All the claimants, whose challenges against the DfT on Heathrow expansion were rejected, now given leave to appeal

The Court of Appeal has granted the claimants against the Government’s plans to expand Heathrow permission to appeal their claims in a hearing beginning on 21 October 2019. The Government had argued permission should be refused.  Lord Justice Lindblom stated: “The importance of the issues raised in these and related proceedings is obvious.”  Four Councils (Wandsworth, Richmond, Hammersmith & Fulham, Windsor & Maidenhead) with Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Plan B Earth and the Mayor London sought the appeal, after judges at the High Court ruled against the legal challenges  on 1st May.  Rob Barnstone, of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, commented: “Boris Johnson knows that Heathrow expansion cannot meet environmental targets, including on noise and air pollution. Mr Johnson has indicated he will be following the legal and planning processes very carefully. Then at the appropriate time, the project can be cancelled. We don’t expect any gimmicks but remain confident that Mr Johnson will stop this disastrous project, albeit at the correct time in the process. The decision by the Court of Appeal today may make that time a little sooner than previously thought.” Heathrow Hub has also been given permission to appeal.

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Heathrow third runway campaigners get High Court go-ahead

22.7.2019 (BBC)

Campaigners against the expansion of Heathrow Airport have been given permission to challenge a High Court ruling over plans for a third runway.

Councils, residents, environmental charities and the mayor of London brought four separate judicial reviews of the Government’s decision to approve the plans.

The campaigners had their cases dismissed by two leading judges in May.

They were given the go-ahead to challenge that ruling on Monday.

During a two-week hearing in March they argued the plans would effectively create a “new airport” with the capacity of Gatwick and have “severe” consequences for Londoners.

Lord Justice Lindblom granted permission for a four-day hearing at the Court of Appeal in London, which will begin on 21 October.

Giving reasons for his decision, which he made based on case documents without a hearing, the judge said: “The importance of the issues raised in these and the related proceedings is obvious.”

The High Court case was brought against transport secretary Chris Grayling by local authorities and residents in London affected by the expansion, and charities including Greenpeace, Friends Of The Earth and Plan B.

The campaigners claimed the Government’s National Policy Statement setting out its support for the project failed to properly deal with the impact on air quality, climate change, noise and congestion.

Support from Labour MPs for the expansion helped push through the proposals to expand Europe’s busiest airport with a majority of 296 in a Commons vote in June last year.

Mr Grayling [Failing Grayling] said at the time the new runway would set a “clear path to our future as a global nation in the post-Brexit world”.   Construction could begin in 2021, with the third runway operational by 2026.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-49077721

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HEATHROW COURT APPEAL GRANTED

22 July 2019

No 3rd Runway Coalition press release

The Court of Appeal has granted claimants against the Government’s plans to expand Heathrow permission to appeal their claims in a hearing beginning on 21 October 2019. The Government had argued permission should be refused. Lord Justice Lindblom stated:

“The importance of the issues raised in these and related proceedings is obvious. So too is the need for those issues to be finally resolved as swiftly as possible and with the least multiplication of costs.”

Reacting to the decision, Paul Beckford, Policy Director of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said:

“We welcome the Court of Appeal’s recognition of the seriousness that the Heathrow expansion proposal brings. Our fight will continue to end the plans that would blight our environment and fall flat in the face of our climate emergency. We expect to win.”

Commenting ahead of the likely new prime minister taking office, Rob Barnstone, Coordinator of Stop Heathrow Expansion, said

“Boris Johnson knows that Heathrow expansion cannot meet environmental targets, including on noise and air pollution. Mr Johnson has indicated he will be following the legal and planning processes very carefully. Then at the appropriate time, the project can be cancelled. We don’t expect any gimmicks but remain confident that Mr Johnson will stop this disastrous project, albeit at the correct time in the process. The decision by the Court of Appeal today may make that time a little sooner than previously thought.”

ENDS.

The judgment can be found here: https://planb.earth/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Permission-to-Appeal-Order.pdf

For more information, contact Paul Beckford on  paul@no3rdrunwaycoalition.co.uk

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See earlier:

Hillingdon and the other 4 Councils seek permission to appeal Heathrow ruling

Following the Divisional Court’s decision on 1 May 2019 to dismiss the legal challenge brought by Hillingdon Council and others, expert legal opinion has been sought by them in relation to whether there are any grounds to appeal this decision. There is no automatic right of appeal and permission to appeal is needed, in the first instance, from the court which heard the legal challenge. Therefore, an application for permission to appeal is being made to the Divisional Court on behalf of Hillingdon Council and the other local authorities involved in the legal challenge (Wandsworth, Richmond, Hammersmith & Fulham, Windsor & Maidenhead) – it will be supported by Greenpeace and the Mayor of London.  The appeal is on 2 specific grounds which both have their origin in European Law. 1). Relating to the Habitats Directive, and 2). the relationship of the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) to the councils’ Local Plans, and the noise assessment and metric used by the government, under the SEA Directive. If the Divisional Court refuses the application, the councils can apply for permission to appeal directly to the Court of Appeal. Plan B and Friends of the Earth are also appealing, on different grounds. The councils have always known this would be a long slog …

Click here to view full story…

Plan B to appeal against the Court’s judgment rejecting the Heathrow legal challenges

Plan B Earth is to Appeal against the decision of the Judges, on 1st May, to reject the legal challenges by the five councils etc, by Friends of the Earth,  Plan B Earth, and Mr Paul Spurrier (as well as Heathrow Hub).  Plan B Earth has published its application for permission to appeal against the judgment of Hickinbottom LJ and Holgate J . “The Appellant wishes to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision … to designate the Airports National Policy Statement (“the ANPS”) in support of the expansion of Heathrow Airport under the Planning Act 2008 (“the 2008 Act”), on the basis of his failure to give proper consideration to the climate change impacts of the proposal.  Plan B mention specific errors, including that the “Court erred in law in treating the minimum target of 80% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2050, established by the Climate Change Act 2008 (“CCA”) as precluding Government policy which implied emissions reduction of greater than 80%: The Court proceeded on the basis that “Government policy relating to … climate change” could not differ at all (or at least could not differ materially) from the base level of the emissions target set out in the CCA. That approach is fundamentally flawed.”

Click here to view full story…

Judges reject judicial review challenges against DfT’s Heathrow 3rd runway NPS

The judges at the High Court have handed down their judgement, which was to reject all the legal challenges against the DfT and the Secretary of State for Transport, on the government decision to approve a 3rd Heathrow runway, through the Airports NPS (National Policy Statement). The judges chose to make their ruling exclusively on the legality, and “rationality” of the DfT decision, ignoring the facts and details of the Heathrow scheme and the NPS process – or the areas where relevant information was ignored by the DfT.  In the view of the judges, the process had been conducted legally. They threw out challenges on air pollution, surface access, noise and habitats – as well as carbon emissions. The latter being on the grounds that the Paris Agreement, though ratified by the UK government, has not been incorporated into UK law, so the DfT did not have to consider it. The Paris Agreement requires countries to aim for only a global 1.5C rise in temperature, not 2 degrees (as in the current UK Climate Change Act). Read comments by Neil Spurrier, one of those making a legal challenge.  There are now likely to be appeals, perhaps even direct to the Supreme Court.

Click here to view full story…

Comment by Plan B Earth and Extinction Rebellion, on Judges’ rejection of Heathrow legal challenges

The High Court dismissed all the legal challenges to the Government’s plans to expand Heathrow, including the claims brought by Friends of the Earth and Plan B on the grounds of inconsistency with the Paris Agreement on climate change. Tim Crosland, Director of Plan B and a legal adviser to Extinction Rebellion, said: “…it is increasingly difficult to see how the Government’s reckless plans to expand Heathrow Airport can proceed. Following the recent Extinction Rebellion protests there is widespread recognition that we are in a state of climate and ecological emergency. The Court has upheld Chris Grayling’s surprising contention that the Paris Agreement is “irrelevant” to Government policy on climate change. It ignored the fact that the Government stated in May last year that it planned to decarbonise the economy by 2050. Instead it accepted Grayling’s argument that the CCC considers the current target of 80% emissions reductions by 2050 to be consistent with the Paris Agreement. Tomorrow the CCC is expected to expose the fallacy of that position by recommending that the Government implement a target of net zero by 2050,… Since that recommendation is obviously inconsistent with the expansion of Heathrow, presumably the plans will now need to be reviewed.”

Click here to view full story…

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DfT launches call for evidence on carbon offsetting on travel, including plane

The DfT (under Grayling) has launched a call for evidence into whether more consumers could be given the option of buying carbon offsets to reduce the carbon footprint of their travel (plane, ferry, train, coach etc).  The DfT also asks if transport operators should provide information on carbon emissions. And it will explore the public’s understanding of carbon emissions from the journeys they make and the options to offset them. The transport sector contributes about a third of the UK total CO2 emissions, and these are not falling. Aviation CO2 is increasing. Presumably Grayling hopes that getting some passengers offsetting will somehow cancel out the horrific increases in transport carbon from infrastructure he has pushed through. The DfT seems aware that many people are not persuaded of the effectiveness of carbon offsetting. It seems aware that offsets should be from domestic schemes, not from abroad. But the main problem is offsetting does not reduce carbon. All it does is slightly absolve someone’s conscience, while effectively cancelling out the carbon savings made by others. Offsetting is essentially a con. Offsets are damaging, as they help to continue with “business as usual” behind the greenwashing.  See “Cheat Neutral” 
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Government launches call for evidence on carbon offsetting

Call for evidence to look into if more consumers could be offered the chance to carbon offset to reduce their carbon footprint when buying travel tickets.

Ends 26th September.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/carbon-offsetting-in-transport-a-call-for-evidence

  • more consumers could be offered the chance to carbon offset to reduce their carbon footprint when buying travel tickets
  • the call for evidence will also look at whether transport operators should provide information on carbon emissions
  • it will explore the public’s understanding of carbon emissions from the journeys they make and the options to offset them

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has today (Thursday 18 July 2019) launched a call for evidence on offsetting carbon emissions produced by transport.

Transport accounted for approximately one third of UK carbon dioxide emissions in 2018, and the government is inviting views on whether companies selling travel tickets including for flights, ferries, trains and coach travel should have to offer additional carbon offsets so that consumers can choose to compensate when they book.

This call for evidence will seek more evidence on the public awareness of carbon emissions caused by transport journeys and the various options available to offset them.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

Climate change affects every one of us and we are committed to ensuring that transport plays its part in delivering net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.An offsetting scheme could help inform travellers about how much carbon their journey produces and provide the opportunity to fund schemes, like tree planting, to compensate for those emissions.However, our focus remains to target the development, production and uptake of zero emission technology across all modes of transport.

 

Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK said:

UK airlines are committed to decarbonising aviation and are working with government to continue progress through the introduction of new greener technologies, including more efficient aircraft and engines, sustainable aviation fuels and vital airspace modernisation. As a global sector, international carbon offsetting has a critical role to play in enabling aviation to reach our targets, and UK airlines are participating in the global carbon offsetting scheme – CORSIA – which will deliver carbon neutral global aviation growth from 2020.Carbon offsetting can enable individuals and organisations to compensate for the carbon emissions produced from their journeys, by paying for projects that reduce an equivalent amount of emissions. These emissions savings are generated through a wide variety of projects, which can range from planting trees to installing solar panels.

Among the issues the call for evidence will address are concerns that some consumers may not trust that their payments are supporting worthwhile, quality projects. It will also look at consumer awareness around the carbon emissions from different journey types, what carbon offsets are available or how they might offset the emissions from their journey.The government also aims to set up a stronger and more attractive market for domestic carbon offsetting that will encourage more businesses to support cost-effective emission reductions.

In gaining valuable insights from the public and industry, the call for evidence aims to help consumers make more informed decisions by providing more information about the environmental impact of their travel options.

This is the latest move in the government’s drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from across the economy, including from the transport sector, following the Prime Minister’s historic commitment to make the UK the first major economy to legislate to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. With transport accounting for an increasingly large share of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, as emissions from other sectors are reduced, government has recognised the need to increase our ambition and step up the pace of progress.

That is why we have been developing our plans to drive down carbon emissions across transport, including in last year’s Road to Zero Strategy, our recently published Aviation Green Paper and Maritime 2050 strategy and Clean Maritime Plan. Later this year, we will also publish an ambitious Aviation Strategy which will map out our approach to ensure the sector plays its part in tackling climate change.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-call-for-evidence-on-carbon-offsetting

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Consultation description

Call for evidence exploring:

  • options to improve the consumer understanding of the carbon emissions from their journeys
  • the role of carbon offsetting in transport
  • whether travel providers should be required to offer voluntary carbon offsets to their customers

Travel types include travel:

  • by train
  • by bus
  • by coach
  • by plane
  • by ferry
  • on holiday packages
  • on cruises
  • road transport

Documents

Carbon offsetting in transport: a call for evidence

Email to:

Environmental.Strategy@dft.gov.uk

Write to:

1/33 Environment Strategy
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
London
SW1P 4DR

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Cheat Neutral:

To appreciate the lunacy of offsetting, and how it does nothing to reduce the carbon your journey produces, see Cheat Neutral

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6zpnVW134k.

or the longer version at

About how you can offset your infidelity, and affairs outside your relationship, by paying someone else to be faithful and celibate on your behalf.

Shows up the idiocy of it. And the danger that it encourages more of the behaviour – like Catholic “indulgences”.   Go, sin again ….

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Michael Gove admits that government action on climate change has not been good enough

Michael Gove, the current Environment Secretary, while speaking at a Green Alliance event, has said the next Prime Minister’s ‘single greatest responsibility’ will be addressing the climate and environment emergency.  He has conceded that action by the UK government to tackle the climate emergency has to date not been good enough. And he felt greater affinity on the issue with Greta Thunberg, who spoke more sense on the need to act now to deal with the climate emergency, than “many of the people I sit alongside in the House of Commons”. Gove said the School Strikes for Climate activists and Extinction Rebellion protestors, had helped to turn climate change into a mainstream political issue over the past year – reproaching his generation “for not having done enough”.  And there has not been enough done by this government. Gove said he was “under few illusions about how big a change we need to make”, acknowledging calls to eat less meat, fly less and plant more trees. And he compared the required transformation of the economy and society with that achieved during and immediately after World War Two.
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Michael Gove: Government action on climate change has not been good enough

By Michael Holder (Business Green)

19 July 2019

The next Prime Minister’s ‘single greatest responsibility’ will be addressing the climate and environment emergency, Environment Secretary warns

Action from government to tackle the climate emergency has to date not been good enough, Michael Gove has conceded, as the Environment Secretary claimed he felt greater affinity on the issue with Greta Thunberg than “many of the people I sit alongside in the House of Commons”.

Speaking before an audience of green campaigners, policy makers, and business figures last night at an event hosted by think tank Green Alliance, Gove called on the next Prime Minister to take strong, urgent action to address the climate emergency.

He compared the ideals of young people in the 1960s and the wider civil rights movement to School Strikes for Climate activists and Extinction Rebellion protestors, who he credited with helping to turn climate change into a mainstream political issue over the past year.

Environmental justice, Gove said, was “inspiring young people to raise their voices, and to reproach my generation, for not having done enough”.

“It’s uncomfortable sometimes to hear a 16-year-old like Greta Thunberg speak more sense on the need to act in order to deal with the climate emergency than many of the people who I sit alongside in the House of Commons,” Gove added.

He went on to stress that while “there are aspects” of what Extinction Rebellion say which he did not agree with, he understood the concern over climate action that drives the protestors.

“It’s tough, because at the heart of what they’re doing is saying: ‘You haven’t done enough. You’ve been in power. You’ve had influence. You told us that you were going to discharge your responsibilities in the public interest. But it’s just not good enough yet,'” Gove said. “And I have to confess that it hasn’t been.”

Heaping pressure on the next government, of which it is not yet known whether Gove will be a member, the Environment Secretary said that over the past two years there had been a significant rise in public expectation “that politicians will at last live up to their responsibilities on the environment”.

“The evidence is there in accumulating examples, with force that nobody can deny, and in a way that requires us to take action,” he said. “If we don’t act now, the situation in every respect only get worse.”

With the UK having just enshrined a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target for 2050 in law, the next government is under significant pressure to quickly set out a policy platform for how it intends to meet the goal, including in difficult areas such as home heating, carbon capture and storage, and personal choices over diets and flying.

Last night’s comments follow a major set-piece speech from the Environment Secretary earlier this week, in which he set out a wide-ranging series of policy plans for the next year including proposals to strengthen post-Brexit environmental governance and introduce new waste measures and air quality rules.

Speaking last night, Gove said he was “under few illusions about how big a change we need to make”, acknowledging calls to eat less meat, fly less and plant more trees. And he compared the required transformation of the economy and society with that achieved during and immediately after World War Two.

“So there are challenges aplenty,” he said. “I don’t know, in a week’s time, who will be your Secretary of State, but the one thing that I do know is that whoever your Prime Minister is, I will be joining you in making sure they recognise that their single greatest responsibility – of course we must secure a good Brexit deal, and of course yes we must ensure that social justice is achieved more effectively – but the single greatest challenge that we face in the next 18 months is making sure that the climate and environment emergency… is addressed with the force, passion, and determination that it deserves.”

Gove’s comments came as further evidence emerged detailing the collapse in the installation rate for domestic energy efficiency upgrades overseen by the government over the past five years.

A report released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) yesterday reveals the number of energy efficiency upgrades to households – including measures such loft insulation or boiler improvements – has fallen by a dramatic 85 per cent since 2014.

Around 10,000 home retrofit upgrades were recorded each month on average in the UK during the first six months of this year, compared to the monthly average of 65,000 during the same period in 2014, the data shows. During the first half of both 2015 and 2016, meanwhile, the average monthly number of installations was around 30,000.

The current rate of installations is therefore far behind the 1.2 million homes needing upgrades each year to reach government targets.

The government has stressed that its ambition is for all homes to reach an energy efficiency EPC rating of Band C by 2035, and it recently announced a £5m fund to explore innovative way of financing energy efficiency upgrades, such as through green mortgages.

But Ed Matthew, associate director at climate think tank E3G, stressed that major public investment in cutting energy waste was “more than affordable”.

“The government has a choice. They either prioritise infrastructure spending on high carbon projects or they filter this spending through the lens of net-zero,” he said. “And that means prioritising infrastructure spending on helping us all to de-carbonise our homes.”

The new data follows a damning report on the government’s energy efficiency record just last week from the BEIS select committee of MPs, which warned the UK “stands no chance” of slashing greenhouse gas emissions in line with its recently adopted net zero by 2050 target unless drastic action is taken to improve the energy productivity of homes and buildings.

That report found the rate of energy efficiency installations in UK homes has plummeted by 95 per cent since 2012, leading BEIS committee chair Rachel Reeves to accuse minister of “continuing to sit on their hands” on the issue.

BEIS was considering a request for comment at the time of going to press.

Recent speculation suggested new proposals to improve domestic energy efficiency were likely to be included in an Energy White Paper that was reportedly slated to launch this week. But a late row between BEIS and the Treasury over whether key decisions on the plans should be left to the next Prime Minister appear to have delayed the launch of plans, which also included measures to mobilise investment in new nuclear and carbon capture projects.

Speaking to the BEIS committee earlier this week, Acting Energy and Clean Growth Minister Chris Skidmore would only say the white paper is expected to be published this summer.

https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3079250/michael-gove-government-action-on-climate-change-has-not-been-good-enough

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Environmental Audit Cttee inquiry into environmental damage of tourism (in UK and by Brits abroad)

Holidaymakers’ responsibility for foul beaches, overcrowding, traffic, plane carbon emissions, harm done by cruises and other environmental impacts will come under parliamentary scrutiny. The Commons Environmental Audit Committee (chaired by the remarkable Mary Creagh) has an inquiry to address problems caused by tourism, including aviation emissions, pollution, habitat damage etc in UK and abroad. Deadline for comments 13th September.  It will look at whether the UK government should play a greater role in offsetting the waste and damage caused by the tens of millions of Britons who go on holiday overseas each year – and of the impact on domestic tourism in the UK.  The Committee says global tourism is responsible for 5% of greenhouse gas emissions. People do not often consider the environmental, and climate, impacts of their holidays. “While there are some sustainable practices, we want to look closely at the government’s actions to ensure the economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism are minimised.” Due to ever cheaper flights, and zero tax on aviation fuel, the holiday business is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries and accounts for more than 10% of global GDP. Many countries have had to take strict measure to prevent serious damage done by excessive tourism, eg in Philippines, or Venice or Thailand.  Or US hiking trails.
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Environmental damage of tourism comes under MPs’ spotlight

Inquiry to address problems including aviation emissions and traffic in UK and abroad

By Jonathan Watts (Guardian)

@jonathanwatts
18 Jul 2019

Holidaymakers’ responsibility for foul beaches, overcrowding, traffic, aeroplane emissions and other environmental impacts will come under parliamentary scrutiny.

The inquiry into the environmental cost of tourism and transport will consider whether the UK government should play a greater role in offsetting the waste and damage caused by the tens of millions of Britons who go on holiday overseas each year.

It will also look at ways to reduce the negative consequences of the growing domestic tourism industry, including the hefty carbon footprint of aviation and cruise companies.

According to the Commons environmental audit committee, which launched the inquiry on Wednesday, global tourism is responsible for 5% of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Now that summer is here, families are looking forward to a well-earned holiday. But when we book a cruise, flights or visit a popular tourist destination, it’s easy to forget about the environmental impact our holidays are having,” the committee chair, Mary Creagh MP, said.

“While there are some sustainable practices, we want to look closely at the government’s actions to ensure the economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism are minimised.”

Thanks to ever cheaper flights and zero tax on aviation fuel, the holiday business is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries and accounts for more than 10% of global GDP.

But the growing weight of tourists is putting a crushing strain on many of the world’s most popular destinations. The Philippines government had to close the party island of Boracay for six months to clean up the sewage and other filth from unregulated and overstretched resorts.

In Thailand, authorities shut down Maya Bay on Ko Phi Phi Leh island to allow the environment to recover from a daily influx of 5,000 tourists and 200 boats since it was made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach.

In the US, a growing horde of backpackers in national parks has clogged up back-country trails and mountain roads, prompting complaints that the search for tranquility has been overtaken by the quest for the perfect selfie. Venice plans to offset the damage with a new tax on the 30 million people who visit the lagoon city every year.

There have been anti-tourism protests in many cities, including Barcelona, and an increasing tendency to blame accidents on the industry, most notably in the wake of the Venice cruise ship collision.

Despite such complaints, the tourist business is expected to continue expanding. In Britain, tourism is the fastest-growing industry. Authorities expect the sector to expand by 3.8% a year up until 2025 and account for more than a tenth of all jobs.

Last year, 37.9 million overseas visitors arrived in the UK – the seventh most popular destination in the world – which puts a substantial burden on the climate and calls into question the government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.

The committee will study the industry and report next year on ways to reduce the impacts by using incentives, taxation, offsets and greater scrutiny of corporate claims to provide sustainable or eco-friendly packages.

Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton, said she hoped the inquiry would also review plans to expand airport capacity in the UK and reconsider subsidies that make air travel cheaper than train journeys.

“How we travel can make a major difference to the environmental impact of our holidays, yet far too often the greener options are less affordable. That must urgently change if the UK is serious about the climate emergency, yet the government is failing even to acknowledge the problem – instead supporting a third runway at Heathrow as well as reckless airport expansion elsewhere in the UK.

“This inquiry will allow us to focus on positive policy solutions as well as the environmental problems associated with travel and tourism.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/18/environmental-damage-of-tourism-comes-under-mps-spotlight?

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The Environmental  Audit Committee inquiry: 

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news-parliament-2017/sustainable-tourism-inquiry-launch-17-19/

 

Committee investigates environmental impact of travel and tourism

18 July 2019

The Environmental Audit Committee launches an inquiry into sustainable tourism, looking at both the impacts of tourism and travel on the environment and how these can be reduced.

Tourism is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world, accounting for ten percent of global GDP and just under ten percent of total employment. Done well, it can help economic growth, environmental protection and poverty alleviation.

However, the growth in international and domestic travel has caused pressure in terms of carbon emissions, resource management and can have negative impacts on local communities and cultural assets if not managed properly. This can lead to the physical degradation of popular sites and higher rents, congestion and air pollution in some cities. These pressures are known as ‘overtourism’ and harm local communities and the visitor experience.

Travelling by plane or ship causes local air and water pollution, noise and greenhouse gas emissions. The tourism industry accounts for an estimated five per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The amended UK Climate Change Act includes aviation and shipping emissions in the new net zero target. The Committee will seek views on travel choices to inform the Government’s forthcoming aviation strategy to 2050.

Chair’s comments

Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Mary Creagh MP, said:

“Now that summer is here, families are looking forward to a well-earned holiday. But when we book a cruise, flights or visit a popular tourist destination, it’s easy to forget about the environmental impact our holidays are having.

“The recent cruise ship collision in Venice, as well as protests both there and in Barcelona, are a sharp reminder of the effects of ‘overtourism’ and the damage that can be done to the environment and local quality of life.

“The industry adds five percent to global greenhouse emissions, putting our net zero by 2050 target at risk. While there are some sustainable practices, we want to look closely at the Government’s actions to ensure the economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism are minimised. We will publish a report early next year.”

Terms of reference

The Committee is inviting written evidence submissions on some or all of the following points to inform its inquiry:

  • What can the Government do to support a sustainable inbound tourism industry in the UK?
  • How should the UK tourism industry balance the need to encourage tourism whilst protecting fragile environments?
  • How well is the UK industry managing the impact of tourism in line with its obligations under the sustainable development goals, at home and abroad?
  • Should the UK Government take more responsibility for the impacts of outbound tourism, for example waste and resource management, protecting habitats and species and community and cultural impacts?
  • How can the Government reach its net zero emissions targets through influencing sustainable travel patterns? Is there a role for offsets in sustainable tourism?
  • Where should the balance lie between affordable travel and influencing sustainable travel choices? Are taxes and incentives needed?
  • How effective are sustainable tourism practices by large tourism companies such as cruise ship and package holiday operators

Submissions should be made via the sustainable tourism inquiry page by 5pm on Friday 13 September. Guidance is available to view here.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news-parliament-2017/sustainable-tourism-inquiry-launch-17-19/

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See earlier:

 

Ever increasing numbers of city-breaks and short holidays ruining cities – and the climate

With rising affluence in much of the world, and flying being unrealistically cheap (as it pays no fuel duty, and almost no other taxes) people want as many short holidays and city breaks as they can get. This is starting to have very negative impacts on some of the cities most visited, eg. Barcelona. Growth is relentless. The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) even speaks about tourism as a right for all citizens, and their forecasts suggest increases from 1 billion international travellers today, to 1.8 billion by 2030.  But there is a huge price to pay in carbon emissions from all these trips and holidays, most of which is the flights.  Short breaks therefore, pollute more per night than longer breaks. And  you can fit more into your year. “The marketing department might prefer a Japanese tourist to Barcelona because on average they will spend €40 more than a French tourist – according to unpublished data from the Barcelona Tourist Board – but the carbon footprint we collectively pay for is not taken into account.” People are being persuaded by advertising and marketing, and a change in ethos of society, to take more short holidays – not one longer one.  A report in 2010 suggested that makes people the happiest. More trips = more carbon emissions. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/06/ever-increasing-numbers-of-city-breaks-and-short-holidays-ruining-cities-and-the-climate/
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IPBES report on global biodiversity loss. Comment on impact of tourism

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has published a report on the serious global loss of biodiversity. IPBES says:  “Long-distance transportation of goods and people, including for tourism, have grown dramatically in the past 20 years with negative consequences for nature overall. The rise in airborne and seaborne transportation of both goods and people, including a threefold increase in travel from developed and developing countries in particular, has increased pollution and significantly raised invasive alien species… Between 2009 and 2013, the carbon footprint from tourism rose 40% to 4.5 gigatons of carbon dioxide and overall 8% of the total greenhouse-gas emissions are from transport and food consumption that are related to tourism. The demand for nature-based tourism, or ecotourism, also has risen, with mixed effects on nature and local communities, including some potential for contributions to local conservation in particular when carried out at smaller scales.”   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2019/05/ipbes-report-on-global-biodiversity-loss-comment-on-impact-of-tourism/

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Letter by Gatwick area MPs opposing Gatwick 2nd runway expansion plans

MP’s from the Gatwick Co-ordination Group have expressed concerns about the rapid growth plans for Gatwick, in their “master plan”.  The MPs say more people are negatively impacted by Gatwick’s noise operations than 10 years ago, both close to the airport and many miles away under flightpaths, creating health issues and congestion locally through inadequate infrastructure. They say: “Over the past few years Gatwick Airport has continually under invested in the local amenities and social infrastructure that would be required to support a project of this size and scale. We cannot support expansion of the airport without a comprehensive investment in the local area which would ease pressure on the over-stretched road and rail systems serving the airport.  At a time of increasing concern about the environmental impact of global aviation growth, the proposed expansion plans would see a marked increase in carbon emissions, with clearer environmental consequences for us all. … The safeguarding of land for a new full runway is a clear indication that Gatwick has future plans to build a 3rd runway, as well as converting the current standby runway into a second runway.”
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GATWICK CO-ORDINATION GROUP OPPOSE GATWICK AIRPORT MASTERPLAN PROPOSALS

18 July 2019

Press release from the Gatwick Co-ordinator Group, through Tom Tugendhat MP

MP’s from the Gatwick Co-ordination Group have expressed concerns about the rapid growth
plans for Gatwick Airport. This follows Gatwick Airport’s announcement today of expansion plans for what could be a three runway airport.

The MP’s shared the following statement:

“Gatwick has grown significantly over the past decade. It has offered greater numbers of flights to more destinations and created jobs in the process. However, the benefits of growth have not been well distributed with the local community.

More people are impacted by Gatwick’s noise operations than 10 years ago, both close to the
airport and many miles away under flightpaths, creating health issues for local residents and
congestion through inadequate infrastructure.

“Over the past few years Gatwick Airport has continually under invested in the local amenities and social infrastructure that would be required to support a project of this size and scale. We cannot support expansion of the Airport without a comprehensive investment in the local area which would ease pressure on the over-stretched road and rail systems serving the airport.
At a time of increasing concern about the environmental impact of global aviation growth, the
proposed expansion plans would see a marked increase in carbon emissions, with clearer
environmental consequences for us all. We should not be looking at unchecked expansion at our local airports but seeking managed growth that is proportionate to our other national priorities.

The safeguarding of land for a new full runway is a clear indication that Gatwick has future plans to build a third runway, as well as converting the current standby runway into a second runway. With today’s announcement it is now clear that Gatwick Airport’s new owners are determined to push for rapid commercial expansion and aviation growth despite the restrictions imposed upon the airport by its poor transport connections and its rural position adjacent to Green Belt land as well as the arguments made against a third runway at Gatwick in the London Runway Review.

We are keen to enable the airport to make viable returns for its shareholders however this also requires a sustainable and achievable plan for the future of Gatwick Airport which acknowledges the limitations on aviation growth at the site that exist due to local infrastructure, environmental and geographical factors.

Gatwick Airport’s plans to build up to have up to three runways in operation do not represent a sustainable plan for the environment and the local community. It would mean more noise, more carbon emissions, faster climate change, more health problems for local residents and greater congestion. We have written to the Secretary of State to indicate our opposition.”

Sir Paul Beresford MP, Member of Parliament for Mole Valley
Crispin Blunt MP, Member of Parliament for Reigate
The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Member of Parliament for Tunbridge Wells
Gillian Keegan MP, Member of Parliament for Chichester
The Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames MP, Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex
Tom Tugendhat MP, Member of Parliament for Tonbridge and Malling
CC:
The Rt Hon Anne Milton MP, Member of Parliament for Guildford
Jeremy Quin MP, Member of Parliament for Horsham

 


 

Letter to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, at the DfT.

From the Gatwick Co-ordination Group of MPs – from the office of Tom Tugendhat MP

18th July 2019

Dear Chris

We are concerned to hear that Gatwick airport, as part of its master plan is proposing to bring the standby runway into routine use. This would be a second runway by any other name and cause many problems for our communities with thousands of people losing sleep and having their lives blighted by noise.

As you know late last year Gatwick airport went to consultation on its master plan and a number of us responded to share the views of the communities we represent. In this document, growth forecasts were provided which indicate that use of the standby runway would see a 51% growth in passenger numbers and a 36% growth in air traffic movements compared to the current position. At a time when the infrastructure in and around the airport is stretched,  we are concerned about how deliverable is plans are.

Over the past few years Gatwick airport has continually under invested in the local amenities and social infrastructure that would be required to support a project of this size and scale. We cannot support expansion of the airport without a comprehensive investment in the local area which would ease pressure on the overstretched road and rail systems serving the airport.

In addition, the pressing need to address climate change and environmental issues is in sharp focus and we are concerned that supporting a second runway by default would result in more emissions. This would create health issues for local residents and the growth at the airport over the past 10 years illustrates that the resulting increase in carbon emissions would have clear environmental consequences for us all.

Though we will wait to see the Development Consent Order which is brought forward by the airport we are very concerned about this idea in principle at it is not something which we as local MPs are able to support. Growth at Gatwick airport would mean more noise and emissions and we hope that the Department for Transport will not approve any expansion of the airport.

Best wishes.

Signed by

Sir Paul Beresford MP
Crispin Blunt MP
The Right Honourable Greg Clark MP
Gillian Keegan MP
The Right Honourable Sir Nicholas Soames MP
Tom Tom Tugendhat MP

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See earlier:

 

Gatwick plans to use emergency runway as 2nd runway, to increase passengers by 50% by 2030

Gatwick has published its Final Master Plan which confirms its plans to use its emergency runway as a second runway, by widening and re-aligning it.  Gatwick says it is not considering building another runway to the south of the existing main runway, but wants to keep that land “safeguarded” for up to 25 years, in case it wants another (3rd) runway in due course. It hopes to have the emergency runway brought into use for departures by the mid-2020s. They will start to prepare a planning application for this, which will have to go through the Development Consent Order (DCO) process. Local group GACC commented that Gatwick’s new owners, the Vinci Group, have shown immediate disregard for their local community neighbours. The plans will damage and blight the lives of thousands of residents surrounding the airport, due to the noise and severe effects on a local infrastructure that is already overburdened. The extra flights, including those at night, will have serious impacts on those further away living under flight paths. The proposals to grow the airport’s capacity by between 20% and 50% over the next 10 – 12 years involve not only the 2nd runway, but also use of new technology on the main runway.  This will hugely increase the airport’s carbon emissions.

Click here to view full story…

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Read more »

Gatwick plans to use emergency runway as 2nd runway, to increase passengers by 50% and increase flights by 36% by 2030

Gatwick has published its Final Master Plan which confirms its plans to use its emergency runway as a second runway, by widening and re-aligning it.  Gatwick says it is not considering building another runway to the south of the existing main runway, but wants to keep that land “safeguarded” for up to 25 years, in case it wants another runway in due course. It hopes to have the emergency runway brought into use for departures by the mid-2020s. They will start to prepare a planning application for this, which will have to go through the Development Consent Order (DCO) process. Local group GACC commented that Gatwick’s new owners, the Vinci Group, have shown immediate disregard for their local community neighbours. The plans will damage and blight the lives of thousands of residents surrounding the airport, due to the noise and severe effects on a local infrastructure that is already overburdened. The extra flights, including those at night, will have serious impacts on those further away living under flight paths. The proposals to grow the airport’s capacity by between 20% and 50% over the next 10 – 12 years involve not only the 2nd runway, but also use of new technology on the main runway. 
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Master Plan at 

https://www.gatwickairport.com/globalassets/business–community/growing-gatwick/master-plan-2019/gatwick-master-plan-2019.pdf


Gatwick plans to use emergency runway to increase passenger capacity by 50 per cent by 2030

By  STEPHANIE COCKROFT (Evening Standard)

18th July 2019

Gatwick says it has abandoned plans to build an additional runway but will bring the airport’s emergency runway into “routine use” by 2020.

The airport said it is preparing a planning application to get the second airstrip ready so it can be used alongside the main runway for departures.

If the plans are approved, the airport would aim to be serving around 70million passengers by the early 2030s.

The airport currently caters for around 46m passengers, meaning the capacity would be increased by around 50 per cent.

Plans for an additional runway, which it has abandoned as part of the masterplan, would have served up to around 92m passengers.

Last year Heathrow – which is the location chosen by the government for a new full-length runway – handled 78 million passengers.

The airport, the second largest in the UK after Heathrow, said it hoped the runway would be in use by the middle of 2020.

The announcement follows public consultation, in which two-thirds of people said the airport should make the most of its existing runways.

Another public consultation will be held once the planning application for the standby runway is submitted.

Gatwick said the plan is the “most sustainable way” for the airport to expand over the next 15 years.

London Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said: “The plans would deliver additional capacity for Gatwick, which will provide choices for the future – including incrementally growing our airport to meet demand and continuing to provide solid operational performance for passengers and airlines.

“This would be the biggest private investment for the region in the coming years, which would result in significant local economic benefits, including new jobs for the area.

“Gatwick’s global connections are needed more than ever but as we take our plans forward, we must do so in the most sustainable and responsible way and in full partnership with our local councils, communities, passengers and partners.”

The announcement has already drawn criticism from campaign groups with Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions saying: “This is simply a second runway by stealth.”

They added: “To use the emergency runway alongside the main runway is in affect a second runway as it will have to be moved by some 12 metres to allow it to be used.

“As such it is a second runway without the full parliamentary scrutiny or any funding for our roads or railway line that will see a huge increase in passenger and workers numbers migrating into Gatwick.”

Gatwick currently consists of the main runway and the standby runway, which is used certain circumstances, including when there is maintenance on the main runway.

The airport began campaigning for a new runway when management published proposals in 2013 as a solution to the chronic shortage of aviation capacity in South East England.

Its expansion plans were dealt a blow in October 2016 when the government rejected its proposal for a new second runway, giving the go-ahead for Heathrow to build a third runway.

At the time, a Gatwick Airport spokesman said it was disappointed with the decision, which was “not the right answer for Britain”.

It disputed the Airports Commission’s findings that the economic benefits of a Heathrow expansion would be greater.

Gatwick is the second-busiest airport in the UK and the busiest single-runway in the world in terms of flight movement.

It serves more than 230 destinations in 74 countries for 46 million passengers a year as well as generating around 85,000 jobs nationally, with 24,000 of these located on the airport.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/travelnews/gatwick-abandons-plans-for-third-runway-but-plans-to-bring-standby-runway-into-routine-use-a4193241.html

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This is Gatwick’s report on its consultation:

https://www.gatwickairport.com/globalassets/business–community/growing-gatwick/master-plan-2019/gatwick-consultation-report.pdf


GACC comment on the news of Gatwick’s expansion plans:

18.7.2019 (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

Gatwick’s new owners, the Vinci Group, have shown immediate disregard for their local community neighbours.

The purchase deal was sealed on 14th May this year and just two months later GAL (Gatwick Airport Ltd) have announced devastating expansion plans that will damage and blight the lives of thousands of residents surrounding the airport as well impacting on those further away living under flight paths.

The proposals to grow the airports capacity by between 20% and 50% over the next ten to twelve years involves use of new technology on the main runway and re-aligning and widening the existing emergency (or standby) runway to form a second runway.

Despite claiming that Gatwick is no longer pursuing an additional full runway GAL also wish to continue to blight residents living to the south of the airport with its demand to maintain the safeguarding land from any other development for anything up to 25 years.

The use of the Emergency Runway in conjunction with the Main Runway will substantially increase the noise and health impacts particularly on residents living to the north of the airport. The increase in the number of flights would have considerable noise impacts on those beneath the already concentrated flight paths surrounding the airport. This proposed growth will have severe effects on a local infrastructure already overburdened as a result of current growth.

Chairman of GACC, Peter Barclay, concluded “Despite communities already rejecting the Draft Master Plan in November last year GAL continues to push for unsustainable growth. GACC and other local community groups have met and unanimously agreed to challenge these proposals as robustly as possible. In a world that is fast recognising aviation’s negative impact on health through noise impacts and air pollution, together with its contribution to climate change, GAL and the aviation industry ignore these impacts and blindly steamroller their unsustainable demands forward. “

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See also:

Letter by Gatwick area MPs opposing Gatwick 2nd runway expansion plans

MP’s from the Gatwick Co-ordination Group have expressed concerns about the rapid growth plans for Gatwick, in their “master plan”.  The MPs say more people are negatively impacted by Gatwick’s noise operations than 10 years ago, both close to the airport and many miles away under flightpaths, creating health issues and congestion locally through inadequate infrastructure. They say: “Over the past few years Gatwick Airport has continually under invested in the local amenities and social infrastructure that would be required to support a project of this size and scale. We cannot support expansion of the airport without a comprehensive investment in the local area which would ease pressure on the over-stretched road and rail systems serving the airport.  At a time of increasing concern about the environmental impact of global aviation growth, the proposed expansion plans would see a marked increase in carbon emissions, with clearer environmental consequences for us all. … The safeguarding of land for a new full runway is a clear indication that Gatwick has future plans to build a 3rd runway, as well as converting the current standby runway into a second runway.”

Click here to view full story…



Gatwick Airport PR says:

18th July 2019

Gatwick Airport today published its Final Master Plan which confirms plans to take forward the sustainable development of the airport.

In October 2018, our Draft Master Plan consultation set out three scenarios for future growth:

  1. Using new technology to build capacity and resilience on the main runway;
  2. Bringing the existing standby runway into routine use for departures only alongside the main runway by the mid-2020s;
  3. Recommending planning policy continues to safeguard land for an additional runway.

In total, we received more than 5,000 responses and were encouraged that two-thirds (66%) of people supported the principle of growing Gatwick by making best use of our existing runways, in line with Government policy.

As a result, we will progress with plans to introduce new technology to build capacity and resilience on our main runway. We are also announcing today that we will prepare a planning application to bring our standby runway into routine use.

The innovative proposals for the standby runway will deliver additional capacity at the airport that enables us to balance operational resilience and sustainable growth.

As one of the biggest private investments in the region, the scheme will deliver greater connectivity, a better passenger experience through greater competition, and an economic boost that secures jobs and opportunities for generations to come. These benefits can all be delivered while keeping the airport’s noise footprint broadly similar to today’s levels, and with minimal disruption to our neighbours and the environment. (sic).

The consultation report, also published today, provides extensive feedback on our consultation and those views will help shape our plans as we prepare a Development Consent Order – a rigorous planning process that will include further engagement and public consultation next year and culminates in a final decision by the Secretary of State.

We will now carry out a number of detailed studies to assess the impacts and benefits of our proposals before consulting the public again next year.

We are also recommending that national and local planning policy continues to safeguard the land that would be required for a new runway, should it be required in the longer-term.

However, we reiterate today that we are no longer actively pursuing plans for an additional runway.

We will of course keep you up to date at regular intervals as our plans progress. In the meantime further information on our plans is available at www.gatwickairport.com/futureplans

You can also sign up to our community newsletter at www.gatwickairport.com/communitynewsletter

Stewart Wingate
Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport

Read more »

Used cooking oil imports for use as biodiesel may, in fact, fuel palm oil deforestation

It had been assumed and hoped that used cooking oil (UCO) might be a genuinely low carbon fuel, causing a lot less environmental damage that other liquid fuels. Because UCO is classed as a waste product within the EU, UK fuel producers are given double carbon credits for using it in their fuels. This has sparked a boom in demand for used cooking oil that is so great it is being met in part with imports from Asia.  A new NNFCC study found that in fact  rising demand is increasing deforestation, for more palm oil plantations. The price they can get selling used cooking oil to makers of biodiesel is far higher than the price of new palm oil – so they pocket the difference. This provides the perverse incentive to make money by selling more used oil, just replacing it with (cheap) palm oil. Between 2011 and 2016 there was a 360% increase in use of used cooking oil as the basis for biodiesel. The available evidence indicates that palm oil imports into China are increasing, in line with their increasing exports of used cooking oils. The NNFCC authors want the government to review the practice and perhaps end the EU’s double credit for imported oil. 

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Climate change: Used cooking oil imports may fuel deforestation

15th July 2019

Imports of a “green fuel” source may be inadvertently increasing deforestation and the demand for new palm oil, a study says.

Experts say there has been a recent boom in the amount of used cooking oil imported into the UK from Asia.

This waste oil is the basis for biodiesel, which produces far less CO2 than fossil fuels in cars.

But this report is concerned that the used oil is being replaced across Asia with palm oil from deforested areas.

Cutting carbon emissions from transport has proved very difficult for governments all over the world. Many have given incentives to speed up the replacement of fossil-based petrol and diesel with fuels made from crops such as soya or rapeseed.

These growing plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and so liquid fuel made from these sources, while not carbon-neutral, is a big improvement on simply burning regular petrol or diesel.

In this light, used cooking (UCO) oil has become a key ingredient of biodiesel in the UK and the rest of Europe. Between 2011 and 2016 there was a 360% increase in use of used cooking oil as the basis for biodiesel.

graphic

Because UCO is classed as a waste product within the EU, UK fuel producers are given double carbon credits for using it in their fuels. This has sparked a boom in demand for used cooking oil that is so great it is being met in part with imports from Asia.

In the UK, the most common feedstock source of biodiesel between April and December 2018 was Chinese UCO, totalling 93 million litres. In the same period, used cooking oil from UK sources was used to produce 76 million litres of of fuel.

Now a new study, from international bioeconomy consultants NNFCC, suggests that these imports may inadvertently be making climate change worse by increasing deforestation and the demand for palm oil.

The problem arises because used cooking oil in some parts of Asia is not classed as a waste product and is considered safe for consumption by animals.

graphic 

 

The report’s authors are concerned that since it is more profitable to sell Asian UCO to Europe for fuel rather than feed it to animals, it is likely being replaced by virgin palm oil which is cheaper to buy.

“Although correlation does not necessarily equate to causation, the available evidence indicates that palm oil imports into China are increasing, in line with their increasing exports of used cooking oils,” the report states.

Between 2016 and 2018, palm oil imports into China rose by 1 million tonnes, an increase of more than 20%.

“As soon as that point is reached where you can sell used cooking oil for more than you can buy palm oil, it’s a no brainer,” said Dr Jeremy Tomkinson who co-authored the report for NNFCC.

“What you are going to do if you’re in Asia, you’re going to sell as much UCO as you can to the EU and buy palm oil and pocket the difference.”

Demand for palm oil has led to large-scale deforestation and the loss of natural habitats across Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Between 2010 and 2015, Indonesia alone lost 3 million hectares of forest to continued expansion of palm oil cultivation.

Each hectare of forest that’s converted to palm oil releases large amounts of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 530 people flying economy class from Geneva to New York according to a recent study.

Most of the used cooking oil that’s already imported is made from palm. But it’s the extra demand from Europe, say the authors, that is likely to be fuelling deforestation.

“It’s irrelevant if the virgin palm is going into the biodiesel or into the animals,” said Dr Tomkinson.

“If we weren’t pulling that resource out of the market, no new resource would be falling into it.”

The UK government rejects the idea that imports are increasing demand for palm oil. The Department for Transport says that there is no evidence showing a causative link between policies on waste-derived biofuels and increased use of virgin oils.

The department argues that they have worked hard to ensure that such indirect effects do not happen.

“Biofuels are a key way of achieving the emission reductions the UK needs and we have long been at the forefront of action to address the indirect effects of their production, including pushing the EU to address the impact of land use change,” a spokesperson said.

“Last year alone biofuels reduced CO2 emissions by 2.7 million tonnes – the equivalent of taking around 1.2 million cars off the road.”

Counting double

One of the key elements that’s making used cooking oil so valuable is the fact that producers in the EU are given double the number of carbon credits for using the waste material. While the EU allows all countries to “double count” carbon credits for UCO, the UK is one of the few countries to put this into practice.

Palm oil imports into China have boomed in the past two years 

Oil importers say the “double counting” is vital in preventing even more palm oil from entering the European market.

“Biodiesel made from waste oil is more expensive to produce; it has higher production costs,” said Angel Alvarez Alberdi from the European Waste-to-Advanced Biofuels Association.

“If we don’t have a policy incentive of double counting then under normal market conditions you will have the cheapest available option and that is conventional palm based biodiesel that would still be able to reach the EU.”

However, the report authors say that the policy has other dangers, not just because it may be driving up demand for palm oil in Asia but because it may also be stymieing development among other alternative fuel producers, such as ethanol in the UK.

The authors want the government to review the practice and perhaps end the double credit for imported oil

Palm oil has been linked to increased deforestation in parts of Indonesia

“If it comes from outside of the EU don’t let it double count unless you put in increased levels of scrutiny to verify it’s not having an impact on land use,” said Dr Tomkinson from NNFCC.

“If you don’t do that then you only get a single credit for that used cooking oil.”

Environmental groups are also concerned about the potential impact that UK and EU imports of UCO are having.

“Making biodiesel from imported UCO is no longer the environmental good it was once perceived to be,” said Greg Archer, UK director of the environmental group Transport and Environment.

“There are real concerns some of these oils may not be genuinely ‘used’ or they may be indirectly causing deforestation. Governments need to scrutinise the source of UCO far more closely and require organisations certifying biofuel feedstocks to undertake far more rigorous and extensive checks.”

Follow Matt on Twitter @mattmcgrathbbc 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48828490

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See earlier:

KLM and SkyNRG to open factory to produce “low carbon” jet fuel, mainly from “wastes” (like used cooking oil)

Airlines are desperate to find some form of fuel that they can claim is “low carbon” and that does not have obviously negative environmental and social impacts. Finding these miracle fuels is the only way the industry could continue its rapid growth in fuel burn, for decades to come – in the face of the global climate emergency. Dutch airline KLM is keen to get “sustainable” aviation fuel (SAF), working with SkyNRG. They are hoping to use “regional waste and residue streams such as used cooking oil, coming predominantly from regional industries” as feedstock. A plant is being built, to be opened in 2022, making this fuel.  KLM says:  “From 2022, the plant will annually produce 100,000 tonnes of SAF …. It will mean a CO2 reduction of 270,000 tonnes a year for the aviation industry.”  That number all depends on how it is measured – they are regarding this fuel as causing the emission of at least 85% less CO2 than conventional kerosene. (Is that realistic?) KLM says: “There will be absolutely no use of food crops, such as soya oil and palm oil (or by-products such as PFAD and POME), for production.” Biofuelwatch has calculated that using all tallow worldwide for biofuels could only supply 1.7% of global aviation fuel burned in 2016. Converting all Used Cooking Oil that can be realistically collected in the EU and USA would meet just 0.16% of US aviation fuel and 0,26% of EU aviation fuel use respectively. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2019/05/klm-and-skynrg-to-open-factory-to-produce-low-carbon-jet-fuel-mainly-from-wastes/

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Arlanda airport offering 10% biofuel from American used cooking oil, in “symbolic” initiative

The only form of biofuel that airlines have been able to use, and make credible claims that the fuel is low carbon, is used cooking oil. No other forms of fuel made from biological sources can be produced without negative environmental impacts. Therefore Stockholm’s Arlanda airport has had to turn to American used cooking oil, in its attempt to get jet biofuel for its public relations purposes. Arlanda is now using 10% cooking oil, from SkyNRG and Air BP, in Los Angeles (flown over, presumably?) to be put towards fuel for flights made by Swedavia staff.  Swedavia is the Swedish state-owned organization that owns and operates 10 airports in Sweden.  The quantities of the new fuel are tiny in relation to all the fuel used at the airport, and are seen as symbolic.  But Swedavia, SAS Scandinavian Airlines and other airlines are keen to see more use of biofuel, as they hope this will be considered to be cutting their carbon emissions. However, the costs of any biofuel are high, and it is not commercially viable. The industry is keen to get government subsidies to develop more biofuels, to give the impression the industry is environmentally responsible.  Biofuels for aviation are, in reality, a “red herring” achieving very little in terms of carbon, or environmental footprint. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/01/arlanda-airport-offering-10-biofuel-from-american-used-cooking-oil-in-symbolic-initiative/

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Read more »

France to impose small tax on tickets (just €1.5 or €3) on departing flights due to carbon

France is set to introduce an “eco-tax” for all flights from French airports, the government has said.  From 2020 economy class tickets on flights within France or within the EU will have a tax of €1.50, and €9 for business class tickets within Europe. It would be just €3 for flights (leaving French airports) outside Europe in economy class, and €18 for these flights for business class tickets. The tax might raise  about €180m per year from 2020, which will apparently be invested in greener transport infrastructure, notably rail.  But flights to the French Mediterranean island of Corsica and also the French overseas departments – which are hugely dependent on air links for their existence – will be exempt.  A similar tax was introduced in Sweden in April 2018, which imposed an added charge of up to €40 on every ticket in a bid to lessen the impact of air travel on the climate. Several other EU countries also have small taxes.  The industry has been under fire over its carbon emissions, which at of the order of 280 grams of CO2 emitted per kilometre travelled by a passenger  (depending on type of plane, how full it is, length of flight etc) far exceed all other modes of transport.

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France plans ‘eco-tax’ for air fares

9 July 2019  (BBC)

France is set to introduce an “eco-tax” for all flights from French airports, the government has said.

The tax is expected to raise about €180m ($202m; £162m) from 2020, said Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne.

The amount of the tax will depend on the type of ticket being bought.

Economy class tickets on flights within France or the EU will have a tax of €1.50 imposed. Business class tickets for flights out of the EU will have the highest tariff of up to €18.

“We have decided to put in place an eco-tax on all flights from France,” Ms Borne said during a news conference on Tuesday.

The tax will only apply to outgoing flights and not to those flying into the country.

Ms Borne said the money raised by the tax will be invested in in less-polluting transport, such as rail.

Pollution set to grow

The French government has tried to tighten environmental regulation, but last year abandoned its plans for fuel tax rises after the widespread protests from the “yellow vests” (“gilets jaunes”).

The airline industry is also introducing its own initiatives to try and reduce pollution.

The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation requires airlines to monitor and report their emissions from this year.

The full scheme will start in 2021.

The European Union says that without any action, CO2 emissions from aviation are set to grow by up to 300% by 2050.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48922049

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France to impose green tax on plane tickets

EURACTIV.com with AFP

10 Jul 2019

France announced Tuesday (9 July) it would impose new taxes on plane tickets of up to €18 per flight, joining other EU states seeking to limit the environmental impact of air travel.

The government said that the funds from tickets for flights originating in France would be used to create less-polluting transport options as concerns grow about carbon emissions from planes.

The move, which will take effect from 2020, will see a tax of €1.5 ($1.7) imposed on economy-class tickets on internal flights and those within Europe, Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne said.

It will rise to €9 for within the European Union in business class, €3 outside the EU in economy class and a maximum €18 for flights outside the European Union in business class, she added.

The new measure is expected to bring in some €180 million a year which will be invested in greener transport infrastructure, notably rail, she said.

“France is committed to the taxation of air transport but there is an urgency here,” she said.

It will only be applied on outgoing flights and not those flying into the country, Borne added.

Flights to the French Mediterranean island of Corsica and also the French overseas departments – which are hugely dependent on air links for their existence – will be exempt, she said.

Next Commission urged to launch ‘aviation package’

The next European Commission should make curbing aviation emissions a priority in its work programme for the next five years, according to lawmakers at a special summit on Thursday (20 June) dedicated to taxing flights.

‘Penalise competitiveness’

Shares in Air France fell sharply, down almost 4% to trade at €8.54. Its German competitor Lufthansa also traded lower with its shares falling €2.50 to €14.8.   Air France slammed the measure, which it said would “strongly penalise its competitiveness” at a time when it needed to invest, notably in renewing its fleet, to reduce its carbon footprint.

A similar tax was introduced in Sweden in April 2018, which imposed an added charge of up to 40 euros on every ticket in a bid to lessen the impact of air travel on the climate.

Sweden has seen the development of a movement called “flight shaming” (flygskam) spearheaded by 16-year-old schoolgirl Greta Thunberg who has become a symbol of the fight against climate change.

The industry has been under fire over its carbon emissions, which at 285 grams of CO2 emitted per kilometre travelled by a passenger far exceed all other modes of transport.

Road transportation follows at 158 and rail travel is at 14, according to European Environment Agency figures.

“The sector is under considerable pressure,” Alexandre de Juniac, the chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), admitted at a meeting of the industry body in June.

Netherlands ready to start taxing air travel

The Dutch government will introduce a €7 levy per air passenger in 2021 if the EU does not manage to set up a pan-European tax, as momentum builds behind calls to crack down on aviation’s environmental impact.

‘Won’t deter from flying’

So-called ecotaxes have met with heavy criticism from the IATA.

It argues that the effectiveness of such taxes is “doubtful” and said “no government that introduced a ticket tax has been able to demonstrate that such tax reduced CO2 emissions.”

The industry is already subject to the EU carbon emissions trading system and, from 2020, to a new global mechanism called the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

Andrew Murphy, aviation expert with the NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) in Brussels which presses for cleaner transport, said that the tax was far from unique in Europe with similar measures in Britain, Germany, Norway, Italy, as well as Sweden.

“I don’t think that because there is a €18 tax it will deter anyone from flying,” he told AFP. “It will have some minor impact on demand.”

French President Emmanuel Macron is seeking to cast himself a champion of the fight against climate change and ensuring that the 2015 Paris accord on fighting global warming is respected.

He went into this month’s G20 summit in Japan declaring that climate change was a “red line” and emerged with a statement from 19 of its members endorsing the Paris agreement – but without the United States after President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement in 2017.

Macron is aware he needs to tread carefully on climate issues after rising fuel taxes – which aimed to help France meet its Paris climate accord goals – helped spark the yellow vest street protests against his government last year.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/aviation/news/france-to-impose-green-tax-on-plane-tickets/

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See earlier:

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

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

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2019/02/dutch-sec-of-state-for-finance-says-an-eu-airline-tax-needed-to-limit-low-cost-flights/

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German air passenger tax (now €7 – 40) under threat as negotiations continue to form new German government

Negotiators for a new grand coalition between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and Social Democrats may drop a proposal to progressively abolish Germany’s air transport tax (the Luftverkehrssteuer.)  The tax is levied on air ticket prices and costs between €7 and 40 euros depending on the distance flown, and generates about €1 billion per year. The airlines, of course, want the tax abolished, and claim it harms “competitiveness.” Aviation in Germany already pays no VAT (except on domestic flights) and no fuel duty.  The CDU (Merkel) and SPD negotiating teams were discussing abolishing the ticket tax, but so far the tax seems to have survived the talks. It would be crazy to allow aviation to pay even tax than it does now, bearing in mind its massive CO2 emissions. Aviation is on its way to eating up all of what remains of our chances to limit global warming to below 2°C as agreed in Paris. Aviation emissions are growing fast (up 8% in the EU in 2016), billions of people are waiting to catch their first flight (just 3% of India’s population have ever boarded a plane). Efficiency improvements in the sector are slow and shrinking. What’s more, by ignoring non-CO2 effects we’re underestimating aviation’s contribution to global warming by a factor of at least two. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2018/02/german-air-passenger-tax-now-e7-40-under-threat-as-negotiations-continue-to-form-new-german-government/

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Swedish government commission proposes climate tax (about £6.50 – £29) on air fares

A commission appointed by the Swedish has recommended that airlines operating in Sweden should pay a tax of between 80 and 430 Swedish crowns ($9-47 or £6.80 to £29) per passenger per flight to compensate for carbon emissions. One the levy is instituted, the cost of a domestic flight would rise by 80 crowns and an international flight by 280 to 430 crowns (£24 – 29), depending on the distance of the flight.  Currently in Sweden airlines pay VAT of 6% on domestic flights while international flights are exempt from VAT.  Predictably, the centre-left government’s plans for an airline tax have been criticised by opposition parties who say it would do little to reduce CO2 and would harm the airline industry, by very slightly reducing demand.  The government is expected to incorporate a form of the proposal, possibly amended, within their next autumn budget in October 2017. The Swedish commission proposed that the tax come into force on January 1, 2018 and it would be expected to raise around 1.75 billion Swedish crowns  (about £150 million) per year.  Many other countries have charges for flights, at different levels, and for different reasons. These include Australia, Norway, Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Hong Kong.  Details on this link. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/12/swedish-government-commission-proposes-climate-tax-about-6-50-29-on-air-fares/ 

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Irish Republic to scrap air travel tax – which was only €3 (had been €2 and €10 till 2010)

The Irish government has announced that it will be scrapping its tax on air travel. At present there is a tax of just €3 per flight, and this will end in April 2014.  This has led to concerns about the potential impact on Northern Ireland’s airports, where there is still Air Passenger duty of £13 per passenger (€26 per return flight) for short haul flights (not for long haul flights).  Ryanair has immediately said it will increase its traffic at Irish airports by one million passengers a year – which is rather surprising, if the difference in tax from what it is now is just €3.  It is not thought likely that many people will travel from Northern Ireland to Dublin to save €20 – the trip there and back might cost more.  George Best Belfast City Airport said the move was “very unlikely to cause a stampede to Dublin for cheap flights”.  Stormont Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton, said the move by the Republic was “not really a surprise” and that it would be prohibitively expensive for Northern Ireland to match the cut. “The cost to the NI block grant and other public services would be significant – between £60 – £90 million a year,” he said. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2013/10/irish-republic-to-scrap-air-travel-tax-which-was-only-e3-had-been-e2-and-e10-till-2010/

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“Is flight shaming the next climate change conversation?”

Legendary British documentary film-maker and conservationist Sir David Attenborough says air travel should be more expensive to help tackle climate change. It is extraordinarily cheap now. While most of us will not feel major effects for several years, he says “the problems in 20, 30 years are really major problems that are going to cause great social unrest and great changes in the way we eat and how we live.” How we currently live in the developed world is very much dependent on cheap air travel, which people have come to expect almost as of right. IATA expects a 4.6% increase in the number of air tickets sold this year, compared to last. Campaigners say it’s time we thought more about how often we fly.  Tim Johnson, director of AEF, said “[People] may start recycling plastics and try and turn down the thermostats in their homes, but actually, all those savings could be wiped out in one go by taking even one short-haul flight.” Johnson says the air travel industry is starting to realise it needs to act if it is to be part of the solution in reducing emissions, and its awareness (and worry) that public opinion may slowly start changing, as realisation of the extent of aviation’s climate impact grows. People need to start making informed choices about their travel carbon impact. 

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Is flight shaming the next climate change conversation?

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CCC report shows up government failure to do anything to tackle UK aviation carbon emissions

The latest annual Committee on Climate Change (CCC) progress report, submitted to parliament and government, says the UK is not making much progress on cutting CO2 and the time to strengthen climate policy is “now”. The UK government only has 12-18 months left to raise its game on climate policy, or not risk “embarrassment” as the likely host of the COP26 UN summit late next year, but risk failing to get anywhere near “net-zero” before 2050. On aviation, there has been no progress on a limit for aviation emissions in line with carbon budgets. The CCC’s chief executive, Chris Stark, says the government “has not set out the implications of limiting emissions for aviation demand”. Nor has it formally included those emissions within the UK’s carbon budgets, despite stating its intention to do so.  This was a missed opportunity that should be remedied within the year. The CCC will write to the (new?) secretary of state for transport to set out the scale of the net-zero challenge for international aviation and shipping.  Just having a net-zero target “will not magically fix this problem” – it needs positive and effective action, from right now. Not just nice words.
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The CCC’s progress report details are at

Reducing UK emissions 2019 Progress Report to Parliament

Committee on Climate Change

July 2019

https://www.theccc.org.uk/publications/


Committee on Climate Change: UK has just 18 months to avoid ’embarrassment’ over climate inaction

10th July 2019

(By Carbon Brief)

See full article for all the graphics.

The UK government only has 12-18 months left to raise its game on climate policy, or risk “embarrassment” as the likely host of the COP26 UN summit late next year.

That’s the message from the latest annual Committee on Climate Change (CCC) progress report, submitted to parliament and government, which says the time to strengthen policy is “now”.

The UK remains off track against its legally binding carbon budgets and gets failing report cards on a series of indicators developed by the CCC. These cover government policy and progress on the ground in cutting emissions, as well as plans to protect the country from growing climate risks.

The report follows CCC advice published in May recommending that the UK adopt a target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. This was recently accepted by government and became law in June.

But CCC chief executive Chris Stark told a press briefing launching today’s report: “We are not on track…having a net-zero target will not magically fix this problem.”

He added:

“The government must show it is serious about its legal obligations…[its] credibility really is at stake here…There is a window over the next 12-18 months to do something about this. If we don’t see that, I fear the government will be embarrassed at COP26.”

In a leaked letter sent ahead of the net-zero goal’s adoption, chancellor Philip Hammond also said the target alone would lack credibility without “an ambitious policy response in this parliament”.

Today’s CCC report reviews progress to date and suggests what that ambitious response should look like. It also includes a biannual review of adaptation plans for England.

‘Disappointing’ progress

Rapid cuts in emissions over the past five years have masked a lack of underlying progress towards the UK’s longer-term climate goals, the CCC report says.

From the average CO2 emissions of new cars to the number of lofts insulated or the hectares of forest planted, just seven of 24 on-the-ground indicators are on track, the committee says.

The government’s own projections reflect this situation, suggesting the UK will miss its existing carbon targets by a significant margin, as shown in the chart, below [See link for the graphic]. Indeed, the latest projections show the gap has widened over the past year.

Historical UK greenhouse gas emissions (dark blue line and shaded area, millions of tonnes of CO2 equivalent, MtCO2e) and government projections to 2032 (light blue).

These are set against the first five carbon budgets (red steps) and a net-zero target for 2050 (red line), as well as the previous 80% by 2050 target (dashed yellow). Note that emissions since 2008 and the projections to 2032 show the UK’s “net carbon account”.

The 80% by 2050 target shown here includes the CCC’s 40MtCO2 allowance for international aviation and shipping, which are not currently included in the carbon budgets. This effectively entails an 85% cut for the rest of the economy. 

As the committee has noted previously, recent progress has come almost exclusively from the electricity generation sector, where a combination of demand reduction, carbon pricing and renewable incentives has seen emissions plummet.

In contrast, the report says:

“Progress in deploying measures to reduce emissions is off-track across transport, buildings, agriculture and land use. In these areas, progress to date is behind virtually every indicator we track, often by a wide margin.”

The CCC says energy efficiency improvements are being installed five times slower than they should be overall. Just 18,000 solid walls were insulated in 2018, against the CCC’s indicator target of 90,000. Only 43,000 lofts were insulated, against a 545,000 benchmark.

There has been a similar lack of progress in the transport sector, where only one of five CCC indicators was met in 2018. The total distance driven on the UK’s road was just within its benchmark, whereas indicators were comprehensively breached for new car and van CO2 emissions, electric vehicle registrations and biofuel uptake.

[The CCC plans to update and broaden its indicators after it recommends the level of the sixth carbon budget, covering 2033-2037, in advice due next year. The new indicators are “likely” to “reflect the need for more rapid deployment” towards net-zero emissions and to also cover the “demand side”, for example consumer choices around food or travel.]

Government projections suggest recent lopsided progress is set to continue under the current suite of policies, as the chart below shows.

Despite the need for increased ambition, the government has delivered on only one of 25 policy actions identified by the CCC last year as being necessary to get the UK back on track, having made no moves at all in 10 of those areas. The progress report calls this record “disappointing”.

Speaking to Carbon Brief, Stark credits the government for the “big, bold step” of adopting the net-zero target. But when it comes to policy development over the past year, he says: “We’ve seen incremental progress at best.”

The CCC’s progress report notes:

“Only three new policies have been quantified and newly included within these [government] projections [shown in the charts, above]: Boiler Plus, Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting for Business, and Industrial Heat Recovery Support.

The savings newly included from these policies amount to less than 5MtCO2e [million tonnes of CO2 equivalent] across each of the five-year fourth and fifth carbon budget periods [equivalent to around a quarter of 1% of those budgets].

There remain many other areas in which significant ambitions were outlined by the government in the clean growth strategy in October 2017, but where policy has not yet been finalised.”

Most items on the to-do list given to government last year have seen zero progress – or are still pending completion. These include “stretching” new CO2 targets for cars and vans beyond 2020, a plan to limit aviation emissions in line with carbon budgets and “concrete policies” to deliver government ambition on home energy efficiency.

The only item to have been ticked off the list was delivering plans for a national carbon price in the event that the UK leaves the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

Speaking to Carbon Brief last year, Stark said the policy actions for government listed in the CCC’s report amounted to “holding their feet to the fire more actively that we’ve done before”.

Ultimately, however, the committee has limited powers to do more than reporting to parliament on government inaction and making recommendations for how to get back on track. If progress continues to fall short, then the Climate Change Act allows for legal action to be brought by third parties. CCC chair Lord Deben told a press briefing:

“The government can’t ignore this [legally-binding set of targets]…[and] there will come a point where this will become a justiciable issue…What I want to do is save the government from the enormous embarrassment of being directed by the courts to take action.”

Deben adds that “I feel I might be first witness for the prosecution” in any legal challenge to the government’s plans for cutting emissions.

Stepping up the pace

The UK will have to cut its emissions some 50% faster over the next three decades if it is to meet its new net-zero emissions target, today’s CCC progress says, compared to what would have been needed to meet the previous 2050 goal.

It will also have to make cuts 30% faster than the average pace since 1990, which has seen emissions fall by two-fifths. The report says:

“This is an indication of how substantial the step up in action must be to cut emissions in every sector. It is especially acute for those sectors such as transport, buildings and agriculture where emissions have not fallen significantly over recent years.”

Deben told journalists: “[Government] do understand the seriousness of the challenge but they don’t seem to be able to link that to action…This does mean stepping up the pace very seriously right across the board.”

The committee’s net-zero advice provides a roadmap for reaching net-zero emissions, whereas today’s report gives a more detailed set of directions for the next 12-18 months. As with last year’s report, this comes in the form of 30 policy priorities for the next year, shown in the table, below.

table
Policy priorities for the next year. Source: CCC progress report.

The need for action is particularly acute, the CCC suggests, because the UK is expecting to host the COP26 UN climate talks in late 2020.

Stark tells Carbon Brief: “You cannot be credible in the [COP] presidency if you only set a new target.” He says the UK also needs a coherent policy package in place to deliver that target and suggests the CCC will not shy away from calling out continued inaction in next year’s progress report – even if this is embarrassing for the government in the months before it hosts the summit.

Among the areas where further ambition is needed are the government’s loose pledge to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040, which is too vague, lacks ambition and “fails to grasp the opportunity of electric vehicles that are expected to be cheaper to buy, cheaper to run and less polluting from before 2030”, the report says.

The ban should be brought forward to 2030 or 2035 at the latest within the next year, the CCC says.

On aviation, the government “has not set out the implications of limiting emissions for aviation demand”. Nor has it formally included those emissions within the UK’s carbon budgets, despite stating its intention to do so.

This was a missed opportunity, Stark says, which should be remedied within the year. His committee will write to the new secretary of state for transport, once appointed, to set out the scale of the net-zero challenge for international aviation and shipping.

On buildings, the report says:

“Over 10 years after the Climate Change Act was passed, there is still no serious plan for decarbonising UK heating systems or improving the efficiency of the housing stock, while no large-scale trials have begun for either heat pumps or hydrogen.”

The committee calls for policies within the next year to address efficiency in “all buildings”, as well as a low-carbon heat strategy, a plan for developing low-carbon hydrogen and a rollout of large-scale trials of hydrogen use.

The need for renewed urgency in climate policy is not simply a matter of avoiding embarrassment at COP26, with the CCC adding:

“Without strong near-term action, it would quickly become infeasible to decarbonise sufficiently to reach net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 without resorting to major scrappage schemes and/or much greater disruption to lifestyles, which may not be deliverable.”

Nor is this only a question of meeting the net-zero target, given the UK is already set to miss its fourth and fifth carbon budgets and these may need tightening in line with the new 2050 goal.

The committee will deliver its advice on the sixth carbon budget by the end of next year and this will include a review of the targets for earlier years. The report says:

“[A] more ambitious long-term target is likely to require outperformance of the carbon budgets legislated to date. The committee will revise its assessment of the appropriate path for emissions over the period to 2050 as part of its advice next year on the sixth carbon budget.”

Alongside the net-zero imperative, the committee will also need to consider the potential fallout from Brexit, which may necessitate a change in UK carbon accounting due to leaving the EU ETS.

Two other potentially significant accounting changes are in the works, which will add around 5-10% to UK emissions during the fourth and fifth budget periods, thus making those targets harder to meet. These changes relate to the way that emissions from peatland are measured and the relative weighting given to non-CO2 greenhouse gases.

The CCC is set to advise government on how to handle these changes. Last month, ministers cited concern over the implications when using “flexibilities” under the Act to carry forward emissions from the second carbon budget into future years – a move that effectively weakens the UK’s goals.

Change of mindset
More broadly, there is a need for a “complete change of mindset” across Whitehall, Stark says, with the net-zero goal running through the whole of government “like the letters in a stick of rock”.

This may need a new governance structure that could be based around a cabinet committee on climate chaired by the prime minister, the CCC suggests – a setup recently adopted by the German government. Stark tells Carbon Brief:

“Embedding climate policy properly across government is a governance challenge for the new prime minister…it does need to be at that level and have oversight from key ministers.”

The report explains: “[T]he prime minister could chair regular meetings of a climate cabinet that includes the chancellor and relevant secretaries of state, with transparent public reporting of progress and plans.”

The CCC “will probably want to return” to the question of climate policy governance, Stark says, given its central importance to delivering the UK’s targets.

Referring to the current arrangement, where climate policy is run from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Stark tells Carbon Brief: “I think that something needs to change.”

He points out that the net-zero goal was only agreed once the prime minister and chancellor “paid attention” – whereas responsibility for climate policy at present is generally “very dispersed”.

Stark tells Carbon Brief:

“My biggest disappointment of the past year is that enthusiasm to do something on climate change has only manifested in a new target…Policy just hasn’t kept pace with new desire for climate action…My hope is that that catches up…and the coming year becomes a place where we talk optimistically about the opportunities from climate policy.”

Urgent climate risks

This year also sees the committee publishing its biannual progress report on preparing for climate risks in England, in a separate 244-page document.

This, perhaps, is even more critical of government progress to date. It sets out the reasons why adaptation should be preparing the country for up to 4C of warming, even though the global community is aiming to keep to a 1.5C limit. The report then says:

“[T]here is little evidence of adaptation planning for even 2C. Government cannot hide from these risks…[There is] only limited evidence of the present UK government taking [the challenge of adapting to climate change] sufficiently seriously.”

The government’s own climate change risk assessment identified 56 risks and opportunities from future warming, the CCC notes, yet the latest National Adaptation Programme only formally addresses 35 of these. This effectively ignores 21 risks, of which 13 were marked “more urgent”.

These 13 “urgent” risks include weather-related food production shocks, risks to the UK from international violent conflict and change in the suitability of land for forests and farming.

The fact that the government was responding to its own risk assessment makes it “even more shocking” that the adaptation programme fails to address many of those risks, Baronnes Brown, chair of the CCC’s adaptation sub-committee told a press briefing.

Across 33 sectors of the English economy, 12 have no plan for long-term climate change, the CCC says. The remaining sectors are failing even to prepare for 2C of warming, it adds, with none of the plans scoring highly in the committee’s latest assessment, shown in the grid, below.

Quality and progress of sectoral climate change risk management plans for the England economy. Source: CCC progress report.

Stark tells Carbon Brief: “There are some pockets of really good practice on adaptation planning, especially in the water sector and infrastructure more broadly…[But] progress in managing risk is not good enough in any area [with no sectors showing in the leftmost column of the grid, above].”

The CCC report notes: “[I]mprovements in planning for climate change are not necessarily costly or difficult, but until they are addressed we cannot be confident that England is preparing for the risks of a changing climate.”

 

See full article with graphics at https://www.carbonbrief.org/ccc-uk-has-just-18-months-to-avoid-embarrassment-over-climate-inaction

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The relevant CCC document is at 

https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/CCC-2019-Progress-in-reducing-UK-emissions.pdf

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This says on aviation:

Aviation & Shipping (50 MtCO2e)

Priorities for the coming year

Formal inclusion in Climate Change Act targets

Longer-term milestones

Strategies for aviation and shipping that reflect the net-zero target.


• In June 2019, the UK Government accepted the Committee’s advice and amended the 2050 target under the Climate Change Act to require net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by that date. The Government stated that emissions should reach net-zero across the whole economy (i.e. including international aviation and shipping) and that the aim would be to reach net-zero emissions without recourse to international credits (or ‘offsets’), consistent with the Committee’s advice. 1  [Note 1.  House of Commons Hansard (12 June 2019) Net Zero Emissions Target, Volume 661, Columns 673 and 682. ]

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IAS  (International Aviation and Shipping) emissions have increased by over 80% since 1990. —–

Emissions data for international transport and for sectors with large shares of non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions are produced with a one-year lag, so emissions in the following sectors are only available up to 2017:

• Aviation. Total aviation emissions increased by 3.5% to 36.5 MtCO₂e from 2016 to 2017, the latest year for which data is available. Within this, emissions from international flights increased by 3.6% to 35.0 Mt and emissions from domestic flights by 2.6% to 1.5 Mt. Overall, emissions from aviation in 2017 were more than double 1990 levels.

• Shipping. Total shipping emissions fell by 5.7% to 13.8 MtCO2e from 2016 to 2017, the latest year for which data is available. Emissions from international journeys fell by 8.6% to 7.8 Mt and emissions from domestic journeys by 1.7% to 5.9 Mt. Overall, emissions from shipping in 2017 were 17% lower than 1990 levels.


The Government launched a consultation in December 2018 on its long-term vision for aviation. Within this, it accepted the Committee’s long-standing planning assumption that for an economy-wide target of an 80% emissions reduction, aviation emissions in 2050 should be no higher than those in 2005 (i.e. 37.5 MtCO₂e). However, the final Aviation Strategy has not yet been published and the Government has not set out the implications of limiting emissions for aviation demand.


Table 3.2. Delivery of policy action required over the past year

Action: 

Publish a plan to limit UK aviation emissions to the level assumed when the fifth carbon budget was set (i.e. around 2005 levels in 2050, implying around a 60% potential increase in demand), supported by strong international policies.

Timing: 

First half of 2019

Done?

Partly

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3. The net-zero challenge – what is needed from policy now In May 2019, the Committee recommended that the UK set a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target for 2050. The Government and Parliament accepted this advice and on 27 June 2019 the target became law. Consistent with the Committee’s advice, the Government were clear that net-zero emissions must be reached across the whole economy (including emissions from international aviation and shipping) and that the aim is to achieve the target entirely through action in the UK without recourse to international credits (or ‘offsets’).56   [ Note 56: 56 House of Commons Hansard (12 June 2019) Net Zero Emissions Target, Volume 661, Columns 673 and 682. Available at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2019-06-12/debates/A348AE4C-8957-42C8-8180- 0F59E597E3EA/NetZeroEmissionsTarget ]

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Challenges that have not yet been confronted must now be addressed by Government. Industry and heat must be largely decarbonised, heavy goods vehicles must also switch to low-carbon fuels, emissions from international aviation and shipping cannot be ignored, and a fifth of our agricultural land must shift to alternative uses that support emissions reduction: afforestation, biomass production and peatland restoration. Where there are remaining emissions these must be fully offset by removing CO₂ from the atmosphere and permanently sequestering it, for example by using sustainable bioenergy in combination with CCS.

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Full CCC document is at

Reducing UK emissions 2019 Progress Report to Parliament

Committee on Climate Change

July 2019

https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/CCC-2019-Progress-in-reducing-UK-emissions.pdf

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