In a wide-ranging major speech on climate change President Obama launched an action plan that made reference to the role the United States is playing at the ICAO. Obama’s Climate Action Plan states that: …”at the International Civil Aviation Organization, we have ambitious aspirational emissions and energy efficiency targets and are working towards agreement to develop a comprehensive global approach.” GreenAir online reports that with important negotiations taking place at the UNFCCC on agreeing a global climate treaty by 2015 to be enforced from 2020 to replace the Kyoto Protocol, the outcome at ICAO is being viewed by many as a barometer of how close nations are to finding common ground, with US leadership playing a vital role. Progress on aviation is important not only because of the carbon emissions from the industry, but as it represents an area where the international community could make headway in the near term. An agreement in ICAO at its meeting in September would give a valuable boost to international efforts more broadly, by showing that agreement in multilateral forums is possible.
Obama: US working at ICAO towards comprehensive global approach on limiting international aviation emissions
Wed 26 June 2013 (GreenAir online)
In a wide-ranging major speech on climate change yesterday, President Obama launched an action plan that references the role the United States is playing at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in reaching a comprehensive global approach on international aviation emissions.
Although many states and industry remain optimistic a broad agreement on measures to limit the growth of aviation emissions can be reached at the triennial ICAO Assembly, countries representing the major emerging economies remain opposed to applying market-based instruments. With just three months left before the start of the Assembly, ICAO’s leadership will be engaged in bilateral discussions with member states over the summer to reconcile differences.
“Just as no country is immune from the impacts of climate change, no country can meet this challenge alone,” says the US President’s Climate Action Plan. “That is why it is imperative for the United States to couple action at home with leadership internationally. America must help forge a truly global solution to this global challenge by galvanising international action to significantly reduce emissions (particularly among the major emitting countries), prepare for climate impacts, and drive progress through the international negotiations.”
The plan calls for an “ambitious, inclusive and flexible” international treaty on addressing climate change. “At the same time as we work toward this outcome in the UNFCCC context, we are making progress in a variety of other important negotiations as well …. at the International Civil Aviation Organization, we have ambitious aspirational emissions and energy efficiency targets and are working towards agreement to develop a comprehensive global approach.”
Nat Keohane, Vice President for International Climate at the Washington DC-based Environmental Defense Fund and a former Obama Administration official, said the plan recognised the importance of addressing global warming pollution from international air travel.
“Progress on aviation is important not only because of the emissions involved … but also because it represents an area where the international community could make headway in the near term,” he said. “An agreement in ICAO at its upcoming meeting in September would give a valuable boost to international efforts more broadly, simply by demonstrating that agreement in multilateral forums is possible.
“Of course, ‘working towards agreement’ is pretty broad. But it seems reasonable to expect the Administration to be at least as ambitious as the airline industry itself.
“ICAO should commit, this year, to develop such a detailed approach over the next three years and formally adopt it at the next ICAO Assembly in 2016. Such an agreement won’t happen without visible and assertive US backing, however. That’s why it was so welcome to see international aviation mentioned in the action plan, and why we – and the rest of the environmental community – will be watching the Administration’s actions with interest over the next few months, and holding the Administration to its commitment to lead.”
The Obama action plan was also welcomed by EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard. “I am of course glad to see that the United States is finally moving on climate. After a number of important speeches from President Obama and Secretary Kerry, Europe has been eagerly waiting for the US to set out concrete steps. So this plan is a most welcomed step forward and, if implemented, it can put the US on a path towards a low carbon future,” she said.
“Internationally, the White House plan contains a number of good intentions which have now to be translated into more concrete action. The first opportunity will be for the US to support an ambitious deal this September in ICAO on a global solution to limit international aviation emissions.”
Meanwhile, resolving differences between ICAO member states over market-based measures (MBMs) in time for the Assembly is proving a serious challenge. Without the application of MBMs the goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 cannot be realised but key emerging countries such as Brazil, China and India remain opposed. A draft text on the subject for inclusion in the forthcoming Assembly resolution highlights the diverging views through a number of ‘square-bracketed’ clauses. Attempts by the ICAO Council’s Air Transport Committee to narrow them down have for now been halted.
“There will be an informal consultative process carried out with representatives during the summer by the President of the Council and the Secretary General, with a view to developing what is known as the ‘Consolidated statement of continuing ICAO policies and practices related to environmental protection – Climate Change’, the comprehensive document that is updated for each Assembly,” an ICAO spokesman told GreenAir.
The document is due to be reviewed at a pre-Assembly meeting in September, although no date has yet been set, he said. The 38th Assembly starts on September 24 and concludes on October 4.
Following IATA member airlines’ support and proposals for an MBM at their AGM in Cape Town earlier this month (see article), the world’s air navigation service providers have added their own call urging ICAO member states to reach an agreement on measures, including a global MBM, to reduce aviation’s environmental impact.
Speaking in Curaçao during the CANSO (Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation) Global ATM Summit and AGM, Director General Jeff Poole said: “CANSO and its members have worked with industry partners across the aviation industry to produce realistic, workable, effective and measurable proposals to mitigate aviation’s environmental impact. It is now up to states to seize the opportunity to agree to these measures at the Assembly in September. This is our best chance of achieving the necessary global agreement.”
CANSO says the industry is calling for a comprehensive package of technological, infrastructure and operational measures, to be complemented by a single, global MBM in order to reach its carbon-neutral goal from 2020.
“The air traffic management industry is playing its part,” said Poole. “Governments must now play their part by taking account of the industry’s four-pillar strategy, including the proposals for a global offsetting market-based measure. Aviation is a global industry and needs governments also to adopt a global approach to the climate change impacts of aviation.”
“……; at the International Maritime Organization, we have agreed to and are now implementing the first-ever sector-wide, internationally applicable energy efficiency standards; and at the International Civil Aviation Organization, we have ambitious aspirational emissions and energy efficiency targets and are working towards agreement to develop a comprehensive global approach.”
Statement by President Barroso and Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan:
President Barroso said:
”I very much welcome President Obama’s renewed push to tackle global climate change. The plans set out today are positive steps that will create further momentum for international climate action.
The European Union is a confident climate leader. We have ambitious legislation in place. We are reducing our emissions considerably, expanding on renewables and saving energy. And we are getting ready for the next step: a climate and energy framework for 2030.
Climate action can be a tremendous opportunity to modernise our economies, create jobs and growth, and invest in the dynamic industries of the future.
Finding global solutions to the climate challenge is a shared responsibility. They can only be reached on the basis of leadership from all the world’s major economies. President Obama’s announcement will help give the world confidence that it’s possible to win this fight, if we fight it together.”
”I am of course glad to see that the United States is finally moving on climate. After a number of important speeches from President Obama and Secretary Kerry, Europe has been eagerly waiting for the US to set out concrete steps. So this plan is a most welcomed step forward and, if implemented, it can put the US on a path towards a low carbon future.
Internationally, the White House plan contains a number of good intentions which have now to be translated into more concrete action. The first opportunity will be for the US to support an ambitious deal this September in ICAO on a global solution to limit international aviation emissions. And by 2015, a robust US commitment to reduce its domestic emissions over the longer term as part of a binding climate treaty.
Europe will continue working to get all our partners on board for the ambitious action our planet demands. But we need all the world’s major economies to play ball. And this announcement from Washington, and growing signs of domestic action in China and elsewhere, are positive signals that the world is finally moving on climate. Slowly, but moving. This is of course encouraging news as Europe embarks in the design of our climate and energy policies for 2030”.
Leaders at the G8 Summit reiterated their commitment to delivering action to tackle climate change, acknowledging they have “grave concern” about the failure to deliver sufficiently deep emission cuts and the economic and security risks that result from climate impacts. The British government had faced criticism from France and Germany for failing to include climate change on the main agenda. However, the final communique dedicates a page to climate change and states that “it is one of the foremost challenges for our future economic growth and well-being”. “We remain strongly committed to addressing the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly by 2020″. This includes wanting ICAO to come up with agreement on market based, and non market based measures, at its September conference. Specifically, the statement commits the G8 to supporting the UNFCCC’s efforts to deliver a new global climate change at the Paris Summit in 2015 and reiterates its desire to produce a more ambitious policy framework than the current one.
G8 Summit admits “grave concern” over slow progress of climate change action
Final communique stresses that G8 leaders remain “strongly committed” to delivering ambitious global climate treaty
By James Murray (Business Green)
18 Jun 2013
Leaders at the G8 Summit have reiterated their commitment to delivering bold action to tackle climate change, acknowledging they have “grave concern” about the failure to deliver sufficiently deep emission cuts and the economic and security risks that result from climate impacts.
The communique released at the close of the summit at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland includes a series of commitments on climate change designed to underline the G8′s support for global efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, including the long-running UN-backed negotiations that are scheduled to deliver a new international climate change treaty in 2015.
The British government had faced criticism from France and Germany for failing to include climate change on the main agenda for the two-day summit, which was instead dominated by talks on the war in Syria and global tax reforms.
However, the final communique dedicates a page to climate change and states that “it is one of the foremost challenges for our future economic growth and well-being”.
“We remain strongly committed to addressing the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly by 2020 and to pursue our low-carbon path afterwards, with a view to doing our part to limit effectively the increase in global temperature below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels, consistent with science,” the statement reads.
It added that the G8 would work with a raft of international groups seeking to accelerate action on climate change, including the UNFCCC, the Major Economies Forum, the International Civil Aviation Organisation and International Maritime Organisation, both of which are currently working on proposals for new carbon pricing regimes, and Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which aims to curb emissions of short-lived climate pollutants.
The communique also acknowledges that climate change is “a contributing factor in increased economic and security risks globally” and commits the G8 to considering how to better respond to growing climate-related risks.
Specifically, the statement commits the G8 to supporting the UNFCCC’s efforts to deliver a new global climate change at the Paris Summit in 2015 and reiterates its desire to produce a more ambitious policy framework than the one currently in place.
“We also note with grave concern the gap between current country pledges and what is needed, and will work towards increasing mitigation ambition in the period to 2020,” the statement reads. “We reiterate our commitment to the developed countries’ goal of mobilising jointly $100bn of climate finance per year by 2020 from a wide variety of sources in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and are advancing our efforts to continue to improve the transparency of international climate finance flows.”
Elsewhere, the communique’s section on global trade sets out a new ambition to boost trade in green goods and aims thinly veiled criticism at the escalating trade war between the US, the EU and China over clean technologies.
“We will… keep our word to refrain from and roll back protectionist measures and support a further extension of the G20 standstill commitment,” the communique states. “We call on others to do the same. We commit our support to efforts to liberalise trade in green goods and services, emphasising that progress in this area will boost green growth. In this regard we commend Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) decision in September 2012 to reduce tariffs on environmental goods as an important contribution to this end.”
As leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the USA and the UK descend on Northern Ireland for their yearly G8 jamboree, even the most conservative of bodies are calling for urgent action on climate change. The World Bank, for one, has made it clear that the 4 degree warmer world we are heading towards (if we fail to act urgently) is not a place any of us want to be. And the International Energy Agency has just reminded the world that the vast majority of oil, coal and gas reserves need to stay under the ground if we want life on earth to be pleasant rather than chaotic (a long overdue recognition of the “carbon logic”).
Yet, if you look at the G8 summit´s website, climate change is consipicuous in its absence. That did not used to be so.
Back in 2007, 2008 or 2009, for example, climate was a key issue these countries fought over. Now it reportedly took heavy lobbying from Germany and France for Cameron (who promised to run the “greenest government ever”) to even agree to talk about climate change at all. With such bad preparation and lack of political capital being invested in getting the G8 to send a leadership signal on climate, it’s hard to see how the summit can produce anything but meaningless platitudes.
The G8 should set out clearly how existing commitments to finance climate action, adaptation and ending deforestation will be met and how much “climate finance” each G8 leaders will make available for countries in need between 2013 and 2015.
The leaders should also commit to innovate ways of generating the money urgently needed to fight poverty and climate change. This should include making the international shipping and aviation industries pay for their excessive damage to our climate, taxing financial transactions and redirecting the absurd amount currently being spent on fossil fuel subsidies to financing the energy revolution we need.
As a German, it makes my blood boil that even a country like Germany spends $6.6 billion on financing climate destruction through fossil fuel subsidies, but has only pledged some 500 million in terms of financial support to those countries that need support to act.
While they are at it, G8 leaders also need to show that they are serious about agreeing a new, legally binding, fair global treaty on climate change at the UN climate summit 2015 in Paris. To be credible, they need to deliver a peak in climate damaging emissions before 2020 and therefore need to set out immediate steps by each G8 nation to step up their efforts between now and 2020.
I am not holding my breath, but you are allowed to wake me up any time of night if you hear rumours of the G8 agreeing to such an action agenda.
By the way, I am not for a moment saying that the issues this summit will focus on instead of climate change – trade, tax compliance and transparency – are not important. The free trade agenda the G8 still holds onto, though, is likely to make our environmental vows worse, not better.
And it´s odd that the transparency discussion is not being linked to climate change. After all, climate change is a driver for “land grabbing”. Initiatives such as Publish What you Pay, however welcome, are all too often about payments that facilitate the extraction of the very oil, gas and coal reserves that we know we need to find ways of leaving in the ground.
That said, this G8 may yet deliver something on tax which is positive for people and planet. I can only salute the excellent work done by other civil society groups on the outrage of corporate tax dodging. Their campaign work has indeed resulted in the “highest pressure yet on the tax dodgers” this week.
Corporations avoiding taxes is not only plainly unfair, it also results in there being less money available to tackle climate change, poverty and to pay for other vital public service. So here is to hoping that public pressure will result in a real step forward on ending tax evasion. I am keeping my fingers crossed.
Frankly, the G8 should have an interest in delivering something on tax compliance as doing so could allow them to argue that the G8 is not completely irrelevant in a multi-polar world. For the climate, the importance of the G8 is not in doubt.
For starters, the G8 nations still emit the a big chunk of all climate damaging gases worldwide (and have emitted the vast majority historically). And while everyone who has a high carbon footprint needs to act no matter where they live (from Manila to New York), there is no question that if the G8 nations sent a signal of leadership on climate change that would be a huge deal.
It could change the ‘you go first’ dynamics of the climate negotiations and send clear signals to markets and investors that they cannot assume that fossil fuels will be a good long term investment.
I am not holding my breath. But especially if our leaders fail us – again – in Northern Ireland this week, I am asking for your help. We must hold their feet to the fire at home and make them act. One first opportunity to do so will be the End the Age of Coal action day on 29 June. Join in and remind world leaders that we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground if we are to have a decent future for all.
The Climate Change page of the G8 communique says:
56. Climate change is one of the foremost challenges for our future economic growth and
well-being. We remain strongly committed to addressing the urgent need to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions significantly by 2020 and to pursue our low carbon path
afterwards, with a view to doing our part to limit effectively the increase in global
temperature below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels, consistent with science.
57. We will pursue ambitious and transparent action, both domestically and internationally, in the UNFCCC, complemented by actions addressed through other relevant fora, including but not limited to:
the Major Economies Forum (MEF), where we will work with our partners to
secure progress on the MEF Action Agenda and to overcome differences on the
road to the global deal in 2015;
the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), where we call for the agreement at the Assembly in September 2013 on an ambitious package related to both market-based and non-market based measures to address rising aviation emissions;
the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), where we continue to work
together on further measures to address the issue of shipping emissions;
the Climate and Clean Air Coalition which we all committed to join at our last
Summit, where we will build on the eight global initiatives already begun and
further develop the scientific evidence base and private sector involvement.
58. We recognise climate change as a contributing factor in increased economic and
security risks globally. The G8 has agreed to consider means to better respond to this
challenge and its associated risks, recalling that international climate policy and
sustainable economic development are mutually reinforcing.
59. In the UNFCCC we will work to ensure that a new protocol, another legal instrument or
an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all parties is
adopted by 2015, to come into effect and be implemented from 2020. We also note with
grave concern the gap between current country pledges and what is needed, and will
work towards increasing mitigation ambition in the period to 2020. We reiterate our
commitment to the developed countries’ goal of mobilising jointly $100billion of climate
finance per year by 2020 from a wide variety of sources in the context of meaningful
mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and are advancing our efforts to
continue to improve the transparency of international climate finance flows. We welcome
the efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to mobilise political will through
2014 towards a successful global agreement in 2015 during the Conference of the
Parties that France stands ready to host. We look forward to the fifth Assessment Report
of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Achim Steiner, who is the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has written an op-ed in the China Daily and in China.org. He says that airlines need to cut their carbon emissions. “If the world is to head off dangerous climate change and somehow keep a global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsus, we need all hands on deck. That includes airlines.” Aviation is responsible for some 5% of humnanity’s impact on the climate.” He adds: “Air travel is not only the fastest growing form of transport. It is also the most carbon intensive” and that a global agreement on a market-based measure is needed – through ICAO - to take effect by 2020, or soon after. That needs to be agreed at ICAO’s meeting this September. Achim says: “In order to realize the future we want, and need, economies must urgently begin decoupling economic growth from natural resource use, including fossil fuels. Airlines must be part of that transformation. This can be the year when ICAO departs the runway and plots a course for a low carbon future. The first stop is a global deal in Montreal.”
If the world is to head off dangerous climate change and somehow keep a global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsus, we need all hands on deck. That includes airlines.
Air travel is not only the fastest growing form of transport. It is also the most carbon intensive.
Few if any holidaymakers and business people boarding their flights know that the kerosene fuel powering their airliner is tax-free.
This gives air transport an unfair advantage over rail and road, and offers less incentive to aircraft designers and operators to accelerate a transition to ever-more fuel-efficient planes. Long-standing efforts to end this anomaly have failed.
The EU has suspended its plan for a year, putting the ball back in the court of the International Civil Aviation Organization and its 191 member states to find a solution.
This is the ideal place for aviation to begin cutting the 5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions it now accounts for.
A global agreement would level the playing field so that all airlines pay the same fuel levy, so reducing the risk of “freeloaders”.
But there is a deadline to the opportunity for helping aviators get a handle on their CO2 emissions by 2020. And they must flip them soon after.
In September a triannual decision-making ICAO assembly will meet in Montreal with a vote likely on whether a global market-based measure will be adopted to drive the industry to meet its responsibilities. If no decision is taken, the next assembly may not convene until 2016.
The world has waited long enough for aviation – and indeed shipping – to join international efforts to bridge the emissions gap.
Increased engine efficiencies, alternative fuels, air traffic management reform and technological enhancements can help, but are unlikely on their own to deliver the emissions reductions needed and at the speed required. Question marks also remain over how such investments would be paid for.
Seizing the moment to put in place a market-based structure to catalyze the low carbon innovations the industry needs – and guarantee its sustainable future – is thus both logical and desirable.
The resolution on the “Implementation of the Aviation Carbon-Neutral Growth Strategy” adopted at the International Air Transport Association annual general meeting earlier this month could prove to be an important step in the process.
A clear signal from industry that it supports a global market-based mechanism to be agreed at this year’s ICAO Assembly has been one that governments have been waiting for.
Climate change remains an over-arching challenge not just for future generations, but also for those living with its early consequences today.
Impacts in the last 12 months, consistent with scientific projections, include: the largest melting of Arctic sea ice on record, a “once in a century” drought that hit the US Mid-West, followed by a once in a century hurricane that hit New York, the wettest-ever summer in the United Kingdom, followed by one of the coldest-ever springs.
As ever, the greatest tragedies have been suffered by those with the least resources to cope. But whether we are talking about floods in India, or droughts in east Africa, a climate crisis is emerging of profound proportions.
The complexity of the Earth’s systems and feedback mechanisms prevent predictions being made with 100 percent certainty. But the risk assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change underline that humanity is playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette with our life support systems.
There are many encouraging actions underway from the rise of renewable energy investments to cuts in deforestation in countries such as Brazil.
Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States have fallen to 1994 levels according to recent estimates, and China is scheduled to invest over $1 trillion in clean energy, energy efficiency and other climate mitigation measures over the next five years.
Many other nations, large and small, rich and poor are building on the outcomes of last year’s Rio+20 Summit to devise and define pathways to a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy.
Yet despite many positive developments, the world has yet to turn the corner. Emissions into the atmosphere hit a new record high last year of over 35 billion tons – 58 percent above 1990 levels.
In order to realize the future we want, and need, economies must urgently begin decoupling economic growth from natural resource use, including fossil fuels.
Airlines must be part of that transformation. This can be the year when ICAO departs the runway and plots a course for a low carbon future. The first stop is a global deal in Montreal.
The author is UN under-secretary general and executive director of the UN Environment Programme.
UNEP Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
Acting on the nomination of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the UN General Assembly in 2006 unanimously elected Achim Steiner as the Executive Director of UNEP for a four-year term. He became the fifth Executive Director in UNEP’s history. At its 83rd plenary meeting in 2010, the UN General Assembly, on the proposal of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, re-elected Mr. Achim Steiner as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme for another four-year term.
The Secretary-General also appointed Mr. Steiner as Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), where he served from March 2009 to May 2011. UNON provides the administrative, conference, security and logistics services to the UN family in Kenya, hosts offices and projects of more than 60 UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes, and over 5,000 staff.
Before joining UNEP, Mr. Steiner served as Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from 2001 to 2006, and prior to that as Secretary General of the World Commission on Dams. His professional career has included assignments with governmental, non-governmental and international organizations in different parts of the world including India, Pakistan, Germany, Zimbabwe, USA, Vietnam, South Africa, Switzerland and Kenya. He worked both at grassroots level as well as at the highest levels of international policy-making to address the interface between environmental sustainability, social equity and economic development.
Mr. Steiner, a German and Brazilian national, was born in Brazil in 1961. His educational background includes a BA from the University of Oxford as well as an MA from the University of London with specialization in development economics, regional planning, and international development and environment policy. He also studied at the German Development Institute in Berlin as well as the Harvard Business School.
Mr. Steiner also chairs two UN system wide entities:
HLCP – High-level Committee on Programmes of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB); and
EMG – United Nations Environment Management Group.
He serves on a number of international advisory boards, including the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED).
An op-ed, abbreviated from opposite the editorial page (though often mistaken for opinion-editorial), is a newspaper article that expresses the opinions of a named writer who is usually unaffiliated with the newspaper’s editorial board.
The World Bank Group seeks to offset the travel of its staff. The Bank acknowledges that passengers in premium (First and business) classes on a plane have a higher carbon footprint, so they have recalculated the World Bank Group footprint from their air travel, taking the class of travel into account. The Bank estimates that emissions per passenger in First class can be as much as nine times as high, and those in Business class can be three times as high, as those in Economy class. Those in premium classes not only have larger seats and more space per passenger (meaning that there can be fewer passengers, overall, in the plane) but there is often a lower load factor (the proportion of seats occupied) and they can take on more luggage (meaning more fuel has to be used to transport it). A Guardian journalist looked into the class issue in 2010 and concluded that the more passengers pay for a square metre of cabin, the more profit the airline makes and the more the premium travellers subsidise the cheaper classes of tickets. “Put another way, if no one flew business or first class, the price of economy travel would have to rise, leading ultimately to lower occupancy rates, fewer flights and less global warming.”
Blog on “carbon footprint” from World Bank Group staff air travel
The World Bank Group (WBG) has highlighted climate change as a critical challenge for sustainable development and poverty reduction in the 21st century. As part of its own corporate responsibility efforts, the WBG is taking steps to more accurately measure, reduce, and offset its greenhouse gas emissions (in other words, its “carbon footprint”).
The measurement of the carbon footprint from business air travel is crucial, as it constitutes by far the largest part of the institution’s carbon footprint (at least 55%, and perhaps as high as 70%). Current internationally accepted methods used by the WBG for assessing the carbon footprint due to air travel consist of two steps: First, passenger miles flown by WGB staff are calculated, as a share of global flight activity. Secondly, fuel consumption for WBG air travel is taken to be the same share of global airline fuel consumption.
This calculation however does not account for systematic differences in footprints per traveled distance by travel class, with higher footprints for premium (business and first) classes than for economy class. This may appear surprising: “A passenger is a passenger”, one might say; travel class shouldn’t matter for how much fuel an aircraft burns. The problem with this argument is that the “footprint” of a passenger on a commercial flight depends more on the space taken up by the passenger in the aircraft, and less on how much the passenger (and her or his luggage) weighs. It is true that aircraft fuel consumption largely depends on aircraft weight. But passenger weight is only a relatively small fraction of total aircraft weigh (15-20%). Also, spacing of passengers is very important for how many passengers can be carried. As a result, with more passengers on a given flight, the “footprint” per passenger drops.
The space taken up by an average traveler is larger in premium travel classes than in economy class, in some cases much larger. Two factors are behind this. First, in premium classes seat spacing is more dispersed. Secondly, load factors (the fraction of available seats that are actually occupied) are in most cases lower in premium classes than in economy class. Our calculations show that a business class passenger takes on average up 2.5 – 3 times as much space in an aircraft as an economy class passenger. The ratio of first-class to economy-class space occupied per traveler is even higher, in some cases 6 or more.
We have recalculated the WBG footprint from data on headquarters-based staff air travel for 2009, based on these premises. Our best assessment is about 225,000 tons CO2, about twice the prevailing estimate, due to the higher “footprint” in business class (64% of all WBG air travel in 2009), and even higher in first class (5% of travel). We have also made some tentative calculations for 2012, and found that this footprint seems to have fallen by about 14%. This reduction is due mainly to two factors: the share of premium-class travel fell from 69 to 66%, and more importantly, first class travel had been virtually eliminated for WBG staff by 2012. The latter reduced the WBG’s air travel carbon footprint by almost 10%. There was also a slight reduction in the overall travel volume of the WBG, by 1-2%.
The costs to offset emissions while accounting for the impacts of different travel classes are not very high. To take some examples, for round-trip travel to London or Frankfurt the Bank’s offset cost, at a carbon cost of $25 per ton CO2 (corresponding, perhaps, to estimated long-term damages from emissions but far higher than current offset market prices), would be about $40 in economy class, and about $80 in business class; and for round-trip travel to Delhi, twice this amount. This constitutes only a few (2-3) percent of basic ticket costs.
A further step to consider would be to allocate carbon offset payment costs to individual Bank travel budgets, rather than paying them from a central budget as is customary today. This could lead to further awareness on the part of all Bank staff and managers of the carbon footprint of the institution’s air travel.
All those free drinks, lie-back seats and extra perks have an unexpected cost that can’t be charged to the company expenses account.
First class air passengers are much more damaging to the environment than the average traveler, according to new research.
The paper (PDF), published in May, explains that those who enjoy first class service have a carbon footprint that is over nine times larger than the humble passenger crunched up in coach class.
Damning: First class fliers have a footprint that is over nine times bigger than an economy passenger [data from the World Bank's study ]
First class seats are bigger than the standard berth, meaning less people can get on a plane. This results in more fuel being burnt per person to get the aircraft to its destination.
Moreover, passengers flying in luxury are likely to carry more bags, adding more weight to the plane and consuming more fuel.
Even a passenger in business class ticket has a carbon footprint that is around three times the size as someone in economy. The figure gets worse if some of the expensive seats are left empty.
The research does point out that is doesn’t calculate for the relative weight of passengers between classes, but that’s a more controversial issue.
The paper finds that compared with an average passenger a flier in economy class has a carbon footprint of 0.76, a business class traveler has a figure of 2.30 and a first class passenger has a whopping 6.89 figure.
A carbon footprint measures an individual’s emissions of the greenhouse gases that are responsible for global warming.
The research was carried out by The World Bank, which is attempting to reduce its own carbon emissions, according to Quartz.com.
Air travel represents at least 55 per cent of the organization’s carbon footprint and could be as high as 70 per cent, as reported by a World Bank blog.
The Washington Post stated that employees at World Bank HQ in Washington made around 189,000 trips in 2009, which clocked up 447 million miles.
About 73.6% of those flights were in business class, while another 6.9% were in first class. First class travel has been reduced since, however.
Quartz reported that by stopping luxury travel for virtually all employees by 2012 the World Bank has reduced its carbon footprint by around 20,000 tons.
The ICAO calculator (used for individuals to calculate their footprints) includes one refinement of standard procedure, by using a factor of 2 for the footprint of premium (business and first) classes relative to economy class. We have gone a step further in this direction by attempting to calculate this factor more precisely than has been done previously in the literature. But more can be done to make such calculations even more precise. One such factor is more precise (flight-specific) information.
Double beds, champagne, rose petals … Singapore Airlines’ A380 planes will include ‘a class beyond first’. Photograph: Johnny Green/PA
Everyone knows that flying is carbon-intensive. But the footprint of any trip depends on a host of factors in addition to the simple question of how far you are travelling: the aeroplane model, how many seats are empty, how much luggage passengers carry, the time of day and potentially even whether passengers have emptied their bladders before boarding.
Perhaps more important than any of these, however, is the class of travel. That may partly explain why the Foreign Office has just joined the 10:10 climate campaign to cut its emissions by 10% this year and plans to stop its staff travelling business class. As commentators often point out, economy is clearly lower carbon because it maximises the number of passengers that each flight can carry. But how exactly much difference does this make?
Purely in terms of physical space, then, the answer appears to be that flying first class on BA gives you a footprint around 5.5 times larger than that of an economy passenger, with a business seat clocking in at 3.5 times the economy option.
For short-haul trips, the differences aren’t so great. As this floorplan shows, first class doesn’t exist on BA’s European flights and the business seats are much smaller than the giant recliners found in the business area of the 747. Roughly speaking, short-haul business class appears to be equivalent to long-haul premium economy, each with a carbon footprint per ticket around 50% larger than standard economy class.
There are a few extra factors to consider, however. For one thing, a typical square metre of the densely packed economy section of the plane carries more weight than a square metre of the more sparsely populated first-class and business-class areas. Since extra weight means extra fuel consumption, this should reduce the carbon benefits of economy a little.
On the other hand – and probably much more significant – there is the financial implication of the different types of tickets. I plugged in a week-long return journey from London to New York in March to BA’s flight finder and compared the price for each type of ticket to the floor-space the seat occupies. The results look like this:
• Economy: £362, or £548 per sq metre
• Premium economy: £844, or £750 per sq metre
• Business: £2048, or £886 per sq metre
• First: £8432, or £2342 per sq metre
For this trip, flying business class means spending around 60% more per unit of floor space than you’d pay in economy, while going first class means paying more than 300% extra.
It seems fairly obvious that the more you pay for a square metre of cabin, the more profit you give to the airline and the more you subsidise the cheaper classes of tickets. Put another way, if no one flew business or first class, the price of economy travel would have to rise, leading ultimately to lower occupancy rates, fewer flights and less global warming.
And there are even more sources of emissions caused by the more expensive tickets: the running of business-class airport lounges and first-class spas; the manufacturing of larger, fancier seats (complete with “crisp white 400–thread Egyptian cotton duvets” in the case of BA first class); and indeed the extra air travel encouraged by the large number of air miles thrown in with many business and first-class tickets.
For all these reasons, the difference in carbon footprint between economy travel and the more expensive options is impossible to pin down with any precision. But it’s likely that the climate cost of flying in style will be even greater than the size of your luxury reclining seat might suggest.
The International Energy Agency has produced a report, called “Re-drawing the Energy Climate Map” which looks at measures to deal with global carbon emissions. The report only looks at the energy sector, the biggest contributor to global emissions. (It did not look at aviation). The IEA said, as they said last year, that two-thirds of existing fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned if global CO2 emissions are to be held within the projected danger threshold of a 2C rise. They also say climate change could pass a critical level if the world waits until 2020 for the planned comprehensive UN deal to cut emissions. The IEA authors believe governments will find it easier to take smaller focused measures than to shift their entire economies to clean energy systems – and they hope competitive advantage to nations that can save more energy and cut emissions cheaply will be motivation for governments to act. This report comes at the same time as announcements of massive worldwide reserves of shale oil. It will not be possible to burn these, for many decades to come, without catastrophic climate impacts.
The world is not on track to meet the target agreed by governments to limit the long term rise in the average global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius (°C). Global greenhouse gas emissions are increasing rapidly and, in May 2013, carbon-dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time in several hundred millennia.
The weight of scientific analysis tells us that our climate is already changing and that we should expect extreme weather events (such as storms, floods and heat waves) to become more frequent and intense, as well as increasing global temperatures and rising sea levels.
Policies that have been implemented, or are now being pursued, suggest that the long-term average temperature increase is more likely to be between 3.6 °C and 5.3 °C (compared with pre-industrial levels), with most of the increase occurring this century. While global action is not yet sufficient to limit the global temperature rise to 2 °C, this target still remains technically feasible, though extremely challenging.
To keep open a realistic chance of meeting the 2 °C target, intensive action is required before 2020, the date by which a new international climate agreement is due to come into force.
International Energy Agency urges stop-gap climate action
By Roger Harrabin – Environment analyst (BBC)
The IEA wants to see cleaner technologies introduced at coal-fired plants
A sticking plaster solution for climate change has been proposed by the world’s top energy think tank, the International Energy Agency (IEA).
It says climate change could pass a critical level if the world waits until 2020 for the planned comprehensive UN deal to cut emissions.
In the meantime, it recommends some short-term measures.
These include action on energy efficiency, coal-fired power stations, and fossil fuel subsidies.
The IEA authors believe governments will find it easier to take smaller focused measures than to shift their entire economies to clean energy systems.
The agency repeats its warning that two-thirds of existing fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned if emissions are to be held within the projected danger threshold of a 2C rise.
The report, “Redrawing the Energy Climate Map“, appeals to politicians’ self-interest by dangling a carrot of competitive advantage to nations that can save more energy and cut emissions cheaply.
Its latest tactic offers by 2020 to reduce emissions by 3.1 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent (3.1 Gt CO2-eq) at what it says will be no net economic cost.
Energy efficiency is the bedrock of the approach (49%) with recommended energy performance standards in all countries for lights, heating, and appliances.
Setting standards is a proven way of reducing energy use and saving consumers costs in the long term, but new standards are typically resisted strongly by manufacturers wishing to continue profits from current models. More than half the projected savings can come from the buildings sector, the report says.
Limiting the use of old polluting coal-fired power stations is another idea, which the IEA says will also combat air pollution. New plants cost money, though, especially if they are the most efficient type that the IEA recommends.
Halving methane releases from upstream oil and gas operations by 2020 is feasible at affordable cost, the report says. Methane releases produced 1.1 gt CO2 equivalent in 2010.
This should be accelerated, the IEA says. Dirty fossil fuels receive $523bn a year in subsidies – six times more than clean renewables.
This policy will prove controversial as removal of subsidies tends to provoke a sharp political response, but the report points out that the policy is attractive to national treasuries looking to cut budgets.
The report notes that the growth in China’s emissions has been among the lowest for a decade as renewables have grown and carbon intensity targets begin to bite. Emissions in the US are 200 million tonnes down, thanks to a switch to gas from coal, bringing emissions down to the levels of the mid-1990s. But emissions in Japan are up 70 million tonnes following the Fukushima nuclear accident.
Overall, global emissions rose 1.4% despite the economic slowdown. On current trends, the world is moving further away from its target of limiting global temperature rise to 2C, the report says.
The document only looks at the energy sector, the biggest contributor to global emissions.
Other recent positive measures towards tackling climate change have been the agreement between the US and China to phase out HFC gases and a growing international pact to limit pollutants like black carbon, which settles on snow and makes it absorb more heat.
Shale oil and gas reserves are expected to change the face of global energy markets
Estimated global reserves of shale oil could increase total world crude resources by 11%, according to a US government report.
The Energy Information Administration estimated there were some 345 billion barrels of “technically recoverable” shale oil reserves in 41 countries.
And some 7,299 trillion cubic feet of shale gas reserves could boost natural gas resources by 47%, the EIA said.
But technically recoverable reserves are not a guaranteed supply.
They are an estimate of how much oil or gas could be extracted using the latest technology and they do not take into account economic viability.
“The reserves are one thing, but the ability to scale up the production for those reserves is another thing, which is not as straightforward in many parts of the world as it has proved to be in the US,” said Jan Stuart, head of energy research at Credit Suisse in New York.
For instance, in Poland, which is believed to have much shale potential, several companies have given up shale drilling after early attempts indicated extraction would be difficult.
Shale oil and gas reserves are expected to have a huge impact on the world’s energy markets.
A recent report by consultants PwC said that shale oil “has the potential to reshape the global economy, increasing energy security, independence and affordability in the long term”.
Last month the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that a steeper-than-expected rise in US shale oil reserves would mean the US would change from the world’s leading importer of oil to a net exporter over the next five years.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is the independent statistics arm of the US Department of Energy.
Its report marks the first time it has looked at global shale reserves. A previous report in 2011 only looked at shale oil resources in the US.
According to its latest assessment, Russia has the most shale oil reserves with 75 billion barrels, ahead of the US and China.
Redrawing the Energy Climate Map sets out four point plan that would curb global emissions ahead of 2020, while imposing no net cost on economy
By James Murray (Business Green)
10 Jun 2013
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has today released a major new report warning that urgent action is required before 2020 to curb global greenhouse gas emissions if the world is to have any chance of limiting average temperature increases to two degrees Centigrade.
The report, entitled Redrawing the Energy Climate Map, argues that, despite progress in the US and EU to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and a slowing of emissions growth in China, global carbon emissions still rose 1.4 per cent in 2012, putting the world on track for 3.6 to 5.3 degrees of warming by the end of the century.
Speaking at the launch of the new report this morning, IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven warned that political and business leaders were failing to deliver sufficient action to tackle the threat posed by climate change. “Climate change has quite frankly slipped to the back burner of policy priorities,” she said. “But the problem is not going away – quite the opposite.”
The report calculates that delaying action to address climate change risks will lead to higher costs for the energy industry as climate impacts become more severe and the imperative to decarbonise becomes more acute post 2020.
“Delaying stronger climate action to 2020 would come at a cost to the energy sector: $1.5 trillion in low-carbon investments would be avoided before 2020, but $5 trillion in additional investments would be required thereafter to get the world back on track,” said Van der Hoeven. “The question is not whether we can afford the necessary investments given the current economic climate. The fact is we simply cannot afford to delay.”
The report sets out four policy recommendations that it argues will result in no net cost while cutting global emissions eight per cent by 2020 against a business-as-usual scenario.
It outlines how more ambitious energy efficiency standards and financing schemes for buildings, appliances and transport could deliver around 1.5 gigatonnes of carbon emissions savings, while targeted action to phase out the least efficient coal-fired power plants, reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, and partially phase out fossil fuel subsidies can all help cut emissions at no net cost to the fragile global economy.
“We identify a set of proven measures that could stop the growth in global energy-related emissions by the end of this decade at no net economic cost,” said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol, the report’s lead author. “Rapid and widespread adoption could act as a bridge to further action, buying precious time while international climate negotiations continue.”
The report was broadly welcomed by green groups, although some critics argued more ambitious action was required, particularly on the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies.
Fred Krupp, president of the US Environmental Defense Fund, said the report represented an important intervention from a group that has traditionally been broadly supportive of the global oil industry.
“It’s especially noteworthy to have such a report coming from the International Energy Agency, which was founded 40 years ago to facilitate international coordination among oil-consuming countries,” he said. “The fact that the IEA is issuing this report is a clear reminder that the real energy-related threat to economic prosperity is no longer an oil shock, but a climate shock.
“We are already seeing the early-warning signs of climate change in extreme weather events around the world. This report, coming from the world’s leading experts on energy, sends a very clear message: we have the tools we need to make the turn toward climate safety. What is needed is the political will to act. This report should be required reading for next week’s G8 Summit.”
However, the report came on the same day as the British government launched a new independent review, tasked with exploring how to maximise growth from the country’s oil and gas industry.
The review will be led by Sir Ian Wood, who will undertake a full analysis of the industry and recommend measures to further enhance the recovery of fossil fuels from UK reserves.
“Although investment levels are rising strongly, the UKCS is one of the most mature basins in the world and therefore faces unprecedented challenges,” said Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey. “Our offshore infrastructure is getting older, and we are seeing a decline in the rate of exploration and in the amount of oil and gas that is being recovered.
“All these issues need to be addressed if we are to stimulate innovation in this sector and see maximum economic benefit for the UK in the decades ahead.”
The Paris-based energy think-tank said emissions rose 1.4% in 2012, putting the world on a path to global temperature rises of between 3.6 and 5.3 degrees. But the agency said that tackling climate change didn’t need to come at economic cost.
Here are five key charts to tell the story
1. The world is on track for more than 5 degrees of warming
2. Sending temperatures in major cities well into the 40s
3. To limit warming to 2 degrees we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground
..and this means that it would not be economic to develop large amounts of the world’s existing oil and gas supplies – specially if they are not yet proven or are expensive to extract.
4. If we don’t leave them in the ground, our energy security will be threatened by climate change
WWF supports IEA conclusion: two thirds of fossil fuel reserves must be left underground
2 November 2012
Gland, Switzerland – Two thirds of all proven fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground if the world is serious about avoiding dangerous climate change, according to the International Energy Agency in its World Energy Outlook 2012 report released today.
“The IEA’s conclusion reflects sound science. CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels are destabilizing our climate. We cannot burn fuels like coal and oil indefinitely without paying the price in the form of climate instability, droughts, heat waves and super storms. The IEA has done the only responsible thing by prominently highlighting this in its report,” says WWF’s Global Climate and Energy lnitiative leader Samantha Smith.
“This scientific and blunt assessment should be clearly heard by all countries, investors and the fossil fuel industry itself. This is not only about stopping all new large-scale fossil fuel exploration, such as those in the Arctic; this is about retiring existing dirty energy infrastructure as well, and it is the price to pay to avoid global climate disaster. We quickly needed to transition our energy economies if we are to avoid a climate catastrophe,” she says.
Three years ago, the world’s governments committed to staying well below 2 degrees global warming (compared to pre-industrial temperatures) in order to limit dire climate change impacts on biodiversity, food security and poor and vulnerable communities. Already today, with global warming still below 1 degree Celsius, freak weather events such as super storm Sandy are creating havoc with coastal communities; record droughts this year have severely impacted yields of essential food crops and led to food crisis; and the Arctic Ocean has seen yet another record low in sea ice cover, from which it is unlikely to recover.
Smith says that governments, investors and industry must heed the warning by the IEA. “The IEA is clearly saying it is not too late for climate action, and its strong message to all of us is that we need to act right now,” she says.
WWF is calling for massive new, global investments in clean renewables and a corresponding phase out of investment in fossil fuel projects. “We fully support the IEA’s finding that investments in clean renewables and energy efficiency must expand substantially in nations that have already joined the renewable energy journey, and must start immediately in those nations that are lagging behind,” says Smith. WWF notes that a few developed countries, such as Germany and Denmark, are already doing their part. Others need to both radically increase their domestic investments and invest in a fair transition to renewables in low income countries.
WWF’s global director of energy policy, Dr Stephan Singer, says the call by the IEA to cut fossil fuel subsidies and redirect the cash into clean renewables, clean energy access and energy conservation is absolutely essential.
WWF shares the fundamental concern of the IEA that recent commitments to curb fossil fuel subsidies were just empty words by the G20, the club of the world’s mighty nations. In 2011, fossil fuel subsidies grew by 30% compared to 2010 and now amount to more than half a trillion USD, or the equivalent of more than twice the GDP of Indonesia, he says.
“If those subsidies were redirected into pro-poor programs or renewable energy access, world governments could still stay below 2 degrees warming and provide access to clean and sustainable energy for the three billion people worldwide who have no or only dirty energy,” says Singer.
Immediate actions and policies are needed before 2017 to prevent dangerous lock-in of global fossil fuel infrastructure, otherwise all the allowable CO2 emissions will be locked-in by the existing energy infrastructure, making the 2 degree objective unachievable. “On this we agree with the IEA,” he says. Fossil fuel infrastructure includes new fossil-based power stations and continued exploration of unconventional fossil resources such as shale gas and shale oil, tar sands and deep sea oil.
WWF also supports the IEA warning of the danger of using freshwater for fossil fuel production in a world where many countries are already experiencing droughts and water scarcity. The IEA notes that freshwater use for energy production is likely to double in the next 20 years unless fossil fuels – particularly shale gas development – and unsustainable biofuel uses are curbed substantially.
Thousands of United Airline’s frequent flyers and tens of thousands of its customers have urged them to stop opposing climate action and work with US and European agencies to reduce the aviation industry’s impact. Signatories of an open letter to chief executive Jeff Smisek include more than 500 United Airlines premier status frequent flyers, of which 20 are members of the exclusive invitation-only Global Services programme. They are joined by around 85,000 other passengers, who have signed a petition demanding bolder climate action. This comes 2 days before United’s annual shareholder meeting. They want United to stop blocking “common sense, low cost policies that would reduce airplane pollution”, such as the EU’s ETS. United has consistently spoken out against the EU ETS after it lost a 2011 lawsuit alongside American Airlines that challenged the legality of the ETS. United has also been accused of lobbying against US domestic action to combat airline pollution under the Clean Air Act. The open letter calls on United to work with the EPA to develop regulations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from flights in and out of the US.
Frequent flyers pressure United Airlines to tackle climate change
Over 500 members of United’s elite membership programme tell carrier to stop opposing climate action and work towards reducing industry’s impact
By Will Nichols (Business Green)
11 Jun 2013
Thousands of United Airline’s frequent flyers and tens of thousands of its customers have urged the carrier to stop opposing climate action and work with US and European agencies to reduce the industry’s impact.
Signatories of an open letter [organised by Flying Clean] to chief executive Jeff Smisek include more than 500 United Airlines premier status frequent flyers, of which 20 are members of the exclusive invitation-only Global Services programme. They are joined by around 85,000 other passengers, including 2,700 elite frequent flyers, who have signed a petition demanding bolder climate action that was yesterday delivered to the company along with the letter, two days ahead of United’s annual shareholder meeting.
Petition to United: “CEO Smisek, in order to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change and clean up the skies, we are calling on you to embrace, not impede, meaningful policy solutions that cut airplane pollution.”
The letter’s signatories, including billionaire investor Tom Steyer, criticise United’s combative stance to “common sense, low cost policies that would reduce airplane pollution”, such as the EU’s efforts to charge carriers for emissions during flights in and out of its airports – a regulationtemporarily suspended in the hope a global agreement will be achieved later this year at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) congress.
United has consistently spoken out against the EU regulation after it lost a 2011 lawsuit alongside American Airlines that challenged the legality of the EU’s rules.
Yet green groups allege that when the law was lifted, United continued to charge passengers a $3 fee for compliance and kept around $40m in windfall profits. The company has also been accused of lobbying against US domestic action to combat airline pollution under the Clean Air Act.
The letter argues this action is short-sighted and the cost to United of complying with the EU directive is “minimal compared to the long-term costs United will incur if climate change pollution continues to rise”.
Without action, it says pollution from aircraft will double by 2020 and quadruple by 2050, growing by three to four per cent per year, while extreme weather events linked to climate change are likely to become more frequent. It notes that Hurricane Sandy last year resulted in 5,300 cancelled United flights, costing the company $35m in profits.
The letter urges United to “stop interfering” with policy-making efforts to reduce aviation pollution, support a global market-based mechanism for curbing emissions that could be delivered through ICAO, and endorse the EU directive on aircraft emissions. Domestically, it calls on United to work with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop regulations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from flights in and out of the US.
“We are your best customers. We have invested in our relationship with United. We consider ourselves to be part of the United family,” the letter states. “We know United has also taken important steps to increase the fuel efficiency of its fleet and to make investments in research for cleaner fuels. However, due to a surge in global air travel, the voluntary actions United has taken are not keeping up with the soaring levels of airplane pollution.
“United has always championed innovation, progress, and speed. That is part of the reason we became United frequent fliers. But when it comes to addressing climate change, your company in particular has been an unyielding roadblock.
“Such behaviour weakens the US economy and leaves United, its fellow US air carriers, and the United States behind, as a growing number of countries seek solutions to the mounting pressures of climate change.”
Organised by the NGO-backed Flying Clean campaign, the letter is timed to coincide with the start of meeting of ICAO’s international group working to set a standard for aviation pollution.
Take Action: Tell United Airlines to Get on Board with Climate Action
UPDATE #2: Thanks to our partners we have now exceeded 80,000 signatures and getting close to our final goal of 100,000!
In only a few short weeks, the Obama administration and other governments will make a major decision that has the potential to greatly reduce climate pollution from airplanes. United Airlines is trying to stop it from happening. United needs to hear from its customers that it should get out of the way.
TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW AND TELL UNITED AIRLINES CEO, JEFF SMISEK, TO STOP BLOCKING SOLUTIONS TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND START LEADING.
Petition to United: “CEO Smisek, in order to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change and clean up the skies, we are calling on you to embrace, not impede, meaningful policy solutions that cut airplane pollution.”
Frequent Flyer Sean Meehan on why he signed the letter to United
June 10, 2013
My name is Sean Meehan and I live in San Diego, California and Stockholm, Sweden. I am a Premier Platinum flyer in the United Mileage Plus program.
I signed this letter to United because I care about the effects that climate change is having on the world around me. I signed the letter because I care about United Airlines and I want the airline to be successful and profitable. I do not agree with United Airlines lobbying against climate change regulations.
I understand that companies are reluctant to go it alone in addressing climate change and risk being uncompetitive. That’s why it is exactly the wrong approach for United to oppose national and international industry-wide standards that can get the job done on a level playing field. Additionally, I believe the progress made with the Eco-Skies program could give United Airlines an early advantage over airlines that have thus far taken no action.
I don’t get to vote about United’s political positions, but I do vote for which airline I choose to support, and that vote is in my wallet. All things being equal I would choose an airline that supports climate change action over one that does not. Frankly, I was disappointed to hear that United Airlines is spending money to lobby against climate change policies. Disappointed and sad. Especially when that money could be used to finally upgrade the entertainment systems on the 747.
I hope the letter will compel United to reconsider its actions against climate policies. Getting out ahead of climate change, with programs like Eco-Skies, is a great use of resources and encourages all fliers. But lobbying against climate change regulations discourages many fliers, especially me.
Birmingham Airport is expected to announce shortly that it is considering building a 2nd runway, and submit its plan to the Airports Commission. The airport wants to be considered as a major part of Britain’s aviation plans for the future, and could be a hub for European airports. Back in 2007 the airport’s plans for a second runway, in its Master Plans, were dropped in favour of the runway extension – due to open in 2014. If HS2 is built, Birmingham airport intends to benefit from it. Proposals include another terminal, incorporating HS2, as well as the runway. It is thought that the airport will say, in its submission, that the runway may not be needed for a long time, even decades as it currently caters for some 9 million passengers and could take over 25 million on its one runway. The airport’s plans are reported to be supported by the West Midlands Economic Forum which will release a report expected to say that there is plenty more potential growth for Birmingham Airport as the world economy grows. MP Mark Garnier said the airport needed to capitalise on being at the heart of the motorway and potential high-speed rail networks.
Birmingham Airport expected to announce second runway
by Mark Gough
Birmingham Airport is expected to announce on Monday that it is considering building a second runway.
It is in response to the Airports Commission which is looking at how Britain can meet demands for air travel in the future.
It is a question which has triggered the suggestion of Boris Island, or the expansion of Heathrow.
Now Birmingham Airport will join in the debate saying it could build a second runway.
As long ago as 2007, Birmingham Airport said it wanted to expand the current runway and have a second.
It has got the extension, but the second runway plan went on the back-burner.
And then High Speed 2 came along. With the proposed line running to the east of the airport – the most likely place for a station would be in a brown field site along the M42 corridor.
If the HS2 station is built there it would make sense for Birmingham Airport to put its new terminal and runway near there too.
Birmingham Airport has always said it wants to considered as a major part of Britain’s aviation plans for the future.
It is also said in the past that it wants a second runway but that idea was shelved.
On Monday it is expected to make that concrete with an announcement that a second runway is a viable option, admittedly not for several years, perhaps even decades.
Its plans are being supported by the West Midlands Economic Forum which will release a report expected to say that there is plenty more potential growth for Birmingham Airport as the world economy grows, but if the airport itself is not allowed to grow it could get left behind.
Birmingham Airport will give its recommendations to Sir Howard Davies on Monday
Birmingham Airport has the potential to become a hub serving north-west Europe, a West Midlands MP has said.
The airport will unveil details of a 50-year plan for growth when it submits recommendations to the commission examining UK airport policy next week.
Proposals include another terminal, incorporating HS2, and a second runway.
MP Mark Garnier said the airport could make a “global” statement, but a Solihull councillor said proposals have been drawn up by “economic dinosaurs”.
Managers at the airport, where work is being carried out to extend its runway, are due to submit plans to the commission headed by Sir Howard Davies on Monday.
Network of airports
The airport’s public affairs director, John Morris, admitted HS2 was an important element of their proposals but said a potential second runway on a nearby landfill site was not yet needed.
Mr Morris said: “At the moment we deal with about 9 million passengers a year.
“You could put another 27 million passengers off [the current] runway which is more than a third runway at Heathrow would give you so it’s a good time yet before we’d have to look at [a second runway].
“I wouldn’t rule it in. I wouldn’t rule it out.”
Mr Morris added the UK needs a network of national airports and said using its current runway to maximum capacity could lead to the creation of 243,000 jobs across the region.
Mr Garnier said the airport needed to capitalise on being at the heart of the motorway and potential high-speed rail networks.
The Conservative MP for Wyre Forest, who sits on an all-party parliamentary group for the West Midlands economy, said: “The really exciting thing about Birmingham is that we have an opportunity to be able to really make a statement globally for the West Midlands.
Birmingham Airport’s John Morris said 243,000 jobs could be created
“By having a much bigger airport, we’re now connecting all those businesses in places like Kidderminster, where I represent, with the global markets of the Far East and Latin America.
“There is potentially the room to expand it into a major airport. Not just a hub for the region but a hub for north-west Europe.”
But Solihull councillor Chris Williams, from the Green Party, said London would reap the benefits of any expansion.
Mr Williams said: “Birmingham Airport’s proposals are very much macho plans, but I think they’ve been drawn up by economic dinosaurs.
“[It will] get people flying into Birmingham, going off on HS2, supporting the London economy, doing nothing for us in the West Midlands.
“We’re just going to see the concreting over of the countryside between Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry and the lesion of the Meriden Gap through airport expansion and HS2.”
Jonathan Walker: Whispered talk of a second Birmingham Airport runway
Birmingham Airport officially scrapped plans for a second runway in 2007.
22.3.2013 (Birmingham Post)
Birmingham Airport officially scrapped plans for a second runway in 2007. But the idea has not been ruled out forever.
And supporters of the airport are increasingly talking about the benefits it would bring.
I don’t want to be alarmist about the prospect of a second runway at the airport, which hasn’t yet completed the long-awaited extension of its first runway.
If it ever happened it would be hugely controversial, and I think it’s safe to assume hugely unpopular, with the people living nearby.
There are no plans to build a second runway now. No announcement is imminent, certainly not so far as I am aware.
But it’s something of an elephant in the room. We know it’s still an option, but nobody wants to talk about it.
Birmingham Airport has won a very effective lobbying campaign to convince government ministers to make more use of “regional” airports.
Or perhaps I should say “airports outside the South-east”, as one if its goals is to be named a “national airport” and ditch the regional label.
This campaign has focused on the fact that Birmingham could double the number of passengers it serves, from nine million today to 18 million, without any new infrastructure.
And the planned extension of its existing runway will allow it to cater for 36 million passengers, and provide services all over the world (a larger runway allows larger planes, capable of crossing the globe).
But the airport’s campaign goes further than that. The gist of its message is that the Government should not build a new runway at Heathrow, nor go ahead with Boris Johnson’s plans for a brand new airport.
In other words, it is presenting itself as a potential answer to the question of how Britain can get the additional “hub” airport capacity it needs. That’s an airport where passengers change planes mid-journey.
If Birmingham is to fulfil that role, it would almost certainly need a second runway. And Midland MPs are quietly lobbying at Westminster for it to be allowed one.
Birmingham Airport urged to drop plans for second runway
1st June 2009
Campaigners have called for Birmingham Airport to forever banish all plans for
a 2nd runway. Chris Crean,(West Midlands FoE), and Gerald Kells (CPRE), asked
for assurances from the airport during the Examination in Public into the West
Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy. They were calling for an amendment to the
draft document which appears to give local authorities the option to “safeguard”;
land near the airport that could be used for a 2nd runway.(Post) Click here to view full story…
Birmingham Airport plan prepares for take-off - 400m extension allowed
31st March 2009
Plans to extend the runway at Birmingham finally got the go-ahead from Solihull
Council. Birmingham Airport had to resubmit its proposed Section 106 agreement,
which explained how it planned to counteract noise pollution and to protect the
environment. The planning committee approved the 400-metre extension in December
- subject to the amended guarantees now agreed. Expansion will enable bigger jets
to fly non-stop to long-haul destinations. (B’ham Post) Click here to view full story…
Birmingham Airport shelves plans for second runway
(1.12.2007 Birmingham Post)
News there will be no second runway at Birmingham International Airport has been
welcomed by the MP representing hundreds of families whose homes were blighted
by the plans.
Caroline Spelman (Con Meriden) said she welcomed the announcement, which would
end years of uncertainty for constituents. The airport confirmed that plans for
a second runway will be suspended until at least 2030, when it published the final
draft of its master plan.
[The airport will be] extending the existing runway by 405 metres, allowing it
to accommodate larger aircraft and offer more long-haul flights.
Mrs Spelman said: “It is a great relief to my constituents. It gives clarity
to people who have been in the dark, and whose homes have been blighted. It is
a great relief that the airport has accepted that the environmental cost of a
second runway would outweigh the environmental benefits.”
The airport, which served 9.2 million passengers in 2006, expects to serve 27.2
million in 2030.
But the predicted growth in passenger numbers has been reduced from earlier forecasts
of 31.7 million by 2030.
The Master Plan states: “A second runway should not be needed before 2030. Consequently, a new second runway has not been included in this Master Plan, but, as the forecasts are reviewed, over future periods, runway capacity and the need for a second runway could be reconsidered.”
The airport is also to aim to ensure a quarter of all passengers travel to it by public transport by 2012.
Birmingham International Airport is the UK’s second largest airport outside London and the sixth largest [in the UK] overall. It directly provides 7,500 jobs and is estimated to contribute some £272 million to the regional economy.
Great Britain: Birmingham Airport opened its new draft master plan for public comment. The plan includes extending the 2600-m runway to 3000 m, building a second runway and a third passenger terminal to handle 33 million passengers and 278,000 traffic movements a year expected by 2030. The U.K. Government identified Birmingham
as the preferred location for a new runway in the Midlands in a 2003 report. The Government says the extra capacity will be needed by 2016. — The draft master plan comment period will close on 31 March 2008. Birmingham is set to handle nearly
10 million passengers in 2007 and now serves 126 scheduled and 44 charter airlines.
The CAA has launched its consultation on the implementation of its new statutory duty to provide information. The various consultation papers can be found on the CAA’s website. The CAA says that under the Civil Aviation Act 2012, it has “new duties and powers to provide information to users of air transport to assist them in comparing services and facilities, and to the general public about the environmental impact of aviation.” However, it seems that the CAA is adopting a minimalist and inadequate approach to the provision of environmental information – which is disappointing. It had been hoped that the CAA might have agreed to take its new duty to provide environmental information more seriously. However, the CAA is asking if it should develop a standardised methodology for calculating CO2 emissions – more accurate than those offered by airlines – and presenting it to consumers so they can assess flight emissions. The consultation closes on 31 August and the CAA will publish its final Statement of Policy in Winter 2013.
CAA Consultation – Better Information about UK aviation: the CAA’s new publication duties
Under the Civil Aviation Act 2012, the CAA has new duties and powers to provide information to users of air transport to assist them in comparing services and facilities, and to the general public about the environmental impact of aviation. The CAA is consulting on its proposed Statement of Policy for the use of its information powers.
31 May 2013
31 August 2013
The CAA will publish its final Statement of Policy in Winter 2013, including final proposals for the areas where the CAA intends to use its powers to make information available.
On the environment, the CAA must publish, or arrange for others
to publish, such information as it feels is appropriate relating to the
environmental effects of civil aviation in the UK. Again, the CAA may
publish guidance with a view to mitigating adverse environmental
- – - – -
It is the second principle that has most bearing on the CAA’s new
duty to provide information about aviation services and facilities to
consumers, and information about the environmental impact of aviation
both to consumers and the public at large.
- – - – -
….. to put more, and more accessible and comprehensible, information in the public domain about the effects of aviation on the environment;
indirectly (through informing people and potentially creating pressure
on industry) and directly (through guidance and advice) to improve
performance in services and reduce adverse environmental effects.
- – - – -
…… to improve environmental performance through more efficient use of airspace and make an efficient contribution to reducing the aviation industry’s environmental impacts;
- – - – -
CAA and the environment
The CAA considers information as a vital part of its work to enhance
incentives and metrics in its effort to improve the environmental
sustainability of the aviation sector. We anticipate that the provision of
information on the environment will help to encourage consumers to
factor the environment into their choices and incentivise the sector to
improve its environmental performance.
In 2010 the CAA published CAA and the Environment5. This document
predated the Civil Aviation Act 2012, but captured the CAA’s work in
preparation for the CAA’s new information powers receiving Royal
Assent. Much of the work set out has been completed as part of the
process of developing this Statement of Policy, and on environmental
information, the CAA and the Environment programme will continue to
oversee this work as it is taken forward.
- – - – -
The Accent research also found that consumers place lower level
of importance on environmental information than information about
services and facilities available to them when choosing a flight. Only
13% of consumers stated that having access to information about the
environmental impact of the flight they were booking (including carbon)
is “very important” and 25% of consumers viewed this information as
Regarding environmental information, on the basis of the literature
reviewed, MVA concluded that broad community tolerance of
civil aviation requires confidence that all options for managing the
environmental impacts of aviation – e.g. aircraft noise, pollution and
other concerns – have been examined and an equitable outcome
adopted. UK airports are encouraged to provide their communities
with ready access to information concerning airport operations, flight
paths and noise management strategies. With recent advances in flight
tracking, and the growth of the internet, it is relatively simple to provide
ready access to aircraft noise information by showing the location of
flight paths and the numbers and times of aircraft movements, as well as sound levels for single events.
- – - – -
Most people wanted information so that they could make more
informed judgements on environmental issues both locally and
nationally. They also wanted information so that they could judge
whether aircraft activity had increased, or not; and to provide a
benchmark in case there was a push for expansion at a nearby airport.
A third reason for wanting environmental information was so that they
could judge for themselves the impact of moving near to an airport in
- – - -
The UK’s Civil Aircraft Noise Contour Model is employed by the CAA’s
Environmental Research and Consultancy Department (ERCD) to
produce noise contour maps for some UK airports. Noise contours for
Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, produced by ERCD under contract,
are available from the Department for Transport website27.
- – - – -
Almost every major airport publishes some type of annual
environmental impact statement, either as a standalone document,
or as part of a wider annual report. For example, both Heathrow29
and Bristol30 airports make information about their environmental
impact available to consumers, but, as they contain slightly
different information, set out in different formats, and make use of
different metrics in some instances, the information provided is not
easily comparable. Other airports publish little data on their actual
environmental impact, but do make available information about their
environmental policies (e.g. London Luton Airport31)
3.67 On the airline side, a lack of standardised reporting also makes direct
comparison of environmental impact difficult or impossible. Reporting
tends to be in different areas, with some airlines publishing specific
environmental reports each year while others cover environmental
performance as part of annual reports or Corporate Social Responsibility statements.
———– and much more……
There is one question on environment:
Q.3 Do you agree with the findings of the evidence base that the CAA has provided in support of its view that the general public would benefit from the provision of more information about the environmental impact of aviation (including that from other regulators and government agencies, summarised in Appendix G)?
On carbon emissions it asks:
Do you agree that Option 3 is the most appropriate way to aid the standardisation of CO2 information for air travellers? Please provide your reasoning.
Carbon Market Watch reports that recent data by the European Commission reveals for the first time the choice of offsets used by airlines during the first compliance period in the EU ETS. This shows that in 2012 airlines favoured using offset credits from HFC-23 and N2O industrial gas destruction projects, credits meanwhile banned in the EU ETS since May 2013. They are just the cheapest available. Airlines used almost 11 million offsets, 5.6 million and 5.3 million coming from the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation respectively. The ten largest emitters amongst the aircraft operators in the EU, including Lufthansa, Ryanair and Easyjet, were responsible for almost half of all offsets used.Even though offsets with environmental and social benefits are readily available at cheap prices, the airlines chose the cheapest offsets which lack environmental integrity. NGOs are demanding strict quality restrictions for any future global offsetting mechanism under ICAO. Airlines should be choosing offsets with high environmental and social integrity.
Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly to agree on a global carbon offsetting scheme to take effect in 2020. link
Recent data by the European Commission reveals for the first time the choice of offsets used by airlines during the first compliance period in the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
The data shows that in 2012 airlines favoured using offset credits from HFC-23 and N2O industrial gas destruction projects, credits meanwhile banned in the EU ETS.
NGOs demand a limited access and strict quality restrictions for any future global offsetting mechanism under ICAO.
In May 2013, the European Commission released for the first time data on carbon offsets used by 1188 airline operators covered by the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) in 2012. From the 12.5 million offsets allowed to use for compliance, airlines used almost 11 million offsets, 5.6 million and 5.3 million coming from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) respectively.
The ten largest emitters amongst the aircraft operators in the EU, including Lufthansa, Ryanair and Easyjet, were responsible for 5.12 million offsets – almost half of all offsets used.
Although more than 6.000 CDM projects and more than 600 JI projects are currently approved under the UN’s mechanisms, the offsets originate from only 45 CDM and 16 JI projects.
One third of all CDM offset credits used by the largest ten operators, come from 9 offset projects that destroy the waste gas HFC-23. HFC-23 projects were the largest originators of CDM offset credits: 400.000 and 380.000 offset credits originating from Chinese HFC-23 projects were sold to Easyjet and British Airways respectively.
Easyjet, Lufthansa and Air France also bought 420.000 credits from three N2O adipic acid projects in China and South Korea.
Credits from HFC-23 and N20 (adipic acid) projects have been banned from the EU ETS because of their lack of environmental integrity effective May 2013, a decision which was well known to airlines as early as 2010.
“Even though offsets with environmental and social benefits are readily available at cheap prices, the new data shows that airlines chose offsets from industrial gas projects even though they were to be banned for their lack of environmental integrity simply because they were the cheapest” said Eva Filzmoser, Director of Carbon Market Watch.
“This shows that we cannot trust airlines to have regard for environmental integrity when choosing offsets. It is therefore essential that limited access and stringent quality restrictions for offsets will be required in any future ICAO scheme to filter out substandard offset credits that harm the climate”.
The biggest emitters amongst airline operators in 2012 were Lufthansa and Ryanair. Lufthansa bought 650.000 offset credits from a project that claims to have reduced fugitive associated petroleum gas between 2007 and 2011 at the Priobskoe oil field in Russia, one of the largest oil fields in the world. This project which is registered under the Joint Implementation’s so called “track 1”, which is heavily and widely criticized for its lack of international oversight, sold the largest chunk of credits from one single project.
Other projects that sold credits to Lufthansa include a JI project that destroys HFC-23 and a CDM project that destroys N2O from adipic acid production in China, both project types now banned from the EU ETS.“It is hypocritical that Lufthansa encourages their clients to offset their emissions with sustainable projects while behind the backdoor it is using the cheapest offsets that clearly lack environmental integrity” commented Sabine Minninger, Senior Policy Advisor on climate and energy for Bread for the World.
“To live up to their claims to be sustainable, airlines must invest in credits with high environmental and social integrity themselves”.“Experience so far from airline behaviour in the EU ETS clearly demonstrates that offsets cannot be the complete solution in any market-based measure to reduce aviation emissions” said Bill Hemmings aviation manager at Transport and Environment. “IATA needs to seriously rethink its position”.
IATA, the trade body comprising 240 airlines worldwide, has finally acknowledged the need for a global market–based measure (MBM) to reduce aviation’s contribution to climate change. IATA called on their airline members to encourage their governments to agree at this year’s ICAO Assembly on a global carbon offsetting measure to take effect in 2020. However, IATA only endorses such a global scheme ‘as opposed to a patchwork of unilateral national and/or regional policy measures’. Environmental groups working on aviation emissions said though the IATA statement is welcome, rather than their usual position that better air traffic control, better planes and biofuels alone can solve the problem. However, it kicks the ball in the long grass, until after 2020, and sets out a string of unworkable conditions. It rules out the EU ETS as a stepping stone, as well as the raising of revenues, and impacts on traffic volume, which are inherent to any market-based measure. It also relies solely on out-of-sector offsets rather than real emissions reductions within the aviation sector itself. It merely compensates these emissions through investment in reduction projects in other sectors.
Airlines’ call for global emissions deal not convincing
3.6.2013 (T&E and AEF. Transport & Environment and Aviation Environment Federation)
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade body comprising 240 airlines worldwide, today finally acknowledged the need for a global market–based measure to reduce aviation’s contribution to climate change. Link IATA called on their airline members to encourage their governments to agree at this year’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly on a global carbon offsetting measure to take effect in 2020.
However, the aviation trade body only endorses such a global scheme ‘as opposed to a patchwork of unilateral national and/or regional policy measures’, presumably continuing industry’s opposition to the only international market-based measure actually in place, the sector’s inclusion in Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
Bill Hemmings, aviation manager at Transport & Environment, commented: “Today’s IATA resolution represents a welcome departure from their historical position that better air traffic control, better planes and biofuels alone can solve the problem. However, it kicks the ball in the long grass, until after 2020, and sets out a string of unworkable conditions. It rules out the EU ETS as a stepping stone, as well as the raising of revenues, and impacts on traffic volume, which are inherent to any market-based measure. Finally it relies solely on out-of-sector offsets rather than real emissions reductions within aviation.”
Tim Johnson, Director at Aviation Environment Federation, said: “ICAO members should see it as an encouragement to come up with an effective scheme at the Assembly, not as a blueprint for such a scheme.”
Environmental Defense Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council today echoed the new call by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade body comprising 240 airlines worldwide, for governments to agree this September on a single global cap on emissions of international flights to take effect in 2020.
NGOs today echoed IATA’s call for an agreement this year on a global cap on aviation emissions. Photo credit: Flickr user Mike Miley
The NGOs issued their call in response to a resolution, adopted today at IATA’s annual general meeting in Cape Town, that urges its member airlines to “strongly encourage governments” to adopt such a single global measure at this year’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly.
The resolution gives governments a set of principles on how governments could 1) establish procedures for a single market-based measure, and 2) integrate a single market-based measure as part of an overall package of measures to achieve the industry’s goal of having “carbon-neutral growth by 2020.”
IATA has opened the door, now it is time for governments to walk through it this September. This is the signal that governments have been seeking.
Not all the elements offered in IATA’s resolution will fully address aviation’s contribution to climate change, the NGOs cautioned. Our colleagues at Transport & Environment and Aviation Environment Federation have issued their own comments on the resolution, as has NRDC’s Jake Schmidt.
In advance of IATA’s general meeting in Cape Town, 11 global NGOs sent a letter to IATA Director General Tony Tyler calling on IATA to act on market-based measures. The environment, development, community and science groups said in the letter:
To be credible, such measures must include targets compatible with climate science, strong provisions to ensure the environmental credibility of the traded units, limited access to offsets and strict provisions to ensure compliance.
Aviation is already the world’s seventh largest polluter, and if emissions from the industry are left unregulated, they’re expected to double by 2030.
Press Statement: Airlines favour wrong choice to reduce emissions
3 June 2013, Brussels – Today, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) acknowledged the need for market-based measures to reduce the aviation sector’s contribution to climate change. This should be considered as part of a broader package of measures, including improvements in technology, operations and infrastructure. 
However, the airlines highlighted their preferences over a global carbon offsetting scheme compared to alternative schemes, such as cap-and-trade schemes.
Carbon Market Watch Director Eva Filzmoser commented “Today’s IATA Resolution is a welcome step towards regulating airlines’ contribution to climate change. However, a global carbon offsetting scheme is the wrong choice, because it does not lead to emissions reductions in the aviation sector itself. It merely compensates these emissions through investment in reduction projects elsewhere. Only a cap-and-trade scheme with a stringent cap and a limit on the use of offsets will create sufficient incentives for essential emission reductions in the aviation sector itself.”
The Resolution adopted today calls on the world’s governments to agree at this year’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly to a global carbon offsetting scheme to take effect in 2020.
Notes to Editors:
 IATA announcement: http://ht.ly/lEbhp
Green groups demand aviation leaders agree carbon-cutting measures
A coalition of 11 NGOs write to IATA chief warning ‘there is no room for delay’ in advancing a global agreement ahead of key summit
By Will Nichols
3 Jun 2013
Aviation industry leaders meeting this week have been urged to endorse measures to cut emissions from airlines and take a step towards agreeing a binding global deal to tackle the industry’s carbon footprint.
A coalition of 11 environmental groups, including WWF, the Environment Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Union of Concerned Scientists, have written to Tony Tyler, director general and chief executive of trade body the International Air Transport Association (IATA), warning “there can be no room for further delay”.
The industry’s efforts to reduce emissions through technical and operational measures are laudable, but insufficient, the groups say in the letter, which was also signed by the Sierra Club, Transport & Environment, the Aviation Environment Federation, and Carbon Market Watch.
The groups are calling on IATA members meeting this week in South Africa to support proposals for a market-based mechanism for reducing emissions, such as plans to introduce a global cap-and-trade system.
They say the development of some form of carbon pricing mechanism for airlines would not only tackle the three per cent of global climate pollution aviation is thought to contribute, but would also tackle concerns over fragmented, regional emissions policies springing up, which carriers fear will push up compliance costs and ticket prices.
The letter says that by endorsing a market-based measure, IATA can send a strong signal to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the UN-body that is due to meet later this year to resume talks on a global emissions deal.
“International efforts to address aviation’s contribution to climate change are at a cross-road,” the letter reads. “Airlines can help countries secure agreement this year to implement a global market-based measure to significantly cut aviation’s greenhouse gas pollution or they can choose to let others act domestically to control aviation’s pollution.
“We urge IATA to use its annual meeting in Cape Town, South Africa to send a resounding signal that it wants an agreement this year to implement a global market-based measure that significantly addresses aviation’s pollution.”
Signs are emerging that IATA is close to doing just that. Last week, Jos Delbeke, director general for climate at the European Commission, told news agency Bloomberg he expected to see progress at the meeting.
“I’m going to be in Cape Town next week where IATA will make a number of important decisions on carbon reductions,” Delbeke said. “We don’t know the detail of it, but the industry may be more forthcoming compared to what we anticipated two years ago.”
The pressure is building on ICAO to approve one of the four proposals for managing emissions that it is currently considering: offsetting, offsetting with a revenue generating mechanism, a cap-and-trade scheme, and a fuel levy with offsetting.
In theory, the charges will snap back into place if progress is not made at ICAO’s conference this year, but Brussels will inevitably face calls to postpone the re-introduction of emissions charging indefinitely given the frenzied lobbying and threats of retaliatory action seen prior to the regulation’s introduction last year.
The US and China in particular expressed anger at the EU’s standalone policy, with Congress approving a bill expressly forbidding its airlines from participating in the EU’s emissions trading scheme. Beijing, meanwhile, allegedly froze a multi-billion euro Airbus order in protest, only completing the deal once the rules were suspended.
As such both IATA and ICAO are aware that significant progress towards some sort of international agreement will have to be made in the coming months or else the risk of a full-blown trade war is likely to rematerialise.
The resolution provides governments with a set of principles on how governments could:
Establish procedures for a single market-based measure (MBM)
Integrate a single MBM as part of an overall package of measures to achieve CNG2020
“Airlines are committed to working with governments to build a solid platform for the future sustainable development of aviation. Today, they have come together to recommend to governments the adoption of a single MBM for aviation and provide suggestions on how it might be applied to individual carriers. Now the ball is in the court of governments. We will be strongly supporting their leadership as they seek a global agreement through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) at its Assembly later this year,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Environment will be at the top of the agenda for the 38th ICAO Assembly in September. The aviation industry urgently needs governments to agree, through ICAO, a global approach to managing aviation’s carbon emissions, including a single global MBM. IATA member airlines agreed that a single mandatory carbon offsetting scheme would be the simplest and most effective option for an MBM.
“For governments, finding agreement on MBMs will not be easy. It was difficult enough for the airlines, given the potential financial implications. Bridging the very different circumstances of fast growing airlines in emerging markets and those in more mature markets required a flexible approach and mutual understanding. But sustainability is aviation’s license to grow. With that understanding and a firm focus on the future, airlines found an historic agreement. This industry agreement should help to relieve the political gridlock on this important issue and give governments momentum and a set of tools as they continue their difficult deliberations,” said Tyler.
Aviation is the first industry to suggest a global approach to the application of a single MBM to manage its climate change impact. This keeps aviation in the forefront of industries on managing carbon emissions. It was also the first to agree global targets. These are: improving fuel efficiency by 1.5% annually to 2020, capping net emissions with CNG2020, and cutting emissions in half by 2050 compared to 2005. And it was also the first to agree on a global strategy to achieve them.
An MBM is one of the four pillars of the aviation industry’s united strategy on climate change. Improvements in technology, operations and infrastructure will deliver the long-term solution for aviation’s sustainability. “Today’s agreement focuses on a single global MBM as part of a basket of measures. A single MBM will be critical in the short-term as a gap-filler until technology, operations and infrastructure solutions mature. So we cannot take our eye off the ball on developing sustainable low-carbon alternative fuels, achieving the Single European Sky or the host of other programs that will improve aviation’s environmental performance,” said Tyler.
An MBM should be designed to deliver real emissions reductions, not revenue generation for governments. The principles agreed apply to emissions growth post-2020. “Airlines are delivering results against their climate change commitments. For example, we are on track to achieve our 1.5% average annual fuel efficiency target. We need governments to be serious partners as well. Developing an MBM must not become an excuse for revenue generation by cash-strapped governments, or for avoiding incentivizing investments in new technologies and sustainable low-carbon alternative fuels,” said Tyler.
A summary of the principles of the resolution includes the following:
Setting the industry and individual carrier baselines using the average annual total emissions over the period 2018–2020;
Agreeing to provisions/adjustments for- Recognizing early movers, benchmarked for 2005–2020 with a sunset by 2025
- Accommodating new market entrants for their initial years of operation
- Fast growing carriers
Adopting an equitable balance for determining individual carrier responsibilities that includes consideration of:- An ‘emissions share’ element (reflecting the carrier’s share of total industry emissions) and
- A post-2020 ‘growth’ element (reflecting the carrier’s growth above baseline emissions)
Reporting and verification of carbon emissions that is:- Based on a global standard to be developed by ICAO
- Simple and scalable based on the size and complexity of the operator
Instituting a periodic CNG2020 performance review cycle that revises individual elements and parameters as appropriate.#
Notes for Editors:
IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 240 airlines comprising 84% of global air traffic.