New petition demanding real action to address global aviation CO2 – not ineffective use of “REDD” offsets

The group REDD-Monitor and other organisations have a petition asking people to sign up, to oppose the use by the global aviation industry, through ICAO, of “offsets” for its emissions using forestry.  These offsets, through REDD or REDD+ (meaning (‘Reduce Deforestation from Deforestation and Forest Degradation’) would be very cheap and available in huge numbers. They would not be an effective way to compensate for growing aviation carbon emissions. The industry’s only plan to control its CO2 emissions, while doubling them, is buying credits from other sectors. In April 2016, more than 80 NGOs put out a statement opposing the aviation sector’s carbon offsetting plans through use of REDD credits. There are many really serious problems with REDD credits.  Some are: They would only use large forestry institutions, or monoculture farming, not small landowners or forest peoples.  Most REDD projects are not those that tackle the real drivers of large-scale deforestation – extraction of oil, coal, mining, infrastructure, large-scale dams, industrial logging etc.  REDD credits carry the additional risk of becoming null and void when wildfires, storms or natural decay cause uncontrollable release of carbon stored. There are serious risks of lack of monitoring, and of fraud. REDD offsets should not be allowed for aviation carbon credits.
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Sign the petition: “No aviation growth! No false climate solutions!”

2016-06-20-150058_1225x1026_scrotThe International Civil Aviation Authority is currently considering how it can continue to expand while appearing to address greenhouse gas emissions from flying. Predictably, for a massively polluting industry with huge plans to expand, buying cheap offsets looks very attractive.

Of course, offsets will not help address climate change. It’s a recipe for burning the planet – cooked up with help from Kevin Conrad and the usual bunch of BINGOs and vested interests.

In April 2016, more than 80 NGOs, including Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, put out a statement opposing the aviation sector’s carbon offsetting plans.

Now Finance and Trade Watch, an Austrian organisation, is coordinating a petition against the aviation sector’s plans. The petition is supported by around 40 NGOs, including Attac, Friends of the Earth International, La Vía Campesina Europa, Transnational Institute, FERN, and several groups struggling against airport construction projects.

The petition demands real action to address climate change that will reduce emissions from aviation rather than giving aviation a licence to pollute through carbon offsets.

http://www.redd-monitor.org/2016/06/20/sign-the-petition-no-aviation-growth-no-false-climate-solutions/

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Note from a large number of civil society organisations, concerned with climate, environment, forest, indigenous peoples etc, in April 2016  

“Aviation industry plan to offset emissions is serious distraction from need to reduce emissions from the sector”

http://www.fern.org/sites/fern.org/files/briefingnote_airplane_1.pdf
This states:

Forests and soils do not offset fossil fuel emissions

Land-based carbon offsets, such as from REDD+ type projects or from agriculture are particularly contentious, with greater risks for the climate.
By nature, REDD+ projects place restrictions on existing land use – that is how they generate the carbon savings sold as offset credit. Because the large majority of REDD+ projects (wrongly) blames deforestation on small-scale peasant farming, in particular where it involves shifting cultivation, such restrictions have a detrimental impact on peasant livelihoods and forest peoples’ way of life.
By contrast, REDD+ projects that tackle the real drivers of large-scale deforestation – extraction of oil, coal, mining, infrastructure, large-scale dams, industrial logging and international trade in agricultural commodities – are by and large absent.7
With the challenges of counting emissions reductions and distributing offset payments to multiple small-scale farmers, there is a risk that agricultural offsets would favour large-scale farmers or monoculture farming practices, creating one more driver of land dispossession of smallholder farmers, particularly in the Global South. Offset credits from forest conservation, tree plantation or soil carbon sequestration carry the additional risk of becoming null and void when wildfires, storms or natural decay cause uncontrollable release of carbon stored in the trees, soils or other natural habitats. This is one of the reasons why the CDM excludes all offset categories related to forest or agriculture land use except for afforestation, reforestation and biomass energy projects. Even then, credits from these tree planting offset projects are sold as temporary carbon credits that need to be bought again in a matter of years because credits from tree planting projects cannot be considered to permanently store carbon.

In short, land-based offset credits are controversial, and experience from REDD+ has shown that certification standards or safeguards cannot prevent conflicts.8

We, the undersigned, call on the members of ICAO to ensure measures adopted at the 39th ICAO meeting will make an adequate and fair contribution to the global effort to limit global warming to well-below 2 degrees Celsius. Any measure adopted at the 39th ICAO meeting must make a serious proposal to reduce emissions. It must also exclude land based offset credits, such as REDD+ type projects for the reasons given in this letter.

http://www.fern.org/sites/fern.org/files/briefingnote_airplane_1.pdf


See also

NGOs call on ICAO not to use REDD+ carbon credits – forests & soils cannot offset aviation CO2

The organisation, FERN* has published a letter signed by around 82 environmental NGOs around the world, calling on the global aviation sector through ICAO to actually reduce carbon emissions, rather than just the proposed use of carbon offsetting. The NGOs say plans to offset most of the sector’s growth in emissions are a significant distraction from real measures to reduce aviation emissions.  Under business-as-usual, aviation is projected to increase emissions by between 300 – 700% by 2050, despite only being used by well below 10% of the world’s population. The NGOs are particularly concerned that carbon offsets that are inappropriate and unreliable would be used, as  ICAO is considering a carbon offset system called REDD+ (‘Reduce Deforestation from Deforestation and Forest Degradation’). The NGOs say REDD+ credits should not be used, as they do not even meet ICAO’s own standards, and include double counting. REDD+ projects that tackle the real drivers of large-scale deforestation – extraction of oil, coal, mining, infrastructure, large-scale dams, industrial logging and international trade in agricultural commodities – are largely absent. There is also a risk that agricultural offsets would favour large-scale farmers or monoculture farming practices. These are not suitable offsets for aviation. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/04/ngos-call-on-icao-not-to-use-redd-carbon-credits-forests-soils-cannot-offset-aviation-co2/


REDD:

An introduction http://www.redd-monitor.org/redd-an-introduction/

REDD, or reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, is one of the most controversial issues in the climate change debate. The basic concept is simple: governments, companies or forest owners in the South should be rewarded for keeping their forests instead of cutting them down. The devil, as always, is in the details.

The first detail is that the payments are not for keeping forests, but for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. This might seem like splitting hairs, but it is important, because it opens up the possibility, for example, of logging an area of forest but compensating for the emissions by planting industrial tree plantations somewhere else.

The idea of making payments to discourage deforestation and forest degradation was discussed in the negotiations leading to the Kyoto Protocol, but it was ultimately rejected because of four fundamental problems: leakage, additionality, permanence and measurement.

  • Leakage refers to the fact that while deforestation might be avoided in one place, the forest destroyers might move to another area of forest or to a different country.
  • Additionality refers to the near-impossibility of predicting what might have happened in the absence of the REDD project.
  • Permanence refers to the fact that carbon stored in trees is only temporarily stored. All trees eventually die and release the carbon back to the atmosphere.
  • Measurement refers to the fact that accurately measuring the amount of carbon stored in forests and forest soils is extremely complex – and prone to large errors.

Although much has been written about addressing these problems, they remain serious problems in implementing REDD, both nationally and at project level.

REDD developed from a proposal in 2005 by a group of countries lead by Papua New Guinea calling themselves the Coalition for Rainforest Nations. Two years later, the proposal was taken up at the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Bali (COP-13). In December 2010, at COP-16, REDD formed part of the Cancun Agreements, in the Outcome of the Ad Hoc Working Group on long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention.

REDD is described in paragraph 70 of the AWG/LCA outcome:

“Encourages developing country Parties to contribute to mitigation actions in the forest sector by undertaking the following activities, as deemed appropriate by each Party and in accordance with their respective capabilities and national circumstances:

(a) Reducing emissions from deforestation;
(b) Reducing emissions from forest degradation;
(c) Conservation of forest carbon stocks;
(d) Sustainable management of forest;
(e) Enhancement of forest carbon stocks;”

This is REDD-plus (although it is not referred to as such in the AWG/LCA text). Points (a) and (b) refers to REDD. Points (c), (d) and (e) are the “plus” part. But each of these “plus points” has potential drawbacks:

  • Conservation sounds good, but the history of the establishment of national parks includes large scale evictions and loss of rights for indigenous peoples and local communities. Almost nowhere in the tropics has strict ‘conservation’ proven to be sustainable. The words “of forest carbon stocks” were added in Cancun. The concern is that forests are viewed simply as stores of carbon rather than ecosystems.
  • Sustainable management of forests could include subsidies to industrial-scale commercial logging operations in old-growth forests, indigenous peoples’ territory or in villagers’ community forests.
  • Enhancement of forest carbon stocks could result in conversion of land (including forests) to industrial tree plantations, with serious implications for biodiversity, forests and local communities.

There are some safeguards annexed to the AWG/LCA text that may help avoid some of the worst abuses. But the safeguards are weak and are only to be “promoted and supported.” The text only notes that the United Nations “has adopted” the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The text refers to indigenous peoples’ rights, but it does not protect them.

But perhaps the most controversial aspect of REDD is omitted from the REDD text agreed in Cancun. There is no mention in the text about how REDD is to be funded – the decision is postponed until COP-17 that will take place in Durban in December 2011.

There are two basic mechanisms for funding REDD: either from government funds (such as the Norwegian government’s International Forests and Climate Initiative) or from private sources, which would involve treating REDD as a carbon mitigation ‘offset’, and getting polluters to pay have their continued emissions offset elsewhere through a REDD project. There are many variants and hybrids of these two basic mechanisms, such as generating government-government funds through a “tax” on the sale of carbon credits or other financial transactions.

Trading the carbon stored in forests is particularly controversial for several reasons:

  • Carbon trading does not reduce emissions because for every carbon credit sold, there is a buyer. Trading the carbon stored in tropical forests would allow pollution in rich countries to continue, meaning that global warming would continue.
  • Carbon trading is likely to create a new bubble of carbon derivatives. There are already extremely complicated carbon derivatives on the market. Adding forest carbon credits to this mix would be disastrous, particularly given the difficulties in measuring the amount of carbon stored in forests.
  • Creating a market in REDD carbon credits opens the door to carbon cowboys, or would be carbon traders with little or no experience in forest conservation, who are exploiting local communities and indigenous peoples by persuading them to sign away the rights to the carbon stored in their forests.

Yet many REDD proponents continue to argue that carbon markets are needed to make REDD work. Environmental Defense Fund, for example,on its website states that,

“Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), which EDF helped pioneer, is based on establishing economic incentives for people who care for the forest so forests are worth money standing, not just cleared and burned for timber and charcoal. The best way to do this is to allow forest communities and tropical forest nations to sell carbon credits when they can prove they have lowered deforestation below a baseline.”

While there has not yet been any agreement on how REDD is to be financed, a look at some of the main actors involved suggests that there is a serious danger that it will be financed through carbon trading. The role of the World Bank is of particular concern, given its fondness for carbon trading.

The World Bank’s main mechanism for promoting REDD is a new scheme, launched in Bali in 2007: the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). The FCPF was set up with the explicit aim of creating markets for forest carbon, as the Bank announced in a press release on 11 December 2007:

“The facility’s ultimate goal is to jump-start a forest carbon market that tips the economic balance in favor of conserving forests, says Benoit Bosquet, a World Bank senior natural resources management specialist who has led the development of the facility.”

Carbon markets are not included in the Cancun REDD text. Yet in December 2010, the World Bank’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, Andrew Steer, wrote that one outcomes of Cancun was that “Forests [are] firmly established as a key for addressing climate change, and to be included in a future carbon trading system.”

There is a serious risk of REDD leading to increased corruption, if large sums of money start to flow – particularly for unregulated trade in REDD carbon credits in poorly governed countries. Forestry departments are among the most corrupt departments in some of the most corrupt countries in the world. The complexity of carbon markets combined with poor regulation leads to the increased risk of fraud and corruption in the rich countries. Billions of dollars have already been lost from carbon markets in Europe through fraud.

Peter Younger at Interpol is already concerned. “Alarm bells are ringing. It is simply too big to monitor,” he said in October 2009, adding that “Organised crime syndicates are eyeing the nascent forest carbon market.”

“Fraud could include claiming credits for forests that do not exist or were not protected or by land grabs. It starts with bribery or intimidation of officials, then there’s threats and violence against those people. There’s forged documents too. Carbon trading transcends borders. I do not see any input from any law enforcement agency in planning REDD.”

Without monitorable and enforceable safeguards, and strict controls and regulation, REDD may deepen the woes of developing countries – providing a vast pool of unaccountable money which corrupt interests will prey upon and political elites will use to extend and deepen their power, becoming progressively less accountable to their people. In the same way that revenues from oil, gold, diamond and other mineral reserves have fuelled pervasive corruption and bad governance in many tropical countries, REDD could prove to be another ‘resources curse’. Ultimately, this will make protection of forests less likely to be achieved and will do nothing to ameliorate carbon emissions.

http://www.redd-monitor.org/redd-an-introduction/

 

This Introduction was updated in February 2011.

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Read more »

ICAO still very far from any effective means of limiting aviation CO2 to be in line with Paris Agreement

Operating without fuel taxes, VAT, legally-binding fuel efficiency requirements or limits on its CO2 emissions, the aviation sector operates in something of a parallel universe. ICAO will have an opportunity to finally take a step forward on climate action. ICAO will discuss the impact of the Paris Agreement on the sector, and specifically the next steps for an aviation carbon offsetting scheme currently under negotiation. Their earlier response to the Paris Agreement was to try to give the impression that the sector is making huge progress.  In reality, industry lobbyists succeeded in preventing an explicit reference to aviation in the text. But the globally-agreed goal of striving to limit global warming to 1.5C does apply to aviation.  All ICAO Parties are also Parties to the Paris Agreement. If they let aviation off the hook, the target 1.5 degree, or even 2 degree, global target will simply be impossible to reach. The aviation sector will have to act  – rapidly and radically – on climate if the Paris goal can be achieved.  But ICAO’s current proposals are a very inadequate first step, and the industry plans for up to 300% growth by 2050. Even their modest goal of buying carbon permits to offset aviation carbon is not ambitious enough, as proposed exemptions for airlines of less developed countries amount to about 40% of global aviation CO2.
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UN aviation talks: time to come down to earth?

16.6.2016

The International Civil Aviation Authority is unjustifiably smug about its climate record; it must play its part in efforts to limit warming to 1.5C

By Katherine Watts
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The BBC is showing a documentary series about modern aviation titled “City in the Sky”. The other-worldly name seems somehow appropriate to the sector’s approach to the challenge of climate change over the last two decades.

Operating without fuel taxes, VAT, legally-binding fuel efficiency requirements or limits on its CO2 emissions, the sector operates in something of a parallel universe.

Next week the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the sector’s global regulator, has an opportunity to finally take a step forward on climate action.

ICAO will discuss the impact of the Paris Agreement on the sector, and specifically the next steps for an aviation carbon offsetting scheme currently under negotiation.

How will global aviation respond to the new momentum for action on climate change?

Early signals were not good.  ICAO’s official response to the Paris Agreement managed to be both incorrect and smug 1, noting, “with satisfaction, that international aviation is not covered under the UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement and its associated decision text”.

The hubris continued with the assertion that, “the [ICAO] Council viewed [this] as a vote of confidence in the progress that ICAO and its Member States are achieving.”

The truth is that while industry lobbyists may have succeeded in preventing an explicit reference to aviation in the text, the globally-agreed goal of striving to limit global warming to 1.5C does apply to aviation.

All ICAO Parties are also Parties to the Paris Agreement. If they let aviation off the hook, the target will simply be impossible to reach.

In short, aviation must act – rapidly and radically – on climate if the Paris goal of “striving to limit warming to 1.5C” is to be achieved.

As for the ‘progress’ made by ICAO, the organisation’s Council really does have its head in the clouds if it thinks what is on the table deserves a vote of confidence. The current proposal is nothing more than a tentative, and very late, first step.

A key question ICAO member countries need to ask is how an anticipated growth rate of up to 300% by 2050 is compatible with any scenario for reaching the Paris 1.5C goal, even taking into account offsetting.

The industry’s goal is to limit future emissions to their 2020 levels, offsetting anything above that. But even this modest goal will not be reached, if the exemptions currently under discussion are accepted. These could undermine the objective by up to 40%.

Fundamentally, the 2020 goal is inadequate to address the climate crisis. ICAO must agree to ratchet up the effort every three years so that the sector is required to keep innovating in order to bring itself in line with a global carbon budget consistent with the 1.5C goal.

Another major concern is the failure to address the climate change impacts of aviation beyond CO2 emissions. Provisions are needed to address aerosols, contrails and nitrogen oxides.

And, as with any offsetting scheme, effectiveness rests on the quality of credits. The sector should not be able to buy its right to pollute above the 2020 level by funding investments in fossil fuel power and extraction, nuclear, large hydro and industrial gases.

These kinds of projects do not foster sustainable development, and fail to deliver an overall mitigation in global emissions, two criteria agreed in Paris. These credit types should be ineligible from day one.

It is also essential that one credit cannot be used towards multiple climate commitments, for example aviation sector commitments and national emissions commitments. Double counting like this has already undermined global progress on climate change. It must stop.

While ICAO’s carbon offsetting mechanism could be a significant opportunity for meaningful climate action from the aviation sector, the devil will be in the detail.

Success risks being undermined through bad choices on opt outs, credit quality and accounting that cover up the real pollution being pumped into the atmosphere. It’s time the city in the sky came back down to earth.

Katherine Watts is a senior policy advisor at Carbon Market Watch

 

http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/06/16/un-aviation-talks-must-come-down-to-earth/

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Airlines accused of backsliding on climate commitments

3.6.2016 (Climate Home)

This week leading air carriers claimed they would support a new market-based scheme to curb emissions – but many remain unconvinced

By Megan Darby

Airlines reaffirmed their support for a global carbon offsetting scheme at a meeting in Dublin on Thursday.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged governments to adopt plans at a September summit to neutralise the sector’s emissions growth from 2020.

Yet the trade body’s resolution does not align with the Paris Agreement on climate change, campaigners warned, accusing it of backtracking.

What is more, its intervention skews in favour of rich countries, threatening to upset delicate negotiations over who pays what.

Absent from the document was any mention of the international goal agreed in Paris to hold global warming below 2C or 1.5C.

That made it weaker than the outcome of recent UN aviation talks in Montreal, which proposed to periodically review the mechanism against that goal.

Nor was the industry’s target to halve greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2050 mentioned.

Andrew Murphy, campaigner at Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment, told Climate Home: “They are walking away from their own commitments, they are walking away from the Paris Agreement, they are walking away from what was agreed in Montreal. It is pretty incredible, really.”

He also criticised IATA’s insistence there should be no need for regional or national measures to supplement the international mechanism. The EU, for example, has sought to make airlines pay for climate pollution through its emissions trading system.

“If they want to reduce the risk, the best solution is an ambitious global market-based measure that aligns with Paris. It is in their hands,” said Murphy.

Report: Rich and poor divided over UN aviation emissions deal

At the International Civil Aviation Organization, countries are agreed on the need to address emissions, but divided over who bears the cost.

In a rerun of UN climate negotiations, China argued the split should reflect historic emissions while the US said it should be based on growth rates after 2020.

The EU is supporting a compromise under which airlines pay based on the sector-wide growth rate, which does not penalise rapidly expanding Asian carriers.

Couched in jargon and qualifications, IATA appears to lean towards less differentiation between rich and poor countries.

James Beard, aviation expert at WWF, warned: “That is going to be difficult for developing countries to swallow…

“When it comes to this point in the negotiations, it is really time to start finding where the middle ground is.”


Transport & Environment’s claims about the resolution drew the following response from IATA director of aviation and environment, Michael Gill, who said the industry remains fully committed to a long-term 2050 goal.

“The ICAO process is different from the Paris Agreement and it is important that this is the case. However, the whole aim of the resolution is precisely to support the ICAO discussions which explicitly state that implementation of the GMBM ‘should support the achievement of the long-term temperature goals of the Paris Agreement’, it cannot therefore be ‘weaker’ than the ICAO talks,” he said.

“The resolution does not favour one approach over another when it comes to distribution of obligations”, said Gill, adding it was one of the key political challenges that remains in the ICAO process and the industry believes that it is up to States to determine how this is resolved. “To say that this is a ‘developed’ versus ‘developing’ set of discussions misses the nuances of the debate and does not fairly represent the detailed discussions which have taken place on this issue in the process so far,” he said.

Read more »

ICAO aviation offset market talks yield little progress, but backtracking on previous agreement

ICAO has concluded 3 days of talks to try to achieve a deal on a market-based offsetting mechanism for international aviation emissions from 2020.  It has not made much progress.  The industry has expressed the hope of “carbon neutral growth” after 2020, which means continuing to grow and emit more carbon, but buying offsets from other sectors that actually do cut CO2 emissions. Unless this is done, the prospect of the world achieving a limit of global temperature of 2 degrees C is remote.  However, there are difficult issues to be resolved, of how to divide up the offsetting responsibilities between fast-growing airlines in emerging economies, and established carriers often with older, less fuel-efficient fleets and based in the industrialised world. Neither side will accept being disadvantaged. There have been proposals to try out a “pilot” scheme, and delay the 2020 date.  Either way, the ICAO scheme only intends to cover international flights, not domestic – which form a large proportion in countries like the USA and China. That means only about  62% of the total aviation CO2, assuming the EU counts as a single bloc (more like 40% otherwise).  Airlines do not want a patchwork of different systems in different parts of the world. 

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ICAO aviation offset market talks yield little progress, seen backtracking on previous agreement

May 14, 2016

By Ben Garside – ben@carbon-pulse.com  (Carbon Pulse)

Three-day talks (11th to 13th May) on a deal to launch a market-based offsetting mechanism for international aviation emissions from 2020 wrapped up in Montreal Friday without any firm progress, with some nations even appearing to backtrack on a previous agreement by proposing a ‘pilot’ practice phase and a later start date.

The “high-level” negotiations at the headquarters of UN aviation body ICAO were one of the last opportunities to iron out key issues before a deal is due to be voted on at ICAO’s full assembly in October.

But two-and-a-half years spent poring over technical details has so far yielded little in the way of solid results, as this week’s session ended with governments failing to establish clear negotiating lines, including on the main issue of how to divide up offsetting responsibilities.

In response to the lack of progress, Singapore tabled a proposal for an “implementation phase” from 2020 to buy time to iron out the details and test infrastructure.

China also called for a pilot process, three sources at the talks said.

An EU source told Carbon Pulse that while the 28-nation bloc EU would welcome a pilot to test auditing rules and voluntary offsetting before 2020, it opposed any move that would delay the start of the global market-based measure beyond the beginning of the next decade.

That start date was agreed by ICAO’s assembly when it last met in 2013.

REACTION

Environmental campaigners were appalled that the process appeared to be rolling back from the agreement to attain carbon-neutral growth, and that draft design plans that have emerged contain too many loopholes to adequately address the sector’s climate impact.

Industry groups, on the other hand, keen to keep the process together rather than see it unravel into a patchwork of regional measures, took pains to remind governments that they were prepared to start the global offsetting measure in 2020.

“The industry is ready to play its role and we further encourage governments to deliver a deal with concrete parameters that allows us to start implementation from 2020,” said Michael Gill of cross-industry Air Transport Action Group.

**Read our analysis on how the ICAO deal is poised to cover less than 40% of airline pollution and do little to answer airlines’ pleas to avoid a patchwork of regional measures.** (See below).

FURTHER TALKS

Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, a Dutch member of the European Parliament observing the session in Montreal, took a more positive stance however.

“Experienced negotiators are saying they’ve never seen a more positive attitude here before. There are still a lot of points to be discussed, but generally I’m quite optimistic,” he told Carbon Pulse.

“It’s not yet clear how the Singapore proposal will be handled. It will be one of the issues on the table for further talks in June,” referring to another session of ICAO negotiations scheduled for next month.

On Thursday Egypt tabled a proposal, which was reportedly supported by the US, to outlaw any unilateral regional measures to address aviation emissions once ICAO’s global market-based mechanism was implemented.

But Gerbrandy said that proposal had since been amended so as to prove less of a threat to the EU’s ability to impose its own regulation on flights using European airports under the bloc’s carbon market.

“It would at least mean inter-European flights are not affected, and while the problem has not been overcome, it’s moving in the right direction,” he added.

By Ben Garside – ben@carbon-pulse.com

http://carbon-pulse.com/19970/

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See also

ANALYSIS: ICAO climate talks reach crunch time, but deal poised to exempt most aviation emissions

May 11, 2016

By Ben Garside (Carbon Pulse)

Deep divisions are emerging between global powers over a UN deal to curb aviation emissions that is set to cover less than 40% of airline pollution and do little to answer airlines’ pleas to avoid a patchwork of regional measures.

Government officials resume the negotiations today at a three-day session at the headquarters of UN aviation body ICAO in Montreal, their main opportunity to iron out key issues before the deal is due to be voted on at the body’s full assembly in October.

But after two-and-a-half years of polite positioning, major rifts have emerged between the US and China over an ICAO draft for a global offsetting mechanism that some carbon market proponents expect to save the ailing CDM and spur a surge in demand for REDD credits.

“Now we will see negotiating lines begin to harden. People have been pretty careful until now,” said Annie Petsonk of environmental campaigners EDF.

The draft ICAO proposal is aimed at meeting an earlier pledge by the industry to achieve carbon neutral growth from 2020.  However, under the plan’s current design it would only see flights between richer countries join the scheme when it launches in 2021, with flights linked to middle-income nations being phased in from 2026.

This, combined with ICAO’s remit of only covering international flights, would mean less than 40% of commercial aviation emissions worldwide are set to be regulated by the scheme from 2020, undermining efforts to curb emissions from the fast-growing sector currently responsible for as much as 5% of global greenhouse gas output.

In percentage terms it appears insignificant, but aviation’s share represents more than the total emissions of the world’s 129 least emitting countries.

FAIR SHARE

Underpinning those major shortcomings is a battle among nations over how to divide up the offsetting responsibilities between fast-growing airlines in emerging economies with established carriers often with older, less fuel-efficient fleets and based in the industrialised world.

China has already raised objections that the deal would “impose inappropriate economic burden on developing countries, where the international aviation market is still maturing,” according to a paper it submitted ahead of the talks urging all major airline emitters to enter from 2021 on a “nationally-determined” basis.

The US, on the other hand, is pushing for the measure to “achieve the widest possible coverage”, according to its submission, and is seeking for offsetting obligations to gradually move towards being determined by an airline’s individual growth rate rather than the industry average used in ICAO’s draft.

This would pile a much heavier offsetting burden on faster-growing carriers such as Turkish Airlines, China Southern, or Russia’s Pobeda, rather than established US carriers such as Delta and American Airlines.

The diplomatic manoeuvring centres around ICAO’s principle of treating all airlines equally on the same routes, and the guiding tenet of the UNFCCC, the UN climate body, of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) that mean developed nations with greater historical responsibility for emissions are required to take the lead.

“There’s a high risk that the ICAO talks will fail if countries can’t agree on CBDR,” one EU official told Carbon Pulse on condition of anonymity.

“Things haven’t advanced too much since Paris, as differentiation is still obstructing progress … The problem is that countries are taking the Agreement and reading what they want from it,” said another source familiar with the talks.

While generally in favour of the phase-in approach for poorer states, the EU stressed that any emissions left out from the start would create a ‘gap’ in the regulation.

“If left unaddressed, this gap would put at risk the achievement of the climate objective. Europe stresses the need to improve the design so that the emissions gap is minimised and addressed,” the EU said in its submission to the talks.

But Andrew Murphy of green group T&E said this would pile more pressure on countries to deepen emission reductions on their own territories to meet their collective goal in the Paris Agreement of keeping global warming to well below 2 degrees C and of striving to keep it below 1.5C.

“The UNFCCC’s analysis of national pledges assumes that aviation will achieve carbon neutral growth from 2020, so if international aviation doesn’t stick to that then we face the prospect of moving away from the 1.5C/2C goal,” he said.

GLOBAL PATCHWORK

Airline association IATA expects the offset measure to cost carriers up to $6.2 billion a year by 2025, rising to $23.9 billion by 2035. But it is pushing for an October deal as the sector’s most cost effective way of tackling climate change and to cut red tape for its globally-focused members.

“A market-based cost will be much more efficient, and much fairer than the alternative which is a patchwork of inefficient and ineffective charges and taxes which are cooked up primarily just to raise cash rather than to tackle climate change,” IATA chief Tony Tyler told an industry event ahead of talks in Montreal on Tuesday.

“We expect that the cost will be not insignificant, but it will be manageable,” he added.  “Industry is resolute. It is determined to do the right thing.  We are counting on ICAO states to enable us.”

Yet, ICAO’s remit is only to cover emissions from international flights, which accounts for just 62% of the total assuming the EU counts as a single bloc.

It is unclear how countries will address domestic aviation emissions should an ICAO deal be struck on the international portion, though analysts don’t expect governments to cede control to ICAO.

“We think it is likely it will be a patchwork of regulations with domestic policies in a way continuing what they do today, rather than using the ICAO regime domestically,” said Frank Melum, an analyst at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon.

The EU has since 2012 included intra-European flights in its Emissions Trading System.  South Korea covered airlines in its ETS in 2015, and China expects to regulate them when it launches its national carbon market in 2017.

The US, which accounts for two-thirds of all domestic aviation emissions, has no firm plans, yet its submission to the ICAO talks appears to lean towards uniting the regulation of aircraft pollution globally.

“Deciding to adopt a global market-based measure at ICAO is imperative to avoid a patchwork of approaches at the country or regional level that may be inconsistent, overlap and result in increased costs,” it said.

RESTART THE CLOCK

The EU also has an additional negotiating chip.

Should the 28-nation bloc deem the ICAO deal inadequate, it could opt to once again impose its ETS on international flights using most European airports, effectively ‘restarting the clock’ on a law it froze in 2012 amid an outcry from its major trading partners that the rules infringed on their sovereignty.

If ICAO agrees on a scheme that doesn’t ensure the aviation sector doing its fair share in limiting climate change, I see no reason why Europe shouldn’t include international flights as of the 1st of January 2017,” said Bas Eickhout, a Green party member of the European Parliament.

However, while the EU Parliament is eager to push the issue, member states are less keen on revisiting the diplomatic furore, and observers expect the bloc to set a high bar for re-establishing its law.

Regardless, airlines remain apprehensive over what sort of additional measures may await should governments deem whatever ICAO agrees as insufficient.

“If you’re an airline seeing different measures popping up around the world, this scares you.  For that reason, ICAO is feeling the pressure.  If it doesn’t get this done, that will provide impetus for additional regulations,” the second anonymous source said.

“The UNFCCC may take over on this if ICAO can’t reach an deal,” he added, noting that following failed efforts in Paris, some countries may once again try to regulate the sector’s emissions through the UN’s climate change secretariat.

By Ben Garside and Mike Szabo – ben@carbon-pulse.com

http://carbon-pulse.com/19810/

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Read more »

European Commission consultation on market-based measures to reduce the climate change impact from international aviation

The European Commission currently has a consultation, (ends 30th May) on market-based measures (MBM) to reduce the climate change impact from international aviation. Flights to and from Europe were included in the EU Emissions Trading System until the “clock was stopped” after huge opposition. Now only internal flights within the EU are included. But the full ETS is due to snap back, into its full form, by the end of 2016 – unless ICAO has come up with an effective mechanism for restricting global aviation CO2 emissions. But the ICAO talks are not going well.  The EU (DG Clima) needs to decide what to do, in the absence of a proper ICAO proposal for a global MBM.  DG Clima also needs to propose amendments to the aviation part of the EU ETS with regard to the post 2020 period with the intention of aligning aviation with the 2030 carbon reduction target. The EC is seeking input from all relevant stakeholders to develop new legislation in light of the ICAO Assembly.  The environmental NGOs dealing with this say it is vital that the EU retains a strong role for aviation in its, hopefully reformed, ETS.   International flights to or from the EU should be fully incorporated in the EU ETS from 2017 onwards, as no GMBM will be in place before 2021.  From 2021 on, the scope covered by the EU ETS should depend on the strength of the GMBM ambition, as well as on measures implemented by other countries.
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http://ec.europa.eu/clima/consultations/articles/0029_en.htm

Consultation on market-based measures to reduce the climate change impact from international aviation

Started 07/03/2016
Ends on  30/05/2016
The Title of the consultation is
“Consultation on market-based measures to reduce the climate change impact from international aviation”
It is aimed at “All citizens and organisations are welcome to contribute to this consultation. Contributions are particularly sought from stakeholders and experts in the field of aviation or climate change.”
The Objective of the consultation is:
The European Commission is launching a public consultation to collect experiences, suggestions and opinions related to international and EU policies tackling climate change impacts from international aviation emissions through market-based measures. The consultation seeks input on questions concerning the policy options currently being developed at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and in relation to the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS).
There are details of how to submit a consultation response at
http://ec.europa.eu/clima/consultations/articles/0029_en.htm
The consultation document is at
Consultation Questionnaire 
Reference documents and other, related consultations

The preamble to the questionnaire says:

Consultation on the policy options for market-based measures to reduce the climate change impact from international aviation

This document has been prepared by the Commission services for consultation purposes. It is addressed to stakeholders and experts in the field of aviation or climate change with the objective of collecting experiences, suggestions and opinions related to international and EU policies tackling climate change impacts from international aviation emissions through market-based measures (MBMs). The consultation seeks input on questions concerning the problem to be tackled and policy options currently being developed at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and with respect to the EU’s emissions trading system (EU ETS).

The importance of global action on aviation emissions

The aviation sector has a strong international character. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from international aviation are expected to grow by at least 250% from 2005 levels by 2050. A global approach to addressing these rapidly growing emissions would be the preferred and most effective way of reducing these emissions.

The international community reached a landmark climate agreement in Paris in December 2015, which affirms Parties’ commitment to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. The Paris Agreement requires all anthropogenic emission sources to be addressed to reach a global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) as soon as possible and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter so as to achieve a balance between emissions by sources and removals by sinks in the second half of the century. This significant mitigation effort entails taking firm action on all emission sources, including aviation.

While acting through the EU ETS since 2008, the EU remains committed to seeking multilateral progress to address international aviation emissions. For more than 15 years, the EU has been involved in the discussions aimed at tackling aviation emissions through a global agreement. These discussions have been carried out under the United Nations, in particular at the ICAO.

The inclusion of aviation into the EU ETS

The EU action to address aviation emissions through a comprehensive approach includes facilitating and improving operational and technological developments. However, it is recognised that, faced with significant growth in air traffic worldwide, these measures alone will not be sufficient to achieve meaningful mitigation goals. Given that marginal abatement costs in the sector are generally high and the scope of technical measures available to slow the growth of emissions from aviation is limited, MBMs are a relatively low-cost and attractive choice for aviation. The EU ETS was the first market-based measure covering aviation, but other jurisdictions around the world (e.g. Republic of Korea, China (Shanghai)) are following a similar approach, and more may follow.

As reaffirmed by the European Council in October 2014, the EU ETS is the cornerstone of the EU policy tools for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and thus will be one of the key policy instruments to deliver the EU’s commitment for a 40% economy-wide reduction of GHG by 2030. EU ETS sets a mandatory cap on emissions from the sectors included. Companies within these sectors need to cover their emissions with allowances provided by governments for free or through auctioning. Participants can trade their allowances among each other. This facilitates cost effective emissions reductions.

The European Parliament and the Council adopted legislation that entered into force early 2009, making airlines liable for their emissions from 2012. The legislation applies to EU and non-EU airlines alike. Emissions from flights to and from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (European Economic Area, EEA) are also covered. In this way the aviation sector contributes to the economy-wide emissions targets the EU has in place for 2020 and 2030. The EU ETS, thus, covers emissions from both domestic (within a country) and international (between two countries) flights.

ICAO is also working on the design of a global market-based measure (GMBM) to address emissions from international aviation. To support progress being made in the ICAO on its development of a GMBM, the EU introduced a temporary derogation from the application of the EU ETS compliance obligations for flights to and from countries outside the EEA (as well as flights to and from outermost regions). This is a temporary measure that will expire at the end of 2016. Any adjustment to the EU ETS thereafter will depend on progress made on the GMBM at the 2016 ICAO Assembly.

ICAO Global MBM scheme

ICAO Assemblies take place every 3 years and provide a forum through which the 191 Member States of the ICAO agree on the way forward in the form of Assembly Resolutions. At its last Assembly in 2013, ICAO Member States adopted Assembly Resolution A38-18. This Resolution decided that a GMBM to address international aviation emissions had to be developed for decision by the 39th Session of the Assembly, and requested the ICAO Council to finalise the work on it for its implementation from 2020.

It is widely recognised, including by ICAO, that despite progress achieved on aircraft technologies and operational improvements (the so called “basket of measures”), these alone may not deliver sufficient CO2 emission reductions to achieve a meaningful mitigation outcome nor to meet the agreed target of keeping net CO2 emissions from international aviation from 2020 at the same level (carbon neutral growth from 2020). For that reason there exists broad agreement on the necessity and desirability of market-based measures in order to achieve those goals. The aviation industry supports the role of market-based measures and the adoption of a single global MBM.

Following the agreement at the 38th Assembly, substantial work has been undertaken within ICAO through the so-called Environmental Advisory Group in order to assess and discuss the main design options for the GMBM on the basis of an offsetting scheme; in parallel, the ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection has developed recommendations containing the essential technical rules needed for the implementation of the GMBM, namely as regards monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions and criteria for the eligibility of emission units.

In September 2016, ICAO Member States will convene for the 39th ICAO Assembly in Montreal. The EU expects this session of the Assembly to adopt the key design elements of a GMBM that allows the ICAO goal of stabilising net CO2 emissions from international aviation at 2020 levels to be met and to establish a clear roadmap for an effective implementation from 2020.

ETS review

The experience in the EU with the ETS shows that market-based measures can be effectively designed and implemented to address aviation emissions. Under the EU ETS, companies from European and third countries are annually monitoring and reporting CO2 emissions from their intra-European activity and surrendering the corresponding allowances to comply with the system. Compliance rates are currently above 99.6% of emissions covered by the ETS, and its mitigation impact under the current scope is estimated at 16 million CO2 tonnes per year.

The scope of the EU ETS in the period after 2016 is linked to the development and adoption of a GMBM by ICAO. According to Article 28a of the ETS Directive the Commission shall inform the European Parliament and the Council of the progress made in the ICAO negotiations. In particular, the Article states that, “following the 2016 ICAO Assembly, the Commission shall report to the European Parliament and to the Council on actions to implement an international agreement on a global market-based measure from 2020, that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation in a non-discriminatory manner”. As this provision also states, in its report, the Commission shall “consider, and, if appropriate, include proposals in reaction to, those developments on the appropriate scope for coverage of emissions from activity to and from aerodromes located in countries outside the EEA from 1 January 2017 onwards”.

It is important to recall that in the absence of an amendment being adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, the EU ETS reverts to its original scope once the temporary derogation established by Article 28a of the Directive ceases to apply (end of 2016).

https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/ClimateChangeAviation

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Transport & Environment explains the issues:

https://www.transportenvironment.org/what-we-do/aviation

Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), emissions from international aviation are not included in national targets. This is one of the reasons for aviation’s special treatment in climate policy. After years of waiting for the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to take action, the EU agreed in 2008 that emissions from international aviation would be included in its emissions trading system (EU ETS) from 1 January 2012.

This sparked a concerted reaction from the US, China, India and other states as well as industry who argued that measures should be agreed and implemented globally. As a compromise, the EU agreed in late 2012 to reduce the scope of aviation’s inclusion in the EU ETS to only those flights between EU airports until 1 January 2017. This was to give ICAO time to develop a global market-based measure for approval at its triennial assembly in October 2016.

T&E is working with its ICSA colleagues to ensure this scheme has strong environmental integrity and ICSA has developed a Litmus Test to determine what a credible scheme should contain.

However, the scheme under consideration by ICAO will only address emissions above 2020 levels, a degree of ambition wholly insufficient compared to the Paris Agreement’s agreed objective that states should work towards limiting any temperature increase to 1.5ºC. It is therefore essential that other global measures are agreed, especially those that advance in-sector reductions, such as an efficiency standard for aircraft.

While ICAO continues to lag on climate ambition, it is important that the EU shows leadership on this issue. The EU should therefore ensure that aviation emissions are included in its 2030 climate targets, and adopt measures that ensure the sector makes its fair contribution to reducing Europe’s emissions. This includes ending tax exemptions and subsidies and investing in low-carbon alternatives.

Since 1 January 2012, emissions from all commercial flights arriving at or departing from EU airports have been subject to the EU ETS. Meanwhile, negotiations have been slowly proceeding in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on the development of a global emissions scheme for aviation. At the end of 2012, these negotiations came to a standstill.

The EU therefore conceded to ‘stop the clock’ for one year on all international flights in the EU ETS, in order to allow ICAO to make real progress on the global emissions scheme. ‘Stop the clock’ means that only intra-EU flights are regulated under the ETS. ‘Stop the clock’ was supposed to be a temporary solution until global progress was made at ICAO. However, the ICAO assembly decision in October of 2013 was merely to ‘develop’ a scheme for international aviation emissions, without any definitive commitment. The European Commission has since then proposed to continue ‘stop the clock’ until 2017 anyway, to give ICAO even more time. In April 2014 the European Parliament voted to accept ‘stop the clock’ until 2017. This is an environmentally ineffective and unsustainable regulation of aviation emissions.

https://www.transportenvironment.org/what-we-do/aviation

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Call by the environmental NGOs working on aviation carbon emissions, to respond to the Commission’s public consultation on measures to reduce aviation’s climate impact

The aviation sector is currently responsible for an estimated 4.9% of climate change. This will rise as emissions are expected to triple by 2050 unless action is taken. The aviation sector must significantly reduce its emissions in order to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C as agreed in Paris. In this regard it is important that the Commission receives a substantial amount of responses to its public consultation on market-based measures to reduce the climate change impact from international aviation. As many different stakeholders as possible should call for an environmentally effective Global Market-Based Mechanism (GMBM) and the continued aviation in the EU ETS as a means of increased ambition, along with other effective policy measures at EU level.

The timing of the consultation coincides with an ongoing process to develop a GMBM. The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will hold its 39th triennial Assembly in autumn 2016. At this Assembly ICAO’s member states must decide on concrete provisions for the GMBM, as agreed at ICAO’s 38th Assembly in 2013. Since being tasked with regulating aviation emissions by the Kyoto Protocol, ICAO has been postponing any effort for nearly two decades. The EU responded to this inaction by including aviation, both intra-EU and international flights departing and arriving at EU airports, into its Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) in 2012. This was met with fierce opposition by industry and states such as China, Russia and the US, who claimed that the EU breached non-EU countries’ sovereignty by including international flights. Despite withstanding legal scrutiny, the EU eventually suspended the scope of the EU Aviation ETS to intra-EU flights in order to grant ICAO more time to agree a GMBM. This suspension automatically expires at the end of 2016.

International aviation will thus automatically be included in the EU ETS from January 1, 2017 unless, following the Assembly, the EU decides otherwise through its legislative process (agreement between Council and European Parliament).

By consulting all relevant stakeholders the Commission seeks input to develop new legislation in light of the ICAO Assembly.

The prospects of a strong GMBM at this Assembly are in doubt. According to a draft proposal published in March, a large share of emissions, including those of major emitters such as Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, will be exempt from the scheme for at least the first 5 years. Furthermore, there is no reference to strict criteria to ensure offsets with dubious environmental integrity are excluded. There is also no reference to increasing the GMBM’s ambition over time.

It is vital, therefore, that the EU retains a strong role for aviation in its, hopefully reformed, ETS. International flights to or from the EU should be fully incorporated in the EU ETS from 2017 onwards, as no GMBM will be in place before 2021. From 2021 on, the scope covered by the EU ETS should depend on the strength of the GMBM ambition, as well as on measures implemented by other countries.

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There are important – and difficult – questions. The ICAO negotiation are NOT going well. Europe has failed to stand up to Washington and IATA and insist on a proper route based approach which would see rich man’s routes – most prominently the transatlantic where a large bulk of historic emissions lie – pay a lot more than other routes. The Secretariat has brought out a weird way of calculating which developing countries should initially be exempt up until 2026 – that list includes Paris High ambition countries like Mexico, Brazil, S Africa and Nigeria (where the ICAO Council President comes from). No-one is saying how many emissions are exempt but it could be over 30% making a mockery of carbon neutral growth in 2020. Plus there is no mandatory quality criteria for offsets being proposed nor an ambition ratchet mechanism to move ICAO beyond CNG 2020 towards what Paris requires.

Read more »

“No New Runways” message clear at “Going Backwards on Climate” march

The Campaign Against Climate Change organised a dramatic protest, with a difference. Marking the first year of the Conservative government being in power, it has gone backwards on climate.  So several hundred protesters assembled in Trafalgar Square, and proceeded to march backwards, down Whitehall, to show where the government has been backtracking on climate. The protesters stopped at various key locations, to hear speeches about particular issues. There was a strong aviation presence on the protest, with a “No New Runway” message.  For the government to build a new runway, hugely increasing UK aviation CO2 emissions, means a serious likelihood of the UK missing carbon targets. Adding a runway is going backwards on climate policy. Outside Downing Street, Sheila Menon (one of the Heathrow 13) spoke about the need to oppose a new runway, at Heathrow or at Gatwick, because of the increase in carbon emissions it would generate. She said this is not merely a UK problem, and there is opposition to airport and runway building in many other countries, with the campaigns linked up. Other stops on the backwards march focused on renewable energy, fracking, and increasing air pollution.
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Some photos from the protest:

Crowd

Crowd gathering in Trafalgar Square, before walking – backwards – down Whitehall

Going backwards placard

Says it all ….

M and E

A new runway – a giant step backwards for UK climate policy. #nonewrunways

Brent and the plane

“No New Runways” plane from the CHATR (Chiswick Against Third Runway) campaign 

Marching backwards down Whitehall 2

New runway means worse air pollution, as well as more carbon emissions

Marching backwards down Whitehall

Marching – backwards – down Whitehall

giant step

A new runway = giant step backwards for UK climate policy

Sheila

Sheila Menon, one of the Heathrow 13, speaking opposite Downing Street

 

Go back

Cameron and Osborne – reversing humanity’s progress, “Go Back!  We wrecked UK climate policy”

Details of the protest from the Campaign Against Climate Change

No more UK backtracking on climate! (Organised by the Campaign Against Climate Change)

Since May 2015 clean energy technology has been sidelined in favour of a dash for gas, insulation cut and fracking, roads and runways pushed through despite strong local opposition. So what better way to mark the government’s one year anniversary than to march – backwards – down Whitehall? A creative and colourful protest that will make a serious point: we’re running out of time to act on climate change, and we can’t afford to go backwards.

There will be an aviation block, with a “No New Runways” plane.

Planned timetable:

12.00 Gather under Nelson’s Column, moving to King Charles statue, top of Whitehall
12.25 Hear from those directly impacted by flooding in the UK, including the family of seven-year-old Zane, tragically killed by toxic gas released from a flooded landfill site
12.45 Dismantling of our renewables industry! Find out what this means for jobs and community energy (speakers from Solar Trade Association and a London community energy project) (Corner of Whitehall Place)
12.50 Fracking: bad news for the climate (with support from Talk Fracking and young activists and their families from Lancashire)

1.05 Outside Downing Street, activists from Plane Stupid and HACAN will be reminding David Cameron of his personal pledge ‘No ifs, no buts, no third runway’ with crowd participation.

1.20 Unsustainable transport means we are breathing unsafe air! Families supporting ClientEarth’s legal action illustrate what this means for them (Opposite the Department of Health)
1.25 Cuts to warm home funding are wrecking lives and wrecking the climate. Hear from Fuel Poverty Action
1.40 At the Treasury entrance on King Charles Street, we end up at George Osborne’s department – responsible for so many of the ‘backwards steps’. Presentation of fossil fuel subsidies and messages from opencast coal campaigning in Wales.
Finally a positive message – it’s Time to Go Forwards! Speakers including Natalie Bennett and Asad Rehman with a send off from the Time to Cycle crew.

End 2pm

Details http://www.campaigncc.org/goingbackwards

Read more »

Conservative backbenchers urge Cameron to back Fifth Carbon Budget targets (against Treasury and BIS)

Before the end of June the “Fifth carbon budget” must be written into law by Parliament. The budget will set the cap on UK emissions for the period 2028-2032. It would see cuts in the UK’s CO2 emissions of 57% against 1990 levels by 2032. That represents steady ongoing progress towards the UK’s long-term legal requirement to cut CO2 by at least 80% on 1990 levels by 2050. It builds on the 36% reduction already achieved by 2014 and the 52% reduction by 2025 already committed to under the existing four carbon budgets.  But the government, especially the Treasury and BIS, would like the target weakened. International aviation and shipping are not included. Now 20 Conservative backbenchers have written to the Prime Minister, calling on him to adopt Committee on Climate Change recommendations for post-2030 carbon targets. They want him to ensure there is “early and full agreement” across government in support of the adoption of the Fifth Carbon Budget.  Earlier, the Fourth Carbon Budget was only rubber-stamped during the last parliament following a lengthy row between Ministers at DECC, against the Treasury and BIS.  The UK is already off track for meeting the goals. The letter is signed by a number of high profile former ministers.
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Conservative backbenchers urge Cameron to back Fifth Carbon Budget

By James Murray (Business Green)

5 May 2016

20 ‘Green Tories’ write to Prime Minister calling on him to adopt Committee on Climate Change recommendations for post-2030 carbon targets

A group of 20 Conservative MPs have today written to Prime Minister David Cameron, urging him to secure “early and full agreement” across government in support of the adoption of the Fifth Carbon Budget in line with the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) recommendations.

The letter, which was convened by Graham Stuart MP, boasts support from a number of high profile backbenchers, including former environment minister Richard Benyon, chair of the health committee Sarah Wollaston, Environmental Audit Committee member Peter Aldous, and former health minister Daniel Poulter.

It argues adopting the Fifth Carbon Budget and accepting the CCC’s recommendations for a 57% cut in carbon emissions against 1990 levels by 2032 would reduce the costs of decarbonisation and help mobilise investment in low carbon infrastructure.

“Following the historic outcome of the Paris climate conference, the shift to low carbon technology in transport, buildings and energy markets is accelerating again,” the letter states. “The UK played a pivotal role in the agreement and we now need to make sure that we attract the greatest possible investment in UK low and zero carbon infrastructure with the supply chain and employment benefits this can bring.

“The CCC’s advice is tailored to our meeting our carbon obligations at the lowest possible cost and with the highest ancillary gains. Early and full acceptance of that advice will give investors and government the confidence to act and so maintain this government’s proud record of lower emissions combined with sustained economic growth.”

Observers fear the decision over the Fifth Carbon Budget could be the subject of an internal battle within government, after the previous Fourth Carbon Budget was only rubberstamped during the last parliament following a lengthy row between Ministers at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Treasury, and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Number 10 ultimately approved the CCC’s recommendations for the Fourth Carbon Budget, which runs through the mid-2020s, but it has subsequently emerged the UK is off track for meeting the goals and the government has said it will have to come forward with a new plan to ensure medium-term emissions targets are met.

Some green business leaders fear the government could now look to water down the Fourth and Fifth Carbon Budget, by rejecting the CCC’s recommendations or using loopholes that allow the targets to be complied with using large amounts of imported carbon allowances that critics claim do not equate to genuine emission reductions or increased clean infrastructure investment.

The group of Conservative MPs declare the Prime Minister can count on their support if he endorses the CCC’s recommendations as they stand.

“We are writing to offer our support for the adoption of the Fifth Carbon Budget as recommended by the Climate Change Committee and to encourage you in your efforts to get early and full agreement on the advice across government,” they state.

The intervention comes just days after the cross-party Energy and Climate Change Committee of MPs similarly urged the government to accept the CCC’s recommendations when approving the Fifth Carbon Budget.

Angus MacNeil, chair of the committee, said MPs had found “no basis” for downgrading the UK’s ambition with the fifth carbon budget and warned the government it would be “looking carefully for a robust evidence-base” if any alternative target is proposed.

The full list of MPs signing the letter is: Graham Stuart, Richard Benyon, Peter Aldous, Heidi Allen, Neil Carmichael, Alex Chalk, Oliver Colvile, Michelle Donelan, Flick Drummond, James Heappey, Kevin Hollinrake, Jonathan Lord, Neil Parish, Dr Daniel Poulter, Rebecca Pow, Antoinette Sandbach, Derek Thomas, David Warburton, Sarah Wollaston, and Mike Wood.

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2456981/conservative-backbenchers-urge-cameron-to-back-fifth-carbon-budget

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See earlier:

The fifth carbon budget – a balanced path to a necessary goal

Between now and the end of June the “fifth carbon budget” must be written into law by Parliament. The budget will set the cap on UK emissions for the period 2028-2032. By law it must be legislated within the next three months but, like all budgets, its content is subject to discussion and debate. The legislated budget must take into account the advice of the Committee on Climate Change, the views of governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the criteria in the Climate Change Act. Here we recap some of the Committee’s advice, which was delivered to Parliament and published in November 2015.

The Committee recommended that the budget be set to require a 57% reduction in emissions from 1990 to 2030. That represents steady ongoing progress towards the UK’s long-term legal requirement to reduce emissions by at least 80% on 1990 levels by 2050. It builds on the 36% reduction already achieved by 2014 and the 52% reduction by 2025 already committed to under the existing four carbon budgets. The 57% proposal is the natural next step ….

….. and it continues  …….


 

Aviation emissions must be accounted for in carbon budgets, AEF says in evidence to CCC

The Committee on Climate Change put out a call for evidence last year, on its 5th Carbon Budget, which will cover the period 2028-32.  The Government must legislate the level of the 5th Carbon Budget by June 2016. The CCC has recommended that the CO2 emissions from international aviation must be accounted for in the setting of the 5th carbon budget to provide the appropriate framework for future climate change policy. But the CO2 emissions from international shipping are fully included. AEF, the Aviation Environment Federation, say it is particularly important to have aviation CO2 properly included now as the Government has indicated its theoretical support for a new runway in the South East, which could significantly increase the scale of the UK aviation emissions challenge. It is disappointing that the CCC did not recommend formal inclusion of aviation in the carbon budget, which would provide greater certainty in relation to the sector’s future development. AEF believes that the CCC’s recommended approach of setting the budget with a view to aviation’s formal inclusion in future budgets provides a ‘next best’ alternative. The CCC has long recommended that in order to allow for aviation’s future inclusion in carbon budgets, Government should plan on the assumption that emissions from the sector in 2050 should not exceed their level in 2005 – 37.5 MtCO2 – allowing for a 60% growth in aviation passengers between 2005 and 2050.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/02/aviation-emissions-must-be-accounted-for-in-carbon-budgets-aef-says-in-evidence-to-ccc/

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and

Government fails to properly include international aviation in UK carbon budgets – decision put off till 2016

The government was legally required to make a statement to Parliament by the end of December on whether it will include CO2 emissions from international aviation and shipping (IAS) in the UK’s climate target under the Climate Change Act. Today Ed Davey went against the advice from the Committee on Climate Change, and postponed the decision, using some ambiguous wording. His exact words were that the government “is deferring a firm decision on whether to include international aviation and shipping emissions within the UK’s net carbon account” and that it “will revisit this issue when setting the fifth Carbon Budget (2028 – 2032).” ie. in 2016, which is after the next general election. IAS will continue to be excluded from the first 4 carbon budgets, which run until 2027. The Chancellor and many Conservatives are reluctant to do anything that can be seen as strengthening environmental regulations. If the greenhouse gases from IAS were included in the UK targets, other sectors, including electricity generation and industry, would have to make steeper cuts in their emissions. Government justifies its postponement by arguing that there is uncertainty about the EU ETS at present, and also whether there just might be progress on a global aviation carbon scheme through ICAO in 2013.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2012/12/carbon_budgets/

 

Read more »

National Audit Office sustainability overview of DfT – critical on aviation carbon emissions

The National Audit Office has carried out a departmental sustainability overview of the DfT, as it has done for some other departments. It was done at the request of the Environmental Audit Committee. The NAO says “The transport sector has a significant impact on the environment, making the activities of the DfT vital in meeting environmental objectives.” The briefing points out that transport CO2 emissions were 23% of the UK total in 2014 and that emissions from international aviation and shipping are not included. They say the DfT’s role in relation to aviation is “Setting national aviation policy.”  On carbon emissions, the NAO says one of the DfT’s commitments is to “Work to secure agreement on a new global market-based measure to tackle carbon emissions from international aviation.”  But they say, about international discussions on aviation, “it is unclear what the government’s goals are in these negotiations, and what action should be taken by industry in the interim.” The NAO continues: “The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has recommended the publication of a policy framework for aviation emissions with long‑term assumptions as a proxy for outcomes under an international agreement, but the government response simply repeated support for regional measures, particularly the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.”
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Briefing for the Environmental Audit Committee  – by the NAO (National Audit Office)

Departmental sustainability overview

The Department for Transport

https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/DFT-sustainability-overview-briefing-for-EAC.pdf

The briefing states:

This briefing has been prepared in response to a request from the Environmental Audit Committee (the Committee) continuing our series of Departmental sustainability overviews by examining the Department for Transport [the DfT]. The transport sector has a significant impact on the environment, making the activities of the DfT vital in meeting environmental objectives. This briefing provides an overview of the DfT’s sustainability and provides context for the actions it is taking to support environmental protection and sustainable development. Past briefings have included sustainability overviews on the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (2013), the Home Office (2014) and the NHS (2015).

This briefing is based on the good‑practice criteria established in the previous overviews to assess sustainability within the DfT, which can be found in the appendix. These include four areas where a department should embed consideration of the environment and sustainability. The combined results from these four areas will give the Committee an understanding of whether the Department is fully contributing to the government’s sustainable development objectives. Our briefing is primarily focused on the environmental impact and activity of the Department, rather than economic or social sustainability.


The role of the DfT in relation to Aviation is “• Setting national aviation policy.”


Context: the transport sector’s environmental impacts

National and international

Greenhouse gases

• The Climate Change Act (2008) commits the UK to a 80% reduction in domestic
emissions by 2050.
• Net UK emissions were 514 MtCO2 equivalent in 2014 for carbon budget purposes,
a 36% reduction on 1990 levels.
• Of these emissions, 23% come from the transport sector, although international
aviation and shipping emissions are not included in targets.
• In its 2015 Progress Report the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advised that
its calculations for a cost‑effective pathway to reaching the 2050 target would include
transport emissions falling to around 81 MtCO2 by 2025: this is a 31% reduction from
the 2014 sector emissions.
• Department for Energy and Climate Change emissions projections indicate that
the transport sector will fall short of this scenario by a significant margin, 17 MtCO2
(47% of the required fall).

Transport emissions by sector 2013
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Under local impacts, under Noise:

Aviation – The Department sets noise controls at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted
including limits on night flights. Other airports have powers to set noise controls similar to those at the airports above and the government believes it is generally better for these to be agreed locally.

The extent of noise impacts, and the source, vary dramatically between sites, so it
is not possible to assess an average level of noise derived from transport. Instead,
the Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006 require DEFRA to produce
environmental noise maps for large urban areas, major transport sources and significant


Policy and policy-making: environmental targets and scale of challenges (aviation and maritime sectors)

Aviation and maritime sectors

These sectors operate primarily at an international level, so it is difficult to manage
environmental impacts through the regulations of a single country. The DfT
works with DEFRA and DECC to contribute to international discussions to agree
environmental targets and measures, primarily through the provision of data.  However,
it is unclear what the government’s goals are in these negotiations, and what action
should be taken by industry in the interim. The Committee on Climate Change(CCC) has
recommended the publication of a policy framework for aviation emissions with
long‑term assumptions as a proxy for outcomes under an international agreement,
but the government response simply repeated support for regional measures,
particularly the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

Stakeholders have expressed concerns over the Department’s handling of aviation
noise pollution: this is a major concern for communities under flightpaths. Airports
are responsible for limiting the noise impact in their local area, and the Aviation
Policy Framework indicates an approximate average level of daytime aircraft noise
which the government expects would cause significant community annoyance.
Stakeholders accept that the overall arrangements are appropriate, and that it is not
possible to have a single noise-based measure for aviation in all situations; however,
the government could consider how to improve its leadership role through providing
a clearer indication as to the acceptable level of noise. Overall noise policy sits with
DEFRA but the Department is also in a position to encourage noise reduction, as it
approves airport noise action plans in conjunction with DEFRA. The Department was
instrumental in securing a recent agreement on a tougher international noise standard
in the ICAO Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection.

Aviation is also a major contribution to emissions. The 2015 Report to Parliament by
the Committee on Climate Change, Meeting Carbon Budgets – Progress in reducing
the UK’s emissions, recommended that an effective policy framework for aviation
emissions should be published. The Committee recommends that this should plan
for the UK to keep 2050 emissions at 2005 levels (assuming around a 60% increase
in demand) at the same time as pushing for strong international and EU policies.


Under “Relevant Department commitments”

Work to secure agreement on a new global market-based measure to tackle carbon emissions from international aviation.

 

https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/DFT-sustainability-overview-briefing-for-EAC.pdf

 

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Research sets out clearly how the need to take climate change seriously rules out any new UK runway

A new research study by the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) shows that the need to take climate change seriously rules out any new runway – at Heathrow or at Gatwick. The study, commissioned by GACC, particularly shows that, for the UK to play its part in making December’s Paris Agreement on climate work, must mean cancelling plans for a new UK runway. The Airports Commission’s work shows they were well aware of the problem of UK aviation emissions exceeding their cap level of 37.5MtCO2 per year, but this was brushed under the carpet. Even with no new runway, while all other industries in the UK are – by law – due to decrease their CO2 emissions by 85% on average (by 2050 compared to their 1990 level), aviation is permitted to increase its pollution by 120%. If a new runway is built, that would be even higher.  The hope of an effective world-wide CO2 emissions trading scheme succeeding in limiting emissions looks impossible to achieve. Big tax increases on flights, in order to limit demand when there has been expansion with a new runway, would be political dynamite. Limiting growth at regional airports, to permit full use of a new south east runway, would not be helpful to the regions. “It is time for the Government to stand up to the lobbying by the aviation industry, and tell them that there will be no new runway.” A new runway means storing up unnecessary problems in future. 
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Climate Rules Out Runway

3.5.2016

By GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign

The need to take climate change seriously rules out any new runway – at Heathrow or at Gatwick. That is the conclusion of a new research study published by GACC.

Written by Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director of the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), “Gatwick in perspective: Climate Change and a new Runway” shows that the agreement in Paris last December by all the nations of the world to put tougher limits on climate change, must mean cancelling plans for a new runway.

‘If we are to prevent great climate disasters in future,’ said Cait, ‘we have got to slow down the growth in air travel. Big tax increases would be political dynamite, and the alternative of an effective world-wide emissions trading scheme looks impossible to achieve. In an old phrase it’s just pie in the sky.’

The research study shows how every other industry in the UK is – by law –  due to decrease their CO2 emissions by – 85% on average, but that aviation is permitted to increase their pollution in the sky by + 120% (by 2050 compared to 1990 level).  If a new runway is built it would be even higher.

GACC chairman, Brendon Sewill, commented: ‘In 2010 new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick were ruled out by the Government on the grounds of climate change, but more recently this crucial issue has been ignored in all the debate about runways. It is time for the Government to stand up to the lobbying by the aviation industry, and tell them that there will be no new runway.’

Author Cait added: ‘If we go ahead with building a new runway we will be storing up serious trouble for future generations.’

The research study is number 4 in the new series being published by GACC. Previous studies have been on Ambient Noise, Paying for a New Gatwick Runway, and Gatwick and Tax. They are available on www.gacc.org.uk/research-studies

See study:   “Gatwick in perspective: Climate Change and a new Runway.”  (12 pages)

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For further information contact
Cait Hewitt at 07966 461 955  or  Brendon Sewill at 01293 863369

http://www.gacc.org.uk/resources/Climate%20press%20release.pdf


The study’s conclusion states:

Conclusion

The Climate Change Act commits the UK to cutting emissions by 80% by 2050. The Government’s official climate watchdog has specified that in order to meet this economy-wide target, emissions from flights departing from the UK can be no higher than 37.5 Mt CO2 – equivalent to a quarter of UK emissions by 2050. This represents a minimum level of ambition and the target should probably in fact be tightened both to allow for aviation’s non-CO2 impacts and to meet the ambition of the December 2015 climate agreement in Paris.

But none of the official bodies you might expect to be overseeing delivery of the target – the Committee on Climate Change, the Government or the Airports Commission – has ever set out a plan for doing so, and emissions are currently set to overshoot their maximum level even without airport expansion. The Commission’s argument that a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick is theoretically compatible with the target conceals the fact that in reality it would be impossible to achieve.

With all countries now committed to CO2 limitations, aviation emissions are likely to come under increasing scrutiny. But the current plan for a global measure to limit emissions falls a long way short of the action needed to tackle the UK’s significant aviation CO2 challenge and, even if successful, will need to be complemented by other measures. Saying no to new runways is the obvious first step towards ensuring that the UK avoids locking itself into carbon intensive infrastructure and instead makes investment choices that help to deliver a low carbon economy.

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The section on the Airports Commission states:

The runways debate and the work of the Airports Commission

The last Labour Government ended up with a policy of theoretical support for Heathrow expansion, together with proposed environmental conditions that would in fact have ruled out any aircraft actually using the new runway. In the run-up to the 2010 election, both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, in contrast, adopted clear party policy opposing new runways anywhere in the South East and when the Coalition formed in 2010 it adopted policy that no new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted would be pursued during its term of government.

A new aviation policy was drawn up on the basis that, as argued by the Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond, “The previous government’s 2003 White Paper, The Future of Air Transport, is fundamentally out of date, because it fails to give sufficient weight to the challenge of climate change. In maintaining its support for new runways – in particular at Heathrow – in the face of the local environmental impacts and mounting evidence of aviation’s growing contribution towards climate change, the previous government got the balance wrong. It failed to adapt its policies to the fact that climate change has become one of the gravest threats we face.”

But the new policy avoided specific mention of runways, and pressure quickly re-emerged for a review of the Government’s position. The Government’s solution was to set up the Airports Commission, headed by economist Sir Howard Davies, to review the question of whether new airport capacity was required in order to maintain the UK’s hub status.

The Commission’s brief made no explicit mention of climate change and did not ask whether a new runway would be compatible with climate objectives. And while in theory the Commission could have advised against expansion, in reality the setting of a two year timetable in which the first year was to address the question of ‘whether’ and the second year the question of ‘where’ left no opportunity to conclude that the answer was no new runways. But to be taken seriously it would need to give the impression of having carefully considered all environmental impacts associated with its final recommendation.

The Airports Commission’s approach on climate change was threefold:

1. Minimise the problem. The Commission conducted its own CO2 forecasting that reduced the scale of the emissions challenge. An aircraft efficiency improvement of 1.1% per annum was adopted, and passenger growth levels for regional airports were downgraded significantly compared with the latest Government forecast.

2. Assume that someone else solves the problem. The Commission constructed a model under which someone, presumably the Government, was assumed to have devised a policy to actually enforce a carbon cap. It then assessed what theoretical pattern of passenger demand would follow. Because CO2 is forecast to exceed the level of the carbon cap even in the ‘no new runway’ baseline, the only way to make room for a runway’s worth of emissions would be to restrict growth at other airports. Unsurprisingly, in the Commission’s theoretical ‘carbon capped’ model, building a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick meant that demand was lower in every UK region aside from London and the South East compared to a ‘no new runway’ scenario. This information, however, is entirely at odds with the Commission’s narrative about a new runway being good for the whole of the country and was left hidden in the modelling.

How, though, would such a scenario come about? Would the Government introduce retrospective planning controls on all these airports? Would it introduce large price hikes on tickets? For its interim report, the Commission estimated that imposing a carbon price of £600 per tonne in order to deliver a carbon cap would mean adding £43 to short-haul fares and £205 to long-haul fares. But how such a carbon price or tax would be introduced, the Commission argued, was for the Government to decide. While the Airports Commission set out some theoretical options in a technical paper ‘Carbon Policy Sensitivity Test’ (raising the carbon price, increasing biofuel use, and introducing various operational measures such as slower aircraft cruise) these proposals were unconvincing,13 and none of them made it into the report’s final recommendations.

3. Suggest that the problem does not need solving anyway. The Commission also presented an alternative model under which aviation’s CO2 impacts are allowed to overshoot the carbon cap. This was cleverly labelled the ‘carbon traded’ model, giving the impression that it represented an alternative policy approach for managing aviation emissions. But in fact there is little evidence to suggest that carbon trading in isolation – even if it is extended to cover all aviation emissions – will be able to meet the climate challenge, as discussed below.

What the Commission was of course unable to do was to show how a new runway could in reality be compatible with the Climate Change Act. But by using the words carbon and climate change often enough, while also recommending expansion, the impression was created that somehow climate change impacts had been dealt with and accounted for.

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GACC research studies – (more will be published in due course)

 

1.  Ambient Noise.  A study of the importance of taking background noise into account when assessing the number of people likely to be affected by noise from a new runway.

Read research study.  And press release.

2.  Paying for a new Gatwick Runway A new runway will mean 100% increase in airport charges.  And that may cause some airlines to move to Stansted or Luton.  Read research study and press release.

3. Gatwick Airport and Tax.  Shows how Gatwick earns large profits but pays no corporation tax.

Read research study.  And press release.

4. Climate Change and a New Runway.  The Agreement reached in Paris in December 2015 by all nations rules out any new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow.

Read research study and press release.

 

 

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NGOs call on ICAO not to use REDD+ carbon credits – forests & soils cannot offset aviation CO2

The organisation, FERN* has published a letter signed by around 82 environmental NGOs around the world, calling on the global aviation sector through ICAO to actually reduce carbon emissions, rather than just the proposed use of carbon offsetting. The NGOs say plans to offset most of the sector’s growth in emissions are a significant distraction from real measures to reduce aviation emissions.  Under business-as-usual, aviation is projected to increase emissions by between 300 – 700% by 2050, despite only being used by well below 10% of the world’s population. The NGOs are particularly concerned that carbon offsets that are inappropriate and unreliable would be used, as  ICAO is considering a carbon offset system called REDD+ (‘Reduce Deforestation from Deforestation and Forest Degradation’). The NGOs say REDD+ credits should not be used, as they do not even meet ICAO’s own standards, and include double counting. REDD+ projects that tackle the real drivers of large-scale deforestation – extraction of oil, coal, mining, infrastructure, large-scale dams, industrial logging and international trade in agricultural commodities – are largely absent. There is also a risk that agricultural offsets would favour large-scale farmers or monoculture farming practices. These are not suitable offsets for aviation.

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(* FERN’s website says about them that “Fern is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and a Dutch Stichting created in 1995 to keep track of the European Union’s involvement in forests and coordinate NGO activities at the European level. Our work centres on forests and forest peoples’ rights and the issues that affect them such as trade and investment and climate change.”)


 

Aviation industry’s offset plans distracts from urgent need to reduce emissions

4.4.2016

A group of around 80 environmental NGOs has called on the aviation sector to adopt a serious plan to address its impact on climate change, rather than the proposed use of carbon offsetting that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is planning to adopt. The NGOs say plans to offset most of the sector’s growth in emissions are a significant distraction from real measures to reduce aviation emissions.


 

Aviation industry’s offset plans distracts from urgent need to reduce emissions, say environmental NGOs

4th April, Brussels

As member countries of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the United Nations’ specialised aviation agency, gather in Utrecht to discuss ways to ‘offset’ emissions from the airline industry, 82 environmental NGOs from five continents are demanding that it adopts a serious plan to reduce emissions.

At its assembly in September 2016, the ICAO plans to adopt measures to achieve “carbon-neutral growth” from 2020. It proposes to achieve this through carbon offsetting via a global market based mechanism (GMBM). The statement says plans to offset a significant portion of the sector’s emissions through the GMBM are a significant distraction from the real measures that need to be taken to reduce aviation emissions.

Aviation is one of only two sectors worldwide with no targets to reduce emissions. Under business-as-usual, aviation is projected to increase emissions by between 300 and 700 per cent by 2050, despite only being used by 3-7 per cent of the world’s population.

The meeting in Utrecht on 4 and 5 April is part of ICAO’s Global Aviation Dialogue to consult members on the design of the GMBM. [global market based mechanism]

Monika Lege from Robin Wood, a signatory of the statement, says: “The proposal to offset emissions to achieve Carbon Neutral Growth is unsuitable.  German NGOs are instead proposing a global tax on CO2 equivalents that should be introduced globally.”

Since particular interest is being paid to land- and forest-based offsets, the statement emphasises that forests and land do not offset continued fossil fuel emissions. Hannah Mowat, land and climate campaigner from Fern, says: “ICAO’s own standards rule forests and land offsets out from the start, because they need to be permanent emissions reductions, which is impossible to prove for forests because the removals are reversible.”

Furthermore, ICAO’s standards preclude double-counting of offset credits, particularly difficult where forests are concerned as these are typically already included in national greenhouse gas balance sheets, through countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

ICAO standards also require offsets to ‘do no harm’. Given the countless stories of social conflict due to people being denied access to their land and restricting their traditional use of forests, airlines must think twice about the likely damage to communities – and hence their reputation.

“While the aviation industry dithers, the pace of climate change quickens,” adds Isaac Rojas from Friends of the Earth International. “With only six years left until our cumulative emissions put the 1.5-degree temperature target out of reach, proposing to offset emissions is risible. There is real urgency to reduce emissions.”

For more information, please contact:

Hannah Mowat, +32 485 025 432, hannah@fern.org

Monika Lege, Robin Wood, +49 40 380 892 12, monika.lege@robinwood.de


82 signatory organisations:
(in many countries across the world)

 


The part of the briefing on REDD [‘Reduce Deforestation from Deforestation and Forest Degradation’] says:

“Fraudulent sales of carbon credits as investments have swindled many vulnerable pensioners out of their life savings. As a result of the experience with the CDM as well as controversies and scandals around carbon offset projects in the voluntary carbon markets, the world’s largest offset market, the EU Emissions Trading System, has officially banned the use of offset credits to meet the EU emission targets post 2020.

This will no doubt lead to serious reputational issues since a significant number of offset projects, particularly from offsets that aim to ‘Reduce Deforestation from Deforestation and Forest Degradation’ (REDD+) face local opposition and are challenged over wrongly blaming peasant farming practises and forest use by indigenous peoples for deforestation while being silent about the real causes of large-scale forest destruction.

Forests and soils do not offset fossil fuel emissions

Land-based carbon offsets, such as from REDD+ type projects or from agriculture are particularly contentious, with greater risks for the climate.

By nature, REDD+ projects place restrictions on existing land use – that is how they generate the carbon savings sold as offset credit. Because the large majority of REDD+ projects (wrongly) blames deforestation on small-scale peasant farming, in particular where it involves shifting cultivation, such restrictions have a detrimental impact on peasant livelihoods and forest peoples’ way of life.

By contrast, REDD+ projects that tackle the real drivers of large-scale deforestation – extraction of oil, coal, mining, infrastructure, large-scale dams, industrial logging and international trade in agricultural commodities – are by and large [largely] absent.

With the challenges of counting emissions reductions and distributing offset payments to multiple small-scale farmers, there is a risk that agricultural offsets would favour large-scale farmers or monoculture farming practices, creating one more driver of land dispossession of smallholder farmers, particularly in the Global South.

Offset credits from forest conservation, tree plantation or soil carbon sequestration carry the additional risk of becoming null and void when wildfires, storms or natural decay cause uncontrollable release of carbon stored in the trees, soils or other natural habitats. This is one of the reasons why the CDM excludes all offset categories related to forest or agriculture land use except for afforestation, reforestation and biomass energy projects.

Even then, credits from these tree planting offset projects are sold as temporary carbon credits that need to be bought again in a matter of years because credits from tree planting projects cannot be considered to permanently store carbon.

In short, land-based offset credits are controversial, and experience from REDD+ has shown that certification standards or safeguards cannot prevent conflicts.

We, the undersigned, call on the members of ICAO to ensure measures adopted at the 39th ICAO meeting will make an adequate and fair contribution to the global effort to limit global warming to well-below 2 degrees Celsius. Any measure adopted at the 39th ICAO meeting must make a serious proposal to reduce emissions. It must also exclude land based offset credits, such as REDD+ type projects for the reasons given in this letter.

The statement is available at: www.fern.org/ICAO

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US and China will sign the Paris deal – raising hopes for ICAO agreement on MBM in September

China and the US, the world’s two leading carbon polluters, have said they plan to formally join the Paris climate agreement in April. In a joint statement, they agreed to sign the historic deal to cut CO2 emissions and take “respective domestic steps” to approve it as “early as possible this year.” They also urge other nations to follow suit. The support from these two means the Paris deal is closer to coming into force. Over 55% of global carbon emissions and 55 countries must formally join for the Paris Agreement to apply from 2020. China and the US account for about 40%. The US Environmental Defense Fund said that support this year for a global market-based measure to address greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation is also very important. “A strong agreement at the 2016 ICAO Assembly is one of the top global priorities for climate change this year — and a key part of President Obama’s legacy.” They hope the Chinese and US commitment may encourage other countries in ICAO to act, and open a pathway to resolving the key question of how to share, fairly, the responsibilities for offsetting future aviation emissions. There are only 190 days till the conclusion of the ICAO Assembly in Montreal.
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US-China announcement significant step toward turning promise of Paris into reality

March 31, 2016

By the Environmental Defense Fund – in the USA

“This announcement is the latest confirmation that the world’s two largest economies and two largest emitters are committed to working together in the fight against climate change.

“U.S.-China cooperation was critical to reaching the landmark climate agreement in Paris last December — and will be equally crucial to implementing it. By announcing they will sign the Paris Agreement next month in New York, and urging other nations to follow their lead, the two countries are taking a significant step toward turning the promise of Paris into reality.

“Equally important is the support for other multilateral efforts, in particular the adoption this year of a global market-based measure to address greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation. A strong agreement at the 2016 International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly is one of the top global priorities for climate change this year — and a key part of President Obama’s legacy. Today’s renewed sign of commitment from the U.S. and China should strengthen the resolve of other countries in ICAO — and open a pathway to resolving the key question of how to share, fairly, the responsibilities for offsetting future aviation emissions. The clock is ticking, with only 190 days left until the conclusion of the ICAO Assembly in Montreal.”

Nathaniel Keohane, Vice President, Global Climate, Environmental Defense Fund

https://www.edf.org/media/us-china-announcement-significant-step-toward-turning-promise-paris-reality

Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.

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US and China to sign Paris climate deal in April

Countries responsible for 40% of world’s carbon emissions to formally approve historic pact and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5C, reports Climate Home

By Alex Pashley for Climate Home, part of the Guardian Environment Network

Friday 1 April 2016 (Guardian)

China and the United States, the world’s two leading carbon polluters, said on Thursday they planned to formally join the Paris climate agreement in 2016.

In a joint statement, the major powers agreed to sign the historic deal to cut carbon emissions at a UN ceremony in April, and take “respective domestic steps” to approve it as “early as possible this year.”

The countries’ support brings the pact struck last December much closer to coming into force, and marking their commitment to drive efforts to slash greenhouse gases.

Over 55% of global carbon emissions and 55 countries must formally join for it to apply from 2020. China and the US account for about 40%.

Brian Deese, special adviser on climate change to President Obama said swift approval would keep efforts to curb emissions on track.

“The two largest economies and two largest emitters are saying we are not going to wait, not just sign on the first day, but join much more quickly than has been historical practice,” he told a press briefing.

Coming on the sidelines of a nuclear summit in Washington DC, the announcement also stated a commitment to clinch agreements to phase down super-warming gases and on aviation emissions.

A US-China deal struck in September 2014 is credited with igniting momentum on climate change in the build-up to Paris. China committed to peak its emissions “around 2030”, while the US pledged a 26-28% cut by 2025 compared with 2005 levels.

Deese dismissed concerns that the stalled nature of the US’ flagship climate policy, the clean power plan, would erode trust in its ability to meet its commitments.

And with a slew of climate records broken in recent months, outgoing US climate envoy Todd Stern said speed was now essential. “Paris gives us a chance, it puts us on the right path … There’s no time to lose,” he said.

Liz Gallagher, head of climate diplomacy at UK advocacy group E3G said the relationship was instrumental in securing a strong outcome in Paris.

“It’s fantastic that this relationship is continuing. They won’t be the first off the starting blocks, as Fiji, Palau and the Marshall Islands are off,” she said.

“But China and the US are certainly the biggest and it really gets us over the first hurdle, we now need others to limber up and come on in.”

Alden Meyer, director of policy and strategy at the US Union for Concerned Scientists said: “Their joint commitment to join the Paris agreement ‘as early as possible this year’ sends a strong signal to other countries, as does the mention of continuing efforts by both countries to steer investment flows away from carbon-intensive technologies like coal.

“Given China’s current leadership role in the G20, the call for “strong climate and clean energy outcomes” at the Hangzhou summit in September is also significant, though much work remains to be done to achieve those outcomes.”

Greenpeace China climate policy analyst Li Shuo welcomed the countries’ cooperation on efforts to regulate aviation emissions ahead of a crunch meeting in Montreal in September.

“Challenging questions in the Montreal process, ICAO’s effort to regulate emissions from international aviation, and the G20 can not be unlocked without close cooperation between China and the US. We look forward to see this bilateral relationship contributing to these processes in the same way it helped to achieve the successful outcome of the Paris agreement.”

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http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/01/us-and-china-to-sign-paris-climate-deal-in-april

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