Caroline Lucas: “The expansion of Heathrow is unforgivable – we will fight this decision”

Caroline Lucas, a long standing opponent of aviation expansion due to its carbon emissions, has expressed her anger at the government’s decision to back Heathrow. She says: “This is not a win for families who jet off on a holiday once a year – this is to pacify the needs of those privileged individuals who fly regularly.” … “the Government is ignoring the abundant evidence. .. For those of us who care about Britain’s role in combating climate change, and for people living in west London, today’s decision is a disaster.” … “We are living under a Government that says it wants to allow people to “take back control”, yet it is pressing ahead with a decision that will inflict more noise and pollution on a local community that’s already suffering…”  … “average CO2 levels are now more than 400 parts per million. The effects of burning more and more dirty fossil fuels are well known…” …  “Theresa May knows all of this of course and, at times, she appears to really care. Earlier this year she proudly told the House of Commons that the UK is the “second best country in the world for tackling climate change”. That’s why her decision back expansion at Heathrow is so unforgivable. ” … “today’s decision puts a wrecking ball through the UK’s climate change commitments.” … “we need practical proposals [like aa frequent-flyer levy] to keep aviation at levels that are compatible with fighting climate change, and which require no new runways.”
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The expansion of Heathrow is unforgivable – we will fight this decision

This is not a win for families who jet off on a holiday once a year – this is to pacify the needs of those privileged individuals who fly regularly

By Caroline Lucas @CarolineLucas   (Independent – Voices)

25 October 2016

Heathrow expansion protesters gather outside Parliament Reclaim the Power
It’s finally been confirmed: the Government is ignoring the abundant evidence and backing expansion of Europe’s biggest airport. For those of us who care about Britain’s role in combating climate change, and for people living in west London, today’s decision is a disaster.

This will directly affect those living around Heathrow, with increased pollution, noise and daily disruption to their lives – and it will benefit only the wealthier fliers, with just 15 per cent of UK residents accounting for seven out of 10 of all flights taken. This is not a win for families who jet off on a holiday once a year (and most people don’t even do that); this is to pacify the needs of those privileged individuals who fly regularly.

We are living under a Government that says it wants to allow people to “take back control”, yet it is pressing ahead with a decision that will inflict more noise and pollution on a local community that’s already suffering – all for the benefit of aviation lobbyists and the business-class set.

The expansion announcement today comes days after leading scientists said that the world is entering a new “climate change reality”, as average carbon dioxide levels are now more than 400 parts per million. The effects of burning more and more dirty fossil fuels are well known, but worth reiterating. From an increase in devastating flooding in Britain, to wildfires in Indonesia and more hurricanes hitting the Caribbean – climate change affects everyone’s lives, but hits the most vulnerable communities hardest.

Theresa May knows all of this of course and, at times, she appears to really care. Earlier this year she proudly told the House of Commons that the UK is the “second best country in the world for tackling climate change”. That’s why her decision back expansion at Heathrow is so unforgivable. And let’s just be clear about this: today’s decision puts a wrecking ball through the UK’s climate change commitments. This decision comes in the same week that the UK Government is in court for failing to tackle illegal air pollution limits.

Lifting people into in the air requires a lot of energy, and there’s no prospect of that energy coming from low carbon sources anytime soon. That’s why, unlike every other part of the economy, aviation isn’t expected to reduce its emissions. This already generous exemption is now set to be magnified many times over. If we’re serious about climate change, we would need to make even deeper carbon cuts in other parts of the economy (and we’re already failing to do that).

Another solution would be to force Northern airports to limit flights and bring in a substantially higher tax on flying – are the Government going to take those actions? Of course not.

Those of us who want to reduce the impact of flying cannot just wish away increased demand – instead we need practical proposals to keep aviation at levels that are compatible with fighting climate change, and which require no new runways.

One such proposal, a frequent-flyer levy, would reduce demand for airport expansion through a fairer tax on flights that increases depending on the number of flights you take. It’s clear that the small minority of wealthy individuals who fly often are fuelling the demand for new runways. The proposed frequent-flyer levy would be a fair way to manage demand – the crucial missing part of any aviation policy serious about tackling climate change and protecting local communities.

Another alternative would be to redirect investment away from airport expansion and into improving railways and reducing fares – to end the ridiculous situation where flying is often cheaper than taking the train to nearby destinations.

Ministers know very well that airport expansion, at Heathrow or anywhere else for that matter, will leave our climate change commitments in tatters – and we need to make sure they know that climate campaigners and local residents have absolutely no plans to give up this battle.

Caroline Lucas is co-leader of the Green Party
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/heathrow-expansion-gatwick-green-party-theresa-may-carbon-emissions-wealthy-a7379136.html

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See also

John Sauven: The decision to back a 3rd Heathrow runway is a grotesque, cynical, folly

Writing in the Guardian, the Director of Greenpeace UK – John Sauven – explains why the government approval of a Heathrow runway is so cynical. The reality, which is well known by the government, and the “independent” Airports Commission, is that UK aviation carbon emissions are on target to far exceed the level at which they need to be, under the 2008 Climate Change Act. Adding an extra runway only exacerbates that problem. If the UK was half serious about its global obligations to cut CO2 (which it does not appear to be) the simplest solution would be not to build a new runway – which needlessly raises emissions. But instead, as the job of the Commission was to get a Heathrow runway to appear possible and desirable, they made some obscure assumptions (well hidden in endless supporting documents) which were not intended to be understood. Realising CO2 would be too high, they postulated a sky high price of carbon. That would mean the price of air tickets would rise dramatically, cutting exactly the extra demand the runway had been built to cater for. Otherwise, either the emissions of the regional airports would have to be cut, to let the monster Heathrow continue to expand – or else the UK just abandons any pretence of an aviation carbon target. Both are cynical, demonstrating the absence of any credible aviation carbon policy. It demonstrates that the government is at best half hearted on climate commitments.

Click here to view full story…

AEF damning assessment of Heathrow recommendation and its environmental impacts

The AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) is the main group in the UK assessing UK aviation policy for its environment impacts, with several decades of expertise. They have had a first look at the government’s Heathrow decision, and are underwhelmed. Some of their comments: On CO2 the DfT says that keeping UK carbon emissions to within the 37.5 MtCO2 cap while adding a Heathrow runway effectively cannot be done. AEF says the DfT now has no commitment to the 37.5 MtCO2 cap, and just includes vague references to the ICAO global carbon offsetting scheme for aviation agreed this month, and to potential efficiencies arising from better air traffic management -though both measures are (effectively) already taken into account in the CCC’s modelling. On air pollution, the DfT says “a new runway at Heathrow is deliverable within air quality limits, if necessary mitigation measures are put in place, in line with the ‘National air quality plan’, published in December 2015.” But AEF says Government appears to have little idea what those mitigation measures will be, and the deliverability of the plan has already, therefore, been questioned through the courts. And on noise AEF says the noise impact will depend heavily on the precise location of flight paths, which are unknown.

Click here to view full story…

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John Sauven: The decision to back a 3rd Heathrow runway is a grotesque, cynical, folly

Writing in the Guardian, the Director of Greenpeace UK – John Sauven – explains why the government approval of a Heathrow runway is so cynical. The reality, which is well known by the government, and the “independent” Airports Commission, is that UK aviation carbon emissions are on target to far exceed the level at which they need to be, under the 2008 Climate Change Act. Adding an extra runway only exacerbates that problem.  If the UK was half serious about its global obligations to cut CO2 (which it does not appear to be) the simplest solution would be not to build a new runway – which needlessly raises emissions. But instead, as the job of the Commission was to get a Heathrow runway to appear possible and desirable, they made some obscure assumptions (well hidden in endless supporting documents) which were not intended to be understood. Realising CO2 would be too high, they postulated a sky high price of carbon. That would mean the price of air tickets would rise dramatically, cutting exactly the extra demand the runway had been built to cater for.  Otherwise, either the emissions of the regional airports would have to be cut, to let the monster Heathrow continue to expand – or else the UK just abandons any pretence of an aviation carbon target. Both are cynical, demonstrating the absence of any credible aviation carbon policy.  It demonstrates that the government is at best half hearted on climate commitments.
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The decision to back a third runway at Heathrow is a grotesque folly

Business flights are declining, CO 2 levels are climbing, and the cost of expansion is staggering. Only shameless cynicism can explain this outcome
25.10.2016  (The Guardian)

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The government’s decision to back a third runway at Heathrow has been informed by a mishmash of misinformation and missing information. To take just one example, business flights are in decline. They’ve been in decline for years. And yet the debate is conducted as though they were not only increasing, but increasing at a rate that our current infrastructure is unable to cater for, and our economy is suffering as a result. But they’re not, they’re declining.

Here’s another. Heathrow can’t afford to expand with its own money. Surface access costs for Heathrow are only affordable with a huge subsidy from the taxpayer. Heathrow will only pay £1bn for the additional road and rail links required to get the extra passengers to and from Heathrow.Transport for London say it will cost £18bn. Anyone see a small discrepancy?

There may be general, underlying sociological trends which explain why the big issues of our time are decided on the basis of incomplete and misleading information, but with the runway argument there is an additional reason. We privatised the decision.

By turning it into a competition between Heathrow and Gatwick lobbyists, we allowed the debate to be conducted by two parties that both firmly agreed that building a new runway in the south-east should be the nation’s top priority.

They were both happy to point out the relative flaws in their rival’s plans, but are equally content to ignore any flaws which affect both.The media accepted the framing, and so despite extensive coverage, the biggest, most important flaw has been missing from the debate. The BBC has covered Heathrow on all of its flagship news and politics shows – Newsnight, the Daily Politics, the Today Programme – without even touching on the main issue.

It’s easy to miss something that’s invisible, silent, odourless and tasteless. Particularly when you have a strong financial incentive to do so. And the entire aviation industry has a very strong financial incentive to ignore CO2. They’ve been successfully ignoring it for decades, and last month’s UN-affiliated international aviation conference made it abundantly clear that it is content to continue with its current approach.

Unfortunately, there are no imminent technologies that, in the short to medium term, will make aviation a low-carbon industry. The only feasible way to significantly reduce aviation’s impact on the climate is to significantly reduce aviation.

The Climate Change Act requires the UK economy to reduce its emissions by 80% from 1990 levels, by 2050. Aviation is allowed to increase its emissions by 120% from 1990 levels. They are on course to exceed that 120% without any new runways. So how will building a new runway in the south-east reduce the number of flights down to a level consistent with that target? Unsurprisingly, it won’t. In fact, entirely predictably, it will hugely increase flights and emissions.

Or so a naive observer might think. The serious players in this debate have a different answer to that question. The Davies commission, that entirely independent and impartial inquiry into what colour Heathrow’s third runway should be, has said that it will fit within the UK’s carbon budget. So that’s that, issue resolved. Except, it won’t explain how. This reluctance encompasses the majority who don’t understand how Sir Howard Davies came to such a counterintuitive conclusion, and the small minority who understand all too well.

Davies’ “solution” exists as fragments scattered through his 600-page multi-volume report in an as obscure and obfuscatory manner as he could manage. It’s designed, very effectively, not to be understood. It consists primarily of demand-control measures, primarily carbon taxes. Davies is saying (or rather whispering in pig Latin with a paper bag on his head) that we can build a new runway that has the specific purpose of increasing flights so long as we increase the price of those flights so much that demand drops to a level that reduces the number of flights overall. There are two ways to interpret this “solution”.

One is to accept that everyone is on the level. The new runway will be built, flights will increase, the emissions from aviation will soar ever higher above their target level, and then the government will introduce a carbon tax or similar instrument which will be so punitive, adding hundreds of pounds to every ticket, that demand will drop dramatically back to levels not seen for 40 years. The consequence would be a severe scaling back, or perhaps even closure of airports, in poorer regions of Britain, but not, perhaps, in west London. According to this interpretation, the new runway is not an attempt to increase capacity at all, but to move existing capacity south. And this is in some way a good and useful thing that we should spend billions of public money to support.

The other plausible interpretation is that Davies’ plan for hitting aviation’s carbon targets isn’t really serious. So, the plan for demand-control measures was seen as a necessary thing to have for legal purposes, in order to get the runway built, but was always known to be just as daft as it sounds, and that’s why it was effectively hidden from view.

I’m not certain which is more cynical, the idea that the government is willing to spend taxpayers’ money to redistribute mobility from the poor to the rich, or the idea that Davies’ report is designed to be a black box that allows aviation to expand so long as no one looks inside, an invisible solution to an invisible problem.

Unfortunately, the invisible problem is real.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/25/heathrow-third-runway-davies-commission

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See also

Statements by Professors Kevin Anderson and Alice Larkin, about how the UK should NOT be building a runway

 

Statement by Professor Alice Larkin

“The highly constrained carbon budget that is consistent with the Paris Agreement requires all fossil fuel consuming sectors to urgently accelerate towards full decarbonisation – and while some sectors will achieve this sooner than others, no sector can be excluded. Technical and even operational options for decarbonising the aviation sector within a timeframe consistent with the Paris goals are few and far between. As such, demand-side measures that constrain further growth, must receive much greater attention. Equally, policy measures aimed at increasing capacity and supporting further growth in air travel such as new runways, particularly within richer nations, are at odds with the Paris Agreement. Such developments risk future stranded assets, and should be avoided .”

Professor Alice Larkin:  

Professor of Climate Science & Energy Policy, University of Manchester 


Statement by Professor Kevin Anderson

“The UK Government’s enthusiasm for more airport capacity alongside its clamour for high-carbon shale gas demonstrates a palpable disdain for the Paris Agreement. Both of these decisions will lock the UK into ongoing emissions of carbon dioxide for decades to come, putting short-term convenience and financial gain ahead of long-term and genuinely low-carbon prosperity. Such reckless disregard for the prospects of our own children and the well being of poor and climatically vulnerable communities arises from either a scientifically illiterate Government or one that cares nothing for its legacy. Whichever it may be, these are undesirable characteristics of a government facing the climate change and other strategic challenges of the twenty-first century.”

Professor Kevin Anderson: University of Manchester and Uppsala

Kevin Anderson is Professor of Energy and Climate Change in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester. He is Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and is research active with recent publications in Royal Society journals and Nature. He engages widely across all tiers of government; from reporting on aviation-related emissions to the EU Parliament, advising the Prime Minister’s office on Carbon Trading and having contributed to the development of the UK’s Climate Change Act.

With his colleague Alice Bows, Kevin’s work on carbon budgets has been pivotal in revealing the widening gulf between political rhetoric on climate change and the reality of rapidly escalating emissions. His work makes clear that there is now little chance of maintaining the rise in global temperature at below 2C, despite repeated high-level statements to the contrary. Moreover, Kevin’s research demonstrates how avoiding even a 4C rise demands a radical reframing of both the climate change agenda and the economic characterisation of contemporary society.

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AEF damning assessment of Heathrow recommendation and its environmental impacts

The AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) is the main group in the UK assessing UK aviation policy for its environment impacts, with several decades of expertise. They have had a first look at the government’s Heathrow decision, and are underwhelmed. Some of their comments:  On CO2 the DfT says that keeping UK carbon emissions to within the 37.5 MtCO2 cap while adding a Heathrow runway effectively cannot be done. AEF says the DfT now has no commitment to the 37.5 MtCO2 cap, and just includes vague references to the ICAO global carbon offsetting scheme for aviation agreed this month, and to potential efficiencies arising from better air traffic management -though both measures are (effectively) already taken into account in the CCC’s modelling. On air pollution, the DfT says “a new runway at Heathrow is deliverable within air quality limits, if necessary mitigation measures are put in place, in line with the ‘National air quality plan’, published in December 2015.” But AEF says Government appears to have little idea what those mitigation measures will be, and the deliverability of the plan has already, therefore, been questioned through the courts. And on noise AEF says the noise impact will depend heavily on the precise location of flight paths, which are unknown. 
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What answers has the Government found to the environmental hurdles facing a third runway?

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With the Government now having officially announced its support for a new runway at Heathrow, despite having slashed the Airports Commission’s claim of a £147 billion benefit to the UK by almost 60% (referring instead to a benefit over sixty years of ‘up to £61 billion’), we take a first look at what they have to offer in terms of answers to some key environmental challenges.

Climate Change

As AEF has consistently pointed out, and as the Committee on Climate Change reminded Government today, there is no plan for delivering the aviation emissions limit required to deliver the Climate Change Act either with or without a new runway.

The last time we had a government supporting runway expansion, it specified that this would be conditional on the sector’s CO2 emissions being on course not to exceed 37.5 Mt by 2050, in line with the CCC’s advice. Today’s announcement included no such commitment, instead making vague references to the global carbon offsetting scheme for aviation agreed this month, and to potential efficiencies arising from better air traffic management – both measures that are (effectively) already taken into account in the CCC’s modelling, and that won’t bring us anywhere near to achieving the minimum level of ambition required under UK law.

So what does the Government have to say about how the CCC’s recommendation will be met? The answer is deeply buried in a technical paper released alongside the announcement which states that the Airports Commission’s carbon-capped scenario “is helpful for understanding the varying effects of constraining aviation CO2 emissions on aviation demand and the impact on the case for airport expansion but was described by the AC as ‘unrealistic in future policy terms’”. In other words it can’t be done.

Air pollution

With the Heathrow area consistently breaching legal limits for nitrogen dioxide and the Airports Commission anticipating that expansion at the airport would have an adverse or significantly adverse impact on air quality, this represents a clear legal obstacle that the Government must be ready to take on. Today’s announcement indicates that a ‘re-analysis’ by Government of air pollution levels subsequent to the Airports Commission’s report has shown that “a new runway at Heathrow is deliverable within air quality limits, if necessary mitigation measures are put in place, in line with the ‘National air quality plan’, published in December 2015.”

The problem is that Government appears to have little idea what those mitigation measures will be, and the deliverability of the plan has already, therefore, been questioned through the courts. ClientEarth, which brought the action, said today in a statement “Those plans were so poor that last week we took them [the Government] back to the High Court to force action on air pollution. The government needs to produce an in-depth and credible plan to drastically cut air pollution to meet its legal obligations rather than digging an even deeper hole for itself.”

Noise

With Heathrow’s noise already affecting more people than its five main European rivals combined, the likely noise impact of expansion has always been at the heart of much of the political opposition to a new runway. Today’s announcement includes the statement that “The government will propose that a six-and-a-half hour ban on scheduled night flights will be introduced” but gives no indication of preference for whether this will run from 11:30pm to 6:00am as recommended by the Airports Commission or from 11:00pm to 5:30am as proposed by the airport, with numerous flights potentially scheduled from 5:30 in the morning. Meanwhile the noise impact, including for the hundreds of thousands predicted to be newly affected, will depend heavily on the precise location of flight paths – an issue potentially as contentious as the expansion itself.

The Conservatives’ mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith has already announced his decision to resign in response to the Government announcement, and the Government is now relying on the support of both Parliament and the Lords to get approval for an Airports National Policy Statement supporting expansion (not to be published for consultation until next year). This is – of course – not the end of the debate but in many ways just the beginning.

http://www.aef.org.uk/2016/10/25/what-answers-has-the-government-found-to-the-environmental-hurdles-facing-a-third-runway/


 

Dark day for communities and for the UK’s chance of tackling climate change, as Heathrow announcement shows reckless disregard for environmental targets

PRESS RELEASE  by AEF

The environmental NGO, Aviation Environment Federation [1], which represents communities around the UK’s airports, has strongly criticised the Government’s decision to back a third runway at Heathrow.

Cait Hewitt, AEF Deputy Director, said:

This is a dark day for local communities, and suggests a reckless disregard for the climate change damage that a new runway will bring.

Within weeks of the Paris Agreement on climate change becoming binding, the UK appears to be turning its back on earlier promises to play our part in ensuring a safe and stable climate. Heathrow is already the UK’s biggest single source of emissions [3], and is responsible for more CO2 from international flights than any other airport in the world [4]. As the Government has no meaningful plans for tackling CO2 from aviation despite UK and international climate change commitments, a new runway will see aviation emissions soar.

The decision is also a betrayal of local people who are already exposed to dangerous and illegal levels of air pollution, and to noise at levels known to harm health. Even if the airport introduces a partial night flight ban that may provide some respite for existing communities, hundreds of thousands of people will be overflown for the first time as a result of expansion, at an airport that already impacts more people than its five major European rivals combined.

Today’s decision is not final. This is not the first time that a UK government has announced its support for a new South East runway. On each occasion in the past that that the government has supported expansion, it has not proceeded once the full economic and environmental costs have become clear.

Parliament will now have its say on the Government’s decision. It is vital that MPs look beyond the headline figures from the Airports Commission’s final report, since many of the costs of expansion were hidden in appendices. Factoring in these costs shows that the environmental damage created by a new runway will result in a relatively small economic benefit and could even be negative. Over the summer we sent politicians from all major parties 50 reasons to oppose a new runway. MPs must now see if the Government has answers to these challenges.”

Contact: Name / email

AEF office: 0203 102 1509

Tim Johnson, AEF Director: (tim@aef.org.uk)

Cait Hewitt, AEF Deputy Director: (cait@aef.org.uk)

NOTES

[1] The Aviation Environment Federation is the only national NGO campaigning exclusively on environmental impacts of aviation including noise, air pollution and climate change. We represent community groups around many of the UK airports in our work to secure effective regulation of the aviation industry at national and international levels. www.aef.org.uk

[2] AEF’s 50 reasons are available to download at: http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/AEF_50-reasons_Final.pdf with full references at: http://www.aef.org.uk/2016/09/08/50-reasons-campaign-references/

[3] Drax emissions from UK Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (verified emissions accounting for biomass); Heathrow emissions projections from Jacobs, Carbon Assessment, November 2014, prepared for the Airports Commission

[4] https://southgateaviation.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/global-domestic-footprint-finalv6.pdf(page 41)

[5] The UN reached agreement earlier this month on a global aviation emissions offsetting scheme, a welcome indication that all countries recognise the challenge of aviation emissions. While the agreement represents a first step towards bringing the sector into line with climate ambition, however, it will be unable to deliver the emissions reductions required by either UK climate legislation or the Paris Agreement.

[6] Click here for supporting information.

http://www.aef.org.uk/2016/10/25/dark-day-for-communities-and-for-the-uks-chance-of-tackling-climate-change-as-heathrow-announcement-shows-reckless-disregard-for-environmental-targets/

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Environment Audit Cttee will be calling Ministers to give evidence on Heathrow runway environmental impacts

The Environment Audit Committee has announced (already) that, after the government’s  announcement that it backs a Heathrow runway, it will be calling Ministers to scrutinise how environmental concerns are being mitigated. The EAC has scrutinised the Airports Commission in the past, on environmental problems of a Heathrow runway.  The EAC wants assurances from the Government that a new runway will comply with key environmental conditions.  Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Committee, said it would be necessary to look at what the runway means for local residents, on air quality and noise standards and also on carbon emissions. She said: …”we need a clear plan to reduce emissions from aviation to meet our climate change targets. … The Government must ensure that current legal EU air pollution limits are retained after we leave, to protect the health and wellbeing of local people. We wait to hear what the airport’s plans are for covering the costs of local transport. … On noise we welcome Heathrow’s announcement that it will accept a ban on night flights. Ministers must ensure that local communities receive predictable respite from planes flying over their homes.”  The EAC report, published in November 2015, called upon the Government and Heathrow to demonstrate how issues were to be dealt with. They are not persuaded by the replies.
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EAC seeks Government assurances on Heathrow expansion

25 October 2016

From the Environment Audit Committee website

Committee announces it will be calling Ministers to scrutinise how environmental concerns are being mitigated

Reacting to the Government’s announcement of  its approval for Heathrow expansion, the Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee Mary Creagh MP is seeking assurances from the Government that any new airport capacity will comply with key environmental conditions.

Chair’s comments

Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

“My committee recently looked at what a third runway at Heathrow would mean for local residents and we will be seeking assurances from the Government that the airport’s proposals meet strict carbon emissions, air quality and noise standards.”

“We have seen some international progress on tackling carbon emissions from aviation recently, but we need a clear plan to reduce emissions from aviation to meet our climate change targets.”

“The Government must ensure that current legal EU air pollution limits are retained after we leave, to protect the health and wellbeing of local people. We wait to hear what the airport’s plans are for covering the costs of local transport.”

“On noise we welcome Heathrow’s announcement that it will accept a ban on night flights. Ministers must ensure that local communities receive predictable respite from planes flying over their homes.”

The EAC report, published in November 2015, called upon the Government and Heathrow to demonstrate that Heathrow expansion can be reconciled with our climate change commitments and legal air pollution limits. It called for an improvement in surface transport and a ban on night flight.

Background

The Climate Change Act 2008 requires the Government to set a series of 5 year carbon budgets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.  The statutory Committee on Climate Change, which advises the Government on meeting these budgets, says its ‘planning assumption’ is that 2050 aviation emissions should to be around 2005 levels (i.e. 37.5 MtCO2).

The UK’s legal air pollution limits are set out in EU Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality, which was transcribed into UK law. The Directive limits values in respect of certain key pollutants – including an annual mean limit value of 40 μg/m3 NO2. Compliance is assessed through measurements carried out by “receptors” next to roads. The deadline for compliance was 2010 but 38 out of 43 areas remain above the limit values, including Greater London.

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news-parliament-2015/heathrow-expansion-chair-announcement-16-17/

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Government decides on new runway at Heathrow – with no certainty on air pollution, noise or CO2

The government has made its announcement that it backs a 3rd runway at Heathrow, using the north west option (not the extended northern runway).  It has decided to entirely follow the recommendation of the Airports Commission, by backing one runway only.  The statement from Chris Grayling is on the DfT website, with a list of supporting documents. The government glosses over details of how it could ensure the runway did not cause worse air pollution, or worse noise, or higher CO2 emissions. Neither the DfT statement, nor Chris Grayling’s contributions in the House, give any clarity or reassurances on most of the problems that a 3rd runway will create.  There will be a consultation, starting in early 2017, on the National Policy Statement, which has to be agreed by both House of Parliament before Heathrow could go ahead with the planning stages for its runway. The government’s statements say things like: “Despite the increase in flights Heathrow Airport Ltd has made firm commitments to noise reduction. The government will propose that a six-and-a-half hour ban on scheduled night flights …”   And “the government proposes new legally binding noise targets, encouraging the use of quieter planes, and a more reliable and predictable timetable of respite for those living under the final flight path.” And new work “confirms that a new runway at Heathrow is deliverable within air quality limits, if necessary mitigation measures are put in place”….. ie. vague waffly aspirations, with zero practical details.
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Parliament TV

Chris Grayling announced the government’s backing for Heathrow in Parliament. It can be seen on Parliament TV at http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/19249e8d-d508-45cd-9b6b-0330e902f178 starting at about 13.04.

The Hansard version of the statement and questions in the Commons is at  https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2016-10-25/debates/4D74A7CB-8921-48BD-9960-FD15D5D1EEDF/AirportCapacity

There were many excellent comments by a number of MPs.  Chris Grayling could not give convincing responses to any of the criticisms or the fears of MPs  opposed to the plan.


Government decides on new runway at Heathrow

From: Department for Transport and The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP – DfT press release

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Government Heathrow Airport announcement.

– expanding Heathrow will better connect the UK to long haul destinations in growing world markets, boosting trade and creating jobs
– passengers will benefit from more choice of airlines, destinations and flights
– expansion at Heathrow will be subject to a world class package of compensation and mitigation measures for local communities

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In a major boost for the UK economy the government today (25 October 2016) announced its support for a new runway at Heathrow – the first full length runway in the south-east since the second world war. The scheme will now be taken forward in the form of a draft ‘National policy statement’ (NPS) for consultation.

The government’s decision on its preferred location, which will be consulted on in the new year, underlines its commitment to keeping the UK open for business now and in the future and as a hub for tourism and trade. Today’s decision is a central part of the government’s plan to build a global Britain and an economy that works for everyone. This is just one of a series of major infrastructure investments that will create jobs and opportunities for every part of the UK.

A new runway at Heathrow will bring economic benefits to passengers and the wider economy worth up to £61 billion. Up to 77,000 additional local jobs are expected to be created over the next 14 years and the airport has committed to create 5,000 new apprenticeships over the same period.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

The step that government is taking today is truly momentous. I am proud that after years of discussion and delay this government is taking decisive action to secure the UK’s place in the global aviation market – securing jobs and business opportunities for the next decade and beyond.

A new runway at Heathrow will improve connectivity in the UK itself and crucially boost our connections with the rest of the world, supporting exports, trade and job opportunities. This isn’t just a great deal for business, it’s a great deal for passengers who will also benefit from access to more airlines, destinations and flights.

This is an important issue for the whole country. That is why the government’s preferred scheme will be subject to full and fair public consultation. Of course it is also hugely important for those living near the airport. That is why we have made clear that expansion will only be allowed to proceed on the basis of a world class package of compensation and mitigation worth up to £2.6 billion, including community support, insulation, and respite from noise – balancing the benefits and the impacts of expansion.

Expansion at the airport will better connect the UK to long haul destinations across the globe and to growing world markets including in Asia and South America, bringing a significant boost to trade.

Heathrow already handles more freight by value than all other UK airports combined, accounting for 31% of the UK’s non-EU trade, and its expansion will create even more opportunities for UK business to get their goods to new markets.

While there are clear gains for business, passengers will also benefit from a greater choice of airlines, destinations and flight times. The Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, anticipated that a new runway would bring in new capacity to meet demand and allow greater levels of competition, lowering fares even after taking into account the costs of construction.

Expansion costs will be paid for by the private sector, not by the taxpayer. It will be for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), as the independent industry regulator, to work with Heathrow Airport Ltd and airlines operating at the airport, on the detailed design and costs to ensure the scheme remains affordable. The government expects the industry to work together to drive down costs to benefit passengers. The aim should be to deliver a plan for expansion that keeps landing charges close to current levels.

This new runway will deliver major economic and strategic benefits to the UK, but it must be delivered without hitting passengers in the pocket. The Airports Commission was clear that this is achievable as is the CAA.

A third runway will also support new connections to the UK’s regions as well as safeguarding existing domestic routes. Heathrow has proposed a further 6 new routes to Belfast International, Liverpool, Newquay, Humberside, Prestwick and Durham Tees Valley to be added after expansion. The 8 existing routes offered today are: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen, Belfast City, Manchester, Newcastle and Leeds Bradford. This would provide 14 domestic routes in total, and spread benefits right across the country.

Government will also take all necessary steps including, where appropriate, ring-fencing a suitable proportion of new slots for domestic routes, to ensure enhanced connectivity within the UK.

Despite the increase in flights Heathrow Airport Ltd has made firm commitments to noise reduction. The government will propose that a six-and-a-half hour ban on scheduled night flights will be introduced for the first time at Heathrow and will make more stringent night noise restrictions a requirement of expansion. The timing of this ban will be determined through consultation.

Furthermore, the government proposes new legally binding noise targets, encouraging the use of quieter planes, and a more reliable and predictable timetable of respite for those living under the final flight path. The airport has also pledged to provide over £700 million for noise insulation for residential properties.

In addition, modernising use of our air space will boost the sector and will help to further reduce noise and carbon emissions. Proposals will be brought forward to support improvements to airspace and how to manage noise, including the way in which affected communities can best be engaged and whether there is a role for a new independent aviation noise body as the Airports Commission recommended.

The Airports Commission concluded that even with the extra flights added by the airport’s expansion fewer people would be affected by noise from Heathrow by 2030 than are today.

Following the clear recommendation of the Airports Commission the government conducted more work on the environmental impact. That work is now complete and confirms that a new runway at Heathrow is deliverable within air quality limits, if necessary mitigation measures are put in place, in line with the ‘National air quality plan’, published in December 2015.

The UK has already achieved significant improvements in air quality across a range of pollutants. Emissions of nitrogen oxides in the UK fell by 41% between 2005 and 2014. Heathrow’s scheme includes plans for improved public transport links and for an ultra-low emissions zone for all airport vehicles by 2025. The government will make meeting air quality legal requirements a condition of planning approval.

A draft NPS setting out why the government believes this scheme is the right one for the UK will be published in the new year when the public will be consulted on the proposals.


Facts

An extra runway at Heathrow will deliver:

  • economic benefits to passengers and the wider economy worth up to £61 billion over 60 years
  • lower fares relative to no expansion, fewer delays, better connections to destinations including to Asia and South America
  • up to 77,000 additional local jobs created by 2030
  • Heathrow have committed to 5,000 new apprenticeships by 2030
  • an extra 16 million long haul passenger seats in 2040
  • 6 new regional routes proposed by Heathrow – giving 14 in total
  • following consultation a six-and-a-half hour ban on scheduled night flights will be introduced for the first time at Heathrow
  • a mitigation package for the local community most affected by expansion worth up to £2.6 billion

This [£2.6 billion] includes:

  • people with homes subject to compulsory purchase receiving 125% of full market value for their homes, plus stamp duty, legal fees and moving costs
  • a package of over £700 million of noise insulation for homes
  • £40 million to insulate and ventilate schools and other community buildings

In addition, up to £450 million could be available to local authorities through business rate retention. A Community Compensation Fund could make a further £750 million available to local communities. This will be determined through the planning process.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-decides-on-new-runway-at-heathrow


Further information

[Law firm Bircham Dyson Bell say the paragraph by the DfT contained inaccuracies. Below is the DfT paragraph, with the sections that are incorrect shown in light orange, and the corrections from BDB shown in red italics.]

Airport expansion will be delivered through a thorough, faster planning process, under the 2008 Planning Act and 2011 Localism Act. The government will set out the need for the airport scheme it wants, along with supporting evidence, in its National Policy Statement. The public and Members of Parliament will be consulted and there will be a vote in the House of Commons on the final draft of the NPS.  This will be followed by a planning application  development consent order by the airport to the Planning Inspectorate who will examine the application take a view and advise government of his decision its recommendation. Final sign off will be by the Secretary of State for Transport and then construction will start once any pre-commencement requirements have been discharged.

In time a new runway will also require the redesign of the airport’s flightpaths. This will form part of a wider programme of airspace modernisation which is already needed across the country in the coming years. The government expects to consult in the new year on a range of national proposals covering noise and airspace.

Expansion at Heathrow Airport Ltd will be accompanied by a comprehensive package of mitigation measures which will be subject to consultation with the public as part of the draft NPS consultation process. The measures will also be subject to regulatory approval by the CAA.

The Department for Transport has also set up a working group with Her Majesty’s Treasury and the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs on air quality. This is part of a 10 year project to accelerate improvements in air quality.

Today’s announcement follows an unprecedented UN global agreement achieved earlier this month to combat aviation emissions. Under the deal, airlines will offset their emissions with reductions from other sectors to deliver carbon neutral growth for the aviation sector from 2020. The government believes that a new runway at Heathrow can be delivered within the UK’s carbon obligations.

Meanwhile, the government wants to see the continued prosperity of the UK’s second busiest airport, and the world’s busiest single runway airport, Gatwick. Its continued success will drive competition in the sector, which is good for passengers and the prosperity of the nation, drawing inward investment, trade and growth.

The Airports Commission lead by Sir Howard Davies, was set up in September 2012. It published its final report in July 2015. In December 2015 the then Secretary of State for Transport Sir Patrick McLoughlin announced that government accepted the case for airport expansion in the  case for airport expansion in the south-east and the Airports Commission’s shortlist of options for expansion.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-decides-on-new-runway-at-heathrow

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There are more documents added by DfT on 25th October 2016

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/heathrow-airport-expansion

Background

Background and rationale for the government’s preferred option for south-east airport expansion.

  1. Heathrow Airport expansion: around the UK

    • Guidance
  2. Heathrow Airport expansion: connectivity

    • Guidance
  3. Heathrow Airport expansion: economic benefits

    • Guidance
  4. Heathrow Airport expansion: environment and local impacts

    • Guidance

Technical reports

Technical analysis and further work carried out by the Department for Transport to support the government’s preferred option for south-east airport expansion. These reports expand on the Airports Commission’s final report and supporting documents.

  1. Airport expansion: DfT review of the Airports Commission’s final report

    • Research and analysis
    • Review of the Airports Commission’s final report  (dated Dec 2015)

    • This review:
      • assesses the degree to which the Airports Commission’s work aligns with its terms of reference set by government
      • considers and identifies whether there are any apparent or potential gaps in the evidence developed and considered by the Commission
      • highlights where recommendations may deviate from government policy
      • documents where implementation of the Commission’s recommendations requires action by government or others
  2. Airport expansion: further analysis of air quality data

  3. Airport expansion: further review and sensitivities report

  4. Airport expansion: global comparison of airport mitigation measures

    • Research and analysis
    • Airport capacity programme global comparison of airport mitigation measures

    • The Airport’s Commission final report recommended that the compensation and mitigation package to be provided as part of expanding airport capacity at Heathrow airport should be ‘world class’. The government wanted to understand what a ‘world class’ compensation package was and whether the packages on offer by Heathrow Airport Limited and Gatwick Airport Limited could be considered as such. The Department for Transport engaged Ernst & Young to prepare a report on the approaches taken by other international airports in addressing the local impacts of the airport.
  5. Airport expansion: Highways England assurance report

  6. Heathrow Airport Limited: statement of principles

    • Guidance
    • Heathrow Airport Limited: statement of principles

    • Following the publication of the Airports Commission’s report the government engaged with the promoters of all 3 shortlisted options. The statement of principles records the outcomes of engagement between government and Heathrow Airport Limited in July 2015.It sets out the scheme promoter’s expectations and commitments in principle as to how its scheme would be taken forward if preferred by government as the best way to meet the need for more runway capacity in London and the south-east.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/heathrow-airport-expansion

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Letter in the Guardian, from climate-aware organisations, on the disastrous impact of a new runway

In an open letter, a large number of environmental and climate-aware organisations have written about the disastrous impacts of allowing the expansion of the UK aviation sector by building a new runway.  The letter says: “With the scrapping of vital decarbonisation policies and funding, the UK is already way off-track to meet our climate change commitments. The impacts of any new runway will be devastating to people’s lives and to the planet. … the biggest tragedy of the government’s failure is a global one. … The push for more runway space is not about demand from business – that has been dropping for over a decade. Nor is it about people taking one or two annual holidays. Growth is being driven by the frequent leisure flyers taking weekend breaks and shopping trips by plane. Half of the UK population don’t fly in any given year, yet all of us subsidise the holidays of the rich. The UK must not abandon our commitments under the Paris agreement and the Climate Change Act for the convenience of binge flyers. We will not allow our government to ignore the promises they have made to us and to the world.”  There are also statements by Professor Kevin Anderson and Professor Alice Larkin, on how building a new runway is entirely incompatible with the UK’s obligations under the Paris Agreement on climate. Kevin described adding a runway as demonstrating “a palpable disdain for the Paris Agreement.”
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Airport expansion’s disastrous effects, near and far

Letters – The Guardian

The government’s decision to greenlight aviation expansion (Chris Grayling: decision on airport expansion to be made on Tuesday, theguardian.com, 23 October) is a predictable failure, but not an acceptable one.

With the scrapping of vital decarbonisation policies and funding, the UK is already way off-track to meet our climate change commitments. The impacts of any new runway will be devastating to people’s lives and to the planet.

Locally it will see the demolition of hundreds of homes, result in increased noise pollution, and illegal levels of air pollution – already responsible for almost 10,000 premature deaths in London every year.

But the biggest tragedy of the government’s failure is a global one. Only around 5% of the world’s population flies at all, yet the impacts of climate change – droughts, floods and heatwaves – are already hitting poorer communities in the global south, who are the least likely to ever set foot on a plane.

The UK must not abandon our commitments under the Paris agreement and the Climate Change Act for the convenience of binge flyers. We will not allow our government to ignore the promises they have made to us and to the world.

Craig Bennett CEO, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland,

Nicky Bull Chair, Operation Noah,

Amy Cameron, Director, 10:10,

Sarah Clayton. Coordinator, AirportWatch,

Peter Deane, Biofuelwatch,

Bill Hemmings, Director, aviation and shipping, European Federation for Transport and Environment,

Claire James, Campaigns coordinator, Campaign Against Climate Change

Rosalie James, Chair, Aircraft Noise 3 Villages(Lightwater, Windlesham & Bagshot),

Tim Johnson, Director, Aviation Environment Federation

James MacColl,  Head of campaigns, Campaign for Better Transport,

Kara Moses, Environment editor, Red Pepper 

Leo Murray.  Director, Fellow Travellers

Danielle Paffard, UK divestment campaigner, 350.org 

John Sauven,  Executive director, Greenpeace UK

Kia Trainor,  Director, CPRE Sussex

Anna Vickerstaff,  Co-director, UK Youth Climate Coalition

Vivienne Westwood, Climate Revolution

Peter Willan, Chair, Richmond Heathrow Campaign

… and seven others

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https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/23/airport-expansions-disastrous-effects-near-and-far


See also

 

Statement by Professor Alice Larkin

“The highly constrained carbon budget that is consistent with the Paris Agreement requires all fossil fuel consuming sectors to urgently accelerate towards full decarbonisation – and while some sectors will achieve this sooner than others, no sector can be excluded. Technical and even operational options for decarbonising the aviation sector within a timeframe consistent with the Paris goals are few and far between. As such, demand-side measures that constrain further growth, must receive much greater attention. Equally, policy measures aimed at increasing capacity and supporting further growth in air travel such as new runways, particularly within richer nations, are at odds with the Paris Agreement. Such developments risk future stranded assets, and should be avoided .”

Professor Alice Larkin:  

Professor of Climate Science & Energy Policy, University of Manchester 


Statement by Professor Kevin Anderson

“The UK Government’s enthusiasm for more airport capacity alongside its clamour for high-carbon shale gas demonstrates a palpable disdain for the Paris Agreement. Both of these decisions will lock the UK into ongoing emissions of carbon dioxide for decades to come, putting short-term convenience and financial gain ahead of long-term and genuinely low-carbon prosperity. Such reckless disregard for the prospects of our own children and the well being of poor and climatically vulnerable communities arises from either a scientifically illiterate Government or one that cares nothing for its legacy. Whichever it may be, these are undesirable characteristics of a government facing the climate change and other strategic challenges of the twenty-first century.”

Professor Kevin Anderson: University of Manchester and Uppsala

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Statements by Professors Kevin Anderson and Alice Larkin, about how the UK should NOT be building a runway

 

Statement by Professor Alice Larkin

“The highly constrained carbon budget that is consistent with the Paris Agreement requires all fossil fuel consuming sectors to urgently accelerate towards full decarbonisation – and while some sectors will achieve this sooner than others, no sector can be excluded. Technical and even operational options for decarbonising the aviation sector within a timeframe consistent with the Paris goals are few and far between. As such, demand-side measures that constrain further growth, must receive much greater attention. Equally, policy measures aimed at increasing capacity and supporting further growth in air travel such as new runways, particularly within richer nations, are at odds with the Paris Agreement. Such developments risk future stranded assets, and should be avoided .”

Professor Alice Larkin:  

Professor of Climate Science & Energy Policy, University of Manchester 


Statement by Professor Kevin Anderson

“The UK Government’s enthusiasm for more airport capacity alongside its clamour for high-carbon shale gas demonstrates a palpable disdain for the Paris Agreement. Both of these decisions will lock the UK into ongoing emissions of carbon dioxide for decades to come, putting short-term convenience and financial gain ahead of long-term and genuinely low-carbon prosperity. Such reckless disregard for the prospects of our own children and the well being of poor and climatically vulnerable communities arises from either a scientifically illiterate Government or one that cares nothing for its legacy. Whichever it may be, these are undesirable characteristics of a government facing the climate change and other strategic challenges of the twenty-first century.”

Professor Kevin Anderson: University of Manchester and Uppsala

Kevin Anderson is Professor of Energy and Climate Change in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester. He is Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and is research active with recent publications in Royal Society journals and Nature. He engages widely across all tiers of government; from reporting on aviation-related emissions to the EU Parliament, advising the Prime Minister’s office on Carbon Trading and having contributed to the development of the UK’s Climate Change Act.

With his colleague Alice Bows, Kevin’s work on carbon budgets has been pivotal in revealing the widening gulf between political rhetoric on climate change and the reality of rapidly escalating emissions. His work makes clear that there is now little chance of maintaining the rise in global temperature at below 2C, despite repeated high-level statements to the contrary. Moreover, Kevin’s research demonstrates how avoiding even a 4C rise demands a radical reframing of both the climate change agenda and the economic characterisation of contemporary society.

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If government wants a new runway, why does the UK have no aviation climate strategy?

Business Green has looked at the implications of the UK allowing a new runway for our carbon emissions, and found the government has only an embarrassing space where a credible aviation carbon strategy should be. Government has repeatedly refused the CCC’s requests for clarity on UK aviation carbon policy. It has so far refused to engage with the fact the aspirational target to keep UK aviation emissions at 2005 levels in 2050 is both arbitrary and too weak, and even then the Airports Commission made clear that meeting it requires heroically ambitious (unrealistic) assumptions on future carbon pricing and clean tech adoption.  The Commission hoped that adding a runway would be manageable “if the rest of the economy decarbonises as people expect and aircraft become more fuel efficient”. There is no guarantee of either of those – and in their absence, aviation emissions would rise too high.  The Commission was aware that adding a south east runway would require hardly any expansion at regional airports. Allowing the expansion of aviation means all other sectors having to cut their CO2 emissions by 85% by 2050. Currently the UK is not on track to deliver the decarbonisation of the wider economy as planned.  Large swathes of the economy will have to become virtually zero emission just to give aviation more headroom. “The basic principle of climate action should be to try and pull risk out of the system; new runways simply load more risk in.”
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If the government wants Heathrow expansion, why hasn’t an aviation climate strategy been cleared for take-off?

By James Murray  (Business Green)

18 October 2016

The government appears willing to approve a new runway without so much as a fig leaf to cover the embarrassing space where a credible green aviation strategy should be

It should be the Jumbo Jet in the Cabinet Room. As the Cabinet today discusses whether to give the go-ahead for the expansion of Heathrow, the climate change implications of a new runway ought to be the dominant item on the agenda. And yet if mainstream media coverage and political commentary is any guide, it will barely get a look in.

Political considerations will, of course, be given an airing, as Theresa May mulls the intense criticism and highly-charged by-election that will be triggered if she gives the project the green light.

Importantly, environmental issues will also be addressed, primarily because concerns about air pollution remain the biggest legal blockade faced by Heathrow.

That is why it is more than a little disquieting that a non-peer reviewed report on future air pollution at Heathrow drawing on heroically optimistic assumptions about future adoption of zero emission [NO2] transport technologies could lead the BBC News under the banner headline ‘Heathrow runway ‘within EU pollution laws”.

It is also why today’s latest round in the legal battle between ClientEarth and the government over UK breaches of EU air quality rules will be causing sweated brows at Heathrow as well as in Defra. May could yet approve Heathrow and still find the project locked in years of completely legitimate legal rows over its impact on local air quality.

However, with the government adamant if Heathrow does not go ahead Gatwick will there appears to be zero appetite for a serious discussion about what new runways mean for the UK’s climate change efforts.

From the narrowest political perspective there are actually good reasons for this staggering omission.

Howard Davies initial report on airport expansion argued a new runway could be made compatible with the UK’s climate change goals, giving the government the political cover it needed to swat the climate issue aside.

However, what the government has thus far refused to engage with is the fact the aspirational target to keep UK aviation emissions at 2005 levels in 2050 is both arbitrary and too weak, and even then the Davies report made clear meeting it requires heroically ambitious assumptions on future carbon pricing and clean tech adoption.

The final report adopted a similar line, with Davies arguing a new runway is manageable within the UK’s climate change commitments “if the rest of the economy decarbonises as people expect and aircraft become more fuel efficient”.

This pro-expansion argument was then given a further boost last month when the UN’s ICAO finally agreed an international carbon offset deal, which will impose an emissions price on flights in and out of the UK’s new runway and is underpinned by the industry’s commitment to ensure emissions flatline from 2020. “Look,” Ministers will be able to say. “It all adds up. The additional flights will be offset and there is room in our carbon budgets for a more aviation emissions through to 2050.”

The flaws in this argument are remarkably obvious, if only the government had the nerve to push back against the optimistic analysis it so desperately wanted to receive.

Firstly, as Davies in fairness makes plain, expansion at Heathrow makes further runways at other airports all but impossible.

A Campaign for Better Transport report this summer pointed out how the Davies Report’s assumptions include extremely high carbon prices – an extra £68 on a flight from London to New York, for example – that would serve to actually restrict flight numbers from regional airports.

One government minister told the BBC this week they would like to see new runways at both Heathrow and Gatwick – they are either unaware of or don’t care about the climate change implications.

In reality, expansion at Heathrow could necessitate contraction at other airports if carbon budgets are to be met.

Secondly, even supporters of the UN deal to offset aviation emissions admit in its current form it is too weak and will be phased in too slowly. It is not yet compatible with the Paris Agreement’s 2C goal and is based on optimistic assumptions about the integrity of offsets and the pace of clean tech development.

Thirdly, and most importantly, Davies suggestion Heathrow expansion is compatible with the UK’s climate commitments if wider decarbonisation proceeds as planned and low emission aviation technology materialises is self-evidently based on a massive ‘if’.

Currently the UK is not on track to deliver the decarbonisation of the wider economy as planned.

We all await the promised emission reduction plan with huge anticipation and the government insists it will meet the targets set out in the Climate Change Act, even if it has just been confirmed the crucial plan could be delayed until next February.

But expansion of Heathrow makes delivery of the UK’s currently faltering decarbonisation efforts even more challenging – large swathes of the economy will have to become virtually zero emission just to give aviation more headroom.  [Already the Climate Change Act imposes a legal target of 80% reductions by 2050. But if flights are to keep growing as the commission expects, those cuts would have to rise to 85%.  Monbiot]

The basic principle of climate action should be to try and pull risk out of the system; new runways simply load more risk in.

Moreover, even if the decarbonisation of the economy proceeds smoothly from this point on (spoiler alert: it won’t) UK aviation could still blow its carbon budget if hugely ambitious improvements in fuel efficiency and low carbon technology are not delivered as envisaged.

The government’s long term climate strategy once again rests on a hit and hope approach to new technology development that is not backed by a sufficiently robust plan for ensuring these promising innovations emerge.

The parallels with the fracking debate are marked. There is arguably an environmentally credible route forward for fracking in the UK based on more robust regulations and inspection regimes, the large scale development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, and a viable plan for delivering greener heating technologies.

Instead, the government has sought to steamroller opposition to fracking while singularly failing to deliver the safeguards and long term strategy that could potentially make it viable.

Exactly the same thing is happening with aviation expansion. An environmentally credible pathway has been sketched out, but where is the huge R&D effort and firm policy measures to address completely understandable concerns this pathway will not be followed?

Aviation industry progress on biofuels has been reasonably impressive over the past decade, but the UK’s first jet biofuel project was shelved earlier this year and research efforts on the scale that is required remain patchy at best. A co-ordinated transport and carbon pricing policy to bring an end to short haul flights remains a pipe dream.

Aviation remains the area of climate policy where the gap between the politically palatable and the politically necessary is at its widest.

Governments can make the case for clean energy based on long term cost and health benefits, they can make the case for electric cars that tackle air pollution, and insulation that makes our homes warmer.

It is a whole lot harder to make the case for huge surcharges on your summer holiday, even before you consider the difficulty of convincing emerging economies to curb their aviation growth. There simply has to be a technical solution, and yet government efforts to engineer the necessary technical progress remain sparse to the point of virtual non-existence.

This is why the failure to properly debate the climate implications of airport expansion by both the government and the media is so concerning. Any serious engagement with the topic would have concluded a new runway is an extremely risky proposition that is hard to justify.

If Ministers had then still concluded short and medium term economic concerns outweigh the climate costs, then they would have also had to acknowledge the only way to mitigate the resulting risks would be through a concerted and coherent strategy for delivering promised clean tech improvements.

It would still be a pretty reckless approach given the scale and pace of the climate crisis, but it would improve the chances of low carbon aviation one day becoming a reality while retaining the sense Number 10 regards climate action as a genuine priority.

Such a move would have been dismissed by green groups as a fig leaf, but sometimes fig leaves are important – without them you are naked.

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/blog-post/2474489/if-the-government-wants-heathrow-expansion-why-hasnt-an-aviation-climate-strategy-been-cleared-for-take-off

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See also:

Little new on aviation in CCC advice after Paris Agreement – STILL waiting for Government policy on aviation CO2

The Committee on Climate Change has produced its advice to government on UK climate action following the Paris Agreement last December. It sees aviation as a “challenging” or “hard to treat” sector from which to cut emissions. The CCC advocates greenhouse gas removal options (e.g. afforestation, carbon-storing materials, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage) to help deal with these CO2 emissions. It is aware that the option for these measures is limited, though it suggests 10% use of biofuel in aircraft eventually (and reduced red meat consumption in diets as a solution …) The CCC suggests shifting demand to lower emissions alternatives (e.g. virtual conferencing in place of international air travel). The CCC say government should develop strategies for greenhouse gas removal technologies and reducing emissions from the hardest-to-treat sectors eg. aviation. The CCC continues to say UK aviation CO2 emissions should not be above 37.5MtCO2 by 2050. They have said (Nov 2015) that government should publish an effective policy framework for aviation emissions by autumn 2016. This has NOT happened. While international aviation is not yet included in UK carbon budgets, the CCC said in Nov 2015 that it would “provide further advice following the ICAO negotiations in 2016, and recommend that Government revisit inclusion at that point.” No mention of that yet.

Click here to view full story…

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George Monbiot: Climate change means no airport expansion – at Heathrow or anywhere

An excellently written and eloquently argued piece by George Monbiot sets out why the UK should not build a new runway. Not at Heathrow. Not at Gatwick. Worth reading the whole article. Some extracts:  … “There is only one way to prevent aviation from wrecking the planet. We need to fly much less … The correct question is not where, it is whether.  And the correct answer is no. …. There is only one answer that doesn’t involve abandoning our climate change commitments and our moral scruples: nowhere. … The prime minister cannot uphold the Paris agreement on climate change, which comes into force next month, and permit the runway to be built. … [airlines] seek to divert us with a series of mumbo-jumbo jets, mythical technologies never destined for life beyond the press release. Solar passenger planes, blended wing bodies, hydrogen jets, algal oils, other biofuels: all are either technically impossible, commercially infeasible, worse than fossil fuels or capable of making scarcely a dent in emissions. … Having approved the extra capacity, the government will discover that it’s incompatible with our commitments under the Climate Change Act, mull the consequences for a minute or two, then quietly abandon the commitments. It’s this simple: a third runway at Heathrow means that the UK will not meet its carbon targets.”
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The correct question is not where, it is whether.  And the correct answer is no.

The prime minister has just announced that her cabinet will recommend where a new runway should be built. Then there will be a consultation on the decision. There is only one answer that doesn’t involve abandoning our climate change commitments and our moral scruples: nowhere.

The inexorable logic that should rule out new sources of oil, gas and coal also applies to the expansion of airports. In a world seeking to prevent climate breakdown, there is no remaining scope for extending infrastructure that depends on fossil fuels. The prime minister cannot uphold the Paris agreement on climate change, which comes into force next month, and permit the runway to be built.

While most sectors can replace fossil fuels with other sources, this is not the case for aviation. The airline companies seek to divert us with a series of mumbo-jumbo jets, mythical technologies never destined for life beyond the press release. Solar passenger planes, blended wing bodies, hydrogen jets, algal oils, other biofuels: all are either technically impossible, commercially infeasible, worse than fossil fuels or capable of making scarcely a dent in emissions.

Aviation means kerosene. Using kerosene to hoist human bodies into the air means massive impacts. Improvements in the fuel economy of aircraft have declined to 1% a year or less, greatly outstripped by the growth in aviation. So other means must be found of trying to make it fit.

The government’s decision will be based on the findings of the Airports Commission, which reported last year. It favours a new runway at Heathrow, and proposes two means of ensuring that the extra flights will not conflict with Britain’s climate pledges. Neither is either fair or workable.

The first is that the rest of the economy should make extra cuts in greenhouse gases to accommodate aviation. Already the Climate Change Act imposes a legal target of 80% reductions by 2050. But if flights are to keep growing as the commission expects, those cuts would have to rise to 85%. This is fundamentally unjust. Three-quarters of  international passengers at the UK’s biggest airports travel for leisure, and they are disproportionately rich: at Heathrow their mean income is £57,000. Just 15% of people in the UK take 70% of international flights. So everyone must pay for the holidays taken by the better off.

The alternative strategy is a carbon tax. The commission is remarkably evasive about what this entails, and its reckonings are opaque, contradictory and buried in remote annexes. Perhaps that’s unsurprising. An analysis by the Campaign for Better Transport suggests that the tax required to reconcile a new runway with our carbon commitments is somewhere between £270 and £850 for a return flight for a family of four to New York.

In other words, the Airports Commission plan amounts to increasing airport capacity then pricing people out.  Where’s the sense in that?

As the commission doubtless knows, no government would impose such charges, or shut down northern airports to allow Heathrow to grow.

Having approved the extra capacity, the government will discover that it’s incompatible with our commitments under the Climate Change Act, mull the consequences for a minute or two, then quietly abandon the commitments. It’s this simple: a third runway at Heathrow means that the UK will not meet its carbon targets. Hold me to that in 2050.

But that’s not the half of it. The Airports Commission based its projections on the work of another government body: the Committee on Climate Change. Last week the committee announced that to meet our commitments under the Paris agreement the UK will need to go much further than the 80% cut envisaged by the Climate Change Act. The Paris deal implies reductions of “at least 90%” by 2050. This is tough under any scenario, simply impossible if airport capacity grows.

It knocks the Airports Commission’s calculations out of court. If the government uses the commission’s figures to justify its decision, it will be relying on estimates that are out of date, invalid and incompatible with its international commitments.

Don’t expect help from the opposition. On Sunday Labour’s shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, argued that we should pay the environmental consequences of building a new runway “full and proper heed”, then go ahead. The people of future drought zones will feel so much better when they hear about that full and proper heed.

As for the international framework, forget it. Two weeks ago 191 nations struck the world’s only agreement to regulate aviation emissions. It’s voluntary, it’s pathetic, and it relies on planting trees to offset aircraft emissions, which means replacing a highly stable form of carbon storage (leaving oil in the ground) with a highly unstable one vulnerable to loggers, fires and droughts. The meeting at which the deal was done probably caused more emissions than it will save.

For years there has been a lively debate about the noise, local pollution and disruption caused by building a new runway at Heathrow, all of which are valid concerns. But almost everyone ignores the issue that dwarfs all others.Climate change means no new runway.

If our airports are full, there’s an immediate solution. Fly less. The Free Ride campaign has proposed a just means of achieving this: curb demand by taxing frequent flyers but not those who seldom fly. (In case you’re wondering, I limit my flying to once every three years).

Is this beyond contemplation? Are we incapable of making such changes for the sake of others? If so, our ethics are weaker than those of 1791, when 300,000 British people, to dissociate themselves from slavery, stopped using sugar, reducing sales by one-third. They understood the moral implications of an act that carried no ill intent, that seemed sweetly innocent.

The perceptual gulf between us and the distant and future victims of climate change is no wider than the ocean that lay between the people of Britain and the Caribbean. If we do not make the leap of imagination that connects our actions with their consequences, it is not because we can’t, but because we won’t.

But reason has taken flight. The moral compass spins, greed and desire soar towards the stratosphere, and our conscience vanishes in the clouds. Will anyone confront this injustice?

Twitter: @GeorgeMonbiot. A fully linked version of this column will be published at monbiot.com 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/18/climate-change-airport-expansion-heathrow?CMP=twt_a-environment_b-gdneco

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An earlier article by George Monbiot,
on the Heathrow protesters who invaded the runway at Heathrow and were threatened with prison (they were ultimately not imprisoned)

The Heathrow ‘hooligans’ are our modern day freedom fighters

By George Monbiot

The trial of 13 climate protesters is not really about aviation, it highlights a glaring democratic deficit
Wednesday 20 January 2016

They have been reviled as vandals, hooligans and lunatics. But to me, these people are heroes. The 13 women and men on trial this week for cutting through the perimeter fence around Heathrow airport and chaining themselves together on a runway were excoriated by police, passengers and politicians. (One of the defendants in the case is a member of the cooperative society that rents my house.) If convicted, they all face a possible prison sentence. But there are two trials here: the legal proceedings in a local magistrates court, and a test of something much bigger.

Aviation enjoys some astonishing exemptions from the civilising rules that constrain other sectors. Other industries must limit the noise they make; but aircraft, thanks to an obscure clause in the 1949 Civil Aviation Act, are exempt. Other industries pay duty on the fuel they use; but even when air passenger duty is subtracted, aviation’s various tax holidays amount to a subsidy of some £7bn a year, forgone by the Treasury. Some industries must limit the air pollution they produce; but while in principle airports are subject to pollution laws, in practice they have been allowed to breach them routinely for years. (In this case the legal immunity also seems to extend to motor traffic.)

Most importantly, international flights are free from all climate constraints. They are covered by neither domestic legislation nor international agreements. There are no targets, no timetables, no limits. Airlines operate in a legislative vacuum, a transnational, extralegal limbo, accountable nowhere and to no one. As a result they threaten everything that was agreed at December’s climate talks in Paris.

At one point the draft Paris agreement contained a paragraph about aviation and shipping (another unregulated industry). By December this paragraph had disappeared, without public explanation or debate. The final agreement simply fails to mention either industry.

Governments left the issue instead to the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation, a body whose apparent purpose is not to make progress but to impede it. Dominated by the industry it is supposed to regulate, its work is an exercise in finely calibrated uselessness: it makes just enough noise to create the impression of something being done, without actually changing anything.

It has three main policies. The first is to offset the greenhouse gases planes release by encouraging other sectors to make bigger cuts, in lieu of those that aviation refuses to accept. It’s not just that this policy is likely to be unachievable, as the targets agreed for other sectors in Paris will be tough enough to reach. It is also unjust. Why should this sector, used mostly by the world’s richer people, be allowed to dump its responsibilities on the rest of the economy?

The second is replacing mineral jet fuel with biofuel. Already road fuels made from plants have helped to destroy the forests of Indonesia and west Africa, strip soil off the land, evict local farmers and spread starvation, as plantations of palm oil, maize, sugar cane and other crops grown to feed cars have replaced those grown to feed people. Already, governments envisage covering great tracts of the planet’s surface with energy crops to burn in power stations: a plan that’s asfanciful as it is destructive. Now they want to power planes this way as well? Will any corners of the planet be reserved for food production and wildlife?

The organisation’s third policy is promoting speculative and often unfeasible aviation technologies, that are highly unlikely to materialise. Perhaps we could call them mumbo-jumbo jets.

Because of the physical and technological constraints, the only way in which we can realistically reduce aviation’s greenhouse gases is to fly less. You might not have imagined, in the 21st century, that we would still need to hoist 180lb of human flesh 30,000 feet into the air every time we want a conversation. I’ve been limiting my own flights to one return ticket every three years. Yes, it has sometimes cost me opportunities and income, but this restraint has made me no less happy or fulfilled. If we can only challenge our sense of entitlement, I believe we inflict no damage on our lives by taking to the air less often.

But rather than seeking to manage demand, our government, like most others, aims only to meet its own inflated forecasts. It claims that the 219m passenger journeys through the UK’s airports in 2011 will rise to 445m by 2050, and it hopes to build enough capacity to accommodate them. In doing so, it vitiates every promise it has made about preventing climate breakdown.

Last month the government delayed its decision on a third runway at Heathrow, ostensibly because of concerns about local pollution (though the real reason was to avoid sabotaging the Conservative candidate’s campaign to become London mayor). But this represents no change in policy: Cameron intends to build the new capacity somewhere, even if it’s not in west London.

Each of aviation’s exemptions is a democratic deficit: a failure to hold the industry responsible for the harms it causes. So what are citizens to do, where the writ of government does not run? Sit back and watch? By doing so, we commit a disservice to democracy. A breach of the contract between state and citizens becomes normalised and ratified by our inaction.

Two verdicts will emerge from this trial. One will concern the legal status of what the protesters did, and there is no way of knowing what it will be. The other will concern the moral status. I suspect that if they are locked up then history will pass the same verdict upon them as it has passed upon suffragettes, Chartists, the pioneers of trade unionism, and civil and gay rights activists. Vilified, prosecuted, but – in the court of public opinion – ultimately vindicated: this is what happens to the heroes of democracy.

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Little new on aviation in CCC advice after Paris Agreement – STILL waiting for Government policy on aviation CO2

The Committee on Climate Change has produced its advice to government on UK climate action following the Paris Agreement last December.  It sees aviation as a “challenging” or “hard to treat” sector from which to cut emissions. The CCC advocates greenhouse gas removal options (e.g. afforestation, carbon-storing materials, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage) to help deal with these CO2 emissions. It is aware that the option for these measures is limited, though it suggests 10% use of biofuel in aircraft eventually (and reduced red meat consumption in diets as a solution …)  The CCC suggests shifting demand to lower emissions alternatives (e.g. virtual conferencing in place of international air travel).  The CCC say government should develop strategies for greenhouse gas removal technologies and reducing emissions from the hardest-to-treat sectors  eg. aviation.  The CCC continues to say UK aviation CO2 emissions should not be above 37.5MtCO2 by 2050. They have said (Nov 2015) that government should publish an effective policy framework for aviation emissions by autumn 2016.  This has NOT happened. While international aviation is not yet included in UK carbon budgets, the CCC said in Nov 2015 that it would “provide further advice following the ICAO negotiations in 2016, and recommend that Government revisit inclusion at that point.” No mention of that yet.
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New CCC advice offers no wriggle-room on aviation emissions

paris-cover-1-250x350

A new report from the Committee on Climate Change, published today, on how to deliver the ambitious climate targets agreed in Paris in 2015 identifies aviation as a ‘hard to treat’ sector and continues to caution against unlimited passenger growth.

The Government’s priority, CCC advises, should be to act ‘with urgency’ to close the policy gap for achieving existing climate commitment. The Climate Change Act requires the UK to cut total emissions by 80% of their 1990 levels by 2050 in order to limit the risk of exceeding 2 degrees of warming. [ie. to about 160 Mt CO2 per year]

Today’s report reiterates the CCC’s advice that new policy is required to ensure that UK aviation emissions are limited to around 2005 levels by 2050 (37.5Mt), implying no more than a 60% increase in passenger demand. [The CCC has been asking government for this since June 2015 – nothing has been produced. See link AW note]

The most recent Government forecasts predicted demand growth of 93% even on the assumption that aviation was exposed to carbon pricing and that no new runways were approved. The Airports Commission, in its analysis of possible airport expansion in the South East, predicted that emissions would increase further if a new runway was built, but offered no recommendations for how emissions and passenger growth could be limited to a sustainable level if expansion goes ahead.

Meeting the challenging goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, the CCC’s new report says, will require emissions to fall to ‘net zero’ some time between 2050 and 2070. Since it will be impossible to eliminate CO2 emissions from sectors such as agriculture and aviation this will require significant deployment of carbon sinks and negative emissions technologies.

But measures such as direct air capture and storage, and the development of carbon-storing materials will be challenging to deliver, and finding ways to reduce residual emissions from aviation, agriculture and industry is, the CCC advises, a priority. These measures could include, the report suggests, shifting demand to lower-emissions alternatives such as virtual conferencing in place of international travel.

The CCC remains cautious in its view of the potential for biofuel to deliver CO2 mitigation for aviation in the short to medium term. Given the likely ongoing scarcity of sustainable biomass, the report indicates, this should be used as efficiently as possible, with preference given to the use of wood in construction and of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage rather than to create biofuel for aviation.

Nevertheless ‘substantial biofuel use in aircraft’ is cited as one of the few available options for bringing ‘hard to treat’ sectors in line with the net zero target beyond 2050. AEF recently published comment on anticipated proposals for policy incentives for aviation biofuel.

http://www.aef.org.uk/2016/10/13/new-ccc-advice-offers-no-wriggle-room-on-aviation-emissions/


 

CCC’s report entitled: 

UK climate action following the Paris Agreement –
Committee on Climate Change, October 2016

https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/UK-climate-action-following-the-Paris-Agreement-Committee-on-Climate-Change-October-2016.pdf


Below are some extracts relating to aviation

Executive Summary says:

The Paris Agreement marks a significant positive step in global action to tackle climate change. This report considers the domestic actions the UK Government should take as part of a fair contribution to the aims of the Agreement. Our conclusions are as follows:

– Set out a strategy for developing options to remove greenhouse gases from the air. Even with full deployment of known low-carbon measures some UK emissions will remain, especially from aviation, agriculture and parts of industry. Greenhouse gas removal options (e.g. afforestation, carbon-storing materials, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, and direct air capture and storage) will be required alongside widespread decarbonisation in order to reach net zero emissions. Success requires a globally co-ordinated effort across the full chain from basic research to market readiness, reflecting the differing levels of development of removal options. A strategy for deployment at scale by 2050 should start now given the timescales inherent in bringing new technologies to market.


There is no single agreed way to define fair contributions of effort between nations. However, it is hard to envisage the UK continuing as a net emitter for longer than the rest of the world:

– The UK’s 2050 target to reduce emissions at least 80% from 1990 (i.e. to around 160 MtCO2e per year) is challenging but can be met in various ways using currently known technologies. Scenarios generally involve deep reductions in emissions from power, heating and transport, where zero-carbon options already exist. More challenging sectors (especially agriculture, aviation and industry) are currently not expected to reach zero emissions on this timescale.


3. Strategies for hard-to-treat sectors and greenhouse gas removals

Even with full deployment of known low-carbon technologies and behaviours some UK emissions will remain, especially from hard-to-treat sectors: aviation, agriculture and parts of industry. Reaching net zero (and possibly net negative) emissions will require technologies to remove greenhouse gases. The UK should pursue a strategy to develop options in both hard-to-treat sectors and greenhouse gas removals, domestically and in collaboration with wider global efforts (for instance Mission Innovation and the Breakthrough Energy Coalition). A diverse range of potential removal technologies exists. Currently they face low levels of funding and policy support, without an overall national or international strategy to develop them.


The current challenges to removal technologies at scale mean they are not a substitute for widespread deployment of zero-emission technologies:

• All removal technologies have requirements in terms of land, energy and other resources. Achieving removal levels of over 100 MtCO2e per year in the UK will be very stretching.

• Reducing residual sources of emissions to close to 100 MtCO2e per year would require stretching options in hard-to-treat sectors, such as substantial biofuel use in aircraft and reduced red meat consumption in diets

Finding ways to further reduce residual emissions from aviation, agriculture and industry is therefore an innovation priority. Options could, for example, include support for new technologies, products and innovation in each of these areas and shifting demand to lower emissions alternatives (e.g. increased re-use of products and materials, and further shifts towards virtual conferencing in place of international travel).

Given the very low levels of funding and policy support for removal technologies at present, there is potential for UK efforts to have a significant international impact and to secure a UK leadership position in this area.


4. Implications for UK policy priorities in the nearer term

Current policy in the UK is not enough to deliver the existing carbon budgets that Parliament has set. The Committee’s assessment in our 2016 Progress Report was that current policies would at best deliver around half of the emissions reductions required to 2030, with no current policies to address the other half. This carbon policy gap must be closed to meet the existing carbon budgets, and to prepare for the 2050 target and net zero emissions in the longer term.

The existing carbon budgets are designed to prepare for the UK’s 2050 target in the lowest cost way as a contribution to a global path aimed at keeping global average temperature to around 2°C. Global paths to keep close to 1.5°C, at the upper end of the ambition in the Paris Agreement, imply UK reductions of at least 90% below 1990 levels by 2050 and potentially more ambitious efforts over the timescale of existing carbon budgets.

However, we recommend the Government does not alter the level of existing carbon budgets or the 2050 target now. They are already stretching and relatively ambitious compared to pledges from other countries. Meeting them cost-effectively will require deployment to begin at scale by 2030 for some key measures that enable net zero emissions (e.g. carbon capture and storage, electric vehicles, low-carbon heat). In theory these measures could allow deeper reductions by 2050 (on the order of 90% below 1990 levels) if action were ramped up quickly.

The priority for now should be robust near-term action to close the gap to existing targets and open up options to reach net zero emissions:

• The Government should publish a robust plan of measures to meet the legislated UK carbon budgets, and deliver policies in line with the plan.

• If all measures deliver fully and emissions are reduced further, this would help support the aim in the Paris Agreement of pursuing efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

• The Government should additionally develop strategies for greenhouse gas removal technologies and reducing emissions from the hardest-to-treat sectors (aviation, agriculture and parts of industry).

There will be several opportunities to revisit the UK’s targets in future as low-carbon technologies and options for greenhouse gas removals are developed, and as more is learnt about ambition in other countries and potential global paths to well below 2°C and 1.5°C


Figure 1.  P 17:

ccc-uk-carbon-budgets-to-2050-targetThe allowance (in red) is shown to for aviation and shipping. The UK total target for 2050 for the UK is 160 MtCO2.  The target for aviation alone by 2050 is 37.5MtCO2. Shipping CO2 emissions are smaller than those for aviation – about 12.5 MtCO2 in 2011.

Historical emissions are on a ‘gross’ basis (i.e. actual emissions). Carbon budgets are on the current budget accounting basis, excluding international aviation and shipping (IAS), but allowing for IAS in the 2050 target.

Same table from the CCC in November 2015

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• A linear path from 2014 (when UK emissions where 462 MtCO2/yr including international aviation and shipping) implies reaching net zero CO2 emissions by 2033-55 for 2°C and 2026-8 for 1.5°C.

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Achieving all of the options in the Max scenarios would result in net economy-wide emissions of around 64 MtCO2e/yr in 2050 (i.e. 92% below 1990 levels) including the UK share of international aviation and shipping.

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• Achieving net zero domestic emissions of all greenhouse gases would require a combination of further breakthroughs in hard-to-reduce sectors (agriculture, aviation and some industry) and greenhouse gas removal technologies beyond those already in our scenarios (afforestation, wood in construction and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage).

• The aim of the Paris Agreement to balance sources and sinks of greenhouse gases implies the need for a globally coordinated strategy to develop and deploy greenhouse gas removal options. Such options are not a substitute for widespread decarbonisation, given current estimates of the potential scale for greenhouse gas removal both globally and in the UK.

…..

• Bioenergy. Sustainable bioenergy can play an important role reducing emissions where alternative options are very limited. However, there are limits to the sustainable supply so its role must be targeted at options where it has the largest impact on emissions. Our analysis indicates that use should preferentially be as wood in construction or with CCS and/or displacing coal, with further potential for use where alternative low-carbon options are not available (e.g. aviation)

1. Recap of CCC scenarios to 2050

The current UK long-term target implies UK emissions should be around 160 MtCO2e/yr or less in 2050. The CCC has developed a range of scenarios to 2050, but not beyond.

Our approach to scenarios for meeting the 2050 target recognises uncertainties in costs and availability of different options. Rather than defining a single central scenario we have identified a set of building blocks across sectors that can stack up in different ways, allowing the possible lack of delivery in one sector to be compensated by more delivery in others:

• For each sector (power, buildings, surface transport, industry, non-CO2 and aviation & shipping) we have developed three scenarios, “Barriers”, “Central” and “Max”, representing different levels of success in deploying low-emissions options.

‒ Central represents our best assessment of the technologies and behaviours required to meet targets cost-effectively while meeting the other criteria in the Climate Change Act.

‒ Barriers represents less favourable conditions for key measures (technological barriers, failure to achieve cost reductions, or market barriers).

‒ Max represents higher deployment towards the maximum limits that are likely to be feasible, acceptable and sustainable.

 


Table 3.1 sets out brief descriptions of our Max, Central and Barriers scenarios for each sector, and the level of emissions these imply. They are illustrative given the significant uncertainties in demand and technologies to 2050. Alternative low-carbon options may prove more effective or cheaper, whilst other sources of emissions could emerge. The scenarios are intended to give a useful sense of how the 2050 target could be met, given what we know now.

P 39

ccc-max-central-barriers-aviation

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Remaining emissions

It is less clear how to avoid emissions in other sectors, in particular from agriculture, aviation and some parts of industry. These sectors make up around 100 MtCO2e/yr of residual emissions in our Max scenario in 2050 (Figure 3.1):

• Aviation contributes a remaining 35 MtCO2/yr. We assume a maximum of 1.5% annual improvements in fuel efficiency and10% take-up of biofuels. Further emissions reduction would require breakthroughs in advanced low-carbon fuels, alternative propulsion methods (e.g. LNG, hydrogen, nuclear, solar, hybrid planes) or greater shifts in consumer demand away from jet aircraft to alternatives.


…..

• Bioenergy. Sustainable bioenergy can play an important role reducing emissions where alternative options are very limited. However, there are limits to the sustainable supply so its role must be targeted at options where it has the largest impact on emissions. Our analysis indicates that use should preferentially be as wood in construction or with CCS and/or displacing coal, with further potential for use where alternative low-carbon options are not available (e.g. aviation)


Table 4.1. Requirements in the Progress Report for the Government’s plan to meet carbon budgets

“A plan to limit UK aviation emissions to around 2005 levels by 2050, implying around a 60% potential increase in demand, supported by strong international policies” – and the CCC says on this New Policy Required. 

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All the above extracts are from  

UK climate action following the Paris Agreement –
Committee on Climate Change, October 2016

https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/UK-climate-action-following-the-Paris-Agreement-Committee-on-Climate-Change-October-2016.pdf


 

Other information from the CCC and elsewhere on aviation emissions:

The fifth carbon budget advice recommends an emissions limit of 1,765 MtCO2e over the period 2028-2032 including emissions from international shipping. This is an emissions reduction of 57% on 1990 levels. The Committee recommended that international shipping emissions were included in the fifth carbon budget, as there are no longer any strong practical reasons which prevent their inclusion. These emissions should be included on the basis of international policy agreed at the International Maritime Organisation, and does not therefore imply a unilateral UK approach. The Committee also said that if international shipping emissions were excluded then an emission limit of 1,725 MtCO2e would be appropriate over the period 2028-2032. The Government is legislating this latter number and excluding international shipping from the formal total for the budget.


In 2011, UK aviation carbon emissions were around 35 MtCO2.  (Aviation contributed 5.9% of the total UK emissions – which do not include embodied carbon in imported goods – of 594 MtCO2.  Shipping contributed about 2.1% which was about 12.5 MtCO2)

uk-co2-all-sectors-2011-ccc

https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Aviation-factsheet.pdf


Environmental Audit Committee said (30.11.2015):

By 2040 the Commission estimated aviation would comprise around 24% of national emissions.

The former Airports Commissioners told us they relied heavily on the work of the Committee on Climate Change when undertaking their work. They denied that their modelled carbon prices and policies were policy recommendations – feeling thatthe CCC were better placed to take on this role. Governments have in the past been reluctant to accept CCC policy recommendations on aviation. The Government cannot credibly rely on the Commission’s analysis as evidence that Heathrow expansion can be delivered within the limits set by the 2008 Act if this continues to be the caseWe recommend that the Government give the CCC the opportunity to comment on the Commission’s forecasting of aviation emissions and the feasibility of its possible carbon policy scenarios. The Government should act on any recommendations they make.

Carbon Emissions – Overall Conclusions

29. We draw four conclusions from the evidence we heard on carbon emissions.

Firstly, because the planning assumption requires additional decarbonisation from other sectors, passenger growth in aviation cannot be seen in isolation from the progress on emissions reduction made by the rest of the economy.

Secondly, the industry has taken steps to reduce its carbon emissions and, in areas such as fuel efficiency, market incentives are likely to ensure further progress.

Thirdly, these measures in themselves are highly unlikely to achieve the planning assumption and further measures, including demand management, will be required.

Finally, there is a significant gap between the theoretical models of how a mixture of these measures might allow the planning assumption to be met and the proposals currently on the domestic and international policy tables.

30.  We recommend that any Government decision on airport expansion should be accompanied by a package of measures to demonstrate a commitment to bringing emissions from international aviation within the economy-wide target set by the 2008 Act. They should also, as a minimum, commit to accepting the Committee on Climate Change’s advice on aviation in relation to the fifth carbon budget, introducing an effective policy framework to bring aviation emissions to 2005 levels by 2050 no later than autumn 2016 and pressing for the strongest possible international measures at the International Civil Aviation Organisation next year.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmenvaud/389/38905.htm#footnote-134



See earlier: 

Committee on Climate Change confirm aviation CO2 must remain capped – putting new runway into question

On the eve of the Airports Commission’s runway recommendation, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has told Government it has until 2016 to set out an effective plan for limiting aviation emissions. The Government’s official advisory body on delivery of the UK’s Climate Change Act used its 5th ‘Progress Report’ to Government to highlight the need for action on aviation, including constraints on demand.  The CCC says that given the anticipated growth in emissions from the sector, the DfT must set out how it will ensure that emissions from aviation are no higher in 2050 than they were in 2005 (37.5 Mt).  The limited scope for improvements in aviation technology mean that demand growth must be kept to no more than 60% above its 2005 level. Current forecasts of air passenger growth with associated CO2 emissions exceed this level EVEN WITHOUT adding a new runway. With a new SE runway the growth in passenger demand – and thus CO2 emissions – would be even higher.  Extensive analysis by the AEF has shown that a new runway would make the aviation emissions cap (37.5MtCO2 annually) impossible to achieve. Ruling out a new runway is the most obvious first step for the Government to take in response to the CCC’s advice. Adding a runway, and then having to deal with the extra carbon problem it has produced, is not an efficient way to deal with the issue.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/06/committee-on-climate-change-confirm-aviation-co2-must-remain-capped-putting-new-runway-into-question/


CCC.  June 2015

In the context of future policy and infrastructure investment decisions, appropriate long-term assumptions for Government planning are for aviation emissions to be around 2005 levels in 2050 (implying around a 60% increase in demand over the same period), and for shipping emissions to be around one-third lower than 2010 levels. Government should publish an effective policy framework for aviation emissions on this basis.

Table 6. Summary of recommendations – central Government

[The DfT should]  “Publish an effective policy framework for aviation emissions: plan for UK 2050 emissions at 2005 levels (implying around a 60% increase in demand) and push for strong international and EU policies.”

This should be ahead of the 2016 Progress Report by the CCC on its carbon budgets.

http://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/6.737_CCC-BOOK_WEB_250615_RFS.pdf 

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Committee on Climate Change says additional policies are needed to keep UK aviation CO2 below 37.5MtCO2 cap

The Committee on Climate Change has produced its advice on the level of the 5th carbon budget, covering the period 2028-2032. The CCC states: “While UK demand for international aviation is likely to grow considerably, emissions must be limited. Previous analysis by the Committee concluded that, based on the available evidence, aviation should plan for its emissions in 2050 to be no higher than those in 2005. That requires strong efficiency improvements to balance demand growth of about 60%.”  And …” International aviation emissions should not formally be included in carbon budgets at this stage, though carbon budgets should continue to be set on track to a 2050 target inclusive of these emissions. We will provide further advice following the ICAO negotiations in 2016, and recommend that Government revisit inclusion at that point.” (The CO2 emissions from shipping will be included in the 5th carbon budget.)  UK aviation CO2 emissions are currently set to overshoot the 37.5MtCO2 level even without any new runways and to be higher still if a runway is added at either Heathrow or Gatwick. The CCC says in a scenario where emissions are not capped and only low ‘carbon abatement’ options (such as technology improvements) are available, aviation emissions could be as high as 51.9 Mt by 2050, underlining the need for policy action to address the gap.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/11/committee-on-climate-change-says-additional-policies-are-needed-to-keep-uk-aviation-co2-below-37-5mtco2-cap/

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An extract from the CCC Fifth Carbon Budget Technical Report:

(Page 128) • Aviation. Our previous planning assumption for aviation emissions to be around 2005 levels in 2050 (i.e. 37.5 MtCO2), allowing an increase in demand of around 60%, remains appropriate. International aviation emissions should not formally be included in carbon budgets at this stage, though carbon budgets should continue to be set on track to a 2050 target inclusive of these emissions. We will provide further advice following the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) negotiations in 2016, and recommend that Government revisit inclusion at that point.

https://d2kjx2p8nxa8ft.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Sectoral-scenarios-for-the-fifth-carbon-budget-Committee-on-Climate-Change.pdf

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See also

Government insists detailed emissions reduction plan on its way

13.10.2016
Business Green

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2474031/government-insists-detailed-emissions-reduction-plan-on-its-way

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