A new site for the Colnbrook Lakeside incinerator located – how much is Heathrow going to pay?

A new site has been identified for a replacement facility for the UK’s largest residual waste incinerating facility, in Slough. Lakeside “Energy from Waste”, which is operated by Grundon Waste Management and Viridor, have announced plans to develop proposals for a replacement facility west of the Iver South Treatment Works, around 600 metres north west of the current location.  The owners of the site have been working with Heathrow to identify the new site. The facilities will need to be moved, as the current site would be demolished to make way for a possible third runway.   Site studies and environmental assessments are being carried out, which will form a part of the planning application. Upon completion, more information will be presented at a public consultation in the spring. This consultation is separate from the current Heathrow Aerospace change consultation, and then the Heathrow Expansion consultation in June. The planning process will be a long one, needing new environmental permits etc.  It is difficult to get planning consent for an incinerator, as people dislike having potentially very harmful emissions (including dioxins) in their local air, from the burning of the vast range of substances in domestic etc waste. It is unknown how much Heathrow will pay for the relocation of the incinerator. 
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New site for Slough energy-from-waste facility identified

11th February 2019
By Matt Joy  (Slough & South Bucks Observer)

Location is probably the red circle.

A new site has been identified for a replacement facility for the countries largest residual waste incinerating facility in Slough.

Lakeside Energy from Waste, which is operated by Grundon Waste Management and Viridor, have announced plans to develop proposals for a replacement facility west of the Iver South Treatment Works, around 600 metres north west of the current location.

The owners of the site have been working with Heathrow Airport to identify the new site. The facilities will need to be moved to accommodate the proposed new third runway at Heathrow.

A series of detailed site studies and environmental assessments are being carried out, which will form a part of the planning application. Upon completion, more information will be presented at a public consultation in the Spring. This consultation is separate to the current Heathrow Aerospace and the June Heathrow Expansion consultations.

Lakeside EfW Director Richard Skehens said: “This is a major step towards replacing these important facilities, which play a valuable strategic role in regional and national waste management policy.

“Although this is just the first stage in a very long replacement programme – which will include applying for new Planning Permissions and new Environmental Permits – we are confident we are now moving in the right direction.

“We’ll publish more information about our plans for our two public consultation events in the spring.”

https://www.sloughobserver.co.uk/news/17423450.new-site-for-slough-energy-from-waste-facility-identified/?ref=twtrec

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See earlier:

Huge cost to many local authorities if Heathrow does not relocate Lakeside waste incinerator

The proposed Heathrow 3rd runway would require the demolition of the Lakeside waste incinerator. Heathrow has made no effort so far to ensure this is relocated. If there is a period without an incinerator, local authorities would have to spend many millions of £s on landfill tax (£86.10 per tonne) to dispose of waste that the Lakeside plant would have dealt with. In their submission to the Transport Committee, Grundon and Viridor say: “The revised draft NPS fails to address the planning policy vacuum that businesses like Lakeside face in trying to relocate in advance of Heathrow securing consent.This vacuum needs to be filled for the benefit of all of those businesses threatened by the new runway … the draft NPS still fails to provide any explicit support for the relocation of the Lakeside EfW or the associated complex.  Indeed, if the Lakeside EfW and the waste complex as a whole were not replaced, given the lack of acceptable alternatives, the direct consequences would be disruptive and financially harmful to the local authorities that rely upon the services provided.  … the revised NPS should state: The Government recognises the role of the Lakeside Energy from Waste plant in local waste management plans. The applicant should make all reasonable endeavours to replace the Lakeside Energy from Waste plant.”    

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/12/huge-cost-to-surrounding-local-authorities-if-heathrow-does-not-relocate-lakeside-waste-incinerator/

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See earlier:

Lakeside incinerator plant would need to move, at Heathrow’s expense, if runway is built

Grundon and Viridor’s Colnbrook incinerator at Lakeside Road would have to be demolished for a Heathrow north west runway. This, as well as local roads and the M25, are significant obstacles to the runway plan. The issue of how much Heathrow will pay for this is being negotiated. Early in 2015, Heathrow was reported to have struck a deal with Grundon and Slough Borough Council to overcome the risk to delivery of a runway, agreeing that the incinerator would be moved a short distance away, onto (Green Belt) land already owned by Grundon. It is not clear this is correct. Heathrow said it was preparing a “joint feasibility study”.  Heathrow said in 2015 that “NATS have given an initial opinion that the site is suitable for accommodating the height of flue stack required (75m).”  Three of the four lakes at Colnbrook Lakeside are now set to be lost, due to the runway.  In order that the incinerator remains open all the time, with no gap, building would need to start at least 3 years before being operational.  But the runway might never get the go ahead …  It is reported that discussions are taking place on payment of the multi-million costs of relocation. Adam Afriyie revealed in Parliament in 2015 that the government would not be paying. Robert Goodwill said it would be “a matter for the airport to take forward with the owners of the site.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/11/lakeside-incinerator-plant-would-need-to-move-at-heathrows-expense-if-runway-is-built/

 

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ICAO’s environment committee comes up with some standards for new aircraft, years ahead

The meeting of the ICAO “Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) in Montreal has ended. The committee’s purpose is to try to reduce and limit the environmental damage done by the aviation industry (noise, air pollution, carbon emissions).  It has not been very successful to date. This meeting has agreed on an

Aircraft Engine Standard: “A new stringency level that would limit the emissions of non-volatile Particulate Matter (nvPM) from aircraft engines was agreed. The ICAO standard is expected to drive technologies to address non-volatile particulate matter, which in the long run will minimise their potential environmental and health impacts.” ie. for planes yet to be built, with any impacts decades ahead. At least admitting the problem of PM particles produced by planes.  On noise ICAO said: “The meeting also delivered …improvements of aircraft noise up to 15.5 dB below Chapter 14 limits for single-aisle aircraft by 2027, NOx emission by 54 per cent relative to the latest ICAO NOx SARPs and fuel efficiency up to 1.3% per annum can be expected for the new aircraft entering into production.” Again, for new planes, with no real impact for decades. On CORSIA they said CAEP had agreement (not spelled out) on how to assess life-cycle CO2 emissions reductions for biofuels or other lower carbon fuels.  ie. not a lot.
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Sustainable aviation takes significant step forward at ICAO 

​Global measures to address aviation’s environmental impact were agreed at a meeting of the two hundred and fifty experts of ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP), which concluded today ICAO’s Montréal headquarters today.

​Montréal, 15 February 2019

ICAO website

Global measures to address aviation’s environmental impact were agreed at a meeting of the two hundred and fifty experts of ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP), which concluded today.

The meeting was opened by Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the Council of ICAO, recognizing that “In the 35 years since the CAEP was established, the scope of work and the technical areas which it covers have widened. Yet, despite the monumental challenges set before it, the CAEP remains a tremendous example of international cooperation.”

The main outcomes of the meeting are as follows:

Aircraft Engine Standard

A new stringency level that would limit the emissions of non-volatile Particulate Matter (nvPM) from aircraft engines was agreed. The ICAO standard is expected to drive technologies to address non-volatile particulate matter, which in the long run will minimize their potential environmental and health impacts.

With this new standard, ICAO has completed all main environmental standards for the certification of aircraft and engines, namely for noise, local air quality (NOx, HC, CO, nvPM) and climate change (CO2), making the aviation industry the only sector with environmental mandatory certification requirements at the global level for the operation of its equipment. Once applicable, all new aircraft will need to be certified to those ICAO standards before operating.

The meeting also delivered new technology goals for the sector, including improvements of aircraft noise up to 15.5 dB below Chapter 14 limits for single-aisle aircraft by 2027, NOx emission by 54 per cent relative to the latest ICAO NOx SARPs and fuel efficiency up to 1.3 per cent per annum can be expected for the new aircraft entering into production.

Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) 

Agreement has been achieved on the means to calculate and claim the benefits accrued from the use of sustainable aviation fuels within the context of CORSIA. This is significant in terms of reducing airlines’ offsetting requirements.

The agreement included the default values and the methodologies for calculating actual values needed to calculate the life-cycle CO2 emissions reduction benefits of different feedstocks. CAEP has also agreed on the requirements for Sustainability Certification Schemes (SCS) and a process to evaluate and recommend a list of eligible SCS, which will certify fuels against the CORSIA sustainability criteria. This package of agreements provides the clarity needed for the energy sector to embark in the production of sustainable fuels for aviation, and is an important step towards CORSIA implementation.

In addition, CAEP has delivered a recommendation for the rules and procedure for the ICAO Council’s Technical Advisory Body (TAB), which will evaluate the eligibility of emissions units for use in CORSIA. Another agreement was the technical updates of Environmental Technical Manual on CORSIA, which clarifies the recommended actions by States and airlines for monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions under CORSIA.

Environmental Trends and Outlook 

The meeting agreed on the updated ICAO environmental trends for noise, local air quality (NOx and nvPM) and global climate (CO2), which will be the basis for the considerations of ICAO environmental policies at the next ICAO Assembly, in September 2019.

Important publications were also developed as part of ICAO’s eco-airport toolkit collection in the areas of renewable energy, waste management, environmental management, and eco-design of airport building.

Regarding climate change adaptation, a Synthesis Report was approved for publication, providing important information on the climate risk impacts and resilient options for the sector.

Two other important reports were agreed: one on the state of aircraft end-of-life and recycling; and the other on performance-based navigation and community engagement.

The meeting further agreed with the results of the assessment of the positive effects of operational improvements. The assessment showed that the implementation of these measures, as per ICAO global plans, savings of fuel between of 167 to 307 kg per flight can be achieved by 2025. This corresponds respectively to a reduction of 26.2 to 48.2 Mt of CO2. The meeting agreed on the publication of the white paper “State of the Science 2019: Aviation Noise Impacts Workshop”.

CAEP also considered the progress that has been achieved towards supersonic transport operations, and agreed that an exploratory study should be undertaken.

CAEP will also assess how to certify other new technologies such as hybrid and electric aircraft as part of its future work.

CAEP is a technical body of the ICAO Council, and all the technical recommendations agreed by CAEP above will be considered by the Council for final approval.

https://www.icao.int/Newsroom/Pages/Sustainable-aviation-takes-significant-step-forward-at-ICAO.aspx

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See earlier:

Critics attack secrecy at UN’s ICAO CAEP committee, tasked with cutting global airline CO2 emissions

A UN ICAO committee, Committee on Aviation and Environmental Protection (CAEP), with the job of cutting global aircraft carbon emissions (an issue of global concern) is meeting secretly, for discussions dominated by airline industry observers. The committee always meets behind closed doors; the press and other observers are not allowed in (unlike other UN committees).  The committee’s agenda and discussion documents are not released to the public or the international press. Anyone who leaks documents being discussed faces “unlimited liability for confidentiality breaches”, according to ICAO rules.  The only non-governmental body not linked to the airline industry allowed into the meeting is the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA), made up of a small group of international environmental NGOs. Transparency International says “Agencies which set common global standards for large, international industries have to be transparent in order to prevent capture by corporate interests … ”  A key concern is that the committee wants to certify biofuels, that are definitely NOT environmentally sustainable, as low carbon. And also fossil oil, produced using solar energy – also NOT a low carbon fuel. The committee needs to be open to public scrutiny.

Click here to view full story…

ICAO’s CORSIA low standards on biofuels risk undercutting EU’s new renewables rules

The UN’s ICAO is a secretive organisation, that has been woefully ineffective in limiting the CO2 emissions of global aviation. There are considerable concerns that it will try to get bad biofuels certified as low carbon, in order to whitewash the sector’s emissions in future. The global deal, CORSIA, making the first tentative steps towards restricting aviation CO2 at all is just starting. There is, elsewhere, growing understanding that biofuels are generally not the way forward, and their real lifecycle carbon emissions are far higher than their proponents make out. ICAO has now agree 2 criteria (out of 12 possible) for aviation biofuels. These are that there should have been no deforestation after 2009; and there should be at least a saving of 10% of green house gas emissions, (including emissions from indirect land-use change or ILUC) compared to fossil jet kerosene. ICAO’s environment committee will develop rules for what biofuels can be credited – ie. how much of an emissions reduction each biofuel delivers.  The effect can only be accurately accounted for using models. There is a serious danger they will try and include palm oil. And countries like Saudi Arabia are trying to get “lower carbon” fossil fuels included, if their production can be 10% more carbon efficient.  So aviation will continue to emit vast amounts of carbon for decades….

Click here to view full story…

Experts say legal obstacles no barrier to introducing aviation fuel tax for flights in Europe

EU countries can end the decades-long exemption on taxing aviation fuel. Legal experts say it is possible to tax kerosene on flights between EU countries. This could either be done at EU level through a series of bilateral agreements or by agreement between individual countries. Transport & Environment (T&E) has found that the old argument that foreign carriers’ operating within the EU – de facto a small number of flights – can’t be taxed can be overcome by introducing a de minimis threshold below which fuel burn would not be taxed.  At present (and for decades past) airlines, unlike almost all other forms of transport, pay no fuel tax on flights within or from the EU – even though aviation causes 5% of global warming. They also pay no VAT.  Despite the aviation industry’s attempts to hide behind the 1944 Chicago Convention, when the agreement was made on not taxing aviation fuel, that is not what is preventing fuel taxation. In fact it is old bilateral ‘air service agreements’ that European governments signed up to years ago that include mutual fuel tax exemptions for non-EU airlines. It remains too hard to tax fuel for international, non-EU, flights.

Click here to view full story…

CORSIA and its failings explained – great piece from Carbon Brief

In a long, detailed and very informative article from Carbon Brief, Jocelyn Timperley explains the CORSIA scheme for aircraft carbon emissions, and its failings. While airlines are starting this year to measure and record their carbon emissions for the first time, it is not expected that the scheme will do anything much to limit aviation carbon.  “It can be expected to “modestly reduce” the net climate impact of international aviation up to 2035, according to the (ICCT). This is only if high-quality offsets are used and those offsets are not “double counted”, the think-tank adds….  Unless it is extended beyond 2035, Corsia will cover only 6% of projected CO2 emissions from all international aviation between 2015 and 2050, ICCT data indicates.”  That assumes China will partake from the pilot phase. “Base emissions continue to grow under Corsia due to uncovered traffic….. The ICCT argues this means Corsia “does not obviate the need for an ICAO long-term climate goal”. Because of a range of issues, like biofuels, offsets, forestry etc : “It’s not just that Corsia is a weak measure – it’s that it’s an actively bad measure, that risks doing more harm than good.”

Click here to view full story…

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Letter from Lord Deben, Chairman of the CCC – to Grayling on “Aviation 2050” the DfT’s aviation strategy green paper

In a letter to Chris Grayling, dated 12th February, Lord Deben provides the Committee on Climate Change’s views on the current aviation strategy green paper consultation, Aviation 2050 – The future of UK aviation.  [the aviation green paper]. He says “You will be aware that my Committee has been asked by Ministers to offer advice on the implications of the Paris Agreement for the UK’s statutory framework, including when ‘net-zero’ emissions can be achieved. A stronger UK target would require more effort from all sectors, including aviation. We intend to provide an updated view on the appropriate long-term ambition for aviation emissions within our advice on the UK’s long-term targets. We will publish our report in spring. Following that, we will write to you directly to set out the implications for the Aviation Strategy.”  It also says: “The final white paper should further clarify that this will be met on the basis of actual emissions, rather than by relying on international offset credits.”  And “Achieving aviation emissions at or below 2005 levels in 2050 will require contributions from all parts of the aviation sector,… It will also require steps to limit growth in demand. In the absence of a true zero-carbon plane, demand cannot continue to grow unfettered over the long-term.”  Read the whole letter. 
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From
Lord Deben
Chairman, The Committee on Climate Change
7 Holbein Place,
London SW1W 8NR
| Tel: 020 7591 6080
| www.theccc.org.uk |
@theCCCuk
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To
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The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP
Secretary of State for Transport
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
London SW1P 4DR
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 12 February 2019
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Aviation 2050 – The future of UK aviation 
Dear Secretary of State,
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I am writing to you to provide my Committee’s views on your recently published consultation, Aviation 2050 – The future of UK aviation.  [the aviation green paper]
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The UK’s currently legislated 2050 target is to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels. Since the Climate Change Act became law, the UK has ratified the Paris Agreement, implying even stronger action. You will be aware that my Committee has been asked by Ministers to offer advice on the implications of the Paris Agreement for the UK’s statutory framework, including when ‘net-zero’ emissions can be achieved. A stronger UK target would require more effort from all sectors, including aviation. We intend to provide an updated view on the appropriate long-term ambition for aviation emissions within our advice on the UK’s long-term targets. We will publish our report in spring. Following that, we will write to you directly to set out the implications for the Aviation Strategy.
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Our present planning assumption, which underpins the fifth carbon budget and the current 2050 target, is that UK aviation emissions in 2050 should be around their 2005 level (i.e. 37.5 MtCO2e). Your acceptance of this planning assumption in the consultation is a very welcome step. The final white paper should further clarify that this will be met on the basis of actual emissions, rather than by relying on international offset credits.
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Aviation emissions in the UK have more than doubled since 1990, while emissions for the economy as a whole have fallen by around 40%. Achieving aviation emissions at or below 2005 levels in 2050 will require contributions from all parts of the aviation sector, including from new technologies and aircraft designs, improved airspace management, airlines’ operations, and use of sustainable fuels. It will also require steps to limit growth in demand. In the absence of a true zero-carbon plane, demand cannot continue to grow unfettered over the long-term.
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Our analysis, and that of industry, suggests the largest contribution to reducing aviation emissions will come from new technologies and aircraft designs. Research we have commissioned jointly with your department, which was published alongside the  consultation, indicates that many of these developments are likely to be cost-effective, given their potential fuel savings. The final white paper should build on the approach set out in the Aerospace Sector Deal and Future Flight Challenge, and set out a clear strategy to ensure these technology solutions are developed and brought to market in a timely fashion.
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In our recent Biomass review1 we advised that government should not plan for high levels of biofuel use in aviation in the long-term, given uncertainty about sustainable biomass supply and cost-effectiveness. Production of aviation biofuel will likely need to be in conjunction with carbon capture and storage (CCS) to be competitive with competing uses for biomass (e.g. in industry, electricity generation, or hydrogen production). A pragmatic planning assumption would be to aim for up to 10% biofuel use in aviation in 2050. In the period to 2030 government policy should aim to develop a market for aviation biofuels produced in genuinely CCS-ready facilities, and should facilitate this by achieving more of the 2030 Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation through aviation fuels.
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We welcome your proposal to ask the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to scrutinise the needs case for further airport expansion. The consultation paper also states other conditions must be met prior to further expansion. The work of the NIC is already consistent with the requirements of the Climate Change Act and the government’s climate change commitments; the final white paper should clarify that this will continue to be the case.
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We also welcome the commitment to negotiate in the ICAO a long-term goal for global international aviation emissions that is consistent with the Paris Agreement. The ICAO’s current carbon policy, CORSIA, has an end date of 2035 and will need to be based on robust rules that deliver genuine emission reductions. A new long-term objective would provide a strong and early signal to incentivise the investment in new, cleaner, technologies that will be required for the sector to play its role in meeting long-term targets. This is particularly important in aviation given the long lifetimes of assets. A similar approach has been agreed for global shipping emissions in the IMO, which has set a target for greenhouse gas emissions to be at least 50% below 2008 levels by 2050.
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I note that your consultation commits to regular updates of the Aviation Strategy. These regular reviews will provide an opportunity to respond to a future decision by Parliament to meet the UK’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. I hope the final white paper will set more specific time-points for these reviews, and align them to developments in government climate strategy overall.
Yours,
Lord Deben
Chairman,
Committee on Climate Change
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1   CCC (2018) Biomass in a low-carbon economy

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See earlier:

Committee on Climate Change says DfT must publish a plan, by summer 2019, to limit aviation CO2

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.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2018/06/committee-on-climate-change-says-dft-must-publish-a-plan-by-summer-2019-to-limit-aviation-co2/

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Committee on Climate Change – reiterates its need for aviation demand increase to be 60% at most (cf. 2005 level)

The Committee on Climate Change has produced its assessment of the UK’s Clean Growth Strategy.  Its key findings are that thought the Government has made a strong commitment to achieving the UK’s climate change targets, policies and proposals set out in the Clean Growth Strategy will need to be firmed up, and gaps to meeting the 4th and 5th carbon budgets must be closed. The CCC says, on aviation: “The government should plan to limit UK aviation emissions to the level assumed when the fifth carbon budget was set (i.e. around 2005 levels by 2050), supported by strong international policies. Emissions at this level could be achieved through a combination of fuel and operational efficiency improvement, use of sustainable biofuels, and by limiting demand growth to around 60% above 2005 levels by 2050.” And while their recommendation was “A plan to limit UK aviation emissions to the level assumed when the fifth carbon budget was set: around 2005 levels by 2050, implying around a 60% potential increase in demand, supported by strong international policies” there has been NO progress made.  They also say: The Government have committed to publish a new Aviation Strategy by the end of 2018. This will need to include a plan to limit UK aviation emissions to the level assumed when the fifth 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.”   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2018/01/committee-on-climate-change-reiterates-its-need-for-aviation-demand-increase-to-be-60-at-most-cf-2005-level/

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Chiswick, Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush, etc residents horrified & stunned by likely impact of Heathrow proposed airspace changes

Residents from Chiswick, Shepherds Bush and Hammersmith were stunned to hear that their area would experience 25,000 extra flights by 2022  – and a further 260,000 by 2026 if a 3rd Heathrow runway were ever to open. Over 300 residents turned out to a heavily over-subscribed meeting, organised by the No 3rd Runway Coalition, to learn how the plans for airspace change at Heathrow will drastically impact their area.  The meeting also heard from local MPs Ruth Cadbury and Andy Slaughter, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council Stephen Cowan, as well as local campaign groups  Chiswick Against the Third Runway, Bedford Park Society and Hammersmith & Fulham No 3rd Runway.  The airport is currently consulting across west London (and wider) on how future operations at the airport would work with a 3rd runway, with a range of options put forward for consultation. By the end of the meeting there was outrage as people understood the impacts, and the extent of the noise nuisance, that is proposed for the communities of Chiswick, Stamford Brook and Ravenscourt Park. Those changes could start within a few years. It is vital that people who will be newly, and very negatively affected, respond to the consultation, stressing their strong opposition.
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COMMUNITIES ‘STUNNED’ AT IMPACT OF HEATHROW PLANS

13.2.2019

Residents from Chiswick, Shepherds Bush and Hammersmith were stunned to hear that their area would experience 25,000 extra flights by 2022 and a further 260,000 by 2026 if a third runway were ever to open.

Over 300 residents turned out on Tuesday evening (12th February) to learn how the plans for airspace change at Heathrow will drastically impact their area (1).

Gathering at Christ Church on Turnham Green in a heavily over-subscribed event, residents heard from the No 3rd Runway Coalition who were joined by local MPs Ruth Cadbury and Andy Slaughter, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council Stephen Cowan, as well as local campaign groups Chiswick Against the Third Runway, Bedford Park Society and Hammersmith & Fulham No 3rd Runway.

The airport is currently consulting across west London on how future operations at the airport would work with a third runway, with plans for a range of options put forward for consultation. By the end of the meeting there was outrage with the impacts of what is proposed for the communities of Chiswick, Stamford Brook and Ravenscourt Park.

 Paul Beckford, of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, who organised the meeting, said:

“It was vital that we organised this meeting to help the communities understand the very complex and technical proposals in this airspace consultation.

Given the significant and negative impact that expansion would have on this area, it is clear that the best way to stop these additional flights is to oppose a third runway.”

Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith, said:

“My constituents are rightly outraged at the impact Heathrow will have on our community with these plans for more flights over the next few years. I urge everyone to oppose these plans in the strongest possible form.”

Deborah Cadbury from Chiswick Against the Third Runway, added: “We are shocked & stunned by Heathrow’s plans to fly 25,000 more aircraft a year right over Chiswick by 2022, in addition to plans for a vast increase in flights from a third runway”

Whilst Hammersmith & Fulham Council leader Stephen Cowan noted that: “for our children’s and grandchildren’s sake, we deserve better than a vanity project that will cost billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money and contribute nothing to the UK economy.”

ENDS.

 

For more information:

https://www.no3rdrunwaycoalition.co.uk/

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See also:

 

Richmond Council reaffirms opposition to more Heathrow flights, as plans show there will be no escape from aircraft noise

Richmond Council voted to reaffirm its stance against Heathrow expansion last night, in a motion criticising the airport’s proposal to add an additional 25,000 flights a year, prior to expansion.  Last week the Council condemned Heathrow’s latest consultation which considers several issues, including; 25,000 flights added prior to expansion, noise, runway alternation and night-flying relating to its 2 existing runways, as well as the proposed controversial new 3rd runway. At the full Council meeting, members from all political parties were united in agreeing that the proposals were unacceptable and would prove disastrous for Richmond upon Thames. The impact from the additional flights would be felt across the whole borough, as curving flight paths may impact on areas that haven’t been impacted by aircraft noise before. By contrast, currently most aircraft noise from approaching aircraft is concentrated over the north of the borough including Barnes, Kew and Richmond. A key councillor said this 25,000 is just the tip of the iceberg. An extra runway would mean an additional 260,000 flights a year. That is unacceptable for our health, our sleep and our environment. It will ruin the lives of thousands of people.

Click here to view full story…

Heathrow slammed for ‘by-passing Chiswick’ for one of its consultation events

Local MP Ruth Cadbury has joined Chiswick campaigners against Heathrow expansion who say they are angry at the airport’s failure to hold a local consultation on changes which will significantly affect W4, particularly north Chiswick. The airport’s current round of consultation events (Airspace And Future Operations ) features events in Hammersmith, Ealing and Hounslow Civic Centre, but none in Chiswick.  This is despite the fact that the area faces significant potential disruption by proposed changes to flight paths or changes to respite periods even without a third runway. With a 3rd runway, the area will be intensely overflown by planes arriving to the new north runway, from the east.Campaigners say the level of low flights directly over the North Chiswick area area could reach 47 per hour (almost 1 per minute). It is likely that, with a 3rd runway, an estimated 35,000 residents could be affected. They consider that Heathrow is avoiding holding events in areas where opposition is likely to be strong and forceful, to try and ensure a more positive overall response to the consultation. The Bedford Park Society (BPS) and local group CHATR are planning a public meeting in Chiswick instead.

Click here to view full story…

Wandsworth Council Leader criticises Heathrow Public Consultation event – just one for the borough, in a difficult location

Wandsworth Council Leader, Ravi Govindia, has urged residents concerned about the impact of a 3rd runway at Heathrow, to attend a Heathrow consultation event that the airport is hosting in the borough this week. They need to make their voice heard. He has criticised Heathrow for having just one such event in Wandsworth, at a location that will be difficult for many residents to access. That is even though the increased aircraft noise would affect hundreds of thousands of Wandsworth residents. The event is being held on 30 January and is open to residents from 2pm to 8pm at the University of Roehampton, SW15 5PH.  Councillor Govindia said residents know that a 3rd runway would have a serious impact on the borough. It would produce an unacceptable rise in noise and air pollution, damaging the environment and posing a risk to people’s health and well-being. The Council believes that the impact from additional flights would be felt most keenly in West Hill, Southfields, Earlsfield and Tooting. Currently most aircraft noise from is concentrated over the north of the borough including Putney, Wandsworth and Battersea. Many people will get intense plane noise for the first time.

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London Assembly report says Heathrow 3rd runway should be scrapped, due to ‘severe effects’ of aircraft noise

A report, by the London Assembly environment committee, calls for Heathrow expansion to be stopped, due to the effects of aircraft noise. The report has renewed calls for the 3rd runway to be stopped. The noise from aircraft negatively affects work, relaxation and sleep, with “severe effects” on health and wellbeing. Caroline Russell, chairman of the committee, said: “The experiences of residents living with the daily nightmare of overhead noise are deeply worrying. This drive towards filling airspace capacity must be checked. For too many people, including children, aircraft noise is a major dominant intrusion into their everyday lives.”  If Heathrow builds the new runway, the number of flights will increase from around 475,000 to 740,000 a year.  It is likely that around 200,000 more people will be badly affected by aircraft noise. Heathrow also plans to increase its flights by 25,000, to around 500,000 per year and change flight paths, including overflying new areas, even before any 3rd runway. Ms Russell added: “…aviation authorities and operators must prioritise the health and well-being of Londoners and give us a break.”

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Richmond Council condemns latest Heathrow consultation – for unacceptable increases in noise and air pollution

Heathrow has a consultation, closing on 4th March, on its future airspace, both for the existing 2 runways and with a possible 3rd runway. Heathrow claim they will take the responses and view of residents etc into account. However, Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, has condemned the latest consultation – claiming 25,000 extra flights would be disastrous for the borough. He, said: “We have always said that Heathrow needs to be better and not bigger. But clearly size is everything to the airport. Heathrow are proposing the biggest changes to its flight path since it opened. People living in Richmond and other areas of West London will find their respite from overhead noise cut under these proposals. Not to mention the additional 25,000 more flights a year – which will no doubt be crammed into the early morning schedules, delivering more misery for our residents. Let’s not forget, these extra flights will still require Planning consent.” He said it was a bad case of the government “putting the cart before the horse” in having got a parliamentary vote in favour of the runway (many votes by MPs who very little indeed about it) before details of flight paths and other impacts were known.

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Heathrow opens new consultation on airspace – including 25,000 more annual flights, by using IPA

Heathrow has opened another consultation – this on is on “Airspace & Future Operations”. It ends on 4th March. Not only is Heathrow planning for a 3rd runway, and up to 50% more flights eventually, it is also now trying to get another 25,000 flights (about 5% more). fairly soon. And it wants these extra 25,000 flights whether it gets its 3rd runway, or not. The current flight numbers cap is 480,000 per year, set after the Terminal 5 Inquiry. It is currently using about 475,000 – with the few spaces at unpopular times of the day or week. Heathrow plans to get the extra flights, added at times already very busy, by what it calls IPA – Independent Parallel Approaches, which mean planes can come in on two runways at once, at the same time. Currently if they do this, they have to be staggered, at slightly further distances apart than with IPA. Heathrow admits this will mean different flight paths, and people not currently being overflown, by narrow concentrated flight paths.  Planes on IPA would join the final approach path about 8 nautical miles from the runway. It will be important that the areas to be newly negatively affected are made aware of what is going to hit them. The extra flights would also give Heathrow more income in the short term, to help it pay the immense cost of its 3rd runway plans.

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Advice from Teddington TAG on Heathrow consultations on future flight paths

During January to March 2019, Heathrow Airport will be conducting a consultation in 2 parts, which people need to be aware of:  1. Airspace changes for the existing two runways to allow an increase in the number of flights. Heathrow want to increase the annual throughput by 25,000 ATMs.  2. Airspace changes for a 3 runway airport.   Later in the year, there will be a second consultation on Heathrow’s “preferred masterplan for Heathrow expansion.  It is VERY IMPORTANT that people respond to the consultation. One thing that we can be pretty sure of is that there will be more, not less, noise; for some people, this may be very significant.  For both 2 runways and 3 runways, Heathrow will be introducing PBN “Performance Based Navigation”, a form of “Satnav” which enables planes to be positioned in the sky much more precisely. This will bring about the further concentration of flight paths – to the detriment of people underneath them.  TAG is very much against the concentration of flight paths as it represents an unfair and extremely unhealthy burden upon those affected.

Click here to view full story…

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Dutch Sec of State for Finance says an EU airline tax needed to limit low-cost flights

The Dutch Secretary of State for Finance, Menno Snel, has said the EU needs an airline tax to disincentivise consumers from using low-budget airlines for frequent travel. Mr Snel is to make his pitch for an EU-wide tax at a meeting of European finance ministers, as a way to curb aviation CO2 emissions. He said:  “We need to come up with some ideas. It’s not sustainable that we fly for a weekend with some friends all around Europe, when we could do it with the train.” Using the example of a €19 return ticket from Amsterdam to Berlin, he said: “[People] understand it’s not a fair price right now.”  Mr Snel said the tax could complement emissions reduction programs like the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) and the UN’s CORSIA.  He said just having a carbon price does not mean there cannot ALSO be taxes on flights. Aviation is an under-taxed sector, paying no fuel duty and no VAT.  He understands that CORSIA itself is not sufficient to even dent aviation carbon emissions, and more taxes on flights are needed – on a global scale.  Mr Snell will suggest an EU-wide minimum ticket tax, above which individual countries could charge more. EU tax initiatives require unanimity to be adopted.

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Dutch minister: EU airline tax needed to limit low-cost travel

By Bjarke Smith-Meyer and Saim Saeed (Politico Pro)
11th February 2019

The EU needs an airline tax to disincentivize consumers from using low-budget airlines for frequent travel, Dutch Secretary of State for Finance Menno Snel told POLITICO.

Snel will on Tuesday make his pitch for an EU-wide tax at a meeting of European finance ministers, as a way to curb carbon emissions.

“We need to come up with some ideas,” Snel said in an interview this evening. “It’s not sustainable that we fly for a weekend with some friends all around Europe when we could do it with the train.”

Using the example of a €19 return ticket from Amsterdam to Berlin, he said: “[People] understand it’s not a fair price right now.”

Snel said the tax could complement emissions reduction programs like the EU’s Emissions Trading System and U.N.-sponsored offsetting scheme Corsia. “I think one is not the enemy of the other … The ETS can set the [carbon] price, that doesn’t mean you can’t have taxes on it,” he said.

Asked if he thought Corsia alone was insufficient, Snel said: “Yeah.”

Snel argued the aviation industry isn’t taxed highly relative to other industries. “There are no excises, no [value-added tax], we’ve talked about kerosene tax, but … you need to do it on the world’s scale,” he said.

The Netherlands wants to lay the foundation for a proposal that the next European Commission can put forward. Snel said he was open to all ideas but said he will suggest an EU-wide minimum ticket tax, above which individual countries could charge more.

EU tax initiatives require unanimity to be adopted.

https://www.politico.eu/pro/dutch-minister-eu-airline-tax-needed-to-limit-low-cost-travel/

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See also

 

Experts say legal obstacles no barrier to introducing aviation fuel tax for flights in Europe

EU countries can end the decades-long exemption on taxing aviation fuel. Legal experts say it is possible to tax kerosene on flights between EU countries. This could either be done at EU level through a series of bilateral agreements or by agreement between individual countries. Transport & Environment (T&E) has found that the old argument that foreign carriers’ operating within the EU – de facto a small number of flights – can’t be taxed can be overcome by introducing a de minimis threshold below which fuel burn would not be taxed.  At present (and for decades past) airlines, unlike almost all other forms of transport, pay no fuel tax on flights within or from the EU – even though aviation causes 5% of global warming. They also pay no VAT.  Despite the aviation industry’s attempts to hide behind the 1944 Chicago Convention, when the agreement was made on not taxing aviation fuel, that is not what is preventing fuel taxation. In fact it is old bilateral ‘air service agreements’ that European governments signed up to years ago that include mutual fuel tax exemptions for non-EU airlines. It remains too hard to tax fuel for international, non-EU, flights.

Click here to view full story…

CORSIA and its failings explained – great piece from Carbon Brief

In a long, detailed and very informative article from Carbon Brief, Jocelyn Timperley explains the CORSIA scheme for aircraft carbon emissions, and its failings. While airlines are starting this year to measure and record their carbon emissions for the first time, it is not expected that the scheme will do anything much to limit aviation carbon.  “It can be expected to “modestly reduce” the net climate impact of international aviation up to 2035, according to the (ICCT). This is only if high-quality offsets are used and those offsets are not “double counted”, the think-tank adds….  Unless it is extended beyond 2035, Corsia will cover only 6% of projected CO2 emissions from all international aviation between 2015 and 2050, ICCT data indicates.”  That assumes China will partake from the pilot phase. “Base emissions continue to grow under Corsia due to uncovered traffic….. The ICCT argues this means Corsia “does not obviate the need for an ICAO long-term climate goal”. Because of a range of issues, like biofuels, offsets, forestry etc : “It’s not just that Corsia is a weak measure – it’s that it’s an actively bad measure, that risks doing more harm than good.”

Click here to view full story…

 

See earlier:

Dutch Gov.: New 7-euro tax for all plane tickets

11 December 2018 ,

By Mina Solanki  (Iamexpat)

Regardless of your destination, soon you will end up spending more per ticket due to the new flight tax that the Dutch government plans on implementing. The Netherlands used to tax flights, however, this tax was abolished a year after it was implemented in 2008, as it did not result in a great deal of profit, money or environmental wise.

No more flying tax-free

Currently, if you take a flight from the Netherlands you don’t pay tax on it; something which Finance State Secretary Menno Snel finds odd, as train, bus and car travel are taxed. The government is now planning on introducing a tax of 7 euros per flight ticket, regardless of the destination, and taxes for noisy and polluting aircrafts.

Previously, different tax rates for European and intercontinental flights were considered; however, such a proposal was dismissed for being too complex. Taxes in the said proposal were 3,8 euros for European flights and 22 euros for intercontinental flights.

The new plane ticket tax proposal has been sent to the Council of State and, if all goes to plan, it will be implemented in 2021. Should a European-wide flight tax be actualised, the current Dutch flight tax plan will lapse.

What is the purpose of the plane ticket tax?

The Dutch government wants to implement the proposed tax to help reduce the damage to the environment and climate caused by the aviation industry. However, research commissioned by the government shows that the tax will be little to no help for this goal and will not have a large impact on consumer choices.

Natuur & Milieu, a Dutch environmental organisation, is not entirely satisfied with the outcome. Director of Natuur & Milieu, Marjolein Demmers, states: “We are happy with the implementation of a flight tax, however, such a small amount will, of course, have little effect on climate, noise pollution or public health”.

According to Demmers, if you were to tax flight tickets fairly, they would be 35 percent more expensive than they are now. The Dutch Airline Pilots Association (VNV) also has its qualms with the new tax measure, calling it an “ineffective measure”. In the near future, tickets will become more expensive anyway, in part due to the scarce capacity at Schiphol.

https://www.iamexpat.nl/expat-info/dutch-expat-news/dutch-gov-new-7-euro-tax-all-plane-tickets

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Critics attack secrecy at UN’s ICAO CAEP committee, tasked with cutting global airline CO2 emissions

A UN ICAO committee, Committee on Aviation and Environmental Protection (CAEP), with the job of cutting global aircraft carbon emissions (an issue of global concern) is meeting secretly, for discussions dominated by airline industry observers. The committee always meets behind closed doors; the press and other observers are not allowed in (unlike other UN committees).  The committee’s agenda and discussion documents are not released to the public or the international press. Anyone who leaks documents being discussed faces “unlimited liability for confidentiality breaches”, according to ICAO rules.  The only non-governmental body not linked to the airline industry allowed into the meeting is the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA), made up of a small group of international environmental NGOs. Transparency International says “Agencies which set common global standards for large, international industries have to be transparent in order to prevent capture by corporate interests … ”  A key concern is that the committee wants to certify biofuels, that are definitely NOT environmentally sustainable, as low carbon. And also fossil oil, produced using solar energy – also NOT a low carbon fuel. The committee needs to be open to public scrutiny.

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The problem is that the UK is determined to see the ICAO process, CORSIA, as the way aviation carbon will be dealt with. With its secrecy and low standards, it is NOT sufficient. The UK needs to do more to restrict aviation CO2 emissions. Not just use ICAO as a convenient excuse for inaction.


Critics attack secrecy at UN body seeking to cut global airline emissions

Body in charge of cutting aviation’s carbon footprint meets behind closed doors

A UN body tasked with cutting global aircraft emissions is covertly meeting this week for discussions dominated by airline industry observers.

The environment committee of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) meets on Monday in Montreal behind closed doors to discuss measures to reduce emissions from international aircraft. Domestic and international flights emitted 895m tonnes of CO2 last year – 2.4% of global energy-related CO2 emissions, according to Carbon Brief. In terms of emissions, if aviation were a country it would be the sixth largest in the world.

But the body in charge of reducing the carbon footprint of international aviation has little or no public scrutiny. Its agenda and discussion documents are not released to the public or the international press, and the meetings are not open to the media.

Anyone who leaks documents being discussed faces “unlimited liability for confidentiality breaches”, according to ICAO rules.

Key observers at Monday’s meeting of the ICAO  Committee on Aviation and Environmental Protection (CAEP) are a number of industry bodies. They include the International Business Aviation Council, the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations, the Arab Civil Aviation Commission, the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations, the Airports Council International (ACI) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The only non-governmental body not linked to the airline industry allowed into the meeting is the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation, (ICSA) https://www.icsa-aviation.org/  made up of a small group of international environmental NGOs.

Nadja Kostka, climate project coordinator at Transparency International, said: “Agencies which set common global standards for large, international industries have to be transparent in order to prevent capture by corporate interests, or even the appearance of undue influence.

“The ICAO currently meets behind closed doors, including for discussion about emissions, which affect the entire planet. We’ve seen similar situations at other UN agencies … we strongly believe that all UN bodies need to commit to transparent ways of working in order to gain the public’s trust.”

The key discussions on reducing emissions come amid growing pressure from some countries – and their airlines – to open the doors to all types of biofuels, including those which cause environmental destruction, such as palm oil-based fuels.

Malaysia, which is not a member of CAEP, is pushing a campaign – Love my Palm Oil – to extend it to non-food use, supported by its three main airlines.

Twenty-four countries, including the UK, France, Canada, Singapore, Russia and the US, have representatives at this week’s meeting.

This year international aircraft will for the first time have to start monitoring their emissions as part of ICAO measures to reduce emissions with a market-based system of purchasing emissions offsets – rather than by directly reducing aircraft emissions.

They can reduce the amount of carbon emissions they have to offset by using biofuels, but as yet there has been no agreement by member countries on restricting the new fuels to those which are sustainable.

The scheme was agreed in 2016 by the ICAO countries. But few believe it will have the required impact on cutting emissions in a growing aviation industry in which passenger numbers are predicted to double to 8.2 billion in 2037.

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) said it could only be expected to “modestly reduce” the net climate impact of international aviation up to 2035.

Andrew Murphy of the NGO Transport and Environment, said the lack of transparency gave little confidence that the ICAO would tackle emissions, adding: “Media are free, and in fact encouraged, to cover similar meetings in other UN agencies …

“It’s well past time that ICAO brought its media practices into line with the rest of the UN family, a move which would help raise confidence in its decision-making.”

Last year Saudi Arabia – with the backing of the US – secured a new definition at the ICAO of alternative fuels to include “clean oil” because the refinery producing the oil was run on renewable electricity – something Murphy said amounted to “greenwash oil” and was “an awful deal for the climate”.

The environmental NGOs are calling for the ICAO and all its committees to open to the public and remove threats of “unlimited liability” for members who release documents.

“At present, state and observer submissions to CAEP remain unavailable to those outside of CAEP,” they said.

“When such submissions contain commercially sensitive information, such secrecy may be acceptable. However, this justification oftentimes deserves to be challenged, as information from manufacturers which is submitted to CAEP is, as a matter of course, available to other manufactures, and therefore no harm can be identified from making it available to a broader range of actors.

“Such a level of secrecy stands in contrast to other UN agencies.”

Under the Paris climate change agreement, emissions from international aviation are not specifically included in national climate targets required by countries to pursue efforts to limit global temperature increases to 1.5C. This leaves ICAO as the primary body for reducing airline emissions.

A spokesman for ICAO provided the Guardian with a list of attendees to the meeting and said the meeting results would be made available, but not the discussion papers. “Only the CAEP members and recognized observers are permitted in the room for said discussions,” he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/11/critics-attack-secrecy-at-un-body-seeking-to-cut-global-airline-emissions

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See also

 

ICAO’s CORSIA low standards on biofuels risk undercutting EU’s new renewables rules

The UN’s ICAO is a secretive organisation, that has been woefully ineffective in limiting the CO2 emissions of global aviation. There are considerable concerns that it will try to get bad biofuels certified as low carbon, in order to whitewash the sector’s emissions in future. The global deal, CORSIA, making the first tentative steps towards restricting aviation CO2 at all is just starting. There is, elsewhere, growing understanding that biofuels are generally not the way forward, and their real lifecycle carbon emissions are far higher than their proponents make out. ICAO has now agree 2 criteria (out of 12 possible) for aviation biofuels. These are that there should have been no deforestation after 2009; and there should be at least a saving of 10% of green house gas emissions, (including emissions from indirect land-use change or ILUC) compared to fossil jet kerosene. ICAO’s environment committee will develop rules for what biofuels can be credited – ie. how much of an emissions reduction each biofuel delivers.  The effect can only be accurately accounted for using models. There is a serious danger they will try and include palm oil. And countries like Saudi Arabia are trying to get “lower carbon” fossil fuels included, if their production can be 10% more carbon efficient.  So aviation will continue to emit vast amounts of carbon for decades….

Click here to view full story…

Malaysian airlines back Malaysian campaign to boost palm oil production and use

A Malaysian newspaper comments on the Ministry of Primary Industries’ year-long “Love MY Palm Oil” campaign. It aims to fight anti-palm oil campaigns that backers of palm oil growing say are threatening people’s livelihoods.  Now 3 Malaysian airlines have joined the campaign, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Airways and AirAsia.  The airlines, with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), “will extol the virtues of palm oil through their digital info screens, in-flight magazines and entertainment systems, art and product displays.” The Primary Industries minister says they are displaying “patriotism” and elevating the image of palm oil.  This followed the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) passing a resolution in October 2018 to ban palm oil biofuels in Europe by 2020.  Malaysia and Indonesia are the largest producers of palm oil globally.  Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is due to hold the official launch of the “Love MY Palm Oil” campaign in the first quarter of 2019. [Palm oil as a fuel for aircraft is a disaster, as its life-cycle carbon emissions are high, taking into account the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) impacts. Not to mention the deforestation and loss of biodiversity. But palm oil would be cheap fuel for airlines, regardless of how environmentally harmful it is ….]

Click here to view full story…

CORSIA and its failings explained – great piece from Carbon Brief

In a long, detailed and very informative article from Carbon Brief, Jocelyn Timperley explains the CORSIA scheme for aircraft carbon emissions, and its failings. While airlines are starting this year to measure and record their carbon emissions for the first time, it is not expected that the scheme will do anything much to limit aviation carbon.  “It can be expected to “modestly reduce” the net climate impact of international aviation up to 2035, according to the (ICCT). This is only if high-quality offsets are used and those offsets are not “double counted”, the think-tank adds….  Unless it is extended beyond 2035, Corsia will cover only 6% of projected CO2 emissions from all international aviation between 2015 and 2050, ICCT data indicates.”  That assumes China will partake from the pilot phase. “Base emissions continue to grow under Corsia due to uncovered traffic….. The ICCT argues this means Corsia “does not obviate the need for an ICAO long-term climate goal”. Because of a range of issues, like biofuels, offsets, forestry etc : “It’s not just that Corsia is a weak measure – it’s that it’s an actively bad measure, that risks doing more harm than good.”

Click here to view full story…

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Plan B Earth’s skeleton argument against the DfT on how the Airports NPS (Grayling …) failed on climate

Plan B Earth is making one of the 5 legal challenges against the government, due to their decision to support the building of a 3rd runway at Heathrow, through the “Airports National Planning Statement” (ANPS). They have filed their skeleton argument, which is the basis of their submissions at the trial. Plan B says: “In essence, it’s a simple argument. Chris Grayling considered the Paris Agreement “irrelevant” to his decision. He was wrong.”  Part of the skeleton argument states: “(1). At the heart of all three grounds of Plan B’s claim, lies a common concern: the Secretary of State’s failure to assess the ANPS against the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (“the Paris Agreement”) and specifically the Paris Agreement temperature limit (“Paris Temperature Limit”), which, according to the best available science, demarcates the boundary between humanity and an intolerable risk of disaster: disaster for the environment; for the economy; and for international security.  (2.) Initially the Secretary of State purported to have taken the Paris Agreement into account. His own witnesses, however, undermined that claim. Once Plan B drew that to his attention, the Secretary of State modified his position: when he said that he had considered the Paris Agreement, he meant only that he had considered it to be irrelevant.”  Read the full skeleton.
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See Plan B Earth’s website

 

Claim No. CO/3149/2018

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION
ADMINISTRATIVE COURT

In the matter of a claim for judicial review
BETWEEN

THE QUEEN
on the application of
PLAN B. EARTH
Claimant

– and –

THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR
TRANSPORT
Defendant

-and-
(1) HEATHROW AIRPORT LIMITED
(2) ARORA HOLDINGS LIMITED
Interested Parties

The Skeleton Argument by “Plan B Earth” against the Department for Transport, for the hearings starting in London on 11th March.

Skeleton Argument

 

A. INTRODUCTION

1. At the heart of all three grounds of Plan B’s claim, lies a common concern: the
Secretary of State’s failure to assess the ANPS against the Paris Agreement on Climate
Change (“the Paris Agreement”) and specifically the Paris Agreement temperature
limit (“Paris Temperature Limit”), which, according to the best available science,
demarcates the boundary between humanity and an intolerable risk of disaster:
disaster for the environment; for the economy; and for international security.

2. Initially the Secretary of State purported to have taken the Paris Agreement into
account. His own witnesses, however, undermined that claim. Once Plan B drew that
to his attention, the Secretary of State modified his position: when he said that he had
considered the Paris Agreement, he meant only that he had considered it to be
irrelevant.

3. In truth, as from December 2015 the Paris Agreement, which the Government has
advanced, signed and ratified, has been the foundation of national and international
policy on climate change. The Secretary of State’s contention that the Paris Agreement
was irrelevant to his consideration is fanciful and legally flawed from every angle of
approach. Specifically, the Secretary of State has:

(a) breached the 2008 Act, ss. 5(8) and 10(3), such that his designation was ultra vires
(Ground 1)

(b) acted irrationally by treating the Paris Temperature Limit as irrelevant to his
consideration and the discredited 2˚C temperature limit as relevant to his
consideration (Ground 2).

(c) breached the Human Rights Act 1998, s. 3 (“HRA s.3”), by failing to interpret the
2008 Act, s.5(8) in accordance with the right to family life and the right to life
(Ground 3).

4. All three grounds of claim are closely interlinked, but since Ground 1 and Ground 3
both relate to the interpretation of s. 5(8) of the 2008 Act, for the remainder of this
skeleton argument, and at the hearing, Plan B proposes to address Ground 3
immediately following Ground 1 and prior to Ground 2.

5. In substance, Plan B’s and Friends of the Earth’s grounds of claim are complementary.
In terms of the legal framing, however, there is an important distinction between Plan B’s Ground 1 and Friends of the Earth’s Grounds 1 and 2. Plan B adopts Friends of the
Earth’s submissions on s. 10(3) of the 2008 Act in so far as the argument is that the
Secretary of State was required by that section to take the Paris Agreement into
account and does not propose to advance separate submissions on that point.
However, in contrast to Friends of the Earth, it is Plan B’s submission that the
Secretary of State was required to consider the Paris Agreement also pursuant to s. 5(8)
of the Act, since the Paris Agreement is in reality the foundation of “government
policy” on climate change.

6. It may be convenient (in the interests of clarity) to mention briefly one argument on
which Plan B does not rely. Plan B does not suggest that the Paris Agreement is, of
itself, legally enforceable in domestic law; nor does it ask this Court to engage in an
exercise of interpreting international law. To the contrary, Plan B’s claim is grounded
in straightforward and non-technical considerations of public law: (i) the
interpretation of the 2008 Act s. 5 (and specifically whether “government policy” on
climate change should be interpreted to include the government’s commitment to the
Paris Temperature Limit); and (ii) the rationality or otherwise of the Secretary of
State’s conclusions that the Paris Temperature Limit was irrelevant to his
consideration and that the discredited 2˚C limit was a relevant consideration.

 

Read the full Skeleton Argument here:

https://planb.earth/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Skeleton-Plan-B-Trial-FINAL.pdf

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Plan B’s website:

 

https://planb.earth/

We’re taking the UK Government to court over its reckless plans to expand Heathrow Airport. Join us!

Case information
Following the Government’s commitment to reviewing its climate targets the courts have refused us a full hearing on this case. There will be a full trial of Heathrow expansion, starting 11 March 2019, also involving the London Mayor, Friends of the Earth and others.

View case info & documents

 

Contribute to funding the case
People all over the world are now heading to court to hold governments and corporates to account for Climate Change. As part of this global movement Plan B is challenging the UK Government’s plans to increase aviation, the most polluting form of transport.

Help fund the case

Get involved
Plan B is supporting the emergence of a networked, international movement of legal action to prevent catastrophic climate change. ​If you would like to work in co-operation with Plan B or to volunteer your skills or time in some other way please get in touch.

How to get involved

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See earlier:

 

Government tries to deny its climate responsibility to aim for 1.5C temperature rise, in pushing for 3rd Heathrow runway

The pre-trial hearing for the series of legal challenges against the Government’s decision to expand Heathrow takes place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Tuesday 15th January.  In legal correspondence between the defendant (Government) and one of the claimants, Plan B Earth, the Government argues that “[Plan B] is wrong to assert that “Government policy is to limit warming to the more stringent standard of 1.5˚C and “well below” 2˚C’.  This means that the Government is effectively denying that its own policy is to limit warming to the level that has been agreed internationally is required to avoid climate breakdown. The legal challenge brought by Plan B Earth and Friends of the Earth assert that the Government decision to proceed with Heathrow expansion was unlawful as it failed to appropriately consider climate change. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell described the case as “the iconic battleground against climate change”.  The Committee on Climate Change had previously expressed surprise that neither the commitments in the Climate Change Act 2008 nor the Paris Agreement (2015) were referenced in the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement (aka. the plans for a 3rd Heathrow runway).This is a huge inconsistency.

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Pre-trial hearing on 15th January of the 5 legal challenges against ‘unlawful’ Government decision to approve 3rd runway

Campaigners are taking the government to court in a bid to overturn the “unlawful” decision to approve a 3rd Heathrow runway. The pre-trial hearing for Friends of the Earth’s case will take place on Tuesday at the High Court, when the activists will lay out their opposition based on several grounds. There are 5 separate legal challenges being brought by a range of organisations, on  grounds of climate, air quality and harm to the wellbeing of local residents.  It would be virtually impossible for Britain to meet its obligations to cut emissions under the Paris climate agreement if a new Heathrow runway is built [or for that matter, one at Gatwick either]. The Government’s advisory body on climate change, the Committee on Climate Change, has warned the expansion also threatens the government’s own legally binding pledge to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. Transport secretary Chris Grayling said, without any justification for his belief, that he was “confident” that technical innovations would cut aviation CO2 emissions enough, so expansion could happen without breaking the targets. Hopes that either biofuels or electric planes would enable aviation to become a low carbon means of transport are unrealistic.

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ICAO’s CORSIA low standards on biofuels risk undercutting EU’s new renewables rules

The UN’s ICAO is a secretive organisation, that has been woefully ineffective in limiting the CO2 emissions of global aviation. There are considerable concerns that it will try to get bad biofuels certified as low carbon, in order to whitewash the sector’s emissions in future. The global deal, CORSIA, making the first tentative steps towards restricting aviation CO2 at all is just starting. There is, elsewhere, growing understanding that biofuels are generally not the way forward, and their real lifecycle carbon emissions are far higher than their proponents make out. ICAO has now agree 2 criteria (out of 12 possible) for aviation biofuels. These are that there should have been no deforestation after 2009; and there should be at least a saving of 10% of green house gas emissions, (including emissions from indirect land-use change or ILUC) compared to fossil jet kerosene. ICAO’s environment committee will develop rules for what biofuels can be credited – ie. how much of an emissions reduction each biofuel delivers.  The effect can only be accurately accounted for using models. There is a serious danger they will try and include palm oil. And countries like Saudi Arabia are trying to get “lower carbon” fossil fuels included, if their production can be 10% more carbon efficient.  So aviation will continue to emit vast amounts of carbon for decades….

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Aviation risks undercutting EU’s new renewables rules

11th Feb 2019

The ink is barely dry on the EU’s revised renewable energy policy and already it is under threat from the aviation sector, warn Jori Sihvonen and Andrew Murphy.

Both are experts with green transport NGO Transport & Environment.

That sector’s UN aviation agency, ICAO, known for its “spectacular lack of transparency”, is once more having a closed door meeting which risks clearing the way for the type of bad biofuels the EU has spent a decade trying to get rid of.

And, on top of that, they are seeking to add “lower carbon” aviation fossil fuels as an option to cut aviation emissions.

ICAO and the aviation sector have been looking to biofuels to reverse their massive and continuing emissions growth. The agency has agreed that biofuels should be an option to comply with CORSIA, the global offsetting measure that aims to limit aviation emissions to 2020 levels.

But this also means that ICAO has to develop rules for what biofuels can be credited and by how much – ie, how much of an emissions reduction each biofuel delivers.

This is where this week’s meeting of ICAO’s environment committee in Montreal plays a significant role. It will decide rules for biofuels based on technical work done over the last three years. The meeting will also decide the main work areas for the next three years.

Last year, 12 themes for sustainability criteria were proposed but only two were adopted by ICAO’s governing council.

The two criteria adopted include:

   – no deforestation after 2009

   – and a 10% greenhouse gas savings threshold – including emissions from indirect land-use change or ILUC.

(ILUC refers to the indirect effect of increasing the demand for agricultural land – in this case for biofuels – and displacing the existing production to expand the agricultural frontier to natural habitats, mainly forest and grassland, causing emissions from deforestation.)

The other 10 themes were not approved, covering important issues such as human rights, land rights, environmental protection, food security, water protection, etc.

The ICAO council asked the environment committee to reexamine whether the excluded criteria were truly required and that will be debated now. The European and progressive members of the committee should stay strong and require the full set of criteria to be adopted.

Another important issue on the agenda is the rules on counting the GHG emissions. As we know from available documents, the GHG savings criteria will include emissions from induced (or indirect) land-use change (ILUC).

The effect can only be accurately accounted for using models. What sort of values, and under what assumption the modelling is done, is going to impact how much GHG savings they are credited with providing under CORSIA.

Europe’s Renewable Energy Directive is predicated on the basis that the ILUC effect significantly increases the climate impact of biofuels to the point where many of them are worse than the fossil fuels they replaced.

In 2015, the EU decided to cap the use of crop biofuels. Now EU countries need to use food-based biofuels to meet renewable energy targets, but following the adoption of a new law that comes into force in 2021, EU member states will no longer be forced to use food-based biofuels.

Meanwhile the eligibility of “high indirect land-use change-risk biofuels” towards meeting renewables targets will be phased out by 2030. This could mean no more palm oil in our tanks as palm expansion is associated with significant deforestation. Models also show that palm oil has on average the highest ILUC emissions. The US already restricts the use of palm oil under its renewable fuels law.

However, if ICAO fails to adopt rules which mirror the direction taken by those in the EU, it will provide a backdoor to the use of food-based biofuels and palm oil in the aviation sector.

Already three airlines (Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Airways and AirAsia ) have joined forces for a “Love Palm Oil” campaign, and we don’t know how many more are eagerly waiting to burn these crops.

But if ILUC is not considered or is underestimated, there is a danger that ICAO will give its stamp of approval for the use of palm oil, a crop which every year is responsible for 1-2% of global warming. Overall the focus should be on advanced fuels, as crop-based biofuels cannot be considered a long-term decarbonisation option for aviation.

The council of ICAO also recently gave in to a Saudi push, backed by the US, to include lower carbon aviation fuels as an option for complying with CORSIA. These are traditional fossil fuels produced in a manner which marginally reduces their climate impact. This week states will push for rules to expedite the crediting of such fuels.

All of this information is based on previous leaks and what we know are the planned ‘next steps’ for the committee. The meetings of ICAO and its environment committee are notoriously secret affairs where even the few observers allowed in are restricted on what they can say. One of the world’s biggest emitters is regulated almost entirely in secret.

What is clear for us is that the EU needs to retain its control of setting policy in Europe while fighting for the best possible criteria at international level. It must fight to ensure that rulemaking is founded on reality.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/aviation/opinion/aviation-risks-undercutting-eus-new-renewables-rules/

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Those so called lower carbon fuels: 

Oil giant Saudi Arabia, for example, has previously argued that the 2016 agreement should be “fuel neutral” – whereby it does not discriminate between different types of fuels – because technological advances could one day enable crude to be produced with 10% fewer emissions, as the deal requires, according to a Saudi presentation seen by Reuters.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-aviation-oil/un-aviation-agency-may-include-fossil-fuels-in-emissions-deal-sources-idUKKBN1JB28K

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UN aviation agency may include fossil fuels in emissions deal: sources

By Allison Lampert, Julia Fioretti

15.6.2018  (Reuters)

MONTREAL/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The U.N. aviation agency is expected to include fossil fuels in a landmark global agreement to limit aircraft emissions, a move that could encourage airlines to purchase crude over more costly biojet fuels, sources familiar with the matter said.

Countries at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) are seeking to agree on rules that will govern how the overall deal, brokered by the ICAO in 2016, will be implemented.

The United States, backed by Saudi Arabia and other countries, has proposed giving airlines credit for using crude oil as well as aviation fuels from renewable sources like corn, provided they meet the deal’s lower-emissions criteria, two industry sources said.

Europe will back the proposal next week at an ICAO meeting in Montreal, as long as the fossil fuels eligible under the deal deliver actual carbon savings, two European Commission officials said separately.

ICAO experts would determine how many emissions each fuel emits to avoid any confusion.

The emission levels of individual fuels need to be “very robust so there is no fooling around with what is the actual performance of one fuel over another”, one of the officials said.

Oil giant Saudi Arabia, for example, has previously argued that the 2016 agreement should be “fuel neutral” – whereby it does not discriminate between different types of fuels – because technological advances could one day enable crude to be produced with 10 percent fewer emissions, as the deal requires, according to a Saudi presentation seen by Reuters.

“What they (the Saudis) are saying is ‘don’t rule it out for us,” said the first industry source.

All of the sources spoke on condition of anonymity because talks on how to implement the 2016 deal, known as the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), are private.

Representatives from Saudi Arabia and the U.S. State Department did not respond to requests for comment. An ICAO spokesman declined to comment.

LOWER EMISSION FOSSIL FUELS

The European Commission sent a letter to EU ministers this week reiterating concerns that any attempts to weaken the 2016 deal, which will go into effect in 2021, should be “strongly opposed.”

The agreement aims to cap airline emissions at 2020 levels, and airlines would be required to limit their emissions or offset them by buying carbon credits from designated environmental projects around the world.

Airlines would receive credit toward lowering their emissions if they use eligible lower-carbon fuels.

Haldane Dodd, spokesman for the Air Transport Action Group, which represents 50 members of the aviation industry, would not take a position on the use of lower-carbon crudes but advocated “strong sustainability standards for our fuels.”

Europe hopes that airlines will still be encouraged to use more costly biojet fuels if they deliver bigger emissions savings.

But with aviation biofuels now only produced in small quantities, lowering the emissions of conventional jet fuel may prove a better option for the environment, said a fifth source who works in the aviation industry.

“If we can develop technologies that are going to make fossil fuels with lower emissions, isn’t that a carbon savings compared with business as usual?”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-aviation-oil/un-aviation-agency-may-include-fossil-fuels-in-emissions-deal-sources-idUKKBN1JB28K

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European aviation report “in numbers” highlights growing noise and carbon problems which will continue

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European aviation ‘in numbers’ highlights significant environmental challenges ahead

The New Year saw the publication of the second European Aviation Environmental Report (EAER).

The headline message is a familiar one: “the contribution of aviation activities to climate change, noise and air quality impacts is increasing, thereby affecting the health and quality of life of European citizens”.

While there have been technological and operational improvements in recent years, and measures such as the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), their combined effect hasn’t kept pace with strong growth in the demand for air travel.

The report, a joint initiative by EuroControl, the European Environment Agency and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, assesses the performance of the aviation sector across a number of environmental indicators, comparing data for 2017 with the figures for 2014 (the date of the first EAER) and for 2005 (as a historic comparison).

Many European airports have seen significant growth during this period. In 2017, commercial flights flew a staggering 1,643 billion passenger kilometres, up 20% in just three years (around 7% per year), and 60% since 2005 (around 5% per year).

Despite the introduction of less noisy aircraft, in 2017 more people were exposed to noise than in 2005. Measured across some of Europe’s busiest 47 airports, the number of people inside the 55dB Lden noise contours (a metric that gives an extra weighting to noise during the evening and the night) rose to 2.58 million in 2017.

This is particularly disappointing, since between 2005 and 2014 the number had reduced – from 2.27 million to 2.21 million. One factor in the reversal of this trend is the slowing down of fleet technology improvements. The average noise energy per flight decreased by only 1% between 2014 and 2017 compared to a decrease of 14% between 2005 and 2017 (equivalent to over 1% per year).

Aircraft fuel efficiency improved 8% for commercial flights between 2014 and 2017, maintaining the gains seen in earlier years, and overall, measured between 2005 and 2017, average fuel consumption decreased by 24% (2% per year).

Nevertheless, the increase in flights during this period led to an increase in total emissions. Compared to 2014, gross CO2 emissions in 2017 rose by 10% to 163Mt CO2 and NOx, which has a net climate warming impact when emitted at altitude, increased by 12% to 839,000 tonnes.

This increase contributed to a 3% rise in net European aviation CO2 emissions over the three-year period. (While the EU emissions trading system imposes a cap on emissions from intra-EU flights, air travel to and from Europe from other international destinations is not included in the cap).

Aviation now accounts for 3.6% of the total EU28 greenhouse gas emissions (making the percentage of EU emissions from aviation higher than the global average).

Will things improve in the future?

It may be possible to stabilise noise exposure, the report concludes, but only under an improbable assumption that there will be no increase in population and no airport expansion, with growth permitted only within the constraints of current infrastructure.

Meanwhile the expected 42% growth in the number of flights between 2017 and 2040 is predicted to result in a 21% increase in CO2 emissions.

Alternative aviation fuels are considered likely to remain limited in the short term, and while the report identifies potential for Europe to increase its bio-based aviation fuel production capacity, airline uptake is expected to be small due to various factors, including “the cost relative to conventional aviation fuel and low priority in most national bioenergy policies.”

Meanwhile, while some in the industry had hoped that more direct routing of aircraft would deliver significant CO2 reductions, the introduction of Free Route Airspace has saved only approximately 0.5% of total aviation CO2 emissions between 2014 and 2017.

https://www.aef.org.uk/2019/02/05/european-aviation-in-numbers-highlights-significant-environmental-challenges-ahead/

The full report can be downloaded here.

 


The full report (112 pages) is at 

https://www.easa.europa.eu/eaer/system/files/usr_uploaded/219473_EASA_EAER_2019_WEB_LOW-RES.pdf

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This includes:

Overview of Aviation Sector

• The number of flights increased by 8% between 2014 and 2017, and grows by 42% from 2017 to 2040 in the most-likely forecast.

• Technological improvements, fleet renewal and increased operational efficiency have been able to partially counterbalance the impact of recent growth, but there has still been an increase in overall noise and emissions since 2014.

• In 2016, aviation was accountable for 3.6% of the total EU28 greenhouse gas emissions and for 13.4% of the emissions from transport.

• In 2011, aviation accounted for 3.2% of the total population exposed to Lden levels above 55 dB from all sources covered by the EU Environmental Noise Directive.

• The number of people exposed to significant noise around 47 major European airports shows potential stabilisation, but under an assumption of no change in population and no airport expansion.

• The number of major airports that handle more than 50,000 annual aircraft movements is expected to increase from 82 in 2017 to 110 in 2040, and therefore aviation noise may well affect new populations.

• The environmental efficiency of aviation continues to improve and, by 2040, further improvements are expected in average fuel burn per passenger kilometre flown (-12%) and noise energy per flight (-24%).

• By 2040, CO2 and NOX emissions are predicted to increase by at least 21% and 16% respectively

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Aviation Environmental Impacts

• Long-term exposure to aircraft noise is linked with a variety of health impacts, including ischaemic heart disease, sleep disturbance, annoyance and cognitive impairment.

• The annoyance reported by residents from a given level of aircraft noise has been shown to be greater than that caused by other transport sources.

• There are good estimates for most pollutants emitted by aviation related activities that influence air quality and subsequent health effects, although knowledge gaps remain (e.g. on the impact of ultrafine particles).

• A high level of scientific understanding of the long-term climate effect from aviation CO2 emissions make it a clear and important target for mitigation efforts.

• Climate impacts from non-CO2 emissions (e.g. NOX, particles) cannot be ignored as they represent warming effects that are important in the shorter term, but the level of scientific understanding of the magnitude of the effects is medium to very low.

• More States and organisations are taking action to adapt and build resilience to the impacts that climate change will have on the aviation sector (e.g. higher temperatures, rising sea-levels).

 

Market-Based Measures

• Market-based measures are instruments designed to address the climate impact of aviation, beyond what operational and technological measures or sustainable aviation fuels can achieve.

• Between 2013 and 2020, an estimated net saving of 193.4 Mt CO2 (twice Belgium’s annual emissions) will be achieved by aviation via the EU ETS through funding of emissions reduction in other sectors.

• In 2016, an agreement was reached at ICAO to set up the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). As of November 2018, 76 States intend to volunteer to offset their emissions from 2021, representing 76% of the international aviation activity.

• Emissions trading systems (e.g. ETS) and offsetting schemes (e.g. CORSIA) both address aviation emissions but differ in how they function. ETSs generally work towards economy-wide emission reduction targets, while offsetting schemes also compensate for emissions by reductions in other sectors but without the associated cap.

• The environmental effectiveness of offsets depends on robust implementation to ensure that the emission reductions delivered would not have occurred in the absence of the scheme.

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Air Traffic Management and Operations

• En route horizontal flight efficiency is on track to meet the SES Performance Scheme 2019 target of no more than 2.60% additional distance flown.

• Airport arrival flow and taxi-out operational efficiencies have remained fairly stable over the past years.

• The introduction of Free Route Airspace has saved more than 2.6 million tonnes of CO2 since 2014 (approximately 0.5% of total aviation CO2 emissions).

• Continuous descent operations have potential for reducing both noise and CO2 , especially in the European core area.

• The full potential from operational initiatives is not always achieved due to conflicting air navigation requirements (e.g. safety, environment, economic, capacity)

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CO2 and NOX emissions are continuing to grow

According to the data reported by Members States to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the CO2 emissions of all flights departing from EU28 and EFTA increased from 88 to 171 million tonnes (+95%) between 1990 and 2016 (Figure 1.9). In comparison, CO2 emissions estimated with the IMPACT model reached 163 million tonnes (Mt) in 2017, which is 16% more than 2005 and 10% more than 2014. Over the same period, the average fuel burn per passenger kilometre flown for passenger aircraft, excluding business aviation, went down by 24%. This has reduced at an average rate of 2.8% per annum between 2014 and 2017.

However, this efficiency gain was not sufficient to counterbalance the increase in CO2 emitted due to the growth in the number of flights, aircraft size and flown distance.

Future CO2 emissions under the base traffic forecast and advanced technology scenario are expected to increase by a further 21% to reach 198 Mt in 2040. The annual purchase of allowances by aircraft operators under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) since 2013 resulted in a reduction of 27 Mt of net CO2 emissions in 2017, which should rise to about 32 Mt by 2020.

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Experts say legal obstacles no barrier to introducing aviation fuel tax for flights in Europe

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Legal obstacles no barrier to introducing aviation fuel tax in Europe, say experts

February 3, 2019 (Transport & Environment)

EU countries can end the decades-long exemption and tax kerosene on flights between them, according to legal experts. This could either be done at EU level through a series of bilateral agreements or by agreement between individual countries, the independent legal analysis for green NGO federation Transport & Environment (T&E) finds. The old argument that foreign carriers’ operating within the EU – de facto a small number of flights – can’t be taxed can be overcome by introducing a de minimis threshold below which fuel burn would not be taxed.

Right now airlines, unlike almost all other forms of transport, pay no fuel tax on flights within or from the EU – even though aviation causes 5% of global warming.[1] Despite the aviation industry’s attempts to hide behind the 1944 Chicago Convention, that agreement is not the problem preventing fuel taxation. In fact it is old bilateral ‘air service agreements’ that European governments signed up to years ago that include mutual fuel tax exemptions for non-EU airlines.

EU countries should set a de minimis threshold for all carriers where establishing a kerosene tax would be in conflict with the exemptions, the report finds, and efforts should be accelerated to remove the remaining exemptions. So far almost 30 agreements have been successfully renegotiated.

Bill Hemmings, aviation director at Transport & Environment, said: “The aviation industry has been treated with kid gloves for decades when it comes to fuel taxation. The US, Japan, Brazil, India, Norway and Switzerland all tax domestic aviation fuel. Why should the EU’s own jurisdiction be treated any differently?”

Recent events in France, Sweden and Belgium have reignited the debate about aviation’s special tax treatment. In France ending the aviation fuel tax exemption is now one of the demands of the Gilets Jaunes movement.[2]

Aviation emissions have doubled since 1990. A kerosene tax would incentivise airlines and manufacturers to reduce the sector’s environmental impact, shifting environmental costs to users while still raising money to allow tax cuts for citizens or improve public services. Member states have been free to tax fuel on domestic flights since 2003 but so far only the Netherlands has acted on this.

Bill Hemmings concluded: “There is fresh talk of how taxation can help curb climate change, but continuing to give the most carbon intensive of transport modes a free ride is unfair to other taxpayers and to the very many who don’t fly. But most of all, it’s plane stupid.”

Note to editors:

[1] Lee, D. et al., 2009. Transport impacts on atmosphere and climate: Aviation. Atmospheric Environment. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/30987495.pdf

[2] L’Obs, 30 November 2018. “Gilets jaunes” : on a décortiqué chacune des 42 revendications du mouvement.   https://www.nouvelobs.com/politique/20181129.OBS6307/gilets-jaunes-on-a-decortique-chacune-des-42-revendications-du-mouvement.html

https://www.transportenvironment.org/press/legal-obstacles-no-barrier-introducing-aviation-fuel-tax-europe-say-experts

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The report, “Taxing aviation fuels in the EU” by CE Delft, is at

https://www.transportenvironment.org/sites/te/files/publications/2019_02_CE_Delft_Taxing_Aviation_Fuels_EU.pdf 
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[De minimis means it can be ignored, if the amounts are too small to bother with.  https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/de_minimis ].

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Executive Summary

Directive 2003/96/EC mandatorily exempts aircraft fuel consumed on commercial flights between EU States from taxation. Taxes are levied on energy products as defined in this Directive. At the same time it allows EU/EEA Member States to waive this exemption pertaining to taxation of aircraft fuel through bilateral agreements, and for other purposes as detailed below.

So far, no examples of such bilateral agreements are known. The present brief report endeavours to contextualise this option in light of European and international law. From an international air law point of view, aircraft fuel used on transit flights is not taxable. The same is generally true for aircraft fuel introduced in foreign territory and used on international flights.

However, multilateral air services agreements such as the EU-US agreement on air transport and certain bilateral air services agreements all of which have been concluded in the 21st century open the door for a waiver of this exemption on intra-EU/EEA flights when two, or more, European States engage into an agreement on taxation of aircraft fuel, or when they refer to a waiver pursuant to domestic law. Thus, they provide a legal basis for the introduction of taxation of aircraft fuel.

A revision of Directive 2003/96/EC ought to address these recent developments, and explain the term “international conventions” justifying, in the views of the EU policymakers, a continuation of the aircraft fuel tax exemption.

In order to facilitate the introduction of taxation of aircraft fuel and circumvent obstacles pertaining to mandatory exemptions regarding taxation of aircraft fuel raised by air services agreements, thought could be given to include a de minimis measure in a revised version of Directive 2003/96/EC. Such a measure should preferably be taken at the EU rather than at any other level, whether bilateral or national, in order to harmonise conditions for the introduction of a partial or total waiver of the exemption. However, the establishment of such a measure requires a very careful assessment of its legal and economic implications.

A de minimis measure has been used in, for instance, the EU ETS Directive (2008/101). When the EU considers the introduction of an aircraft fuel tax, preferably in conjunction with a de minimis measure, regard must be had to general principals of EU law. They include the non-discrimination principle, the fiscal neutrality of the proposed tax measure, a prohibition of infringement of free movement of air services and compliance with European competition and State aid rules.

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