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Mary Robinson says it is time for everyone, including aviation, to take their share of climate responsibility

Writing in the  Hindustan Times, in India, Mary Robinson – who is a former president of Ireland and president of the “Mary Robinson Foundation — Climate Justice” – talks of the impacts of climate change on the poor in the  developing world. Shailesh Nayak, secretary, Indian ministry of earth sciences, said climate change may be causing extreme weather.  It is the poor who are picking up the tab for the carbon profligacy of developed nations. Taking into account all the climate impacts of aviation, estimates put aviation’s overall contribution to global warming at 4.9%. ICAO anticipates CO2 emissions from international aviation (about 60% of total aviation emissions) will grow from about 400 million tonnes in 2010 to 650 million tonnes by 2020. So aviation bears a share of responsibility for the accelerated drought-flood cycle that climate change will bring to countries like India. “The time for everyone to take their share of the responsibility and to act is now. And this must include the aviation industry.”

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Who bears the cost of airline emissions?

by Mary Robinson
November 6, 2013  ( Hindustan Times)

The tenement blocks collapsed like sandcastles. Landmarks were swallowed up like Lego bricks. But most devastating of all was the massive loss of life — families torn apart by a disaster of frightening proportions. More than 5,700 people are missing and thought to have been killed as a result of the monsoon floods, which tore through northern India earlier this summer. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Research in Germany has linked global warming to the extreme rainfall, bringing home the shocking consequences climate change can have on those least responsible for it.

Shailesh Nayak, secretary, Indian ministry of earth sciences,  has made the same link, saying: “Extreme weather is becoming more common, the June 17 rains might be read in the context of climate change.”

Carbon emissions come from multiple sources, but the fastest growing of them — international aviation — is one that few of northern India’s dead will ever have enjoyed.

Carbon dioxide emissions correspond surprisingly closely to social class. So in an inversion of the ‘polluter pays’ principle, it is the poor who are picking up the tab for the carbon profligacy of developed nations. This is the injustice of climate change.

Aviation is today responsible for some 2% of the planet’s man-made CO2 emissions. But when the effects of nitrogen oxide emissions, water vapour, soot and sulphates, contrails and enhanced cirrus cloud formations are also factored in, the best scientific estimates put aviation’s overall contribution to global warming at 4.9%.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has forecast that CO2 emissions from international aviation (about 60% of total aviation emissions) will grow from approximately 400 million tonnes in 2010 to 650 million tonnes by 2020. Unchecked, there may be a 274% increase in the fuel used by airlines by 2050, measured against 2006 levels.

Put plainly, the aviation industry bears a share of responsibility for the accelerated drought-flood cycle that climate change will bring to countries such as India.

We know some of the effects that global warming brings in its wake — more tropical storms, melting glaciers, freshwater shortages, increase in disease, and rising sea levels that will eventually drown low-lying coastal cities such as Mumbai and Kolkata.

We still have a sliver of time in which we can act to stop our mindless march to planetary disaster. The question of whether to implement a Market Based Measure (MBM), which could put a price on the carbon emissions of airlines, is now centre stage in ICAO’s consideration of how to address the impacts of aviation’s emissions.

The World Bank estimates that, with a carbon charge of $25 per tonne of CO2, $40 billion a year could be raised from the aviation and shipping sectors by 2020.

Research suggests that an aviation MBM could provide up to $26 billion in climate finance in 2030. This would be a significant amount, given that a total of $97 billion is currently flowing into low carbon and climate resilient development activities, according to the Climate Policy Initiative.

It could mean more flood barriers, better-built houses, and infrastructural support after climate disasters, to make the people most vulnerable to weather shocks less at the mercy of the climate we are creating for them.

If nothing is done, disasters like this year’s monsoon floods will only get worse, and more frequent. Doing nothing is not an option. The time for everyone to take their share of the responsibility and to act is now. And this must include the aviation industry.

Mary Robinson is a former president of Ireland and president of the Mary Robinson Foundation — Climate Justice

The views expressed by the author are personal

http://www.hindustantimes.com/comment/columnsothers/who-bears-the-cost-of-airline-emissions/article1-1147628.aspx

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Mary Robinson served as the 7th, and 1st female, President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from 1997 to 2002.  After leaving the UN in 2002, Robinson formed Realizing Rights: the Ethical Globalization Initiative,[4] which came to a planned end at the end of 2010. Its core activities were 1) fostering equitable trade and decent work, 2) promoting the right to health and more humane migration policies, and 3) working to strengthen women’s leadership and encourage corporate responsibility. The organisation also supported capacity building and good governance in developing countries. Robinson returned to live in Ireland at the end of 2010, and has set up The Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, which aims to be ‘a centre for thought leadership, education and advocacy on the struggle to secure global justice for those many victims of climate change who are usually forgotten – the poor, the disempowered and the marginalised across the world.’

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Robinson

 

 

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UNEP’s “Emissions Gap Report 2013″ strengthens case for wide-ranging global action to close emissions gap

The Emissions Gap Report 2013 has been produced by UNEP, in the run-up to the climate conference in Warsaw. It was produced by 44 scientific groups in 17 countries. It says that if the global community does not immediately embark on wide-ranging actions to narrow the greenhouse gas emissions gap, the chance of remaining on the least-cost path to keeping global temperature rise below 2°C this century will swiftly diminish and open the door to a host of challenges. Not cutting emissions enough by 2020 will make later cuts more expensive and difficult – as there will be locked-in carbon-intensive infrastructure  - as well as increasing the risk of not meeting the 2°C target. Even if nations meet their current climate pledges, greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 are likely to be 8 to 12 GtCO2e above the “safe” level.  Emissions should be a maximum of 44 GtCO2e by 2020, 40 GtCO2e by 2025, 35 GtCO2e by 2030 and 22 GtCO2e by 2050. The report says “Some sectors, notably international transport, are not covered by national pledges. The mitigation potential in these sectors is 0.3 GtCO2e”
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2013 Gap Report Strengthens Case for Wide-Ranging Global Action to Close Emissions Gap

Raising Ambition is Key to Keeping Global Temperature Rise below 2°C

Berlin/Nairobi, 5 November 2013  (UNEP press release)

Should the global community not immediately embark on wide-ranging actions to narrow the greenhouse gas emissions gap, the chance of remaining on the least-cost path to keeping global temperature rise below 2°C this century will swiftly diminish and open the door to a host of challenges.
The Emissions Gap Report 2013—involving 44 scientific groups in 17 countries and coordinated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)—is released as leaders prepare to meet for the latest Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Warsaw.

It finds that although pathways exist that could reach the 2°C target with higher emissions, not narrowing the gap will exacerbate mitigation challenges after 2020.

This will mean much higher rates of global emission reductions in the medium term; greater lock-in of carbon-intensive infrastructure; greater dependence on often unproven technologies in the medium term; greater costs of mitigation in the medium and long term; and greater risks of failing to meet the 2° C target.

Even if nations meet their current climate pledges, greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 are likely to be 8 to 12 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e) above the level that would provide a likely chance of remaining on the least-cost pathway.

If the gap is not closed or significantly narrowed by 2020, the door to many options to limit temperature increase to a lower target of 1.5° C will be closed, further increasing the need to rely on faster energy-efficiency improvements and biomass with carbon capture and storage.

In order to be on track to stay within the 2° C target and head off the negative impacts outlined above, the report says that emissions should be a maximum of 44 GtCO2e by 2020 to set the stage for further cuts needed—to 40 GtCO2e by 2025, 35 GtCO2e by 2030 and 22 GtCO2e by 2050. As this target was based on scenarios of action beginning in 2010, the report finds that it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet this goal.

“As the report highlights, delayed actions means a higher rate of climate change in the near term and likely more near-term climate impacts, as well as the continued use of carbon-intensive and energy-intensive infrastructure. This ‘lock-in’ would slow down the introduction of climate-friendly technologies and narrow the developmental choices that would place the global community on the path to a sustainable, green future,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. “

“However, the stepping stone of the 2020 target can still be achieved by strengthening current pledges and by further action, including scaling up international cooperation initiatives in areas such as energy efficiency, fossil fuel subsidy reform and renewable energy,” he added. “Even agriculture can contribute, as
direct emissions from this sector are currently responsible for 11 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions—more if its indirect emissions are taken into account.”

Total global greenhouse gas emissions in 2010, the last year for which data are available, already stood at 50.1 GtCO2e, highlighting the scale of the task ahead. Should the world continue under a business-as-usual scenario, which does not include pledges, 2020 emissions are predicted to reach 59 GtCO2e, which is 1 GtCO2e higher than estimated in last year’s gap report.

Scientists agree that the risks of irreversible damage to the environment would increase significantly should the global average temperature rise above 2°C in relation to pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirmed that human activity is ‘extremely likely’ (95 to 100 per cent probability) to be the cause of this warming.

“As we head towards Warsaw for the latest round of climate negotiations, there is a real need for increased ambition by all countries: ambition which can take countries further and faster towards bridging the emissions gap and a sustainable future for all,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

However, increased national ambition will not be enough to meet the scientific realities of climate change, which is one reason why a universal new agreement—able to catalyze international cooperation—is urgently needed by 2015.”

Without heightened focus and resolve now, more rapid and expensive emission reductions will be required later, resulting in higher mitigation costs and greater economic challenges during the transition toward a comprehensive climate-policy regime.

A separate report from UNEP finds that adaptation costs for Africa could reach $350 billion per year by 2070 should the two-degree target be significantly exceeded, while the cost would be $150 billion lower per year if the target were to be met.

Meeting the 2020 goal is possible

Even though the window of opportunity is narrowing, it is still possible to attain the 2020 goal of 44 GtC02e/year through firm and rapid action. Studies reveal that, at costs of up to US$100 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent, emissions could be reduced by 14 to 20 GtCO2e compared to business-as-usual levels.

For example, simply tightening up the rules governing pledges in the climate negotiations could narrow the gap by about 1-2 GtCO2e, while if countries implement the maximum reductions already pledged without conditions could narrow it by 2-3 GtCO2e. Expanding the scope of pledges could narrow the gap by further 2 GtCO2e. These include covering all emissions in national pledges, having all countries pledge emission reductions, and reducing emissions from international transport.

[The main report says, on international transport:  Additional reductions from sectors not covered by national pledges (0.3 GtCO2e): Some sectors, notably international transport, are not covered by national pledges. The mitigation potential in these sectors is 0.3 GtCO2e (UNEP, 2011a).

http://www.unep.org/pdf/UNEPEmissionsGapReport2013.pdf ]

Adding up the reduction from the tightening of rules, implementing ambitious pledges, and expanding the scope of the current pledges could bring the global community about halfway to closing the gap. The report says that the remaining gap could be bridged by further international and national action, including through “international cooperative initiatives”.

International cooperation could bring huge gains

There are an increasing number of international cooperative initiatives, through which countries and other bodies cooperate to promote technologies or policies that have climate benefits, even though climate change mitigation may not be the primary goal of the initiative.

The report identified several areas ripe for such initiatives, with many partnerships already in place that can be expanded and replicated to bring the needed gains:

 Energy efficiency, which could cut the gap by up to 2 GtCO2e by 2020. For example, electricity for lighting accounts for approximately 15 per cent of global power consumption and five per cent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. More than 50 countries have joined the en.lighten Global Efficient Lighting Partnership Programme and agreed to phase out inefficient incandescent lamps by the end of 2016;
 Renewable energy initiatives could cut 1 to 3 GtCO2e from emissions by 2020. A total of $244 billion was invested in renewable energy in 2012 and 115 GW of new renewables were installed worldwide—a record year according to REN21’s Renewables 2013 Global Status Report. Over the last eight years, the number of countries with clean energy targets has tripled from 48 to 140, indicating that the shift to renewables is gaining pace;
 Fossil fuel subsidy reform, which could bring benefits of 0.4 to 2 GtCO2e by 2020;
However, in order for international cooperative initiatives to be effective, the report finds that they must have:
 A clearly defined vision and mandate;
 The right mix of participants appropriate for that mandate, going beyond traditional climate negotiators;
 Stronger participation from developing country actors;
 Sufficient funding and an institutional structure that supports implementation and follow-up, but maintains flexibility;
 Incentives for participants;
 Transparency and accountability mechanisms.
Agriculture offers opportunities

This year’s report pays particular attention to the agriculture sector as, although few countries have specified action in this area as part of implementing their pledges, estimates of emission-reduction potentials for the sector range from 1.1 GtCO2e to 4.3 GtCO2e.

The report outlines a range of measures that not only contribute to climate-change mitigation, but enhance the sector’s environmental sustainability and could provide other benefits such as higher yields, lower fertilizer costs or extra profits from wood supply.

As examples, three key practices that should be scaled-up more widely are highlighted:

 No-tillage practices. No-tillage refers to the elimination of ploughing by direct seeding under the mulch layer of the previous season’s crop. This reduces emissions from soil disturbance and use of farm machinery.

 Improved nutrient and water management in rice production. This includes innovative cropping practices that reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions.
 Agroforestry. This consists of different management practices that deliberately include woody perennials on farms and the landscape, and which increase the uptake and storage of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in biomass and soils.

 

Notes to Editors
The report, which involved 70 scientists from 44 scientific groups in 17 countries, was funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

The full report can be downloaded here:  http://www.unep.org/emissionsgapreport2013/

The executive summary is at  http://www.unep.org/publications/ebooks/emissionsgapreport2013/portals/50188/Executive_summary_en.pdf
UNEP’s Climate Change portal: http://www.unep.org/climatechange/
UNFCCC: www.unfccc.int
http://www.unep.org/publications/ebooks/emissionsgapreport2013/

UNEP press release at  http://www.unep.org/publications/ebooks/emissionsgapreport2013/portals/50188/emissionsgapreport_pressrelease.pdf

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Count us out of carbon-neutral growth measures, China and other major emerging countries tell ICAO

At the ICAO Assembly last month, it was agreed it would work towards a global market based measure (MBM) for aviation emissions, by 2020 - itself a weak position taking too long to start to deal with the issue. GreenAir online reports that now China says the adoption of a carbon-neutral growth goal from 2020 without differentiated responsibilities would impede development of its international aviation activities. China and other emerging countries, with fast expanding aviation, say that though they may want goals to reduce international aviation emissions, it should be the responsibility of the developed countries to make the cuts.  ie. this is further wrangling within the ICAO, which is why the organisation has failed over decades to get any agreement on practical action on aviation emissions. To add to the obstacles in getting progress on a MBM, the USA has objected to the de minimis provisions [ie. that the smallest countries, which contribute each below 1% of global aviation CO2 are excluded] in the Assembly climate resolution and the inclusion of the differentiated responsibilities principle. The deep divisions remain on this issue, between the developed and developing world.
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Count us out of carbon-neutral growth measures, China and other major emerging countries tell ICAO

Mon 4 Nov 2013 (GreenAir online)

In its formal reservation letter to the ICAO Secretary General sent after the conclusion of the recent ICAO Assembly, China says the adoption of a carbon-neutral growth goal from 2020 without differentiated responsibilities will impede development of its international aviation activities.

Although it supports the establishment of goals for reducing international aviation emissions, China says it is the responsibility of developed countries to take the lead in reduction measures, which includes offsetting the growth of emissions by developing countries. Another emerging power, Brazil, has similarly written to the Secretary General to say there should be a reassessment of common global aspirational goals agreed by ICAO.

By contrast, the United States has written to object to the de minimis provisions [ie. that the smallest countries, which contribute each below 1% of global aviation CO2 are excluded] in the Assembly climate resolution and the inclusion of the differentiated responsibilities principle.

The 38th ICAO Assembly earlier last month was heralded as a great success since Member States took a step forward by agreeing to develop a global market-based measure (MBM) to limit the growth of international aviation emissions. States are expected to make a decision at the next Assembly in 2016 on whether to adopt a global MBM with a start date of 2020.

However, proceedings during the Assembly did not hide the deep divisions that exist between the developed and developing world on which countries should take part, not only in interim national and regional schemes such as the EU ETS, but also in the global scheme. Negotiations in the Executive Committee on the issue came close to collapsing on the penultimate day.

It is apparent from the first batch – more are expected – of reservation letters sent by Member States, just posted on the ICAO Assembly website, that given present positions, the scheme could be ‘global’ in name only.

In its letter dated October 8, the Chinese delegation to ICAO makes clear that although all parties must be accommodated, the developing countries have key concerns that must be addressed. It points out that China and 11 other States presented papers to the Assembly proposing amendments to paragraphs on MBMs, the global MBM scheme, the goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and guiding MBM principles.

As such, it has placed a reservation objecting to Paragraph 7 of the resolution, which states “that without any attribution of specific obligations to individual States, ICAO and its member States with relevant organizations will work together to strive to achieve a collective medium term global aspirational goal of keeping the global net carbon emissions from international aviation from 2020 at the same level …”.

Although the paragraph goes on to recognise the goal should take account of the special circumstances and respective capabilities of States, in particular developing countries, as well as the maturity of aviation markets, China believes this does not go far enough. “It must be specified that the developed countries should take the lead in taking reduction measures in order to offset the growth of emissions from international aviation of developing countries,” says the letter.

Brazil, also on behalf of Argentina, Cuba and Venezuela, too has placed a reservation on Paragraph 7. “Brazil engaged the discussions [at the Assembly] on this topic in a constructive manner, which we intend to keep in the future rounds of talks related to the issue, as ICAO now has the task of working towards a global MBM mechanism,” writes the country’s ICAO Permanent Representative to the Secretary General of ICAO. “Brazil understands, on the other hand, that our common global aspirational goals still need reassessment and further analysis, as to reflect the different stages of development of ICAO’s Member States. This is a matter of utmost importance, when faced with the current and future growth perspectives of the international civil aviation sector.”

A late change to the climate change resolution passed at the Assembly was the addition to the list of guiding principles when designing and implementing MBMs for international aviation, of a new principle which states MBMs should take into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR), the special circumstances and respective capabilities (SCRC), and the principle of non-discrimination and equal and fair opportunities.

In a Statement of Reservation, the United States says it objects to this inclusion. “For reasons that are well known, the United States does not consider that the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the principle of CBDR, apply to ICAO, which is governed by its own legal regime.”

The US also reserves on paragraph 16(b) of the resolution, which states that when States or groups of States design and implement national or regional MBM schemes, exemptions should be granted on routes to and from developing States whose share of international aviation revenue ton kilometres (RTKs) is less than 1%. The US says that although it supports the de minimis concept, it does not believe that 1% is an appropriate threshold, that the threshold should be based on the aviation activities of states as opposed to operators or that accommodations should depend on whether routes are to or from developing states.

“These criteria amount to an inappropriate means of addressing the de minimis concept, particularly in light of ICAO’s principle of non-discrimination and commitment to the avoidance of market distortion,” says the Statement. “If applied, this de minimis threshold would have the effect of excluding the vast majority of the world’s countries from participation in an MBM. Further, and consistent with the language of the provision, the United States sees such a threshold as having no bearing on the development of a global MBM.”

The United Arab Emirates, which is defined as a developing country under the UNFCCC but as a developed country by the EU in new proposals for the continuation of its emissions trading scheme, has also submitted a letter reserving on paragraph 16(b). It argues that the de minimis provision may lead to significant market distortions and put some aircraft operators at a considerable disadvantage.

“This is in direct conflict with Article 11 of the Chicago Convention,” says the letter. “The provision’s language is extremely imprecise. This will inevitably create confusion.”

As ICAO embarks on its three-year work programme to develop and design the practicalities of a global MBM, attention will also have to focus on how the conflicting ICAO/UNFCCC principles can be satisfactorily resolved. The almost unprecedented roll-call voting that took place on the MBM issue towards the end of the Assembly demonstrated the power of the emerging nations in getting support for their demands from other developing countries, which form the majority of ICAO States.

http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=1777

Links:

ICAO 38th Assembly – Climate change resolution reservations to date

ICAO 38th Assembly – Climate change resolution

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Green organisations tell Sir Howard Davies that allowing another runway jeopardises UK climate goals

Eight of the key environmental organisations in the UK have written an open letter to Sir Howard Davies, Chairman of the Airports Commission, to express their concern about the Commission’s “emerging thinking” that more runway capacity is needed for the south east, as expressed in Sir Howard’s speech on 7th October. They have serious concerns about how adding a new runway could be compatible with UK climate targets, and they call on the Commission to demonstrate how its recommendations will avoid gambling on our future ability to meet the UK climate target.  The NGOs say the Committee on Climate Change’s analysis concluded that stabilising UK aviation’s emissions at their 2005 level could translate to a maximum 60% growth in the number of passengers at UK airports.  They set out 4 key arguments why no new runway capacity is needed even if passenger numbers are permitted to grow by up to 60%. They also urge the Commission to retain a “no new runways” option in its deliberations as the best way of achieving the targets set in the UK Climate Change Act.  The eight green NGOs which have signed the letter are: Aviation Environment Federation; Campaign for Better Transport;  Friends of the Earth;  Greenpeace;  RSPB; Stop Climate Chaos; The Woodland Trust; WWF-UK.
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 8 NGO logos for Airports Commission letter

Green organisations tell Sir Howard Davies that allowing another runway jeopardises UK climate goals

31.10.2013

Green groups have written to Airports Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies challenging his view that new runway capacity is compatible with the Government’s climate change goals (1).   Letter   The letter is a response to a recent speech by Davies which he used to rule out a “no new runway solution”(2).  Speech 

The eight national environmental NGOs argue that the Airports Commission’s intention to look at additional runway capacity in the South East cannot be reconciled with the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recommendations on how the UK should achieve its national climate goal (3).

The UK organisations to sign the letter are Aviation Environment Federation, the Campaign for Better Transport, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, RSPB, Stop Climate Chaos, the Woodland Trust and WWF-UK.

The organisations argue in the letter that the Commission should explicitly recommend keeping aviation emissions at or below 2005 levels by 2050, in line with the CCC guidance.   They argue that even this level of emissions gives aviation a very generous target, when compared to the very deep cuts required of other sectors of our economy.  For the UK to achieve overall cuts of 80% in CO2 emissions in 2050, compared to their 1990 levels, which means cuts of some 85% for other sectors of the economy.

The CCC’s analysis concluded that stabilising UK aviation’s emissions at their 2005 level could translate to a maximum 60% growth in the number of passengers at UK airports.  The NGOs set out four key arguments why no new runway capacity is needed even if passenger numbers are permitted to grow by up to 60%:

1.      Such growth is achievable within existing runway capacity.

2.      Any new infrastructure will require capping of capacity at other airports. This will impact airports both in the South East and the rest of the UK.

3.      Future climate targets will need to take account of aviation’s non-CO2 contribution to climate change. As suggested by the CCC.

4.      Carbon trading in the EU or globally cannot be relied on to bring aviation’s emissions down. 

The group of environmental organisations are urging the Commission to retain a “no new runways” option in its deliberations as the best way of achieving the targets set in the UK Climate Change Act.

Doug Parr, Policy Director at Greenpeace UK said:   “Building new runways when there can be no confidence that aviation will meet its fair share of climate change emissions constraints is an economic and environmental gamble. The expansionist agenda of the aviation industry needs to be contained until we properly understand what the climate consequences would be.”

Jean Leston, Transport Policy Manager, WWF-UK said: “Although we are pleased that Sir Howard has taken on board the importance of climate change, his emerging views—which favour expansion—aren’t backed by any clear evidence. We’d like to see Sir Howard come clean on his assumptions so that we have more confidence in his final conclusions.”

Sue Armstrong-Brown, RSPB head of policy, said: “Climate change is the biggest long term threat to wildlife and we must do all we can to keep a lid on damaging carbon emissions. But building airports will have a massive immediate impact on our natural environment if precious green spaces which are home to threatened wildlife are destroyed to make way for roads, runways and terminals.”

For these reasons we are calling on the Government to think longer term about what our country needs. We need to look more seriously at sustainable transport alternatives and smarter use of the aviation capacity we already have. We can have good transport links and a healthy countryside in the future if we make the right decisions today.”

Hilary Allison, Policy Director of the WoodlandTrust said: “The environmental impact of airport expansion is of key concern to the Trust, especially as we know that loss and damage to ancient woods is highly likely to follow. Increased emissions from aviation also threaten to build on the long-term impacts of climate change which adds further pressure to the rare wildlife and vulnerable ecosystems found within irreplaceable woodland habitats which cannot easily adapt, as well as intensify the risks to the UK’s woods and trees of pests and diseases. With just 2% ancient woodland remaining in the UK, this must be avoided.”

Tim Johnson, Director of the Aviation Environment Federation said: ” The only thing we can predict with certainty is that a new runway will lead to an increase in emissions: but there is no guarantee that we will have the right technological innovation, policy measures and regulations to ensure this doesn’t threaten our climate targets. With sufficient capacity already available to meet growth, this is not a gamble we need to take now.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes for Editors

(1). Letter Joint NGO response to the Airports Commission’s emerging thinking on airport capacity in the UK

(2). Speech given on the 7th October, “Emerging thinking: aviation capacity in the UK”.  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/aviation-capacity-in-the-uk-emerging-thinking

(3). The Committee on Climate Change are the Government’s official advisers.  Their analysis concluded that stabilising UK aviation’s emissions at their 2005 level (37.5MtCO2) could translate to a maximum 60% growth in the number of passengers at UK airports. http://downloads.theccc.org.uk/Aviation%20Report%2009/21667B%20CCC%20Aviation%20AW%20COMP%20v8.pdf

 

 

The eight green NGOs which have signed the letter are:

Aviation Environment Federation
Campaign for Better Transport
Friends of the Earth
Greenpeace
RSPB
Stop Climate Chaos
The Woodland Trust
WWF-UK

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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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Read more »

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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