European Commission moves to Brexit-proof Emissions Trading System

The European Commission has agreed on a new measure to protect its Emissions Trading System (ETS) against a potential breakdown in Brexit negotiations. The EU ETS sets a cap on the total emissions from electricity generation and enables UK-based industries to purchase emissions reductions from overseas. Member States met on 18th October to agree in principle to change ETS regulations to nullify any permits to emit greenhouse gases under the scheme if they are issued by a country that leaves the EU from January 2018 onwards. The UK is the 2nd largest CO2 emitter in the EU, and research suggests that a UK departure from the EU ETS would tighten the supply-demand balance of the system by around 745 million tonnes.  The new measure is intended to stop potential sell-offs of permits if UK businesses are ejected from the market because of Brexit. The Committee on Climate Change found that if the UK did leave the ETS, the 5th carbon budget should be extended to a 61% emissions reduction by 2030. The recently-announced Clean Growth Strategy outlines the trajectory towards the approved 57% reduction, but analysis suggests the strategy will fall short. Aviation is only partly included in the ETS, with just intra-European flights.
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European Commission moves to Brexit-proof Emissions Trading System

The European Commission has agreed on a new measure to protect its Emissions Trading System (ETS) against a potential breakdown in Brexit negotiations.

The EU ETS sets a cap on the total emissions from electricity generation and enables UK-based industries to purchase emissions reductions from overseas

Member States met on Wednesday (18 October) to agree in principle to change ETS regulations to nullify any permits to emit greenhouse gases under the scheme if they are issued by a country that leaves the bloc from January 2018 and onwards.

The UK is the second largest emitter in the European Union (EU), and research suggests that a UK departure from the EU ETS would tighten the supply-demand balance of the system by around 745 million tonnes.

As noted by Reuters, the new measure is intended to stop potential sell-offs of permits if UK businesses are ejected from the market because of Brexit. The measure still needs a final confirmation from Member States but most analysts claim that the UK will either remain in the system or gain access to it like Norway has.

Research from the Committee on Climate Change found that if the UK did leave the system, then the fifth carbon budget should be extended to a 61% emissions reduction by 2030. The recently-announced Clean Growth Strategy outlines the trajectory towards the approved 57% reduction, but analysis suggests the strategy will fall short.

The EU ETS sets a cap on the total emissions from electricity generation and enables UK-based industries to purchase emissions reductions from overseas, which is often a cheaper alternative than reducing operational emissions directly.

Take-off denied

Energy-intensive industries, like aviation which was added to the market in 2012, benefit from the system. In fact, emissions from aviation account for around 3% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

The aviation industry is struggling to implement measures to reduce emissions, and a global deal agreed by the 191 members of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has been greeted with lukewarm reactions.

The members agreed to a last-minute decision to drop plans of aligning ICAO policies with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5/2C pathway. The UK was a part of the Bratislava Declaration which announced in September 2016 that 44 members of the European Conference on Civil Aviation would implement the deal “from the start”. In total, more than a third of the 191 nations, including the UK, volunteered to join the offsetting scheme, but it won’t be introduced until 2021.

The ICAO is pushing towards a 2050 Vision of Sustainable Aviation Fuels, which included volume-based targets for biofuels to reduce sector emissions. The proposal would see 128 million tonnes of biofuel used each year by the sector through to 2040, before ratcheting up use to 285 million tonnes to account for 50% of all aviation fuel by 2050 – more than three times what is currently used for transportation fuel.

Campaigners such as Friends of the Earth (FoE) criticised the scheme, warning that it would “destroy rainforests”.  Already, 25 countries convened by the ICAO have rejected the deal.

“We firmly oppose the promotion of biofuels for aviation,” FoE’s international forests campaigner Jeff Conant said. “The climate and human rights impacts of industrial demand for palm oil are already grave. Instead of driving greater demand, Governments must take urgent measures to reduce the climate impact of aviation by stemming and ultimately reversing its growth.”

Nature’s moment

Instead of burning forests and land for biofuel use, research highlights the benefits of restoring nature. Research published this week by the Nature Conservancy and 15 other institutions found that 37% of the required emissions reduction to prevent dangerous levels of global warming could be achieved through nature restoration.

The study, backed by companies such as Unilever, suggested that planting more trees, improving soil health and protecting peatlands could reduce global emissions by 11.3 billion tonnes annually by 2030. The UK could reduce its emissions by 9% by implementing restoration projects in areas such as the Highlands and the Peak District, the study found.

Commenting on the study, Unilever’s chief executive Paul Polman said: “Climate change threatens the production of food staples like corn, wheat, rice and soy by as much as a quarter – but a global population of nine billion by 2050 will need up to 50% more food. Fortunately, this research shows we have a huge opportunity to reshape our food and land use systems, putting them at the heart of delivering both the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Matt Mace

https://www.edie.net/news/6/European-Commission-moves-to-Brexit-proof-Emissions-Trading-System/

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Extending current aviation rules in the EU emissions trading system – provisional deal reached

By Ana Crespo Parrondo (Concilium – Council of the European Parliament)
Press officer

On 18 October, the Estonian Presidency reached a provisional agreement with European Parliament representatives on a regulation to extend existing provisions covering  aviation activities in the EU emissions trading system (ETS) regulation beyond 2016 and to prepare for the implementation of the global market-based measure as of 2021. The provisional text will be submitted to the EU ambassadors for political endorsement.

This new regulation is the follow up to the decision reached in October 2016 by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to introduce a global market-based measure from 2021 in order to regulate international aviation emissions through an offsetting system, also referred to as CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation). The EU supports this measure and aims to join the ‘pilot’ phase of the scheme in 2021 on a voluntary basis.

In the meantime, the adoption of this new regulation before the end of the year is an indispensable requirement to avoid any legal gap as regards compliance with the current ETS regulation in 2017. Today’s agreement enables this adoption to happen on time. The dates for reporting and surrendering allowances from emissions in 2017 would be 31 March and 30 April 2018 respectively.

“The EU believes all flights must contribute to cutting greenhouse emissions. We fully support ongoing ICAO negotiations for the development of comprehensive and unified international rules to turn this into a reality. In the meantime adopting this regulation is crucial. We will provide legal certainty to aircraft operators and make sure European flights keep cutting emissions beyond 2016.”

Siim Kiisler, Minister for the Environment of the Republic of Estonia

The main elements of the provisional agreement are as follows:

  • maintain current limitations within the scope of the EU ETS, particularly by prolonging the derogation for non-intra European Economic Area (EEA) flights until 31 December 2023, when the ‘first’ phase of CORSIA will begin;
  • establish provisions for a review once all ICAO decisions have been taken on the implementation of the global market-based measure within the EU, particularly concerning how to incorporate this measure into the ETS directive;
  • subject to this review, foresee the application of the Linear Reduction Factor, as set out in the ETS directive, to the aviation sector from 2021 onwards.

A statement was also issued emphasising the need for ICAO to act in full transparency and to reach out to all stakeholders to inform them about the progress and decisions in a timely manner.

In addition, the Parliament and the Council have agreed safeguard measures to preserve the integrity of the EU ETS in case that obligations of aviation operators and other operators from a member state cease.

Timeline and next steps

The Commission submitted its proposal on 3 February 2017 and presented it to the Environment Council on 28 February. On 21 June, EU ambassadors agreed on the Council mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament. The latter voted during the plenary of 13 September. Subsequently, both co-legislators attended a first trilogue meeting on 25 September.

Once the deal is approved by EU ambassadors, the Parliament and the Council will be called on to adopt the new regulation at first reading. Thereafter, it will enter into force on the day of its publication in the official journal.

ETS and ICAO – background

The emissions trading scheme (ETS) was launched in 2005 to promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at EU level. The aviation sector is part of the existing ETS regulation. Emissions from aviation also form part of the EU’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.

In 2014, the EU decided to reduce the scope of the ETS scheme to apply only to intra-EEA flights, in order to facilitate progress in the negotiations within the ICAO, and in the hope of achieving clarity regarding emissions from international flights connecting the EEA and third countries. It was then decided that the derogation for non-intra EEA flights would apply only until the end of 2016.

The ETS reform is currently under negotiation for the 2021-2030 period. A review of the reform is planned for when ICAO legal obligations with regard to the implementation of the global market-based measure become clear. Consistency will also be ensured with the EU’s commitment under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

The ICAO global market-based measure aims to slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation sector and keep emissions at the same level from 2020 onwards. The application of the measure will become compulsory for major aviation countries in 2027, but a voluntary ‘pilot’ phase will be launched in 2021.

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/10/18-aviation-rules-under-ets/

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European Parliament document:

Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC to continue current limitations of scope for aviation activities and to prepare to implement a global market-based measure from 2021

Aviation accounts for approximately 2.1 % of global CO2 emissions – roughly equivalent to Germany’s total emissions. International flights account for around 1.3 % of emissions. With the anticipated growth in air traffic, emissions in 2050 are expected to be seven to ten times higher than 1990 levels, according to ICAO projections.3 In the EU, direct CO2  emissions from aviation account for about 3 % of total emissions. At the same time, the sector supports around 5 million jobs and contributes €110 billion per year to EU GDP.

Besides CO2 , aviation is responsible for other greenhouse gases (such as water vapour, aerosols and nitrogen oxides) that contribute to global warming. A 1999 special report on aviation, prepared by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), estimated the impact of aviation on the climate to be two to four times higher than that of CO2 emissions alone. However, the contribution of non-CO2 emissions on warming can vary depending on the conditions (such as flight altitude, time of day or year) under which they are emitted, and understanding the mechanisms through which their impact is accomplished would require further research.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2017/603925/EPRS_BRI(2017)603925_EN.pdf

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See also

EU ETS: tightening regulations

Also in international news, the European Parliament has recently endorsed the views of its environment committee to agree that aviation’s inclusion in the EU emissions trading scheme should be subject to an annually declining emissions cap from 2021 with 50% of the allowances obtained through an auction rather than being distributed freely (with revenues earmarked for climate finance), and a request for the European Commission to come forward with proposals to address aviation’s non-CO2 effects by 2020. The parliament will now try to negotiate these changes with the Commission and European member states over the coming months.

https://www.aef.org.uk/2017/10/17/an-international-update

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Read more »

European Parliament make progress on dealing with aviation non-CO2 impacts

The meeting on 17th October between the European Council and EU Parliament has finally come to an agreement on how to deal with non CO2 emissions. This is at least 9 years overdue.  It opens a fundamentally new and important avenue of aviation climate mitigation work. The non-CO2 impacts on climate forcing are short-lived but they are potentially of great magnitude – potentially more than double CO2 according to the EC’s own assessment. A research consortium led by Professor David Lee will publish early next year a fresh report on non CO2 climate impacts. Then it will be necessary to follow through with further research including into ways to mitigate. The non-CO2 impacts issue is much more important in the northern hemisphere than the southern as there is where most land, and most flights, are. Europe is well placed to begin assessing what measures could potentially be implemented, such as operational re-routeing (altered flight levels) action on NOx, particulates and black carbon. The meeting reached a provisional agreement on a regulation to extend existing ETS provisions covering  aviation beyond 2016 and to prepare for the implementation of CORSIA from 2021. 
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Extending current aviation rules in the EU emissions trading system – provisional deal reached

By Ana Crespo Parrondo (Concilium – Council of the European Parliament)
Press officer

On 18 October, the Estonian Presidency reached a provisional agreement with European Parliament representatives on a regulation to extend existing provisions covering  aviation activities in the EU emissions trading system (ETS) regulation beyond 2016 and to prepare for the implementation of the global market-based measure as of 2021. The provisional text will be submitted to the EU ambassadors for political endorsement.

This new regulation is the follow up to the decision reached in October 2016 by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to introduce a global market-based measure from 2021 in order to regulate international aviation emissions through an offsetting system, also referred to as CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation). The EU supports this measure and aims to join the ‘pilot’ phase of the scheme in 2021 on a voluntary basis.

In the meantime, the adoption of this new regulation before the end of the year is an indispensable requirement to avoid any legal gap as regards compliance with the current ETS regulation in 2017. Today’s agreement enables this adoption to happen on time. The dates for reporting and surrendering allowances from emissions in 2017 would be 31 March and 30 April 2018 respectively.

“The EU believes all flights must contribute to cutting greenhouse emissions. We fully support ongoing ICAO negotiations for the development of comprehensive and unified international rules to turn this into a reality. In the meantime adopting this regulation is crucial. We will provide legal certainty to aircraft operators and make sure European flights keep cutting emissions beyond 2016.”

Siim Kiisler, Minister for the Environment of the Republic of Estonia

The main elements of the provisional agreement are as follows:

  • maintain current limitations within the scope of the EU ETS, particularly by prolonging the derogation for non-intra European Economic Area (EEA) flights until 31 December 2023, when the ‘first’ phase of CORSIA will begin;
  • establish provisions for a review once all ICAO decisions have been taken on the implementation of the global market-based measure within the EU, particularly concerning how to incorporate this measure into the ETS directive;
  • subject to this review, foresee the application of the Linear Reduction Factor, as set out in the ETS directive, to the aviation sector from 2021 onwards.

A statement was also issued emphasising the need for ICAO to act in full transparency and to reach out to all stakeholders to inform them about the progress and decisions in a timely manner.

In addition, the Parliament and the Council have agreed safeguard measures to preserve the integrity of the EU ETS in case that obligations of aviation operators and other operators from a member state cease.

Timeline and next steps

The Commission submitted its proposal on 3 February 2017 and presented it to the Environment Council on 28 February. On 21 June, EU ambassadors agreed on the Council mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament. The latter voted during the plenary of 13 September. Subsequently, both co-legislators attended a first trilogue meeting on 25 September.

Once the deal is approved by EU ambassadors, the Parliament and the Council will be called on to adopt the new regulation at first reading. Thereafter, it will enter into force on the day of its publication in the official journal.

ETS and ICAO – background

The emissions trading scheme (ETS) was launched in 2005 to promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at EU level. The aviation sector is part of the existing ETS regulation. Emissions from aviation also form part of the EU’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.

In 2014, the EU decided to reduce the scope of the ETS scheme to apply only to intra-EEA flights, in order to facilitate progress in the negotiations within the ICAO, and in the hope of achieving clarity regarding emissions from international flights connecting the EEA and third countries. It was then decided that the derogation for non-intra EEA flights would apply only until the end of 2016.

The ETS reform is currently under negotiation for the 2021-2030 period. A review of the reform is planned for when ICAO legal obligations with regard to the implementation of the global market-based measure become clear. Consistency will also be ensured with the EU’s commitment under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

The ICAO global market-based measure aims to slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation sector and keep emissions at the same level from 2020 onwards. The application of the measure will become compulsory for major aviation countries in 2027, but a voluntary ‘pilot’ phase will be launched in 2021.

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/10/18-aviation-rules-under-ets/

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Eurpoean Parliament document:

Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC to continue current limitations of scope for aviation activities and to prepare to implement a global market-based measure from 2021

Aviation accounts for approximately 2.1 % of global CO2 emissions – roughly equivalent to Germany’s total emissions. International flights account for around 1.3 % of emissions. With the anticipated growth in air traffic, emissions in 2050 are expected to be seven to ten times higher than 1990 levels, according to ICAO projections.3 In the EU, direct CO2  emissions from aviation account for about 3 % of total emissions. At the same time, the sector supports around 5 million jobs and contributes €110 billion per year to EU GDP.

Besides CO2 , aviation is responsible for other greenhouse gases (such as water vapour, aerosols and nitrogen oxides) that contribute to global warming. A 1999 special report on aviation, prepared by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), estimated the impact of aviation on the climate to be two to four times higher than that of CO2 emissions alone. However, the contribution of non-CO2 emissions on warming can vary depending on the conditions (such as flight altitude, time of day or year) under which they are emitted, and understanding the mechanisms through which their impact is accomplished would require further research.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2017/603925/EPRS_BRI(2017)603925_EN.pdf

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See also

EU ETS: tightening regulations

Also in international news, the European Parliament has recently endorsed the views of its environment committee to agree that aviation’s inclusion in the EU emissions trading scheme should be subject to an annually declining emissions cap from 2021 with 50% of the allowances obtained through an auction rather than being distributed freely (with revenues earmarked for climate finance), and a request for the European Commission to come forward with proposals to address aviation’s non-CO2 effects by 2020. The parliament will now try to negotiate these changes with the Commission and European member states over the coming months.

https://www.aef.org.uk/2017/10/17/an-international-update

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Newcastle Airport’s part owner (49%), Australian AMP Capital, buys Leeds Bradford Airport

The Australian investment group which owns almost half of Newcastle Airport has bought another airport in the North, Leeds Bradford.  AMP Capital, which took a 49% stake in Newcastle Airport in 2012 (51% is owned by 7 local authorities in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham), has bought Leeds Bradford outright – after buying it from European investment group Bridgepoint.  AMP Capital say the airport offers a “highly attractive investment and a great fit for its global infrastructure platform”.  It is likely that a competition probe could take place on the deal, with one company potentially having a major stake in two Northern airports whose target markets have some crossover. Though theoretically serving a larger population area, Leeds Bradford is currently smaller than Newcastle Airport, with many people in Yorkshire choosing to fly instead from Manchester. Newcastle recorded 4.8m passengers in 2016 compared to Leeds Bradford’s 3.6m.
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Newcastle Airport’s part owner buys Leeds Bradford Airport

Deal by Australian group AMP Capital raises possibility of competition probe

By Graeme Whitfield (Business Editor, Chronicle live)
18 OCT 2017

The Australian investment group which owns almost half of Newcastle Airport has bought another airport in the North.

AMP Capital, which took a 49% stake in Newcastle Airport in 2012, has become the outright owner of Leeds Bradford Airport after buying it from European investment group Bridgepoint Advisers and saying that it offers a “highly attractive investment and a great fit for AMP Capital’s global infrastructure platform”.

It is not known how the Leeds Bradford deal will affect Newcastle Airport, which is still 51% owned by the seven local authorities in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham.

But it seems likely that a competition probe could take place on the deal, with one company potentially having a major stake in two Northern airports whose target markets have some crossover.

Former Newcastle Airport chief executive David Laws took over at Leeds Bradford in May, having worked for AMP in the interim period.

Though theoretically serving a larger population area, Leeds Bradford is currently smaller than Newcastle Airport, with many people in Yorkshire choosing to fly instead from Manchester. Newcastle recorded 4.8m passengers in 2016 compared to Leeds Bradford’s 3.6m.

Newcastle Airport is currently embarking on a £20m investment programme backed by AMP that will see a new immigration area being developed, along with extensions to the departure lounge and a new baggage system.

Simon Ellis, European head of origination at AMP Capital, said: “With its strong underlying fundamentals including freehold ownership with well-invested infrastructure, a diversified airline mix and its catchment area in an economic hub of the North of England, Leeds Bradford Airport is a highly attractive investment and a great fit for AMP Capital’s global infrastructure platform.

“We believe there is a clear opportunity for performance enhancement through tailoring and improving the customer experience and working collaboratively with our key partners including airlines, government and local businesses. In addition, the airport serves the Yorkshire and the Humber region, one of the fastest-growing regions in the UK with a population growth of 6% since 2001 and there is also potential for further route development.

“AMP Capital’s heritage in transportation infrastructure investment and our experience of owning airports means we are well placed to develop the exciting opportunities presented by this investment.”

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/business/business-news/newcastle-airports-part-owner-buys-13780965

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Stansted Airport lowers growth target from 44.5 million to 43 million per year

Stansted Airport has scaled-back its expansion plans, saying it will achieve is growth ambitions without seeking any increase in the number of flights it is allowed to handle. Stansted current has permission for 35 million passengers per year, while it currently has about 25 million. But the airport said in June that  it ‘urgently’ needs the cap to be raised to 44.5 million. Stansted is now saying it wants the cap raised to 43 million, not 44.5 million – and they can accommodate that growth by use of larger planes. They say they can get to 43 million passengers without increasing the noise “footprint” that is already authorised under the current capping arrangements. Stansted is hoping to get a lot of growth in passenger numbers, in the time before (if it ever happens) a 3rd Heathrow runway is built. Stansted hoped to get the growth to 44.5 million passengers, about 9 million more than now, through on a regular planning application – rather than having to go through the more rigorous National Infrastructure process, that would be needed for a 10 million passenger increase. Local campaign Stop Stansted Expansion said: “People shouldn’t be hoodwinked by Stansted Airport’s spin doctors. The new planning application would still mean an extra 1,800 flights a week compared to today’s levels.” There will now be more feedback sessions by Stansted during November, before a final planning application to Uttlesford Council early in 2018.
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Stansted Airport lowers growth target following public consultation on expansion plans

17 October 2017 (EADS)

Stansted Airport has scaled-back its expansion plans with a pledge to achieve is growth ambitions without seeking any increase in the number of flights it is allowed to handle.

In a move designed to address concerns raised by local residents during a consultation, Stansted says it will now apply for its annual passenger cap to be raised from the current 35m passengers a year to 43m, rather than 44.5m as originally proposed.

The airport, part of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), says the new figure can be achieved without increasing either the number of aircraft movements or the size of the airport’s approved noise “footprint” already authorised under the current capping arrangements.

Passenger numbers at Stansted have already increased by nearly 10m over the past five years to a current annual total of more than 25.6m and MAG is seeking to raise the 35m cap in order to make fuller use of existing runway capacity at Stansted in the decade, or more, before an additional runway is built at Heathrow.

Ken O’Toole, chief executive at Stansted Airport, said: “The feedback we received from our neighbours during our extensive consultation was clear – that they support the ongoing growth and investment in the airport and welcome a further increase in destinations and choice.

“Local residents also told us that they were concerned about the proposal to increase the number of flights that the airport is permitted to operate each year. We’ve listened to those concerns and decided to adapt our proposals so growth can be met within the current cap on the number of aircraft movements.”

“That means the airport’s growth over the next 10 years to serve 43m passengers can be achieved without increasing the existing limits on aircraft movements and noise. We think that this is good news for local residents.”

He added: “This is an example of community consultation in action – we talked about our plans, we listened and we have amended our proposals accordingly. These plans provide a good balance between ensuring our future growth, support for the region’s economy and addressing concerns around local environmental impacts. With clarity over the airport’s ability to grow, airlines and business partners will have the confidence to continue to invest and grow at Stansted.”

However, a spokesman for the Stop Stansted Expansion group, said: “People shouldn’t be hoodwinked by Stansted Airport’s spin doctors. The new planning application would still mean an extra 1,800 flights a week compared to today’s levels.”

Stansted Airport says it has advised Uttlesford District Council of the change in its proposals and will now conduct further feedback sessions during November, ahead of submitting a final planning application early in 2018.

http://www.eadt.co.uk/business/stansted-airport-lowers-growth-target-following-public-consultation-on-expansion-plans-1-5240308

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Stop Stansted Expansion warn people not to be hoodwinked by deceptive displays about airport’s growth plans

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has issued a warning to residents across the region not to be hoodwinked by Stansted Airport’s smoke-and-mirror exhibition and biased consultation survey on its further expansion plans. Both appear designed to trick people into thinking that further Stansted expansion in passenger number will be painless and sustainable. They make these claims, even before the environmental impacts have been assessed. The displays are deliberately misleading, and SSE says people should be very sceptical. Brian Ross, SSE’s deputy chairman, said the displays are all about spinning the positives and saying nothing about the negatives.” People attending the exhibitions need to ask searching questions, like explanations about the proposed increase in flight lights compared to today. And  and passenger movements compared to the position today.  This, say SSE, reveals a very different picture from the one being put forward by Stansted’s bosses who have been making the false claim that the extra passenger numbers will only lead to “approximately two extra flights an hour”.  In reality the proposal would mean an extra 2,000 flights a week compared to today’s levels – 285 per day.  That means an increase from on average of a plane every 2¼ minutes, to a plane every 85 seconds.  Stansted current has permission for 35 million passengers per year, while it currently has about 25 million. But the airport says it ‘urgently’ needs the cap to be raised to 44.5 million.  And see this link too. 

Click here to view full story…          

Stop Stansted Expansion brands airport expansion plans as premature and opportunistic

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has condemned Stansted Airport for insulting the intelligence of Uttlesford District Council (UDC) and the community at large by claiming that its latest expansion proposals will have “no significant adverse environmental effects”.  SSE’s Chairman Peter Sanders has further stressed the need for the council not to be hoodwinked by the airport’s spurious claim and to ensure a comprehensive, honest and thorough assessment of all the environmental impacts that would result from major expansion.  The statement comes following the airport’s formal notification of its intention to submit a planning application later this year to seek permission to grow to an annual throughput of 44.5 million passengers and 285,000 flights. This compares to last year’s throughput of 24 million passengers and 180,000 flights.  If approved, this would mean an extra 20 million passengers and an extra 104,000 flights every year blighting the lives of thousands across the region. Stansted hasn’t even started to make use of its 2008 permission to grow from 25mppa to 35mppa.  Even by its own projections, the airport doesn’t expect to reach 35mppa until 2024 although the credibility of its forecasts is questionable given its wildly inaccurate record on this front.

Click here to view full story…

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Government set to face fresh legal challenge from ClientEarth for inaction in cutting air pollution

Environmental lawyers, ClientEarth, are set to take the government back to court over what they say are ministers’ repeated failings to deal with the UK’s air pollution crisis. ClientEarth has already won two court battles against the government. It has has written a legal letter demanding that the environment secretary Michael Gove sets out a range of new measures to address UK air pollution. If the government fails to comply with this “letter before action”, ClientEarth will issue new proceedings and ministers are likely to face a third judicial review. The courts forced the government to produce its latest air quality plan in July but the document was widely criticised as inadequate by environmentalists and clean air campaigners. The government’s proposal had “simply passed the buck to local authorities who will have little option but to impose charges on diesel vehicles”. Better action by the government itself is needed, such as changes to the tax system to favour less polluting vehicles; a targeted diesel scrappage scheme and a “clean air fund” to help local authorities tackle pollution.  In 2016 some 278 of the 391 local authorities (71%) missed their air quality targets, up from 258 in 2010 even though measures to reduce pollution are meant to be taken “in the shortest possible time”.  
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Government set to face fresh legal challenge over air pollution crisis

Legal NGO ClientEarth to take the government back to court if it fails to set out a new range of measures to tackle Britain’s toxic air

James Thornton, CEO of ClientEarth

James Thornton, CEO of ClientEarth which has already won two legal battles over air pollution against the government. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

Environmental campaigners are set to take the government back to court over what they say are ministers’ repeated failings to deal with the UK’s air pollution crisis.

ClientEarth, which has already won two court battles against the government, has written a legal letter demanding that the environment secretary Michael Gove sets out a range of new measures to address air pollution which contributes to the deaths of 40,000 people across the UK each year.

If the government fails to comply with this “letter before action”, as it is known, ClientEarth will issue new proceedings and ministers are likely to face a third judicial review.

ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews, announcing the new legal proceedings, said the government’s proposal had “simply passed the buck to local authorities who will have little option but to impose charges on diesel vehicles”.

He added: “It is high time that the government kept up its end of the bargain and helped ordinary people and small businesses make the shift away from diesel towards cleaner forms of transport.”

The renewed legal pressure on the government comes as new figures show the number of local authority areas in the UK which are breaching their air quality targets reached a seven-year high in 2016.

Government statistics show a total of 278 of the 391 local authorities (71%) missed their air quality targets last year, up from 258 in 2010.

Andrews said the figures were rising despite the government being ordered by both the supreme court and high court to clean up the country’s illegal air pollution “in the shortest possible time”.

“These new figures show that this is a national problem that requires a national solution,” he said.

Client Earth first successfully challenged the government in 2015 when the supreme court ruled ministers must draw up plans to meet EU pollution rules by the end of that year. Eighteen months later, following a second judicial review, the high court judged these new proposals were illegally inadequate.

ClientEarth then challenged the government’s draft proposals that were released in May but this new legal action is likely to lead to the third judicial review of the government’s policy in the past five years.

In its legal letter, ClientEarth points out that under the government’s existing plans 45 local authorities are not being required to take action on air quality, despite being forecast to breach air pollution limits for years to come.

It criticised the government’s lack of progress on key national policies such as changes to the tax system to favour cleaner vehicles; a targeted diesel scrappage scheme and a “clean air fund” to help local authorities tackle pollution.

The letter also calls on the secretary of state to introduce specific measures and a “concrete timetable” to address these failings. The government has until Friday to respond.

The prospect of legal action comes amid growing concern about the scale of the UK’s air pollution crisis. Earlier this month it emerged that as well as illegal levels of diesel pollution, every person in the capital is breathing air that exceeds global guidelines for dangerous tiny toxic particles known as PM2.5.

Last month the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights related to toxic waste said the UK government was “flouting” its duty to protect the lives and health of its citizens from illegal and dangerous levels of air pollution.

And a new study published on Tuesday found that people are increasingly feeling the impact of toxic air. The survey by London councils revealed that almost half of those surveyed felt their health had been adversely effected, 40% said it had an impact on where they chose to live and a quarter said it was a factor in which school they wanted their children to go to.

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said the findings were further evidence that air pollution was taking its toll on people’s day-to-day lives.

“Air pollution effects everyone, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest, including the elderly, children and people with lung conditions. We need strong national policies to support local authorities.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Food and Rural Affairs said the government had “put in place a £3bn plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful emissions”.

“We will also end the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040, and next year we will publish a comprehensive clean air strategy which will set out further steps to tackle air pollution.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/18/government-set-to-face-fresh-legal-challenge-over-air-pollution-crisis?

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See earlier:

Client Earth taking UK government back to court for 3rd time over inadequate air pollution plans

Environmental lawyers who have defeated ministers twice, on UK air pollution improvements, are going back to court to try to remove ‘major flaws’ from government’s air quality plans. Environmental lawyers, Client Earth, are taking the government to the high court for a 3rd time. They have inflicted two humiliating defeats on the government over previous plans, which the court ruled did not meet legal requirements. ClientEarth had requested improvements to the latest plan (published on 5th May) from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) but were refused, prompting the new court action. James Thornton, chief executive of Client Earth, said: “The law requires the final plan to bring air pollution down to legal levels in the shortest time possible. These flaws seriously jeopardise that timetable. These are plans for more plans, what we need are plans for action.” Client Earth says the most effective way to reduce NO2 pollution is by discouraging polluting vehicles from entering cities and towns. However, the DEFRA consultation states that charging zones should only be the option of last resort, after measures such as removing speed bumps and encouraging cycling have been tried. However, those measures would have insufficient effect. Government is reluctant to penalise drivers of diesel vehicles, who bought them in good faith.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/06/client-earth-taking-uk-government-back-to-court-for-3rd-time-over-inadequate-air-pollution-plans/

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ClientEarth takes government back to court over the inadequate plan it produced in December

Environmental lawyers, ClientEarth, have launched a new legal challenge against the UK government due to its repeated failure to tackle illegal air pollution. In this latest round of legal action, ClientEarth has lodged papers at the High Court in London seeking judicial review and will serve papers on government lawyers shortly.  As well as the UK Environment Secretary who is named as the defendant, Scottish and Welsh ministers, the Mayor of London and the DfT will also be served with papers as interested parties in the case. ClientEarth believes the government is in breach of a Supreme Court order to clean up air quality.  The Supreme Court ordered DEFRA to produce new air quality plans to bring air pollution down to legal levels in the “shortest possible time”. But the plans the government came up with, released on 17 December 2015, wouldn’t bring the UK within legal air pollution limits until 2025. The original, legally binding deadline passed in 2010. The papers lodged with the High Court ask judges to strike down those plans, order new ones and intervene to make sure the government acts. ClientEarth said: “As the government can’t be trusted to deal with toxic air pollution, we are asking the court to supervise it and make sure it is taking action.”  ClientEarth are launching a fundraising campaign to help fund this work. #NO2DIRTYAIR     

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/03/clientearth-takes-government-back-to-court-over-the-inadequate-plan-it-produced-in-december/

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Earlier:

DEFRA produces plan to improve air quality – Client Earth regards it as inadequate

A ruling by the Supreme Court in April 2015 required the government to produce a comprehensive plan to meet air pollution limits by December. The government has now produced this. The intention is that it has to include low emission zones, congestion charging and other economic incentives. It is thought that due to the failure to meet European limits of harmful NOx gases, which are mostly caused by diesel traffic, there are up to 9,500 premature deaths each year in London alone. Under the government’s plan, “Clean Air Zones” will be introduced – by 2020 – in areas of Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton where pollution is most serious. However, though vehicles like old buses, taxis, coaches and lorries have to pay a charge to enter these zones – private passenger cars will not be charged. Also newer vehicles that meet the latest emission standards will not need to pay. Client Earth, the lawyers who brought the legal case against the UK government, for breaching the EU’s Air Quality Directive, said the plan falls far short of the action necessary to comply with the Supreme Court ruling, and they will make a legal challenge to force the government to take faster action to achieve legal pollution limits. “As soon as possible,” or by 2020, is not soon enough.

Click here to view full story…

 

Supreme Court hears ClientEarth case on getting faster UK action to comply with legal NO2 limits

The Supreme Court in the UK heard ClientEarth’s case against the UK Government over its failure to meet legal limits for air pollution, for the final time on 16th April.  This is the culmination of a 4-year battle in the UK and EU courts.  The UK has been in breach of EU NO2 limit values in 16 areas.  The Supreme Court case follows the 2014 ruling by the ECJ which held that the UK must have a plan to achieve air quality standards in the ‘shortest time possible’.  The UK Government’s current plans will not meet legal limits for NO2 until after 2030 – almost a quarter of a century after the original deadline. ClientEarth is calling on the Supreme Court to order the Government to produce a new plan to rapidly deliver cuts to NO2 emissions in towns and cities across the UK.   The plan will need to target pollution from diesel vehicles, which are the main source of NO2 pollution. That is particularly the case around Heathrow.  ClientEarth wants Defra to produce the plan within 3 months. Defra’s lawyers suggested the plan might be produced before the end of 2015, but there is no indication when all areas would be compliant. As one of the five Supreme Court justices, Lord Carnwath, commented: “Here we are 4 years on without any idea when the Secretary of State thinks it will achieve compliance.”  Judgment will probably be given one to three months after the hearing.      

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/04/supreme-court-hears-clientearth-case-on-getting-faster-uk-action-to-comply-with-legal-no2-limits/

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Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG (with over half Heathrow’s slots) again says its expensive 3rd runway plans are “a ridiculous glory project”

Willie Walsh, the boss of British Airways’ parent company, IAG, has again lambasted Heathrow’s expansion plans as a “ridiculous glory project”. He said the £17.6bn plan to build the 3rd runway (just £200 million for the runway itself – not counting the M25 problem) could lead to a “completely unjustified” increase in airport charges, which airlines would have to charge to passengers, denting demand etc. IAG (which owns Iberia and Aer Lingus) have over 50% of Heathrow landing slots.  IAG wants a 3rd runway, though it would increase its competition, but they want a cheap no-frills scheme – and have backed the £7 billion cheaper scheme promoted by Surinder Arora.  The Heathrow scheme requires the demolition of the BA HQ at Waterside in Harmondsworth and IAG could end up effectively paying its own compensation through increased charges levied by Heathrow.  Willie Walsh also said IAG’s new long-haul, low-cost brand Level might one day fly from Heathrow. At present, the subsidiary operates just two aircraft from its base in Barcelona. He hopes it will have 30 planes by 2022, and fly to destinations currently off the BA route map, like secondary cities in China.
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HEATHROW THIRD RUNWAY A ‘RIDICULOUS GLORY PROJECT’, SAYS BRITISH AIRWAYS BOSS

Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA parent company IAG, demanded lower costs

By SIMON CALDER (TRAVEL CORRESPONDENT – the Independent)
14.10.2017

The boss of British Airways’ parent company has lambasted Heathrow’s expansion plans as a “ridiculous glory project”.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG, said the £17.6bn plan to add a third runway at Heathrow could lead to a “completely unjustified” increase in airport charges, which would have to be passed on to passengers. His firm also owns Iberia and Aer Lingus, and has more than half the slots at Europe’s busiest airport.

Mr Walsh was speaking at the ACTE-CAPA Global Summit at the Sofitel at Terminal 5, BA’s Heathrow base. He said the runway itself would cost only £200m, with the rest of the budget going on other facilities.

The IAG boss championed an alternative scheme by the businessman Surinder Arora, owner of the Sofitel and extensive property around the airport, which he said could save £7bn on the official Heathrow plans.

He also claimed that if British Airways’ HQ at Waterside in Harmondsworth were to be demolished to make way for the third runway, the airline could end up paying its own compensation through increased charges levied by Heathrow.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Expanding Heathrow is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to solve Britain’s aviation capacity crisis – with more competition and choice for passengers, improved resilience at the nation’s hub airport and double the cargo capacity for Britain’s exporters.

“It’s critical we get this right, and that is why we are pleased the Civil Aviation Authority has recognised the progress we and our airline partners have made on delivering Heathrow expansion affordably, so that airport charges can be kept close to current levels.”

The boss of Southend airport has weighed in on the expansion debate, demanding lower taxes for smaller airports to take pressure off Heathrow and Gatwick.

Glyn Jones, chief executive of Stobart Aviation, which owns Southend airport, said: “With serious doubts that there will ever be a third runway at Heathrow, the Government needs to address the airport capacity issue now.

“The good news is that there is lots of spare capacity in smaller airports up and down the country, that with a bit of support could be freed up to help.

“Unless we act, our two biggest airports are just going to get fuller and fuller with delays and customer service getting worse and worse.”

The Government is expected to give the go-ahead to the highly controversial expansion of Heathrow in spring 2018.

The IAG chief executive also said that the long-haul, low-cost brand Level might one day fly from Heathrow. At present, the subsidiary operates just two aircraft from its base in Barcelona.

Mr Walsh said it could expand to 30 aircraft by 2022, and fly to destinations currently off the BA route map, like secondary cities in China. But he said the UK’s strict visa rules for Chinese visitors needed urgent reform.

“You can’t do business with the world if you make it difficult for the world to get here.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/heathrow-airport-third-runway-expansion-plans-glory-project-british-airways-boss-willie-walsh-iag-a7998631.html

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See earlier:

Willie Walsh and IAG: Work out cost of crossing M25 before Heathrow runway plan

Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, says pushing through Heathrow’s 3rd runway should be suspended until there are proper plans of how the airport is going to bridge the M25. The section of the M25 that the runway would have to go over is about the busiest stretch of motorway in the UK, and it is unclear if there would be some sort of bridge (a cheaper option, about 8 metres above the road surface), or a proper tunnel (more expensive for Heathrow). IAG, and British Airways, are concerned the extra cost would mean higher charges by Heathrow, so higher ticket prices. Heathrow says landing charges would remain as close to flat “as possible” but Walsh fears they could double and they raised their concerns in their submission to the inquiry by the Commons Transport Committee, into the draft NPS.  There are a few airports globally that have some sort of bridge, with planes taxiing above the road, clearly visible to traffic. None over such a wide, busy section of motorway. In October, when the bridge idea was first suggested (the Airports Commission always presumed a tunnel) papers from Highways England showed it described the scheme as “high risk”, warning of a “a substantial risk of excessive customer frustration about what might be prolonged period of disruption”.  IAG is also deeply opposed to Heathrow ending night flights between 11pm and 5.30am, as that risks flights going instead to airports like Frankfurt, losing IAG money.    

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/04/willie-walsh-and-iag-work-out-cost-of-crossing-m25-before-heathrow-runway-plan/

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Willie Walsh reiterates that he will fight Heathrow runway, due to cost; content with 3 hub system for IAG instead

Willie Walsh has reiterated his determination not to pay the exorbitant costs of a new Heathrow runway (and that’s without the costs that the taxpayer would have to pick up for surface access improvements – which could be £20 billion).  He said the current proposal to build a 3rd Heathrow runway is “indefensible” from a cost point of view and he will fight it.  BA holds over 50% of Heathrow’s slots. Walsh said he was worried about the current Heathrow proposal because there was now “desperation by the airport to get a third runway and they are willing to do anything to get it.”  He commented: “So the airport is incentivised to spend money while I am incentivised to save money.”  Because the coalition government blocked a 3rd runway in 2010, in January 2011 BA and Iberia were merged to form IAG.  Then IAG bought UK airline BMI, to get hold of its Heathrow slots, gaining an extra 42 pairs.  That  ensured IAG  had enough Heathrow slots to secure its ability to compete from its hub base.  Since then Walsh has made his plans to use  a 3 hub strategy – with Madrid and Dublin as its two others, not depending so much on Heathrow.  IAG also owns Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus. Dublin will be adding a new runway – probably by 2020.    

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/05/willie-walsh-reiterates-that-he-will-fight-heathrow-runway-due-to-cost-content-with-3-hub-system-for-iag-instead/

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Airport hotel tycoon, Surinder Arora, wants Heathrow runway built soon – but a bit cheaper

A wealthy hotel tycoon, Surinder Arora, has submitted plans for a 3rd Heathrow. He has been a long time backer of a runway, and says his plan would be £5 billion cheaper than what Heathrow is offering (costing £17.5 billion). He has put his proposal to the government’s public consultation on Heathrow (the NPS consultation actually closed on 25th May.) Heathrow has been trying to find ways to make their runway + terminal scheme cheaper, as the airlines are not keen on paying the higher charges that would be needed. Ticket prices would rise. (ie. lower airline profit). The Arora Group’s proposals include altering the design of terminal buildings and taxiways, and reducing the amount of land to be built on.  They know the alterations to roads, including the M25 and the junction of the M25 and the M4, are massive problems and “threaten deliverability” of the runway project. They therefore want to “shift the runway”. Where to?  All this shows how very uncertain the runway plan has become, and the immense doubts – especially on money. Heathrow said they would welcome views on various options  “in the public consultation later this year.” The plans must first be assessed by the Commons transport committee, be amended by the DfT and then voted on in Parliament …. it is not a quick process.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/07/airport-hotel-tycoon-surinder-arora-wants-heathrow-runway-built-soon-but-a-bit-cheaper/

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Aviation biofuels plan would use palm oil and ‘destroy rainforests’ – warn 200+ environmental organisations

A new plan to accelerate production of biofuels for passenger planes has drawn stinging criticism from environmentalists who argue that most of the world’s rainforests might have to be cleared to produce the necessary crops. Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, with an 8% leap reported in Europe last year and a global fourfold increase in CO2 pollution expected by 2050. To rein this back, the industry is hoping for what it (unrealistically) calls “carbon neutral growth” by 2020 – to be met by biofuels, and offsets. The “green jet fuel” plan would increase the use of aviation biofuels to 5m tonnes per year by 2025, and 285m tonnes by 2050 – enough to cover half of overall demand for international aviation fuel. This is three times more biofuels than the world currently produces, and advanced biofuels are still at too early a stage of development to make up the difference. Environmentalists say that the most credible alternative fuel source would be hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), even though this would probably trigger a boom in palm oil plantations and a corresponding spike in deforestation. The vast use of palm oil for aviation biofuels would destroy the world’s rainforests, vital to life for local people and the habitats of endangered species such as orangutans. Over 200 environmental organisations are urging ICAO to scrap its misguided biofuels plan.

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New airplane biofuels plan would ‘destroy rainforests’, warn campaigners

Plan to accelerate production of biofuels for passenger planes would lead to clearing of rainforests to produce ‘vast’ amount of necessary crops

The ‘green jet fuel’ plan would ramp up the use of aviation biofuels to 5m tonnes a year by 2025.
By 

A new plan to accelerate production of biofuels for passenger planes has drawn stinging criticism from environmentalists who argue that most of the world’s rainforests might have to be cleared to produce the necessary crops.

Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, with an 8% leap reported in Europe last year and a global fourfold increase in CO2 pollution expected by 2050.

To rein this back, the industry has promised carbon neutral growth by 2020 – to be met by biofuels, if a blueprint is approved at an International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) conference in Mexico City tomorrow.

The “green jet fuel” plan would ramp up the use of aviation biofuels to 5m tonnes a year by 2025, and 285m tonnes by 2050 – enough to cover half of overall demand for international aviation fuel.

But this is also three times more biofuels than the world currently produces, and advanced biofuels are still at too early a stage of development to make up the difference.

Environmentalists say that the most credible alternative fuel source would be hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), even though this would probably trigger a boom in palm oil plantations and a corresponding spike in deforestation.

Klaus Schenk of Rainforest Rescue said: “Citizens around the world are very concerned about burning palm oil in planes. The vast use of palm oil for aviation biofuels would destroy the world’s rainforests, the basis of life for local people and the habitats of endangered species such as orangutans. We urge Icao to scrap its misguided biofuels plan.”

It is impossible to quantify the precise extent of deforestation that the proposal could cause, but based on the Malaysian Palm Oil Council’s crude palm oil yields and Total conversion figures, Biofuelwatch estimate that 82.3m hectares of land (316,603 sq miles) would be needed to meet the target, if it were sourced from palm oil alone. That is more than three times the size of the UK.

Carlos Calvo Ambel, a spokesman for Transport and Environment, said: “Most biofuels are worse for the climate than jet fuel. Quality should always go before quantity. Establishing a goal even before the rules are set out is putting the cart before the horse. The European experience has been that biofuels targets sucked in palm oil exports whose emissions were far greater than those of fossil fuels.”

T&E, Oxfam and Friends of the Earth are among nearly 100 environmental groupsprotesting the proposal, while 181,000 people have signed a petition calling for the initiative to be scrapped.

Inside the conference hall, several states are also opposing the biofuels pitch which, if passed, is expected to go on to an Icao assembly for formal adoption within two years.

Brazil and Indonesia strongly support the plan but China has questioned its feasibility, the EU wants more robust sustainability criteria, and the US says it will not support globally coordinated emissions reductions targets.

An industry proposal to limit the biofuels target to 2025 is one possible compromise, but others may emerge before the plan is put to a vote.

Almuth Ernsting, a spokeswoman for Biofuelwatch, said the current proposed target was “so huge that it would be unlikely to be fulfilled – but you could still have massive negative impacts from much smaller uses of palm oil”.

Within four years of the EU setting a binding target to source 10% of its transport fuel from renewable sources in 2009, studies show that European investors had bought 6m hectares of land for biofuels production in sub-Saharan Africa.

The EU took very little of its biofuel feedstock from Africa in the end, but the use of palm oil from elsewhere for biodiesel had soared 500% by 2014, according to industry trade figures.

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The letter and the list of signatories can be seen at  
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See also

Letter to ICAO, from hundreds of organisations, calling on it to oppose the promotion of biofuels in aviation

ICAO supports the aviation industry’s quest for unending rapid growth, a quest which is incompatible with keeping global warming to 1.5oC or even 2oC per (a goal endorsed by the Paris Agreement). Greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation alone grew by 87% between 1990 and 2014 and are rising faster than those from almost any other sector. Efficiency improvements lag far behind growth in the number of air passengers worldwide and there are no available techno-fixes which would allow planes to fly without burning hydrocarbon fuels. ICAO hopes for vast-scale use of biofuels in aircraft: it wants to see 128 million tonnes of biofuels a year being burned in plane engines by 2040, going up to 285 million tonnes (half of all aviation fuel) by 2050. By comparison, some 82 million tonnes of biofuels a year are currently used in transport worldwide.  The only aviation biofuels which can currently be produced reliably and at scale – although they are still expensive – are made from vegetable oils and animal fats, using a technology called hydrotreatment.  Any large-scale use of aviation biofuels made from hydrotreated vegetable oils (HVO) would almost certainly rely on palm oil. That would be an environmental disaster. See details of the letter to ICAO from Biofuelwatch signed by hundreds of organisations

Click here to view full story…

Biofuelwatch to publish report about aviation biofuels ahead of ICAO high-level conference

From 11th to 13th October, ICAO will be holding a High-Level Conference on Alternative Aviation Fuels, in Mexico City.  ICAO’s Secretariat has published a proposed “Vision” which would see 128 million tonnes of biofuels per year used in aircraft by 2040 and 285 million tonnes by 2050. By comparison, a total of 82 million tonnes of biofuels was produced worldwide for all uses last year. ICAO and airlines are keen to promote biofuels as solution to their CO2 problems. Greater efficiencies cannot possibly cancel out the impacts on CO2 emissions of the industry’s expected rapid, continuous growth. Meaningful measures to curb aviation CO2 emissions would be incompatible with an airline’s shareholder profits. The aviation sector hopes to use carbon offsetting (condemned by over 100 civil society groups last year) and biofuels (which, contrary to scientific evidence, continue to be largely classified as zero carbon).  There is no possibility of producing the vast quantities of biofuels that would be needed for such an endeavour without disastrous impacts on forests, on the climate, on food prices, food sovereignty, on human rights and land rights. The prospect of even limited use of biofuels in aircraft is particularly concerning, especially if palm oil is used. There will be a new report on 6th October, and a Webinair on 6th October (4pm).

Click here to view full story…

Algae biofuel claims overhyped – GE algae risks to environment if they escape

A new report suggests that industrial scale production of biofuels and chemicals via genetically engineered (GE) microorganisms such as GE algae pose serious environmental and health risks. Microalgae Biofuels: Myths and Risks and a companion briefing, published by Biofuelwatch and Friends of the Earth US., reveals that even after decades of investment, viable commercial production of algae biofuels has failed and is unlikely to succeed. There are already problems caused by algal blooms in some places, and it therefore seems very unwise to be encouraging mass-scale production – with the inevitable accidental release of GE microalgae into the environment. Many of the traits that are being engineered to create algal ‘chemical factories’ could result in their outcompeting and proliferating out of control in the wild.  These organisms could become ‘living pollution’ that is impossible to recall. The continued market hype about GE algae biofuels as sustainable, claims of unrealistic productivity, and historic promises of commercial viability just over the horizon perpetuate the myth of a “miracle fuel” and that unsustainable energy consumption may continue “business as usual.”

Click here to view full story…

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BEIS “Clean Growth Strategy” admits aviation CO2 cannot be kept below 37.5MtCO2 – it has no plan on aviation carbon

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Clean Growth Strategy fails to address aviation policy gap

The long-awaited Clean Growth Strategy was published today, setting out how the Government plans to increase the pace of action needed to deliver the Climate Change Act. The Government’s webpage boldly claims that “This strategy sets out our proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy through the 2020s.”

But there’s a catch: the Government has no plan for aviation.

Despite the CCC repeatedly asking for one, despite forecasts showing that the sector’s emissions will take up at least 25% of the total budget for 2050, and despite evidence that a third runway will make the CCC’s recommendation for the sector impossible to achieve, the Government says it “has not reached a final view on the appropriate level of aviation emissions in 2050.”

There are two glaring omissions from the plan published today:

  1. No policies to deliver the assumption of 37.5 Mt in the fourth and fifth carbon budgets

The Committee on Climate Change, the Government’s official advisors on delivery of the Climate Change Act, has consistently said that aviation emissions should be no higher than 37.5 Mt by 2050. While aviation remains outside formal carbon budgets, the CCC’s “planning assumption” has been assumed in all the carbon budgets so far legislated, including the fourth and fifth budgets (from 2023-2032).

The Clean Growth Strategy sets out how the Government intends to up the current pace of decarbonisation in order to meet these budgets, with plans – for example – for an Industrial Energy Efficiency scheme, support for home energy efficiency, investment in Carbon Capture and Storage, and an end to the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040. But beyond vague mentions of biofuels and offsetting schemes there is not a single policy proposal for limiting aviation emissions to the level assumed in the modelling.

  1. No promise to stick to the aviation limit beyond 2032

This is, of course, not just an oversight. All reputable evidence to date indicates that keeping aviation emissions to the level of the planning assumption (which is set at the level of the sector’s emissions in 2005) will be challenging even without runway expansion, and probably impossible if the Government’s plan for a third Heathrow runway goes ahead.

In its progress report to Government this June, the CCC had the following to say on aviation:

“If aviation emissions are anticipated to be higher than 2005 levels – as in the central case in the business case for an additional runway at Heathrow airport – then other sectors would have to plan for correspondingly higher emissions reductions. We would expect to see this reflected in the Government’s plan for meeting the fourth and fifth carbon budgets.”

The government plan for squaring the circle on this issue should, in other words, have been set out in today’s strategy. But while the strategy seems to imply that yes, somehow the question can be answered and yes, somewhere they’ve answered it, the details are shrouded in mystery.

Quoting analysis by the Airports Commission, the strategy says on p153:

“For the case of expansion at Heathrow (a new northwest runway), the AC estimated UK gross aviation emissions in its “carbon traded” scenario to be around 44 MtCO2e in 2050. This scenario for gross UK aviation emissions above the CCC planning assumption provides a useful basis for a sensitivity test. Our analysis shows that it is possible to meet the 2050 target under the Climate Change Act domestically if aviation emissions are 44 MtCO2e – this is the case for our three pathways to 2050. Further action could be taken after the fifth carbon budget in order to offset these higher aviation emissions through action elsewhere in the UK. The action taken in the remaining UK sectors depends on the wider pathway to 2050.”

So how has the Government pulled off this magic trick of showing how the anticipated emissions cuts from other sectors will not only be met but exceeded?

Who will make up the shortfall caused by aviation and what impact will it have on consumers’ bills? What are the ‘actions’ the strategy mentions? We’ve searched through today’s strategy and can’t find the answers. Even more mysteriously, Table 10 of the report, which shows the three possible pathways to the 2050 emissions target, includes a figure of 44 Mt CO2e from aviation and shipping combined (not for aviation alone as suggested in the text).

AEF’s reaction:

Cait Hewitt, AEF Deputy Director, said:

The Government claims to have shown today how it will decarbonise all sectors of the economy. But it doesn’t seem to have noticed the aviation sector, which has no meaningful alternative to fossil fuels, and growing passenger demand.

Heathrow airport, already responsible for half the total emissions from UK aviation, must not be allowed to expand until the Government has an answer on how to tackle the sector’s CO2. Today’s strategy effectively admits that it’s not possible to meet the CCC’s recommendation for keeping aircraft emissions within the limits of the Climate Change Act while building a third runway, but seems to have no answer on how it will account for this.

https://www.aef.org.uk/2017/10/12/clean-growth-strategy-fails-to-address-aviation-policy-gap/

The relevant section of the table, showing the aviation and shipping emissions together (though in the text aviation alone accounts for the 44 MtCO2).  P 151 of  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/651916/BEIS_The_Clean_Growth_online_12.10.17.pdf

The footnote 346 says:   Includes domestic and international aviation and shipping, in line with advice from the Committee on Climate Change. CCC (2015) Sectoral scenarios for the fifth carbon budget https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/sectoral-scenarios-for-the-fifth-carbon-budget-technical-report/

The text in the report says:  “Our analysis shows that it is possible to meet the 2050 target under the Climate Change Act domestically if aviation emissions are 44 MtCO2 e350 – this is the case for our three pathways to 2050. “(Page 153)


 

In-depth: How the ‘Clean Growth Strategy’ hopes to deliver UK climate goals

12.10.2017 (By multiple authors at Carbon Brief)

Today, the UK government published its long-awaited Clean Growth Strategy, setting out how it hopes to meet the nation’s legally binding climate goals

[It is a long article, and just the sections relating to aviation are copied below].

On aviation and shipping, it says:

“We will set out our strategic approach to the aviation sector in a series of consultations over the next 18 months, including a paper on how to support growth while tackling the environmental impacts of aviation. This will culminate in the publication of a new Aviation Strategy for the UK by the end of 2018…On domestic shipping, the Government will continue to work with industry to develop improved fuel efficiency technologies, including new propulsion systems, hull design and aerodynamic structures.”

(See the 2050 Pathways section below for more on the government’s long-term view on how it sees aviation emissions sitting within the 2C target.)

The strategy includes a short section devoted to greenhouse gas removal (GGR) technologies, also known as negative emissions. (See Carbon Brief series of articles on the topic.)

The government admits that they “are likely to have an important role to play in offsetting difficult-to-cut emissions, by removing greenhouse gases from the air”.

This is because, as the UK approaches 2050, its remaining emissions “will likely be in the sectors where it is the most difficult to cut them – in industry, agriculture, aviation and shipping”.

It says it wants the “UK’s entrepreneurs, universities and engineering industries to be well placed to exploit the advantages of global demand for these new technologies”.

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It’s noteworthy that in its emissions removal pathway it shows that the power sector would actually be removing 22MtCO2e in 2050, thereby allowing more headroom for transport, buildings and agriculture to decarbonise more slowly. It also assume no CCS in pathway 1 (electricity).

It’s also eye-catching that all three pathways assume the same emissions from the aviation and shipping sectors. The number given seems to be something of a placeholder, though. This is because: “The Government has not reached a final view on the appropriate level of international aviation and shipping emissions in 2050.”

It adds, by way of further explanation for the figure chosen in the table:

“Our analysis shows that it is possible to meet the 2050 target under the Climate Change Act domestically if aviation emissions are 44MtCO2.” (Given this part of the strategy is discussing both aviation and shipping, the absence of the word “shipping” here is noticeable.)

However, as Carbon Brief reported last year, the CCC has said that UK aviation emissions should be limited to no more than 2005 levels, if the UK is to meet its 2050 carbon targets as cheaply as possible. This would mean a cap of 37.5MtCO2e for UK-based air travel.

It is important to stress that the strategy is only “2C compatible”. It does not seek to set out policies which would guide the UK towards meeting the 1.5C goal of the Paris Agreement.

See the full analysis at

https://www.carbonbrief.org/in-depth-how-the-clean-growth-strategy-hopes-to-deliver-uk-climate-goals

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Leo Barasi: UK Government’s new aviation strategy is a plan for climate chaos

In his new book, The Climate Majority, Leo Barasi looks at the problem the UK has with its carbon targets and its desire to fly more and more. There is no doubt about the fact that to meet its climate targets the UK must restrict flying – but the government is going backwards on this, and the public are becoming less worried about aviation’s environmental cost. A 3rd Heathrow runway, with ever more longer haul flights, might produce around 9 million tonnes of CO2 each year, which is about 8% of all the emissions the UK can release in 2050 if it is to meet the Climate Change Act. The government is well aware of, but trying to ignore and conceal, the fact that the Heathrow runway can only be built and used if aviation growth at other UK airports is restricted – or we fail to meet the UK carbon target. The Airports Commission was well aware of the problem, and suggested the entirely implausible solution would be to hugely raise the cost of flying a few decades ahead, to cut passenger numbers. The current consultation by the DfT is focused almost entirely on planning for huge aviation expansion, prioritising consumers over the climate. Ironically, while an ever larger percentage of the population realises climate change is real, and caused by humanity, fewer are prepared to reduce their own flying at all.  Just 21% say they would be willing to fly less to reduce the impact of climate change.
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UK Government’s new aviation strategy is a plan for climate chaos

By LEO BARASI  (Open Democracy UK)

11 October 2017

To meet its climate targets the UK must restrict flying – but the government is going backwards and the public are becoming less worried about aviation’s environmental cost.

Arguments about a new Heathrow runway may have receded to a distant rumble, but it’s an increasingly important question, with the government now planning to drop rules intended to make a new runway compatible with climate limits.

In the effort to limit climate change, a new Heathrow runway is a big deal. It would produce around 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, which is about 8% of all the emissions the UK can release in 2050 if it is to meet the Climate Change Act. Even if more efficient planes could cut that slightly, it’s a vast amount for one strip of tarmac.

Even so, debate about the new runway is just part of a bigger argument. It’s nearly inevitable that meeting the UK’s climate targets would only be possible with restrictions on flying, regardless of what happens at Heathrow. But the government has quietly proposed a new aviation strategy that suggests it isn’t prepared to do that.

Suspension of disbelief

It’s mathematically possible for the UK to build a third runway at Heathrow and still meet its emissions target – but you have to suspend your disbelief to imagine it actually happening and the government now appears to have given up on the fantasy.

When the Airports Commission recommended expanding Heathrow, it knew it had to say something about climate change. So it came up with an answer that ticked the climate box, but which was hard to take seriously. Its cunning plan was for Heathrow to expand and then for every other UK airport to be prevented from doing the same. Even that wasn’t enough – to meet its climate limits, the UK would still have to leave some of its airport capacity unused. The Commission’s idea for how to do that was an implausible plan to ramp up ticket prices by eye-watering amounts, with the aim of discouraging poorer people from flying.

These were never realistic suggestions and, in its proposed new strategy, the government has given up the pretence that they would happen. Instead, it has set out a plan where “consumers are the focus of the sector and… their expectations continue to be met”. Since the government expects demand “to increase significantly between now and 2050”, its prioritisation of consumers over the climate means it is planning for more airport capacity “beyond the additional runway” – whipping away the justification of Heathrow expansion before the bulldozers are even warmed up.

This is a plan for the UK to miss its climate targets. It would mean aviation expanding well beyond what the government’s climate advisors say is possible within emissions limits. The result would be other sectors having to cut their emissions more than they are already due to, something the advisors say may not be possible. The only hope may be electric planes, but these still seem far off – if they are possible at all – for anything other than the smallest of aircraft.

Public support

Alarmingly, the government might well get away with this inconsistency – because its position is what most people want. A new survey has shown there is little public appetite for restrictions on flying for the sake of the climate.

The poll, part of the respected British Social Attitudes survey, found the UK public are intensely relaxed about the climate costs of flying. Only 35% disagree that people should be allowed to travel by plane as much as they like, even if it harms the environment. That’s a fall from a peak of 49% saying the same in 2008. And, when it comes to their own travel, just 21% say they would be willing to fly less to reduce the impact of climate change.

It’s striking that the survey also found that the highest-ever proportion now understand climate change is real and caused by human activities. So the lack of worries about the impact of flying don’t seem to be a result of doubts about the reality of the problem.

Instead, the survey reflects the fact that most people realise climate change is a threat, but haven’t had to confront what it will take to deal with the problem. This isn’t a surprise when many climate campaigners have focused on the easy and uplifting emission-cutting changes, like the switch to renewable power and efficient appliances, that make our air cleaner or reduce household bills.

Confronting the problem

Those uplifting changes are still necessary and it’s right to inspire people with evidence of how cutting emissions can make their lives better, but we can’t keep putting off the unwelcome conversations. The longer we do so, the harder it will be to win support for the difficult measures that will be needed.

As I argue in my book, The Climate Majority, flying isn’t the only one of these unwelcome issues, but it may be the first that countries like the UK will have to confront. Decisions that the government makes in the next few years could leave the UK with expensive infrastructure that could put the climate target out of reach.

The new aviation strategy reflects the obvious – but previously denied – fact that a new Heathrow runway would make it much harder to limit emissions. Yet public opinion is moving away from being willing to deal with the problem, just when wide support is most needed.

It’s possible that a new runway at Heathrow will be stopped by local protests that have little to do with climate change. But, whatever happens with that strip of tarmac, the UK’s climate target will be in trouble unless more people realise their desire to stop global warming is in conflict with the government’s plans – and the popular wish – for ever more flights.

The Climate Majority: Apathy and Action in an Age of Nationalism (New Internationalist) is now available.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/leo-barasi/new-aviation-strategy-is-plan-for-climate-chaos

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See also

Climate change: Ministers should be ‘sued’ by “Plan B” over insufficient 2050 CO2 targets

Prof Sir David King, the government’s former chief scientist, has said Ministers should tighten the UK’s official climate change target – or face the courts. He supports a legal case forcing Ministers to shrink UK CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 – and says the current government goal – an 80% emissions cut by 2050 – is too weak to protect the climate. Ministers have failed to enshrine a 100% cut by 2050 within the Climate Change Act, though it knows what needs to be done.  A small group, called “Plan B”(run by former government lawyer Tim Crosland) is taking preliminary legal action against the government. The basis of their case is that the UK is obliged under the Act to tighten CO2 targets if the science shows it is needed. Professor King is backing this legal action. Mr Crosland has written to the Business Secretary (at BEIS) Mr Clark and says if there is no satisfactory reply after 14 days, he will take the case to the High Court for judicial review. The case would be argued in court by Jonathan Crow, a former senior Treasury lawyer.  Targets do not on their own reduce emissions, but efforts are needed to ensure Climate Change Act fulfils its purpose. Meeting the CO2 target is made much harder, as the government apparently intends to ignore CCC advice on aviation carbon, allowing it to grow – seriously threatening the 2050 target and the chances of achieving it.

Click here to view full story…

Offsets can play limited role in reducing aviation CO2 – but there’s poor understanding of their limitations

With the growth in air travel demand forecast to outstrip fuel efficiency improvements, the only hope for the aviation industry’s CO2 emissions goals is if they could be achieved through the purchase of carbon offsets. However, says a new study, there is considerable misunderstanding about offsetting and the difference between scientific and policy perspectives. Offsets are merely a way to cancel out aviation carbon, by nominally assisting other sectors to make actual reductions in carbon emissions. Offsets are just a way of concealing the problem, and giving the impression that aviation is not just adding to global carbon emissions.  The study says offsets do not “make emissions ‘go away’ in some miraculous manner” and there is a low level of understanding about the limitations of offsets in reducing global CO2. For example, the influence on the global climate system of additional atmospheric CO2 from the combustion of fossil fuels is not neutralised by offsets in the land sector.  As it does not reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2, carbon offsetting should be seen as a second or even third best option behind technological advances or demand reduction efforts to make the necessary deep cuts in aviation emissions over the long term.

Click here to view full story…

Blog by Cait Hewitt (AEF): Is global aviation climate policy heading in the right direction?

Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director of the Aviation Environment Federation looks at aviation emissions and whether we’re on course to tackle them.  Nobody knows yet whether the ICAO agreement to implement a Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) beginning in 2020 will be at all effective in limiting aviation CO2 emissions. It depends on the unsatisfactory process of “offsetting” emissions from planes, using real CO2 cuts made by other sectors. At present, CORSIA is far less ambitious than the 2015 Paris Agreement. Cait asks:  “…does carbon offsetting offer an effective response to the global climate challenge, as its advocates argue, or is it merely a way of putting off difficult decisions?”  The UK’s statutory advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, has advised that market based measures should be seen as only a short to medium term solution for tackling aviation emissions, arguing that the sector should be preparing for deep cuts in its own emissions.  Analysis suggests that achieving the Paris Agreement will require our economies to be zero emissions by 2070. However the UK government plans a huge expansion of the aviation sector, with Heathrow’s claimed economic benefits calculated over 60 years. The does not seem compatible with zero carbon by 2070. Cait: “We have yet to have a public or political conversation about what that could mean for the role of flying in our economies and our lives.”

Click here to view full story…

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EU study shows most carbon offsets do not work – aviation sector plans depend on them

Carbon offsets are not working, according to a study by the European Commission. The concept of carbon offsets is to allow polluters to pay others to reduce their CO2 emissions, so they can continue to pollute. This is usually considered the cheapest (“most cost effective”) way to make token gesture carbon cuts. The EC research found that 85% of the offset projects used by the EU under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) failed to reduce CO2 emissions.  EU member states decided not to allow the use of offsets to meet European climate goals after 2021. The global market-based measure adopted last October by ICAO relies exclusively on offsetting in its attempt at “carbon neutral growth” for aviation from 2020. Yet Europe is now endorsing the approach at ICAO to address international aviation emissions using the same approach that this report so thoroughly discredits. The problem with offsets is that they are often not making the CO2 cuts suggested, or that the cuts would have happened anyway.  To make matters worse, the ICAO agreement so far fails to include important safeguards which would exclude the worst types of offsets eg. forestry credits, or ensuring adequate transparency about the offsets used. With CDM offsets trading for as little as €0.50 a tonne, offsetting will not cut CO2 – nor will it incentivise greater aircraft efficiency.

Click here to view full story…

UK government must not use international climate deal as a “smokescreen” with which to force through Heathrow runway

WWF is urging the next UK Government to come up with a credible climate plan for aviation – not just offsetting. They say the UK should not merely depend on the ICAO deal (very weak) as a “smokescreen” to pave the way for adding a 3rd Heathrow runway. The proposed new runway would make Heathrow the UK’s largest single source of greenhouse gases and increase emissions 15% over the limit for aviation advised by the Government’s independent expert advisers, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). The UK government hopes the ICAO deal for a global offsetting scheme agreed in Montreal last October – called CORSIA – would allow it to ignore aviation CO2. But the new WWF report Grounded explains ten problems with this approach. These include a weak target well short of the ambition of the Paris climate agreement and ignoring the non-CO2 pollution from planes, which probably almost doubles their overall global warming impact. The ICAO CORSIA scheme is no panacea for limiting the climate change impacts of airports expansion. The CO2 emissions from use of a new runway cannot just be offset. Instead government Ministers need to come up with a credible plan for limiting UK aviation emissions before making any decisions on allowing an extra (intensively used) runway (largely used for long haul flights). Otherwise, with no plan to deal with the huge increase in greenhouse gas emissions poses a very real threat to the UK’s legally binding climate change commitments.

Click here to view full story…

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Bankrupt Air Berlin (Europe’s 10th biggest airline) to end all flights by 28th October

Air Berlin has revealed all flights will be grounded by the 28th October. Air Berlin has been in financial crisis for months, culminating in forced insolvency mid-August. It was bailed out by a £137 million loan from the German government, which has kept planes flying until now. Air Berlin’s crisis began when Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, which holds a 29% stake in Air Berlin,  finally withdrew its funding as the airline kept losing money.  Lufthansa and easyJet are in talks with Air Berlin to buy up parts of the company.  Customers who booked Air Berlin flights prior to August 15 will not get their money back from the airline. Monarch ceased trading earlier this month, less than two months after Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy, and in May, Italian airline Alitalia also became insolvent. The demise of 3 major European airlines recently has prompted concerns about the future of the aviation industry. Competition between airlines has become every more intense, and more failures of European airlines are likely. While easyJet, Ryanair and Norwegian may be able to continue, some ‘mid-market’ carriers with relatively high cost bases being continually squeezed to a point of failure.  All this could spell the end of the ultra-low fares people have become accustomed to.
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Major airline cancels ALL flights after October leaving passengers out of pocket

AIR BERLIN has cancelled all flights beyond the end of the month as it prepares to shut down.

By CLAUDIA CUSKELLY (Express)

Oct 11, 2017

Air Berlin has revealed all flights will be grounded by the end of the monthAir Berlin has been in the throes of financial crisis for months, culminating in forced insolvency mid-August.
The airline was bailed out by a £137 million loan from the German government, which has kept planes flying until now.

But after months of uncertainty, the European airline has now revealed all flights will be grounded by the end of the month.

In a letter to employees this week, Air Berlin announced preparations to stop all services by October 28 “at the latest”.

Continuing to fly “according to the current state of things, will no longer be possible”, the correspondence revealed.

Air Berlin’s crisis began when Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, which holds a 29 percent stake in the German company, finally lost patience with the loss-making company and withdrew its funding.

Etihad said it was “extremely disappointing” in lieu of multiple cash injections to keep the company afloat, including £227 million as recently as April.

Lufthansa and easyJet are in talks with Air Berlin to buy up parts of the company.
As negotiations continue, many customers with flights booked beyond October 28 are facing cancellations.

Those customers who booked after August 15 when Air Berlin filed for insolvency will be entitled to full refunds or rebooking on an alternative flight.

Air Berlin news: The airline is one of three major European carriers to collapse this yearAccording to EU legislation, passengers will also be compensated for additional expenses incurred as a result of the cancellations.

But those customers who booked Air Berlin flights prior to August 15 will not get their money back from the airline.

It’s a similar situation faced by Monarch passengers who had flights cancelled as a result of the UK airline’s collapse.

Monarch ceased trading earlier this month, less than two months after Air Berlin filed bankruptcy.

Just a few months prior in May, Italian airline Alitalia also became insolvent.
The demise of three major European airlines in one year has prompted concerns about the future of the aviation industry.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has called for an investigation into the BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton said: “There is a lot of understandable anger which, on the basis of recent reports, does seem to have some justification.

“There are hundreds of thousands of Monarch customers who want to know what happened and why they were still being sold flights on October 1 when the company Board had already decided it was going into administration.”

http://www.express.co.uk/travel/articles/864928/Air-Berlin-news-bankruptcy-flights-cancelled#ampshare=http://www.express.co.uk/travel/articles/864928/Air-Berlin-news-bankruptcy-flights-cancelled

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Thousands to be refused refunds as Europe’s 10th biggest airline ceases trading

Air Berlin will cease to operate flights by the end of October 

By Annabel Fenwick Elliott, travel writer (Telegraph)
10 OCTOBER 2017

After months of uncertainty Air Berlin has announced it will be ending all flights in a matter of the weeks.

The bankrupt airline – Germany’s second largest and Europe’s 10th biggest overall – says it’s preparing to stop all services by October 28 “at the latest”.

In a letter to its employees on Monday, the airline said that flights under the airline code AB “according to the current state of things, will no longer be possible.”

Flights operated by its subsidiaries; Niki, an Austrian budget airline, and LG Walter, a German regional airline, will continue.

Air Berlin is currently in talks with Lufthansa (German’s biggest carrier) and UK-based Easyjet about selling parts of its business. The company said in the letter that “in a few days we’ll know more” about this.

Aviation expert John Strickland told the Telegraph: “This has been expected for some time. It’s now a question of how much capacity will be picked up by Lufthansa and most probably easyJet, and how many jobs this will protect.”

Where did it all go wrong?

Air Berlin declared bankruptcy in August following years of losses and the decision of its biggest shareholder, Etihad, to cease bankrolling it.

Etihad said in August that this was “extremely disappointing”, especially as it had provided extensive support to Air Berlin over the last six years, notably with a €250m (£227m) cash injection in April this year, but to no avail.

Air Berlin’s Italian rival Alitalia, also part-owned by Etihad, also filed for bankruptcy this year, with both airlines struggling to fight off competition from low-cost operators such as easyJet and Ryanair.

Air Berlin has also been dogged by delays and cancellations over the past months, which have resulted in it paying millions of euros in compensation to passengers.

In September, nearly 200 pilots called in sick at short notice in a move which forced more than 110 flights to be cancelled in a single day.

All this in turn has hit passenger numbers hard, causing them to fall by 24 per cent year-on-year in July from 3.22m to 2.44m.

Shortly after Etihad withdrew its financial support for Air Berlin, The European Commission approved a €150m loan to allow for the “orderly wind-down” of the airline.

It follows the high-profile collapse of Monarch earlier this month in what amounted to the biggest UK airline failure in history.

Monarch previously served 43 destinations with a fleet of 35 aircraft. It flew 5.43 million passengers last year, making it Europe’s 26th largest airline (it carried more than 7 million in 2014), and employed 3,500 people.

More than 110,000 of its passengers were stranded abroad following the sudden announcement, while a further 750,000 people have paid for flights they will not be able to take.

What is going on in the aviation industry?

Competition between airlines has reached fever pitch – and more failures could be on the cards.

John Grant, an aviation analyst, told the Telegraph: “The competitive environment has become increasingly challenging for many airlines, with many established legacy airlines launching low-cost long-haul services and the continual growth in services from airlines such as easyJet, Ryanair and Norwegian. This has resulted in many ‘mid-market’ carriers with relatively high cost bases being continually squeezed to a point of failure.

“There are perhaps too many airlines in Europe today relative to the size of the market, with too many struggling to keep market share. In the United States, five major airlines provide some 80 per cent plus of scheduled capacity and that may be where the European market will head over time.”

According to Telegraph consumer expert Nick Trend, all this could spell the end of the ultra-low fares we’ve become accustomed to.

He wrote yesterday: “We are certainly entering a new phase in the story of no-frills flying, one where fewer airlines are likely to dominate the market and fares may rise.”

The recent fall of several carriers is a sharp reminder that airlines are fragile constructs. They work on thin margins and are thus highly vulnerable to failure – anything from shifts in the economy to a sudden decline in the demand for certain destinations due to terrorism fears, as we saw with Monarch.

The last decade has seen the collapse of Zoom, XL Airways and Silverjet (all 2008), FlyGlobespan (2009) and Spanair (2012).

Globally, more than 250 have failed since 2007.

Every airline failure in the last decade, world wide (there are 255 in total – see website for the full list 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/air-berlin-to-stop-flights-by-end-of-october/

These are the most recent 20:

  1. 2017 Air Berlin
  2. 2017 Monarch Airlines
  3. 2017 GLO Airlines
  4. 2017 Rainbow Airlines
  5. 2017 Mega Maldives Airlines
  6. 2017 Wings of Alaska
  7. 2017 Citywings
  8. 2016 Tiara Air
  9. 2016 TransAsia Airways
  10. 2016 Seaport Airlines
  11. 2016 SAFI Airways
  12. 2016 Aero Contractors
  13. 2016 Fly Lapland
  14. 2016 Air Pegasus
  15. 2016 VLM Airlines
  16. 2016 Fly Salone
  17. 2016 SOL S.A. Líneas Aéreas
  18. 2016 Skywise
  19. 2015 SkyGreece
  20. 2015 Intersky

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/air-berlin-to-stop-flights-by-end-of-october/

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