At the Climate Change march in London on 1st December, to mark the start of the COP24 climate talks in Katovice, Poland, the No 3rd Runway Coalition was out in force. Many hundred people marched – 700 or more? – with a large input from anti-fracking activists, and many from Extinction Rebelling. After rallying outside the Polish Embassy for speeches, including Neil Keveren from Stop Heathrow Expansion, the march set off down Regents Street and Piccadilly to Whitehall. The key concern was that in the UK, from fracking to a Heathrow third runway, our government is failing to face up to the climate crisis. The recent IPCC report is a landmark for our planet, setting out just what is at stake if we breach 1.5C warming. We need action now to move to a Zero Carbon Britain, with climate jobs to build the future we need. Instead of rapidly committing to effective action to cut CO2, the UK government is actively backing measures to make CO2 emissions higher or cut funding for initiatives that would cut burning of fossil fuels. The No 3rd Runway Coalition banner took up pride of place at the start of the march. There were many Coalition members present, many placards on show, the huge Chatr black plane clearly stating “No 3rd Runway”, and a good turnout by Stop Heathrow Expansion.
No 3rd Runway Coalition presence at the London Climate March
Heatwaves, hurricanes and wildfires make it clear: it’s time to act on climate change. As crucial UN climate talks kick off in kick off in Katowice, Poland, join us to show solidarity with environmental activists there; with those in the Global South in particular in the frontline of climate change; and with all those standing up for the future of our planet over short-term profit, against the rise of the far right and climate denial.
Here in the UK, from fracking to a Heathrow third runway, our government is failing to face up to the climate crisis. The recent IPCC report is a landmark for our planet, setting out just what is at stake if we breach 1.5C warming. We need action now to move to a Zero Carbon Britain, with climate jobs to build the future we need.
The march sent a message to activists in Katowice, marching on 8 December
The march assembled from 12 noon outsider the Polish Embassy on Portland Place. There was a rally with speeches from 12.30 to 1.30pm. There were speeches by:
Clive Lewis MP, Labour Party
Sian Berry, co-leader, Green Party
Richard Roberts, fracking direct action campaigner whose recent prison sentence was overturned
Paul Allen, Zero Carbon Britain
Beatriz Ratton, Brazilian Women Against Fascism
Nita Sanghera, Vice President, UCU
Asad Rehman, War on Want
Anna Gretton, Extinction Rebellion
Neil Keveren, No 3rd Runway Coalition
The rally chanted in Polish, “Razem dla Klimatu” – outside the Polish Embassy. It means “Together for Climate”.
The No 3rd Runway Coalition banner took up pride of place at the start of the march. There were many Coalition members present, many placards on show, the huge Chatr black plane clearly stating “No 3rd Runway”, and a good turnout by Stop Heathrow Expansion. Sadly the huge model plane, made by the irrepressible Neil Keveren, had a bit of a mishap during the pouring rain all morning …. but will be fixed and will makes its debut appearance at another event soon …
The march then set off, down Regents Street, Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square to Whitehall. Police held up the traffic for the marchers to pass, and shoppers watched with interest (taking thousands of photos and videos) as the marchers streamed past. There were chants, while going past the BBC in Portland Place, of “BBC, BBC, tell the truth about climate change”. Also chants of “What do we want? Climate Action. When do we want it? Now. What do we want? Climate Justice. When do we want it? Now”.
And also many times: “No ifs, no buts – No 3rd Runway”.
Some shoppers abandoned their shopping to join the march for a while. Some car drivers honked their horns in support as the march passed.
The Extinction Rebellion activists were there in force, but there was no direct action and absolutely no breaking of any laws or civil disobedience.
At the rally in Whitehall, opposite Downing Street, there were speeches by
Barry Gardiner MP, Labour Party
Liz Hutchins, Friends of the Earth
Peter Allen, Frack Free United
Claire James, Campaign against Climate Change
After the protest, the Frack Free United Declaration against fracking was handed in, to 10 Downing Street.
Two Swedish mums have persuaded 10,000 people to commit to not taking any flights in 2019. Their social media initiative, No-fly 2019 (Flygfritt 2019), is aiming for 100,000 pledges, and has been asking participants to post their reasons for signing up. Maja Rosen and her neighbour Lotta Hammar say they started the campaign to show politicians what needs to be done to halt climate change. Direct emissions from aviation account for about 3% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the European Commission. And, it says, if global aviation was a country, it would rank in the top 10 emitters. See the video from Maja and Lotta. Sweden has had, since April, a tax of about $7 for short haul flights and about $48 on long haul flights, with the intention of cutting carbon emissions.
The two Swedish mums who want people to give up flying for a year
Two Swedish mums have persuaded 10,000 people to commit to not taking any flights in 2019.
Their social media initiative, No-fly 2019 (Flygfritt 2019), is aiming for 100,000 pledges, and has been asking participants to post their reasons for signing up.
Maja Rosen and her neighbour Lotta Hammar say they started the campaign to show politicians what needs to be done to halt climate change.
Direct emissions from aviation account for about 3% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the European Commission. And, it says, if global aviation was a country, it would rank in the top 10 emitters.
The concept of “flying shame” is growing in Sweden – shame if you fly too much – due to the CO2 emissions
November 25, 2018
Many Northern Europeans have “flying shame” because of the climate: they stay on the ground while traveling. Rail travel is becoming increasingly popular. Some people in Sweden are cutting down on flying, and believe the carbon emissions are a matter of shame. The word for it is “flugsham” or “flygskam” and this is becoming a common concept, akin to ‘flying less” in English. A celebrity athlete is well know for only travelling to sporting events if he can get there by train. The Swedes are among the frequent flyers. They fly 7 times more than average global citizens. While Sweden’s total CO2 emissions have fallen by 24% since 1990, air traffic grew by 61% in that time. A prominent writer in a popular newspaper denounced the “idiotic lifestyle” of frequent flying as the “most expensive suicide in world history”. Researchers and artists responded: “Flying is no longer an alternative for them”. People realise that we cannot go on with expanding aviation. A Facebook page on travelling by long-distance rail, rather than flying, had 30,000 followers in a few months. As well as the hashtag #flyingless there is the Swedish counterpart in #jagstannarpåmarken: “I’ll stay on the ground”.
Sweden should face down industry myths about the impact of an air travel tax, and impose it
April 22, 2017
There is a great interest in Sweden on which decisions will be taken regarding aviation tax. For European airlines, resistance to air taxes is a top priority. Andrew Murphy, Manager at Aviation at Transport & Environment (T&E) believes Sweden must resist industry pressure and intimidation, and not cut the taxes. In every country, in Europe the airline industry lobbies in the same way: say the tax threaten job losses, say it’ll destroy the economy, and threaten to shut down routes if governments don’t drop attempts to tax. The UK’s air passenger duty (APD), first introduced in 1994, has withstood all onslaughts while its airline sector has thrived. Now it’s Sweden’s turn to be subject to this economic scaremongering. For airlines, low taxes mean slightly cheaper tickets, so more passengers and more money for the industry. And more CO2 of course. industry arguments have very little basis in reality, and are rarely backed up with any credible evidence. In the UK a tax of £13 per return flight for an adult really is not enough to stop anyone travelling to Europe. Nor will a tax of £7 – 37 in Sweden. The industry likes to make out that the tax is wicked and damaging, and everyone deserves a tax break at the expense of all the others who don’t fly. The industry already pays no VAT, no fuel duty and only the most minimal charges for carbon under the EU ETS.
Sweden is making flying more expensive as of today –
3rd April 2018
As of today, the Swedish government’s proposed aviation tax is coming into effect. It will impose added emissions fees on airlines flying to or from Sweden, amounting to 60 SEK ($7) per domestic and EU flights and up to 400 SEK ($48) on longer routes.
The tax is seen by the Social Democrat and Green Party-run coalition government as a a means to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The government is counting on 450 000–600 000 fewer airline passengers per year in Sweden as a result of the tax, which it says should lead to about 2 percent less emissions.
The tax proposal has raised fierce resistance from the aviation industry and local airlines in particular.
Aircraft noise from large airports has been frequently linked to harm to mental health, as well as physical health, but it is not known whether the same is true for smaller airports. In this blog, Dr David Wright, lead author of a recently published article in Environmental Health, looked at how much aircraft noise around a smaller airport – Belfast City – affected mental health. It has about 40,000 annual flights, compared to Heathrow 475,000. There is growing evidence that noise generated by large airports also affects the mental health of local residents (see NORAH and HYENA, the two largest studies). As more airlines are flying direct between smaller airports, no longer using hubs, this is an important issue. The study looked at individual and household characteristics, overlaid with noise contours. It found there was a correlation of worse mental health in areas near the airport, under the flight path. But these areas were often poorer, and poverty increases the risk of mental ill-health – so wealth rather than aircraft noise best explains the findings. However, Belfast City airport does not have night flights (21:30 to 06:30), and it is noise that disturbs sleep that has the main impacts on mental health. “Setting sensible curfew hours would strike a balance between the economic benefits and health risks of living close to an airport.”
Aircraft noise at small airports and mental health
Aircraft noise from large airports has been frequently linked to affecting mental health, but it is not known whether the same is true for smaller airports. In this blog post, Dr David Wright, lead author of a recently published article in Environmental Health, discusses how the noise environment around a smaller airport showed little influence on population mental health.
David Wright (Biomed Central)
12 Nov 2018
Air travel is expanding world-wide and airports are often at the heart of local economies (I grew up three miles from London Gatwick and my first summer job was in the left luggage office). On the downside, aircraft noise exposure has been linked with physical health problems (e.g. hypertension and cardiovascular disease) and there is growing evidence that noise generated at large airports also affects the mental health of local residents (see NORAH and HYENA, the two largest studies).
Aircraft noise exposure has been linked with physical health problems
We wanted to know whether mental health is similarly affected at smaller, regional airports. This is important as many airlines are switching to fleets of smaller planes flying directly between regional airports, avoiding the major international hubs.
Environmental factors like noise typically produce subtle differences in health outcomes, so we needed a very large dataset to have the best chance of detecting an effect. We linked two administrative datasets (data that are collected for purposes other than research); the 2011 Census records for all residents in our study city of Belfast, Northern Ireland, which provided detailed information on individual and household characteristics, overlaid with noise contours generated as part of the noise monitoring programme at George Best Belfast City Airport.
We found that individuals in high noise areas under the flight path were more likely to have reported poor mental health than those in low noise areas. However, households in high noise areas also tended to be less wealthy and once we accounted for this, we found no evidence that noise was associated with poor mental health. Simply put, wealth rather than aircraft noise best explains these gradients in mental health.
Returning to our main question, the detrimental effects of aircraft noise on mental health found at large airports did not extend to this smaller airport, even at similar average noise levels. Why should this be? We suspect the main answer lies in the timing of noise events. Belfast City Airport does not routinely operate night flights whereas most previously studied airports do, so sleep disturbance (closely linked with mental health) may be the driving factor.
[• Belfast City Airport Operating Hours: flights may only be scheduled to operate between 06:30 hours and 21:30 hours. Extensions may be granted in exceptional circumstances to facilitate delayed aircraft up to 23:59 hours.
The detrimental effects of aircraft noise on mental health found at large airports did not extend to this smaller airport
The real test of any research finding is whether it can be replicated elsewhere. One way to test the sleep disturbance hypothesis would be to repeat our study across several airports with different numbers and timing of night flights. Accessing information on individual mental health would be the main challenge. In our experience, good datasets – like the administrative datasets we used – already exist, and the key task is to persuade everyone involved that data can safely be used for research to bring public benefit. This study demonstrates the potential of using these large, existing administrative data sets to explore questions we couldn’t answer with smaller available data sets, and it was done without compromising privacy or confidentiality.
Living in a noisy area close to an airport with approximately 40,000 mainly daytime flights annually was not in itself bad for mental health. Therefore, planning decisions for airports up to this size can concentrate more on atmospheric pollution and the effects of noise on aspects of physical health. If further work confirms our suspicion that sleep disturbance drives the noise-mental health association at larger airports, setting sensible curfew hours would strike a balance between the economic benefits and health risks of living close to an airport.
PhD study indicates flight ban until 6am could save £ millions on NHS prescriptions for health impacts
November 16, 2018
A PhD thesis by an economics researcher at Kings College London, Silvia Beghelli, looked at “The Health Effects of Noise and Air Pollution”. She looked at the medications prescribed to patients in areas affected by Heathrow planes, and the medical costs of the health impacts. She looked at a trial performed over 5 months at Heathrow in 2012, when planes did not fly over designated areas in the early mornings, between 4:30am and 6am. She found that fewer drugs were prescribed for respiratory and nervous system conditions in areas with the reduced air traffic. Mrs Beghelli cross-referenced NHS data with the trial’s findings and found a link between air traffic and health, notably a 5.8% decrease in spending on pills including anxiolytics for conditions such as insomnia, anxiety and depression in the no-fly zones. As well as meaning the quality of health of people in these areas must have been better, the lower prescribing saved the NHS money. She calculated that modifying flight schedules could save £5 million in NHS prescription costs. It could also cut demand for hospital appointments. The study suggests that early morning planes are causing people to need more prescriptions.
Tourists, going on holidays – including high-CO2 long-haul trips – are being encouraged to cut down on the amount of plastic they use etc. Great to be reducing the number of plastic straws, water bottles and other single-use plastics etc, but this really is barely touching the surface of the environmental problems caused by tourism. In a blog, Chris Haslam, of he Sunday Times, says that while the travel companies like Thomas Cook are “jumping on the sustainability bandwagon” – is this corporate responsibility or virtue-signalling? People can see bits of plastic. They, conveniently, cannot see the CO2 emissions they cause. Travel companies used to try to sell customers carbon offsets for their trips, but no longer seem to. Air travel is a uniquely fast way to cause the emission of a huge proportion of an individual’s annual carbon footprint. “No other human activity pushes individual emission levels as fast and as high as air travel,” says Dr Roger Tyers, an environmental sociologist at Southampton University. “… [the aviation industry] tell us that engineers and inventors will come to the rescue, that politicians and passengers need do nothing. … [but] Climate change will be a real problem unless we do something about our addiction to cheap and plentiful flying.”
Green travel: time to focus on the real cost of global tourism
Chris Haslam, Chief Travel Writer
The Sunday Times)
Thomas Cook declared all-out war on plastic last week. An estimated 8m items of single-use plastic enter the ocean every day and, as public concern mounts, the holiday giant has promised to find sustainable alternatives.
“Our commitment is to remove 70m single-use plastics — equivalent to 3,500 suitcases full — within the next 12 months,” its director of group corporate affairs said.
Thomas Cook is just the latest company to jump on the sustainability bandwagon. Seemingly every other day, a cruise line, tour operator or hotel group announces a ban on straws and plastic bottles: Hyatt, Disney, Cunard, Mandarin Oriental and Marriott are among them.
They’re all latecomers to the eco-party. The operators Exodus, G Adventures, KE Adventure and Wild Frontiers have all pledged to ban plastic bottles. Audley Travel’s brochures are sent in envelopes made from biodegradable potato starch, and in January Ryanair announced that it will remove single-use plastics from its flights by 2023. Passengers will be encouraged to bring their own cups on board — presumably at no extra cost.
Is this corporate responsibility or virtue-signalling? Plastic bags are illegal in many bucket-list destinations, including Kenya, Rwanda and the Galapagos Islands. India has outlawed plastic straws in most states and Delhi has banned single-use plastics. The EU aims to ban most single-use plastics by 2021 and the Balearic Islands will outlaw plastic cups, straws, disposable lighters and coffee-machine capsules by 2020. While any undertaking to reduce marine pollution is a good thing, companies could be said to be selling us a legal obligation repackaged as a green initiative.
“Customers expect holiday companies to demonstrate responsibility towards their destinations,” says Jane Ashton, head of sustainable development at Tui.
But by focusing on cocktail straws in the beach bar, aren’t we ignoring the huge environmental cost of getting to the beach in the first place?
“We understand the plastic problem because we can see it,” says Professor Harold Goodwin, of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism. “Dealing with it is a small step towards addressing the big issue of carbon emissions.”
A decade ago, you couldn’t go near a travel website without being invited to pay for some trees to be planted to offset your carbon footprint. The travel trade’s eagerness for this has noticeably waned, but the problem hasn’t gone away.
The annual carbon footprint of the average Briton is 6.5 tonnes. A return flight from Luton to Malaga produces 37 tonnes of CO2. The International Air Transport Association says the number of air journeys we take will double to 8.2bn a year by 2037. And while airlines are committed to reducing emissions, they’re not doing so fast enough to offset this increase in passenger numbers. “No other human activity pushes individual emission levels as fast and as high as air travel,” says Dr Roger Tyers, an environmental sociologist at Southampton University.
Airlines are at pains to prove their sustainability. Last month, a Virgin Atlantic 747 flew from Orlando to Gatwick, powered by a waste-based biofuel with emissions 65% lower than for conventional jet fuel. EasyJet announced it would have all-electric planes serving European routes by 2030, and a company in Singapore revealed plans for a zero-emission, long-range aircraft powered by hydrogen-electric propulsion.
Could these green machines clear our consciences? “Technological breakthroughs that are always ‘just around the corner’ serve to reassure the public that we can continue down the path of aviation expansion,” Tyers warns. “They tell us that engineers and inventors will come to the rescue, that politicians and passengers need do nothing. Climate change will be a real problem unless we do something about our addiction to cheap and plentiful flying.”
Yes, says Jarrod Kyte, of Steppes Travel, but stopping flying is not the answer. “Travel is hugely important, but we need to start acknowledging that it also incurs an environmental debt. I think all tour operators should be offering to offset the environmental cost of travel.”
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The best of this week’s travel news
French roads protest planned
Protests against fuel prices will cause traffic chaos in France and Belgium on Saturday, with hundreds of roadblocks planned. Operation Gilets Jaunes — “yellow jackets” — is the result of a social-media campaign against price increases of 14% for petrol and 22% for diesel in the past year. Drivers heading to France should be prepared for lengthy delays.
Dubai tops tourist spending league
Visitors to Dubai spend more money than those at any other tourist destination, research by Mastercard has revealed. The average daily spend, excluding accommodation, is £410 — a long way ahead of Paris, in second place at £230. London came in eighth, at £117 a day.
China will overtake France as the world’s number-one tourist destination by 2030, according to the market research firm Euromonitor International. Chinese visitors will also dominate in outbound tourism, outstripping the current leaders, the US and Germany. As the country’s middle class expands, foreign trips are forecast to rise from less than 100m in 2018 to 260m in 2030.
Someone flying from London to New York and back generates roughly the same level of emissions as the average person in the EU does by heating their home for a whole year, according to the European Commission (EC). The EC states that: “If global aviation was a country, it would rank in the top 10 emitters.” Looking at Ireland, it has agreed, under the EU’s Effort Sharing Decision targets, to deliver a 20% reduction in non-ETS (Emissions Trading System) greenhouse gas emissions, based on 2005 levels, by 2020; these include: agriculture; transport; residential; commercial; waste; and the non-energy intensive industry. Earlier this year, Ireland also committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions level by 30% on 2005 levels by 2030. But according to the EC, by 2020, global international aviation emissions are projected to be around 70% higher than in 2005 and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) forecasts that by 2050 they could grow by a further 300-700%. Some of the carbon emissions from aviation within Europe (not planes flying to and from Europe, just internally) are covered under the EU’s ETS. This is at risk if the global ICAO deal succeeds in forcing the EU to abandon this scheme.
By 2050 global aviation emissions could surge by 700%
By Claire Mc Cormack (Agri Land Ireland)
Nov 5, 2018
Someone flying from London to New York and back generates roughly the same level of emissions as the average person in the EU does by heating their home for a whole year, according to the European Commission.
Currently, aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions. As such, the EU is taking action to reduce aviation emissions in Europe by working with the international community to develop measures with global reach.
According to official European Commission data, direct emissions from aviation account for about 3% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions and more than 2% of global emissions.
The commission states that: “If global aviation was a country, it would rank in the top 10 emitters.”
Last week, on episode nine of FarmLand, independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice raised concerns over how rural indigenous industries – particularly agriculture and the peat industry – are being impacted by efforts to meet Ireland’s carbon emission reduction and renewable energy targets.
He argued that greater strides can be made in the transport sector – particularly in aviation – to reduce Ireland’s carbon footprint.
“If you want to talk about this whole carbon situation in Ireland, and indeed the world, no one is talking about the amount of emissions that planes are putting out.
Some of these people want to get rid of all the livestock in Ireland and to cut down on this, that and the other – but why aren’t we talking about emissions from planes?
“We should ground them if we need to. Don’t be going on your holidays if that’s the case, if we’re doing so much damage,” said deputy Fitzmaurice who represents the Galway-Roscommon constituency.
Under the EU’s Effort Sharing Decision targets, Ireland has agreed to deliver a 20% reduction in non-ETS greenhouse gas emissions, on 2005 levels, by 2020.
Non-ETS greenhouse gas emissions (non-Emissions Trading Scheme sector) include: agriculture; transport; residential; commercial; waste; and the non-energy intensive industry.
Earlier this year, Ireland also committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions level by 30% on 2005 levels by 2030.
Under the EU Renewable Energy Directive (2009) Ireland is also committed to producing at least 16% of all energy consumed in the Republic from renewable sources by 2020.
300-700% Emission Increase
According to the European Commission, by 2020, global international aviation emissions are projected to be around 70% higher than in 2005 and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) forecasts that by 2050 they could grow by a further 300-700%.
Along with other sectors, aviation is contributing to emission reductions within the EU through the EU emissions trading system.
CO2 emissions from aviation have been included in the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) since 2012.
Under the EU ETS, all airlines operating in Europe, European and non-European alike, are required to monitor, report and verify their emissions, and to surrender allowances against those emissions.
They receive tradeable allowances covering a certain level of emissions from their flights per year.
The system has so far contributed to reducing the carbon footprint of the aviation sector by more than 17 million tonnes per year – with compliance covering over 99.5% of emissions.
In addition to market-based measures like the ETS, operational measures – such as modernising and improving air traffic management technologies, procedures and systems – also contribute to reducing aviation emissions.
In October 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreed on a resolution for a global market-based measure to address CO2 emissions from international aviation as of 2021.
The agreed resolution sets out the objective and key design elements of the global scheme – as well as a road-map for the completion of the work on implementing modalities.
The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA, aims to stabilise CO2 emissions at 2020 levels by requiring airlines to offset the growth of their emissions after 2020.
During the period 2021-2035, and based on expected participation, the scheme is estimated to offset around 80% of the emissions above 2020 levels.
By Claire Mc Cormack (Agri Land Ireland)
Nov 1, 2018,
Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has stated that if the country is serious about tackling carbon emissions “airplanes should be grounded”.
Speaking tonight (Thursday, November 1) on episode nine of FarmLand, the TD who represents the Galway-Roscommon constituency joined Eamon Ryan, the leader of the Green Party, in a discussion on how rural indigenous industries are being impacted by efforts to meet the country’s carbon emission reduction and renewable energy targets.
Under the EU’s Effort Sharing Decision targets, Ireland has agreed to deliver a 20% reduction in non-ETS greenhouse gas emissions, on 2005 levels, by 2020.
Non-ETS greenhouse gas emissions (non-Emissions Trading Scheme sector) include: agriculture; transport; residential; commercial; waste; and the non-energy intensive industry.
Earlier this year, Ireland also committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions level by 30% on 2005 levels by 2030.
Under the EU Renewable Energy Directive (2009) Ireland is also committed to producing at least 16% of all energy consumed in the Republic from renewable sources by 2020.
If you want to talk about this whole carbon situation in Ireland, and indeed the world, no one is talking about the amount of emissions that planes are putting out.
“Some of these people want to get rid of all the livestock in Ireland and to cut down on this, that, and the other, but why aren’t we talking about emissions from planes?
“We should ground them if we need to. Don’t be going on your holidays if that’s the case, if we’re doing so much damage,” he said.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency emissions from agriculture are projected to increase by 3%-4% by 2020; and 6%-7% by 2030 on current levels.
In some quarters it has been claimed that this rise is linked to the expansion of stocking rates, particularly for the dairy herd.
However, Teagasc’s Brendan Horan recently highlighted that the current dairy herd is effectively the same size as 1988 – just shy of 1.4 million dairy cows.
Speaking just days after Bord na Mona’s unexpected announcement that it plans to completely stop peat harvesting in 2025 – five years ahead of its initial deadline of 2030 – as part of its latest decarbonisation agenda, Fitzmaurice contends that the future vision for the semi-state company is “not realistic”.
He also warned that Bord na Mona’s decision to cease peat harvesting in 2025 could potentially put the country’s fuel security at risk.
The company has confirmed that peat volumes to ESB will decline by approximately 50% from December 2019, when West Offaly Power Station (Shannonbridge) and Lough Ree Power Station (Lanesborough, Co. Longford) are no longer supported by the PSO subsidy and must co-fire with biomass to continue to operate.
Currently BNM is successfully co-fuelling its own power station at Edenderry, Co. Offaly, with peat and biomass. To date the co-fuelling has cut its annual carbon emissions by 40%.
However, Fitzmaurice is of the view that biomass is “not a sustainable option” for the power plants.
BNM has projected that its biomass demand from 2020 onwards will be an estimated 1.5 million tonnes.
The company has stated that the considerable increase in biomass volume will require imports to close the supply gap in the short-to-medium term.
It claims that maintaining a stable biomass supply is vital to supporting jobs in the peat business and across the midlands economy.
“Over the last year, I’ve been to the fore in saying that it’s uneconomical growing biomass in this country.
We know there are 3,000ac being grown at the moment and we are aware that there is something like 500ac after being put back into agricultural land for the simple reason that the economics don’t stack up.
“The reality of it is, that because of the movements last week and the announcements, we are now bounced five years sooner than what Bord na Mona had envisaged.
“Next year we are going to have a million tonnes less of peat – that’s what we have agreed on – and what is going to replace it?
“We haven’t got a magic wand that is going to replace it over night and we are in trouble in the line of biomass because that is what the focus has been on,” Fitzmaurice said.
Fitzmaurice was also sceptical about the potential of wind powered generation.
We need fuel security in this country and we are now in danger. Where are we going for the next 10 years with making sure we have fuel security and making sure that we are not going to hit a bang?
“In my opinion we are sleepwalking into something. We are now this year at the peak of gas in Belmullet and in 2025 it is envisaged that that is gone.
“We don’t have a vision of what we are doing,” he warned.
In response to Gatwick airport announcing they plan to use their emergency runway, as a 2nd runway, local campaign, Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) Chairman, Peter Barclay, said, “We strongly oppose any 2nd runway at Gatwick and it will fight this proposal tooth and nail.” The Emergency Runway is located parallel to and only approximately 190m north of the main runway. Planning permission for the emergency runway was granted solely on the basis that – under no circumstances – could it be used in conjunction with the main runway. The CAA permission is that only one runway can be used at a time, and the emergency runway can only be used if the main runway is out of action. New planning consent (DCO) from Crawley council would be needed for the change of use, and also consent from the CAA and other safety bodies. Peter said: “The proposal, which may bring in excess of 80,000 additional flights a year, will simply increase the problems already being experienced by local communities – noise, air pollution and excessive road traffic. It would also put even greater pressure on the tottering road and rail infrastructure both locally and further afield. … Gatwick is attempting to get a 2nd runway via the back door, as it were.”
Gatwick’s Subterfuge or a Runway by any other name
GACC – (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)Press release
18th October, 2018
Gatwick Airport today launched its Five Year Master Plan, which includes a proposal to convert the existing Emergency Runway into a fully active second runway.
Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign Chairman, Peter Barclay, said, “We strongly oppose any second runway at Gatwick and it will fight this proposal tooth and nail.”
The Emergency Runway is located parallel to and approximately 190m north of the Main Runway. Planning permission for it was granted solely on the basis that under no circumstances could the Emergency Runway be used in conjunction with the Main Runway.
The Civil Aviation Authority approval also only permits the use of one or the other runways, thus the Emergency Runway may currently only be used when the Main Runway is out of action due to an incident or during maintenance.
Peter Barclay went on to say that, “The proposal, which may bring in excess of 80,000 additional flights a year, will simply increase the problems already being experienced by local communities – noise, air pollution and excessive road traffic. It would also put even greater pressure on the tottering road and rail infrastructure both locally and further afield.
The legal agreement prohibiting a second runway at Gatwick expires in August 2019 and it would appear the airport is attempting to get a second runway via the back door as it were. Any proposal to bring the Emergency Runway into operation will need approval from the CAA and other safety bodies, as well as needing planning permission for Change of Use.”
The use of the Emergency Runway in conjunction with the Main Runway will substantially increase the noise and health impacts on residents living to the north of the airport. Additionally, the increase in the number of flights would have considerable noise impacts on those beneath the now concentrated departure and arrivals flight paths to both the east and west of the airport.
Peter Barclay concluded, “People will feel angry and deceived following parliament’s overwhelming decision in June to confirm the government’s earlier choice of Heathrow for the site of additional runway capacity in the south-east.”
We will study the proposals with care and advise our members how best to respond to the Master Plan during the twelve week consultation period.”
Gatwick opens 12 week consultation on using its emergency runway, for some take-offs, adding 30% + more flights
October 18, 2018
Gatwick has announced its draft “Master Plan” which (quote) “sets out how Gatwick can grow and do more for Britain.” In order to cram more flights into a one-runway airport, they hope to make more use of their emergency runway, parallel but close to the main runway. It is too near to be used properly as a second runway, on safety grounds.There will now be a 12 week consultation period on the plans, and Gatwick hopes to finalise its plans some time into 2019. The plans also include how the airport hopes to “meet future aviation demand with sustainable growth” (sic) into the 2030s. Under its 40-year current planning agreement, Gatwick’s existing standby runway is only used when the main runway is closed for maintenance or emergencies. But Gatwick hopes it “could potentially bring its existing standby runway into routine use for departing flights, alongside its main runway, by the mid-2020s.” This could mean a maximum of 390,000 flights annually (P. 88) compared to 290,000 in 2016, (ie. about 34% more.). That could mean up to 70 million annual passengers, compared to 43 million now – and a current theoretical maximum of 61 million (ie. about 15% more). “We would be able to add between 10 and 15 additional hourly aircraft movements in the peak hours.” (P.10) Oh …. and with no extra noise …. obviously….
Airport hopes to convert existing standby strip rather than build from scratch
Gatwick, the UK’s second-busiest airport, has published proposals to move its standby runway to use it for short-haul flights by the mid-2020s.
In its draft master plan released on Thursday, Gatwick said the standby runway would have to be moved 12 metres to the north away from the main runway at a cost of about £500m to comply with international safety regulations.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s chief executive, called the idea “innovative”. “Our draft master plan offers agile, productive and low-impact ways of unlocking much-needed new capacity and increased resilience from within our existing infrastructure,” he said.
Gatwick predicted that using the second runway could raise the airport’s capacity from 281,000 flights in 2017-18 to 375,000-390,000 by 2032-33. Passenger numbers would increase from 45.7m to 68m-70m over the same period if the runway project went ahead.
The standby runway would not be lengthened so could not be used for long-haul flights, according to the plans.
Local campaigners reacted angrily to Gatwick’s proposals, saying noise pollution and traffic congestion would increase. Sally Pavey, of Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions, said the idea was “farcical” that Gatwick would negotiate over limiting noise and traffic and called life under Gatwick’s flight paths “absolute hell”.
Peter Barclay, of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign GACC, said new technology that allowed more precise navigation had meant that noise was “much more concentrated than it used to be”. He added that the airport was now “more responsive” to local concerns than a few years ago but added its attitude could still be dismissive.
Mr Wingate said Gatwick’s noise footprint had shrunk 4% in 2017 and that quieter new aeroplanes would continue to replace older, noisier ones. But the master plan conceded that Gatwick had “not yet completed a full assessment of environmental impacts of the standby runway scheme”.
Any expansion plans would face a public consultation, probably in 2019, and the airport would have to apply for a development consent order, a streamlined planning process for nationally important infrastructure projects.
In a 2015 report, the Airports Commission recommended that Gatwick should not have a full-length second runway, instead awarding a third to Heathrow. However, it also recognised that the UK needed to “improve the use of existing capacity”, which Gatwick has taken to mean bringing its standby runway into regular use rather than building a new one.
The report said it preferred Heathrow to Gatwick because the latter was “unlikely to provide as much of the [long-haul] capacity which is most urgently required”. However, Mr Wingate denied that, saying the airport had delivered “15-20 new long-haul services in the last year alone”.
In addition to the proposed £500m for bringing the standby runway into use, Gatwick has already committed to spending £1.1bn on improvements between 2018 and 2023. The proposal comes in the wake of media reports that private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners, which owns 42% of Gatwick, was interested in selling its stake.
Ms Pavey said: “This is purely about insinuating to whoever buys their shares that there is the possibility of additional capacity for that runway.”
The Airports Commission had, as its study area for the effects of Heathrow expansion, an area of just 2 kilometres from the boundary of the expanded airport. Chris Grayling wrote to the Chair of the Transport Committee on the 23rd February 2018 saying that this area “captures over 98% of additional emissions that could occur from expansion”. Teddington TAG asks if this figure of 98% emissions captured within 2 km of the boundary is true. They located air pollution data from the London Assembly, available by Borough. It apportions how much of the NOx in different areas is from vehicles, aviation and other sources. This shows that in Richmond Old Deer Park, according to the Data Apportionment Tool, about 77% of the NOx is from aviation. In Kew / North Sheen, 11km from touch-down, about 57% is from aviation. At Putney, which is under the flight path but is over 15 km from touch-down at Heathrow, about 33% of the NOx is from aviation. Putney is worse off than Kew as total emissions are greater. And all that is just from 2 runways! Aviation apportionment readings stretch back to Clapham Junction and beyond. So why did Grayling tell the Transport Committee that 98% was within 2km. Ignorance of the facts? Failure to be properly informed?
WILL HEALTH EFFECTS FROM EMISSIONS FROM HEATHROW EXPANSION BE FELT JUST WITHIN 2 KILOMETRES?
13TH OCTOBER 2018 (From Teddington Action Group)
The Airports Commission had as its study area, for the effects of Heathrow expansion, an area of just 2 kilometres from the boundary of the expanded airport. Chris Grayling wrote to the chair person of the Transport Committee on the 23rd February 2018 letter here saying that: “The DfT’s approach assessed the health impacts on populations living within 2km of the expanded airport using updated relationships between pollutant concentrations and mortality, published by DEFRA …………..The study area, which captures over 98% of additional emissions that could occur from expansion, was determined by the Airports Commission’s consultants to include those locations where expansion was expected to make a significant contribution to ambient pollution levels”Is this figure of 98% emissions capture within 2 km of the boundary true or false?Well; the London Assembly have collated a lot of air quality data, which has been in the public domain for some years. King’s College London have been instrumental in collating much air quality data. The data is available by Borough and as an “apportionment tool” to tell us the relevant sources (including aviation) of pollution at any spot in the greater London area. The website is athttps://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/llaqm-bespoke-borough-by-borough-air-quality-modelling-and-data?resource=e770d524-dd30-46db-bc2e-e8c4da8902a4Go into Richmond Old Deer Park and you might think that the majority of NOx there is from nasty smelly diesel lorries roaring down the A316 to the M3. You would be wrong. According to the Data Apportionment Tool, no less than 77.7% of NOx in Richmond Old Deer Park by the side of the A316 comes from aviation. So; let’s go a bit further away from Heathrow and see what happens:
Let us go to Kew / North Sheen, 11km from touch-down and look forward to 2020:
Put the co-ordinates into the tool and:
We are shown that 57.7% of NOx comes from aviation. There is a pie chart too:
The legal limit is an annual mean of 40 micrograms per cubic metre. There is a NOx map:
and a map of NO2 only
which show that in 2020 there will be areas particularly close to the roads that will breach the legal limits. That is with two runways at Heathrow and 57% of the NOx coming from aviation.
Let us go further away to Putney, which is under the flight path but is over 15 kilometres from touch-down at Heathrow:
Put in the co-ordinates to the calculation tool and:
We find that aviation is still contributing to 33% of the NOx emissions. Putney is worse off than Kew though because total emissions are greater and therefore the breaches are more severe. The total emissions, of which aviation contributes 33%, is bigger. The NO2 map is:
and the NOx map is:
Heathrow itself is way over the permitted limits and is predicted to be so in 2020 and 2030.
The 2020 map:
and the 2030 map is only a little better:
And all that is just from two runways!
Aviation apportionment readings stretch back to Clapham Junction and beyond
So Mr Grayling: why are you telling us and the Transport Committee that 98% of emissions from an expanded Heathrow would be captured within 2 kilometres of the airport boundary?
Grayling emissions omission admission: Heathrow air quality costs 2-4 times higher than previously thought
March 7, 2018
The Commons Transport Committee is currently assessing the Heathrow proposals for a 3rd runway. One of the issues in which they have taken a particular interest is whether the right numbers have been used for the cost to human health of air pollution, and if the costs of pollution beyond a 2km band around the airport have been properly considered. Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary, has now written to the Committee to clarify the government position, and has confirmed that the DfT omitted (in error) to consider the emissions beyond 2km. By contrast the DfT’s own impact appraisal had noted impacts well beyond this 2km boundary, in terms of additional vehicle traffic. The total figure for the extra cost to health, from Grayling’s admission, is now thought to be 2 to 4 times higher than the one published in the official appraisal document. That means the “net present value” of the scheme, previously assessed as minus £-2.2 to plus £3.3 billion over 60 years (so already potentially negative) could drop to as low as minus £-2.6 to plus £2.9 billion under the new estimate. The cost of the damage to human health from additional air pollution, associated with a new runway, is one of the two ways the DfT assesses the cost-benefit analysis of the proposal.
AEF, along with Carbon Market Watch and Transport & Environment, recently wrote to the European Commission to warn against any decision taken to exclude aviation from the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) before details of ICAO’s offsetting scheme (known as CORSIA) have been firmly established. The EU ETS covers only intra-EU flights and requires airlines to surrender sufficient carbon permits to cover their CO2 emissions in the previous year. CORSIA (Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation), a global market-based measure, was agreed in 2016 and its first phase is due to come into effect in 2021. Under CORSIA, operators will be expected to buy carbon credits equivalent to the additional carbon the sector emits above its 2020 level, for international flights globally. The aviation industry would like to see CORSIA take over from the ETS and replace it, as it is weaker and less effective in reducing CO2 emissions. The NGO’s letter asks that the European Commission should not allow CORSIA to replace the ETS for aviation, as CORSIA has many unresolved issues and well as “environmental weakness and lack of alignment with European climate ambition”.
Aviation industry calls to replace EU ETS are premature
Sep 19th 2018 (Aviation Environment Federation)
AEF, along with Carbon Market Watch and Transport & Environment, recently wroteto the European Commission to warn against any decision taken to exclude aviation from the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) before details of ICAO’s offsetting scheme (known as CORSIA) have been firmly established.
The EU ETS covers intra-EU flights and requires airlines to surrender sufficient carbon permits to cover their carbon emissions in the previous year. The aviation sector’s emission are capped under the ETS, with each airline receiving an initial allocation of permits free of charge.
Airlines who exceed this allowance, can purchase additional permits from other airlines or from companies in other sectors who have surplus. CORSIA (Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation), a global market-based measure, was agreed in 2016 and its first phase is due to come into effect in 2021. Under CORSIA, operators will be expected to buy carbon credits equivalent to the additional carbon the sector emits above its 2020 level. Unlike the EU ETS, CORSIA will cover international flights globally, rather than just those operating within Europe.
The joint letter, which can be read here, responds to a call by industry bodies to “align” the EU ETS with CORSIA, with the hope that the former system will cease once CORSIA becomes operational in 2021. The call is premature and should be rejected outlines the NGO letter, “given CORSIA’s unresolved issues, its environmental weakness and lack of alignment with European climate ambition”.
Vice President Šefčovič, Commissioner Violeta Bulc, Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete European Commission, Rue de la Loi 200 1049 Brussels, Belgium
CORSIA & European climate ambition on aviation
Dear Vice President Šefčovič, Commissioner Bulc, Commissioner Arias Cañete
EU aviation emissions increased 96% from 1990 to 2016, and are now 3.6% of EU emissions. These emissions are included in the EU 2030 target, and ambitious action is required to ensure the target is achieved.
ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme (CORSIA) for International Aviation is the primary measure which the Commission is pursuing. Draft rules, known as SARPs, have been adopted by the ICAO Council and sent to states for a response. States have been given until October 22nd to provide an initial response to the SARP, and December 1st to notify of any differences to be filed. The Commission will propose a common position for member states to adopt.
This takes place against the background that environmental safeguards in the CORSIA have been progressively weakened since 2016. European NGOs active in ICAO (EuroICSA) wish to make it clear that EU member states are in no position to respond to the SARP provisions at this time because, under EU law, it is the clear responsibility of the Council and European Parliament to first undertake a review of the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and CORSIA provisions as set out in the 2017 revision to the ETS Directive1 .
Any reply proposed by the Commission should reserve European and member state positions through filing a general difference to protect Europe’s right to meet its legal obligations including domestic laws and its obligations under international law, in particular the Paris Agreement.
The Commission and member states have an obligation to respect EU and international law. Any premature or uncritical response to ICAO by Europe would be condemned as a serious breach of Europe’s legal obligations and all means available seized to challenge such a move.
We support the development of a Delegated Act to amend certain non-essential elements of the MRV provisions in the aviation ETS subject to the clear condition that any changes solely increase accuracy, transparency and accountability of reporting, in no way reduce any functionalities of existing ETS legislation, and are without prejudice to any future decision as regards participation in the CORSIA.
1 Art 28b, Regulation 2017/2392
Given CORSIA’s unresolved issues, its environmental weakness and lack of alignment with European climate ambition, industry calls to replace the EU ETS are premature and must be rejected. Such a move would also constitute a breach of Europe’s obligations under the Paris Agreement, which has a target for outbound aviation emissions and which excludes the use of international credits. CORSIA breaches both of these commitments, and therefore relying on it as the sole measure to address aviation emissions would constitute backsliding in ambition, which the Paris Agreement prohibits.
A requirement to replace the EU ETS, with its more ambitious target and reliance on allowances, with the CORSIA which has a weaker target and relies on offsets of as yet unknown quality and which count for zero towards climate targets under EU law, would itself constitute a breach of the Paris Agreement’s Article 3 no backsliding provision. The ETS as currently functioning has secured 100% compliance from over 500 carriers.
ICAO member states have until 2020 to indicate whether they will participate in the first voluntary phases of CORSIA. This decision must await the CORSIA review under the ETS legislation. We wish to make it clear that no decision on volunteering for CORSIA should be made until after this review. There is the option to volunteer all flights or none, or just flights to and from Europe, thus excluding flights between EU states.
In all its dealings with ICAO, Europe must defend its prerogative to go beyond lowest-common denominator international agreements and protect its ability to meet and strengthen provisions to fulfil its existing and future Paris Agreement commitments.
We urge you to condition any work to support or implement CORSIA solely in accordance with EU and international law, and in a manner which reaffirms Europe’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and its transition to a zero carbon economy.
For the reasons outlined above, we call on you to:
– To reject any calls from industry to replace the EU ETS with the CORSIA
– To delay a response to ICAO about the SARP draft rules and the voluntary participation in CORSIA until the completion of the ETS review, as mandated by the ETS Directive.
Executive Director, Transport & Environment firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Johnson, Director, Aviation Environment Federation email@example.com
Eva Filzmoser , Executive Director, Carbon Market Watch eva.Filzmoser@carbonmarketwatch.org
A local newspaper in the Staines area has set out 5 key areas on which there are no assurances that Heathrow expansion will not be bad for their area. Areas like Stanwell Moor and Stanwell would be seriously affected by the addition of a 3rd runway, and they are angry and frustrated at the lack of clarity on exactly what expansion will mean for them. One issue is the WPOZ (Wider Property Offer Zone) where people have the opportunity to sell their homes to Heathrow for 125% their market value. Heathrow has remained tight lipped about the possible inclusion of the villages in the WPOZ, but has insisted all options remain on the table. On air and noise pollution, there is no clarity at all, and Heathrow continues (unsuccessfully) to try to give the impression there would be no increase to current amounts. On the Immigration Centre, the existing one in Harmondsworth would have to be demolished, but there is no indication where it might be relocated. Spelthorne Borough Council has insisted it is not built in the borough. There are also huge problems with the M25 and protection of the valuable Staines Moor SSSI area, which is home to endangered species of birds, and the possible diversion of the River Colne, which runs through the moor. Local MP Kwasi Kwateng, and Spelthorne Council still, despite all the negative impacts, back the runway …
5 issues surrounding the expansion of Heathrow Airport we still don’t have the answers to
The expansion was given the go-ahead by MPs in June, but there are several questions which remain unanswered
By Matthew Lodge (Surrey Live)
13 JUL 2018
The expansion of Heathrow Airport took another step forward last month when MPs voted to approve the National Policy Statement on Airports (NPS).
The policy, which was approved by 415 votes to 119, essentially gives parliamentary backing to the expansion of the airport. Before the full go-ahead is given though, the airport will have to submit concrete plans for what it wants to build and how it wants to build it.
As of now, however, beyond a proposed third runway to the north-west of the airport, specific details about the expansion are scarce.
This has left some residents in areas such as Stanwell Moor and Stanwell, which would be affected by the airport’s development, frustrated at the lack of clarity on exactly what expansion will mean for them.
We have looked at five of the main issues surrounding the expansion which residents still do not have clear answers to.
Residents in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell have been vocal about their desire to be included in the airport’s Wider Property Offer Zone (WPOZ).
Being included in this would mean residents have the opportunity to sell their homes to the airport for 125% their market value or to stay put.
This campaign has received the backing of Spelthorne MP Kwasi Kwarteng and Spelthorne Borough Council (SBC), which has issued its own set of demands of the airport.
Heathrow has remained tight lipped about the possible inclusion of the villages in the WPOZ, but has insisted all options remain on the table.
One of the main concerns of environmentalists is the effect expansion could have on different types of pollution in the area surrounding the airport.
A new runway would allow an increase in the number of flights going to and from the airport, and this could have a negative impact on the amount of air and noise pollution around the site.
In March, the Commons’ Transport Select Committee raised concerns about how air and noise pollution would be measured at the expanded airport and how it would ensure these would remain in agreed-upon limits.
Heathrow, for its part, insists the expansion can be done without any increase to current amounts of air and noise pollution.
3. Immigration Centre
The current immigration removal centre in Harmondsworth could be demolished to make way for the new north-west runway, but the question of where its replacement will be located is yet to be answered.
There has been some suggestion the replacement centre could be built to the north of Stanwell Moor in an area which has been earmarked for buildings needed for the the infrastructure of the airport.
As detailed plans for what Heathrow would like to see built in this area have not been drawn up yet, we don’t know if the airport plans to move the immigration centre into Spelthorne.
SBC has insisted, however, that its backing of the airport’s expansion is contingent on no immigration removal centre being built inside the borough.
Huge changes could be made between Junctions 14 and 15 of the M25, as current proposals indicate Heathrow’s preferred scheme is to build the north-west runway over an area where the motorway is now.
The exact shape of these changes to the M25 has not been laid out, but it has been proposed that the carriageway to the north of J14 is moved 150 metres to the west and lowered into a tunnel so it can go under the new runway.
It has been suggested that a series of flyovers could be built from J14 to the airport to limit the loss of the northern and western perimeter roads which would be demolished as part of the expansion.
It is unclear though, how these changes will impact commuters and residents who live nearby, particularly people living in Stanwell Moor which is currently serviced by roads linking to J14 and the western perimeter road.
5. Staines Moor
There are concerns about what expansion could mean for Staines Moor, which is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
The moor is home to several species of rare plants, while four species of threatened birds currently breed in the area – the cuckoo, skylark, song thrush and linnet.
The protection of the moor has been a key concern for environmentalists, who fear the impact a third runway and the construction of airport-related buildings to the south-west of the airport could have.
In particular, the possible diversion of the River Colne, which runs through the moor, has raised questions about how development could impact the SSSI.
The CCC’s report says a key action needed from the UK government by the first half of 2019 is to: “Publish a plan to limit UK aviation emissions to the level assumed when the fifth carbon budget was set (i.e. around 2005 levels in 2050, implying around a 60% potential increase in demand), supported by strong international policies.”. They say the UK’s 2050 target requires an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions including the UK’s share of international aviation and shipping (IAS) emissions. But if IAS is not included, all other sectors would have to cut their CO2 emissions by around 85% (cf. 1990)by 2050 – which the CCC do not believe is possible. The CCC say: “The Government have committed to publish a new Aviation Strategy in 2019. This will need to include a plan to limit UK aviation emissions to the level assumed when the 5th carbon budget was set (i.e. around 2005 levels by 2050, likely to imply around a 60% potential increase in demand), supported by strong international policies.” UK aviation CO2 emissions were already at 35.5 Mt CO2 in 2016, having risen by 1.2% in that year over 2015. Aviation emissions will continue to rise, and rapidly exceed the 37.5MtCO2 cap. Around spring 2019 the CCC will set out its thinking on whether the CORSIA is an appropriate mechanism for formally including international aviation CO2 in carbon budgets.
Apply the lessons of the past decade, or risk a poor deal for the public in the next
Ten years after the Climate Change Act came into force, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says the Government must learn the lessons of the last decade if it is to meet legally-binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the 2020s and 2030s. Unless action is taken now, the public faces an unnecessarily expensive deal to make the shift to a low-carbon economy.
Scientific evidence of a changing climate continues to mount. Recent observations have catalogued evolving changes to the climate in the UK and around the world, highlighting the urgent need for further measures to reduce harmful emissions.
Overall, UK emissions are down 43% compared to the 1990 baseline while the economy has grown significantly over the same period.
Since 2008, the UK has seen a rapid reduction in emissions in the electricity sector, but this achievement masks a marked failure to decarbonise other sectors, including transport, agriculture and buildings. In the last five years, emissions reductions in these areas have stalled. As a result, the UK is not on course to meet the fourth (2023-2027) or fifth (2028-2032) carbon budgets. Nor will it be on course unless risks to the delivery of existing policies are reduced significantly and until Government brings forward effective new policies to deliver commitments beyond the achievements in electricity generation and waste.
The next year is crucial. In January, the Committee commended the ambition of the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, but found few new detailed policies to reduce UK emissions into the next decade and beyond. Five months on, policy details are still largely absent, and we haven’t yet had the Department for Transport’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy, delayed from its planned publication in March. It is in this context that the Committee’s new report ‘Reducing UK emissions – 2018 Progress Report to Parliament’ sets out four key messages to Government to put emissions reductions on track, based on the lessons of the last decade:
Support the simple, low-cost options. Low-cost, low-risk options to reduce emissions are not being supported by Government. This penalises the consumer. There is no route to market for cheap onshore wind; withdrawal of incentives has cut home insulation installations to 5% of their 2012 level; woodland creation falls short of stated Government ambition in every part of the UK. Worries over the short-term cost of these options are misguided. The whole economy cost of meeting the legally-binding targets will be higher without cost-effective measures in every sector.
Commit to effective regulation and strict enforcement. Tougher long-term standards, for construction and vehicle emissions for example, can cut emissions, while driving consumer demand, innovation, and cost reduction. Providing long line of sight to new regulation also reduces the overall economic costs of compliance. Regulations must also be enforced to be effective: the consumer is cheated when their car’s fuel consumption and real emissions exceed the quoted test-cycle numbers; or when higher energy bills are locked-in for generations when stated building standards are not enforced.
End the chopping and changing of policy. A number of important programmes have been cancelled in recent years at short notice, including Zero Carbon Homes and the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Commercialisation Programme. This has led to uncertainty, which carries a real cost. A consistent policy environment keeps investor risk low, reduces the cost of capital, provides clear signals to the consumer and gives businesses the confidence to build UK-based supply chains.
Act now to keep long-term options open. An 80% reduction in emissions has always implied the need for new national infrastructure – to transport and store CO2 for example, or to provide decarbonised heat. The deeper emissions reductions implied by the Paris Agreement make these developments even more important. We cannot yet define the 2050 systems for carbon capture, zero-carbon transport, hydrogen or electrification of heat, but the Government must now demonstrate it is serious about their future deployment. Key technologies should be pulled through to bring down costs and support the growth of the low-carbon goods and services sector.
The Committee’s report presents a list of critical commitments it expects the Government to deliver by the time the CCC issues its next progress report to Parliament in June 2019. A number of actions are required by the end of 2018 including concrete policies to secure improvements in residential energy efficiency, a deployment pathway for CCS and new policy to strengthen the incentives for people to buy electric vehicles – amongst others.
CCC Chairman, Lord Deben, said: “Although the UK seeks to lead the world in tackling climate change, the fact is that we’re off track to meet our own emissions targets in the 2020s and 2030s. We welcomed the Government’s commitment in the Clean Growth Strategy to put green growth at the heart of its economic policy. We recognise that over the last ten years, the Government has shown it has the know-how and commitment to drive down UK emissions in the electricity sector by acting early and consistently to avoid costly interventions later. We now have to ensure that the Government learns from this experience and presents a programme to tackle emissions right across the economy, including in buildings, transport and agriculture. This action is now urgent in order to meet the UK’s legally-binding climate change targets, and to prepare to fulfil the obligations of the Paris Agreement.”
Notes to editors
The Committee’s new report ‘Reducing UK emissions – 2018 Progress Report to Parliament’ was published online at 00.01 on Thursday 28 June 2018.
The Clean Growth Strategy was published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on 12 October 2017. The Strategy sets out the Government’s proposals and policies towards meeting the fourth (2023-27) and the fifth (2028-2032) carbon budgets. The Committee’s independent assessment of the Clean Growth Strategy was published in January 2018.
It is important that the UK Government works with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure delivery against the carbon budgets – both in areas that are devolved (e.g. waste, forestry), and in those that are reserved to UK Government but have important roles for local action (e.g. home energy efficiency, Contracts-for-Difference for low-carbon electricity generation).
In the context of future UK policy and infrastructure investment decisions, the Committee has previously said that an appropriate long-term assumption for government planning is for aviation emissions to be around 2005 levels in 2050 (implying around a 60% increase in demand over the same period). The Government is planning to publish a new Aviation Strategy in the first half of 2019, including their long-term approach to climate change.
“The Committee will set out an assessment of what this strategy should involve around Spring 2019. This will include consideration of the potential to reduce aviation emissions over the period to 2050 and beyond, and the overall policy approach the Government should pursue (including whether the ICAO CORSIA scheme is an appropriate mechanism for formally including international aviation emissions within carbon budgets).
“In its advice to Government on the fifth carbon budget the Committee recommended that international shipping emissions now be included within carbon budgets. The IMO agreement on a 2050 target for international shipping is consistent with the Committee’s 2050 planning assumption, and the basis upon which the fifth carbon budget was set. It therefore reinforces the case that there is no longer any reason to exclude these emissions from carbon budgets. The Committee continues to recommend that Government should now include these emissions within carbon budgets.”
An action by the government by the first half of 2019:
“Publish a plan to limit UK aviation emissions to the level assumed when the fifth carbon budget was set (i.e. around 2005 levels in 2050, implying around a 60% potential increase in demand), supported by strong international policies.”