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Climate Change News

Below are news items on climate change – many with relevance to aviation

Political taboos leave politicians unwilling to take steps to cut transport emissions

An interesting, thought provoking article in The Conversation, looks at the way in which issues to do with reducing our desire for travel could be seen as "taboo." For the EU, CO2 emissions from transport make up about 30% of the total. However, while the automotive and aviation industries try to convince us that technology will cut emissions, the growth in demand will far outweigh these small improvements. If politicians challenge our desire for ever more travel, they can be punished by powerful lobby groups, by peers, or at the ballot box. On air travel, a high proportion is done by the most wealthy. But the political classes and opinion formers are themselves in this category, of hypermobile people with a "distinct unwillingness among this section of society to fly less." Increasing the cost of flying disproportionally affects lower income groups, yet does not seriously impede the mobility patterns of frequent-flying elite, who enjoy flights "subsidised through the exemption of international air travel from VAT." The airline industry and its lobbyists work hard to instil the idea that “mobility is freedom”, and that to restrict such mobility through regulation is nothing short of an infringement of that liberty; another taboo.

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Southampton University study shows air traffic growth would outpace CO2 reduction efforts unless demand is cut by higher air fares

Experts warn that cheap air travel needs to end if the air industry is to honour its pledges to reduce its carbon footprint. Airfares will need to increase by a third over the next 30 years if airlines are to cut their passenger numbers,in order to hit their 'carbon neutral' targets. A study (by John Preston, Matt Grote and Ian Williams, at the Dept of Engineering and the Environment at the University of Southampton) shows the airline industry will have to raise fares in order to limit demand for air travel, which otherwise rises continuously. The study says air ticket prices need to increase by at least 1.4% per year, even if the airlines invest in more efficient aircraft and manage to introduce lower-carbon fuels. Air fares have become 1.3 % cheaper every year, on average, since 1979. The researchers say the average fare paid by passengers would need to rise (at 2013 prices) from £170 in 2013, to £195 in 2023, to £225 in 2033, and to £258 by 2043. The growth in demand for flights will outpace fuel efficiency improvements if the annual increase in air passengers worldwide is around 4 - 5% per year. Though ICAO hopes to improve aircraft fuel efficiency by 2% per year up to 2050, it realises the higher growth in passenger numbers is causing a net increase in aviation carbon emissions.

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Russian airline, Aeroflot, to challenge fines for non-payment of EU ETS charges for 2012

The European Emissions Trading System charged airlines, during 2012, for their emissions while flying into or from European airports, in EU airspace. For non EU countries, a European country administered the payments. The payments from Russian airlines are administered by Germany. Three Russian airlines paid in full for their emissions. However, Aeroflot did not. Now Germany has confirmed that Aeroflot is being fined for its non-payment. Aeroflot has sent a “protest” letter to the European Parliament and is preparing to lodge an appeal at being asked to pay a €215,600 fine. Aeroflot says: “In response to the IATA recommendations and like other air companies, Aeroflot has prepared a protest letter to the European Parliament" ...and they are "preparing to file an appeal on the unacceptability of issuing fines against the air company." The payments are only for 2012, before "stop the clock" brought an end to payments. The compromise deal agreed by the European Parliament in early April 2014 means that, until 2017, only flights between EU airports will be regulated, not flights to or from the EU.

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CCC confirm UK air passenger rise of 60% by 2050 only possible if carbon intensify of flying improves by one third

The Committee on Climate Change has reported to Parliament on progress on the UK's carbon budgets. They say: "Under the current rate of progress future budgets will not all be met." Carbon budgets do not currently include emissions from international aviation and shipping, but these are included in the 2050 carbon target. The government will review aviation's inclusion in carbon budgets in 2016. In 2012 the UK's international aviation emitted 32 MtCO2, and domestic aviation 1.6 MtCO2. The CCC and the Airports Commission say a new runway can fit within climate targets, but their own figures show aviation growth exceeding the target for decades. Growth in passengers of "around" 60% above 2005 levels could only fit within the carbon target if there is an improvement in the carbon intensity of aviation of around one-third by 2050. The Airports Commission's own interim report says there can only be 36% growth in flights by 2050, to stay within targets. They say any more growth than that should not happen, "unless and until" there are the necessary technology improvements, cutting aviation emissions. But neither the government, nor the CCC, nor the Airports Commission can pin down what these will be, or when they will happen. UK aviation emissions remain the highest in Europe.

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Reading University research indicates the extent of non-CO2 aviation emissions on climate

Some research from the University of Reading, published in Environmental Research Letters, indicates just how much of the impact of aircraft is not only from the CO2 they emit, but also from the water vapour they emit. This will form contrails, in some weather conditions. These contrails can then expand and create a layer of high cloud, which has significant climate effects as it traps heat below it. The exact extent of the climate impact of the non-CO2 emissions from planes at high altitude is not established. It is likely to have around double the climate impact of the CO2. The research implies that it may be better for some planes to fly longer distances, burning more fuel and emitting yet more CO2, in order to avoid areas where contrails will form the most, and be the most long lasting. Contrails form where the air is very cold and moist, which is often in the ascending air around high-pressure systems. On average, 7% of the total distance flown by aircraft is in such areas. However, it is hard to compare the climate impacts of contrails and short term warming, and CO2 because the former can last just hours while the latter is irreversible and will last decades.

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IATA economist warns expected growth in air travel “major challenge” to carbon reduction (ie. not possible)

Air transport has proved to be one of the fastest growing industries over the past 20 years, with passenger traffic nearly tripling in terms of revenue-passenger-kilometres (RPKs) and increasing at an average of 5.4% per year since 1994. However, though there have been improvements in fuel use per revenue-tonne-kilometre (RTK), the industry’s carbon emissions increasing by 150% since 1994. With a similar rate of increase in air traffic expected over the next 20 years, the emissions can only go up. The increase in air travel had been helped by a halving in its cost over the period. The future cost of jet fuel is unknown but IATA hopes the price of jet fuel will be stable, and the cost of flying will get even lower - justifying huge expansion predictions. IATA says curbing demand for air travel is not realistic. ( Why ?) IATA knows its aim of so called "carbon neutral growth" cannot be achieved, but hopes ICAO will come up with something to enable aviation emissions to be traded, so the industry can buy carbon cuts in other sectors, while it continues to emit more.

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Heathrow and Gatwick battle it out in the media, but is either environmentally deliverable?

Gatwick and Heathrow have been trying to get the best publicity they can for their runway, while simultaneously having a dig at each other. But does either deliver on environmental issues? Many of the new ideas, such as noise compensation schemes and a congestion charge, aim to tackle these impacts but much of what has been proposed either misses the key questions or makes impressive promises on issues that are outside the control of airports. Heathrow's only contribution towards cutting carbon emissions appears to be using some renewable energy in its new terminal and incentivising efficient aircraft. They remain silent on inconvenient issues. Giving the go-ahead to any of the runway options would mean UK carbon emissions would have to be cut elsewhere, either though imposing limits on regional airports, or expecting other sectors and industries to deliver near impossible emissions reductions. UK aviation has been given a very lax emissions target of only having to keep its CO2 emissions to 2005 levels by 2050. The assumption that this means an increase of 60% in passengers, or 55% in fligths depends on carbon cuts in line with the rate of growth. It is by no means clear those carbon efficiencies will, or can, be made.

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Scope of coverage of aviation by EU Emissions Trading System now slashed by 75% until 2017

The compromise deal agreed by the European Parliament in early April means that, until 2017, only flights between EU airports will be regulated, not flights to or from the EU. So the result is that this only covers about 25% of the total EU aviation carbon emissions. About 75% of the total emissions, which were covered in the first year of the ETS, are now not covered - and will not be for years. The inclusion of aviation in the ETS, agreed in 2008, covered emissions from all flights to, from and within Europe and entered force in 2012. However, an interim one-year freeze of the law, known as ‘stop the clock’, was hurriedly agreed in late 2012 to allow time for the UN’s aviation body, ICAO, to agree a global measure to reduce aviation emissions at its 2013 triennial assembly. The EU decision included a provision that if ICAO fails to agree a global measure by 2017, the original ETS, with full coverage, will ‘snapback’ then. Bill Hemmings, sustainable aviation manager at T&E commented :"Just when the IPCC’s latest report shows how climate change is already affecting every aspect of human life, European governments and politicians have chosen to effectively scrap the only law in the world that attempts to curb aviation’s soaring emissions."

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Top economists urge UN aviation body, ICAO, to deliver global CO2 deal to pay the social costs of aviation carbon emissions

A group of 40 leading international economists has said ICAO, must develop a market-based measure that forces air transport to pay the full costs that its emissions cause to global society - ‘the social costs of carbon’. The 40, including 4 Nobel prize winners and economists from emerging economies like Brazil, India and China, have written an open letter to ICAO saying if aviation is to claim some of the earth’s remaining atmospheric capacity for emissions, it must show it is doing everything it can to create incentives for emissions reduction in the air transport sector. The economists recognise that low carbon aviation technologies are several decades away, but due to the urgency and seriousness of the threat to the climate, "every amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere should reflect the expected cost of these emissions to society as a whole." They say aviation must not be allowed to merely "buy emissions offsets in order to meet an already weak 2020 carbon neutrality target." That would fall short of being a meaningful policy and would "set a bad precedent."

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IPCC report says transport contributes 27% of global CO2 – and could double by 2050 under BAU

The latest UN IPCC report alerts global leaders to the growing threat of uncontrolled transport emissions. The UN's climate panel says that transport is set to become the world’s biggest source of CO2 emissions unless lawmakers take strong action now. They say "The transport sector accounted for 27% of final energy use and 6.7 GtCO2 direct emissions in 2010, with baseline CO2 emissions projected to approximately double by 2050." The report states: “Without aggressive and sustained policies (to cut CO2 from cars and trucks), transport emissions could increase at a faster rate than emissions from any other sector.” Progress is being made in the EU on cars, but not much on trucks and vans. As actual car performance on CO2 on the road is not as good as the theoretical level, the EC plans to introduce a new test that closes loopholes in the current system in 2017. Air travel is only given one short mention that increased use of high speed rail should replace some short haul flights. There are some very guarded comments on biofuels (written by large committee!) which mention "the risks of increased competition for land need to be managed."

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European Parliament votes to continue with partial inclusion of aviation in weakened ETS – for intra-EU flights only till at least 2016

The European Parliament voted on 3rd April to alter the ETS so that, instead of airlines being charged for all the carbon of flights into and out of the EU, the scheme will only cover carbon emissions for intra-EU flights. This is the "Stop the Clock" (STC) deal, which started in 2013. It means charges for CO2 emissions will be made for flights by European airlines, and for the very few by non-EU airlines between European airports. This severe weakening of the ETS has been caused by relentless pressure from foreign powers (USA, China, India and Russia as the main opponents), and means the ETS will only cover a small fraction of total aviation carbon emissions associated with flights to and from all European countries. The vote on 3rd reverses the position taken by the European Parliament's environment committee last month, when it rejected the change to intra-EU flights only, and very narrowly voted on a compromise that would have required non-EU flights to still pay for their CO2 emissions within EU airspace. The "Stop the Clock" weak version of the ETS will now run until the end of 2016 and the agreement allows for a return to the original full scope of the scheme from 2017 should an agreement at ICAO to implement a global market-based mechanism from 2020 not be reached at its Assembly in 2016.

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China’s trade war threats over aviation emissions “not serious”, MEPs say

The European Parliament is expected to give its final say to the highly disputed issue of aviation's inclusion in the ETS on 3rd April. The Chinese president is ending a trip to Europe, during which a 10 year deal was agreed between Airbus and China that planes could be assembled in China till 2025. This is seen as an argument for MEPs in favour of a stronger European stance on carbon emissions trading in the aviation sector. MPs against the European Parliament giving in to pressure from other countries to weaken its ETS said that the Airbus/China deal showed that the threats of a trade war if the EU did not give in were not as serious as had been made out. The deal, according to one MEP "will make my position even easier to defend ....we should not bend to economic blackmail" which is what the Chinese have been doing. Another said the EU should "... stick to our principles and stop this incessant wavering whenever the slightest signs of trouble appear, then we'd be much better positioned to achieve real progress on the international stage."

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Accenture cuts its CO2 emissions per employee by 36% over 5 years, partly due to flying less

The large global consultancy firm, Accenture, has released figures in its corporate citizenship report showing it has cut its carbon emissions per employee by 36% compared to its emissions in 2007. It says this has largely been achieved by increased use of video conferencing rather than flying, and also green procurement standards. Accenture says its CO2 emissions per person have now fallen from 4.0 metric tons to 2.6 metric tons per year, and over 80% is from flying + use of electricity. They champion "sustainable growth" [oxymoron] by using virtual collaboration technologies and exploring alternative travel arrangements. The company's total carbon emissions have risen by 26% between 2009 and 2013, as the company grew. The proportion of total CO2 emissions from flying is around 51% and has been that level (51% - 56%) since 2009. The carbon savings by Accenture mirror the savings achieved by companies working with the WWF-UK "One in Five" campaign which encourages a number of large UK firms to cut their flying by 20% over 5 years. Many far surpassed this target.

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IPCC report sets out impacts, risks and threats of rising CO2 to security, food and human well being

The IPCC has released the report from its 2nd working group as part of its 5th Assessment Report (AR5). This comprehensive report is entitled "Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability." It sets out more clearly, and warns more starkly, than it has done in previous reports, the extent of the widespread and serious negative effects of climate change. They say every part of the world will be affected, and urgent action is now needed both to reduce carbon emissions, and to adapt to the inevitable changes that will happen. The report deals with food security, water supplies and human health, among other topics, and it says rising atmospheric CO2 will mean global warming could undermine economic growth and increase poverty, and the chance of conflics. The warnings on future ability to grow food, for an every growing human population, is chilling. Negative impacts can only worsen if global average temperature is allowed to rise by 2 degrees C and the IPCC warns that by impacts may become potentially catastrophic to human societies if temperatures rise higher than 4C, which is what we should expect if global temperatures continue to rise as predicted without drastic emissions cuts. [How does a rapidly growing, very high carbon, aviation industry fit into this future?]

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EU Parliament ENVI committee narrowly votes against compromise of extending ETS “Stop the Clock” to 2016

The European Parliament's Environment Committee (ENVI) has very narrowly voted to reject a deal to exempt long-haul flights (those into and out of Europe) from paying for their carbon emissions until the end of 2016 - the so-called "stop the clock" measure. This is intended to prevent the EU from bowing to international pressure from the USA, China, India etc. Currently only intra-EU flights are included, (no long haul) so the only aviation carbon that is being paid for is from these flights. The aviation ETS is the only international climate measure in place today that tackles aviation’s soaring CO2 emissions. The compromise of an extension to 2016 would effectively have dismantled the ETS, and was not the best way forward. The vote was a clear signal to political leaders in member states, industry and foreign countries that the EU’s sovereignty is not to be undermined by external bullying, and threats of trade sanctions. The next stage is for a vote in the full Parliament on 3rd April. If the Parliament agrees to reject the compromise, then the existing law would automatically apply, requiring all flights using EU airports to pay for all their emissions.

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EU compromise on inclusion of long haul flights in the ETS faces opposition – vote on 19th March

A number of EU politicians plan to vote against a deal to exempt long-haul flights, to and from Europe, from paying for carbon emissions until the end of 2016 in an attempt to prevent the EU from bowing to international pressure. The European Parliament's 71-member Environment Committee will vote on March 19 on a deal brokered by EU diplomats earlier in March to extend a so-called "stop the clock" measure exempting intercontinental flights from regulation under its ETS. The vote on the 19th will be a preliminary indication of whether the proposal can win enough support in the full 766-strong EU Parliament, a step required before it can become law. If there is no agreement by the end of April, this is likely to reignite tensions with Europe's major trading partners (US, China, India) and risk a trade war. Failure to reach agreement on continuing to allow flights into and out of the EU not to pay for their carbon emissions would be good news for environmentalists, as it would mean that an existing law that requires all aviation to pay for emissions would automatically apply. There is a lot of internal European politics involved.

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Vote on ETS in European Parliament on 19th March on whether “stop the clock” continues to 2016 or 2020

MEPs on the European Parliament's environment committee will next week (19th) be faced with a difficult choice on aviation and the ETS – accept a humiliating surrender to America, Russian and Chinese bullying, or risk a trade war with grave economic consequences. Last week negotiators reached a deal to exempt non-EU airlines from paying for their CO2 emissions, in deference to pressure from Washington, Moscow and Beijing. The EU "stopped the clock" on the scheme, except for intra EU flights, and a decision on the next stage has to be made on when, and if, the carbon emissions from flights to and from the EU can again be included. Sticking with "stop the clock" gives advantages to hub airports just outside EU airspace, such as Istanbul, at the expense of EU competitors. The Parliament is demanding that the exemption should end in 2016 rather than in 2020, and the text agreed with member states says only an ICAO agreement which reduces emissions – rather than just halting the rise in emissions – would meet the conditions to allow carbon from flights to and from the EU to continue to be excluded. The UK wants the 2020 date. If the agreement is passed in the March 19 ENVI meeting, it will be presented at the Parliament’s plenary session on April 3 for a full vote by MEPs. If passed, the regulation will come into immediate effect.

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NGOs urge EU governments to take action over EU ETS enforcement against non-compliant foreign airlines

European environmental NGOs have formally requested German, Dutch and British authorities responsible for administering the Aviation EU ETS to take necessary action against airlines that failed to comply with the carbon scheme in 2012. The NGOs name airlines Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, Air India, Jet Airways, Saudia and Aeroflot as not having submitted carbon permits to cover their intra-European flights that year by the 30 April 2013 deadline. Facing international opposition, the EU temporarily suspended a requirement for airlines to report emissions from intercontinental flights to and from Europe in 2012 under the ‘Stop the Clock’ derogation. Carriers regardless of nationality were still required to comply with the scheme for flights carried out within Europe. The NGOs point out that offenders gain a competitive advantage over compliant airlines if the regulations are not enforced equally and consistently. The NGOs say “It makes no sense and undermines the EU’s position internationally to enforce the ETS partially or in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner." EU countries must enforce compliance with the ETS in a consistent and fair manner.

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Aircraft operators hit with ETS non-compliance penalty as EU states send out enforcement notices

As part of the process of enforcing payments for carbon emissions by airlines in the ETS, notices have been sent to airlines and business jet operators that failed to comply with regulations in 2012. It is understood that one Europe-based commercial business jet owner has received a penalty from the UK authorities of some half a million euros for failing to surrender the required number of allowances by the 30 April 2013 deadline. The main EU countries (UK, German, France etc) have responsibility as Competent Authorities (CAs) for sending notices for non-compliance on the airlines of selected countries. Member states have an obligation to issue fines of €100 for every tonne of CO2 an aircraft operator fails to submit an allowance to cover. The various Member States have taken different approaches, with some countries more assiduous than others. Some EU authorities are faced with enforcing penalties on Chinese, Indian and Russian operators that carried out intra-European flights in 2012 but failed to comply with the EU ETS ‘Stop the Clock’ regime. The "Stop the Clock" derogation during 2013 meant the obligation to report emissions from intercontinental flights to and from Europe were temporarily suspended. EU states are under pressure to act from EU politicians unhappy at what they see as ‘feet-dragging’ over enforcing compliance. More detail from GreenAir online.

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Sandbag blog: Aviation in the ETS – still no deal

If EU governments have kept their word, letters should now be landing on the doormats of the airlines across the world who haven’t complied with the ETS. This last minute notice of penalties for non-compliant airlines is a desperate last minute attempt to show that EU laws will be applied when airlines operate in Europe. Sandbag say that though the EU data is sketchy, a number of airlines, including China Eastern and Air India, were missing from EU records, despite the law saying they should pay for their CO2 when they flew from one EU airport to another (the UK won't currently confirm who isn't compliant). Now the proposals for a change to the scheme are in trialogue discussion between the three pillars of the EU government, the Commission, the Parliament and the Council. MEP Peter Liese, who is leading the ETS proposals, has said he is willing to compromise further, and allow the current limited scheme to continue for 2 more years. This unsatisfactory and weak position suits EU member states afraid of confrontation or trade wars with China, India etc. Peter Liese wants EU member states to agree that the ETS should revert to full coverage (not only within Europe as at present) in 2016.

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Head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, warns of “merciless” climate change & need for less fossil fuel subsidies

Speaking in London, Christine Lagarde - Head of the International Monetary Fund - said a deal by the UN on emissions deal, and cuts in subsidies to fossil fuels are global priorities. She said the planet is “perilously close” to a climate change tipping point, and requires urgent cooperation between countries, cities and business. She said reducing subsidies for fossil fuels and pricing carbon pollution should be priorities for governments around the world. People should pay for the climate damage - the carbon emissions - they cause. “We are subsidizing the very behaviour that is destroying our planet, and on an enormous scale. Both direct subsidies and the loss of tax revenue from fossil fuels ate up almost $2 trillion in 2011—this is about the same as the total GDP of countries like Italy or Russia.” Describing the predicted consequences of climate change as “merciless”, she said leaders had to engage in what she called a “new multilateralism”, rekindling the “Bretton Woods spirit” which saw the creation of the IMF in 1945. She said investment in poorer regions was essential to ensure they can cope with a range of extreme weather caused by climate change.

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Member states should follow MEPs and back airspace emissions proposal

MEPs on the Environment Committee have stood up to political pressure from member states and industry by voting to endorse the European Commission’s proposal for an aviation ETS covering all of Europe’s airspace. Although the proposal regulates only 35% of airline emissions compared to the original EU ETS, it crucially captures a portion of long-haul flights – where most of aviation’s greenhouse gases originate. The proposal would see an end to a restricted ETS covering just intra-EU flights. Bill Hemmings, aviation manager at the European Federation for Transport & Environment, said: “By backing coverage of airspace, MEPs are ensuring the system captures emissions from all flights – both intra-Europe and long-haul over European territory. The decision also reinforces EU sovereignty, something a number of member states seem reluctant to uphold ...Any EU measure to fight climate change needs to be enforced. It is untenable that France, Germany and the UK are failing to enforce the 2012 legislation. This should be a precondition before talks between Parliament and Council members on agreeing changes to the ETS.” .

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EU’s aviation emissions ETS law ‘puts Europe’s global power to the test’, MEPs say

Euractiv reports that members of the European Parliament and industry representatives say the ETS for aviation is rapidly turning into a “political question of the EU’s influence on the world stage”. There will be a key vote by the European Parliament's environment committee on 30th January. The Parliament's rapporteur on aviation ETS, Peter Liese MEP, has threatened to block the EU's efforts to amend the existing legislation if the EC does not mention which countries have undermined the ETS so far. There remain foreign carriers operating intra-EU flights without paying their ETS share, including Air China (Athens - Munich) and China Eastern (Frankfurt - Hamburg) and even intra-German ones. Airbus stakeholder states – the UK, France and Germany – have surrendered to “economic blackmail” from China, which threatened to no longer buy Airbus planes if the EU carried on with its legislation. Peter Liese is pushing the EC to shorten its current 2020 deadline and revert to a full-scope ETS from 2016, if no agreement on global measures is found in ICAO. T&E commented that "Pursuing anything less than coverage of emissions in EU airspace is environmentally unacceptable. At the same time, not enforcing the existing ETS sends a clear signal to third countries that EU sovereignty doesn't matter and it won't advance efforts to secure agreement on global measures either."

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EU’s new climate and energy package – to cut carbon emissions by 40% by 2030

The European Commission has announced new energy and climate targets for the EU. It has 3 current targets - on (1) greenhouse gases, (2) renewable energy, and (3) energy efficiency - to see it through to 2020. The current announcement is about what the EU would do to 2030. Carbon Brief gives a handy short summary of the key points. (1) The target for cutting EU carbon (excluding international aviation and shipping, and embodied carbon in imports) is for a 40% cut by 2030. This will have to be done by the member states' cutting emissions at home, instead of funding projects abroad as offsets. This target is weaker than many green campaigners had called for, but stronger than the alternatives that some member states and commissioners were championing right to the final stages of the negotiations. The 40% is not ambitious, but it might be considered to be broadly in line with the EU's longer term target to reduce emissions by 80% of their 1990 level by 2050. However it is not enough to help prevent the world warming by 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels - the minimum level of ambition agreed by 192 countries in 1992. Others suggest the level should be a 55% cut, or more, by 2050 to make a serious contribution. Aviation needs to play its part in this, rather than being allowed to increase its carbon emissions.

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More problems for aviation in the EU ETS as France, UK and Germany will not enforce sanctions for non- compliance

German centre-right MEP Peter Liese, the European Parliament’s environment committee rapporteur, wants the European Parliament to refuse to ratify proposed changes to the law on the ETS unless member states start enforcing the existing law. He is supported in this by both the environmental groups, who want better control of aviation carbon emissions, and from a very different perspective, the European Low Fare Airlines Association, which fears that if non-EU airlines are not forced to pay for carbon permits, while EU airlines are, they will be at a competitive disadvantage. Since the freeze ("stop the clock") ended in October, the Commission proposed to change the legislation so that only the portions of flights taking place within EU airspace would be charged. But France, Germany and the UK are pushing to exempt until 2016 all emissions from any flight that enters or leaves EU airspace. At present the EU is not charging foreign airlines for the flights they operate within EU airspace. These flights are mostly American and Chinese. Liese wants the Parliament to withhold its backing until the regulators start punishing the foreign airlines for not paying their ETS charges. And to do it before May - Germany and France don't want to do this.

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The world does not end in 2100. Why do we ignore future generations, when it comes to climate change?

In a blog for Business Green, James Murray writes on the important - and generally ignored - topic of human myopia when it comes to considering future generations, and what the impact of our current actions will be on them. Most climate models indicate that by 2100 the global temperature may be 4-6C higher than now. "But the world will not end in 2100. Unless we get a handle on climate change in the next few decades we risk bequeathing the next century environmental challenges so great they will make our current problems look like the Garden of Eden. " "Projections for the 22nd Century based on business as normal emissions suggest that climate change and ocean acidification could leave generations just a few decades hence with a biosphere only science fiction directors would recognise. Does any of this matter? None of us will be around to see it and we all know that economists discount future generations." Yes, it does matter. Taking a relaxed approach to climate change and arguing "something will turn up to address the problem" is not enough. We cannot blindly take the view that the current generation must take primacy.

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Cameron “suspects” extreme weather linked to climate change

At the first Prime Ministers' Questions of the New Year, David Cameron revealed that he "very much suspects" increased incidents of extreme weather are linked to climate change. In comments that may not please his climate sceptic Conservative colleagues, the Prime Minister acknowledged that climate change was likely to be contributing to an increase in extreme weather experienced by the UK and underlined his commitment to the Climate Change Act and the government's Green Investment Bank. Responding to a question from Lib Dem President Tim Farron in which he asserted that there was "no doubt" climate change was having some impact on extreme weather and urged Cameron to commit to climate change targets, the Prime Minister stopped short of confirming that he would block any changes to the current fourth carbon budget when it is reviewed this year. But he insisted the government was "committed to carbon reduction targets" and had taken steps to ensure that they are met, such as the launch of the Green Investment Bank. Earlier the shadow Environment team implied that the Secretary of State Owen Patterson's well-documented climate scepticism could undermine the UK's ability to respond to worsening extreme weather impacts.

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Global aviation anticipated to carry on expanding at 5% per year out to 2032 … and beyond

The world’s addiction to flying shows no signs of slowing, despite increasing concerns over the industry’s impact on climate change. New data from the Worldwatch Institute shows the number of people taking flights in 2012 hit 2,957 million, a 4.7% increase on 2011. That’s triple the number of people flying in 1986. Boeing predicts world passenger numbers and air cargo traffic will rise 5% annually until 2032. The“insatiable” desire for air travel is bad news for climate change, as growth in the sector is faster than fuel efficiency improvements - giving a large net increase in CO2 emissions each year. In 2012, aviation produced 689 million tonnes of CO2, or around 2% of the global total. A 2009 paper in the Atmospheric Environment journal calculated air travel was responsible for 4.9% of man-made climate change. As their affluence increases,people travel more and more. International flights are responsible for the majority of air miles travelled. In 2012, while only 39% of passengers were on international flights, they accounted for 62% of the overall distance travelled. The world's aircraft fleet is expected to grow to 36,500 carriers by 2032, says Airbus, or to more than 41,000, says rival Boeing.

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Connie Hedegaard: Why bold climate action is in Europe’s economic interest

Connie writes that one of the major dilemmas facing political leaders across the world today is how to combine economic prosperity with bold climate action. It is obvious that climate policy-makers must anticipate the economic impacts of climate policies. Anything else would be irresponsible. Everybody agrees to this elementary reasoning. But, she says, how come it is not equally elementary to all that economic policy-makers must anticipate the climate impacts of their proposed economic policies? Global economic leaders are finally beginning to understand that, beyond the global economic crisis, the world is experiencing a climate crisis. And none can be resolved without addressing the other. In January the European Commission will propose a new climate and energy framework for 2030. Europe's ambition will be seen by many countries as a benchmark, both in terms of timing and ambition, and an important driver in securing ambition for the domestic preparations of other countries and, as a result, for the 2015 agreement in Paris. The summit of world leaders on climate change that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will host in September 2014 will be a crucial milestone on the road to Paris.

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Andrew Simms: The only sober way to run Britain’s economy is to learn our limits – including aviation

Writing in the Observer, Andrew Simms (fellow at the NEF and author of the book, "Cancel the Apocalypse") says that the UK needs to learn to live within the biosphere's thresholds, its ability to absorb our waste and replenish its productivity. We are not doing this at present, and act as if there were infinite resources available and the planet has infinite capacity to deal with our wastes. He says Britain's economy is in the grip of an Icarus complex. " It touches everything from, appropriately, the debate on aviation expansion, to our increasing dependence on fossil fuels and more." By operating within the biosphere's thresholds, "this introduces an urgent and immediate decision tree. If something like a new airport runway, or expansion of fossil fuel extraction, is going to take you closer to, or further beyond, one of the biosphere's tolerance thresholds – such as potentially runaway climate change – you branch off and do something else .... that would mean no enlargement of Heathrow, or having to identify compensatory carbon savings elsewhere. The latter is not as easy as it sounds as some official projections for expansion lead to the aviation industry using up the UK's entire fair global share of safe carbon emissions before too long."

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Through WWF “1 in 5″ Challenge, Scottish Government cut number of staff flights by about a quarter over 5 years

The Scottish Government has saved more than £500,000 and shrunk its carbon footprint through cutting back on business flights. Their figures show that in the past 5 years, the Scottish government has reeduced yearly flights from 11,169 to 8,036. That is reported to mean a cut of 650 tonnes of CO2. The cuts have means an annual saving of some 31%, from £1.85 million to £1.27m. The total distance flown dropped by 23%, from nearly 8 million kilometres to 6 million kilometres. The reductions are due to the government taking part in the WWF "One in Five Challenge" to cut one flight in every five, in 5 years. The Scotland government is the first administration in the UK to successfully fulfil the WWF's challenge. WWF Scotland said: “By successfully completing WWF’s One in Five Challenge, the Scottish Government has clearly demonstrated that many business flights are unnecessary and can easily be replaced with lower-carbon alternatives such as rail travel or video conferencing." Much time is saved by public servants if they can use video-conferencing instead of flying, and that saves money. Time spent travelling by train, not air, is generally useful time in which work can be done. Scotland is aiming to cut its CO2 emissions by 42% by 2020.

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Chris Huhne: “It won’t be long before the victims of climate change make the west pay”

Chris Huhne, writing in the Observer, says the poorer countries, that have been adversely affected by climate change, have an increasingly strong legal argument against the rich countries that have been the historical main emitters. The more certain is the attribution for blame, the more justified many developing countries will feel in protesting. There is the possibility that the victims of climate change could begin to take international legal action against the countries responsible, particularly the early industrialisers, such as Britain, Belgium and Germany, whose carbon continues to warm the planet a century after it was emitted. "Legal action is not a substitute for politics, but it could highlight the evidence in an uncomfortable way." Philippe Sands QC, the UCL professor of international law, said: "There will definitely be a case in my lifetime and probably within five to 10 years .... The only questions now are where, how and to what purpose." Huhne says: "It is not a defence that we did not know what we were doing, nor does a case have to target everyone who might have historic responsibility: countries are jointly and severally liable."

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Committee on Climate Change to report in July 2014 on climate implications of Davies runway proposals

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has announced it will report to parliament in July 2014 on the impact of the Airports Commission's plans on the UK's climate commitments. The Commission's report referred to the previous recommendations of the CCC, but was opaque on how those targets could be met, if expansion is permitted. The Commission said aviation CO2 emissions could be kept at 2005 levels by 2050 if passenger demand growth is kept to 67% by 2050. [The earlier CCC advice in 2009 was maximum 60% passenger growth over 2005 level by 2050]. The CCC's David Kennedy said: "The expansion of Heathrow by one runway would stay within the 60% limit, depending on the extent of demand growth at other locations." But a second runway probably would not. The Commission itself suggested that to meet the CO2 targets, the carbon price would have to rise to £600 per tonne of CO2 by 2050, as opposed to the current price of £3 per tonne, if runway capacity was totally unconstrained. The cost of flights would have to rise substantially. The CCC said that the cost of long-haul flights would need to rise by up to £200 to curtail demand and stay within the UK's carbon emissions targets. "The higher the level of aviation emissions, the deeper the emissions cuts required in other sectors to meet the economy-wide targets".

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How well did the Airports Commission’s interim report do on the AEF’s 3 environmental & social tests?

The Aviation Environment Federation has set out three tests, to apply to the Airports Commission's Interim Report, published on 17th December 2013. These are on climate: "Does the Commission demonstrate a pathway to meet our national climate change target in a one or two new runways scenario using realistic assumptions?". On quality of life: "Does the Airports Commission only short-list options that will not worsen the quality of life for communities around airports?" and on Social Cost Benefit Analysis: "In light of extensive challenges to the assumptions of economic benefits of expansion and recommendations by a well known economic consultancy firm, does the Airports Commission commit to carrying out a Social Cost Benefit Analysis of each of the short-listed proposals over the course of 2014?" They have had a quick, initial look at the Interim Report, and set out areas on each of these where there is evidence of "positive steps" and areas of "missed opportunities". On climate AEF regret that there is uncertainty on international agreements, and that non-CO2 impacts of aviation may need to be taken into account in the future - but are not yet. On quality of life, AEF regrets that noise, air quality and local impacts have not yet been satisfactorily addressed. AEF say a clear and transparent social cost benefit analysis of each of short-listed options is needed as part of the Commission's appraisal in 2014.

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NGO letter to governments of France, Germany, & UK on inclusion in ETS of flights in EU airspace

France, Germany, and the UK governments have come out jointly to oppose the European Commission’s proposal to amend the aviation ETS to cover emissions from all flights within EU airspace. They want to continue to “stop the clock”, which exempts all long-haul flights. That means 75% of emissions from flights using European airports are uncontrolled or unregulated. Such a move is clearly not motivated by environmental considerations. Four NGOs (Transport & Environment, the Aviation Environment Federation, Réseau Action Climat France, and Bund (Friends of the Earth – Germany) ) have written to French president François Hollande, German chancellor Angela Merkel, and UK prime minister David Cameron to express deep concerns about their governments’ continued efforts to weaken aviation ETS. The NGOs are calling on the leaders to urgently withdraw the UK/Germany/France joint proposal and lend their government’s support to base the ETS on regional airspace. They also urge the leaders to support the European Commission's proposal to ensure enforcement measures are taken against airlines which have failed to comply with their 2012 obligations.

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Prospects of the ETS survival weakened by pressure against it from UK, Germany and France

The prospects of carbon emissions from aviation being adequately accounted for by the EU ETS in future look bleak. The Commission has proposed changing the law so aviation emissions that take place outside EU air space are exempt. But Germany, France and the UK want to exempt foreign airlines from the ETS entirely - even for the portions of flights that take place within EU airspace - because anything less would not be politically acceptable to China, India, Russia and the United States. Some MEPs are now lining up against the Commission as well. The Parliament is still likely to be evenly split, when it comes time to vote, between those who oppose any retreat, those who support the Commission's semi-retreat, and those who support the member states' full retreat. The problem with the partial retreat is that foreign airlines (other than those from small developing countries) would still be liable for emissions taking place within EU airspace for flights landing or taking off at EU airports. Even the most stalwart European lawmakers have admitted privately that they could not hope to hold out against the combined pressure of Beijing, Washington and Airbus. The choice now lies between partial retreat and (more likely) full retreat. There will be a vote in January about the draft proposal.

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Peter Liese MEP seeks to strengthen draft EU directive on aviation in the ETS

The European Parliament's environment committee rapporteur, Peter Liese, wants to tighten an EU directive on aviation in the EU ETS. The German liberal MEP, who is steering the draft directive through Parliament, is backing the EC's compromise proposal, while proposing amendments to further strengthening the ETS. Peter Liese is advising the EU to revise its relevant legislation by 2016, not 2020, to put more pressure on ICAO to reach a global deal sooner rather than later. ICAO agreed in October to develop a global MBM to reduce aviation CO2 emissions, at its next general assembly in 2016. That could take effect in 2020. But European trust in the ICAO outcome is waning, as its record on action on CO2 in the past is dismal. Liese said: “....it is not at all sure that the ICAO Assembly in 2016 will really succeed to adopt clear rules for the MBM.” His draft proposal is effectively threatening the ICAO that the EU will revert to a full ETS from 2017 if global agreement is not reached. Already aviation gets special treatment in the ETS as only 15% of its permits are auctioned (higher % for other sectors) and the cap on emissions is only 5% lower, while other sectors have to reduce their emissions by 21% from their 1990 level by 2020. Environmental organisations reacted warmly.

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University of Calgary analysis tar sand oil extraction show it is sometimes not even a net producer of energy

According to a new scientific analysis, many tar sands wells are actually using more energy than they produce. If it requires a barrel of oil - or its equivalent in gas - to retrieve a barrel of oil, then what's the point? It appears this is only possible at present in Canada as the price of oil is lower than the price of oil, so it is commercially viable to burn the cheaper gas in order to get out the more expensive oil. It may make some (warped) financial sense, but it makes no energy or environmental sense. But if the price of gas rises, in relation to the price of the oil, these tar sand wells will go bust. The economics of oil extraction use the term EROEI (Energy Return on Energy Investment) - ideally with EROEI as high as possible (eg. the light, sweet crude found near the surface in Iraq). Other assessments have found the EROEI for tar sands may be 7:1 for extraction and 3:1 after it has been upgraded and refined into a useful fuel. Squeezing oil out of tar sand is an extremely wasteful process, requiring between 2 - 4 tons of tar sand and 2 - 4 barrels of water to produce one barrel of oil. The richest deposits are being exploited first, but already produce a low return - which will become worse once the "lowest hanging fruit" has been removed.

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Happy 5th Birthday to the UK Climate Change Act

In hard economic times there is always a temptation for politicians to prioritise short-term economic growth and electoral success above cutting carbon emissions - despite recognition that man-made climate change is one of humanity's most important issues. This shows the importance of the Climate Change Act, which reached its 5th birthday this week. It was given Royal Assent in 2008, when it became the first national law committing to legally binding annual cuts in CO2 emissions. Its purpose is to limit the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted, not just long-term reduction targets, so 5 year carbon budgets are needed. And these are legally binding. There are people and politicians now who advocate weakening the 4th carbon budget, 2023 and 2027. But the CCC says there is no scientific or legal basis to do so, and if anything carbon pollution limits should be made tougher. The problem is that these budgets are set by politicians, not scientists. UK international aviation remains outside the carbon budgets. The UK Climate Change Act has so far successfully constrained UK politicians who want to ignore the reality of climate change. But it only covers the UK - the world needs a global carbon budget.

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The myth of the global warming ‘pause’ – actually due to gaps in data on Arctic temperatures

Scientists can now explain the “pause” in global warming that sceptics have used to bolster their arguments against anthropogenic climate change. Sceptics had claimed we have nothing to fear from climate change because it has stopped being a problem. A new study has found that global temperatures have not flat-lined over the past 15 years, as weather station records have been suggesting, but have in fact continued to rise as fast as previous decades, during which we have seen an unprecedented acceleration in global warming. Two university scientists have found that the “pause” or “hiatus” in global temperatures can be largely explained by a failure of climate researchers to record the dramatic rise in Arctic temperatures over the past decade or more.They have found a way of estimating Arctic temperatures from satellite readings. Getting Arctic readings has been difficult, due to seasonal melting so fixed stations are more difficult. When these readings are included, the so-called pause effectively disappeared. NOAA monthly temperature data on land surface, ocean surface and combined land ocean show recent years have been much warmer than previous averages.

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The myth of the global warming ‘pause’ – actually due to gaps in data on Arctic temperatures

Scientists can now explain the “pause” in global warming that sceptics have used to bolster their arguments against anthropogenic climate change. Sceptics had claimed we have nothing to fear from climate change because it has stopped being a problem. A new study has found that global temperatures have not flat-lined over the past 15 years, as […]

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Emissions of CO2 increasing ocean acidification with future serious risks to marine life

The world's oceans are becoming acidic at an "unprecedented rate" and this may be happening at faster than at any time in the past 300 million years. In their strongest statement yet on this issue, a large number of scientists say ocean acidification could increase by 170% by 2100. They say that some 30% of ocean species are unlikely to survive in these conditions. The researchers conclude that human emissions of CO2 are clearly to blame - humanity is putting some 24 million tonnes of CO2 into the oceans each day. That is already altering the chemistry of the waters, and will do so even more in future. Since the start of the industrial revolution, the waters have become 26% more acidic - and there are serious concerns about the impact this is having, and will have, on many ocean species. These include oysters, clams, sea urchins, shallow water corals, deep sea corals, and calcareous plankton. When shelled organisms are at risk, the entire food web may also be at risk. Today, more than a billion people worldwide rely on food from the ocean as their primary source of protein.

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Committee on Climate Change warns that UK must not reduce the level of ambition of its 4th carbon budget (2023 – 2027)

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has advised that there has been no significant change in the climate science, international and EU circumstances on which the UK's 4th carbon budget (2023 – 2027) was set in 2011. It says there is therefore no legal or economic basis for the government to change the budget or reduce its ambition. Only if there is significant change in circumstances can budgets be altered. Considering the recent IPCC report, the CCC agrees the emissions cuts to meet the 4th carbon budget are a minimum UK contribution to required global action. It reiterates that the UK is not acting alone in shouldering its responsibilities. In fact our targets are relatively unchallenging. It and says the UK has an important role in securing an ambitious international agreement. The latest IPCC report reiterates how vital continued action is and that a global temperature rise of 4 degrees C is likely if emissions continue to increase. The CCC will provide its final advice on the 4th carbon budget in December 2013.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Stunned by IPCC report’s content, Wall Street Journal weather man tweets his last flight – given up flying, for the sake of the climate

Last Friday, New York meteorologist Eric Holthaus, who works for the Wall Street Journal covering weather, posted an article explaining the newly released IPCC climate report. The gist of the article, as encapsulated by its headline was “The world’s best scientists agree: On our current path, global warming is irreversible—and getting worse”. He was so stunned by the IPCC report's content that he broke down in tears, and said that to cut his own carbon footprint substantially, he live-tweeted his final flight. He said "I've never cried because of a science report before." And "I realized, just now: This has to be the last flight I ever take. I'm committing right now to stop flying. It's not worth the climate." He realised, at San Francisco Airport that his current lifestyle was no longer sustainable — or conscionable. He felt what was needed was drastic and immediate cuts to CO2 emissions. Holthaus found, on a carbon calculator, that his CO2 from flying some 75,000 miles per year put his carbon footprint at around double the average American. He plans to use rail, Skype and other electronic forms of contact for meetings.

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“Flying Clean” Alliance buzz ICAO talks trailing “Can’t Spell Procrastination Without ICAO” banner

The American Flying Clean Alliance took flight and buzzed the 38th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization in a plane trailing the banner, “Can’t Spell Procrastination Without ICAO.” The flyover took place as delegates from 191 countries entered the assembly to again consider controls for aviation CO2. Flying Clean said ICAO has been talking about dealing with carbon pollution from planes for 16 years, but doing nothing. ICAO needs to know that the world is watching and expecting action. The Flying Clean Alliance, in the USA, represents thousands of elite frequent flyers and tens of thousands of everyday flyers who believe the aviation sector needs to stop blocking meaningful action on climate. The ICAO vote is expected on 2nd October, when they need to agree to a global market-based system to curb aviation climate emissions in 2016, which would go into effect in 2020. Global aircraft emissions are anticipated to almost double by 2020, if the industry expands as much as it hopes it will. This increase comes after 16 years of conversation since ICAO was first charged with addressing aviation and climate. That's procrastination for you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Emissions Trading Will Dominate ICAO Assembly

A long and comprehensive piece in Aviation Week, discusses the likely outcomes from the ICAO Assemby, on the issue of aviation carbon emissions. The most likely scheme to be agreed in the next two weeks is for aircraft emissions during the part of the flight in EU airspace (including Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) to be taxed. There are some technical challenges in implementing it. It would not include overflights. Whether ICAO's 191 contracting states will support the deal at the Assembly is not known, but according to one commentator: “it seems unlikely that delegates will wish to reopen substantive debate on such a hard-won consensus text.” However there are concerns about the impact of this tax on European airlines. The Federal Association of German Aviation and Space Industry, of which Lufthansa is a founding member, objects to the compromise, claiming it represents “a massive distortion of competition for European airlines.” The European Low Fares Airline Association also says it is discriminatory. An effective market based measure agreed globally still seems a very long way from agreement.

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

The Assembly of ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organisation) takes place in Montreal between 24th September and 4th October. A decision on how to deal with global aviation emissions needs to be taken - if aviation globally was a country, it would rank 7th highest, after Germany. It is widely acknowledged that a market based measure (MBM) would be the most effective mechanism through which to do this. James Lees, from the Aviation Environment Federation, and Bill Hemmings, from Transport & Environment, writing in GreenAir online, say the solution to aviation’s runaway emissions is a "global MBM decided on now and to be introduced by 2016. It is no longer an option for continued disagreement in ICAO to prevent action on aviation’s contribution to climate change. At a time when President Obama has said so much about leading the way [on climate], the White House must finally ensure that the US becomes the global leader for action at the ICAO Assembly. It is time for everybody to take responsibility, stop shielding such a high emitting industry and act...now."

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TUI Travel group calls for greater airline industry transparency in carbon reporting

TUI Travel, which owns six European leisure airlines including Thomson Airways and TUIfly, has called for an industry standard on reporting fuel and carbon efficiency for UK airlines. TUI says a set of common metrics to report airline carbon emissions would ensure greater transparency so customers can make informed decisions about which airlines to choose. TUI Travel currently reports its airlines’ carbon emissions on a per revenue passenger kilometre (gCO2/RPK) basis, a common standard but, it points out, not yet the standard unit of measurement used by all airlines to communicate their efficiency, and it accuses some airlines of failing to measure or report their carbon emissions. New carbon reporting legislation has been announced by the UK government for the largest companies and the UK Civil Aviation Authority has been tasked with communicating the environmental impact of aviation.

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RSPB email action to write to Sir Howard Davies, to remind him not to forget biodiversity, habitat and climate

The RSPB had an email action, to ask people to write to Sir Howard Davies, the Chairman of the Airports Commission, to remind him of the biodiversity, habitat and climate change implications of his committee's decisions on airports. Proposals to build new airports or expand existing ones could have devastating impacts on some of our most vulnerable wildlife and habitats, and our ability to tackle climate change. The Thames estuary is under threat from airport development, and is a globally recognised and protected area as it is a vital home for wildlife, including hundreds of thousands of wintering wildfowl and wading birds. Climate change is the greatest threat to wildlife and biodiversity, and carbon emissions from aviation are increasing rapidly. The RSPB believes there should be no further aviation expansion unless the Government can demonstrate how such expansion can take place within the UK’s legally binding climate change limits. The email action closed at the end of September, at the closing date for submissions.

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EU agrees to deal on watered-down version of ETS for emissions only in EU airspace – with more ICAO delay on any global measure

The EU has agreed to a deal to scale back its inclusion of aviation in the ETS as UN negotiators at ICAO agreed at talks in Montreal to only include emissions from flights over European airspace. This is a substantial scaling down of the initial plan to include all flights to and from Europe. The ICAO deal, which still needs to be signed off by a full meeting ending October 4th and by EU lawmakers, was immediately criticised by green groups. ICAO will delay implementing any more effective mechanism for another 7 years. The deal falls short of the worldwide pact the EU had hoped for in November 2012 when it exempted foreign flights for one year ("stopping the clock") to give ICAO more time to develop a global deal. At present airlines need only surrender carbon permits for flights within the EU, so requiring permits for the miles in European airspace is a slight improvement. However, it means that for a long haul flight to or from the EU, most of the carbon is not included in the ETS. Peter Liese, a senior member of the EU Parliament, said "It is far from an ideal solution... (but) I'm really concerned that if we just oppose what is on the table then we may see a total collapse of our effort." .

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Aviation industry unlikely to agree emissions reduction deal through ICAO until 2016

A global deal to reduce emissions from the aviation industry is looking increasingly unlikely to be agreed at the ICAO international negotiations taking place next week in Montreal. The text is still in its draft stage, and will be debated by the ICAO Council on the 4 September before being presented to the General Assembly on the 24th. It proposes that states should work towards the development of a market based mechanism (MBM) to reduce emissions. But in a move branded by NGOs as “disappointing” and promising little except more talk and delay, it states that no decision will be taken until the 39th General Assembly in 2016 – one year after countries are set to cement a binding UN climate agreement in Paris. The document requests the ICAO Council to “make a recommendation on a global MBM scheme that addresses key design elements … and the mechanisms for the implementation of the scheme from 2020.” There has been little action to reduce the aviation sector’s growing greenhouse gas emissions since ICAO was assigned the task under the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. This additional delay is likely to be seen as another victory for the airline industry.

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Report by CATE shows immediate global action needed to reduce aviation climate impact

A new scientific report produced by CATE (Manchester Metropolitan University’s Centre for Air Transport and Environment) called “Mitigating future aviation CO2 emissions – timing is everything” shows that the real climate benefit of any action to cut aviation's carbon emissions depends on the cumulative emission reductions between now and a future date, and not just on achieving a certain amount of emission reductions by a specific year (as ICAO has focused on). This is because CO2 has a long lifetime so concentration levels are determined by cumulative emissions over time. Early reductions result in a lower emissions trajectory than equivalent annual savings made at a later date. This highlights the critical importance of ICAO taking early action to cut emissions quickly, and increases the pressure on ICAO not to defer a decision on the adoption of a market-based measure (MBM). The report finds that biofuels are not effective as a solution to the aviation emissions problem, but that improvements in technology and operational improvements offered the second best mitigation potential as a single measure.

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Report finds net cost to the aviation sector of achieving carbon-neutral growth from 2020 will be trivial

A new report has found that meeting the aviation industry’s "carbon-neutral growth" target from 2020 could add as little as $1.50 to $2 to the price of a transatlantic one-way ticket in 2030. Aviation intends to make its growth "carbon neutral" buy buying carbon offsets from other sectors, rather than making actual cuts in the sector's own CO2 emissions. The report is by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF - Guy Turner, Chief Economist) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF - Annie Petsonk, International Counsel). Their analysis shows that surplus offset credits already available in the world’s carbon trading systems could, in principle, meet just under 50% of the industry’s potential need for the 2020 to 2050 period. The cost of carbon credits to the aviation industry would represent less than 0.5% of international aviation revenue, or roughly 25% to 33% of what airlines bring in from ancillary revenues such as checked bags and selling snacks. Under a moderate scenario for aviation growth, the amount of carbon credits needed range is 8 to 14 billion tonnes, over the period 2020 - 2050.

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Barack Obama urged to help advance stalled ICAO negotiations on aviation CO2 agreement

Peter Liese, a key member of the European Parliament from Germany, who has led Europe's efforts to curb aviation CO2 emissions, has urged Barack Obama to live up to his sweeping promises to act on climate change, and help advance stalled negotiations for a global aviation deal. He said Obama must act fast to avoid a trade war over the battle caused by the EU ETS (Emissions Trading System) . Liese, speaking after meetings with administration officials in Washington this week, said he feared efforts to reach a global deal on aviation carbon had stalled. He thought there was a 50% chance that the ICAO talks would fail to produce a deal by its early September meetings, triggering a transatlantic trade and diplomatic crisis. "For me and I think for the European parliament this is a test case: how serious is Obama on climate change? Is it only a speech, or is it serious? " Liese said. He said he was disappointed with the state department's position in the aviation talks, saying it lagged behind Obama's sweeping climate change speech last month.

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Damian Carrington’s environment blog: “Aviation is a rogue industry on a runway to nowhere”

Damian writes that the turbo-charge to the lobbying for more airport capacity comes from the prospect of short-term economic growth, sought at any cost by the government. In contrast, the issue of the heavy and fast growing impact of aviation emissions on climate change has faded like a vapour trail in the hurricane force PR campaign. The fundamental problem is that aviation is a rogue industry, darting across international borders to escape climate justice. While paying lip service to environmental concerns, its masters use the complexity of attempting to curb the carbon emissions of a global business to avoid any curbs at all. With many UK airports, particularly Stansted, very underused, the argument for new runways is shaky at best. But it is the global problem of climate change that is fundamental to UK aviation growth. So far the industry has cleverly used the global nature of the problem to avoid action. When the permissible CO2 emissions come to be divided up between flights, farming, factories and fuelling the UK, it's quite possible that soaring emissions from aviation are not seen as the top priority. At that point, any new runways will stand only as multi-billion-dollar monuments to the hubris of an industry accustomed to operating without constraints.

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Tyndall Centre blog on the Airports Commission’s task reconciling aviation’s demands with UK climate responsibilities

A PhD student at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research recently attended the public evidence session by the Airports Commission, on aviation and climate change. He writes in a blog that aviation's climate impact is a strategic question that the Airports Commission will have to try to answer – but that ultimately we as a society will have to answer. In deciding on future runway capacity the Commission will need to make a very stark decision on climate change mitigation: rely on a highly optimistic outlook on energy efficiency development, put forward by the aviation industry, to materialise; or fail the UK target under the Climate Change Act. (Or else build airport infrastructure that we will have no use for in the future - stranded assets). The Tyndall Centre says flying is one of the most carbon intensive activities you could possibly engage in (the most efficient aircraft, when fully seated, burn about one million kcal per person, per hour – try that for a workout – equating to about 100kg of CO2 added into the atmosphere). It is about the highest carbon activity known to man, on a per hour basis.

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Switzerland seeks ETS compensation for its airlines

ENDS reports that Switzerland has asked for compensation from the EU on the grounds that international flights to and from its airports are unfairly included in the ETS. Switzerland's position is that if the compensation is not provided in cash, it could take the form of free emission allowances. But a number of solutions to the dispute are on the table and nothing has been agreed yet. Switzerland is unhappy at being implicitly treated as an EU member state by being excluded from the ‘stop the clock’ derogation, and EFTA countries were not included. EFTA-member Switzerland considers this to be legally unjust, particularly as member states benefit from EU ETS inclusion through revenues from auctioning emission allowances, while Switzerland does not. Swiss airlines and industrial facilities will be included in the carbon market link with the EU, likely to begin in 2015. At present, aviation is not part of the Swiss ETS.

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Passionate, heartfelt letter to Sir Howard Davies in response to public evidence session on climate

On Tuesday 9th July, the Airports Commission held a public evidence session in Manchester, taking evidence on climate change and aviation.Tim Johnson and Cait Hewitt, from AEF, and Jean Leston from WWF took part. The Commission is due to publish transcripts of the session next week. One member of the audience, Kevin Lister who is a climate campaigner, has written a letter to Sir Howard, to set out the key issues on the link between aviation and climate, and the need for this to be clearly understood by the Commission. The letter reminds Sir Howard that his opening remark, “wanted the day to tease out the issues on aviation's impact on climate change,” but it is "just a bit difficult to know what there is to tease out that is not glaringly obvious - atmospheric CO2 will exceed 450 ppm towards the end of this decade"; also that climate change is probably already causing instability in the Middle East and is likely to cause more problems to societies; that biofuels may cause even worse problems to the natural world and the climate than fossil fuels; and that the robustness of demand models post 2030 is extremely questionable.

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Committee on Climate Change reminds Airports Commission of carbon restriction on aviation growth

Lord Deben (John Gummer), who is the Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, has written to Sir Howard Davies and the Airports Commission on the issue of UK aviation and climate change. He reminds the Commission that UK aviation emissions are included in the UK's target to reduce economy wide CO2 emissions by 80% in 2050 on 1990 levels. This implies a trade off between emissions from aviation and from other sectors: the higher the level of aviation emissions, the deeper the emissions cuts required in other sectors to meet the economy-wide target. The CCC has illustrated how the 80% target could be achieved through reducing aviation emissions to 2005 levels in 2050 and reducing emissions in other sectors by 85% on 1990 levels. That would mean limiting demand growth to around 60% in 2050 compared to 2005. Unless the rest of the UK economy can cut emissions by over 85% (unlikely) then aviation demand cannot grow by more than 60%. Lord Deben recommends that this should be reflected in the Commission's economic analysis of alternative investments in airport infrastructure. Each should be assessed in terms of whether it would make sense if demand growth were to be limited to 60% by 2050.

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WWF & CAN: European Parliament compromises on ETS reform but it’s not enough to save the climate

The European Parliament has approved plans (by 344 to 311 votes) designed to boost the EU's ETS and drive green investment by tackling the glut of carbon allowances that have caused a huge fall in the price of CO2 this year. MEPs have voted in favour of "backloading" proposals so the EC can temporarily postpone the auction of 900 million allowances. In April stricter backloading plans were narrowly rejected. Bloomberg reported that the price of carbon allowances for delivery in December rose 7.2% to €4.60 per tonne. The deal gives assurances that the backloading won't be repeated and it won't lead to the permanent withdrawal of the delayed carbon allowances. WWF said that with carbon prices already at all-time lows, EU Member States now need to put the right price on pollution by strengthening today’s result and say: “Member states should back further measures to eliminate these toxic tonnes permanently from the EU’s carbon market.” CAN Europe and WWF call on EU policy makers to come up with robust proposals to increase EU climate action.

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Obama: US working at ICAO towards comprehensive global approach on limiting international aviation emissions

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.

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G8 Summit admits “grave concern” over slow progress of climate change action

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.

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UNEP Executive Director says airlines must agree on cutting their carbon emissions

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."

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World Bank study shows carbon footprint of First Class passengers can be up to 9 times that in Economy

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." .

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IEA warns 60%+ of existing fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned to avoid a global 2C temperature rise

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.

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Frequent flyers pressure United Airlines to stop opposing climate action, such as the EU ETS

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.

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Birmingham Airport expected to announce plans for 2nd runway and new terminal to the Airports Commission

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.

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CAA produces its consultation on its statutory duty to provide information (including environmental information)

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.

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New data shows airlines favour industrial gas projects at lowest cost to offset emissions

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.

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Airlines’ call for global emissions deal not convincing – too slow and relying on out-of-sector offsets

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.

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Divergent views among ICAO member states leaves substantive MBM agreement by 2013 hanging in the balance

Officials from 17 countries are working with ICAO to shape an agreement acceptable to its 191 member countries to reduce aviation's carbon footprint through market measures. ICAO needs to agree on progress by its September Assembly meeting. Progress has been glacially slow over the past decade, and there appears to be no real progress now. A high-level group (HGCC) of senior officials and negotiators was set up last November to accelerate discussions and find compromises between states on MBMs, but its process has now ended. It appears that very little progress had been made and there were significant diverging views. GreenAir reports that Russia’s representative firmly rejected MBMs and even called for a reassessment of ICAO’s 2% annual fuel efficiency goal. Some ICAO representatives remained mildly optimistic that some form of an agreement could be reached by ICAO Assembly by September, with further progress towards a global scheme being achieved by 2016. It appears a number of differences between ICAO member states in key areas have not been resolved by the HGCC and time is running out for full consensus by the September Assembly - realistically it seems unlikely.

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“Make” try to sell their £23bn plan for Stansted 4-runway airport by saying it would cut flights over London

In October 2012 "Make" architects put forward outline proposals for a 4 runway Stansted. Now Stuart Blower from "Make" says: “One of the great advantages of our Stansted proposal is no aircraft need to fly over London” so reducing the aircraft noise, over London. "Make" are also saying that there is a low population density around Stansted, compared to that around Heathrow, so far fewer people would be affected. They do at least condescend to acknowledge that a huge Stansted would create more noise for residents living near the airport. At present the average journey time by rail beween Stansted and Liverpool Street is about 47 minutes, and the airport is lobbying to get this journey time cut. "Make" is proposing that the new Crossrail line should be extended to Stansted, so it would only take 25 minutes from Canary Wharf to Stansted. However, the extra cost of this Crossrail link would be some £5 billion. The anticipated cost of the "Make" airport scheme would be £18 billion, so the total would be £23 billion. Along with all the other airport and runway proposals, this scheme will be submitted by "Make" to the Airports Commission by the mid July deadline. Any plans to expand Stansted, let alone to become a monster mega-airport, will be strenuously opposed locally.

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China considers imposing carbon cap on country’s emissions – improving chance of a global deal?

China is the world's largest emitter of CO2 (about 25%) and the US (about 17%) is the second largest. Until now neither China nor the US has made any commitment to a cut of their absolute CO2 emissions. However, now China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the agency responsible for planning the country's social and economic development, has proposed a putting a ceiling on CO2 emissions by 2016. Lord Stern considered this as very exciting news, which "should encourage all countries, and particularly the other large emitters such as the United States, to take stronger action on climate change. And it improves the prospects for a strong international treaty being agreed at the United Nations climate change summit in 2015.” Also Ed Davey believes that China's changing attitude improves prospects for a global deal in 2015. The US has still not agreed any comparable cap. China has agreed to cut its carbon intensity - the amount of CO2 produced per dollar of economic output - by about 40% by 2020, compared to 2005 levels - but that still means a large rise in their emissions.

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Heathrow and Gatwick submit their responses on Aviation & Climate Change to Airports Commission

Both Heathrow and Gatwick airports have submitted their responses to the Aviation Commission's discussion paper on Aviation and Climate Change. Both base their aspirations of high growth rates over coming decades on evidence from the industry body "Sustainable Aviation". Not surprisingly, both airports' submissions are attempts to justify the unjustifiable: to claim that emitting huge amounts more carbon dioxide can be achieved with no net emissions, by various probable and improbable means. They hope improvements in efficiency by airlines and air traffic control, as well as improved aircraft design, will cut their emissions. They place unrealistic hopes in "sustainable" biofuels, with Gatwick's submission saying "...by 2050, sustainable fuels could offer between 15 and 24% reduction in CO2 emissions attributable to UK aviation." Gatwick also wants considerable Government support (ie public expense) to develop biofuels for the industry. And both depend to an enormous extent on international agreements through ICAO, and systems for carbon trading that do not currently exist.

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Letter from Airbus to Chinese aviation official shows how active Airbus was in getting ETS emasculated

In April a deal was agreed between Airbus and China that they would buy 18 long-haul A330s because of the ETS being temporarily stopped. Now Reuters reports on a letter from the Airbus Chief Executive, Fabrice Bregier to China's top aviation official shortly after the EU back-pedaled on its ETS in November, (4 days after the ETS climb down) saying AIrbus had been "very active" in supporting China's preference for a broader global system. The letter gives a glimpse into the intensity of the lobbying in the dispute, which helped persuade the EU to freeze the ETS. Behind the scenes, Airbus claimed partial credit for the EU climb-down and cheered what its chief executive described to Beijing as "joint efforts" to limit damage to Chinese airlines. Bregier said "Through our joint efforts, we have managed to ensure that Chinese airlines are not unfairly impacted by the scheme as previously planned." Airbus needs certainty on its future plane sales far in advance, in order to order parts. Reuters says more valuable deals for Airbus from the Chinese remain on hold as China awaits the outcome of international talks on aviation carbon emissions.

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The clock has stopped on aviation’s inclusion in the ETS: but where is ICAO now?

Following the European Parliament’s vote approving the Commission’s proposal to “Stop the Clock”, Conservative MEP Peter Liese, aviation EU ETS and “Stop the Clock” Rapporteur, hosted a public briefing for MEPs in Brussels on 24th April to review progress of the ICAO High Level Group on Climate Change (HGCC) formation. The conference was attended by Jos Delbeke (Director–General DG Clima), Prof David Lee (Manchester University), IATA’s Paul Steele and Green MEP Satu Hassi. T&E have written a report on the meeting. Unless things changed, and ICAO made rapid progress leading to a constructive agreement on both the need for a global market-based mechanism (MBM) to address international aviation emissions and for a Framework to govern national/regional schemes such as the EU ETS , then the original aviation Directive would “snap back” automatically next January. The Directive wouldn’t be amended “because of pressure from China, the US or Airbus”. Jos Delbeke insisted that if the whole problem couldn’t be solved now it couldn’t be solved later and, consequently, the credibility of ICAO’s global goals was squarely on the table.

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Crisis for ETS as EU Parliament rejects ‘backloading’ which would have improved carbon trading

In the European Parliament, MEPs have voted narrowly to reject plans to bolster the price of carbon in the EU ETS by delaying or 'backloading' the sale of 900 million carbon allowances, prompting accusations that they have badly dented the bloc's reputation as a global leader in the fight against climate change. The proposals were defeated in by 334-315, forcing the plan to return to the committee stage. It is now expected that the price of carbon allowances will hit record lows in the next few days as the market responds to confirmation that short to medium-term action is unlikely to be taken to address the chronic oversupply of carbon allowances in the market. Trading after the vote saw the price of EU allowances (EUAs) fall to a new record low of €2.63 a tonne. The EC proposals to remove the 900 million allowances, in order to boost the price, were defeated by a coalition of mainly centre-right MEPs (saying it would be interference with the market-based mechanism and could lead to higher energy bills in some markets) and also climate sceptic MEPs (some UK Conservatives), who have rejected any steps to try and tackle climate change.

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Research shows climate change will lead to more clear air turbulence and bumpier flights

Climate change will lead to bumpier flights caused by increased mid-air turbulence, according to an analysis by scientists, at the University of Reading, of the impact of global warming on weather systems over the next 40 years. The study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The increasing clear air turbulence results from the impact of climate change on the jet streams, which are at the altitude at which airliners fly. The jet streams are driven by the temperature difference between the poles and the tropics. More turbulence will cause more injuries to passengers and aircrew every year, as well as delays and damage to planes. There is an estimate of this costing some £100m each year. The Reading study indicated the frequency of turbulence on trans-Atlantic flights will double by 2050 and its intensity increase by 10-40%. Rerouting flights to avoid stronger patches of turbulence could increase fuel consumption and carbon emissions, make delays at airports more common, and ultimately push up ticket prices. Ironic. Aviation helps drive climate change - and gets some of its adverse impacts.

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AEF comment on Airports Commission climate paper: forecast demand rise remains incompatible with UK climate targets

AEF (the Aviation Environment Federation) has commented on the discussion paper published by the Airports Commission, on aviation and climate change. AEF notes that the paper appears keen for the UK to avoid disadvantaging itself economically through constraints on airport capacity. The paper also acknowledges that there have also been problems with the effectiveness of EU ETS in recent years due to over-supply of credits and that the ETS is currently partly suspended. The paper also appreciates that if UK aviation expands above its 2005 level, this would require "more challenging reductions" in other sectors of the UK economy. AEF comments that even with constraints on aviation growth from capacity constraints, taxes and inclusion in the ETS, "forecast demand growth remains significantly higher than the level compatible with climate targets. In other words, if we want to meet these targets, new measures should be considered for constraining emissions, and unconstrained aviation growth with new runways should be out of the question."

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Airlines that have grown rapidly since 2004/6 need to buy more ETS carbon allowances

Airlines in Europe such as EasyJet and Ryanair, which almost entirely fly within Europe, continue to need to buy carbon permits through the EU Emissions Trading System. The ETS has been temporarily suspended this year ("stopping the clock") for flights to and from Europe. For intra-EU flights, the ETS means airlines need to buy 15% of the carbon permits they need, and the cap for 2012 was for 97% of their average emissions between 2004 - 2006. This falls to 95% for 2013 and future years. Therefore airlines that have grown significantly since 2004 -6 such as Ryanair and EasyJet have to pay more than airlines that have barely grown, or shrunk their emissions since then (the older legacy airlines). It seem Ryanair emitted about 34% more carbon in 2012 and so has a shortfall of 1.9 million tons CO2 which would cost it €8.4 million based on a price of €4.44 a metric ton. Easyjet's emissions were 25% above, so their shortage last year would amount to about 910,000 tons (costing about €4 million).

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Airports Commission publishes discussion document on Aviation and Climate Change

The Airports Commission has published its 3rd discussion paper, on Aviation and Climate Change, through which it will assemble advice and opinion on which to base its airport decisions. The consultation period lasts till 17th May. In a thoughtful document, covering a wide range of issues in relation to aviation and climate change, it sets out the usual range of issues (carbon emissions, role of international negotiations though the EU ETS and ICAO, the role of biofuels in future, role of operational improvements, impact of aviation's non-CO2 impacts) but it also looks at the effect of both carbon constraints on future aviation growth and the effect of UK airport capacity constraints on overall emissions. It looks at the likely consequences of more long haul flights from the UK being taken from European hub airports, and the CO2 and climate effects of this happening more ("carbon leakage"). The Airports Commission has the problem of attempting to decide on CO2 issues at a time when the future of the ETS is uncertain, and effective progress by ICAO is not likely to be swift. Therefore UK policy on aviation carbon emissions is also on hold, with even agreement on non-CO2 impacts undecided.

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Ian Jopson, of NATS, explains their new technology to reduce aircraft emissions at landing and take off

NATS, the body that deals with UK air traffic control, has been attempting to reduce aircraft fuel consumption and carbon emissions by getting planes to take more direct routes, and land and take off at a continuous rate. They have devised a programme they call Flight Profile Monitor, which helps them achieve this. It uses radar data to monitor the 3 dimensional flight profiles of individual aircraft and to then record which of those were achieving smooth, continuous climbs and descents. Ian Jopson from NATS claims that from a 12 month trial last year between NATS, BMi, BMi Regional, Loganair, easyJet, Ryanair and Edinburgh Airport they achieved a saving of "at least 800 tonnes of CO2 and 250 tonnes of fuel" (tiny in comparison with the UK total). This was done by analysing each flight to see where savings could be made. They got a 20% increase in continuous descent landings, to around 55%. They also got around 95% with a continuous climb rate. NATS hopes to get more savings in future.

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European Parliament approves stop-the-clock proposal for ETS

The European Parliament has approved a proposal to suspend the inclusion of third-country flights (the 'stop-the-clock' proposal) from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Parliament had reached an agreement with Council beforehand. The decision was unanimous in Council and agreed on by over 90% of MEPs. The EU reaffirms again its position on this agreement. Rapporteur Peter Liese said "The EU will consider any further legal action only on the basis of a substantial outcome at the ICAO Assembly. This either means that ICAO finds a solution or we will continue to cover intercontinental flights in our scheme as foreseen".

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Update by Annie Petsonk of the US Environmental Defense Fund on the slow grinding of ICAO on aviation CO2

ICAO continues to try and find a way to find an agreed way in which to deal with international aviation emissions. The ICAO high level group was formed last November, to provide guidance on an international approach to the problem . At ICAO’s next triennial assembly in September, governments will try to agree on the outlines of such an approach. If they do not, then the EU ETS - which has had its clock "stopped" for one year - will resume for flights into and out of Europe. Aviation accounts for so much carbon pollution that it would rank seventh in the world if it were a country, and its emissions are projected to quadruple in coming years. Something needs to be agreed urgently for the sector. However, there are continuing disagreements between countries - on whether portions of flights over oceans are counted; whether countries could charge for over-flying; how to fairly deal with emissions from countries with rapidly growing airline industries, compared to those with mature and stagnant aviation sectors; and how to create effective but low cost solutions. There is some hope of a lead from President Obama and John Kerry, the new US Secretary of State.

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Carbon trading businesses want ICAO to get airlines to offset their carbon emissions

Three lobby groups representing businesses in favour of using markets to tackle climate change (the International Emissions Trading Association, the Climate Markets and Investment Association and the Project Developers Forum) want the UN to force airlines to offset their carbon emissions. They want this as a first step reducing their carbon footprint, and to help towards resolving the disputes at ICAO on getting some global framework on international aviation emissions. The lobby groups say getting airlines to buy and cancel carbon offsets would provide an easy and effective short term fix while a longer term plan is agreed. An ICAO panel is meeting this week to try and agree on proposals to deal with aviation carbon. It is under pressure to get an agreement at its annual meeting in September after the EU agreed to "stop the clock" on its ETS last year, for flights into and out of Europe. At present the price of carbon has collapsed and is a very cheap way for airlines to offset their emissions.

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Nobel prize-winning economists urge President Obama to address CO2 emissions from aviation

A group of 32 leading economists, including 8 Nobel Prize winners and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) board member, is urging President Obama to adopt a global market-based measure to reduce carbon emissions from aviation. Unregulated carbon emissions from the aviation sector currently are a large and growing source of the greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to global climate change. The open letter states that: “Pricing carbon in the aviation sector will incentivize appropriate investments and changes in operations that would reduce future greenhouse gas emissions. If climate change is to be slowed appreciably at tolerable cost, it is wise to use the market to provide incentives for individuals and firms to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.” And: "We urge you to immediately advance a US proposal for a global market based measure for aviation. In the long run it will be in aviation's interest, as well as that of all society, to use the price mechanism to efficiently allocate over time the uncertain remaining capacity of the atmosphere to safely absorb emissions."

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New study shows that global emissions trading is essential to close aviation’s emissions gap in 2050

A new authoritative study shows that only adoption of a global ‘market-based measure’ (MBM) can bring the ICAO goal, and aviation industry’s shared goal of 2020 ‘carbon neutral growth’ by 2050 within reach. The total impact of all other CO2 reduction measures currently on the table (improved technology and fuel efficiency of aircraft, improved operational efficiency and some use of biofuels) is shown to be insufficient. The report comes just before the March meetings of ICAO’s Council and its High Level Advisory Group, charged with advising on a resolution to address global emissions for ICAO’s triennial Assembly next September. Projections of future aviation emissions show by 2050 the cuts ICAO and IATA aspire to will not be met, without MBM, such as the ETS. The study demonstrates that claims from industry, ICAO and some governments that current measures being discussed will be sufficient to tame aviation emissions are false. It shows definitively that pricing carbon via a global MBM is the only way to arrest aviation’s climate impact – already at 5% of the global total, with traffic growing at 4-5% a year. The ETS, on which progress has been halted for a year, needs to be protected.

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European Parliament’s Environment Committee rejects allowing more offsets for aviation industry

The Committee has rejected a proposal related to the offset limit for airlines. This proposal would have allowed intra-European flights to offset nearly 100% of their reduction obligations. Offsets are international credits, from carbon cuts outside the EU, and are not actual European carbon reductions. Allowing aviation to offset all their reduction obligations with offsets from outside the EU would add about 20 million international credits into the EU ETS. International credits are already responsible for two-thirds of the current EU ETS oversupply. The use of offsets has recently been criticised in lacking environmental integrity and further undermining the EU ETS. As the proposal has been rejected, only 15% of aviation allowances can be offsets, rather than up to almost 100% if the amendments had gone through. Carbon Market Watch hopes a global deal by ICAO will also contain strong quality provisions for international offsets.

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MEPs back the EU “Stop the Clock” proposal to delay inclusion of non-EU flights in ETS for one year

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has voted in support of the EU Commission’s “Stop-the-Clock” proposal which delays the inclusion of flights to and from Europe from the EU ETS for just one year. This is conditional on progress being made by ICAO and the aim of the delay is to give ICAO time to negotiate a global agreement to address emissions from international aviation by autumn 2013, and they should have a realistic timetable through which to apply it. The one year suspension could only be extended if « clear and sufficient » progress is made within ICAO. Funds generated by the ETS would be used for a variety of measures to cut carbon emissions. The European Parliament Environment Committee also rejected a proposal on the offset limit for flights within the EU. This proposal would have allowed intra-European flights to offset nearly 100% of their reduction obligations, while adding about 20 million international credits into the EU ETS.

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The clock has stopped but time is running out for ICAO – Comment by Bill Hemmings (T&E)

In a very interesting and detailed opinion by Bill Hemmings, of the Brussels-based European transport NGO, he explains what is happening - or rather not happening - at ICAO to deal with international aviation CO2 emissions. After the EU "stopped the clock" on the inclusion of emissions from flights into and out of Europe, ICAO was meant to be working diligently to find a global solution. If ICAO is to retain any credibility on this, some form of progress is needed so there is a realistic proposal by September, at its triennial general assembly. However, though the ICAO expert group had concluded that the favoured basis for a global market-based measure was either global carbon offsetting or emissions trading, it has spent little time moving these options forward. Instead, leading members are questioning the fundamental premise of why developing countries should participate at all in a global scheme. And as regards regional schemes like the EU’s, they are insisting that foreign carriers participate only by mutual agreement. It has opened a bottomless pit of national self-interest claims. Constructive progress looks unlikely any time soon.

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Airlines charging passengers for ‘costs’ (for the EU ETS) they don’t have to pay – so making windfall profits

Airlines are making so-called ‘windfall profits’ of up to €1.3bn by charging passengers for permits to pollute, through the EU Emissions Trading System. The airlines no longer need to hand the permits over to the EU as the ETS has has been suspended for one year (except for flights within Europe). Transport & Environment is calling for the airlines not to retain these windfall profits, as keeping them is a betrayal of passengers’ contributions to fight climate change. T&E aviation manager Bill Hemmings said: ‘Passengers have paid towards fighting climate change, so it is unjust for airlines to retain these revenues as windfall profits." Instead, T&E is calling for any such profits to fund developing countries’ efforts to deal with the effects of climate change, through the UN's Green Climate Fund. There is little doubt that airlines raised their fares at the start of 2012, citing aviation’s entry into the ETS. Delta, for example, publicly announced ‘environmental’ charges on each leg of transatlantic flights.

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Important vote on EU ETS on 19th Feb – to delay sale of 900m tonnes of allowances

On February 19th, Europe’s emissions-trading system (ETS) faces a potentially fatal vote. A European Parliament committee will vote on whether to back a Commission plan to remove some of a huge surplus of carbon allowances from the ETS. It would delay the sale of about 900m tonnes of carbon allowances from around 2013-16 to 2019-20, and give the EC the power to rearrange the ETS’s schedule of auctions. Opposition to the proposal has been led by heavy industry and EU member Poland, which is highly dependent on carbon-intensive coal and argues there is no case for intervention in the market. The vote could not only determine whether the world’s biggest carbon-trading market survives but delay the emergence of a worldwide market, damage Europe’s environmental policies across the board and affect the prospects for a future treaty to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. However, even if the sale of the 900m tonnes was delayed, the oversupply of allowances would continue unless the auctions were cancelled, not just rescheduled

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How climate change policy and Government forecasts mean new runways should be out of the question

The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) has produced a policy briefing arguing that climate change considerations should rule out building any new runways in the UK. The paper shows how the latest official forecasts indicate that both passenger demand and CO2 will exceed the levels deemed compatible with the Climate Act by the Government’s independent climate advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, unless new constraints are imposed on aviation emissions. The growth in air passengers and in aviation carbon emissions exceed the levels required by the Climate Act even in the DfT's so-called "constrained" forecasts, released this January. The constrained forecasts are for future air passenger demand with no new runways being built, with Air Passenger Duty (APD) continuing, and with carbon costs being incorporated into ticket prices though the EU ETS or a comparable global scheme. So even with these constraints, the UK's aviation carbon emissions would be too high. Let alone with more runways.

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Davey takes fight to ‘dogmatic’ and ‘blinkered’ climate sceptics

In a speech on 12th February at the Royal Society, Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, criticised climate sceptics - including some on the government's back benches - and their efforts to undermine action on climate change. He accuses climate sceptics of adopting a "dogmatic" and "blinkered" stance. He said he was reminded of the sentiment of the famous USA Today cartoon: "If we really are wrong about climate change, we will have created a better world for nothing. In reality, those who deny climate change and demand a halt to emissions reduction and mitigation work, want us to take a huge gamble with the future of every human being on the planet, every future human being, our children and grandchildren, and every other living species. We will not take that risk." Ed Davey wants scientists and researchers to play an even more proactive role in supporting the development of the green economy. [By contrast, the Davies Commission will be considering options to increase UK hub airport capacity, which would inevitably increase UK carbon emissions from air travel].

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Why the argument that flying does not add to carbon emissions – because it is all taken care of by the ETS – is wrong

An article appeared in the Telegraph on 30th January, by Louise Gray, reporting on a paper by an Economics lecturer at the University of East Anglia (UEA). It was about consumer behaviour in relation to carbon emissions, and makes the case that cutting down on flying has no effect on total EU carbon emissions, as flying is taken into account in the Emissions Trading System (ETS). It also made out that other actions, like reducing use of electricity also have no effect, but cutting consumption of meat, reducing use of petrol or diesel, or using less gas for house heating would have an impact - as those sectors are outside the ETS. Being told that flying has no impact on climate is an appealing message. However, many commentators have explained that this just is not correct. The ETS would only have this effect if the system was working optimally, which it is not. It would only work if the caps on carbon were tight, and tightening (which they are not at present) and if the price of carbon was high (it is at an all time low at present, at around €2 - 3). The non-CO2 emissions from flying are not taken account in the ETS. Therefore the argument that not flying has no effect is not borne out. It is just not correct.

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Europe’s climate scheme goes up in smoke – price of carbon in ETS falls to rock bottom

Carbon trading, one of the major European Union policies designed to combat climate change, is failing. A combination of successful lobbying by industry bodies, political interference and lack of economic growth has wrecked the scheme. It is now cheaper to pollute the atmosphere than to invest in becoming energy-efficient. At its peak, the cost of a tonne of carbon reached €30 in 2008. It was around €10 - 15 in 2011; around €7 - 9 in 2012. Earlier this month dropped below €5 for the first time, and it has now fallen to €2.81 - an all time low. For it to work, the ETS depends on the price of the units of carbon being high enough to give polluters an incentive to reduce their emissions - but the price is to low to do this. Joanna Cabello from Carbon Trade Watch said: “The ETS is not fit for purpose. It has generated windfall profits for polluting corporations, postponed the needed transition away from fossil fuels, and its unintended consequences are locking the EU into another generation of energy production based on fossil fuels." Non EU airlines may be exempted from inclusion in the ETS for one year, if this is endorsed by the EU member states - this is still to happen. If it is not endorsed they will need to submit their allowances in April, as will EU airlines. The cost of these carbon allowances is now very low indeed.

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ICAO Options for Allocating International Aviation CO2 Emissions between Countries – an Assessment

ICAO has the task of working out a mechanism by which international aviation carbon emissions can be allocated, so they can be subject to market based mechanisms (MBM), in order to control them. It is not a simple task to work out a fair mechanism for doing this, that will be acceptable to all countries. The three main options that have been identified by the MBM experts are to impose obligations based on (1). On all departing international flights from a State. (2). On all international flights carried out by operators registered in a given State. (3). On international flights on the basis of the nationality of airspace travelled through. There could then be sub-options. This article explores those options, and assesses them on their transparency/trust (it is important that third parties can independently verify carbon emissions); Simplicity (complex allocation systems are inefficient and threaten transparency); Fairness/equity (carbon obligations need to be placed on the entities that are emitting the CO2). The writer concludes that the first option, of allocating carbon to all flights departing from a State is best on all 3 criteria.

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Wood, Bows & Anderson paper on realities of economic benefit and GHG emissions from expanding UK aviation

F Ruth Wood, Alice Bows & Kevin Anderson have produced a useful 4 page article in the current edition of Carbon Management . Their paper looks at the economics of UK aviation, and whether there are real benefits from allowing its expansion. They say that given the difficulties of carrying out robust analysis on the economics of aviation, the presumption that further aviation growth is good for the economy is at best premature and may yet prove dangerously misleading. As it stands, the debate is ongoing as to whether investment in aviation generates returns over and above similar investment levels elsewhere in the UK economy. Any resilient decision on investment must heed the carbon intensity of the activity in generating such returns and the likely upwards trajectory of a carbon price. A new runway or hub airport, "coupled with existing regional expansion plans, would facilitate passenger growth over and above that recommended by the CCC and be incommensurate with the emission constraints imposed by the EU-ETS."

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

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

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Letter from NGOs and UK Chamber of Shipping asking Cameron to ensure aviation and shipping are included in the UK’s carbon accounts

The key green NGOs in the UK, and the UK Chamber of Shipping have written to David Cameron, asking that the UK includes international aviation and shipping (IAS) in our carbon accounts, bringing the sector into line with our world-leading legal framework for tackling climate change. The Government is required to take a decision on whether IAS are included in our carbon budgets by the end of this year. The NGOs, (the AEF, WWF, Greenpeace, CBT, FoE, CPRE ) and the UK Chamber of Shipping are asking that David Cameron should accept the recent advice of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) by formally making provision for including emissions from these sectors in the carbon budgets. The integrity of the Climate Change Act 2008 requires that all sectors of the economy must contribute towards a cut in emissions of at least 80% by 2050 and aviation and shipping must be part of this long term emissions target. Recently aviation representatives said that they were comfortable with the CCC’s recommendations in relation to international aviation emissions.

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T&E says global action to tackle aviation now only ‘down to political will’ in ICAO

ICAO has recognised that a global market-based measure to tackle aviation’s contribution to climate change is technically feasible. T&E has said this is an important step, as it now means the only obstacle to global action on aviation emissions is political will. The EU has moved to improve the negotiating climate by proposing a delay of one year in the requirement for flights to and from the EU to comply with its ETS. The next step for ICAO is for a ‘high-level group’ of geographically representative senior government officials to make proposals for a market-based measure, which would then be put to the next ICAO Assembly in September 2013. At this stage, the likely outcome is far from clear. It is now a matter of political will, and T&E has said - throughout the 15 years of ICAO inaction since the Kyoto protocol was signed - that technical objections were simply a convenient excuse. There is no longer any excuse for inaction and the high level group needs to work quickly.

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‘Peak oil’ is dead – but the need for urgency is greater than ever

Jos Dings, the Direct of Transport & Environment (T&E) writes that we need to ditch any notion that ‘peak oil’ will come to our rescue on climate change, and that somehow geological constraints will end our addiction to fossil fuels. At the very least it’s time to be much more precise and replace the term ‘peak oil’ with ‘peak conventional oil’ (somehow I don’t feel this slogan will catch on!). The ‘peak oilers’ overlooked for too long the fact that high oil prices spur investment into ever weirder, riskier and higher-carbon ways to produce oil – tar sands, tight oil, oil shale, deep sea, maybe even oil shale or ‘coal-to-liquid’. We need to leave two thirds of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change. That is the key challenge, and an enormous one, for global climate policy to solve, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it points to carbon taxes as a key element, if not the solution. Well worth reading the whole article.

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Obama fails first climate test by rejecting inclusion of US aviation in EU ETS

Barack Obama has signed a law excluding US airlines from the ETS, which is a blow to hopes for stronger climate action during the president's 2nd term. Environmental campaigners had urged him to veto the aviation bill as a sign of his commitment to fighting climate change. The White House said in a statement Obama still saw climate change as a priority but that he disagreed with subjecting US and other foreign airlines to the ETS. They said the Obama administration would work to resolve airline emissions through the ICAO. But this is disappointing to European officials and to campaigners in the US who had urged Obama to veto the bill. After winning re-election Obama listed climate change as one of the three main challenges facing the country. Connie Hedegaard tweeted: Aviation ETS: So far the re-elected Pres. #Obama #climate policies look EXACTLY as in first term. Wonder when we'll see the announced change?"

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Greenhouse gases hit record level …. and threaten tourism … while tourism threatens climate

The Doha talks are taking place at present, on global carbon emissions. The UN has confirmed that the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere rose to record levels last year, reinforcing scientists' warnings that the world is on course for dangerous global warming. TravelMole reports that this will cause more pressure to minimize tourism-related carbon emissions - principally from air travel and accommodation. Global warming will also threaten tourism destinations - principally small islands, delta destinations and winter sports destinations. Global CO2 was at 391 ppm in October, compared to the pre-industrial era level of 280 ppm. About 375bn tonnes of carbon have been released into the atmosphere since the start of the industrial era in 1750, and much of it remains there for centuries. Temperatures have already risen 0.8 C and stopping an increase of over 2C is not likely. The carbon emissions from global aviation are around 5% of anthropogenic climate change, taking into account the non-CO2 impacts. World Tourism Organisation says tourism accounts for about half of all global air passengers

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ICAO now says there are likely to be further delays in its attempt to work out a global carbon plan

One step forward, two steps back ... A top official at the UN's ICAO - Secretary General Raymond Benjamin - has said he welcomed the EU's suspension of its ETS in order to give ICAO time to thrash out a plan to reduce the aviation's carbon footprint globally. On Monday the EU put its ETS scheme on hold for a year as ICAO had said it would set up a committee to work through difficult political issues that are blocking its progress, such as how to deal fairly with developing nations. Benjamin now says he cannot rule out further delays in ICAO's work. Benjamin said in June that he believed the agency would narrow down the three "market-based measures" still being considered and put its weight behind a single option by March 2013. But now he cannot guarantee this would happen before next fall's ICAO general assembly in Montreal in November 2013. Announcing the one year delay in ETS, EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said of ICAO: "If this exercise does not deliver - and I hope it does - then needless to say we are back to where we are today with the EU ETS - automatically." Possible schemes by ICAO are a cap and trade scheme, global carbon offsets, and offsetting with a revenue-generating mechanism.

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Despite EU concession, US Congress passes bill to halt US airline compliance with ETS

Less than 48 hours after the EU had announced it was suspending the inclusion of flights to and from Europe from the EU ETS, the US House approved a Senate version of a bipartisan bill that aims to prevent US aircraft operators from complying with the EU legislation. The bill authorises the Secretary of Transportation to prohibit compliance if deemed in the public interest. It now goes to the President for signature. An amendment by the Senate calls for pursuance through ICAO of a worldwide approach to address aircraft emissions. The final passing of the EU ETS prohibition bill by Congress has been welcomed by US airline and aviation representatives, although US NGOs said the bill was superfluous and counterproductive. There is strong feeling in the US that the EU does not have sovereignty in the US and has no right to levy taxes on it. A spokesman for Connie Hedegaard said it is now up to the US to show that they are serious about pushing for a global solution.

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Airlines and lawmakers in the USA to push US Airline-Emissions Bill – inspite of ETS climb-down

A day before is set to clear a bill to shield US airlines from the ETS, the Europeans capitulated in announcing a one year delay to the ETS. If a solution can’t be reached through ICAO by November 2013, then the EC says “we are back to where we are today with the EU ETS. Automatically.” The Democratic-led Senate passed the measure in September. On 13th November the House of Representatives, which is led by Republicans, is scheduled to clear the bill, but many, especially in the airline industry, viewed it more as leverage to get the EU to pull back its mandate. The airline industry had been pressing the White House to do more than just negotiate at ICAO — it had wanted the US to open a formal dispute with the EU over the mandate, known as article 84. When asked if the airline industry will continue to press the government to initiate article 84 even after the EU announcement, Airlines for America (A4A) said “Since the EU has insisted on keeping the threat of reimposing an illegal tax on US passengers and carriers, A4A will continue to urge that the US remain vigilant to ensure that all efforts are focused on finding a global solution through ICAO.”

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On ETS deferment news, green NGOs say “No more excuse towards a global measure to cut aviation’s emissions”

The formal proposal, which will likely be released in a few weeks, will allow airlines to surrender CO2 allowances by April 2014 and not by April 2013, as originally foreseen. With the new announcement by the EC today, in delaying implementation of the ETS, a press release from Transport & Environment in Brussels (speaking for green NGOs involved in aviation, such as the Aviation Environment Federation, and WWF UK) says it is vital that the one-year deferral does not end up as a definitive one. This is definitely a deferral rather than a suspension - the aviation industry will lobby very hard on this, trying to get it made permanent. The green NGOs think today’s concession is bigger than necessary, because it is more than commensurate with the limited progress made in last Friday’s ICAO Council meeting towards a global market-based mechanism (MBM) to address greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation. The environmental groups say no excuse is left for ICAO not to come up with a concrete and global measure at its triennial assembly in September-October 2013.

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EC freezes ETS for airlines flying to and from Europe till November 2013 progress by ICAO

The EU has announced that it will delay the date by which airlines have to pay for their emissions on flights to and from Europe. This is very disappointing news. However, they will only delay until there is progress by ICAO on producing a global deal on aviation emissions. If there is not adequate progress by ICAO when it meets in November 2013, the EU ETS will continue to include international aviation, as it does now. Flights within Europe remain in the ETS as before - whether by EU airlines or non-EU airlines - the change is only for flights to and from the EU. Connie Hedegaard, announcing the change, said EU member states will still have to formally endorse the Commission's exemption for non-EU carriers. The change has occurred because of intense pressure from countries such as the USA, India and China - and lobbying from Airbus on fears the ETS is causing it to lose plane sales. China and India have far more to lose than us if they start a trade war, because they export far more to us than we export there. Nonetheless, the EU and UK have meekly conceded to blackmail from China instead of doing the right thing. We understand that David Cameron was lobbying the EU to defer ETS. It demonstrates, yet again, the UK and EU leaders prefer to sacrifice action on climate change in favour of narrow business interests. The EC has repeatedly said it only included aviation in the ETS after more than a decade of inaction at the ICAO. Unfortunately the concessions made by the EC are much larger than required, and there is no expectation that ICAO will come up with anything worthwhile in the next year - but on the positive side, the EC can no longer be accused of not doing anything in response to voluble continuing criticism over its approach to aviation and climate change.

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European Commission puts aviation carbon scheme on hold

European Commission plans to force airlines to buy carbon permits have been put on hold, heading off the threat of a global aviation trade war. Commissioner Hedegaard said: "To create a positive atmosphere, we have agreed to stop the clock”. She also set ICAO 12 month to come up with its own scheme, warning the EU would resurrect its own plans if it failed to do so. A spokesman for WWF UK added: “The Commission’s move on aviation in the ETS buys some time for ICAO, who were arguably galvanised into action by the EU in the first place after years of foot-dragging on this issue. Now it’s up to other countries which have been opposing action on tackling the climate impacts of aviation, especially the United States, to show that they are serious about pushing for a global solution. This is a great chance for ICAO members to show leadership and push for a global agreement on this issue.”

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NGOs (and EU) cautiously welcome ICAO’s decision to speed up work on a global measure to reduce aviation emissions

The Council meeting of ICAO has agreed on some important issues relating to so-called ‘market based measures’ (MBMs) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation. These recognise that global MBMs are technically feasible, while in the past there have been objections. In the past there has been insufficient political will, but now the decisions have moved to a political level. Tim Johnson, Director of Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) said: “ICAO has shown that with coordinated effort the technical issues can be resolved. Similar and rapid effort is now required to resolve the political questions in a spirit of fairness and equity while remembering that addressing aviation’s climate change impacts is a necessity. Everyone says a global approach is the way to go – now it’s time to match these words with deeds." ICAO will now set up a High Level Group which will make proposals on an MBM as well as a so-called ‘framework’ for MBMs on how countries would implement them. These proposals will be put to the triennial Assembly in September 2013.

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ICAO Council meeting on 9th November is perhaps the last chance to get meaningful global action on aviation CO2

The ICAO meeting on 9th November is their last chance to see meaningful action on controlling CO2 emissions from international aviation this decade. ICAO has been under particular pressure to act ever since its 2004 decision not to develop a global measure to curb aviation greenhouse gases opened the way for the EU to move regionally by including aviation in its ETS. Opponents of the ETS say a global solution through ICAO is needed, but the USA and others have repeatedly blocked all possible options. A year ago the ICAO Secretary General pushed publicly for ICAO to agree a proposal for global action by March 2013. That deadline won’t be met but there is still a chance over the next 3 months that ICAO’s Council can finalise a proposal in March 2013 to be approved at its triennial meeting in September 2013. However, to achieve this, ICAO’s Council needs to agree this week on a much accelerated work plan and resolve the many pending political questions which prevent substantive progress. President Obama’s re-election presents the US with a real opportunity to lead.

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Tim Yeo, Chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, warns Treasury and DfT on excluding aviation from Climate Change Act

The Energy and Climate Change select committee is recommending inclusion of aviation (and shipping) emissions in the UK Climate Change Act which the Government has to decide on by end of December. The Chairman, Tim Yeo, has sent letters to the key departments who will be making the decision, two of which (Treasury and DfT) are opposing inclusion. Tim Yeo has written to Sajid Javid at the Treasury, Patrick McLoughlin at the DfT and to Greg Barker at DECC. He sets out clearly that the advice of the Committee on Climate Change is very clear on this issue: if the UK is to make our fair share of effort towards a global 2°C climate objective, annual UK greenhouse gas emissions - including international aviation and shipping emissions - need to fall to around 160 MtC02e by 2050. If international aviation and shipping are excluded from the accounts, an 80% cut would allow other sectors to emit 160 MtC02e, with aviation and shipping emissions occurring in addition to this. This would lead to total emissions of around 200 MtC02e, which is not consistent with meeting a global 2°C climate objective.'

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PWC report says “Business as usual is not an option” as current rates of CO2 reduction point to 6C of global warming

PwC - not an organisation normally thought to be a key advocate of limiting carbon emissions - has published its annual Low Carbon Economy Index report, which examined the progress of developed and emerging economies towards reducing their "carbon intensity", or their emissions per unit of gross domestic product. It says that current rates of reduction of carbon intensity in major economies shows we're heading for at least 6C degrees of warming rather than 2C by 2100. Even doubling our current annual rates of decarbonisation globally every year to 2050, would still lead to a 6C temperature rise. Global carbon intensity now needs to fall by an average of 5.1% a year for the next 39 years up to 2050 – a performance never achieved before. By contrast, only a 0.7% reduction in carbon intensity was achieved globally in 2011. and global carbon emissions went up over 3% in 2011 - which was a record high, according to the IEA. The PWC report warns that “governments and businesses can no longer assume that a 2C warming world is the default scenario.” With less than 4 weeks to the UN Climate Summit in Doha, the analysis illustrates the scale of the challenge facing negotiations.

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Will the Treasury exclude shipping and aviation from carbon targets?

A coalition of green groups [AirportWatch] has condemned the Treasury and DfTs move to remove international aviation and shipping from the UK's 2050 carbon targets. DfT officials told an Energy and Climate Change select committee hearing last week that the UK could save money in the future for other sectors of the economy if aviation and shipping were to remain outside of the UK's 5th carbon budget, due for consideration in 2015. The DfT did note that this would sacrifice the environmental benefit of including them in the budget, but is now thought to be working with the Treasury to highlight potential savings arising from exempting the two sectors, which are likely to account for around a quarter of the UK's total emissions by 2050. Green groups say that leaving aviation and shipping out of the UK carbon targets would put at risk the UK's target of delivering 80% emissions cuts across the economy by 2050. Instead of the 160 million tonnes of CO2 emissions the UK could emit by 2050 and keep within its goal, the country would be pumping out around 200 million tonnes should shipping and aviation be excluded.

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Aviation must not be dropped from UK carbon target, say campaigners

AirportWatch has condemned plans to exclude international aviation and shipping from the UK’s carbon budgets, a move they claim would seriously damage the country’s targets to cut climate change emissions. Any suggestion from DfT and the Treasury for removal of aviation and shipping from the UK’s fifth carbon budget, due for consideration in 2015 will be actively opposed. At a select committee on energy and climate change meeting this week the DfT argued that the UK could save money in future if it were to drop aviation and shipping emissions from its 2050 target. The DfT did however note that this would sacrifice the environmental benefit of including them. The Committee on Climate Change stressed at the meeting that excluding these important sectors (likely to account for around 25% of the UK’s total emissions by 2050) would mean the UK would be very likely to miss our climate objective of limiting the risk of global warming exceeding 2 degrees C and there was now no good reason for excluding them. Representatives of the aviation and shipping industries confirmed that they were comfortable with aviation and shipping being included in budgets. Neither industry would either attract further costs or need to limit expansion as a result of their inclusion.

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Airbus tries to get inclusion of aviation in ETS suspended. EU confirms no change.

There have been press stories suggesting that European officials backing Airbus are recommending the suspension of ETS in order to avert a trade war with major economic powers such as China and the USA. China and India do not allow their airlines to participate in the ETS because the charge is for the whole flight distance, not just the section over Europe. Beijing has blocked purchases of European aircraft (Airbus) by its carriers, so Airbus is unhappy about losing its fastest-growing market and is putting strong pressure on the EU as they may lose plane sales. Those backing Airbus want a "solution" before April 2013, but the matter is not due to be dealt with by ICAO till September 2013. Connie Hedegaard has confirmed that there are "no changes in EU and member states approach on the ETS and aviation" and this is just pressure from Airbus. The EU has repeatedly said it won’t give up its pollution curbs on airlines.

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Can the UK fly more without breaking climate change targets?

The aviation industry is bullish about its prospects of decoupling growth in aviation from the growth in emissions. At least Boeing and BAA are, and a host of airlines and airports that are part of the "Sustainable Aviation Council". The SAC's 2012 roadmap argues that virtually all of the extra GHG that would be emitted by this rise can be cut by a combination of sleeker aircraft, leaner engines, smoother ground operations, more direct flight paths and up to 40% use of biofuels in global aviation. It also suggests that the use of carbon trading would mean aviation's current carbon footprint could be halved even if passenger numbers more than doubled. But aircraft emissions cannot be airbrushed away through carbon trading, as Tim Yeo and others suggest. Given a new dash for gas in the UK, new road building and then more aviation, where are the CO2 cuts needed for permits to trade actually going to come from? Damian Carrington explores the issues.

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China buys 50 Airbus A329-family jets during Merkel visit despite ETS dispute

China signed an agreement with Germany for 50 Airbus planes worth up to $4 billion during Angela Merkel's visit to Beijing. This is the first significant order since a dispute over the ETS. The dispute between Beijing and the EU had allegedly interrupted earlier deals worth up to $14 billion. The Chinese news agency said China's ICBC Leasing and Airbus, whose parent company is Franco-German-led aerospace group EADS, signed the deal for 50 Airbus A320-family planes. China regularly orders aircraft in large batches timed to coincide with high-level contacts with US or EU leaders, but this deal apparently fell short of European expectations of a 100-plane order. Airbus and Chinese authorities also signed a $1.6 billion deal to extend an Airbus A320 assembly line at Tianjin. China continues to block the purchase of some 35 larger Airbus aircraft to protest against the ETS.

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Impact of contrails on climate

At present, there is no agreed figure for the amount of climate altering effect that is produced by aircraft at high altitude, including cirrus cloud formed by contrails, in addition to the effect of CO2 they emit. The UK government uses a multiplier of 1.9 for this extra impact by planes. An article in New Scientist in August 2011 presented evidence from a German scientist that contrail cirrus ended up covering 0.6% of Earth's surface – an area 9 times as great as that covered by line contrails as they emerge from the planes. The Germany researcher then used this figure to produce a more accurate estimate of the total energy trapped by contrails. Her calculations suggest a global figure of 31 mW/m2 – higher than that attributable to aviation CO2.

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Why Tim Yeo is wrong about carbon emissions from UK aviation being controlled by the ETS

This piece from the Carbon Brief sets out how the carbon emissions from UK aviation are dealt with by the ETS, and why Tim Yeo (and others promoting huge expansion of UK air travel, beyond the limit recommended by the Committee on Climate Change), have got it wrong. Besides the apparent misunderstanding about the failings of the ETS, Yeo also suggested that that if the UK were to increase its airport capacity, carriers would be more likely to send their newer, more efficient planes to Heathrow. Carbon Brief explains that this would not happen as there doesn't seem to be any reason why airlines would send their newest planes to the UK over other EU destinations. If the ETS works as it is meant to, the price of carbon permits would go up, so the cost of flying would go up. And the UK would have to either cut down on aviation demand (very unlikely) or overstep its emissions cap, as no government would be popular if it tried to ration air travel.

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Why Tim Yeo is wrong on aviation and the EU ETS

This is an article from BusinessGreen, with a good and clear explanation of why Tim Yeo is utterly wrong with his pronouncements on aviation and the ETS. You would have thought someone who is Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee should know this. The ETS cannot and will not prevent aviation emissions from rising, because of the current weakness and failures of the ETS, meaning it does not work properly, largely as the carbon price is too low and dubious credits are imported from outside. However, supposing the ETS did work perfectly, it would drive up the cost of flying hugely as permits become scarce and expensive as carbon cuts are harder and harder for other sectors to make. There would then be no need for more runways as demand would fall greatly. So no need for a new Heathrow runway, or a new airport. Unless planes could become virtually zero carbon - of which there is no current prospect.

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Retaliation On Airline Carbon May Breach Law: says Cambridge researcher

A Cambridge University researcher has given the opinion that nations which retaliate against the EU ETS may fall foul of international trade rules and the WTO. The researcher, who is a lecturer in WTO and international law, said: “If a World Trade Organization member restricts EU flights over its territory, or landing slots for EU flights in its territory, it is likely to violate WTO obligations ensuring non- discriminatory treatment of trade in goods, as well as freedom of transit.” They noticed the irony of Russia, which only joined the WTO yesterday, immediately trying to use trade restrictions for political purposes. The researcher said the WTO permits measures that are necessary “to protect human, animal or plant life or health,” and a successful WTO complaint against the ETS would have to show that the EU could have achieved the same goal another way that is “both reasonably available and less trade- restrictive than the measure adopted. This is notoriously difficult to assess".

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US Senate Panel passes Bill to shield US airlines from EU ETS

A Senate committee has passed a bill authorising the transportation secretary to bar US airlines from complying with the ETS if he or she deems this to be in the public interest. It will now be sent to the full Senate for a vote. The 19-member panel voted to approve an updated version of a bipartisan bill authored by Republican Senator John Thune and Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. They want this to apply more pressure on the EU to stand down from what they say is "a misguided and unlawful tax" and claim the money spent in paying for carbon emissions could "otherwise be invested in creating jobs and stimulating economic growth in our country.” It will require the secretary to hold a public hearing before implementing any ban, and also “to pursue a worldwide approach” to address aircraft emissions (ie. the glacially slow, and so far utterly ineffective ICAO process).

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Change of direction promised by US on international aviation inclusion in EU ETS

A group of 16 countries (so far un-named) are meeting in the US about the ETS, and how a global "solution" might be found to aviation emissions. The opponents of the ETS, even though it adds so very little to a trans-Atlantic flight ($3 or so one way) want ICAO to come up with some scheme that is global. However, if ICAO can ever agree a scheme, it will both take years to bring about, and is likely to be too weak to be effective. ICAO's only target now is an "aspirational" one (meaning not binding at all) to keep global aviation emissions at 2020 levels, after 2020, by buying offsets for increases. Annie Petsonk of US NGO Environmental Defense Fund said yesterday the US airlines’ and their trade association’s motive was “to tie up ICAO so deeply in the ponderous process that it will never have time to work on a serious agreement on climate change.”

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Breakthrough on efforts to reduce emissions from aircraft

Efforts to tackle emissions from aviation have taken a hesitant step forward, with the news that ICAO has endorsed an expert group’s recommendation on the way to measure fuel burn in flight. The recommendation is for a ‘metric’ system and test cycle to be the basis for setting fuel efficiency standards for new aircraft. However, many concerns remain. In 2009, ICAO began work on a standard for new aircraft, and has now produced a methodology for measuring in-flight fuel burn and thus CO2 emissions. This will form the basis for a minimum standard of fuel efficiency that all new aircraft will have to meet on CO2 emissions. The ICAO proposal for the CO2 metric are not yet public. The environmental groups working with ICAO are working to ensure the standard set is stringent enough.

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EU moves to shore up price of carbon permits in the ETS

The EU has moved to shore up the faltering price of CO2 emissions in the ETS as current low price is failing to encourage companies to reduce their greenhouse gas output. However, the changes are relatively minor, too minor to do much good, resulting in changes in the timings of auctions of carbon permits, rather than the large-scale reforms that campaigners and green businesses had urged. The current carbon price is about €7 (£5.40) per tonne of carbon, which is well below the price of €25-40 per tonne that analysts say is needed to encourage companies to change their behaviour. The price is so low due to the recession and lelss economic activity in the EU so there is a glut of excess permits.Some companies will be able to avoid paying for carbon for years to come. Sandbag says that 2.2bn allowances need to be removed to restore the scarcity envisaged before the recession.

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EU faces prolonged wait for a global resolution in aviation ETS row

A global resolution to Europe’s battle with China and other countries over curbing aviation emissions is unlikely before October 2013, risking growing pressure from domestic airlines and trade partners. Senior EU officials say they will not retreat from enforcing obligations under the ETS, and a decision is expected shortly on how the EU will respond to defiant Chinese and Indian airlines that failed to meet a 31 March deadline. Officials say that an ICAO draft plan is not likely until March 2013 and that the full ICAO council – representing the international body’s 191 member states – would then not consider it until a meeting due in October 2013 - or if no decision is made, it could be 2016 before a resolution would be considered again.

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Carlisle airport plans depend on over-optimistic future tourism passenger figures

It is possible that Carlisle City Council will decide on the redevelopment plans for Carlisle airport this week, but more likely it will be delayed. It has been due last July, but Stobart asked for it to be delayed. The upgrades are mainly for freight, but the local council and the tourism bodies want air passenger, not only freight. However, 92% of Cumbria's visitors are UK-based, though Cumbria Tourism etc want to attract more international tourists, and year to get visitors from Brazil, China, India and Russia - as well as more from America. And for these to fly up from London. One problem with the application is that Stobart have now halved the number of passengers it thinks it can get by 2025, from its initial guess of 100,000 per year, to 50,000. This lower number will reduce the alleged benefits to the local economy, and so is not likely to be approved.

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ICAO drops one of its 4 possible options for a global aviation emissions scheme

The ICAO has narrowed its focus to 3 broad options to address aviation emissions, eliminating the baseline and credit system. ICAO's governing council, meeting in Montreal this week, agreed to rule the scheme, where increases or decreases from an initial emissions baseline could be traded. It is being dropped as it is similar to another option being considered, global carbon offsetting. The 3 other remaining options are: offsetting with a revenue-generating mechanism, and cap and trade emissions trading. ICAO expects to have something agreed by March 2013, though environmental commentators are sceptical they can deliver anything effective. Connie Hedegaard would like to see progress by the November ICAO meeting.

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Irish Government agrees to consider Ryanair’s bid for Aer Lingus takeover

The Irish Government has announced that it would consider Ryanair’s bid to take over their Irish rival , Aer Lingus. They want 50% of it. They also admitted that they would not rule out the sale of their 25% stake and are considering it. Ryanair - which already owns 30% of Aer Lingus - launched their third bit to take over Aer Lingus last week. They offered shareholders 38% premium to the market. This deal would require regulators to drop opposition to a merger and the Irish government to agree the price. The FT reports that Ryanair said, rather pompously this would be ...."clearly beneficial in the context of the current recessionary environment and will make a valuable contribution towards budget spending in such important areas as health and education.” The FT asks "Since when, one might ask, have airlines been advising governments how to raise money for social expenditure?"

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Climate protest at the gates of Buckingham Palace, quoting recent statement by Prince Charles

The Prince of Wales recently warned of the "catastrophic" consequences of inaction on issues such as climate change, at the Rio+20 talks. He said he had "watched in despair" at the slow pace of progress on the "critical issues of the day," and urged world leaders to adopt a more integrated approach to issues such as climate change and food security. He said scientific evidence showed the potential consequences of ignoring the risks, and that the Doomsday clock of climate change is ticking ever faster towards midnight. We are simply not reacting fast enough. Taking up this call, protesters from Climate Siren held a peaceful banner protest, hanging banners from the gates of Buckingham Palace, quoting Charles words - calling for more effective climate action.

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Aviation emissions compromise possible between ICAO and European Union

The ICAO secretary-general Raymond Benjamin has said ICAO has narrowed down to 4 schemes the alternatives to the EU ETS, which it vigorously opposes. It is possible that some sort of compromise might happen. Some draft proposal should be produced by ICAO by March 2013, not the end of 2012, as had previously been suggested. Europe has repeatedly replied to opposition to the ETS that its hand was forced to go it alone after waiting in vain for more than 15 years for ICAO to come up with a global system to reduce aviation’s greenhouse gases. Their tardiness has been largely due to airline lobbies. There are now firm deadlines that will lead to a plenary assembly of ICAO in Montreal in September 2013 at which all 191 countries will be asked to vote on a single initiative. The EU has said they would modify their ETS if there is an equivalent global scheme. ICAO wants the funds from an ETS to go to aviation, while the EU ETS funds go into general government revenues.

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ICAO launches phone app to calculate CO2 footprint of flights – but excludes radiative forcing effects

ICAO have launched an iPhone and iPad app so fliers can calculate the amount of carbon their flights have generated. Which is great and very commendable. ICAO says the calculator has been available on the internet since it was first launched in 2008 and is used worldwide by the general public and all UN agencies etc. BUT, the snag is that the figures they give are very low, for the amount of carbon produced, and completely exclude non-CO2 "radiative forcing" effects. For example, for an economy class return flight for one person from Heathrow to New York, the ICAO calculator gives a figure of 770 kg of CO2, while most others give much higher figures, such as 1.84 or 1.87 tonnes including radiative forcing.

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The real story behind the latest European Environment Agency transport emissions figures

Jos Dings, Director of T&E in Brussels, has analysed the EEA figures that appear to show a fall in transport emissions. He finds many flaws, indicating that emissions have not fallen by as much as is alleged, and much of the fall is caused inadvertently by the economic recession. The alleged drop is 1%, whereas 3% per year is needed in order to hit the EU's 2050 target for transport emissions. The 2010 figures indicate that transport emissions are up by 27% from their 1990 levels. However, the figures are artificially lowered by counting the 4% of biofuels used as zero carbon, while they are not. Including biofuels correctly, EU transport is 30% of the EU emissions total and EU transport emissions have risen by 32% since 1990.

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Chinese airlines refuse EU data request

Chinese airlines will refuse to submit carbon emissions data to the EU by this week’s deadline. This was extended from 31st March. The airlines say they are unanimous on this. Chinese officials says if the EU carries through with its threat of penalising Chinese airlines, they would immediately retaliate with measures against European airlines, which could include impounding European planes. There is now a Chinese working group to devise a list of retaliatory steps to be taken against the EU if any Chinese airline is penalised. They are still campaigning for the EU only to charge for carbon on internal EU flights. Under the EU plan, Germany will determine whether Air China is in breach of ETS regulations or not; France will monitor China Southern Airlines; and the Netherlands will monitor China Eastern Airlines.

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Analysis of EU ETS shows that it is the same as other charges in reaching beyond sovereign airspace

The American Environmental Defense Fund says - in response to critics of the EU ETS who say the scheme should not operate outside European airspace - that this argument is incorrect. Though part of a flight from, say, the USA is not over Europe, the flight only takes place because its destination is in Europe. Without that being the destination of the passengers, the plane would not be there. All the emissions from the whole flight occur because the passengers want to get to Europe - so all are within the EU ETS. This principle has been agreed by the UNCCC and ICAO. The EDF also rejects arguments based on sovereignty because many countries already impose charges like arrival or departure taxes, on the whole flight, and not only part of it. The ETS is no different.

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8 Chinese airlines and 2 Indian still hold out against complying with the EU ETS

Chinese airlines have confirimed that they still support their government’s opposition to the ETS. Chinese airlines will continue to oppose the ETS despite the EU's warning that it might take punitive measures in response. The Chinese airlines say they will not comply with the system unless ordered to do so by their government. Eight Chinese airlines, along with two from India have not submitted 2011 carbon emission data to the EU yet, whereas 1,200 carriers have. The Chinese say the airlines that are not complying could be fined or even banned from flying to Europe.

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EU hails airline emissions tax success

TMore than 99% (1,200) of all major global airlines have complied with the first step of the EU ETS. After the howls of protest from a range of countries, now virtually all submitted the required baseline emissions data for 2011. Only eight Chinese airlines and two Indian ones did not comply by the 31 March deadline. Connie Hedegaard, the European commissioner for climate action, said that these represent just 3% of aviation emissions. Hedegaard said the EU was currently negotiating with China on whether equivalent measures could be put in place by the Chinese authorities, which the EU would find acceptable. But the slight reduction in ETS carbon emissions last year happened due to the recession, not due to the ETS. Sandbag said the massive oversupply of carbon allowances that threaten to haunt the system until 2020.

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Airlines ‘are conforming’ with EU rules on emissions

The figures suggest opposition to the EU airline charge is melting away, except in India and China. The EC says the vast majority of airlines have conformed with EU rules on reporting CO2 emissions. The EU required airlines to report by March 2012 on 2011 emissions as a "dry run"; all did, bar 10 from China and India. The EU has asked the 10 airlines that have not yet submitted figures to do so by mid June. Failure to comply would mean an airline would pay a penalty of €100 / tonne of CO2 emitted, and a ban from EU airspace if they refuse to pay. In March 2013, the emissions they report will enter the ETS. The issue at present is controversial, with China telling airlines not to take part and US firms mounting a legal challenge. The ETS will add only about $3 to the price of a trans-Atlantic flight. In February, 23 countries that had debated whether to challenge the legality of the EU move under the Chicago Convention decided not to press ahead.

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Are the B787 Dreamliner’s claims to be a new generation in aircraft fuel efficiency over-stated?

Kevin Lister has written an open letter to the Aviation Minister, Theresa Villiers, pointing out to her that, despite all the hype about the Dreamliner being touted as the first of a new generation of planes, it is not greatly more fuel efficient than others. It is not likely to "solve" the industry's future fuel or emission problems. Looking at the likely number of passengers, the range and the fuel capacity, the fuel consumption figures for the A380, Boeing 787, 777, and 747 very comparable. And are in the same range as the old Lockheed Constellation aircraft of the 1950s. The Dreamliner has lighter components, using carbon fibre rather than aluminium. But its main aim is to be a slightly smaller plane, that can fly long distance, without needing to refuel. This means carrying a great deal of fuel on take off for such a long trip. A doubling in a plane's speed increases drag by a factor of four, and the power consumption of the engines by a factor of eight. Therefore, for greatest fuel efficiency, a plane would fly more slowly and over relatively short distances.

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The inclusion of international airlines into the EU ETS is largely compatible with world trade rules, finds study

(From GreenAir Online) The legal case against the inclusion of international aviation into the EU ETS has centred on whether the EU has the power to regulate emissions produced outside the EU. Also whether the EU’s scheme is consistent with its obligations under applicable bilateral and multilateral agreements governing air transport services. And third is whether it is compatible with the EU’s WTO obligations. This latter challenge is the subject of a paper by Dr Lorand Bartels of the Faculty of Law at Cambridge University. Bartels concludes that despite the complexities of WTO law, the EU scheme in the main is justifiable on environmental grounds and, insofar as the scheme affects services such as tourism, it is likely a WTO panel would lack jurisdiction to determine on a violation until ICAO remedies had been exhausted.

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US representative to ICAO says general consensus remains that market measures should only be implemented from 2020

The US permanent representative at ICAO has recently said that general consensus within ICAO since 2007 has been that market-based measures (which means emissions trading, emission related charges and taxes, and emissions offsetting) to limit the growth of aviation emissions will not come into play until 2020. He believes that the consensus on the delay in bringing in emissions trading etc, although not unanimous, continues, and he is not convinced it will be changed at the 2013 Assembly. He was critical of the slow progress at ICAO to deliver on a CO2 standard for airframes and engines that is due to be produced in 2013. He told ICAO that he expected technological and operational improvement measures being used in the period to 2020, and only carbon trading perhaps after that.

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Governments failing to avert catastrophic climate change, IEA warns

Governments are falling badly behind on low-carbon energy, putting carbon reduction targets out of reach and pushing the world to the brink of catastrophic climate change, the world's leading independent energy authority - the IEA has warned. "The world's energy system is being pushed to breaking point," Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the IEA. "Our addiction to fossil fuels grows stronger each year." On current form, she warns, the world is on track for warming of 6C by the end of the century – a level that would create catastrophe, wiping out agriculture in many areas and rendering swathes of the globe uninhabitable, as well as raising sea levels and causing mass migration. Under current policies, the IEA estimate that energy use and CO2 emissions would increase by a third by 2020, and almost double by 2050.

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China’s emissions trading pilots are starting to take shape as the EU’s flagship climate policy looks increasingly fragile.

There are 7 new pilot carbon emissions trading schemes in China, 5 in municipalities (Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tainjin) - and two provinces (Guangdong and Hubei from 2013). These pilot projects will pave the way for a national trading scheme (ETS) to be implemented in 2016. Details are steadily emerging of the pilot schemes and China’s commitment to tackling climate change is growing increasingly clear, making it more difficult for Europe to argue that it is out in front and unable to increase its ambitions. At the same time as developing its own emissions trading schemes China is currently objecting to flights between China and Europe being included in the EU ETS. A new report from Sandbag suggests that China could include flights from the major cities within the emissions trading pilots and thereby enact the equivalent measure clause which would remove them from the EU scheme.

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US Ambassador to ICAO Skeptical Council Can Reach ETS Consensus

EThe US Ambassador to ICAO is skeptical that ICAO’s assembly can reach consensus on market-based measures to control emissions when it meets in September 2013. He said ICAO's current direction on developing market-based measures, such as ETS, dates from a resolution at the assembly’s last meeting in 2010 - and that “is actually a derivative” of one adopted in 2007. He said the consensus on Market Based Measures (things like ETS) among the 191 member states of the Assembly has changed little since that time. “The ICAO Industry Emissions Reduction Roadmap from 2010 to 2050 has virtually all of the emission reductions coming from aviation from 2010 until 2020 attributed to technological and operational improvements. Only beginning around 2020 does the ICAO industry roadmap plan for reductions from market-based measures...The roadmap realistically has alternative fuels coming on line slowly and not making really big, significant contributions until after 2030.”

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West Sussex study shows personal flights the largest single component of carbon footprint

West Sussex County Council have done an analysis of their carbon emissions, to understand individual emissions and help communities to change their lifestyles, consumption etc. The consumption-based carbon footprint for West Sussex residents broken down into sixteen specific segments shows that the largest single component is personal flights, at 13%. This comes higher even than food and drink (retail) at 12%. And then at 10% each are household fuel, and domestic vehicle fuel. Followed by other non food shopping at 9% and then household electricity at 7% - with other sectors at lower figures. Remarkable that the flights component is so very high. For the Lake District, the proportion of emissions from foreign flights by visitors to the Lake District was a third of the total budget—yet of the 16 million visitors a year, only 10% come from abroad".

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US and India warn Europe that row over Aviation EU ETS could derail global climate change negotiations

The US special envoy for climate change, Todd Stern, has warned that the inclusion of foreign airlines in the EU ETS could hold up global climate change talks. He said that just because progress on a global agreement over aviation emissions reductions at ICAO had proved difficult, “it did not mean the multilateral approach should be thrown away.” While US carriers continue to comply under protest with the EU ETS, 2 Indian airlines serving Europe have been forbidden to take part and have failed to submit their 2011 emissions reports by the March 31 deadline, leaving open the possibility of fines by their UK authority. Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said Europe “could not accept threats of all kinds of trouble just because a small price has to be paid for the pollution caused by travel, while no one grumbles about paying for online tickets, extra luggage or seat reservations.”

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Indian environment minister says EU ETS is ‘deal-breaker for climate talks’

India has formally forbidden its airlines from participating in the EU ETS, having earlier said it would boycott the scheme. The Indian environment minister says the ETS is a "deal-breaker" for global climate change talks, and she it saying the ETS is trying to disguise unilateral trade measures under climate change. A European Commission spokesman said "I don't see why this should be a deal-breaker if both share the same objective, which is reducing global emissions." The EU continues patiently to repeat that it has been driven to make all airlines pay for their emissions after more than a decade of talks at the United Nations' ICAO failed to find a global solution to rising emissions of greenhouse gases from aviation. However, ICAO has now been bounced into more action, though many environmental groups still question whether it can deliver a viable plan.

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Barker backs tougher EU emissions targets ahead of Denmark talks

The EU currently has a target of cutting its CO2 emissions by 20% of the 1990 level by 2020. The UK is pushing for this to be increased to 25% or 30% by 2020. The Climate Change minister, Greg Barker, says moving from the 20% to the 30% target would boost investment in low-carbon industries and strengthen the price of carbon, which has tumbled more than 60% in a year - and that the tougher targets would also help UK and European companies access a clean tech market estimated to be worth "trillions of dollars" by 2015. But he echoed George Osborne in his insistence that the UK would not act unilaterally if other EU states refused to sign up to more ambitious targets. The UK thinks it will exceed the 20% target. This does not include the embodied energy in imports. There are EU talks in Denmark next week. Poland is holding out against tighter targets.

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Nasa scientist Jim Hansen: climate change is a moral issue on a par with slavery

Prof Jim Hansen, who is leading climate scientist at NASA, says that the way in which our society now is storing up expensive and destructive consequences for society in future - by altering their climate - is an "injustice of one generation to others". Current generations have an over-riding moral duty to their children and grandchildren to take immediate action. He is also calling for a worldwide, flat rate tax on all carbon emissions to force immediate cuts in fossil fuel use, and this tax would rise each year. It would promote a dramatic increase in the investment and development of low-carbon energy sources and technologies. He says the latest climate models had shown the planet was on the brink of an emergency, with repeated natural disasters from extreme weather events which would affect large areas of the planet.

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Aviation should be included in the UK’s carbon budgets, Government advisers recommend

The Committee on Climate change produced its long awaited statement on how aviation should be included in the UK's 5-year carbon budgets. The Climate Act currently omits international aviation and shipping, but while setting budgets, the CCC has to "take account" of’ these emissions. The government must decide by the end of 2012 on whether to include them. The CCC recommends that international aviation and shipping should now be included, and that UK international aviation emissions should be back at the level they were in 2005 by 2050. The CCC says international aviation emissions should be added to currently legislated budgets based on the UK share of the EU ETS cap (i.e. 31 MtCO2e per year - which is 155 MtCO2e over the three 5 year budgets, taking us up to 2027). UK aviation emissions grew around 120% between 1990 and 2005. Due to the inclusion of aviation and shipping, the CO2 emissions of all other sectors have to be cut by over 80% of the 1990 level by 2005, so aviation is being given a very generous deal indeed. The CCC has decided not to include the non-CO2 effects of aviation for the time being, though these NOx etc impacts of other sectors are included, and it presumes that technology may be able to remove the problem in coming decades.

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Runways, emissions and the EU ETS: why Tim Yeo is wrong

This week Tim Yeo MP announced that he had changed his mind about Heathrow expansion and now supported the idea of building a third runway. He had two reasons: that the economic case in favour has changed, he says, and that aviation is now part of the EU ETS. He didn’t mention noise, air pollution, or destruction of local villages. But even on his own terms he’s wrong – on both counts. AEF’s new 2-page briefing Runways, emissions and the EU ETS explains why.

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Air China says no change in Airbus orders

TAir China Ltd has not cut or cancelled any Airbus orders and is sticking to the delivery plan for the aircraft. China has suspended the purchase of a total 55 Airbus jets, including 45 long-haul A330s and 10 Airbus A380 superjumbos worth a total of $14 billion amid a trade row over the ETS. Air China's chairman said the stand of China's central government is to oppose firmly the EU's unilateral move to impose a carbon tax and Air China is doing the same. Air China would stick to its plan to take delivery of 35 new aircraft this year, including fourteen A320/A310 and six A330 from Airbus. China wants the EU to conduct bilateral talks with the Chinese government to solve the dispute. Air China wants to expand passenger capacity by 8% percent on domestic routes and 12%t on international routes this year.

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New York Times: says EU ETS can be profitable for airlines

The New York Times says many airlines like Emirates could make significant amounts of money out of the EU ETS. It could make a modest profit of €1.5 million from a small surplus of permits, each representing a ton of carbon dioxide, that airlines can trade as part of the system. So far more than 20 countries have agreed on a basket of retaliatory measures that will penalize European carriers unless the system is suspended. As the current price of carbon is so very low, the cost is about €3 on the price of a round-trip ticket between Brussels and Washington, or about €4 for a round trip between Brussels and Beijing. Significant price increases are only expected after 2020. Airlines get 80% of their permits free, but many charge passengers anyway.

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India to ask airlines to shun EU carbon scheme

India is apparently poised to ask airlines not to take part in the ETS. China in February barred its airlines from participating in the ETS. The Indian official, with direct knowledge of talks between the EU and other countries on the issue, told Reuters that India will soon ask local airlines not to share emissions data with the bloc or buy any carbon credits. The official said that if the EU retaliates by suspending Indian airlines from flying to Europe, India would make similar moves and consider charging an "unreasonable" amount for flying over India. "We have lots of measures to take if the EU does not go back on its demands. We have the power of the economy, we are not bleeding as they are."

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“The road to climate change isn’t a road. It’s a flight path.” Subvertising!

Climate Rush have been out subvertising. Subvertising means adding a slightly different message to billboards and posters, subverting the advertising. Heathrow airport has been lobbying MP’s on their way to work with posters and advertising all the way up the escalators with a £100k advertising campaign in Westminster Tube station. The billboards bear grotesque slogans including, ”The road the economic recovery isn’t a road. It’s a flight path”. And then "Which is why we need an aviation policy that doesn't restrict growth [meaning aviation growth]. Climate Rush has now modified them, to give a more climate aware message.

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ICAO sees difficult path to airline emissions plan

A senior ICAO official has said that getting a global agreement to limit aviation emissions will be difficult because of developing country concerns about the economic impact. ICAO met this week to discuss the issue, and directed a working group to continue studying the four options that could form an alternative to the EU ETS, and report back in June. One problem is the principle of "common but differentiated responsibility," under which developed countries should shoulder most of the burden of cutting emissions. And at the same time adhering to the Chicago Convention, that requires "non-discrimination" between members.

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Airbus and 6 European airlines have written to 4 European leaders to attack ETS

Seven European aviation firms have written to 4 government leaders complaining about the inclusion of airlines in the EU ETS. These include Airbus, BA and Virgin Atlantic. They are arguing now that the ETS threatens jobs. They are concerned about trade retaliation by countries not complying with the ETS. Airbus is claiming the retaliation by China and the USA is threatening more than 1,000 jobs (at Airbus) and another 1,000 through the supply chain. China had suspended the purchase of planes made by European manufacturers because of the levy. In a draft of the letter seen by the BBC, the companies urge politicians to pursue a "compromise solution"... They now want the ETS to be put on hold until a global plan for carbon emissions is agreed.

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UK aviation industry presents its (unrealistic) Road-Map for growing while cutting carbon by 2050

An aviation industry body calling itself The Sustainable Aviation Group has updated its 2008 Road-Map on how it hopes to continue growing as much as possible, and yet also magically keep its carbon emissions down. There are many assumptions about the extent of fuel efficiency from new planes and new engines; from better operational practices such as better air traffic control. And a huge hope that biofuels will be the salvation and provide immense carbon savings. In addition, they will depend to a huge extent on carbon trading with other sectors, so at least a quarter of their emissions will have to be compensated for by other sectors. And for all this they want a lot of government subsidy and assistance - which means money from the tax payer.

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Several articles on climate change and its impact on sea acidity, Antarctica, glaciers

Several recent stories about climate change reveal that the rate of ocean acidification is speeding up, due to increased CO2 in the atmosphere creating carbonic acid in oceans, making their pH lower. The pH is currently dropping by about 0.1 per century. This ocean acidification harms organisms such as corals that rely on dissolved carbonate to make their shells. NASA has observed a massive new crack in the Antarctic ice shelf, which will eventually produce a vast 900 square metre iceburg, though it may not be calved off this year. Attempts to determine whether the Antarctic is losing ice have produced some conflicting data, but recent reports agree that the ice sheet is losing ice – and indeed that the rate of loss has been speeding up. The ice loss is largely in the Western Antarctica, particularly around the Antarctic Peninsula.

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Russia threatens to cap EU flights over Siberia in protest at ETS

Russia has threatened to cap EU airline flights over Siberia as part of possible retaliatory measures approved by more than 20 countries at a recent meeting in Moscow. Valery Okulov, Russia’s deputy transport minister, said each country could choose whatever measure it wanted, in line with its own laws, to try to stop the EU including airlines in its ETS. He said Russia would look at limiting EU airlines’ use of routes over Siberia, and give preference instead to carriers from Japan, China and other Asian nations. "We are calling on the European Union to do whatever it takes to prevent a trade war," he said. "We intend to get EU’s carbon trading measures either cancelled or postponed."

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EU Parliamentary committee agrees set-aside measures for Emissions Trading System

A senior parliamentary committee of MEPs has agreed controversial measures to let the EU Commission cut the supply of carbon permits in the bloc’s ETS, in a bid to prop up CO2 prices lingering below €10. The industry committee of the EU Parliament passed an amendment to the Energy Efficiency Directive to allow the EC take measures by the end of the year that “may include withholding of the necessary amount of allowances” from the 2013-2020 phase of the EU carbon market. Before becoming law the bill still needs approval from the full Parliament and the Council of 27 environment ministers. Sandbag welcomed this move and said politicians must remove at least 1.4bn permits to get the market in carbon to work properly. "Today's vote is a significant step in that direction."

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New York Times editorial in support of ETS

New York Times editorial, supporting the EU ETS. It says the CO2 from airplanes accounts for about 3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, a share projected to go up as air traffic rises. And that Europe hopes it will avert any increase in emissions and lead to a modest drop, beginning with a 3 % cut this year compared with a 2004-6 baseline. And "passengers are not looking at charges much greater than what it now costs to check a single bag. This seems a small price to pay for encouraging more efficient airlines and beginning to address global warming."

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EU bullish as opponents confirm aviation trade war threats

23 of the countries meeting in Moscow to oppose the ETS signed a joint agreement that sets out 8 "counter measures" that signatories could take to try to force the EU to ditch ETS plans. [6 of the signatories, Cameroon, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Paraguay, Uganda, have no carriers covered by the EU ETS]. The 23 countries would “consider” measures and actions if the EU failed to respond. Canada, Egypt and the UAE abstained from the final agreement. An earlier draft suggestion on re-opening existing wider trade agreements was dropped from the final text. EU data shows the ETS will have a negligible impact on ticket prices, adding €1.34 to the cost of a flight from London to New York or €0.76 to the cost of a flight from London to Moscow. Despite threats of trade wars and retaliation, the EU remains adamant it will not change or postpone its legislation.

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India, Russia oppose EU carbon tax

A meeting of 30 countries opposed to the ETS has taken place in Moscow. 29 of them, but not India, agreed a declaration listing 8 retaliatory steps against the EU unless it excludes their airlines from charges when flying to or from Europe. These measures include legal action, suspending talks with European carriers on new routes, reviewing bilateral service and open skies agreements with European countries and imposing retaliatory levies on EU airlines. They can choose whichever they want. Connie Hedegaard says Brussels would not suspend the ETS for aviation. The next meeting of the countries opposed to the ETS would be held in summer in Saudi Arabia. EU officials have said they may be willing to “moderate” their stance on ETS, if a deal for an equivalent global system can be reached through ICAO. Airlines do not need to buy their carbon permits until April 2013.

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Weak carbon price sees market analysts sharply downgrading forecasts of EU ETS cost to airlines in 2012

The current price of a tonne of CO2 is about €8-9. Therefore the cost of the ETS to airlines is very much lower than they had previously estimated, based on a higher carbon price. Point Carbon has calculated airlines covered by the scheme will have to pay around €500 million for the required permits to cover a potential shortfall of 59 million tonnes of CO2 this year, at an average estimated price of €8.50 per tonne. This may end up being even lower, at €300 million, which is described as a "drop in the ocean" compared to fuel. The carbon price will probably be low next year too. Non-EU airlines will be expected to pay for just a quarter of the total EU ETS aviation costs in 2012, or around €75 million of the €300 million overall cost. So Point Carbon estimates Chinese airlines will have to pay about €1.9 million in 2012, not hundreds of millions of €s. The cost per passenger for a trans-Atlantic flight is about €2-3, and a Barclays Capital analyst is quoted as saying "it is really hard to see what all the fuss is about".

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Editorial by Jos Dings, Director of T&E, on what ICAO needs to do on aviation emissions

Almost 15 years after Kyoto protocol assigned responsibility for dealing with aviation’s CO2 to ICAO, there is finally a sense of urgency. The EU has offered to exclude flights coming into Europe from the ETS if ICAO comes up with a global deal better than Europe’s initiative. T&E asks what would a credible global deal on aviation emissions look like? It would have to have three features: 1. A global market-based measure should be based on fuel use or emissions, not on the amount of passengers or freight. 2. It should reduce aviation emissions & substantially contribute to global climate finance. The current ETS price of €7/tonne CO2 fails. 3. It must work for vulnerable countries as well as for the climate. Some revenue could compensate poor countries for the impact of air travel & pay a global climate fund.

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What IATA said about emissions trading: 2012 compared to 2007 and 2001. In favour to against.

IATA now makes statements such as: "The European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of airlines, if successfully implemented, could erode more than 30 percent from the struggling industry’s profits". Back in 2007 they said: "Intra-EU flights are expected to face minor losses in the order of €51-109 million in 2012, because of their more price-sensitive passengers. The net financial impact on extra-EU flights may be slightly positive. However, the overall impact on the profitability of all flights arriving and departing the EU will be less than 0.5% of revenues which is little better than break-even." Transport & Environment had put together statements on a range of aspects fo the EU ETS, from 2012 and from earlier years, to demonstrate IATA's change of heart.

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Article in the Hindu asks “Why oppose a cleaner sky?”

This week, the representatives of 26 nations will meet in Moscow to decide what they're going to do about the EU ETS. Despite the very vocal opposition, legal challenges, and warnings of non-compliance, retaliatory action and a global trade war, the European Commission shows little sign of budging. Setting aside the fact that the objections are based on a convention that came into place nearly 70 years ago, when there was little recognition of climate change, a growing body of evidence appears to show that the costs will be far less onerous than the industry suggests. the EC's refusal to budge could finally spur the global community into action on aviation emissions. The head of the ICAO recently said that options were currently being drawn up, with a solution potentially being put to the assembly for consideration by late 2013.

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Half of European airports part of scheme to cut their emissions (not the flight emissions though)

Airports account for perhaps around 5% of the total emissions from aviation. Airports handling about 50% of European passenger traffic are now certified under the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme set up by ACI Europe. Since its launch in June 2009, 55 airports have become accredited at one of the 4 levels of certification. In Year One of the programme, 18 accredited airports achieved a reduction of 411,390 tonnes of CO2, rising in the second year to a reduction of 729,689 tCO2 as 25 further airports joined. All very commendable, and excellent news that airports are cutting their carbon emissions. However, putting it in context, the 729,689 tonnes of CO2 is only 0.34% of the total 212, 892,052 tonnes allocated to aviation under the European emissions trading scheme, in the first year of the ETS. And European air passengers increased in 2011 by 7% in 2011 - so the emissions are rising.

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Arctic warms to highest level yet as researchers fear tipping points

Last year the Arctic, which is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth due to global climate change, experienced its warmest twelve months yet. According to NASA average Arctic temperatures in 2011 were 2.28 degrees C above those recorded from 1951-1980. As the Arctic warms, imperiling its biodiversity and indigenous people, researchers are increasingly concerned that the region will hit climatic tipping points that could severely impact the rest of the world. In 2011 the Arctic also experienced the lowest sea ice volume yet recorded, and the 2nd-lowest extent behind 2007. The older, thicker ice is declining faster than the rest, making for a more vulnerable perennial ice cover.The world's sea levels could rise twice as high this century as UN climate scientists have previously predicted, according to a study in the journal, Nature Geoscience. The IPPC proposes a maximum sea level rise of 81cm (32in) this century. Researchers say the true maximum could be about twice that: 163cm (64 inches). (BBC)

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Why Europe’s climate program for airlines is not a tax

US airlines are stepping up their efforts to mischaracterize and undermine the ETS by calling it a “tax” instead of what it really is – a market-based cap on pollution that lets them find the best and cheapest way to reduce emissions. The Environmental Defense Fund says this is the same tactic some in industry used to mischaracterize climate change legislation in the US during the last Congress, and they’re doing it again to undermine Europe's efforts. The aviation sector today emits about as much climate pollution as all of the UK and it is projected to quadruple by 2050. There will be a cost to reducing those emissions. But just because something has a cost, that does not make it a tax. EU law also gives airlines very broad flexibility to decide how to meet their caps. The ETS is a cap, not a tax.

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Letter in FT from WWF, AEF and T&E on aviation and the EU ETS

The EU has always said that it preferred an international agreement to cut emissions, but efforts to do so via the International Civil Aviation Organisation have stalled for 14 years. There are signs, however, that the EU move has finally prompted action from ICAO, which says it may produce a proposal by the end of the year. The EU legislation allows the exemption of incoming flights for airlines whose countries have equivalent measures, and in addition the European Commission indicated this week that it was prepared to review existing ETS legislation if a global deal that achieved greater environmental benefit was agreed to

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EU ETS aviation: Statement by Jos Delbeke, Director-General for Climate Action

Jos Delbeke: "The EU is firm on the implementation of its aviation ETS legislation, while engaging positively in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)'s accelerated work on market based measures. This work under ICAO should move beyond discussions in order for decisions to be made to limit global aviation emissions. The EU cannot suspend its legislation. However, our legislation foresees flexibility to exempt incoming flights to take into account action by third countries. Furthermore, we will review and possibly amend our legislation if and when an agreement on market-based measures is found in ICAO."

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UK carbon emissions up 3.1% in 2010 compared to 2009. Aviation 6.4% of UK total (6.9% in 2009). 6.4% in 2005

DECC figures for UK carbon emissions for 2009 and 2010 show they increased in 2010, largely due to increased in household energy use and more use of gas and coal to produce electricity. UK international aviation emissions (excluding domestic flights) were responsible for 31.8 Mt CO2e in 2010, out of the UK total of 495.8 MtCO2e in 2010. This is 6.4%. In 2009 it was 6.96% because in 2009 aviation emissions were higher than in 2010 due to the recession, and total UK carbon emissions were a bit lower than in 2010. Aviation was 6.4% of UK emissions in 2005, so the proportion has remained approximately the same.

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Connie Hedegaard: Time to get the proportions right on ETS and aviation

Connie's website gives basic figures of what the ETS will actually cost foreign airlines. For example, the estimated CO2 emissions per passenger of a one-way flight from Paris to Beijing would be around 627 kg. The value of the allowances that need to be surrendered would be €7.52 per passenger at current carbon prices. Given the high level of free allocation of allowances to airlines, it is estimated that the cost for the airline in purchasing additional allowances to cover the emissions would be €1.50. And for a one way flight from Delhi to London, about €0.65

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Suspension of EU-ETS ‘out of the question’, says top EU climate official

Europe’s top climate official, Jos Delbeke, has said Europe will ‘not accept’ retaliatory action against the inclusion of aviation emissions in the ETS. Speaking at an event in Brussels organised by an international coalition of environmental groups, Mr Delbeke also said that suspension of the EU-ETS was “out of the question”. “ He laid out the conditions under which a global system could eventually replace the EU-ETS for aviation. The EU would consider “modifying its legislation” if ICAO made significant progress towards a global deal later this year. Contrary to popular belief, aviation emissions have continued to grow strongly throughout the financial crisis with an 11.2% increase seen over the period 2005-2010. Bill Hemmings of T&E said: “The ball is now firmly back in ICAO’s court. The international community needs to come up with a timely, effective and workable global solution through a transparent process that all stakeholders can contribute to.”

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EU says it won’t back down in airline emissions row

The EC has stood by its position in an ongoing dispute with China over the ETS ahead of an EU-China summit in Beijing on 14th Feb. The EC "remains confident that Chinese airlines will comply with EU legislation when operating through EU airports." The Chinese government said it had barred its airlines from joining the ETS. The EC warned that financial penalties would apply to airlines that refuse to comply with it. The ETS would add less than €2 to the price of a flight from Shanghai to Europe, but the cost of an airline not complying is a fine of €100 for each tonne of CO2 emitted. Chinese airlines have already applied for free carbon allowances to which they are entitled. Foreign countries could exempt their airlines from the EU scheme if they adopted similar "equivalent measures" at home.

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European Energy Exchange (EEX) to launch EU aviation carbon permits in April

The European Energy Exchange will launch a derivatives market for EU carbon permits for airlines in April and a spot market by mid-year. They say this opens its market for a new group of participants. So-called EU Aviation Allowances (EUAA) can only be used by airlines to comply with the EU’s emissions trading scheme, the world’s biggest carbon market. Leipzig-based EEX is not alone in offering trade in EUAAs. Last month, commodity Exchange Bratislava (CEB) said it would launch trade in EU aviation emissions permits before the end of February. London-based ICE Futures Europe accounts for about 90% of all traded volume in EU carbon permits

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Opponents of EU airline CO2 scheme to meet in Moscow

A group of 26 countries vehemently opposed to the EU ETS will meet in Moscow on February 21 to discuss a plan of action. The governments, which include Russia, India, China and the US, claim the ETS is discriminatory and illegal, and some are prohibiting their carriers from complying. They argue the scheme violates the Chicago Convention and some WTO provisions. The group last met in New Delhi in late September 2011, where it issued a joint declaration against the scheme and agreed to lodge a formal protest with the ICAO. Since then the European Court of Justice found that the EU plan was within international law. The EU is not going to back down, as there is no other working scheme to check aviation emissions.

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NOAA data show globally 2011 was the 11th warmest year since 1880

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data for all of 2011 show that global combined land and ocean surface temperature was 0.51°C above the 20th century average of 13.9°C. This was the 11th warmest since 1880. This marks the 35th consecutive year, since 1976, that the yearly global temperature was above average. Global land surface temperature was the 8th warmest on record, and global ocean surface temperature the 11th warmest ever. When compared to previous La Niña years, the 2011 global surface temperature was the warmest observed during such a year. Including 2011, all 11 years in the 21st century so far (2001–2011) rank among the 13 warmest in the 132-year period of record.

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Chinese airlines refuse to pay EU carbon tax

The 4 main Chinese airlines, Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines, which fly millions of passengers to Europe each year, have said they will not pay the ETS charges. This might lead to a ban from European airports. There are warnings of a trade war, and it has been suggested that China's airlines should counter by reducing purchases of Airbus aircraft. The ETS costs expanding airlines more than those not expanding. China says it is still at the stage of rapid expansion of their airline industries and so find it difficult to cut overall emissions.

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Aviation joining ETS not likely to increase air fares any time soon

The Telegraph, which has long campaigned against taxes on aviation or anything that increases the price of flying, complains about the recent entry of aviation into the EU ETS. And how it will increase the cost of flying .... in 10 years time.... The price of carbon is now very low - at about €7 - 8 per tonne of carbon, making permits cheap. Increases in fares will not happen till 2013. Many airlines will not pass on the extra price to their customers, as demand is weak at present due to the recession. Airlines get 85% of their allowances free in the first year, and between 2013 and 2020, airlines will get 82% of the permits for free, with 15% auctioned to meet additional needs and 3% set aside for new entrants to the scheme.

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Airlines to enter emissions trading scheme from 1st January 2012

On 1st January, aviation joins the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Airlines will have to obtain carbon credits for all carbon emitted during flights into and out of Europe. This could save around 183 million tonnes of CO2 each year by 2020. Passengers could expect between €0.5 and just under €3 to be added to ticket prices as a direct consequence of the ETS and easyJet said the cost would be about 30 - 50p per passenger for flights within Europe. Permits do not need to actually be handed over till 2013. In practice airlines are getting 85% of the permits they need in the first year free, so they are in a good position to make windfall profits out of them scheme. Airlines are trying to make out that they are already being charged an environmental tax, in APD. But APD is not seen by the government as being an environmental tax. Air passengers are therefore not being charged twice for their travel carbon emissions.

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EU airline carbon tax (Emissions Trading System) backed by European Court

EU plans to levy an emissions tax on airlines are valid, according to the European Court of Justice. The decision means all airlines flying to and from the 27 states of the EU will face a tax on emissions from 1 January. US, Canadian and other carriers argue the charges violate climate change and aviation pacts but the ECJ ruled that the ETS does not infringe the principles of customary international law at issue or the Open Skies Agreement. Airlines can choose whether to fly to EU countries, or not. The US House of Representatives passed a measure two months ago directing the US transport secretary to prohibit US carriers from participating in the scheme if it were to come into force.

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ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS HAIL HISTORIC COURT DECISION UPHOLDING EUROPEAN LAW TO CURB AIRPLANE POLLUTION, ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE

A transatlantic coalition of environmental groups today applauded the decision of Europe’s highest court to uphold the EU law to reduce carbon pollution from airplanes. The decision, from the Court of Justice of the European Union, affirms that the EU law is fully compliant with international law. This is their final ruling. The EU Aviation Directive, the world's only mandatory program to address emissions from aviation, will take effect in January 2012. The Court’s decision makes clear that existing law bars precisely the discriminatory treatment of airlines that the United States and others are calling for.

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CAA produces its 2nd Insight Note, on aviation and the environment

The CAA has published its Insight note in relation to climate change, noise and air pollution. This is one of 3 documents in which the regulator sets out its views (its members are the aviation industry). Its aim, therefore, is to find ways to mitigate the problems while allowing UK aviation to grow. The CAA says that without a global ‘cap and trade’ scheme, the EU ETS is the next best option for meeting the carbon challenge. On noise they acknowledge that there needs to be much more recognition of the extent of the problem but only add the anodyne comment that they hope to reduce "the numbers of people affected by noise and encouraging industry to better engage with their local communities to try to create consensus in support of sustainable development".

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Europe fights to save cap-and-trade as price of carbon continues far too low to be effective

Aviation joins the EU Emissions Trading System on 1st January. Due to the recession, the price of a tonne of carbon was €14 in January 2011, but now it has been down to €6 or so, making it much cheaper to pollute and slashing the financial incentives for companies to invest in low-carbon technologies. With the prospect of recession and the problems for the €, the price could fall to €2 soon, making the system ineffective. There are far too many permits in the system, and there always have been since the scheme's launch in 2005. Technologies like carbon capture and storage are not economically viable unless the price is at least €25. Now the environment committee of the European Parliament voted to withdraw some 1.4 billion allowances, about 15% of the total, from the carbon market between 2013 and 2020.

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Durban Climate talks end with weak deal that lacks ambition and risks 4 degrees C

At the end of the Durban talks, governments once again failed to provide the inspiration and ambition to tackle climate change and provide hope for hundreds of millions around the world who suffer and will continue to suffer from climate-related impacts. The outcome is a weak agreement that establishes a Green Climate Fund with little money, postpones major decisions on the content of the Kyoto Protocol, delays any real action for several years, and makes an unclear commitment to a global agreement from 2020 that could leave the world legally bound to 4 degrees of global warming. That would be a catastrophe.

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Dropping the application of CBDR to international aviation could unlock significant financing for developing countries

The Climate Group writes that in order to solve the fundamental problem of different perspectives of the developed and the developing countries on aviation emissions, the position by developing countries on CBDR (Common But Differentiated Responsibilities) needs to be dropped. CBDR contrasts with the ICAO principle of equal national treatment. Developing countries may see the issue more in terms of carbon, while developed see the issue more in terms of market distortion.

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Father of climate change, James Hansen, says 2C limit is not strict enough

James Hansen, Direct or of NASA's Goddard Institute says there is a widespread misconception among international climate negotiators meeting in Durban that the 2C "safe" target would stop extreme changes. This is is not true. He believes global atmospheric CO2 should not exceed 350ppm. It is now at about 389 ppm. Some scientists believe 450ppm is a reasonable target. Massive global effects would be inevitable.

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Durban COP17 – difficulties of including international shipping

The European Court of Justice will soon rule on including aviation emissions, but not those of shipping, in the EU ETS. International shipping produces 3 - 4% of global CO2. But But it seems the EU would be unable to enforce restrictions on ships flying flags of convenience from outside the European bloc. A recent report by WWF and Oxfam shows how international shipping could be charged in a fair way, in a global system, for their carbon emissions without unduly harming poorer nations.

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UN report shows role for EU ETS in helping to control rising emissions from aviation

A new report from UNEP looks at the gap between the emissions cuts needed to avoid a 2 degrees C rise in temperature by 2020, and the pledges made. It finds that global aviation (excluding military) produced around 0.63 GtCO2 in 2005 and could rise to 1.16 GtCO2e in 2020. Aviation and shipping together could be 4 - 5.7% of global emissions by 2020 and 10 to 32 % of the total emissions humanity could be producing in 2050, while staying below 2 degrees. Schemes like the EU ETS are very helpful in charging for carbon and cutting its emission.

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UK airlines seek to evade taxation

Commenting on the airlines' attempts to get cuts in APD, the Aviation Environment Federation says while Government figures suggest that the benefit to the aviation industry as a result of its paying no fuel tax or VAT is around £10 billion a year, APD brings in only £2 billion. The four airlines ‘pleading poverty’, have all recently made millions of pounds in profit. Ryanair reported a £467 million profit in the months to Sept 2011. APD will represent a ‘double counting’ of environmental costs, as it was never designed as an exclusively environmental tax.

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European politicians call on EU to ensure international aviation emissions are addressed at Durban climate talks

In a resolution adopted at a plenary session of the EP, MEPs have urged the EU to push for binding reduction targets on international aviation emissions at the forthcoming UNFCCC COP 17 climate talks in Durban. Negotiations at UNFCCC over international aviation and maritime carbon emissions have been largely stalled for some time and the MEPs say resolution of the issue has become increasingly pressing. ICAO says it is "taking active steps"- but little progress is expected on the issue, which has seen a split down developed/developing world lines and arguments over texts at a basic level.

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Row over whether foreign airlines and ETS rumbles on and ICAO is incapable of producing an effective carbon scheme

This month the US joined forces with over 12 other countries, including China, India, Russia and Japan, to take the fight against the ETS to the ICAO, the UN agency that sets airline standards. Brussels is standing firm. Jeff Gazzard argues that as ICAO is run exclusively for the aviation industry, it is institutionally incapable of imposing any global system of taxes or charges to reduce aviation's CO2 emissions. Everyone knows ICAO cannot, and will not, do it.

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How do the charges work out, comparing a return flight for 2 people to Rome, with driving there?

Tweet With the debate on reducing Air Passenger Duty, and increasing petrol prices, how to the costs work out, comparing driving and flying?  How much tax is paid, how much duty, how much VAT? The distance from London to Rome is about 890 miles.  So driving would be a bit further, as the roads do […]

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World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns

The IEA, and others, warn if the world is to stay below 2C of warming (likely to be the limit of safety) CO2 must be held to no more than 450 ppm (now around 390 ppm). But the world is already producing huge amounts of CO2 making this target difficult. All new high-carbon infrastructure built in future (power generation, energy-guzzling factories, inefficient buildings) would add more carbon, making the target unachievable. And that includes airports expanding.

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Australia Senate backs carbon tax – airlines can opt in to emissions-trading

The country's mining firms, airlines, steel makers and energy firms are among those expected to be hardest hit by the new tax. The Clean Energy Act includes an amendment allowing airlines and other large fuel users to opt in to a carbon-emissions trading program, and airlines argued that being part of the scheme would allow them to manage their fuel liability and carbon-cost liability for their fuel more efficiently. Airlines prefer this to a higher fuel tax.

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ACI Backs IATA In Fight Against EU Emissions Trading

ICAO endorsed a paper by 26 states asking the EU to exclude non-EU states from the ETS. The Airports Council International says the issues of aircraft emissions should be addressed globally by ICAO and is “very concerned over the trade conflict” developing over the EU’s plan to charge all airlines flying into and out of European airports. IATA called for ICAO to develop a global ETS and appreciates the ACI support. The EU shows no signs of backing down.

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Durban climate summit set for rows on flying, cash and history

The summit opens at the end of November. EU plans on aviation, "climate aid" and the West's past CO2 output are set to be divisive. India has tabled a paper arguing that the EU's plan to include international flights in its ETS violates the UN climate convention and sets causes a new intractable conflict within the already strife-ridden climate negotiations. Some developing countries say Western nations have a duty to absorb CO2 over the coming decades.

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Shipping emissions ‘should be included in UK carbon targets’

The Committee on Climate Change warn that CO2 emissions from shipping should not be left to rise unchecked, and should be counted in UK's carbon targets. Otherwise they will imperil efforts to control global warming if left to rise unchecked. Shipping & aviation were purposely omitted from the UN negotiations because of alleged difficulty of apportioning them. If these sectors don't cut, all other sectors of the UK economy have to make steeper cuts.

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Greenhouse gases rose by record amount (6%) in 2010 – worse than the worst case scenario

The global output of CO2 has jumped by a record amount, according to the US department of energy, a sign of how feeble the world's efforts are at slowing man-made global warming. The 2010 figures mean levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts 4 years ago. The world pumped about 564 m more tons of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009, an increase of 6%. China, the US & India emitted the most.

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Airlines ready for next battle against EU carbon law

26 nations are expected to lodge a formal protest on 2nd Nov at the ICAO meeting, against the EU ETS, adding to transatlantic tension on the issue. From 1st Jan all flights entering the EU will have to buy carbon permits. Last week the US lower house passed a bill making it illegal for airlines to comply with the ETS. EU lawyers say any decision by ICAO would not be legally binding. Connie Hedegaard said the legislation was designed to address "the vertiginous growth in carbon emissions from aviation".

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Global warming ‘confirmed’ by independent Berkeley Earth Project study

A new analysis by a US scientific group, the Berkeley Earth Project part funded by climate sceptics, has concluded the earth really is warming, and it is not bad data giving wrong figures. They found the same land warming trend seen by groups such as the UK Met Office and Nasa. "Climategate" in 2009 involved claims global warming had been exaggerated. This study was done to overcome fears climate researchers had not been entirely open with their temperature data.

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September 27th 2011. Earth Overshoot Day. We are now operating in overdraft in our use of the natural world.

From an ecological standpoint, we have effectively spent our annual salary, with a quarter of the year still to go. Global Footprint Network’s preliminary 2011 calculations show we're using resources at a rate it would take between 1.2 and 1.5 planets to sustainably support. If we carry on the course estimated by moderate UN projections for increasing population and consumption, by well before 2050 we will need the capacity of two Earths to meet our level of demand.

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Cambridge Econometrics study shows the UK missing carbon targets for years, while aviation emissions grow

The Cambridge Econometrics website contains a lot of detail about anticipated future UK carbon emissions. The previous CO2 reduction goal - a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions between 1990 and 2010 - has been decisively missed despite the recession. On current policies the UK is set to miss the carbon budget targets narrowly in the first two budget periods but by a wider margin in the 2018-22 and especially the 2023-27 periods. Aviation emissions continue to grow in each budget period.

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Globally June the 7th hottest and May the 10th hottest on record

NOAA figures show that globally the combined land and ocean temperature in June was the 7th warmest on record, and in May it was the 10th warmest. There are no El Nino or La Nina conditions at present.  La Niña ended during May 2011. The first half of 2011 (January–June) was the 11th warmest on record for the combined global land and ocean surface temperature.

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Carbon offsets near record low, worst performing commodity

Carbon offsets have neared all-time lows.  A worsening global economic outlook has dented prices for emissions permits which depend on a robust economy belching greenhouse gases into the air. Carbon offsets have fared uniquely badly because a UN climate panel continues to print new offsets, regardless of a widening glut in emissions permits in the main demand market, the European Union's carbon market. The financial crisis has left a global oversupply.

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Russia may lose 30% of permafrost by 2050 – releasing immense amounts of methane

Russia's vast permafrost areas (over 60% of Russia) may shrink by 30%  by 2050 due to global warming. "In the next 25 to 30 years, the area of permafrost in Russia may shrink by 10-18 percent," the head of the ministry's disaster monitoring department Andrei Bolov told the RIA Novosti news agency. This thawing will set off another problem because of the release of huge amounts of methane currently trapped in the frozen soil.

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Arctic sea cover lowest ever for July and shrinking at record pace

Sea ice in the Arctic is melting at a record pace this year, suggesting warming at the north pole is speeding up and a largely ice-free Arctic can be expected in summer months within 30 years. The area of the Arctic ocean partly covered in ice is now, mid July, about 8.5m sq kilometres – lower than the previous record low set in 2007 – according to US satellite monitoreing.  New data also shows that the thickness of Arctic ice this year is the lowest on record.

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Shipping becomes first industry with global climate standard

Shipping has become the first industry to agree a global CO2reduction strategy. This month’s vote at the IMO approved the establishment of an Energy Efficiency Design Index for new ships built after 2013. Though welcome, this cannot be seen as a solution on its own, especially as the EEDI will take many years to be truly effective. After 2013 ships will have to meet a minimum level of energy efficiency and these will strengthen over time.

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Australia’s carbon-reduction scheme – Airlines predict fares will rise

The Australian government has unveiled ambitious plans to tackle climate change, taxing CO2 emissions from the country's worst polluters.  From July next year 500 companies would pay $23 (£15) a tonne for their CO2 emissions in the largest emissions trading scheme outside Europe. Airlines are complaining they will pay the tax indirectly through a rise in an existing aviation fuel excise, though fuel for international flights will be excluded.

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Climate change will increase threat of war, Chris Huhne to warn

Climate change will lead to an increased threat of wars, violence and military action against the UK, and risks reversing the progress of civilisation, according to the energy and climate secretary Chris Huhne, in his strongest warning yet that the lack of progress on greenhouse gas emission cuts would damage the UK's national interests. Climate change is a threat multiplier. It will make unstable states more unstable, poor nations poorer, conflict more likely.

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Lobby fury as MEPs trash CO2 emissions cut – EU to stick with 20% cut, not 30%, by 2020

A lobbying row has broken out as the European Parliament decisively rejected increasing the EU's 2020 CO2 emissions reduction target from 20% to 30%, on 1990 levels.  The Parliament voted down a draft resolution after it was watered down by an amendment.  It appears the vote was distorted by undemocratic lobbyists with heavy lobbying from industry (BusinessEurope and Eurofer). The vote, postponed from last month, saw a majority of 347-258 against.

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Environmental NGOs make a case for the EU ETS as US airlines finally near their day in court over inclusion

Ahead of the hearing by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over the inclusion of US airlines into the EU ETS, environmental groups from the US and Europe have repeated their support for the scheme on both legal and climate change grounds. Tim Johnson of the AEF believed the scheme was “affordable for consumers, environmentally effective and, above all, fair to industry.” The main question from the ECJ is if the EU directive should apply to those parts of flights that take place outside the EU.

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Extreme weather link ‘can no longer be ignored’

Scientists are to end their 20-year reluctance to link climate change with extreme weather – the heavy storms, floods and droughts which often fill news bulletins – as part of a radical departure from a previous equivocal position that many now see as increasingly untenable. Climate researchers intend to assess each unusual event in terms of the probability that it has been exacerbated or even caused by the global temperature increase seen over the past century

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Global maritime carbon deal dead in the water

EU officials believe a global deal to cut maritime CO2 emissions is currently unachievable.  It is unrealistic to expect a MBM deal according to a senior EU source.  Shipping currently emits around 5% of global CO2. EU finance ministers havecalled on the IMO and ICAO to "develop without delay" a global framework for a carbon pricing system. In a business as usual scenario, shipping emissions – which like aviation, are not covered by the Kyoto Protocol – are expected to increase up to 75% by 2027.

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Climate change hots up in 2010, the year of extreme weather

2010 was the joint-warmest on record and also the wettest over land, with sea ice levels dropping and drought on the rise, and may have been the most extreme in terms of weather since the explosion of Indonesia's Mount Tambora in 1816.  2010 was the hottest, wettest, and in many cases also the driest and coldest in recorded history. 2011 is already on track to be exceptional, with a Texan drought, a very warm European spring and low Arctic ice.

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EU emissions reduction vote postponed – giving Cameron time to win round climate sceptic MEPs

A key vote in the European parliament on whether to toughen climate change targets has been postponed, giving David Cameron a breathing space in which to head off a planned rebellion by his MEPs. The vote – on whether to raise the EU's emissions reduction target from 20% to 30% by 2020 – was slated to take place on Thursday, but will now be delayed until 4 July. Many MEPs do not agree with the 30% target. (Guardian)

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Bonn climate talks end with no agreement on key areas

Two weeks of global climate talks in Bonn have ended nowhere near agreement in the 3 key areas of finance, greenhouse gas emission cuts and the future of the Kyoto protocol.  The economic crisis in Europe and elsewhere was making it harder.  NGOs said they were deeply frustrated at the snail pace of negotiations. The Bolivian ambassador said "The developed countries are not moving. The problem we face is that we are on a path to [warming of] 4-5C. That is the reality. That worries us very much. The problem is the lack of ambition,"

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Energy firms fear “tremendous decline” in CO2 price as large firms now hold huge cache of carbon permits

The EU's carbon market could be flooded with excess pollution permits over the next decade, deflating prices and undermining investment in green energy, five EU energy companies have warned. The utilities said falling carbon prices could: "severely hamper business incentives to invest in low-carbon technologies."  Ten steel and cement companies have amassed 240m carbon permits from generous allocations. Aviation will join the EU ETS in Jan 2012.

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Jos Dings (T&E) letter in FT: “Airbus shows an industry refusing to see future”

In the latest round of industry scaremongering over the inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS, Airbus and the AEA accuse the EU of creating a “unilateral tax imposed on 3rd-country carriers”. That description of a unilateral tax imposed on 3rd-country carriers perfectly fits the US international transportation tax (currently $16.30 a passenger) which applies to all international flights arriving in or departing from the US. This tax has been charged for over 10 years, and has caused no trade conflict.

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Climate change in tropics poses food threat to poor

Why does climate change matter, and why bother to cut emissions (including those from flying)? Research shows that parts of the tropics are already experiencing hotter weather, and this can reduce the length of the growing season. That affects what can be grown, and yields - with even a 5% cut being critical. Already higher mean temperature is reducing yields for maize and wheat in  Brazil and China. World population is due to grow to 10 billion by 2100.

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Energy: the new thirty years’ war

The world consumed 13.2bn tons of oil-equivalent from all sources in 2010:  33.6% from oil, 29.6% from coal, 23.8% from natural gas, 6.5% from hydroelectricity, 5.2% from nuclear energy, and a mere 1.3% from all renewable forms of energy.  Together, fossil fuels supplied 10.4bn tons, or 87% of the total. Even attempting to preserve this level of energy output in 30 years' time,  using the same proportion of fuels, would be a near-hopeless feat

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Connie Hedegaard says it is “Time to get serious about aviation emissions!” and back ETS

Connie, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, argues that aviation is rightly to be included in the EU ETS, and it is quite fair and legal for all flights by all airlines flying into, or out of, the EU to be included.  In 2004 ICAO endorsed the idea of emissions trading, and it agreed it was the most effective economic instrument for tackling aviation emissions, compared to or charges. EU legislation on ETS is fully consistent with international law, and is not in conflict with the Chicago Convention.

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Worst ever carbon emissions leave climate on the brink

Greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year, to the highest carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to safe levels all but out of reach, according to unpublished estimates from the International Energy Agency. This means it is unlikely we can prevent a temperature rise of 2 degrees C - the threshold for potentially "dangerous climate change". And this from Fatih Birol, chief economist of the IEA. Last year, a record 30.6 gigatonnes of CO2 were produced, up 1.6Gt on 2009, according to the IEA.  This trajectory would mean around a 50% chance of a rise in global average temperature of more than 4C by 2100. 

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EU energy plan threatens carbon billions when carbon price falls

The Europe Union's carbon market could be flooded with excess pollution permits over the next decade, cutting prices in half and depriving governments of billions in budgeted revenues. One leaked study foresees carbon prices falling to 14 euros per tonne, compared to a business-as-usual price of 25 euros. Another sees the price dropping to zero. The problem was initially foreseen by the Commission's climate team, under climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard

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Chris Huhne pledges to halve UK carbon emissions by 2025 – with a few provisos

Chris Huhne gave a statement to Parliament on 17th to say that the 4th "carbon budget" – a 50% emissions cut averaged across the years 2023 to 2027, compared with 1990 levels – would be enshrined in law.  This will put the UK on target for 60% cuts by 2030.This is the most ambitious target of any country. However, Huhne has not ruled out use of carbon offsets from abroad. And there will be a review of the 4th budget in 2014, as a compromise, so targets could be cut if European countries fail to meet their targets. Cameron was reported to have stepped in to resolve the fraught battle within the cabinet with a decision to support the targets. The cuts exclude the embodied energy in Britain's imports, and our international aviation and shipping.

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Cameron intervenes to settle row over emissions targets

David Cameron has moved to resolve a Cabinet row over the UK's climate change targets, with an agreement on emissions to be announced on Tuesday. This will see drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to 2027 and an overhaul of the way energy is produced. But ministers worried about the impact on the economy and burdens on industry have secured a get-out clause.  The targets will be reviewed if European nations backslide on their own climate commitments.

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Lord Adair Turner, Government’s climate adviser, steps in to carbon budget row with government

Lord Adair Turner, the chairman of the CCC, has met cabinet ministers in a bid to heal a government split threatening to reject ambitious targets to cut CO2 emissions. The cabinet is divided on whether to back the advice of the CCC and commit to a 4th carbon budget. In 2008, 3 consecutive carbon budgets were set, up to 2023, but a decision has to be made for the next period. Vince Cable and others like Philip Hammond believe the proposed target will harm prospects for jobs and growth.

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ETS data for 2010 released – Sandbag says the cap and trade scheme is still failing to check the growth of carbon emissions

Sandbag says their analysis shows that the cap and trade scheme is still failing to check the growth of carbon emissions, and continues to build up a mountain of surplus permits. This now stands at 170 million tonnes - the same as the annual emissions from 40 million cars.  The ETS is not (yet) doing a good job, especially at incentivising green investment at scale and speed.  And there are clear arguments for why complementary policies are necessary alongside the ETS

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Carbon emissions ‘hidden’ in imported goods revealed

The extent of CO2 emissions "hidden" in imported goods is growing, according to two studies.  Official data do not include emissions from making imported goods but they should.  The Carbon Trust found such "embedded" CO2 could negate domestic carbon cuts planned in the UK up to 2025. Carbon cuts are not really cuts at all if countries are now just buying in products they used to manufacture. The UK's emissions have been rising for years due to imports.

 

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CCC advises against the use of offset credits to meet carbon budgets

In a letter to Chris Huhne, the Committee urged the Government not to purchase offset credits towards meeting the second carbon budget covering the period 2013-2017.  Instead, the Committee said that carbon budgets can and should be met through domestic action alone. This will mean putting in place the right policies to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. In a future carbon-constrained world, it will be harder to come by cheap foreign credits.

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Contrails warm the world more than just the aviation CO2 emissions

New Scientist reports on an IPPC study showing that contrails have contributed to more global warming so far than all aircraft greenhouse gas emissions put together, and their radiative forcing trapped 10 milliwatts per square metre (mW/m2) in 2005.  When they spread out they cover an area nine times as great as that covered by line contrails. While contrails disappear in a day or so, the CO2 stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years.

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Monthly climate data from NOAA for July 2009 to February 2011

The American National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) produces a monthly, detailed, analysis of the global climate.  This gives details of the global ocean temperature, the global land surface temperature, and the combined land and ocean temperature. Of the past 20 months, 9 months had the hottest or 2nd hottest combined land and ocean temperature, with 8 months for land surface and 8 months for sea surface.
 

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Chris Huhne gets European support to toughen EU climate targets

Chris Huhne has won the support of six other European governments to push for a toughening of the EU's climate targets, to be discussed in Brussels on 14th March . He is spearheading a growing movement in favour of a target of 30% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, instead of the current 20%. He will join his counterparts from Germany, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal and Greece to argue for the higher target. (Guardian)

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“Increased air traffic may be a factor in climate change” (USA)

Scientists are studying contrails’ impact on everything from climate change to crops. Contrails occur at temperatures below minus 40 degrees and high humidity at 30,000 feet altitude. Contrails keep daytime high temperatures lower than if the skies were clear, and they can raise the nighttime temperatures. Decreasing the temperature variation near the Earth’s surface could change heating and cooling patterns and the local wind systems.

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UK public asked to record aircraft contrails for Met Office climate survey

The UK public are being asked to blow bubbles and spot plane trails as part of a new national survey on the climate.  The research, led by scientists at the Met Office and the Royal Meteorological Society, will look at various aspects of how humans are affecting the climate. People are being asked to look out for contrails, which may be contributing to climate change and which can only be recorded by the human eye. Records can be sent in online or by text.  Please send in as many as you, as often as you can, from March to June.

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The EU ETS: The great carbon trading scandal

The European market for carbon allowances is worth about €90bn per year. Companies that use a lot of energy are obliged to own allowances for each tonne of CO2 they produce. Carbon allowances are now worth €14. There have been many recent cases where carbon allowance have been stolen or disappeared, through fraud. Over the past 2 years carbon allowance fraud escalated into an organised crime depriving taxpayers of €5bn in revenue. Aviation joins the ETS in 2012.

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The extreme cold in the UK right now really could be a result of global warming – Monbiot

There is now strong evidence to suggest that the unusually cold winters of the past 2 years in the UK are the result of heating elsewhere. While some areas like the UK and much of Europe are several degrees colder than the 1951 to 1980 average, other areas are many degrees hotter. The UK gets warm south westerly winds when there is the right balance of pressure between the Arctic Low and the Azores High. But if the balance is different, we get cold Arctic air.

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The aviation industry fears the spectre of being the source of climate finance

The wider Cancun agreement includes the setting up of a Green Climate Fund that will aim to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries mitigate climate change impacts. With most of the funding expected to come from private rather than public finance, ICAO and the aviation industry may well have to marshal forces as attention turns in 2011 to identifying possible sources, with aviation suggested as a potential easy earner. (GreenAir)

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NASA explains how Europe can be so cold amidst the hottest November and hottest year on record

The cold anomaly in Northern Europe in November has continued into December. Combined with the unusual cold winter of 2009-2010 in Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, this regional cold spell has caused commentary that global warming has ended, which is NOT the case. Elsewhere it is hotter than usual. November 2010 is the warmest November in the NASA GISS record. Globally 2010 is likely to be the hottest year on record. NASA has theories on why we are cold here.

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Cancún climate change summit: Deal is reached. Update and comments

The Cancun deal has been hailed as restoring faith in the multilateral UN process but will not reduce temperatures which may rise by 4C, and it pushes many of the most important decisions to future negotiations. It clearly says that there should be reductions from developing countries. Greenpeace said we saved the process but did not save the climate. No date was included by when countries must "peak" their emissions, which is essential for the future.

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Cancun: UN climate conference OKs deals overriding Bolivia’s objection

The Cancun conference has agreed a "green fund" for developing countries, but does not show how the money will be raised. It also takes other small steps to address global warming. It hopes to cut emissions from developed countries by between 25 and 40% by 2020, but it deferred debate on a larger pact till the Durban 2011 conference. Bolivia does not agree, and is adamant that it is not strong enough to prevent large global temperature rise.

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Cancún climate change summit: The deal so far

The Cancun talks have almost ended, and there may be a Cancun Accord, which approves a "green fund" for developing countries and gives recognition to the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from industrial countries by 25 - 40% from 1990 levels within the next 10 years. Current pledges amount to about 16%. It is still a relatively weak deal, which does not produce the ambitious, legally binding cuts in emissions that are necessary.

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UN chief, Ban Ki Moon, urges climate deal at Cancun, warning nature ‘will not wait’

Saying the planet's future is at risk, Ban Ki Moon tried to revive stalled climate talks by urging world leaders to agree to steps - however imperfect - to fight climate change. "We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good," Ban told delegates from 193 nations gathered in Cancun.    Rich and poor nations have been split on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Environmental ministers are interested in setting up a "green fund" of $100 billion by 2020.

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CCC: UK should commit to a 60% cut in emissions by 2030 as a contribution to global efforts to combat climate change

The Committee on Climate Change  has recommended a Carbon Budget for 2023-27 and a target for emissions reductions in 2030 – halfway between now and 2050.  The recommended target for 2030, to cut emissions by 60% relative to 1990 levels (46% relative to current levels), would then require a 62% emissions reduction from 2030 to meet the 2050 target in the Climate Change Act.  The Carbon Budget says international aviation and shipping should be included, and it is vital that UK aviation emissions in 2050 are no higher than in 2005.   Also that, as technologies to cut aviation emissions are not readily available, other sectors of the economy will need to cut by 85% in 2050 in order to let aviation grow by 60%.

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COP16: new additions to draft text on bunker fuels

8% of global economic activity depends on aviation transporting 40% of total freight value. 4.9% of anthropogenic CO2 is caused by aviation. Regulating emissions from maritime and air transport could perhaps generate climate finance for developing countries. There is the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, and the problem of carbon leakage to unregulated countries. ICAO needs to be more effective in geting cuts in emissions.

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Thousands of climate campaigners march in London for a Zero Carbon Britain by 2030

Thousands of campaigners marched on Parliament demanding  CO2 emissions  are slashed to help prevent climate catastrophe, while UN delegates are meeting in Cancun, to hammer out a deal to cut global warming.  Hundreds in Hyde Park formed themselves into a "2030" with a giant zero - the date by which campaigners want a 'Zero Carbon Britain'. The rally after the march urged the coalition Government to take strong action to decarbonise the economy and create a million green jobs.  

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Greenhouse gases at record levels: UN agency. CO2 at 387 ppm in October at Mauna Loa

Concentrations of the main greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached their highest level since pre-industrial times, according to the World Meteorological Organization.   Concentrations of the gases continued to build up in 2009 - the latest year of observations - despite the economic slowdown. CO2 was 387 ppm in October at Mauna Loa.   Globally averaged nitrous oxide in 2009 was 19% higher, at 322.5 parts per billion, than the pre-industrial  era.    

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2010 on course to be joint hottest year with 1998 since 1850

This year likely to match 1998 temperatures as UN scientists predict more floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels.   2010 is so far  tied for the hottest year in a record dating back to 1850 in a new sign of a warming trend.   Expectations for Cancun are no longer for a comprehensive deal to slow warming, but only smaller progress.    Temperatures are now about 0.8C above pre-industrial levels, and 2010 is about 0.5C above the 1961-1990 average, near the record, with  2 months' data still to collect.

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Global carbon emissions in 2010 set to be highest in history – and accelerating

Emissions of man-made CO2 in the atmosphere are roaring ahead again after a smaller-than-expected dip due to the worldwide recession. Scientists forecast that CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels will reach their highest ever this year, and are accelerating. CO2 emissions fell only 1.3% in 2009 as more coal was burnt, and will probably rise 3% this year. National attempts to stabilise CO2 have been too feeble to have any noticeable impact on global emissions.

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New call by UN body for carbon charges on aviation and shipping

A UN body set up after the Copenhagen summit has recommended increased taxes on carbon emissions and air and sea transport with the aim of raising $100 billion a year to help poorer nations fight global warming. The group is led by the prime ministers of Norway and Ethiopia. It said carbon emission taxes must be used as a deterrent to producing greenhouse gases and to raise money so the developing nations can play their part in fighting climate change. (T&E)

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UN Assembly (ICAO) fails to deliver on cutting aviation’s carbon emissions

The ICAO assembly, held every 3 years, has ended - and failed to deliver on the 3 counts of more ambitious goals; developing a framework for market-based measures (deferred to 2013), and looking at ways to provide assistance to developing countries. They have agreed to strive towards the achievement of no net increase in international aviation emissions from 2020 (a goal put forward by industry) in a text that is littered with reservations from key countries. In that period, emissions are set to grow by over 40%. (AEF)

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EU claims victory in airline emissions wrangle

A new global aviation deal will weaken the hand of US airlines to resist inclusion in the EU ETS, the European Union’s transport chief Siim Kallas, has said. This is a diplomatic victory in a long-running dispute between the EU and US over how to curb airline GHG emissions. In 2012 all airlines that fly to Europe will be included and have to pay for emissions. A group of US airlines launched a legal challenge to the move in the UK last December. (FT)

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China digs in on rich-poor climate pact divide

China said on Thursday it will not bow to pressure to rethink a key climate change treaty and was preparing to cope with a "gap" without climate targets after the Kyoto treaty ends in 2012 if rich nations fail to add new greenhouse gas goals in time. Envoys from 177 governments are holding week-long talks in Tianjin on the shape of a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol. China will not agree to make their voluntary emissions cuts legally binding.

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“It’s already clear that the climate talks in December will go nowhere – so what do we do?” asks Monbiot

George Monbiot writes about the failure of any climate international climate talks, and the failure of any current mechanisms to cut carbon emissions. This year has been one of the hottest ever, equal to 1998 which had a strong El Nino. The EU ETS has been a dismal failure, with the recession enabling companies to store up carbon credits for more cheap emissions. The UK's real carbon emissions have grown rather then decreased. Highly recommended reading.

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Globally August was the 3rd warmest ever; January to August tied with 1998 as the hottest

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for August 2010 was the 3rd warmest on record at 16.2 °C, which is 0.60 °C above the 20th century average of 15.6 °C. August 1998 is the warmest August on record and 2009 is the 2nd warmest. The worldwide land surface temperature was 0.90 °C above the 20th century average — the 2nd warmest August on record, behind 1998. The worldwide ocean surface temperature tied with 1997 as the 6th warmest August on record.

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EU emissions trading scheme on course to make only tiny savings, says Sandbag report

The entire 5-year period of the EU ETS that ends in 2012 is set to deliver carbon savings of less than 0.33% of total emissions. The analysis by emissions trading campaign group Sandbag predicts that only 32m tonnes of pollution permits will need to be surrendered to meet the cap on CO2 emissions – out of the 1.9bn tonnes of carbon emissions covered by the ETS each year. This is due to economic crisis driving down industrial activity while caps remain high.

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Land surface globally the hottest July on record – even hotter than 1998

The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for July 2010 was the 2nd warmest on record, behind 1998, at 16.5 °C (which is 0.66 °C above the 20th century average of 15.8 °C. The July worldwide land surface temperature was 1.03 °C above the 20th century average of 14.3 °C - the warmest July on record. The worldwide ocean surface temperature was 0.54 °C above the 20th century average of 16.4 °C and the 5th warmest July on record. (NOAA)

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Rising temperatures reducing ability of plants to absorb carbon, study warns

Scientists are sayinr rising temperatures in the past decade have reduced the ability of the world's plants to soak up carbon from the atmosphere. Large-scale droughts have wiped out plants that would have otherwise absorbed an amount of carbon - called NPP (Net Primary Production). This is equivalent to around 0.55 gigatonnes, while Britain's annual man-made greenhouse gas emissions are around 0.56 GT, and global aviation's re 0.88 GT. (Guardian)

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Pakistan floods: Climate change experts say global warming could be the cause

The floods in Pakistan, wildfires in Russia and landslides in China is evidence that global warming predictions are correct, according to climate change experts. The crises are driven by a ‘supercharged jet stream’ that has also caused floods in China and a prolonged heatwave in Russia. There have also been flash floods in France and Eastern Europe over the summer. This shows the predicted increase in incidence of extreme weather events due to climate change.

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In June UK CO2 emissions from aviation were 23% of total EU aviation emissions

RDC reports of European aviation emissions show the UK produces much more than other European country. The UK generated 23%, with Germany the next highest, at 17% and Spain 3rd with 13%. France is 4th with 11%. As for airports, Heathrow flights generated massively more CO2 than flights from any other European airport. In June, Heathrow generated around 1.8 million tonnes of CO2. Second is Frankfurt at 1.2 million, the third Charles de Gaulle at 1 million.

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We must restart the fight against global warming (Observer)

New evidence has now been produced to support showing man-made global warming. It has been deeply regrettable that the "climategate" and other climate denier assertions have been given so much publicity, and been allowed to stifle the urgency of getting proper debate and action on climate. The Observer editorial says: "It is both baffling and sadly predictable that it should be so hard to turn a matter of near certain scientific urgency into political action."

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Globally March, April and May were the hottest since records began in 1880

NOAA data for combined global land and ocean surface temperatures show this May was the hottest on record. This April was also the hottest on record. So was March. The 7 months before (Aug 2009 to Jan 2010) all had ocean surface temperatures in the top 4 or 5. The global land surface temperatures for May and the March–May period were the warmest on record, at 1.04 °C and 1.22 °C above the 20th century average, respectively. So much for the climate sceptics....

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Committee on Climate Change urge new UK climate policies

The CCC has produced its 2nd report to Parliament. Last year UK greenhouse gas emissions fell -8.6%, mainly due to the recession but also because of increased fossil fuel prices. The fall was NOT due to any progress on reducing emissions. The UK needs a step change in policies. The CCC says that as our emissions are 8% down, the UK could go for a 42% cut compared to 1990 emisssions (rather than the current 34% target) by 2020.

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UN climate deal draft could curb US emissions and poor nations’ growth

A new draft negotiating text, prepared by the UN secretariat at the close of two weeks of climate talks in Bonn, proposes that rich countries cut their emissions between 25-40% by 2020, but needs poor countries to 'peak' emissions by 2020. It outlines a goal of cutting global emissions by "at least 50-85% from 1990 levels by 2050". Rich countries specifically would have to cut at least 50-95% from 1990 levels by 2050". More ambitious than Copenhagen.

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New UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres, calls for more ambition

The incoming head of the UN climate convention, Christiana Figueres who will take over from Yvo de Boer, has said rich nations must pledge bigger emission cuts if climate change is to be tackled effectively. Major differences are evident between different groups of countries, with developing countries asking for more ambitious cuts from the West. The inadequate and partial deal at Copenhagen put the earth on course for a 3 - 4 degree C rise in temperature.

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Chris Huhne backs European plan to raise target for emission cuts

The Government has promised to support a European plan to raise the target for cutting greenhouse gases - to 30% by 2020. Chris Huhne urged other EU members to raise the target from 20%. He said global climate change is the biggest challenge the world faces and the EU should demonstrate leadership. An EC report just published shows a 30% cut could be met by imposing a tighter cap on industrial emissions and raising the price of CO2 allowances. (Times)

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Coalition: Campaigners believe war on climate change will be stymied

The parties are divided over nuclear power, offshore oil drilling and many other green issues - and critics say that will hinder the fight against global warming. The Lib Dem manifesto promised to cut UK emissions by 40% by 2020, while the Tories are committed to a 34% reduction. The Lib Dems are opposed to all airport expansion and want funding to be diverted from roads to rail. The Tories have left the door open to a new airport in the South-east. (Independent)

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Proposed US climate change legislation gets mixed reaction

US senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman have announced the American Power Act - climate change legislation they say will create jobs and achieve energy security while reducing carbon pollution by 17% in 2020 and by over 80% in 2050. Aviation is mentioned, but aims to use the measures to be undetaken through IATA, and avoid any duplication of taxes - so airlines taxed in one country would not be taxed also in the USA.

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Europe to examine case for bigger CO2 cuts

Europe's climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard is to set out the case for a unilateral 30% EU cut in CO2. At the end of May she will unveil research examining the consequences to Europe's economy of outdoing the current 20% target. She warned the fall in CO2 during the recession meant a 20% cut would not drive the clean energy innovation Europe needed. The EU needed to do something to drive up the carbon price in order to drive invention. (BBC)

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March aviation CO2 data shows the UK has by far the highest emissions in Europe

Data for CO2 emissions from the European aviation industry for March show that the UK has by far the largest emissions of any country in the EU. UK aviation emitted 4,591,019 tonnes of CO2, with Germany 2nd with 3,380,864 tonnes, and then France at 2,437,198 tonnes. (UK is 25% of the EU total). Heathrow is responsible for by far the most CO2 - in March, 1,739,734 tonnes of CO2, with Frankfurt 2nd at 1,133,326 tonnes, and Charles de Gaulle at 985,933 tonnes.

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Iceland volcano gives warming world chance to debunk climate sceptic myths

Climate sceptics' favourite theory that volcanoes produce more CO2 than human activity has exploded in their faces with Eyjafjallajokull eruption. The US Geological Survey states: "Human activities release more than 130 times the amount of CO2 emitted by volcanoes" and all volcanoes – submarine as well as subaerial. Extrapolated over a year, the emissions would place the volcano 47th to 75th in the world table of emitters on a country-by-country basis.

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Europe counts saved carbon emissions as flights stay grounded

The grounding of 63,000 flights over the past 4 days (and continuing) has saved 1.3 million tonnes of CO2, more than the annual emissions of many developing countries. Aviation is responsible for about 2% of global emissions of CO2, but for more than 6% of Britain’s CO2 emissions. On a normal day, the 28,000 flights in European airspace emit about 560,000 tonnes of CO2, or a third of the world’s aviation emissions. Some flying habits may be changed permanently.

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Climate Change: It’s still real and it’s still a problem

Climate-related controversies and the outcome of the Copenhagen summit widely regarded as a failure have left a sense of hopelessness in climate policy, says Lord Chris Smith. He stresses the soundness of the fundamental climate science and the need to continue pushing for meaningful climate deals. The worst response to Copenhagen would be to throw up our hands in horror,say nothing was achieved and give up. The scientific evidence is overwhelming. (BBC)

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Industries hoarding greenhouse gas emission permits

Companies across Europe are hoarding permits to produce greenhouse gas emissions worth hundreds of millions of pounds.   The surplus credits have been amassed from over-allocation of permits to pollute from the EU ETS  and by buying cheap credits from carbon-cutting projects in developing countries and holding on to their more expensive official EU allowances. The saved permits can be used to meet future targets without actually reducing CO2. (Guardian)

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IATA enters legal case brought by ATA and 3 US airlines against the UK over the Aviation EU ETS

IATA has filed an "amicus brief" in London ahead of the hearing expected this month into the case brought by the ATA and American Airlines, Continental and United – over the aviation EU ETS. They claim that unilaterally applying the EU ETS to non-EU airlines is in breach of the Convention on International Civil Aviation 1944 – the Chicago Convention. A government consultation on the transposition of the ETS ends on March 5th. (GreenAir online)

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Aviation was 6.3% of the UK’s CO2 in 2008 (and 12% of its climate change effect)

The AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) have done a bit of calculation on the government figures on CO2 emissions, and found that - in 2008 (as the 2009 figures are not yet available) - Aviation was 6.3% of the UK's CO2 (and 12% of its climate change effect)

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Climate sceptics are recycled critics of controls on tobacco and acid rain

Science continues its  urgent message: we are fuelling dangerous changes in Earth's climate. The global public is disconcerted by recent attacks on climate science. If experts cannot agree that there is a climate crisis, why should governments address it? Today's campaigners against action on climate change are often backed by the same lobbies, individuals, and organisations that sided with the tobacco industry to discredit the science linking smoking and lung cancer. (Guardian)

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Skeptical Science – all the arguments anyone every needed on climate change

There is a brilliant website, Skeptical Science, which goes through all the arguments that climate change is not happening, or is not caused by human activity.   It gives the science and the reasons why each argument is not true.   Well worth a look.   Very well worth a look.   http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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Climate sceptics denounced by Brown as he launches climate change group

Gordon Brown has launched a new UN climate fundraising group, and says sceptics go 'against the grain' of scientific evidence. He will co-chair the UN High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing. It aims to raise £19 bn over the next 3 years - rising to £60 bn annually by 2020 – to help poor countries limit their emissions and adapt to climate change. He said Britain supports a legally-binding agreement at in Cancun later this year. (Guardian)

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Coalition of denial: The sceptics who are trying to reshape the climate debate

Who are the main climate sceptics? What are their main points? Several articles that show who is who, and what they are saying. Lomborg. Monckton. Bellamy. Griffin. Levitt and Dubner. Lawson. Peiser. Pilmer. Inhofe. Klaus. Wilson. Milloy. Michaels. Palin. Phillips. Booker.

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Climate scepticism ‘on the rise’, BBC poll shows

A Populus poll of 1,001 people for the BBC suggests the number of British people who are sceptical about climate change is rising. Now 25% do not think global warming is happening, a rise of 8% since a similar poll was conducted in November.   75% of respondents now say  climate change is a reality, down from  83% in Nov.   26%  now believe climate change is happening and "now established as largely man-made". A third now feel the potential consequences of living in a warming world had been exaggerated

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Global deal on climate change in 2010 ‘all but impossible’

According to senior figures across the world involved in the negotiations, a global deal to tackle climate change - from the next climate summit in Mexico 2010  - is all but impossible, leaving the scale and pace of action to slow global warming in coming decades uncertain. Many say only a legally binding deal setting "top-down" global limits on emissions can ultimately avoid the worst impacts of rising temperatures, but an agreement does not reduce one molecule of  CO2 – it's national policies that do that.

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Ed Miliband defends climate change science

Ed Miliband has reaffirmed that recent controversies over scientific data have not undermined efforts to tackle global warming.   One problem has been an error that hugely brought forward the estimated date for the melting of the Himalayan glaciers.   Ed Miliband said it would be "profoundly irresponsible" to use one "mistake" as an excuse not to act, and this one error  did not "undermine decades of climate research" and the "majority of scientists say that".

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DECC quarterly figures for UK aviation turbine fuel show a decline

DECC produce figures each quarter, to show the amount of energy of all sorts being used in the UK.   One of the statistics they collect is the amount of aviation turbine fuel used in that quarter.   During all of 2008, the amount droped by 3% - compared to 2007. During the first quarter of 2009  it fell by 7.1% compared to the same quarter in 2008.   During the  second quarter it fell by 2.7% and in the third quarter by 3.7%. 4th quarter figures not yet out.

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Economic growth ‘cannot continue’ if the world is to tackle climate change

Continuing global economic growth "is not possible" if nations are to tackle climate change, a report by an environmental think-tank, the New Economics Foundation,  has warned.   It says "unprecedented and probably impossible"  CO2 cutss would be needed to hold temperature rises below 2C and at a  growth rate of just 3% the "carbon intensity" of the global economy would need to fall by 95% by 2050 from 2002 levels -  an average annual  cut of 6.5%.

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Cutting the deficit is the top priority of Tory candidates (reducing Britain’s carbon footprint is the lowest priority)

ConservativeHome and ConservativeIntelligence have just polled the 250 Tory candidates in our most winnable seats, and published the personal priorities of the 141 that answered the survey. They find cutting the deficit is top-of-the-league. Helping small businesses is priority 2 and reducing welfare bills is priority 3. Lowest of the list is reduction in Britain's carbon footprint; only 8 adopted candidates said it would be a top priority for them.

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EU to appoint new Climate commissioner – Hedegaard will work on NOx

The prospective European Commissioners for Energy and Climate Action are to be grilled by MEPs during 3 hour "job interviews" this week. If she get the post of Commissioner for Climate Action, she has said she will work with colleagues to bring the issue of NOx from aircraft forward, and address it early in the next Commission.

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Last-minute agreement at Copenhagen marks turning point for the world

What lies ahead after the apparent failure at Copenhagen?   Perhaps the ad hoc leadership by the so-called Copenhagen 5 (C-5), representing 45% of the world's population and 44% of global greenhouse gas emissions, constitutes a new and potentially historic alliance, a symbol, perhaps, of a new world order.   The next few months will offer strong indicators of whether nations whose heads of state endorsed the accord will treat it as binding.

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MPs URGE GOVERNMENT TO INCREASE CARBON REDUCTION TARGET

The EAC has  called on the Government to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 42% cut by 2020 - to enable the UK to play its part in giving the world a 50:50 chance of not exceeding a global 2C rise in temperature. It also said it was important to reduce the likelihood of exceeding  2C to well below this 50% risk.   We are only track for our current 34% target because of the recession. We need to prevent offset credits from countries with no limits on carbon emissions. (FoE)

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How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room – Mark Lynas

Mark Lynas was in the final negotiations on the Copenhagen Accord. He says: The China wrecked the talks, intentionally humiliated Barack Obama, and insisted on an awful "deal" so western leaders would walk away carrying the blame. it was China's representative who insisted that industrialised country targets, previously agreed as an 80% cut by 2050, be taken out of the deal. China, backed at times by India, took out all the numbers that mattered.

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Copenhagen – what was decided and what comes next

There are hundreds of articles and analyses of the Copenhagen non-accord, and what was and was not achieved.   Here are some of the sources, and some key points.

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Copenhagen ends surrounded by confusion with no legal agreement, no emissions reduction targets and only an unsatisfactory deal between the US, China, Brazil, India and South Africa

Copenhagen drew to an unsatisfactory close, with negotiators only able to secure a non-binding agreement between the developed and developing nations. The deal did not include emissions reduction targets, only an over-arching aspiration to limit the temperature rise to 2C. There are no figures for binding commitments by developed nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade. There is only watered-down language on verification. The US, China, Brazil, India and South Africa had "agreed to set a mitigation target to limit warming to no more than 2C" - Europe did not join that. John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said "It is now evident that beating global warming will require a radically different model of politics than the one on display here in Copenhagen."

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Copenhagen close to failure on aviation and shipping emissions

The Copenhagen climate negotiations have yet to identify a feasible way forward to reduce emissions from international aviation and shipping. Since 1990 emissions from shipping have grown by more than 85% and from international aviation by over 50%. There are two possible ways to reduce these "bunker" emissions - by a separate global ETS for aviation and shipping and a climate levy on marine fuel. The NGOs set out their proposals a way forward.

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Air Transport Association Sues To Halt EU ETS

Three US airlines, Continental, American and United,and the Air Transport Association have filed suit in a  UK court, seeking to block implementation of the EU ETS.   It is the first legal action brought by US airlines in a European court to halt the inclusion of international aviation in the ETS. They are claiming that "ICAO continues to be the appropriate UN body for establishing climate change targets and measures for aviation" and they want a global, sector-focused approach.(Aviation Week)

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Glimmers of hope emerge from Copenhagen on progress towards a climate deal on international aviation

At the Copenhagen negotiations, negotiators dealing with bunker fuel emissions (international aviation and shipping emissions) are inching slowly and painfully towards an agreed text to take forward to the next stage of the process. In a briefing, it was suggested that a deal can be done in Copenhagen that would give a clear signal and direction to both ICAO and the IMO, on the emissions reductions required by the sectors and a timeline by which to develop a framework. However, other COP-watchers are not so optimistic. (GreenAir)

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UK opens consultation on 2nd stage of transposing Aviation EU ETS directive into national regulations

DECC has opened a 12-week public consultation seeking views on the second set of draft UK regulations to transpose the EU directive on the inclusion of aviation into the EU ETS.   The first set came into force on 17 September 2009.   These new regulations will ultimately repeal in part and replace the first stage regulations. The consultation runs till 5th March 2010. Under the current rules, an airline that ceased flying in 2012 would continue to receive a free allocation each year up to 2020.   (GreenAir)

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Aviation on agenda at climate conference

Delegates at Copenhagen are being told that the price of air travel has to rise as the world meets the challenge of capping carbon emissions and keeping temperatures from rising. The  report by Britain's CCC suggests the airline industry can grow by as much as 60% by 2050 without affecting the UK's climate targets. The CCC also said in order for aviation to continue to grow, other parts of the economy will have to reduce their CO2 by 90%, which is even more than the government's targets. (ABC)

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Aviation policy? Rip it up, start again

Leo Murray, writing in the Guardian, explains why aviation policy – including plans to expand Heathrow – has collapsed.   The government  transport committee still says the 2003 white paper "remains a sensible basis for policy".   But now the CCC has said -even making very optimistic assumptions - only a very few airports can expand, not the 30 in the ATWP. The architects of UK aviation policy must return to the drawing board and start the entire conversation again, but this time taking climate change into account.

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Aviation expansion policy is not compatible with climate target, say Government advisors

The Aviation Environment Federation comments on today's CCC report, that it slams the brakes on the unrestrained expansion forecast in the now hopelessly outdated and discredited 2003 White Paper. The Committee says UK aviation growth cannot exceed 60% above today’s passenger numbers, not the 200%+ figure the Government still desperately clings to.   There is still  a policy gap that could be filled by infrastructure constraints as well as additional aviation taxes. The industry will have to operate in a demand-constrained framework through to 2050.

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This decade ‘warmest on record’ say Met Office and World Meteorological Organization

The first decade of this century is "by far" the warmest since instrumental records began, say the UK Met Office and World Meteorological Organization.   Their analyses also show that 2009 will almost certainly be the fifth warmest in the 160-year record.   Burgeoning El Nino conditions, adding to man-made greenhouse warming, have pushed 2009 into the "top 10" years.   "We are in a warming trend - we have no doubt about it."    (BBC)

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Green lobby insists carbon figures don’t allow Heathrow expansion

The CCC report today does not rule out expansion of Heathrow.   The CCC says that in 2050, if a 3rd runway has been built and is operating at full capacity, the airport will account for 20% of total [UK] flights,which it says  is consistent with meeting the Government’s carbon target.   The figures do not add up.   The CCC has rejected the ATWP's projected 200% air  passenger increase by 2050 - and this is degree of growth that any "need" for the 3rd runway at Heathrow is based upon.

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Various stories on the Committee on Climate Change report on aviation

Many stories in the media on the CCC's report on the future of UK aviation. Links to the BBC, Guardian and Times stories. Passenger growth will have to be limited to 60% over the next four decades, compared with an increase of 130% since 1990, allowing the UK a maximum of around 370 million air travellers per year by 2050, from 230 million currently.

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Committee on Climate Changes sets out options to meet the UK’s aviation emissions target

A report from the CCC today says that UK aviation policy should be based on the assumption that demand growth between now and 2050 cannot exceed 60% if the UK is to meet the Government’s target that aviation emissions in 2050 must not exceed 2005 levels.   However, the report says growth may need to be less than 60%, to take account of non-CO2 effects of aviation emissions, and the uncertainties about biofuels in future.   Even with the  anticipated carbon price, modal shift and increased use of video-conferencing in business, it is unlikely that  demand growth will be constrained to 60%.  

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56 newspapers across the world share one common editorial on Copenhagen

 56  newspapers in 45 countries are taking the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial - because humanity faces a profound emergency. The science is complex but the facts are clear. The world needs to take steps to ensure global emissions peak and begin falling within the next 5-10 years. Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles. The era of flights that cost less than the taxi ride to the airport is drawing to a close.

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The sceptics’ arguments and the counter arguments – good BBC briefing

The BBC has set out ten of the arguments that the climate sceptics use, to try and convince themselves and us that climate change is not man made, and there is therefore no point in doing anything significant to stop it.   The ten counter arguments are then given. Useful background information, to understand how the sceptics are trying to undermine public understanding of the science.

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50,000 fill London’s streets for The Wave ahead of Copenhagen

The Wave was organised by Stop Climate Chaos, and it had hoped this climate march - to mark the start of the Copenhagen talks - would be the largest the UK had ever seen. They dreamed of 30,000 people marching through the streets of London - but there were estimated to have been 50,000 people. That is a resounding success, and demonstrates the depth of feeling there is in Britain on climate change. Anti aviation campaigners enthusiastically joined in.

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Copenhagen climate summit: 50/50 chance of stopping catastrophe, Lord Stern says

Lord Nicholas Stern says an ambitious deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions needs to be agreed at Copenhagen to give a 50/50 chance of keeping temperatures from rising more than 2C. Failure could put the world at risk of temperature rises of more than 5C which would be 'catastrophic'. If the talks fail, it will be difficult to recreate the opportunity to shift the world onto a low carbon path. He wants Europe to agree to cut CO2 by 30% on 1990 by 2020. (Telegraph)

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Cameron hit by Tory backlash on environment

David Cameron is facing a growing challenge to his authority from senior members of his own party who say they have doubts about the Conservatives' stance on global warming. These include Peter Lilley, Andrew Tyrie and Ann Widdecombe. Now David Davis says the policy of tough targets to cut carbon emissions is "destined to collapse". He criticises "the fixation of the green movement with setting ever tougher targets". (Independent)

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Climate science statement from the Met Office, NERC and the Royal Society

Three of the UK's leading scientific organisations involving most of the UK scientists working on climate change  have put out a statement to emphasise the body of scientific evidence that underpins the call for action  at Copenhagen. They reinforce  their commitment to ensuring that world leaders continue to have access to the best possible science to inform sound decision-making on policies to mitigate and adapt to climate change up to Copenhagen and beyond. (NERC)

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Carbon offset schemes not working, says holiday firm

"Responsible Travel" has said that consumer carbon offset schemes do not lead people to change their behaviour. They were the first holiday firm to run such a scheme, and now realise that offsets are a "distraction" from climate change's real urgency. They will end their scheme. Offsetting has not changed people's behaviour enough and emissions covered by such schemes should be avoided in the first place. (BBC)

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Carbon market clouded by uncertainty

The offices of London's carbon trading companies are quieter than usual. The market could be huge, but its future is now uncertain. It depends on how governments decide to tackle climate change beyond 2012. The World Bank estimates that investment into developing country projects designed to offset their own emissions could grow to £150bn a year. However, growth is not guaranteed and depends on what happens at Copenhagen. (BBC explains it)

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Brown’s opposition to European climate change resistance

The Copenhagen meeting could be jeopardised by European wrangling over the cost of tackling global warming, Gordon Brown warned EU leaders. He spoke amid fierce resistance among a majority of EU member states to his call for them to commit budgets now - between €7bn and €10bn a year to emerging nations from 2020 - to help them cope with climate change. Opposition is being led by Poland with the backing of 8 eastern and central European countries. (Independent)

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DfT to airlines: Buck stops with you on CO2

The UK Director General of Civil Aviation, Jonathan Moor, has issued a stern reminder to the airline industry that it will soon be held accountable for its carbon footprint. Writing to the heads of 891 UK-regulated aircraft operators, he urged carriers to prepare for a tough new EU directive governing aviation emissions. From January 1st 2010 all European airlines will be held responsible for monitoring and recording the CO2 their flights emit. (Cheap Flights)

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EU agrees aviation emissions targets

European Environment ministers have agreed that Europe will pursue global targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions from aviation by 10% by 2020 from 2005 levels, at international talks on climate change. IATA said 10% was unrealistic by 2020 as they can only manage 1.5% per year. The EU wants shipping and aviation to be part of an international agreement at Copenhagen in December. A global levy on shipping and airline fuel could raise €7-€12 billion per year.

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Brown warns of climate change catastrophe

Gordon Brown warned today of a "catastrophe" for the planet if action to tackle climate change is not agreed at forthcoming UN talks on global warming.Speaking to representatives of 17 countries at the Major Economies Forum, convened as part of efforts to secure a deal at the UN Summit in Copenhagen in December, the Prime Minister warned of the economic, human and ecological impact of a failure to cut the emissions driving up temperatures. (Independent)

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The world’s future is being decided this weekend

Nicholas Stern says we must agree to halt deforestation and curtail air travel now if the Copenhagen summit is to succeed. Energy and environment ministers from the world's major economies are meeting in London today to try to accelerate crucial negotiations. Global annual CO2 emissions must be reduced to below 44bn tonnes by 2020, and international shipping and aviation could reduce the global total by at least half a billion tonnes. (Observer)

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UN Climate Talks May Need Extra time In 2010

World climate talks may need extra time next year to agree cuts in greenhouse emissions for 2020 since US laws are unlikely to be in place before a UN meeting in Copenhagen. A deal from the 190-nation December 7-18 talks may focus on finance to help developing nations confront global warming, technology and institutions. But a key goal of fixing country by country targets for the rich to curb emissions by 2020 may slip. Details will need to be worked out later.

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The market price of cutting airline emissions

Robert Peston asks if we should be glad about the IATA pledge to cut their CO2 by 50% by 2050, and concludes the industry doesn't expect to stabilise emissions until 2020, which psychologists would say is too far away to work. And the commitment to improve so-called CO2 efficiency by 1.5% a year on average is vitiated by the inclusion of the words "on average" - it allows too much wriggle room. An emissions pact that is share-price neutral is probably not carbon neutral.

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GLOBAL AIRLINE INDUSTRY ANNOUNCES EMISSIONS PLANS – GREENPEACE RESPONSE

Reacting to IATA's statement on cutting net aviation emissions by 50% by 2050, Greenpeace said this is little more than an elaborate conjuring trick, designed to make the public think the industry is serious about climate change while it carries on trying to grow.    Greenpeace says the announcement is designed to allow the industry to carry on with business as usual, and amounts to little more than corporate greenwash. Airlines cannot offset their carbon or depend on biofuels.

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Climate deal in peril, says Brown

Gordon Brown has said the climate deal planned for Copenhagen in 10 weeks' time is in grave danger of failure, and he is the first world leader to offer to go to the Danish capital to help seal the deal. He said there was no second chance to undo "catastrophic damage" to the environment if "we miss the opportunity to protect the planet". The annual climate negotiations are normally done by environment ministers. Some may question this latest initiative. (BBC)

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Airlines vow to halve carbon emissions by 2050 … (really??)

In a bid to seize the initiative from environmental groups clamouring for higher taxes for aviation, the plan will be presented to world leaders at the UN forum on climate change. The pledges, drawn up by IATA, are: To reduce net CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050, compared with 2005 levels; To make all industry growth carbon-neutral by 2020; To cut CO2 emissions by 1.5% per year over the next decade; To submit plans for joining a global carbon trading scheme to the UN by November 2010. (Guardian)

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Jetting off to la-la land on carbon cuts

Charles Clover (End of the Line author) argues that flying has become, for now, an inextricable part of modern life. But that does not mean we have to accept flying on business trips and cheap holidays will go on expanding at an exponential rate until 2050 as the government says it will. Realistically the rest of society cannot cut its emissions by 90% to allow for more holidays. Brits already fly the most. Future aviation expansion is bound to be limited.

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Government to be challenged by the CCC over expanding aviation industry

The Government is likely to be challenged by its own climate change advisory body on its decision to approve a third runway at Heathrow and permit a doubling in air travel by 2030. The Committee on Climate Change believes rapid expansion of air travel is inconsistent with the Government’s legally binding commitment to cut overall CO2 emissions by 80% on 1990 levels by 2050. Allowing aviation to expand at the rate proposed by the Government could place an unacceptable burden on other industries to achieve the cut. (Times)

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A personal carbon budget will clip our wings

CHEAP FLIGHTS are alluring - like walking into an empty bank with the safe wide open, they encourage you to do something you know is probably bad, but hard to resist. if we care about social equity, then giving every citizen a carbon budget is the obvious way to achieve that. Like other bad habits, addiction to cheap flights is hard to give up, so we need to be saved from ourselves. Miliband seems intent on drumming up business for Ryanairs and easyJet.

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Where do Britain’s carbon emissions come from?

The energy white paper promises to tranform the way we live. Defra data shows how we consume energy now, and Britain's decline as a coal burning, manufacturing nation and transformation into a car-based consumer society which depends on others for our goods. Overall CO2 emissions have declined by nearly 30% in the last 40 years. But in that time transport emissions have nearly doubled. International aviation is not included. (Guardian)

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Government maps low-carbon road “Carbon Transition Plan”

Government has produced its Carbon Transition Plan, to work towards a cut of 34% in UK CO2 emissions by 2020. Campaigners say the plan is a chance for the UK to lead on climate change, but it is long on rhetoric and short on action. The plan hopes for a 15% share of energy from renewables by 2020 and a 20% increase in energy efficiency. International aviation is not included, though rather vague aspirations for it are mentioned in a new transport report.

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Britain may go back on its promise not to buy ‘permits to pollute’ from poor nations

Britain’s plan to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by more than a third by 2022 could be achieved by buying "permits to pollute" from poor countries rather than genuine reductions in domestic emissions. Ministers have considered scrapping a commitment made 3 months ago intended to prevent the UK from buying so-called "carbon offsets" from developing nations. Offsets may be used to meet the 2012 target. WWF said offsets are just an accounting trick. (Times)

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Pulling Yourself Off the Ground By Your Whiskers – Monbiot on the nonsense of carbon offsets

The government tomorrow publishes a series of papers on carbon reduction. It is rumoured that the new policies will include buying up to 50% of the reduction from abroad. That means that the UK will not cut its greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050, but by 40%. Offsetting half our emissions (which means paying other countries to cut them on our behalf) makes a mockery of the government’s climate change programme and is impossible. If the rich nations, if they follow the UK’s presumed lead, will cut their carbon pollution by 40%. The poorer nations will have to cut their carbon pollution by 60% y 2050. .

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Gatwick airport publishes report on its carbon emissions

Gatwick Airport Ltd have (quietly) published a report on Gatwick and climate change. It has been produced because it was required under the 2008 legal agreement between the local authorities and Gatwick airport. The report contains a huge amount of whitewash. They do admit to being responsible for emissions during take-off and landing (a first?) but not emissions during the cruise phase of flights. Lots about low energy light bulbs...

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Major Economies Forum – Friends of the Earth reaction

Responding to the Major Economies Forum announcement of targets to aim for a ceiling of a 2 C rise in global temperatures, Friends of the Earth said that, despite their pledge, the MEF has one arm tied behind its back because rich countries meeting at the G8 failed to show leadership by slashing their own emissions first and fastest. The science demands rich nations cut their emissions by 40% by 2020 at home, not by buying offsets from abroad. (FoE)

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US agrees landmark pledge to slash emissions (and Climate Targets around the World)

The world's richest nations have agreed to cut their carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 in an attempt to secure a new global deal to combat climate change. Leaders of the G8 also agreed to set a limit of 2 degrees C on global temperature rises, for the first time. In return, they urged developing countries including China and India to cut their emissions by 50% over the same period. This is the first time the US has signed up to the target. (Indy)

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Big Economies Try to Break Climate Impasse Before G8

Ministers and senior officials from the Major Economies Forum meeting in Rome are hoping to break the deadlock between rich and poor nations over 2050 goals for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions - before the G8 summit. The MEF nations account for 80% of world emissions. If deadlock persists President Barack Obama would end the July 9 meeting with just a "chair's summary" rather than a statement agreed by all 17 MEF leaders.

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Publication of the Committee on Climate Change’s Aviation Report – will be 8 Dec 2009

The CCC is producing a review of UK Aviation emissions on the request of the Secretary of State for Transport. This report will assess future demand and aviation emissions and comment on airport expansion, modal shift to other forms of transport i.e. high-speed rail, the use of sustainable biofuels and hydrogen and improvements that can be made to the carbon efficiency of planes. It will report in December 2009. (CCC)

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US Seen Backing Climate Target At G8

The US will agree to a goal to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius at next week's Group of Eight summit. "The 2 degrees may even be included in the MEF (17-member Major Economies Forum) text. But at the moment, it is bracketed," an official said ahead of the July 8-10 meeting in Italy. Next week's climate summit is meant to help drive global agreement on a new UN-led climate pact in Copenhagen in December, to replace Kyoto.(Planet Ark)

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“We can either heat our homes and have hot baths, or fly but not both”

A meeting of experts at the Royal Society said the government must invest hugely to create a new low-carbon economy. The group's vice-chairman, Lord Redesdale, said the UK would never reach its climate change targets unless it radically improved policies on existing homes. He said: "A billion tonnes will have failed to be saved from domestic carbon emissions and this is equivalent to the CO2 pollution from Britain's aviation sector over the next 25 years."

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Barack Obama’s US climate change bill passes key Congress vote

The US Congress has voted to reduce the carbon emissions. The House of Representatives has voted 219 to 212 to bind the US to cutting CO2 emissions by 17% from 2005 levels in 2020 and 83% in 2050. It will also set up a national cap and trade system. Democrats claimed the bill as an important victory. It must still clear the Senate before it can be signed into law. The vote also helps the prospects of reaching an agreement at Copenhagen. (Guardian)

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Government’s Copenhagen announcement – Friends of the Earth reaction

Responding to the Government's announcement of its manifesto for achieving global agreement at Copenhagen, FoE commented that Government's recognition that finance is key to breaking the deadlock in the stalled UN talks offers some hope of progress, but we will not achieve the necessary cuts by the con of carbon offsetting. Offsetting through expanding carbon markets will neither tackle climate change nor set Britain on a low carbon path to new green future.

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UK to outline emission cut plans

The prime minister is to pledge UK leadership in the international battle against climate change, launching a document showing what the UK will offer to the Copenhagen conference. Climate Secretary Ed Miliband described the conference as "make or break time for the climate". The Road to Copenhagen document will outline plans for ongoing emissions cuts in the UK. However, it excludes shipping and aviation and embodied carbon in imports. (BBC)

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Scotland – Bill to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050

MSPs have put Scotland on course to go further than any industrialised nation in cutting greenhouse gas emissions after unanimously passing a Climate Change Bill that set targets for cuts at 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The Bill seeks to impose controls on international aviation and shipping emissions, proposes the electrification of railways and greater use of power generated by low-carbon methods. The interim target set in the UK Bill is 34% by 2020. (Times)

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Carbon targets ‘dangerously optimistic’

Professor Kevin Anderson, the director of the Tyndall Centre, has warned MPs that the government's ­climate change policies are "dangerously optimistic". He said the UK's planned carbon cuts – if followed internationally – would have a "50-50 chance" of limiting the rise of global temperatures to 2C. The two departments most directly involved with climate policy do not have enough power, compared to powerful departments, such as that run by Lord Mandelson. (Guardian)

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Levy on international air travel could fund climate change fight

At the 2nd week in the latest round of UK climate talks in Bonn, it was suggested that Britain and other rich countries are asked to accept a compulsory levy on international flight tickets and shipping fuel to raise billions of dollars to help the world's poorest countries adapt to combat climate change. The aviation levy, which is expected to increase the price of long-haul fares by less than 1%, would raise £6.25bn a year. (Guardian)

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Emissions trading: public consultation on future EU ETS auctioning rules launched

A public consultation on rules to govern the future auctioning of emission allowances under the EU ETS has been launched by consultants working for the European Commission. The consultation forms part of the Commission's preparation of a Regulation on auctioning of allowances with respect to the third and later trading periods. It ends on 3rd August. From 2013 at least half of the allowances under the EU ETS will be auctioned. (eGov monitor)

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Government’s carbon offsetting plans exposed as con by FoE

Friends of the Earth have released a report about why offsetting is failing, and is both ineffective and damaging. Dangerous climate change will be unavoidable if the UK, EU and USA succeed in increasing the use of carbon offsetting. The report exposes carbon offsetting as a con which is failing to reduce, and in some cases is even increasing, carbon emissions. The Government is actively promoting the increased use of offsetting at the UN climate talks.

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What is the real climate impact of flying and what can we do about it? (BBC info)

The BBC has produced an excellent page, setting out a great deal of information on the climate change impacts of aviation. Well worth a look. It is at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bloom/guides/flying.shtml

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Aviation now contributes 4.9% of climate change worldwide

Work by the IPCC now estimates that aviation accounted for 4.9% of man-made climate impacts in 2005. This contrasts with the 2% figure that is constantly quoted by aviation lobbyists, and 3% which the same authors quoted two years ago. They have now revised their estimates with 2 important changes: including for the first time estimates of cirrus cloud formation and allowing for aviation growth between 2000 and 2005. The effect of these is to increase aviation’s impacts to 3.5% without cirrus and 4.9% including cirrus. (AEF)

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New U.N. Climate Deal: Not Much Bolder Than Kyoto?

A planned new UN climate pact is shaping up to be a mildly tougher version of the existing Kyoto Protocol rather than a bold treaty to save what US President Obama has called a "planet in peril." The E3G think tank said there was not a lot of ambition in the submissions to the UN published this month to meet a deadline for consideration in a deal in Copenhagen in December. Targets for CO2 cuts by 2020 are far too low to avoid a rise of over 2C. (Reuters)

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Rich nations greenhouse gas emissions rise in 2007

Greenhouse gas emissions from industrialized nations rose by nearly 1% in 2007, led by strong gains in the United States. Carbon emissions from countries signed up to the Kyoto Protocol climate pact edged up by 0.1% in 2007, mainly due to rises in Japan and Canada. Under Kyoto, 40 or so developed countries committed in 1997 to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2% below 1990 levels between 2008-2012.

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Budget 09: APD to increase but aviation is excluded from first ever carbon budget

The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) has published its comment on the budget. It can be found on the AEF website at www.aef.org.uk AEF remains concerned that the Government’s continued failure to bring aviation emissions into line with climate policy will put any long term targets out of reach

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Budget – Pledge to reduce greenhouse gases

The chancellor has announced measures aimed at cutting the UK's greenhouse gas emissions. The Budget commits the UK to cut CO2 emissions by 34% by 2020. To ensure an 80% cut in emissions by 2050, the government needed to have cut emissions by 42% by 2020, against a 1990 baseline. The first carbon budgets have been set. However, the CCC has recommended that international aviation is not explicitly included in the UK’s carbon budgets at this stage.

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Enough green talk. Now make it happen – Nicholas Stern

The 3rd runway go-ahead throws doubt on the Government's eco-credentials. This Budget tomorrow could put it back on track - and is a critical test of the consistency and credibility of the Government's policies on climate change. The Government has accepted the overwhelming arguments for reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 80%, compared with 1990, in the next 40 years. It is vital the Government shows it is credible on the environment. (Times)

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Firms abandon carbon offsets

Carbon offset projects in emerging economies, once the darling of British companies keen to address their environmental impact, are becoming the latest casualty of the recession. Sales of credits for voluntary offsetting projects plummeted 70% during the first two months of this year compared with the last two months of 2008. The price of these credits also suffered, falling 30%. Companies are realising it is more sensible to cut their emissions. (Times)

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Arctic ice shows winter thinning

Arctic ice reached a larger maximum area this winter than in the last few years, scientists say, but the long-term trend still shows it declining. The 30-year trend shows the maximum annual sea-ice cover, usually seen in March, is shrinking by 2.7% per decade. Only 10% of the cover consists of relatively durable ice that has formed over more than 2 years, a record low. The thin ice is prone to summer melting. (BBC)

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Climate warning as Antarctic ice bridge shatters

An ice bridge which held a vast Antarctic ice shelf in place has shattered and could herald a wider collapse linked to global warming, a leading scientist has warned. A satellite picture from the European Space Agency showed that a 25 mile-long strip of ice believed to pin the Wilkins Ice Shelf in place had splintered at its narrowest point, about 500 metres wide. The Wilkins is one of 10 Antarctic shelves to have shrunk or collapsed in recent years. (Indy)

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Air Industry Chiefs Call For Global Emissions Deal

Aviation leaders at an "Aviation and Environment" conference have called for a global carbon emissions scheme for their industry, arguing an emerging patchwork of regional and national systems could bring more, not less, environmental damage. The call, from the industry, was twinned with a pledge to push ahead rapidly to achieve widespread use of biofuels on commercial flights. They want ICAO to shape a global sectoral approach. (Planet Ark)

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Climate change: Acid oceans transform marine life, says study

CO2 emissions from human activities are acidifying the oceans and threaten a mass extinction of sea life, a top ocean scientist warns. Dr Carol Turley says it is impossible to know how marine life will cope, but fears many species will not survive. Since the Industrial Revolution, CO2 emissions have already turned the sea about 30% more acidic. It is more acidic now than it has been for at least 500,000 years. The problem is set to worsen as emissions rise. (BBC)

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Carbon cuts ‘only give 50/50 chance of saving planet’

The world's best efforts at combating climate change are likely to offer no more than a 50-50 chance of keeping temperature rises below the threshold of disaster, according to research from the UK Met Office. The key aim of holding the expected increase to 2C, beyond which damage to the natural world and to human society is likely to be catastrophic, is far from assured, the research suggests, even with radical and enormous programme of cuts. (Independent)

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Climate is rights issue, says Maldives minister

The foreign minister of the Maldives is calling on the world to make global warming a human rights issue and prevent his homeland from disappearing beneath the waves by the end of the century. "There’s a tendency to think in economic terms and we need to shift the focus to the moral case for tackling global warming," Mr Shaheed said. (FT)

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Squabbling derails greenhouse gas efforts, says ex-minister

UK efforts to cut CO2 have been hampered by government infighting and a reluctance to stand up to industry. Elliot Morley, former climate change minister and now head of the energy and climate change select committee, said tensions between different government departments had undermined moves to cut CO2 emissions. These were dismissed inside Whitehall as "idealistic and not giving enough attention to the pragmatic needs of industry", he said.(Guardian)

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Britain looks set to benefit most as EU parcels out airlines for carbon trading

Britain, home to Europe's busiest airport, looks set to reap the most reward from EU plans to require airlines to buy permits to cover their carbon emissions, according to a list released Wednesday that matches each of the world's airlines to the one EU country that will be responsible for collecting payments. Countries with the busiest airports are likely to prosper the most. Britain would oversee about 780 carriers and operators. (IHT)

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Stop misleading climate claims

Dr Vicky Pope, Met Office Head of Climate Change, calls on scientists and the media to ‘rein in’ some of their climate change assertions. News headlines vie for attention, but it is important that the latest extreme weather event is not linked to climate change. Otherwise, the public perception of climate change can be distorted. Extreme events arise due to natural weather variations, but the important story is long-term climate change. (Met Office)

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Airlines prepare to enter Europe’s ETS as aviation directive comes into force

The directive incorporating aviation into the EU’s ETS entered into force last week, obliging EU Member States to pass appropriate legislation and make administrative provisions before 2 February 2010. Aircraft operators flying within or to and from Europe are required to enter into the first phase of the EC’s MRV process. During 2009, operators have to submit monitoring plans to their relevant ‘competent authority’ or Member State. (GreenAir online)

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Price of carbon credits slumps to new low

The price of carbon has hit new lows as power generators and industrial companies continue to cash in credits to bolster their balance sheets. The price of EU allowances under the 2nd phase of the emissions trading scheme has plunged to €10.15 a tonne, compared with highs over €30 seen in July last year. Analystd warned the price could fall further to €9 or lower. This means offset projects to cut carbon emissions are being cut back. (Guardian)

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UK cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5% in 2007

The UK's CO emissions fell 1.5% in 2007, according to figures by the DECC. The final figures for 2007 also revealed that output of all 6 greenhouse gases, including methane and nitrous oxide, was down 1.7% on 2006 levels. there was an increase in emissions from the transport sector of 1.3 million tonnes. Emissions of CO2 in 2007 were 8.5% down on 1990 levels, without counting carbon trading - and excluding international aviation and shipping. (Independent)

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UK carbon emissions still higher than when Labour came to power

2007 estimates of UK greenhouse gas emissions are published today by the Government. UK emissions are slightly lower than 2006, but they are not falling fast enough. The figures distort the picture by not including the UK's share of international shipping and aviation emissions - the reality is that UK carbon dioxide emissions are still higher than when Labour came to power in 1997, despite repeated promises of significant cuts. (FoE press release)

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Climate expert, James Hansen, apologises for unguarded comments on Heathrow

Jim Hansen, director of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, has issued an apology about unguarded comments about Heathrow's third runway.   He had been reported as saying anti-aviation campaigners will not help the battle against global warming and do not deserve support. Hansen has told Heathrow campaigners that there is no comparison with the dangers posed by coal power.   Original  article in the Observer - and retraction.

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Acid oceans ‘need urgent action’

The world's marine ecosystems risk being severely damaged by ocean acidification unless there are dramatic cuts in CO2 emissions. This warning comes from more than 150 top marine researchers, who have voiced their concerns through the "Monaco Declaration", which warns that changes in acidity are accelerating. This could make most regions of the ocean inhospitable to coral reefs by 2050, if atmospheric CO2 levels continue to increase. (BBC)

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Global warming is ‘irreversible’

A team of environmental researchers in the US has warned many effects of climate change are irreversible. The scientists concluded global temperatures could remain high for 1,000 years, even if carbon emissions can somehow be halted. "People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide the climate would go back to normal in 100 years, 200 year - that's not true." It appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (BBC)

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Douglas Alexander warns of ‘poor climate deal’ danger

The British government will produce a White Paper this year on international development. International Development Minister Douglas Alexander also said that "a poor climate deal" from international negotiations in Denmark in December "would condemn a generation of people to poverty. Pressed on the Heathrow airport expansion, he admitted that aviation would be one of the last sectors – even within transport – to be de-carbonised. (OneWorld)

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NEW FORECAST: up to 4ft Sea Level Rise by 2100

New evidence suggests that sea level rise up to 2100 may be greater than anticipated by the IPCC report in 2007. The IPCC had projected a rise of no more than 1.5 ft by 2100 but a report, commissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, found global sea levels could rise as much as 4 feet by 2100. According to the Worldwatch Institute, some 21 coastal cities with over 8 million residents will have to contend with sea rise impacts. (Travelmole)

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EU leaders reach new climate deal – 20% by 2020

EU leaders have reached a deal on a package of measures to fight global warming. The plan, agreed at a Brussels summit, sets out how 27 member-countries will cut carbon emissions by 20% by 2020, compared with 1990. Scientists say CO2 emissions must be cut by 25-40% by 2020 for there to be a reasonable chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. The measures - so called 20/20/20 -require approval by the European Parliament to become law. (BBC)

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Climate Talks Falter as Italy and Poland Play Politics with Global Climate’s Future

11,000 climate delegates are meeting in Poland's western city of Poznan, seeking agreement upon new post-Kyoto climate goals, to be finalized in Copenhagen by the end of next year. Ministers will consider proposals for cutting rich-world emissions to between 25 - 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. But with a worldwide economic crisis and the EU's climate policy in disarray, chances are small for quick agreement that reduces emissions. (Climate Ark)

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Climate Change Bill to include aviation and shipping

The government has agreed to include aviation and shipping in an ambitious push to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Ministers said they would give "due regard" to projected emissions from the two industries when setting budgets for carbon reduction in the future. More than 50 Labour MPs pressed for the sectors to be included in the Climate Change Bill, which sets a target to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. The government agreed to redraft its bill. (BBC)

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MPs rebelling over climate bill and aviation’s exclusion

The government is fighting to head off a backbench rebellion over its plans to exclude aviation and shipping from the UK's greenhouse gas targets. 56 Labour MPs are demanding the sectors be included, enough to defeat Brown when the Climate Change Bill goes to a Commons' vote next week. They want an amendment to the Bill to state that if emissions from aviation and shipping continue to grow, the government must compensate with extra CO2 cuts elsewhere. (BBC)

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Committee on Climate Change advises the Government to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by at least 80% by 2050

The Committee on Climate Change today published its interim advice to Government on what the long-term target should be to tackle climate change. The CCC recommended that emissions from harmful Greenhouse Gases be reduced by at least 80% by 2050. The CCC said that the 80% target should apply on average across all sectors of the UK economy and is achievable at affordable cost of between 1-2% of GDP in 2050. See the CCC letter and press release.

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Deal clinched on capping aircraft emissions (start of aviation within the EU ETS)

MEPs and national governments, represented by the EU's current Slovenian Presidency, reached a landmark deal on 26th June on the details of plans to include aviation in the EU's ETS as of 2012. The deal would require all flights, both within the EU as well as international ones arriving or leaving the bloc, to participate in the Union's carbon cap-and-trade scheme as of 2012. The deal still needs to be formally approved. (Euractiv)

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Air travel in the tropics causes more warming

A typical flight in the tropics has a greater impact on global warming than a flight in temperate latitudes. In mid-latitudes ozone and methane reactions with nitrogen oxides cancel each other out and you get zero net warming. But the brighter sunlight in the tropics is very efficient at converting nitrogen oxide to ozone, whereas methane destruction only increases marginally. This effect is worse at an altitude around 35,000 feet. (New Scientist)

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Cost of tackling global climate change has doubled, warns Stern

The author of an influential British government report in 2006 arguing the world needed to spend just 1% of its wealth tackling climate change has warned that the cost of averting disaster has now doubled to 2%. Stern said evidence climate change was happening faster than previously thought meant emissions needed to be reduced even more sharply. The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would have to be kept below 500ppm. (Guardian)

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Global emissions trading scheme (GETS) can cut aviation and shipping emissions

The workings of a much needed Global Emissions Trading Scheme (GETS) for ships and planes have been proposed by Dr Terry Barker of Cambridge University and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. This comes in response to the IPCC last year stating that a suitable framework for effective mitigation policies has yet to be devised. (Tyndall Centre press release)

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Faced with ever-rising oil prices, European airlines vent their anger at environment MEPs

Associations representing European airlines have queued up to condemn last week’s vote by the European Parliament’s Environment (ENVI) Committee to hold fast to its original proposals on the inclusion of aviation into the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Airlines have described the Committee’s strict position on allowances and capping as "punitive", whereas environmental campaigners have welcomed the vote. (Greenair online)

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MPs call for personal carbon allowance

Britain should consider giving individuals a personal carbon emissions allowance in order to help the country meet its CO2 emissions target, a report by Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee of MPs has said. Government has to reduce carbon emissions from individuals and households, if it was to cut CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050 as planned and a personal carbon allowancewould be more effective and fairer than bringing in "green" taxes. (Reuters)

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Next decade ‘may see no warming’ – before temperatures rise again

The Earth's temperature may stay roughly the same for a decade, as natural climate cycles enter a cooling phase, scientists have predicted. However, temperatures will again be rising quickly by about 2020. The key to the new prediction is the natural cycle of ocean temperatures appears to come round about every 60 to 70 years. (BBC)

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“I’m trying hard to be eco-friendly. But please don’t ask me to give up flying to visit my family”

Tahmina Anam, a Pakistani living in Britain, argues that she cannot ever give up flying back home, however hard she wishes to cut her carbon emissions. The flights to visit friends and family are "love miles". She says "there is no other way to live apart, no other way to make it OK that our lives happen in each other's absence, than to allow ourselves the promise of regular visits." (Guardian Comment)

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Guardian’s top 100 flight free holidays

Guardian's top 100 flight free holidays

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Sir Nicholas Stern takes bleaker view on global warming

The internationally influential Stern report on climate change underestimated the risks of global warming and should have presented an even bleaker view of the future, according to its own author. He said he should have taken a much stronger stance in the report on the drastic consequences of failing to curb global warming, and defended his estimate of the cost of taking action on emissions as being about 1% of global GDP. (Financial Times)

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International aviation emissions now firmly on the post-Kyoto climate talks agenda

An attempt by the European Union, supported by nations such as Norway and New Zealand, to include aviation GHG emissions in an international climate change agreement when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 met with resistance from some developing countries at last week’s UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) climate change talks in Bangkok. (GreenAir news)

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Climate target is not radical enough – study

Nasa scientist, Dr James Hansen, warns the world must urgently make huge CO2 reductions. He warned that the EU and its international partners must urgently rethink targets for cutting CO2 in the atmosphere because of fears they have grossly underestimated the scale of the problem. The EU target of 550 ppm C02 should be slashed to 350ppm. (Guardian)

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Scientists warn of soot effect on climate

Soot produced by burning coal, diesel, wood and dung causes significantly more damage to the environment than previously thought, according to research published today. So-called "black carbon" could cause up to 60% of the current warming effect of CO2, according to the US researchers, making it an important target for efforts to slow global warming. (Guardian)

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Transport tickets should show carbon footprint, says report

Plane and train tickets should reveal the environmental impact of individual journeys by stating the carbon emissions released on each trip. The Institute of Mechanical Engineers said branding tickets according to their green credentials should be one of a series of measures the government should adopt, so that having a large carbon footprint became "as socially unacceptable as drink-driving". (Guardian)

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Britons named world’s biggest emitters of CO2 from air travel

Britons produce more carbon emissions from air travel per head than any other country, a study reveals, (10th Oct 2007) citing the country's predilection for low-cost airlines as a major factor. The average carbon emission for each British flyer was 603kg (1329lb) a year, more than Ireland in second place and more than double that of the US at 275kg, in third place. (Guardian)

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Government announces annual targets for carbon reduction

Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for the Environment announced today that the Government would set an annual target range for emissions reductions. He also said the Climate Change Committee would be asked to consider whether the 2050 target for CO2 emissions should be tightened up to 80% reduction on the 1990 level. (FoE press release)

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True scale of C0 ² emissions from shipping revealed

The true scale of climate change emissions from shipping is almost 3 times higher than previously believed, according to a leaked UN study. It calculates that annual emissions from the world's merchant fleet have already reached 1.12bn tonnes of CO ², or nearly 4.5% of all global emissions of the main greenhouse gas. (Guardian)

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UK greenhouse gas emissions fell in 2006 – but those from aviation rose

DEFRA has released figures that show emissions of climate-warming greenhouse gases edged down 0.5% in 2006. Britain has said it is a world leader in the fight against global warming and is introducing self-imposed legally binding targets to cut carbon emissions by 26-32% by 2025 and 60% by 2050 below 1990 levels. (Reuters)

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EU sets 20% target for carbon cuts

The commission confirmed the goal of cutting 20% from Europe's carbon emissions by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, and generating 20% of the EU's power from renewable sources by that time. Britain must get 15% of its energy for heat, electricity and transport from renewables such as wind, wave, tidal, solar and biomass. (Guardian)

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Climate Pollution From Aviation Increasing – says WWF

EU environment ministers have failed to seize a key opportunity to curb emissions from the aviation sector through the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), WWF said at the conclusion of the EU Environment Council in Brussels. (Science Daily 2.1.2008)

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Climate deal sealed in Bali

Negotiators trying to agree a road map for a new international climate change deal finally managed to broker a compromise deal today after days of wrangling. Ministers from around 180 countries agreed the agenda for a global emissions cuts agreement to launch negotiations for a post-2012 agreement to tackle climate change. They have agreed to negotiate on a deal by the end of 2009 (Times)

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Climate talks in Bali near end amid row

World climate talks in Bali have gone into their last scheduled day amid fierce disagreement over targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. EU ministers have warned they will boycott a US-led climate summit next month unless the Bush administration backs firm targets for emissions cuts. Indonesia is trying to broker a compromise that would remove firm targets from the final text. (BBC)

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Gordon’s answer to climate change?

Enoughs Enough have produced a full-page newspaper advert, with a stunning image of Gordon Brown cheerily stepping out of 10 Downing Street, onto an airport runway. The ad is seriously questionning how Gordon is going to turn the UK into a low carbon economy - as he suggests - by building a 3rd runway at Heathrow? (Enoughs Enough - and Guardian)

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Flights from Heathrow’s third runway will emit same amount of CO2 as Kenya

According to figures released by the World Development Movement, to coincide with the launch of the government’s consultation process on the third runway at Heathrow, flights from the proposed runway will release as much carbon as Kenya’s total carbon emissions every year. The number of flights leaving Heathrow will nearly double as a result of the proposed expansion. (WDM press release)

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MEPs take faltering first step on aviation emissions

EU plans to tackle aviation's increasing climate change impacts through the Emissions Trading Scheme remain inadequate after MEPs failed to significantly strengthen European Commission proposals in Strasbourg earlier today (13th November. The European Parliament voted on proposed legislation to include the aviation sector in the EU’s ETS. Green NGOs feel that the legislation as approved by the vote, doesn’t go far enough towards curbing the sector’s emissions. (WWF and FoE press releases)

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Nobel prize for Al Gore recognises climate crisis

In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and the IPCC, the committee has signalled its view that climate change is now one of global society's defining security issues. Past prizes have been awarded to people working on issues which threatened to affect, and in many cases did affect, the well-being of citizens inside and outside the conflict zones. Now the Nobel Foundation has added climate change to the list. (BBC)

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UK flights emit same amount of CO2 as the 15 poorest countries’ total CO2 emissions

Each year, the UK releases as much carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere through flying as the total annual CO2 emissions from the 15 poorest countries in the world, the World Development Movement revealed today. While the government claims to be a world leader on climate change, UK carbon emissions have increased since 1997. (World Development Movement)

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9 October: the day humanity starts eating the planet

New research reveals rising consumption of natural resources is pushing the world into ever earlier ecological debt, or ‘overshoot’. New calculations show that from now until the end of the year we will be living beyond our global environmental means. From 9th October humanity has used up what nature can renew this year and is now eating into its ‘ecological capital’. (NEF)

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Heathrow: the most important protest of our time

Aviation is the incendiary issue in environmental politics today. The campaigners at Heathrow are just the vanguard of a powerful new people’s movement, writes Mark Lynas

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Eskimo accused of ‘apocalyptic green spin’ in row over Stansted expansion

An Eskimo was at the centre of a furious row over claims that air travel had become a victim of 'apocalyptic green spin'. Aqqaluk Lynge, from Greenland, is visiting Britain this week to protest against the expansion of Stansted Airport, arguing that aviation-linked global warming is destroying the Eskimos' way of life. But he became the subject of a savage counter-attack by a new industry campaign backed by airlines and airport owners.

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Rail industry admits that it’s often greener for families to travel by car

It can be greener to drive than catch the train, according to a rail industry study which reveals that trains are losing their environmental advantage. Modern diesel-powered trains are so polluting that a family of 3 or more would be responsible for at least double the CO2 emissions on many routes when travelling by rail compared with driving in a typical medium-sized car.

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Ships emit more CO2 than aircraft

The global shipping industry is responsible for 1.2bn tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, far more than aviation's 600m tonnes, according to an estimate published yesterday. The previous widely accepted estimate was 600m-800m tonnes a year.

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BT Drops Its Carbon Footprint with Teleconferencing

Replacing business travel with teleconferencing has allowed British Telecom to avoid more than 860,000 face-to-face meetings worldwide and saved at least 97,000 tons of carbon emissions, according to a new survey. The survey, conducted by the University of Bradford and SustainIT, looked at the economic, environmental and social impact of conferencing at BT.

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New WDM report shows ‘aviation loophole’ undermines flagship UK Government Bill

Britain cannot meet its target of reducing CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050 unless it includes international aviation emissions in the climate bill according to a new report, ‘Emissions Invisible’, from anti poverty campaigners the World Development Movement.

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IPCC 4th report – Billions face climate change risk

Billions of people face shortages of food and water and increased risk of flooding, experts at a major climate change conference of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have warned. The bleak conclusion came ahead of the publication of a key report by hundreds of international environmental experts. The report states that the observed increase in the global average temperature was "very likely" due to man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

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Carbon footprint of products to be displayed on label package

The Carbon Trust is launching a green equivalent to the Fairtrade label - a consumer label which details the carbon footprint of a product and a commitment by its producer to reduce it. Several major brand products, including Walkers crisps (carbon footprint: 75g), Boots Organics shampoo (148g) and Innocent smoothies (294g), will test the use of the logo - a white arrow wrapped in a black letter C. Over time it is expected that many more will join.

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All EU nations must back proposals to cut harmful emissions by 30% by 2020 or risk jeopardising the global effort to curb climate change, warn ministers. The call for unity among the 27-nation bloc was made by the UK Environment Secretary, David Miliband, and his Spanish and Slovenian counterparts. Failure to act would threaten efforts to get nations such as the US and China to agree to cap emissions. "We all know that the current Kyoto deal does not go far enough."

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Proportions of business passengers at UK’s main airports – showing decline over past decade

In 2010, the proportion of business passengers (as compared to leisure, including visiting friends and family) was 29.9% at Heathrow, 20.4% at Gatwick, 29.5% at Manchester, 19.6% at Luton and 17.7% at Stansted. Data from the Health Protection Agency shows the proportion of business passengers has been falling steadily since 2000.

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World’s leading scientific experts to deliver stark findings on climate change

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) begins its release of the long anticipated Fourth Assessment Report in Paris on 2 February 2007, which is set to provide the most credible evidence yet of the human link to climate change and its devastating impacts.

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Defra ups carbon offset standards

The UK government is to define criteria for carbon offsetting schemes to bring "greater clarity" to the industry. Environment Secretary David Miliband said offsetting was not "the answer" to climate change, but that the voluntary standards would "raise the bar".

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BLAIR – I WON’T GIVE UP HOLIDAYS TO SAVE PLANET

Tony Blair said today he would not give up long-haul holiday flights as he argued the fight against climate change did not require unreasonable sacrifices. The Prime Minister rejected the need to set a personal example on greenhouse gases by taking breaks closer to home, insisting that science was the key to tackling global warming.

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Norway To Tackle Planes’ Greenhouse Gases

Norway plans to join Britain in offsetting greenhouse gases caused by bureaucrats jetting around the world, announcing it will buy emissions quotas to combat global warming.

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Britain’s Dirty Secret – aircraft emissions

The government has been disguising the quantity of greenhouse gases that we create with our flights to and from the UK. The DfT has admitted that it works it out simply by counting the aircraft that take off from Britain. Those that land here are excluded.

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The Independent: PM’s vow to tackle global warming hit by plans to treble flights

Airport expansion will treble flights by 2030, flying in the face of vows to cut global warming.

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Bishop of London – Sin to Fly

The Bishop of London has declared it sinful for people to contribute to climate change by flying on holiday, driving a "gas-guzzling" car or failing to use energy-saving measures in the home

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Leap in aviation emissions

Figures released by Defra show that while the UK's overall carbon emission have more or less stabilised, emissions from international aviation are spiralling out of control - they grew by a staggering 12% in 2004.

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EU Consults on Aviation and Climate Change

On Friday 11 March 2004, the European Commission launched a consultation on "Reducing the Climate Change Impact of Aviation." See article for more information and link to Commission web page.

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    Date: 12 July 2012 IATA Welcomes ICAO Progress on a CO2 Standard for Aircraft Important Milestone in a Comprehensive Global Solution for Aviation Emissions Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed an agreement by the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) environment committee on a metric to define a CO2 standard for new […]

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