passenger each way, while driving would account for only 930 kilograms per vehicle. So, again, sharing the drive with one or more people would lower each individual’scarbon footprint from the experience accordingly.

Flying vs Driving: Air Travel Most Economical for Long Distances

But just because driving might be greener than flying doesn’t mean it always makes the most sense. With current high gas prices, it would cost far more in fuel to drive clear across the United States in a car than to fly nonstop coast-to-coast. And that’s not even factoring in the time spent on restaurants and hotels along the way. Those interested in figuring out driving fuel costs can consult AAA’s nifty online Fuel Cost Calculator, where you can enter your starting city and destination as well as the year, make and model of your car to get an accurate estimate of what it will cost to “fill ‘er up” between points A and B.

Flying vs Driving: Carbon Offsets Can Balance Travel-Related Emissions

Once you’ve made your decision whether to drive or fly, consider purchasing carbon offsets to balance out the emissions you are generating with cash for renewable energy development.TerraPass, among others, makes it easy to calculate your carbon footprint based on how much you drive and fly (as well as home energy consumption), and then will sell you offsets accordingly. (Monies generated through carbon offsets fund alternative energy and other projects, such as wind farms, that will ultimately take a bite out of or eliminate greenhouse-gas emissions).

Flying vs Driving: Public Transportation Beats Both Car and Air Travel

Of course, an individual’s emissions from riding a bus (the ultimate carpool) or a train would be significantly lower. Paster adds that a cross-country train trip would generate about half the greenhouse-gas emissions of driving a car. The only way to travel greener might be to bicycle or walk—but the trip is long enough as it is.

 

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION?

Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at:www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: earthtalk@emagazine.com.

http://environment.about.com/od/greenlivingdesign/a/fly_vs_drive.htm

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Put the “No New Runway” option back on the table, AEF tells Sir Howard Davies

Writing in the Huffington Post, James Lees ( (Research and Communications Officer, Aviation Environment Federation – AEF) says the Airports Commission is wrong in its preliminary conclusion – announced by Sir Howard Davies on 7th October – that a new runway is needed.  In his blog James goes through the list of strong arguments why no new runway capacity is needed.  These include climate impacts. The CCC guidance suggests the number of air passengers could perhaps rise by 60% over 2005 levels, by 2050. However, this does not take any account of the non-CO2 impacts of air travel. Even allowing for 60% more passengers means the carbon emissions from UK aviation would rise to be a quarter of total UK emissions and require large carbon reductions from other sectors to meet the UK’s 2050 target. And if a runway is built, how do we put the brakes on the aviation industry’s growth? James concludes that Sir Howard is aware of all these arguments, but has made the wrong conclusion. “To show that he really is ‘alive to the climate change problem’, Sir Howard should put the no new runway option back on the table.”

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Put the No New Runway Option Back on the Table, Sir Howard Davies

16/10/2013 (Huffington Post – blog)
by  (Research and Communications Officer, Aviation Environment Federation – AEF)

Earlier this month, Sir Howard Davies, head of the Airports Commission and the main man tasked with examining the need for extra runway space in the UK, made his first public speech since consulting stakeholders in the airports debate. Sir Howard started well; he spoke of the importance of meeting our national carbon targets, the availability of existing space for more flights, and the uncertainty of what future demand for flying will look like as strong reasons against creating more runway space. But he made the wrong conclusion that we need a new runway in the UK. Now I would like to correct him.

On climate change, Sir Howard’s message was confusing. On the one hand he emphasised how “we (the Airports Commission) are alive to the climate change problem”, while on the other Sir Howard stipulated that additional runway capacity is necessary in the UK. This runs contrary to Lord Nicholas Stern’s advice from his groundbreaking 2007 report on the economics of climate change, in which he highlighted the dangers of investing in what he calls “new carbon intensive infrastructure”. Unfortunately, a new runway is exactly that – carbon intensive infrastructure – and once the concrete sets, it will be used to the max, irrespective of the future climate impact and the availability of solutions.

Growth of the UK aviation industry and combating climate change are not mutually exclusive by any means. Indeed, as Sir Howard Davies said, passenger demand could grow by up to 60% and still allow us to meet our national carbon target of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050. Allowing such growth, however, would boost emissions from flying up to a quarter of total UK emissions and require large carbon reductions from other sectors to meet our 2050 target.

The Committee on Climate Change, the body relied on by government to advise on climate change, believes such alternative reductions are achievable. Yet should other sectors carry the burden of cutting emissions so that this one industry can continue to grow? And if a runway is built, how do we put the brakes on the aviation industry’s growth?

The second question is particularly pertinent today. If the industry grows more than 60% then further measures are needed to limit and reduce emissions than relying on improvements in technology. The main one identified is carbon trading. However, there’s now huge uncertainty there. In one fell swoop, the UN body responsible for aviation effectively nullified the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme and made only vague commitments towards a global scheme.

So there is no guarantee that aviation’s future emissions will be limited or have offsets elsewhere. This is why Sir Howard’s conclusion can be called into question. A sensible alternative is to have the no new runway option available. There is sufficient capacity in the UK’s current airports to accommodate the 60% growth of the industry that might be possible within our climate commitments. And this spare capacity is largely available in the regions where the demand arises.

Of course, many of us fly occasionally. We go on holiday, we visit friends and family or we do business, and we would like to know that we will be able to continue to do so in the future. But most of us also believe that climate change is a problem that we have to do something about. As a nation we have a carbon target that makes us a leader on climate change. If we are to meet that target, we have to remove a hell of a lot of carbon from our lifestyles. That doesn’t mean we should stop flying but allowing runway expansion now will increase the size of our future challenge.

Sir Howard Davies is aware of all of this but he made the wrong conclusion in his speech. To show that he really is “alive to the climate change problem”, Sir Howard should put the no new runway option back on the table.

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See also the GACC response to Sir Howard:

 

Is there a need for extra airport capacity? No says GACC in their response to Sir Howard Davies

Date added: October 17, 2013

In his speech on 7th October, Sir Howard went carefully through a list of reasons why more airport capacity in the south east is not needed, before concluding – in the second part of his speech gave his preliminary conclusion that a new runway would be needed. His speech is out for consultation until 31st October. In their response, GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) say there is no need for a new runway. A few of their reasons include deficiencies in forecasts of future numbers of flights and passengers; also that over the past 20 years the number of passengers per aircraft had been increasing by 2% a year but DfT forecasts only assumed a 0.2% annual increase in future. GACC suggests the use of larger aircraft could be encouraged if airports based their landing charges on a per aircraft basis rather than, as at present, on the aircraft size and per passenger. GACC says the environmental disadvantages of each potential runway site may be so great that they should and will influence the decision as to whether or not extra capacity should be provided. There would also be adverse north-south in-migration problems.

Click here to view full story…

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Earlier:

Sir Howard Davies speech gives provisional support for a new south east runway – but shows how borderline the decision would be

October 7, 2013

In a speech in central London Sir Howard Davies set out what he described as the Airports Commission’s “emerging thinking” after their first 11 months of work. He said it ” it would be helpful at this stage to set out some of our early thinking on the issue of overall capacity.” He said: “Our provisional view…. is that additional capacity will need to be provided, alongside an overall framework for managing emissions growth, if we are to deliver the best outcomes in both environmental and connectivity terms.” Also that: “…our provisional conclusion from this analysis …is that we will need some net additional runway capacity in the south east of England in the coming decades.” He first went through 4 sets of arguments against a new runway (less future demand for air travel than anticipated; future demand can be met by existing capacity; carbon emissions from growing aviation could breach UK climate commitments; regional airports could take the extra demand). He then gave explanations for each why he believed the optimal solution would be more runway capacity. He said, on the guidance from the CCC on aviation CO2 emissions needing to be restricted that: “We are in the process of updating the Committee on Climate Change’s analysis and will present our findings in our Interim Report”. Comments on the speech are welcomed by the Commission until 31st October.

Click here to view full story…

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European Commission proposes applying EU ETS only to European regional airspace from 1 January 2014

The European Commission has proposed amending the ETS so that aviation emissions would be covered just for the part of flights that takes place in European regional airspace (including over the North Sea or Mediterranean). The adjustment in the legislation would apply from 1 January 2014 and until a planned global market-based mechanism (MBM) becomes applicable to international aviation emissions by 2020, according to ICAO.  European Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, said “Europe is taking the responsibility to reduce emissions within its own airspace until the global measure begins’.  Also that the aviation sector, like other sectors, has to contribute to cuts in EU carbon emissions, as aviation emission are increasing fast – doubling since 1990. The proposal needs to be agreed by the European Parliament and the Counci, before April 2014.  The proposal covers all CO2 emissions from flights between airports in the European Economic Area (EEA), including Norway and Iceland. Parts of flights outside the EEA are not covered, and flights of developing countries – of which their aviation emissions are less than 1% of the global whole – are not included. 
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Europa   EU press releases

Brussels, 16 October 2013

Aviation emissions: Commission proposes applying EU ETS to European regional airspace from 1 January 2014

The European Commission today proposed amending the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) so that aviation emissions would be covered for the part of flights that takes place in European regional airspace. The adjustment in the legislation would apply from 1 January 2014 and until a planned global market-based mechanism (MBM) becomes applicable to international aviation emissions by 2020, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said: “In the light of the recent progress made at ICAO, not least thanks to Europe’s hard work and determination, the European Commission today has proposed to adjust the EU ETS so that emissions from the aviation sector would be covered for the part of flights that takes place in European regional airspace. The European Union has reduced greenhouse gas emissions considerably, and all the economic sectors are contributing to these efforts. The aviation sector also has to contribute, as aviation emission are increasing fast – doubling since 1990. I am confident that the European Parliament and the Council will move swiftly and approve this proposal without delay. With this proposal, Europe is taking the responsibility to reduce emissions within its own airspace until the global measure begins”

Key features

The key features of the revised ETS system resulting from this proposal would be as follows:

  • All emissions from flights between airports in the European Economic Area (EEA, covering the 28 EU Member States plus Norway and Iceland) would continue to be covered.
  • From 2014 to 2020, flights to and from countries outside the EEA would benefit from a general exemption for those emissions that take place outside EEA airspace. Only emissions from the part of flights taking place within EEA airspace would be covered.
  • To accommodate the special circumstances of developing countries, flights to and from third countries which are not developed countries and which emit less than 1% of global aviation emissions would benefit from a full exemption.

Next steps

The Commission would like to see the proposal agreed by the European Parliament and Council [both of which need to agree to the proposals] by March 2014 to provide clarity for aircraft operators, who would otherwise have to surrender allowances for their all emissions on flights in 2013 to and from third countries by 30 April 2014. 

[Airlines need to submit their allowances for flights between April 2012 and April 2013, by April 2014. Due to the "stop the clock" on emissions, when the EU halted the ETS for a year, allowances were not needed for flights outside the EU for the period of April 2011 to 2012. Under the current EC proposal, airlines would need to surrender permits only for flights within EU airspace during the past year.  ICAO did not want the EU to even be able to include flights within EU airspace within the ETS.   Governments in Europe  have been afraid of a trade war, if other countries such as the USA, India and China, refused to surrender allowances or comply.  EU is placing its faith in ICAO coming up with an effective system, after 2020.  AirportWatch].

A detailed Q&A document can be found here: MEMO/13/905

 http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-906_en.htm

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Diagram below shows the portions of flights that are covered under the proposed ETS system (this excludes flights from airlines not from developed countries).   Only some 35% of EU flights – which were covered under the original ETS proposal – are now included in the system.

ETS coverage of European airspace

 

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-905_en.htm

Below is a small extract from the above webpage:

3. Geographical scope of the Proposal for 2014 to 2020 emissions

3.1. What is the geographical scope of the proposal?

Concerning the period 2014 to 2020, the Commission proposes that the EU ETS would continue to fully cover emissions from all flights between airports in the EEA, including flights between airports in the EEA and airports in outermost regions of the EEA4.

In addition, flights between airports in the EEA and airports in third countries would generally be covered in proportion to the distance travelled within the European region. This proportion would cover the distance from 12 nm from the furthest point on the outer coastline of an EEA territory to the EEA aerodrome of departure or arrival with the exception of intermediate distances over third countries or sea areas between EEA Member States’ territories that exceed 400 nautical miles.

Flights between airports in the EEA and airports in least developed countries, low-income countries, and lower-middle income countries, which have a share of less than 1 % in international aviation, are proposed to be fully exempted from the EU ETS.

Emissions from flights between airports in outermost regions and third countries, and emissions from flights between airports in the EEA and EEA Member countries’ overseas countries and territories5, which are not part of the EEA, would not be covered.

The tables in Annex 1 provide an overview for the emissions coverage for all different types of flights.

3.2. In which ways do compliance obligations change for flights to and from third countries?

Flights on routes between airports in the EEA and airports in third countries would only be covered with regard to distance travelled within the EEA:

The proportional coverage for flights to and from third countries would include emissions over land and adjacent sea areas between EEA countries (Channel, Irish Sea, North Sea, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea, etc). However, it would exclude:

  1. emissions over any third country area (Switzerland, Kaliningrad, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania);
  2. emissions over further sea areas between Iceland and other EEA Member States; Azores and EEA Member States including mainland Portugal; Canaries and EEA Member States including mainland Spain;
  3. emissions over sea areas between mainland Europe and dependencies and territories, and over those dependencies and territories (e.g. Greenland and the seas between Greenland and mainland Europe, Faroe Islands and the seas between them and mainland Europe).

This approach would limit coverage to the emissions within the EEA and give equal treatment to flights over the regional European area whether they come from an EEA aerodrome or a third country. These exclusions are considered appropriate to make coverage more acceptable to third countries across the Atlantic because it only extend 12 nautical miles beyond the outer coastlines of UK, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal.

Furthermore, emissions from flights between the outermost regions of the Union as defined in Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and countries outside the EEA would be fully exempted.

Annex 2 contains a graph to illustrate the coverage of 3rd country flights.

3.3. Are there additional exemptions for flights to and from “developing states”?

Without prejudice to the global market-based measure applying from 2020, emissions from flights to and from countries which are developing countries and whose share of total revenue ton kilometres of international civil aviation activities is less than 1% would be exempted for the period 2014 to 2020. Countries considered to be developing for the purposes of this proposal should be those which benefit at the time of adoption of this proposal from preferential access to the Union market in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council, that is those which are not classified in 2013 by the World Bank as high-income or upper-middle income country or are a least developed country.

3.4. What are the changes for the period from 2014 to 2020 compared to obligations for 2012 emissions?

There are two changes compared to the coverage of 2012 emissions:

  1. Flights to and from third countries are covered in proportion to their distance travelled within the EEA (with the exception of flights to and from least developed countries and low income countries that remain fully exempted).
  2. Flights to and from Switzerland are only covered in proportion to their distance travelled within the European region.
  3. Flights to and from overseas countries and territories of EEA member countries are fully exempted.
  4. ……………. and there is a great deal more. At  http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-905_en.htm
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See also

European Commission proposes airspace approach for aviation and ETS 

16.10.2013

by Peter Liese (Rapporteur of the European Parliament, including Aviation in the Emission Trading Scheme)

European Parliament ready to compromise / Simply continuing the Stop the Clock cannot be the solution
 
On Wednesday, the European Commission presented its proposal for a change in the Directive for the inclusion of aviation in the European Emission Trading Scheme.

The reason for this change is that, two weeks ago, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreed to establish a global market-based system for the reduction of international aviation emissions until 2020.

The Commission proposes an airspace approach. “This approach is better than the current Stop the Clock because not only inter-European flights are included, but also flights to non-European countries, even if only for the part of the trip that takes place in European airspace. However, this is a very important point. A flight from Frankfurt or London to the new hub in Istanbul would be almost completely included. Under Stop the Clock, it is not included at all. The same is true for flights to the hubs in the Emirates, which are not included under Stop the Clock. Under the new regulation, at least half the trip would be included,” explained Peter Liese (EPP-Christian Democrats), rapporteur for the European Parliament for the inclusion of aviation in the European emission trading system.”

“The European Parliament will thoroughly examine the proposal and amend our regulation if need be. We have always said that the European Union is ready to negotiate. In my estimation, the European Parliament will not agree that, until 2020, we only include inter-European flights in the emission trading and even those flights not entirely, even if some member states should propose to do that. The inclusion of all flights taking off and landing in Europe for the part that they travel in European airspace is indispensable. This is a matter of fairness against European airlines and their competitive situation and the environment. 2

“If the European Parliament does not agree with the Council on a new legislative text by April, legislation as originally planned will come into force for intercontinental flights taking off and landing in Europe. This pressure medium remains”, concluded Liese.

http://www.eppgroup.eu/mep/16955

LIESE Peter <peter.liese@europarl.europa.eu>

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Grey day for environment as Europe reduces its aviation ETS coverage to only European airspace

The European Commission has, under intense international pressure, proposed to reduce its ETS for aviation to only cover flights in European airspace. The proposal would only cover 35% of aviation emissions compared to the original aviation EU ETS.  It would cover flights by all airlines, except from less developed countries, which contribute 1% or less of global aviation CO2. Bill Hemmings, aviation manager at Transport & Environment, said: “It is disgraceful that foreign and industry pressure has obliged Europe to shrink its own aviation emissions law to the bare minimum.” The EC’s text comes shortly after the conclusion of the ICAO triennial assembly, where delegates, in a political decision, finally agreed to talk about the details of a global market based measure for 2020 but rejected interim measures like the EU ETS. The current proposal would leave the vast bulk of EU aviation emissions – which come from long-haul flights – unregulated.  T&E urges  the European Parliament and Member States to include an option to extend the aviation emissions coverage of the ETS to a 50/50 basis in 2017.  
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Grey day for environment as Europe reduces its aviation emissions coverage

Brussels, 16 October  (Transport & Environment – T&E)

 
The European Commission today, under intense international pressure, proposed to reduce its Emissions Trading System (ETS) for aviation to only cover flights in European airspace. The proposal would only cover 35% of aviation emissions compared to the original aviation EU ETS.
 
Bill Hemmings, aviation manager at Transport & Environment, said: “It is disgraceful that foreign and industry pressure has obliged Europe to shrink its own aviation emissions law to the bare minimum. While aviation emissions are skyrocketing, Europe’s aviation climate measure has had its wings clipped. This is a grey day for the climate and for those that are serious about tackling aviation’s fast-growing warming impact.”
 
Aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector and the most climate-intensive form of transport. Aviation emissions have more than doubled in the last twenty years and the sector accounts for 5% of global warming.
 
The Commission’s text comes shortly after the conclusion of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) triennial assembly, where delegates, in a political decision, finally agreed to talk about the details of a global market based measure for 2020 but rejected interim measures like the EU ETS. The Commission’s proposal to restrict regulation to emissions in its airspace acknowledges the concerns of ICAO members but fails to include a fallback provision should the ICAO process fail to agree global implementation details in 2016.
 
In such a case the EU should make clear that it will regulate intercontinental flights on a 50/50 basis: the first 50% of any departing flight and the last 50% of any arriving flight. As it is, airspace leaves the vast bulk of EU aviation emissions – which come from long-haul flights – unregulated. On a global scale, 78% of aviation emissions would remain uncovered because of flights over international waters.
 
Aoife O’Leary, aviation policy officer, added: “The ICAO outcome on a global measure is full of holes, and many uncertainties about any deal in 2016 remain. In these circumstances, we urge the European Parliament and Member States to include an option to extend the aviation emissions coverage of the ETS to a 50/50 basis in 2017. Only then will regional measures, like the EU ETS, be environmentally effective.”
 
ENDS

From Transport & Environment

http://www.transportenvironment.org/newsroom

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Europa   EU   press releases

Brussels, 16 October 2013

Aviation emissions: Commission proposes applying EU ETS to European regional airspace from 1 January 2014

The European Commission today proposed amending the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) so that aviation emissions would be covered for the part of flights that takes place in European regional airspace. The adjustment in the legislation would apply from 1 January 2014 and until a planned global market-based mechanism (MBM) becomes applicable to international aviation emissions by 2020, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said: “In the light of the recent progress made at ICAO, not least thanks to Europe’s hard work and determination, the European Commission today has proposed to adjust the EU ETS so that emissions from the aviation sector would be covered for the part of flights that takes place in European regional airspace. The European Union has reduced greenhouse gas emissions considerably, and all the economic sectors are contributing to these efforts. The aviation sector also has to contribute, as aviation emission are increasing fast – doubling since 1990. I am confident that the European Parliament and the Council will move swiftly and approve this proposal without delay. With this proposal, Europe is taking the responsibility to reduce emissions within its own airspace until the global measure begins”

Key features

The key features of the revised ETS system resulting from this proposal would be as follows:

  • All emissions from flights between airports in the European Economic Area (EEA, covering the 28 EU Member States plus Norway and Iceland) would continue to be covered.
  • From 2014 to 2020, flights to and from countries outside the EEA would benefit from a general exemption for those emissions that take place outside EEA airspace. Only emissions from the part of flights taking place within EEA airspace would be covered.
  • To accommodate the special circumstances of developing countries, flights to and from third countries which are not developed countries and which emit less than 1% of global aviation emissions would benefit from a full exemption.

Next steps

The Commission would like to see the proposal agreed by the European Parliament and Council by March 2014 to provide clarity for aircraft operators, who would otherwise have to surrender allowances for their all emissions on flights in 2013 to and from third countries by 30 April 2014.

A detailed Q&A document can be found here: MEMO/13/905

 http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-906_en.htm

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Diagram below shows the portions of flights that are covered under the proposed ETS system (this excludes flights from airlines not from developed countries).   Only some 35% of EU flights – which were covered under the original ETS proposal – are now included in the system.

ETS coverage of European airspace

 

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-905_en.htm

Below is a small extract from the above webpage:

3. Geographical scope of the Proposal for 2014 to 2020 emissions

3.1. What is the geographical scope of the proposal?

Concerning the period 2014 to 2020, the Commission proposes that the EU ETS would continue to fully cover emissions from all flights between airports in the EEA, including flights between airports in the EEA and airports in outermost regions of the EEA4.

In addition, flights between airports in the EEA and airports in third countries would generally be covered in proportion to the distance travelled within the European region. This proportion would cover the distance from 12 nm from the furthest point on the outer coastline of an EEA territory to the EEA aerodrome of departure or arrival with the exception of intermediate distances over third countries or sea areas between EEA Member States’ territories that exceed 400 nautical miles.

Flights between airports in the EEA and airports in least developed countries, low-income countries, and lower-middle income countries, which have a share of less than 1 % in international aviation, are proposed to be fully exempted from the EU ETS.

Emissions from flights between airports in outermost regions and third countries, and emissions from flights between airports in the EEA and EEA Member countries’ overseas countries and territories5, which are not part of the EEA, would not be covered.

The tables in Annex 1 provide an overview for the emissions coverage for all different types of flights.

3.2. In which ways do compliance obligations change for flights to and from third countries?

Flights on routes between airports in the EEA and airports in third countries would only be covered with regard to distance travelled within the EEA:

The proportional coverage for flights to and from third countries would include emissions over land and adjacent sea areas between EEA countries (Channel, Irish Sea, North Sea, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea, etc). However, it would exclude:

  1. emissions over any third country area (Switzerland, Kaliningrad, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania);
  2. emissions over further sea areas between Iceland and other EEA Member States; Azores and EEA Member States including mainland Portugal; Canaries and EEA Member States including mainland Spain;
  3. emissions over sea areas between mainland Europe and dependencies and territories, and over those dependencies and territories (e.g. Greenland and the seas between Greenland and mainland Europe, Faroe Islands and the seas between them and mainland Europe).

This approach would limit coverage to the emissions within the EEA and give equal treatment to flights over the regional European area whether they come from an EEA aerodrome or a third country. These exclusions are considered appropriate to make coverage more acceptable to third countries across the Atlantic because it only extend 12 nautical miles beyond the outer coastlines of UK, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal.

Furthermore, emissions from flights between the outermost regions of the Union as defined in Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and countries outside the EEA would be fully exempted.

Annex 2 contains a graph to illustrate the coverage of 3rd country flights.

3.3. Are there additional exemptions for flights to and from “developing states”?

Without prejudice to the global market-based measure applying from 2020, emissions from flights to and from countries which are developing countries and whose share of total revenue ton kilometres of international civil aviation activities is less than 1% would be exempted for the period 2014 to 2020. Countries considered to be developing for the purposes of this proposal should be those which benefit at the time of adoption of this proposal from preferential access to the Union market in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council, that is those which are not classified in 2013 by the World Bank as high-income or upper-middle income country or are a least developed country.

3.4. What are the changes for the period from 2014 to 2020 compared to obligations for 2012 emissions?

There are two changes compared to the coverage of 2012 emissions:

  1. Flights to and from third countries are covered in proportion to their distance travelled within the EEA (with the exception of flights to and from least developed countries and low income countries that remain fully exempted).
  2. Flights to and from Switzerland are only covered in proportion to their distance travelled within the European region.
  3. Flights to and from overseas countries and territories of EEA member countries are fully exempted.
  4. ……………. and there is a great deal more. At  http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-905_en.htm

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See also

European Commission proposes applying EU ETS only to European regional airspace from 1 January 2014

Date added: October 16, 2013

The European Commission has proposed amending the ETS so that aviation emissions would be covered just for the part of flights that takes place in European regional airspace (including over the North Sea or Mediterranean). The adjustment in the legislation would apply from 1 January 2014 and until a planned global market-based mechanism (MBM) becomes applicable to international aviation emissions by 2020, according to ICAO. European Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, said “Europe is taking the responsibility to reduce emissions within its own airspace until the global measure begins’. Also that the aviation sector, like other sectors, has to contribute to cuts in EU carbon emissions, as aviation emission are increasing fast – doubling since 1990. The proposal needs to be agreed by the European Parliament and the Counci, before April 2014. The proposal covers all CO2 emissions from flights between airports in the European Economic Area (EEA), including Norway and Iceland. Parts of flights outside the EEA are not covered, and flights of developing countries – of which their aviation emissions are less than 1% of the global whole – are not included.

Click here to view full story…


 

and more information about the ETS at

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MPs warn the Government not to water down UK’s long-term climate change targets in 2014 review of 4th carbon budget

At a meeting on 7th October, RSPB asked Sir Howard Davies whether environmental concerns were being used to filter the 58 proposals received by the Commission, Sir Howard stated clearly that any proposal not meeting the standard would be ruled out. The RSPB welcome this statement,  and believe that rules out a Thames Estuary airport. However they remain concerned that Sir Howard seems to believe aviation expansion in the south east is still likely, even though it could compromise agreements to reduce CO2 emissions. On the 7th October there was also a meeting of Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee, chaired by Joan Walley. She said  “Emissions are currently not falling fast enough to prevent a dangerous destabilisation of the global climate in the coming decades. It would be incredibly short-sighted to slacken our carbon budgets now.”  The Committee has found that the UK’s existing carbon budgets represent the minimum level of emissions reduction required to avoid a global 2 degrees temperature rise – and the UK’s leading climate scientists did not believe loosening the budgets was warranted by the science.

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8.10.2013 (RSPB)

Damaging airports ruled out by aviation Tsar, but Sir Howard Davies backs expansion

The RSPB has welcomed a statement from Sir Howard Davies, Chairman of the Airports Commission, ruling out airport proposals which would be environmentally damaging.

However, the conservation charity is concerned that the former CBI head believes aviation expansion in the south east is still likely; even though it could compromise agreements to reduce carbon emissions.

Eleven months in to his review of aviation demand and supply in the south east, Sir Howard has laid out his current thinking ahead of the publication of his interim report due out in December. Mr Davies joked that politicians were extremely grateful that he and not they are responsible for recommending ways to meet the pressure for aviation expansion within the UK target of 80% emissions by 2050.

Asked directly if environmental concerns were being used to filter the 58 proposals received by the Commission, Sir Howard stated clearly that any proposal not meeting the standard would be ruled out.

Chris Corrigan, RSPB Regional Director for the south east, says: “Sir Howard’s stance clearly rules-out a Thames Estuary option as its is at the top end of impact to the natural environment. We will continue to argue the case for no estuary airport.”

Sir Howard’s speech came on the same day that the Government’s Environmental Audit Committee met and warned Ministers they must be act now to avoid missing carbon emission targets. Joan Walley, chair of the Committee, said: “Emissions are currently not falling fast enough to prevent a dangerous destabilisation of the global climate in the coming decades. It would be incredibly short-sighted to slacken our carbon budgets now.”  [See details below].

Chris Corrigan added: “Like MP’s, I do not envy Sir Howard his mission. The RSPB will continue to offer guidance, and help deliver continued development of the Thames Estuary and the south east in ways which support and improve the natural world for wildlife, our communities and the economy.”

Ends

Tim Webb, RSPB London Communications Manager, on tim.webb@rspb.org.uk.

 

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Don’t water down climate targets, Government warned

08 October 2013
 (House of Commons, Environmental Audit Committee)

MPs have warned the Government not to water down the UK’s long-term climate change targets in next year’s review of the fourth carbon budget (covering 2023-2027).

In light of recent climate science, the Committee examined whether the emissions restrictions in the carbon budgets are still valid as an appropriate UK contribution to tackling climate change. It found that the UK’s existing carbon budgets represent the minimum level of emissions reduction required to avoid a global 2 degrees temperature rise  – regarded as a dangerous threshold – and that the UK’s leading climate scientists did not believe loosening the budgets was warranted by the science.

Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee Joan Walley MP:

“Some commentators are intent on spinning recent developments in climate science to suggest we can relax our efforts to cut carbon, in the mistaken belief that this would be better for our economy.”

“Given that emissions are currently not falling fast enough to prevent a dangerous destabilisation of the global climate in the coming decades it would be incredibly short-sighted to slacken our carbon budgets now.”

“The UK’s leading climate scientists are saying loud and clear that there is no scientific case for watering down our long term emissions reduction targets. And the recent IPCC report echoes that message. Policy-makers must listen.”

The report also looks at progress towards meeting existing and future carbon budgets.

The current (2008-2012) and second (2013-2017) carbon budgets will be easily met because of the recession. But the UK is not on track to meet the third (2018-22) and fourth budgets (2023-2027), because not enough progress is being made in decarbonising transport, buildings and heat production.

The report warns that arrangements for managing and reporting progress against carbon budgets have not been working properly. The Government’s Carbon Plan – which set milestones for five key Government Departments to cut carbon – is out of date. Quarterly progress reports against milestones have not been published as promised and current departmental business plans are not aligned with the plan.

Joan Walley MP added:

“The Government’s current carbon plan seems to have been cobbled together merely to meet the legal requirement under the Climate Change Act. We want to see this become a working document that is fully aligned with Departmental Business Plans with meaningful milestones measured on a quarterly basis and an oversight board that is properly empowered to hold Departments to account.”

“The Government should be introducing innovative policies now to ensure that Britain is well on the way to going green by the middle of the 2020s. Ministers need to show much more vision now on how we can cut waste, improve our public transport and insulate more homes and businesses from rising fossil fuel costs. If we leave these changes for another ten years it will become much more expensive to meet our climate change targets and we will be left behind by successful green countries like Germany.”

The Green Deal is the Government’s key energy efficiency policy supposed to help meet our carbon budgets, but low take-up rates so far shows that there may be significant non-financial barriers as well as financial issues holding homeowners back from signing up. Statisics updated since the Committee agreed its report (paragraph 51) show that only 12 Green Deals have gone ‘live’ so far, with a further 293 households signed up to the scheme. Back in March Greg Barker predicted 10,000 households would be signed up to the scheme by the end of the year. The report urges the Government to urgently review the barriers in time to introduce new financial incentives in the Autumn Statement 2013 to bolster take up rates.

The Government should set a 2030 decarbonisation target for the power sector now, rather than in 2016 as the Energy Bill sets out.  The Government should also reconsider placing a statutory duty on local authorities to produce low-carbon plans for their area and work to ensure that all local authorities are measuring and reporting on their emissions.

The carbon budgets are made up of a traded sector element, achieved through the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) covering power generation and heavy industries, and a non-traded sector element covering road transport, agriculture, buildings, waste, achieved through UK domestic policies. The current low-carbon price in the EU ETS – the result of the economic downturn of recent years and over-allocation of emissions permits – means that that scheme will not deliver the emissions reductions envisaged when the fourth carbon budget was set. Without any tightening of the EU ETS increased pressure will therefore be placed on the non-traded sector, which will have to produce further emissions reductions to cover the emerging gap left by the traded sector.

The report calls on the Government to:

  • Commit to not-loosening the fourth carbon budget.
  • Identify when it will come up with key policy initiatives to bridge this gap and reduce emissions in the non-traded sector in the fourth carbon budget.
  • State how it plans to strengthen the EU ETS in conjunction with the European Commission.

 

Background information

The Government is required under the Climate Change Act 2008 – passed with cross party support – to set a series of five-year carbon budgets to restrict cumulative carbon emissions over the coming decades to safe levels, reducing emissions by at least 34% by 2020 and by at least 80% by 2050 (against a 1990 baseline).

Since the Committee agreed its report in September, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change’s ‘working group 1’ has published its own report, which reinforces the imperative to urgently tackle climate change identified by the Committee.

The latest statistics on the take up of the Green Deal, published by DECC each month, have updated the figures published at paragraph 51 in the Committee’s report. The statistics are here.

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news/progress-on-carbon-budgets-report-published/

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UK international aviation (cf. domestic flights within UK) is not even covered by the UK’s carbon budgets.  And in that unsatisfactory situation, the Airports Commission is having to consider whether we can hugely increase UK aviation.  That is not compatible with what Joan Walley is saying, above.

 

See

Government fails to properly include international aviation in UK carbon budgets – decision put off till 2016

19.12.2012

The government was legally required to make a statement to Parliament by the end of December on whether it will include CO2 emissions from international aviation and shipping (IAS) in the UK’s climate target under the Climate Change Act. Today Ed Davey went against the advice from the Committee on Climate Change, and postponed the decision, using some ambiguous wording. His exact words were that the government “is deferring a firm decision on whether to include international aviation and shipping emissions within the UK’s net carbon account” and that it “will revisit this issue when setting the fifth Carbon Budget (2028 – 2032).” ie. in 2016, which is after the next general election. IAS will continue to be excluded from the first 4 carbon budgets, which run until 2027. The Chancellor and many Conservatives are reluctant to do anything that can be seen as strengthening environmental regulations. If the greenhouse gases from IAS were included in the UK targets, other sectors, including electricity generation and industry, would have to make steeper cuts in their emissions. Government justifies its postponement by arguing that there is uncertainty about the EU ETS at present, and also whether there just might be progress on a global aviation carbon scheme through ICAO in 2013. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=97.

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WWF: ICAO forgoes immediate emissions reductions for only promise of a future global plan

In their response to the disappointing outcome of the ICAO negotiations on curbing global aviation emissions, WWF said ICAO had missed the opportunity to start reducing emissions immediately. They have only committed to possibly agree an MBM in 2016, to come into effect in 2020. There is no guarantee they will agree it.  This means little will be done before 2020. WWF said the science is clearer than ever – and 2020 is too late.  Jean Leston, Transport Policy Officer of WWF-UK, said: “The world has waited 16 years for ICAO to demonstrate its serious commitment to reducing aviation emissions. What we got today seems a very small return for that effort. We expect a lot more ambition and commitment from ICAO over the next three years if a global, market-based mechanism is ever going to materialize. …..By essentially restricting the EU’s ETS for aviation to its own carriers and airspace, ICAO has handicapped the world’s leading legislation to put a price on aviation pollution and once again allowed skyrocketing emissions to continue climbing.” With the IPCC saying we need to cut CO2, leaders need to be taking every opportunity to do so.  

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WWF: ICAO Forgoes Immediate Emissions Reductions for Promise of a Future Global Plan

MONTREAL (October 4, 2013)

Delegates to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) today promised to start work on developing a global, market based measure (MBM) to reduce aviation emissions beginning in 2020, but in doing so missed the opportunity to start reducing emissions immediately and contribute to closing the ambition gap before 2020.

“The science is clearer than ever – 2020 is too late,” said Samantha Smith, WWF leader of the Global Climate & Energy Initiative.  “Right after the recent IPCC release, this was the first chance for governments in ICAO to take decisive action, and they failed.”

“The world has waited 16 years for ICAO to demonstrate its serious commitment to reducing aviation emissions,” said Jean Leston, Transport Policy Officer of WWF-UK. “What we got today seems a very small return for that effort. We expect a lot more ambition and commitment from ICAO over the next three years if a global, market-based mechanism is ever going to materialize.”

“While ICAO delegates and the airline industry will be crowing about the significant progress they have made this week, the reality is that today’s decision does nothing to reduce emissions in the short term. By essentially restricting the EU’s Emissions Trading System for aviation to its own carriers and airspace, ICAO has handicapped the world’s leading legislation to put a price on aviation pollution and once again allowed skyrocketing emissions to continue climbing.”

“Today’s decision commits delegates only to the possibility of an MBM agreement in by 2016. There is no guarantee. At a time when the world’s leading climate scientists are telling us that that climate change is real and is happening faster than expected, international leaders must capitalize on every immediate opportunity to ratchet down emissions.”

http://www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/press_centre/?uNewsID=6831

 

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see also

EU Emissions Trading System reduced to only intra-European flights

Date added: October 4, 2013

The EU was defeated in its efforts to have ICAO recognise its right to continue charging aviation in its own market-based mechanism, the ETS. Earlier this month the EU offered to exclude emissions emitted outside EU airspace from being covered by the ETS in exchange for a deal at ICAO. Even this did not happen. “ICAO is going even beyond what the Chicago Convention allows,” said Bill Hemmings of campaign group T&E. “They’re telling the EU what it can do in its own airspace.” A spokesperson for the Commission said the EU would have to consider its next steps. Any change to the ETS scope, whether to exclude non-EU airspace or to go further and exclude all foreign airlines, would need approval from member states and the European Parliament. The European aviation industry would be likely to fiercely resist any move to exclude foreign airlines but leave them included, as it would raise competitiveness concerns. Green MEPs reacted with dismay to the ICAO outcome. “The international aviation organisation (ICAO) is both seeking to block EU action and once more stalling on urgently-needed international measures”.   Click here to view full story…

 

Weak ICAO aviation emissions deal with action delayed till at least 2016 strikes harsh blow to EU ETS

Date added: October 4, 2013

The ICAO talks in Montreal are now closed. ICAO cobbled together a weak resolution, that lays the foundation for a Market Based Measure (MBM) perhaps some time in future. This is to be brought to the next ICAO Assembly in 2016. ie more years of delay. The resolution states that, if an agreement on a global MBM is decided upon at the next Assembly, it must be implemented by 2020 – the year after which any growth within the industry must be carbon neutral. Jean Leston, Transport Policy Manager at WWF-UK, said: “There is nothing in this resolution that guarantees an MBM. All we’ve got is a decision to develop one over the next 3 years and then that has to go to Assembly for agreement in 2016.” Bill Hemmings, aviation manager at Transport & Environment, said, “The EU put its faith in the ICAO process, and because of unacceptable weakening and delay, this faith has now been shattered.” The ICAO agreement has also decimated the EU’s ETS, which has been reduced to the bare minimum. The EU can now only impose its ETS on flights that both depart and land from within its own airspace. For aircraft emissions emitted in EU airspace by planes that have come from outside the EU, this can only be done with the consent of the other country.   Click here to view full story…

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And from ATW (Air Transport World):

4.10.2013

“The agreement also puts in place a fair and equitable solution that respects the special circumstances and respective capabilities in which a number of countries find themselves. Aviation accounts for 3% of global CO2 emissions but ICAO statistics show that international aviation CO2 emissions are forecast to increase between four and six times by 2050 from the levels of 2010.”

EC VP Transport Siim Kallas said, “Faced with a huge responsibility, this Assembly has set the agenda for world aviation for the years to come. The EU can take pride in our role in the achievements in all areas ranging from safety, to security, air traffic management and economic regulation. On aviation emissions, this is a landmark deal. It is good news for the travelling public, good news for the aviation industry and most importantly it is good news for the planet.”

The ICAO emissions resolution permits countries or groups of countries, within certain parameters, to deploy their own MBMs in the interim if they choose. But it prevents the EU from expanding its ETS to include foreign carriers until the global scheme is in place, a contentious issue that the EC appears to have backed away from as a concession to enabling a global aviation MBM scheme.

 

http://atwonline.com/eco-aviation/icao-assembly-reaches-aviation-emissions-accord

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Weak ICAO aviation emissions deal with action delayed till at least 2016 strikes harsh blow to EU ETS

The ICAO talks in Montreal are now closed.  ICAO cobbled together a weak resolution, that lays the foundation for a Market Based Measure (MBM) perhaps some time in future.  This is to be brought to the next ICAO Assembly in 2016.  ie more years of delay. The resolution states that, if an agreement on a global MBM is decided upon at the next Assembly, it must be implemented by 2020 – the year after which any growth within the industry must be carbon neutral.  Jean Leston, Transport Policy Manager at WWF-UK, said: “There is nothing in this resolution that guarantees an MBM. All we’ve got is a decision to develop one over the next 3 years and then that has to go to Assembly for agreement in 2016.” Bill Hemmings, aviation manager at Transport & Environment, said, “The EU put its faith in the ICAO process, and because of unacceptable weakening and delay, this faith has now been shattered.” The ICAO agreement has also decimated the EU’s ETS, which has been reduced to the  bare minimum.  The EU can now only impose its ETS on flights that both depart and land from within its own airspace.   For aircraft emissions emitted in EU airspace by planes that have come from outside the EU, this can only be done with the consent of the other country.
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UN aviation emissions deal strikes harsh blow to EU trading scheme

4 October 2013  (RTCC – Responding to Climate Change)

UN deal sets emissions reduction scheme in motion, but EU trading scheme crushed in series of vitriolic negotiations

Souce: Flickr / Vyacheslav Bondaruk

By Sophie Yeo

The UN’s aviation body voted on a resolution today that lays the foundations of a market based mechanism (MBM) to curb emissions, at the same time as laying waste to the EU’s own emissions trading scheme.

After a heated debate in Montreal yesterday, ICAO resolved on a text that instructs states to develop a global market based mechanism to be brought to the next General Assembly, which will take place in 2016.

This was finally approved today after a week of intense negotiations, which observers have called “unprecedented” within ICAO.

Many consider this a positive step forward: the issue of how to implement an MBM has been one of the central points of contention since the Kyoto Protocol instructed the UN aviation body to come up with a way to regulate the emissions of the industry back in 1997.

Despite on-going discussions and long term efforts by the EU to broker an environmentally effective deal, there are countries on the other side of the debate that have shown scant willingness to compromise.

The resolution states that, if an agreement on a global MBM is decided upon at the next Assembly, it must be implemented by 2020 – the year after which any growth within the industry must be carbon neutral. It is a deadline which puts added pressure on ICAO to reach an agreement by 2016.

Annie Petsonk from EDF, speaking from Montreal, emphasises that in many ways this is a step forward for the agency.

She tells RTCC, “They’ve set upon a timetable for the negotiation of it. They’re gone quite a way with developing a set of principles of it. We think all those things are very significant.

“Are they a giant leap? No, because it’s just initiating talks and we’ve seen talks be initiated in ICAO before, but these have a time-bound deadline of the next ICAO assembly and there’s been quite a lot of technical work done, so they have a good foundation on which to proceed.”

For some, this deadline of 2016 isn’t soon enough. Emissions from aviation are responsible for 4.9% of manmade climate change, and these are growing faster than any other mode of transport. If unmitigated, these emissions are projected to double or even triple by 2050.

A recent paper by David Lee from Manchester Metropolitan University showed that implementing a market based mechanism quickly was the best way to minimise global warming.

Jean Leston, Transport Policy Manager at WWF-UK, tells RTCC: “There is nothing in this resolution that guarantees an MBM. All we’ve got is a decision to develop one over the next three years and then that has to go to Assembly for agreement in 2016.”

Bill Hemmings, aviation manager at Transport & Environment, said, ““The EU put its faith in the ICAO process, and because of unacceptable weakening and delay, this faith has now been shattered. The science is crystal clear – we can no longer afford to procrastinate if we want to reverse the effects of man-made climate change.”

EU ETS

Negotiations began on Thursday last week, but when countries failed to reach a consensus they were pushed forward to recommence last Wednesday, after a weekend of informal bilateral conversations.

Those speaking to RTCC from the sidelines of the negotiations in Montreal highlight that it has not been an easy week. Emotions have been running high, with the EU in particular taking a beating from countries that are opposed to its regional emissions trading scheme (ETS) proposal.

The final agreement was a considerable blow to the EU’s regional scheme, reducing it to the bare minimum, and going beyond the compromise that the EU had already put on the table last month.

Under the new resolution, the EU may only impose its ETS on flights that both depart and land from within its own airspace.

If it wants to trade the emissions emitted over its own airspace by aircrafts that have come from outside of the EU, it may now only do so with the consent of the other country.

“Certainly yesterday morning saw scenes here I don’t think ICAO has ever seen before,” says Leston. “There was just an incredible outpouring of dislike of the EU ETS, very aggressive interventions from a lot of states, and an almost overwhelming antipathy towards the ETS. You could really smell blood in the room.”

Petsonk adds: “There is clearly an effort to try to push back on a state’s ability to implement a national and regional MBM, and we regarded that as half a step back.”

Leston says that, although this is a blow to the EU, she believes that it will have much to contribute as the global MBM is developed.

She says, “We’ve seen the environmental leader brought down by the pack, but I think once the dust has settled the EU still has a lot to offer in international negotiations.

“This is the only system that’s up and running, and proves that cap-and-trade can work. In the next three years there’s going to be a lot of work to design and develop an MBM, and the EU experience is going to be vital in helping to deliver an MBM.”

Reservations

Another reservation to the final text was the concern shown for “common but differentiated responsibilities” shown within the resolution, which excludes states with less than a 1% share of total civil international aviation activities – a principle enshrined within the UNFCCC, but excluded from the Chicago Convention, which established the modern aviation industry.

Excluding these countries would ultimately make an aviation deal less effective, as it would exempt all but around 20 of the world’s countries from taking part in the global trading scheme.

The large scale disagreement over the issue of equity bodes ill for negotiations between developed and developing states at the upcoming UN climate talks in both Warsaw this November and Paris in 2015, for which the ICAO discussions are an important precursor.

Leston told RTCC, “I think we would have really liked to see more progress on the ground here in Montreal, going forwards into the COP in Warsaw through to Paris, because a positive outcome from ICAO would have been a really positive force for the good going into the UNFCCC climate talks.

“The fact that we’ve had such a tiny step forward and we’ve seen so much division between developing and developed countries over highly politicised issues such as common but differentiated responsibilities really does not bode well for the future climate talks.

“International negotiations really must move beyond entrenched positions if we’re ever to solve climate change. The more states act out of self-interest and seek not to take action, the more trouble we’re headed for in the future.”

http://www.rtcc.org/2013/10/04/un-aviation-emissions-deal-strikes-harsh-blow-to-eu-trading-scheme/

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By contrast, Connie Hedegaard, EU Climate Commissioner, tried to put a brave face on a bad result:

 

“The EU’s hard work has paid off. After so many years of talks, ICAO has finally agreed to the first-ever global deal to curb aviation emissions”

04/10/2013

Airplane in blue sky © Stockbyte/John Foxx

The European Commission today welcomed the decision by the UN Assembly responsible for International Civil Aviation (ICAO) to decide on a global mechanism to tackle emissions from aviation. The Assembly has agreed to develop by 2016 a global market based mechanism to tackle emissions, which can come into force in 2020. The market based mechanism will be accompanied by a series of technical and operational measures to reduce emissions. With this deal, the aviation industry becomes the first international transport sector to apply a global market-based mechanism to reduce their emissions.

EU Climate Change Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, said: ”The EU’s hard work has paid off. After so many years of talks, ICAO has finally agreed to the first-ever global deal to curb aviation emissions. If it hadn’t been for the EU’s hard work and determination, we wouldn’t have got this decision today to create a global market-based measure. What matters to us is that the aviation sector also contributes to our efforts to reduce emissions. While we would have liked more countries to accept our regional scheme, progress was made overall and we will now factor this in when, together with the member states and the European Parliament, we decide on the way forward with the EU ETS.”

The Agreement

The UN Assembly has agreed to develop, by 2016, a global MBM for international aviation that can start in 2020. Until then countries or groups of countries should – within certain parameters – be able to deploy MBMs.

The market based measures will go hand in hand with new procedures to promote more advanced technology, including the use of better alternative aviation fuels and to promote better procedures, including in the area of air navigation.

The agreement also puts in place a fair and equitable solution that respects the special circumstances and respective capabilities in which a number of countries find themselves.

Aviation accounts for 3% of global CO2 emissions but ICAO statistics show that international aviation CO2 emissions are forecast to increase between 4 and 6 times by 2050 from the levels of 2010.

What happens next?

In the light of this agreement, the European Commission,, in coordination with the European Parliament and the EU Member States, will now assess the decision taken today at ICAO in more detail before deciding on the next steps with respect to the EU ETS.

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/hedegaard/headlines/news/2013-10-04_01_en.htm

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U.N. Aviation Body Agrees on Emissions Deal

By Valerie Volcovici and Barbara Lewis MONTREAL/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The United Nations’ civil aviation body has reached outline agreement on a global scheme to curb airline carbon emissions, casting a shadow over a rival EU plan to lower pollution from planes.

Reuters

 

By Valerie Volcovici and Barbara Lewis

MONTREAL/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The United Nations’ civil aviation body has reached outline agreement on a global scheme to curb airline carbon emissions, casting a shadow over a rival EU plan to lower pollution from planes.

The executive committee of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreed late on Thursday on a roadmap to create the world’s first global, market-based scheme by 2020.

The full assembly of ICAO delegates still has to vote later on Friday on the plan, which would also need agreement on further detail at the next ICAO general assembly in three years.

The European Union had sought a much more robust agreement as well as a framework to shore up its own Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) which is central to its climate policy and requires all airlines using EU airports to pay for emissions.

Analysts say the European Parliament, which is opposed to a weak deal, could reject the Montreal package, risking an upsurge in trade war threats that pitched the European Union against the rest of the world last year.

The United States, together with emerging powers such as India and China, have been the most critical of the extension of ETS to airlines, saying it is a breach of sovereignty and a global alternative is needed.

U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern welcomed the Montreal deal.

“After some very challenging discussions, including compromises by all parties, ICAO has made a strong commitment in favor of taking multilateral action to tackle climate change,” he said.

European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the deal showed “the EU’s hard work is paying off”.

“We will now look at how to proceed up to 2020 with our EU ETS,” she said in a statement.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one EU official admitted its negotiating delegation in Montreal was bruised.

Analysts said the deal limited the ETS to intra-EU flights, reducing its coverage by about 60 percent, and risked more legal challenges to the scheme on competition grounds.

Low-cost airlines, operating almost exclusively EU flights, have already begun legal proceedings.

“It would appear that none of the EU red lines, spelt out unequivocally at the time of granting the ‘stop the clock’ derogation (suspension), will be met by the outcome,” John Hanlon, secretary general of the European Low Fares Airline Association, told Reuters.

“The EU compromise offer of inclusion of emissions from international flights in EU airspace looks to be rejected in its entirety. This leaves intra-EU ETS totally ineffective environmentally, capturing only a fraction of EU aviation emissions of CO2.”

TRADE WAR THREATS

When the European Union suspended its aviation law for a year, it said the requirement for all aviation, not just internal EU flights, to pay for emissions would be reimposed automatically unless the ICAO agrees a robust market-based measure.

The ETS, which covers big polluters such as power generators and heavy industry, as well as aviation, has sunk this year to record low levels under a burden of surplus allowances.

It was trading down 0.4 percent at 5.18 euros a tonne by 9:22 a.m. ET.

Traders said the market impact was modest because the aviation sector’s inclusion in the ETS was already reduced, but it sent a very weak signal on any potential to extend the ETS.

The European Parliament will have to act quickly if it is to endorse any extension of the European Commission’s decision to “stop the clock” on its law in time for an April 2014 deadline when the European Commission would resume demanding carbon allowances.

German Christian Democrat politician Peter Liese, who steered the original law through the European Parliament and led the debate on the “stop the clock” law, said he could not comment immediately on Friday.

(Additional reporting by Tom Koerkemeier in Brussels, Gerard Wynn and Ben Garside in London; Editing by Christopher Wilson and David Cowell)

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=un-aviation-body-agrees-on-emissions

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Concern at ICAO talks that Britain, France and Germany are prepared to water down EU’s position on aviation emissions

As the climate talks in Montreal drag on, with a draft text expected this Friday or Saturday, it appears there could be an impact of some of the US negotiators having to fly home – as being government employees, their offices have been closed down due to lack of funding. The US has been one of the biggest obstacles to finding an agreement, so the absence of some may have a positive impact.  A very weak draft deal presented this week has been described as a “dream come true” for airlines. It will not allow the EU to cover overflights – flights that do not land or take off from somewhere in the EU – without mutual agreement. This would mean the ETS could only cover sovereign airspace and not regional airspace as previously announced. It appears that the UK, France and Germany are prepared to water down the EU’s position as a way to strike a global deal, afraid of a trade war. There is concern that this would damage the whole ETS and not be agreed by the European Parliament.
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US govt shutdown could accelerate aviation emission agreement

 2 October 2013 (RTCC)
US delegation head home, but analysts warn current deal on table is not ambitious enough and will be a ‘hollow’ agreement
By Nilima Choudhury
The absence of key US negotiators due to the government shutdown may ensure a more ambitious aviation emissions deal is agreed in Montreal this week say analysts.
The Obama administration closed down all non-essential operations on Tuesday after Congress failed to agree a new budget deal.
“The US shutdown is actually good because half of the US has had to fly home apparently and the weaker the US aviation the better for the climate so that’s kind of a nice benefit,” said Aoife O’Leary from NGO Transport & Environment, who is in Montreal.
“The US has been leading all the negative charge on this and they’re getting exactly what they want at the moment and even the countries that have been quite moderate in ICAO [have] joined in line behind the US. So it’s looking pretty bleak.”
It’s currently unclear how many of the US delegation have departed. RTCC has asked the State Department to confirm how many (if any) have left.
The UN-sponsored talks at ICAO involve envoys from 190 countries are aimed at developing a market based mechanism (MBM) for the global aviation industry that would reduce emissions.
The US has been historically opposed to any such deal, and vehemently opposed EU efforts in 2012 to unilaterally place all flights in and out of Europe under its own emissions trading scheme (ETS).
Weak proposals
The EU has been pushing for ambitious deal to impose a carbon tax on all airlines using its airspace, but a draft deal presented this week suggests that was optimistic.
Described as a “dream come true” for airlines by O’Leary, it will not allow the EU to cover overflights – flights that do not land or take off from somewhere in the EU – without mutual agreement. This would mean the ETS could only cover sovereign airspace and not regional airspace as previously announced.
The draft text is expected to be finalised either Friday or Saturday this week.
“It is not clear yet how the EU would deal with this,” said O’Leary, “because it would make a big mess of the ETS. Unfortunately it seems that this will be the text that the majority agree to in the end.”
An alleged breach of airspace is one of the main objections by other countries.
“The argument all along about the ETS is it violates other countries sovereignty because we’re regulating the carbon emitted on someone else’s runway which is bullshit because nobody else was ever going to regulate that carbon anyway and it’s not like they’re particularly attached to that carbon – they don’t want anyone to do it,” said O’Leary.
“Even if every country in the world created their own airspace regime 78% of aviation emissions would still be unregulated due to the huge amount of carbon that is emitted over the high seas.”
Carbon budget
These talks have gained added significance this week with the release this week of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.
It warned the world can absorb approximately 1000GT of greenhouse gases — of which humans have already used up about two thirds.
Countries are expected to discuss the ‘budget’ at next month’s UN climate talks in Warsaw, but with aviation emissions expected to rise rapidly between now at 2050, the ICAO talks are seen as hugely important.
Some scientists say pollution from planes could be more damaging to the environment because of the altitude they are released, meaning carbon dioxide at that height could have greater ‘radiative forcing’.
Speaking from Montreal, WWF transport policy manager Jean Leston said any sense of urgency was “completely lacking”.
She added: “Given the level of dissention I’ve seen on the ground here, it’s going to be a very uphill task if you’re ever going to get an MBM.
 http://www.rtcc.org/2013/10/02/us-govt-shutdown-could-accelerate-aviation-emission-agreement/#sthash.3EZ8TUJh.dpuf

 

Top EU powers backing down over aviation emissions

By Barbara Lewis and Valerie Volcovici
BRUSSELS/MONTREAL, Oct 2 (Reuters) -
Britain, France and Germany are prepared to water down the EU’s position on aviation emissions as a way to strike a global deal, after some regions threatened a trade war when the EU imposed restrictions on its own, sources close to the talks said.
But the sources said the shift could jeopardise the EU’s carbon trading scheme – the central plank of its climate policy – and put the three countries on a collision course with the European Parliament, which could reintroduce the EU emissions restrictions if it is not happy with a global deal.
“These three countries – France, Germany and Britain – are putting the whole deal at stake,” one of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is meeting in Montreal to try to resolve the global row, which was sparked when the EU introduced a law making airlines using EU airports pay for their carbon emissions. Two weeks of talks are slated to end on Friday.
The outcome will have implications for international relations, aviation competitiveness and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which is already struggling under a burden of surplus carbon allowances.
The EU introduced its law after a decade of ICAO talks failed to reach a deal on aviation emissions, which account for 5 percent of global warming, according to U.N. data, and are expected to triple by 2050.
But, after international outrage, the bloc agreed to suspend for one year its law for intercontinental flights.
Sources close to the matter said Britain, France and Germany – which represent some of the EU’s biggest aviation interests, including IAG, Airbus, Deutsche Lufthansa and Air France-KLM – were instrumental in agreeing to the delay, and were ready to back down again.
While the three powers dominate the European Council of member states, they have less influence in the European Parliament, which has said it needs a strong deal.
NEARLY 200 COUNTRIES TO APPEASE
Negotiators from 191 countries are debating a global market-based measure by 2020, plus a framework on regional schemes for the interim.
That proposal was supported by the 36-member ICAO governing council in early September as the basis for talks at the ICAO general assembly, which concludes on Friday.
The framework is needed to allow the EU ETS, the only existing regional scheme that applies to foreign carriers, to continue to function until 2020.
Parts of the framework for what will transpire between now and 2020 have drawn fierce opposition from the United States, Singapore, Russia, Brazil and emerging economies.
Michel Wachenheim, France’s ICAO representative and president of the two-week assembly, unveiled a revised negotiating text Wednesday morning with drastically watered-down framework language.
Wachenheim tried to mesh input from key nations and blocs of countries he met with over the past five days, especially surrounding concerns about the framework for interim measures.
The new text says that “mutual consent” is needed if a regional scheme is found to cover flights that do not depart or land within that region, or if the scheme is “intended to cover any portion of those flights beyond the national airspaces of the States concerned.”
The revised text also tried to address festering concerns about which countries would be exempt from complying with regional schemes.
The United States had suggested an approach which appears in the new text, exempting airlines based on routes rather than country, and based on a hard number of so-called “revenue ton kilometers” (RTKs) that gets reduced each year after 2014. That would replace an earlier plan to exempt countries that account for less than 1 percent of global RTKs.
Englebert Zoa Etundi, Cameroon’s representative to ICAO, who represents the African bloc of negotiators, told Reuters last week that the 1 percent threshold was necessary to protect African air passengers and Africa’s burgeoning airline industry.
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY
Britain and Germany declined to say whether they backed a watered down deal, while the French government was not immediately available to comment.
“The UK is continuing to work closely with EU and international partners to achieve an ambitious package toward a global market-based aviation emissions measure by 2020, plus a framework on regional schemes which allows the EU ETS to continue to function in the interim,” Britain’s department of energy and climate change said.
An EU official said ICAO’s executive committee continues to debate the text, and may vote on the changes on Thursday. Should the text win committee approval it would be sent to the entire plenary for approval on Friday – in theory, the final day of the meeting.
European Commission spokeswoman Helen Kearns said any agreement was unlikely before the very end of the talks.
“Europe has already been extremely flexible in agreeing to stop the clock,” she told reporters. “In doing this we avoided a probable trade war. We now have a very important window of opportunity between now and Friday.”
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/10/02/uk-eu-icao-idUKBRE99112T20131002

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