According to UK air traffic services provider NATS, the environmental and operational efficiency of UK airspace improved during the first half of this year. However, it faces a challenge to meet a new tighter year-end target set by the CAA. In 2012, NATS was set an incentivised efficiency performance target (called 3Di -meaning 3 dimensional inefficiency) by the CAA. Its aim is to get the most direct and most fuel efficient routes, saving aircraft having to stack, and cutting fuel use and CO2 emissions. Each flight is given a score of its efficiency, with zero being best. Most flights typically score between 15 and 35. This year the CAA set NATS an overall target of 23. Their score was 23.7 in 2013 and a score of 23.9 in 2012. NATS says it it achieves its target scores over 3 years, planes will have saved around 600,000 tonnes of CO2 will have been saved. As well as CDA (continuous descent approach) landings, smoother take-offs, and flying at the optimum level. NATS is straightening flight paths. Their 3Di scores to not take account of the noise nuisance, and there are fears that some new flight path changes, helping NATS meet their target, are creating more noise from over-flying new areas.
NATS says of 3Di:
“The flight efficiency metric, known as 3Di, forms the cornerstone of a new incentive regime which is designed to deliver 600,000 tonnes of CO2 savings over the next three years, worth up to £120m in today’s fuel prices.
The introduction of the metric follows several years of developmental work by NATS in consultation with airline customers and the UK’s specialist aviation regulator, the CAA. The 3Di metric will help air traffic control route flight paths as close to the environmental optimum as possible by accurately measuring the efficiency of each flight in UK airspace.”
UK airspace environmental and operational efficiency continues to improve but NATS faces challenge
15 Aug 2014 (Greenair Online)
According to UK air traffic services provider NATS, the environmental and operational efficiency of UK airspace improved during the first half of this year. However, it faces a challenge to meet a new tighter year-end target set by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
In 2012, NATS became the first ANSP [Air Navigation Service Provider] to be set an incentivised efficiency performance target by its regulatory authority [the CAA].
NATS measures the route and trajectory of every aircraft flight within UK airspace using its three-dimensional inefficiency (3Di) metric, with each flight compared to a scale where zero represents total environmental efficiency. Most flights typically score between 15 and 35. During the January to June 2014 period, NATS achieved a rolling average score of 23.3, lower than the score of 23.7 for 2013 but higher than the 2014 target of 23 set by the CAA.
In the first year of the performance index, 2012, NATS achieved a 3Di score of 23.9 against a target of 24. If NATS achieves its target scores over the three-year period, around 600,000 tonnes of CO2 will have been saved.
“We’ve seen a gradual reduction in 3Di scores so far this year, demonstrating that UK airspace efficiency is improving, but we still have more to do to achieve the CAA’s target value by the end of the year,” commented Ian Jopson, NATS’ Head of Environmental Affairs.
“We’re currently focusing on a number of small scale airspace changes, as well as extending the flexible use of airspace with military users and further improvements in continuous descent approaches.”
According to NATS, its air traffic controllers can help earn a lower 3Di score by providing direct routes, smooth continuous climbs and descents, and optimum flight levels. Factors that can negatively affect the score include the weather, the volume of flights within the network and limited runway capacity leading to aircraft holding.
NATS – Environmental Performance
NATS reports 800,000 tonnes of carbon savings over five years since launching its environmental programme
This NATS webpage states:
The commentary includes :
Last year NATS made significant steps towards reducing arrival holding through the implementation of a descent speed trial. Reducing holding by slowing aircraft down en route reduces the need for aircraft to ‘hold’ close to an airport, circling, burning extra fuel and generating more emissions. As a result of this activity, and over 75 other airspace efficiency initiatives, flight profiles improved during 2013, resulting in a reduction in 3Di Scores.
NATS is focusing its efforts on delivering improved airspace efficiency in order to achieve its tougher 3Di targets for the end of 2014. We are now embarking on:
- A number of small scale airspace changes
- Extending the flexible use of airspace with military airspace users
- Further improvements in continuous descent approaches
- Additional procedures and tactical changes to deliver optimised trajectories
- Environmentally focused network management improvements
Despite these measures, meeting our new tighter 3Di target by the end of this year will take significant effort and innovative thinking drawing on all the knowledge and expertise of our front-line operational staff.”
[There is no mention of noise, at all, on this page].
An AirportWatch member comments:
I wonder if the “small scale airspace changes” include things like cutting the corner to overfly Warnham ?
A quick skim through the NATS report shows it is evident that they are heavily incentivised to score well in the 3Di metric for environmental performance. But the metric includes nothing about noise impacts – it is all about fuel saving. So the airspace changes they are forcing through will boost the NATS bonus at the expense of noise hell for people below.
NATS needs to address the noise issue too. They may only be persuaded to do this from pressure by the Government and CAA.
XMAN trial aims to cut LHR holding times
A new operational procedure to cut the amount of time aircraft circle in ‘holding stacks’ at London Heathrow Airport is set to begin today.
Traditionally NATS, the UK’s air traffic service provider, has only been able to influence an arriving aircraft’s approach to Heathrow once it enters UK airspace – sometimes only 80 miles from the airport. This limits the opportunity to manage the flow of traffic and can result in additional time spent in the holding stacks.
From today, if delays in the Heathrow holding stacks begin to build, air traffic controllers in the Netherlands, France, Scotland and Ireland will be asked to slow down aircraft up to 350 miles away from London to help minimise delays on arrival.
The trial is being led by NATS in close cooperation with French air traffic control provider, DSNA, the Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre and Prestwick Control Centre, with the aim of cutting average holding times by at least a quarter from the current time of just under 8 minutes.
In a pre-trial test of the system, the first ever live data – flight BAW74 – was passed between NATS and French air traffic controllers at DSNA’s Reims control centre in the early hours of 21 March 2014.
Martin Rolfe, managing director, operations at NATS, commented: “This is the first cross border arrivals management – or XMAN – trial of its kind anywhere in the world and a great example of partnership working for the benefit of our customers and a potential future model for the industry. We expect the trial to be a significant benefit to our airline customers in terms of fuel savings.”
“Slowing aircraft down during the en-route phase of flight when they are much higher will save fuel and CO2emissions, while reducing the impact of noise for those living under the holding stacks in the south east of England.”
Maurice Georges, DSNA chief executive officer, added: “I am pleased with this collaboration between NATS and DSNA on this ambitious project in the FABEC development. Our operational teams are very enthusiastic.”
Gerald Regniaud, Project Leader for Reims Area Control Centre, explained: “A dedicated HMI has been specifically developed to display London-Heathrow Arrival Management Information directly at the Control Working Position. Thus, from 350Nm out of the runway, when aircraft are still at cruising level, they will have their speed controlled in order to absorb up to 3 minutes of delay”.
The trial, which is a partnership between members of FABEC and the UK/Ireland FAB, will run until the end of 2014.
An AirportWatch member commented:
It appears that the XMAN trial is having benefits in reducing holding which will have its effect on 3Di. People in some parts of west London are not noticing anything like the number of de-alternated planes using the wrong, mixed-mode runway. This means that people have the impression that respite is working better, and people are not being annoyed by planes landing on the “wrong” runway, disturbing their quiet period.
Another bit of good news was hidden inhttps://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/216509/response/541878/attach/3/140721%20heathrow%20airsapce%20trials%20EIR%20email%20final.pdf“…a decision has been taken at the Heathrow Noise and Air Quality Steering Group to remove the Phase 2 of the Departure Enhancement Project Heathrow Easterly Package (HEP). This means that there will be no trial of a Detling RNAV SID, which intended to replicate a track similar to Operational Freedom.”Bits of south-west London may breathe more happily. The grounds for the change in plan are not given. Was it thought that there were no great benefits ? Or was Heathrow worried that another Warnham-type furore in Wimbledon and Wandsworth would occur at the wrong time for the next phase of the Airports Commission work ? Still a new concentrated straight-line Dover/Detling RNAV route will be tried for westerly departures – but it will be higher and routed a bit further away from Central London and may have less impact.
Ian Jopson, of NATS, explains their new technology to reduce aircraft emissions at landing and take off
4.4.2013NATS, the body that deals with UK air traffic control, has been attempting to reduce aircraft fuel consumption and carbon emissions by getting planes to take more direct routes, and land and take off at a continuous rate. They have devised a programme they call Flight Profile Monitor, which helps them achieve this. It uses radar data to monitor the 3 dimensional flight profiles of individual aircraft and to then record which of those were achieving smooth, continuous climbs and descents. Ian Jopson from NATS claims that from a 12 month trial last year between NATS, BMi, BMi Regional, Loganair, easyJet, Ryanair and Edinburgh Airport they achieved a saving of “at least 800 tonnes of CO2 and 250 tonnes of fuel” (tiny in comparison with the UK total). This was done by analysing each flight to see where savings could be made. They got a 20% increase in continuous descent landings, to around 55%. They also got around 95% with a continuous climb rate. NATS hopes to get more savings in future.
NATS meets its target in 2012 to organise UK airspace to save planes wasting fuel
Edit this entry.NATS – which provides air traffic navigation services for the UK – says it has met its target for 2012, in terms of organising airspace to minimise the amount of fuel burnt by aircraft, and hence their CO2 emissions. Its scheme, called 3Di, aims to keep planes flying optimally in terms of both their height, the amount of level flight, and the distance they have to travel. The ideal is for planes to land directly, on a straight line, coming down by continuous descent approach. With the airspace over much of the UK being some of the most crowded in the world, such an ideal is not always possible. Each flight gets a 3Di score, and then NATS gets a total score for the year. If NATS meets a 3Di score each year of 24, it meets its requirements. If the score is over 27, it gets penalised. If below 21, NATS gets bonuses. In 2012 its score was 23.9.
NATS has data on its first 6 months of new flight efficiency metric, 3Di
3.8.2012NATS has released data from the first 6 months of operation of its new metric to reduce aircraft emissions of planes in UK airspace, through improved efficiency of airspace management and flight path directness. The metric is called 3Di. Flights are given a score depending on how fuel efficient their course has been, by continuous climb departures, cruise levels as requested by airspace users and continuous descents, as well as most direct point-to-point routeings – ie. horizontal and vertical line. NATS claims the 3Di tool will give huge fuel savings, it ” is designed to deliver 600,000 tonnes of CO2 savings over the next 3 years – the equivalent to 10,000 flights from London to New York.” The challenge for NATS is sorting out direct flight paths with a high volume of flights and limited runway capacity (at some times of day) at Heathrow, as well as bad weather.
Read more »
US conservation groups have filed a notice of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its perceived failure and unreasonable delay in addressing aviation’s growing emissions. The dispute goes back over 6 years to when the groups first petitioned EPA to carry out a mandatory duty under the Clean Air Act to determine whether aircraft emissions cause or contribute to air pollution “that may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare”. The mandate was upheld in a court ruling in July 2011, and in 2012 EPA acknowledged its obligation to conduct an endangerment finding and indicated it would begin work. However it has not yet done anything. EPA said it would “review and respond accordingly” to the notice but that it was currently working through ICAO on an international CO2 efficiency standard for new aircraft types. But green NGOs are sceptical of this process, and its chance of making any significant cut in overall emissions. The move was supported by European group, T& E who commented that the amount of aviation emissions in the US is huge and “their effective regulation is long overdue.”
US conservation groups to sue EPA over delays in finding aviation emissions an endangerment to health
Thurs 21 Aug 2014 (Green Air online)
Conservation groups have filed a notice of intent to sue the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a perceived failure and unreasonable delay by the government agency in addressing aviation’s growing aviation emissions. The dispute goes back over six years to when the groups first petitioned EPA to carry out a mandatory duty under the Clean Air Act to determine whether greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from aircraft engines cause or contribute to air pollution “that may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare”. The mandate was upheld in a court ruling in July 2011, and in 2012 EPA acknowledged its obligation to conduct an endangerment finding and indicated it would begin work, but has yet to take any steps in the rulemaking process. EPA said it would “review and respond accordingly” to the notice but that it was currently working through ICAO on an international CO2 efficiency standard for new type aircraft.
The 180-day notice was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth, which is being represented by Earthjustice. In their letter of notice to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the organisations point out EPA has found GHG emissions do indeed endanger public health and welfare, and had taken action to regulate them from other sources, including motor vehicles.
They add aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of CO2 pollution, accounting for around 11% of CO2 emissions from the US transportation sector and rising at three to five per cent a year. “Because of the significant role that aircraft play in global climate change, and in light of the exponential growth projected in air travel, the United States must lead the way in regulating global warming pollutants from these sources,” said the letter.
Commented Martin Wagner, an Earthjustice managing attorney: “There is a real opportunity to curb global warming pollution from the airline industry. But the industry won’t do it on its own. EPA must act now to ensure that the airline industry operates more efficiently to play its part in protecting our families, our communities and the environment from the devastating effects of climate change.”
The move was supported by European NGO Transport & Environment (T&E). “We welcome this action by US civil society,” said its Aviation Programme Manager, Bill Hemmings. “North American domestic aviation CO2 emissions alone exceed all the rest of the world’s domestic emissions combined, so their effective regulation is long overdue.”
A spokesperson for EPA told GreenAir: “As the suit is received, EPA will review and respond accordingly.”
She added in a statement: “EPA has been publicly working on the development of international CO2 standards for four years at ICAO, which are expected to be finalised in early 2016. If these international standards were to be incorporated domestically, EPA would first need to propose an endangerment finding for aircraft GHGs under the Clean Air Act.
“Right now, the Agency is taking action on climate change by implementing the President’s Climate Action Plan and taking on the largest sources of carbon pollution first. We have already put in place light duty vehicle standards for GHG emissions and now are working on a second round of standards for heavy duty vehicles. We are also in the process of finalising standards for power plants, the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States.”
Work towards approval of a CO2 certification standard for new types of aircraft is ongoing in ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP), which is currently preparing a cost-effectiveness analysis of various levels of stringency. It is expected to reach a recommendation that will be approved at the February 2016 CAEP meeting, before consideration and adoption by the governing ICAO Council.
“We are pleased that EPA and the Federal Aviation Administration are actively participating in the ICAO work,” a spokesperson for US airline association Airlines for America (A4A) told GreenAir. “In light of US airlines’ strong record of fuel efficiency and carbon emissions reduction, and EPA’s direct role in the ICAO work, threats to sue EPA to force additional regulatory action are unnecessary.
“Our global coalition supports agreement at ICAO to develop a CO2 certification standard for new type aircraft to be approved in 2016 and to work on a potential global market-based measure to serve as a ‘gap-filler’ should we not be able to achieve carbon neutral growth from 2020 through concerted industry and government investments in technology, operations and infrastructure.”
Environmental NGOs also support the development of an international CO2 standard but have been critical of the process so far. T&E’s Hemmings said the standard had little prospect of reducing emissions beyond what would have been achieved without regulation. “This is because ICAO intends to limit the standard’s stringency to 2016 technologies operational in 2020, which will largely have been overtaken by the time the standard takes effect,” he maintained. “Efficiency standards have played an important role in reducing emissions in other transport sectors and their role is even more important in aviation.”
Against an ICAO annual global efficiency improvement goal of 2% – the industry has committed to a lower 1.5% target through until 2020 – T&E claims the historical industry trend of aircraft efficiency improvement is showing a declining rate and is currently around 0.6% per year.
A4A points out US airlines improved their fuel efficiency by 120% between 1978 and 2013, saving in the process 3.6 billion tonnes of CO2, and in 2013 carried 17% more passengers and cargo than in 2000 while emitting 8% less CO2.
Dan Rutherford of US-headquartered environmental research non-profit International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) agrees – up to a point. “The fuel efficiency of US domestic operations improved strongly from 1990 to 2008 – an average of 3% per year – due to improvements in new aircraft efficiency and rising load factors.”
However, he added in a blog posted in May: “In recent years, gains from new aircraft in the United States have fallen, raising the risk that efficiency improvements will stall completely as the marginal gains of filling every available seat drop off.
“We first identified the trend of falling improvement for new equipment back in 2009. It’s driven by a lack of new types and by prioritisation of aircraft performance, notably range and speed, over fuel burn improvements. Due to the time lag between new aircraft delivery and penetration into the in-use fleet, this slowdown is now evident at the airline level.
“Since that 2009 report, new aircraft types like the 787-8 have been brought into service, and manufacturers have announced a number of project aircraft – for example the A320neo, 737 MAX and 777X – that may eventually start to reverse this trend.”
Friends of the Earth analyst John Kaltenstein said: “As time runs out to head off global warming’s worst effects, President Obama has to push the aviation industry to cut carbon pollution. Airlines can clearly operate much more efficiently but federal rules are critical to reducing their dangerous emissions.
Letter of notice to EPA (PDF)
Friends of the Earth
Center for Biological Diversity
Environmental Protection Agency
Airlines for America (A4A)
Transport & Environment
International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)
Read more »
Airports tend to be inefficient buildings which use a lot of energy, mainly for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). Energy used for HVAC can be half of the total airport use. A European programme hopes to get European airports to cut their HVAC energy consumption by 20%, over 3 years, largely by using better fault detection and diagnostics, with an energy action plan based on the international management standard ISO 50001. They hope to detect if equipment is on when it is not needed, when the settings are wrong, poor positioning of sensors and poor maintenance. Airport buildings are vast, especially with the extra space given over to lucrative retail – the sheer scale means high energy use to keep the temperature correct. An EU study shows the 500 airports in the 28 European member states emit as much CO2 as a city of 50 million people. As the industry intends to grow at a fast rate, pressure is bound to grow on airports to improve the energy performance. Two Italian airports, Fiumicino in Rome and Malpensa in Milan, are being used as pilots to see if the scheme would work. The energy use of airports, and their CO2 emissions, are part of the total emissions of the aviation industry.
By Paul Brown (Climate News Network)
Airports are disastrously inefficient buildings which belch greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and contribute hugely to climate change, a European study has found.
LONDON, 7 August – Airlines are under increasing pressure to use more efficient aircraft to reduce the damage the industry is doing to the planet as it continues to grow.
In its defence the industry says it produces only 2% of the world’s carbon dioxide, and 12% of the total from the transport industry, and that it is therefore a tiny problem compared with private cars which produce 74% of transport’s CO2.
But in this battle of statistics the role of airports, the vast air-conditioned waiting rooms and shopping malls containing thousands of waiting passengers, has not so far been taken into account.
Now a European Union study has shown that Europe’s 500 airports in the 28 member countries together emit as much CO2 as a city of 50 million people.
The paper says airport buildings are disastrously inefficient structures which produce large quantities of greenhouse gases. Big airports each have emissions equal those of a city of 100,000 people.
With new airports and vast terminals being built across the planet at an ever-increasing rate to provide for booming international tourism as well as business travel, pressure is bound to grow on the industry to improve its performance.
In a bid to try to curb the problem the EU has begun a three-year programme costing more than €3 million (US$4m) to try to get the continent’s largest airports to be less wasteful of energy. The plan is to cut emissions by 20% over the period the programme runs.
Cheap and easy
The problem is the heating, ventilation and air conditioning plants which consume half the energy used in each airport. The EU’s solution is to use computers to control the plants so that faults are detected immediately and waste is kept to a minimum by careful management.
Two Italian airports, Fiumicino in Rome and Malpensa in Milan, used by 55 million people a year, agreed to act as pilots to see if the scheme would work.
The engineers concentrated on the large air conditioning units, chiller plants and cooling towers at the airports. They found equipment running when it was not needed, incorrect heating and cooling settings, poor positioning of sensors and poor maintenance.
Just by simple inexpensive measures like re-setting heating controls and replacing faulty sensors, each airport could save 3,500 tonnes of CO2 and €70,000 a year, the study found.
The project coordinator, Nicolas Réhault, head of group building performance optimization at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg, Germany, said the same software could be applied to other complex buildings and save large quantities of energy and the subsequent emissions.
He explained: “Airports are very complex infrastructures. We have gained a lot of know-how on how these infrastructures work. This can be replicated to other highly complex buildings such as hospitals and banks. And it could be downscaled to simpler things, too.”
Already Airports Council International is so impressed by the results that it has undertaken to demonstrate the results of the pilot project to the biggest 400 of Europe’s airports in an attempt to get them to adopt the system.
The project will no doubt help the European Commission’s goals in reducing is overall carbon dioxide emissions. But this focus on airports’ wasteful use of energy will also increase pressure on the industry to improve its performance.
Already the simple use of quantities of emissions from each source – aircraft, trains and cars, for example – is not a fair comparison of their contribution to climate change. For example, aviation is said to be more damaging because its emissions are high in the atmosphere and cause contrails which trap heat.
Environmental groups are likely to factor in the role of airports in increasing emissions when lobbying governments to take some action on aviation in future climate talks. – Climate News Network
From the European Commission, CORDIS (Community Research and Development Research Service)
CASCADE: REDUCING ENERGY USE BY AIRPORTS
Airports are big energy consumers – and that’s before a plane takes off or lands. The daily electricity and thermal energy used by a large airport compares to that of a city of 100,000 people.
There are around 500 airports in the 28 European Union member states and even the smallest one consumes energy like there’s no tomorrow. The goal of the EU’s three-year CASCADE project – ICT for Energy Efficient Airports – is to help airport managers reduce their energy needs and cut the CO2 emissions caused specifically by their high-consuming heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) plants by 20 % in the short term.
The nine CASCADE partners , funded with EUR 2.6 million from the EC’s 7th Framework Programme , aim to do this by means of new software, coupled with an energy action plan based on the international management standard ISO 50001, and algorithms for fault detection and diagnostics. Using the CASCADE system, faults can be detected quickly and automatically before the systems are damaged or fail, or too much energy is wasted, and thus help airport maintenance teams implement corrective actions and improve the performance of equipment in the plants.
It’s perfect timing for airport managers, as they are under pressure to help the EU meet its 20-20-20 goals (one of them being to cut domestic emissions 20 % by 2020) by economizing in energy management. And for this they need tools which provide adequate support. CASCADE provides them with such a tool, integrating it with the existing ICT solutions already installed at airport facilities.
HVAC SYSTEMS CONSUME 50% OF ALL ENERGY AT AIRPORTS
Rome’s Fiumicino and Milan’s Malpensa airports, the two biggest in Italy, agreed to act as pilots, dedicating personnel and resources to the project. Some 55 million passengers use these airports every year. Around half of the energy they use is consumed by heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, so reducing this by 20% will significantly reduce overall energy consumption at the airports.
‘We are not targeting the whole airport infrastructure,’ said CASCADE coordinator Nicolas Réhault , head of group building performance optimization at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg, Germany. ‘Our objective is to save 20 % energy on these targeted systems by optimizing savings and with the knowledge we gain we then want to replicate the solution at other airports.
Focusing on the HVAC systems – especially the large air handling units, chiller plants and cooling towers the airports use – the project team installed hundreds of new sensors, meters and advanced data loggers at the two airports to step up measurement of parameters such as temperature, pressure, flow rates, electrical consumption, etc.
Engineers using this new measurement framework can control and benchmark equipment performance and optimize user behavior. Coupling this to fault detection tools, they have been able to root out problems in scheduling (equipment running when it’s not needed), incorrect heating and cooling settings in different areas of the airport, poor positioning of sensors or actuators, lack of calibration or maintenance, unbalanced pipe and duct systems, and so on.
After the first six months of the pilot phase, the CASCADE system has already detected some control and sensor faults in large air handling units that provide Fiumicino Terminal 1 with fresh air. Estimated savings of 500 MWh, which corresponds to about 3,500 tons of CO2 or 70 000 EUR a year, are achievable just by implementing low-investment measures like resetting the controls or replacing faulty sensors, the researchers found.
SOFTWARE COULD BE APPLIED TO OTHER COMPLEX BUILDINGS
Interest in the project has extended across the EU. Airports Council International has committed its support to the proposal by providing a channel to demonstrate the results to 400 of the 500 EU-28 airports. The CASCADE consortium hopes that through its network other airports will integrate the CASCADE software tool into their energy management plans.
There will be other applications for the CASCADE software, as Nicolas went on to explain. ‘Airports are very complex infrastructures. We have gained a lot of know-how on how these infrastructures work. This can be replicated to other highly complex buildings such as hospitals and banks. And it could be downscaled to simpler things, too.’
Read more »
An interesting, thought provoking article in The Conversation, looks at the way in which issues to do with reducing our desire for travel could be seen as “taboo.” For the EU, CO2 emissions from transport make up about 30% of the total. However, while the automotive and aviation industries try to convince us that technology will cut emissions, the growth in demand will far outweigh these small improvements. If politicians challenge our desire for ever more travel, they can be punished by powerful lobby groups, by peers, or at the ballot box. On air travel, a high proportion is done by the most wealthy. But the political classes and opinion formers are themselves in this category, of hypermobile people with a “distinct unwillingness among this section of society to fly less.” Increasing the cost of flying disproportionally affects lower income groups, yet does not seriously impede the mobility patterns of frequent-flying elite, who enjoy flights “subsidised through the exemption of international air travel from VAT.” The airline industry and its lobbyists work hard to instil the idea that “mobility is freedom”, and that to restrict such mobility through regulation is nothing short of an infringement of that liberty; another taboo.
Political taboos leave politicians unwilling to take steps to cut transport emissions
14.8.2014 (The Conversation)
Transportation continues to generate a large proportion of emissions worldwide, even as emissions from other areas of the economy fall. In the EU, transport accounts for around 30% of CO2 emissions, and is rising. It’s the transport sector that is set to derail the EU’s overall emission reduction objectives.
Globally, the number of cars is expected to double by 2035, and the air travel industry is expecting its passenger volumes to triple by 2050, yet there has been little political acknowledgement of this issue.
In the meantime, the airline and automobile industries go to great lengths to convince politicians and the public that technology alone can solve this problem, while the weight of scientific evidence suggests technology cannot rein in transport emissions sufficiently. There’s growing evidence to suggest we need tougher regulation on planes and cars, but there’s no political willingness to introduce restrictive policies.
Our research suggests policies that would support sustainable transport have been largely ignored by European policymakers because of a number of “transport taboos”. These are issues that constitute a fundamental barrier to implementing any significant transport-related climate policy, ignored because of their political risk. If politicians violate a norm by grappling with one of these hot potatoes – even if the science clearly supports it – they can be punished by powerful lobby groups, by peers, or at the ballot box.
In our paper , published in the Journal of Transport Geography, we identify a series of transport taboos. Aircraft and cars are the most important from an emissions perspective.
One example is from Germany: even though opinion polls are in favour of a speed limit on the autobahn, and the importance of speed limits for reducing carbon emissions is well documented, no party is willing to touch the issue because of the outrage that would ensue from car associations, manufacturers and some drivers.
Another taboo is the matter of who contributes to the volume of transport on our roads and in our skies. This is skewed heavily towards a small number of people, mostly from higher income classes, who are responsible for a large share of the overall distances travelled. This is particularly evident in the context of air travel. The travel patterns of the highly mobile need addressing, yet those from the political classes in power tend themselves to be included in this hypermobile group. Paradoxically the most environmentally aware are also among the most mobile, yet there is a distinct unwillingness among this section of society to fly less.
Tax the rich
A further taboo is that most measures to reduce transport emissions in the EU are market-based, and so will disproportionally affect the less wealthy. For instance, car taxes are based on the CO2 performance of individual models, but this does not take account of income inequalities. A SUV might use twice the amount of fuel as a small car and be taxed twice as much, but its driver is likely to earn several times the average income. Lower income groups will shoulder a heavier relative burden. Tackling this taboo carries the same kind of political risk as increasing income tax rates in the higher tax bands.
Similar issues apply in the context of flying, where taxes disproportionally affect lower income groups, yet are not high enough to seriously impede the mobility patterns of frequent-flying elite. These continue to enjoy the effects of market distortions, where their flights are subsidised through the exemption of international air travel from VAT. And so the costs of flying, one the most environmentally harmful modes of transport, remain largely externalised. The airline industry and its lobbyists work hard to instil the idea that “mobility is freedom”, and that to restrict such mobility through regulation is nothing short of an infringement of that liberty; another taboo.
If we are to have any chance of slowing the rise of transport emissions in the EU and worldwide, these and many more transport taboos need to be confronted and overcome. We need more research on these taboos and how they operate, so that strong supporting evidence can be put before political leaders. Even then, any change will need to be publicly palatable, and building that support will be hard. After all, for a great number of people this will still be an inconvenient truth.
||Why sustainable transport policies will fail: EU climate policy in the light of transport taboos
||Stefan Gössling, Scott Cohen
||Journal of Transport Geography
Read more »
Air traffic growth set to outpace carbon reduction efforts
8 August 2014 (University of Southampton. Engineering and the Environment)
Ticket prices must rise by at least 1.4 per cent a year for emission levels to fall. Study calls for international agreement enforced by a global regulator
Carbon reduction efforts in the airline industry will be outweighed by growth in air-traffic, even if the most contentious mitigation measures are implemented, according to new research by the University of Southampton.
Even if proposed mitigation measures are agreed upon and put into place, air traffic growth-rates are likely to out-pace emission reductions, unless demand is substantially reduced.
“There is little doubt that increasing demand for air travel will continue for the foreseeable future,” says co-author and travel expert Professor John Preston. “As a result, civil aviation is going to become an increasingly significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.”
The authors of the new study, which has been published in the journal Atmospheric Environment, have calculated that the ticket price increase necessary to drive down demand would value CO2 emissions at up to one hundred times the amount of current valuations.
“This would translate to a yearly 1.4 per cent increase on ticket prices, breaking the trend of increasing lower airfares,” says co-author and researcher Matt Grote. “The price of domestic tickets has dropped by 1.3 per cent a year between 1979 and 2012, and international fares have fallen by 0.5 per cent per annum between 1990 and 2012.”
However, the research suggests any move to suppress demand would be resisted by the airline industry and national governments. The researchers say a global regulator ‘with teeth’ is urgently needed to enforce CO2 emission reduction measures.
“Some mitigation measures can be left to the aviation sector to resolve,” says Head of the Centre for Environmental Science at the University of Southampton Professor Ian Williams. “For example, the industry will continue to seek improvements to fuel efficiency as this will reduce costs. However, other essential measures, such as securing international agreements, setting action plans, regulations and carbon standards will require political leadership at a global level.”
The literature review conducted by the researchers suggests that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) ‘lacks the legal authority to force compliance and therefore is heavily reliant on voluntary cooperation and piecemeal agreements’.
Current targets, set at the most recent ICAO Assembly Session last October, include a global average fuel-efficiency improvement of two per cent a year (up to 2050) and keeping global net CO2 emissions for international aviation at the same level from 2020. Global market based measures (MBM) have yet to be agreed upon, while Boeing predicts the number of aircraft in service to double between the years 2011 and 2031.
Notes for editors
- The paper Direct carbon dioxide emissions from civil aircraft was published in Atmospheric Environment. The full paper is available upon request from the media relations team. Abstract
- For interview opportunities with Professor Ian Williams or Matt Grote please contact Steven Williams Tel: 023 8059 2128, email:S.Williams@soton.ac.uk
- Through world-leading research and enterprise activities, the University of Southampton connects with businesses to create real-world solutions to global issues. Through its educational offering, it works with partners around the world to offer relevant, flexible education, which trains students for jobs not even thought of. This connectivity is what sets Southampton apart from the rest; we make connections and change the world. http://www.southampton.ac.uk/
Is this the end of cheap air travel? Airlines may need to increase fares to reduce passenger numbers and hit ‘carbon neutral’ targets
- Airlines pledge to cut emissions – but passenger numbers keep rising
- To help hit their carbon neutral targets they need to reduce numbers
- Prices need to rise to reduce those numbers, experts warn
- Study predicts fares to rise by a third to reduce carbon footprint
Airfares will need to increase by a third over the next 30 years if airlines are to hit their ‘carbon neutral’ targets, experts predict.
A study reveals the air industry will have to hike fares in a bid to stop passengers travelling as the numbers of commuters keep going up.
Ticket prices need to increase by at least 1.4 per cent a year, according to experts, even if the airlines invest in more efficient aircraft and introduce lower-carbon fuels.
The research by the University of Southampton reveals that the reduction in the cost of air travel needs to be reversed to discourage passengers from travelling.
Fares have become 1.3% cheaper a year on average since 1979.
The average fare paid by British passengers would need to rise from £170 last year to £195 in the next decade and to £258 by 2043.
The report predicts the growth in demand for flights will outpace fuel efficiency improvements and airlines will be forced to deter passengers from travelling by increasing prices.
It says the annual rise in passenger numbers of 4.8 per cent will need to be halved to 2.4 per cent if the emission cap is to be met by 2020.
HOW FARES MAY RISE IN 30 YEARS
To offset carbon emissions, experts warn, airfares are set to rise by a third in the next 30 years.
In 2013 the average fare paid by British passengers was £170.
Experts say in 10 years this will have increased to £195.
This will jump to £225 in 2033 and will have increase by a third to £258 by 2043.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) pledged to improve fuel efficiency by 2% a year up to 2050
but it accepted these savings could be outweighed by the growth in passenger numbers. [In fact, IATA pledged to achieve annual improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year between 2009 and 2020
This is what IATA says:
- An average improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year to 2020
- A cap on net aviation CO2 emissions from 2020: carbon-neutral growth
- Cut net [Note : NET] CO2 emissions in half by 2050 compared to 2005 Link ]
Professor John Preston, Head of the Civil, Maritime and Environmental Engineering and Science Unit at the University of Southampton, told the Times: ‘There is little doubt that increasing demand for air travel will continue for the foreseeable future.
‘As a result, civil aviation is going to become an increasingly significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.’
The study suggested the ICAO is ‘too weak’ to fulfill its climate pledges because it ‘lacks the legal authority to force compliance’.
The study concludes: ‘The benefits of an extensive, well-connected aviation network are difficult to dispute..However, it is clear that from an environmental perspective there is an urgent requirement for a global regulator with ‘teeth’ to be established.’
Matt Grote, one of the report’s authors, said airlines had given themselves the option of ‘offsetting’ by paying other industries to reduce their emissions.
However, he said there were ‘no guarantees’ this would work in reducing emissions.
By 2020, global international aviation emissions are projected to be around 70 per cent higher than in 2005 even if fuel efficiency improves by 2 per cent per year.
ICAO forecasts that by 2050 emissions could grow by up to 700 per cent.
The ICAO is designing a global scheme to regulate airline emissions which is set to be implemented in 2020.
The European Union started charging all airlines that use EU airports for all of their emissions in 2012 but suspended the initiative to enable the ICAO to develop a worldwide system.
Globally airlines use five million barrels of oil a day and create 2.5 per cent of man-made emissions.
The planes’ emissions of soot, nitrogen oxides and sulphates are up to four times more than their CO2 emissions alone.
Someone flying from London to New York and back creates the same level of emissions as an average person heating their home in the EU for a year.
Read more »
The European Emissions Trading System charged airlines, during 2012, for their emissions while flying into or from European airports, in EU airspace. For non EU countries, a European country administered the payments. The payments from Russian airlines are administered by Germany. Three Russian airlines paid in full for their emissions. However, Aeroflot did not. Now Germany has confirmed that Aeroflot is being fined for its non-payment. Aeroflot has sent a “protest” letter to the European Parliament and is preparing to lodge an appeal at being asked to pay a €215,600 fine. Aeroflot says: “In response to the IATA recommendations and like other air companies, Aeroflot has prepared a protest letter to the European Parliament” …and they are “preparing to file an appeal on the unacceptability of issuing fines against the air company.” The payments are only for 2012, before “stop the clock” brought an end to payments. The compromise deal agreed by the European Parliament in early April 2014 means that, until 2017, only flights between EU airports will be regulated, not flights to or from the EU.
The German Emissions Trading Authority has confirmed that indeed Aeroflot has been fined by Germany for non compliance.
Russia’s Aeroflot to Appeal Environmental Fine for Flights Over Europe
MOSCOW, July 25 (RIA Novosti)
Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot has sent a “protest” letter to the European Parliament and is preparing to lodge an appeal after the EU ordered it to pay a 215,600 euro ($290, 335) fine for greenhouse gas emissions during flights over the territory of the bloc’s member states, Izvestia newspaper reported Friday.
Aeroflot Director General Vitaly Savelyev said this unilateral decision has been criticized in the aviation community. Russia and other states that are not part of the EU have been “placed before the accomplished fact – flights in Europe’s airspace are to be on a paying basis.”
“In response to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) recommendations and like other air companies, Aeroflot has prepared a protest letter to the European Parliament,” Savelyev said.
“Besides, we are preparing to file an appeal on the unacceptability of issuing fines against the air company,” he added.
Aeroflot CEO said environmentally friendly airliners make over 80 percent of Russia’s aircraft and Aeroflot’s fleet is the most modern in Europe, with a plane’s average age not exceeding four years.
“A for the EU initiative, such measures have nothing in common with the fight for environment. The European Union has simply introduced payment for flights in its airspace,” Savelyev said.
Experts believe by 2025 Aeroflot would have to pay up to 800 million euros ($1 billion) in line with the new measure. “Who will tell us where these funds will go?” Savelyev said.
Germany Levies Fines on Aircraft Operators Over Emissions
Germany ordered 61 aircraft operators from countries including Russia and the U.S. to pay fines for breaching European Union emissions-trading rules.
The penalties are the first since the EU included aviation in its carbon market, the world’s largest, in 2012, drawing protests from the U.S. and emerging countries. The emissions-trading system allows sanctions at the EU level and by individual governments for actions including failure to submit emissions permits to cover greenhouse-gas discharges.
German regulators sent sanction letters, which order the recipients to pay fines, to 17 operators in Germany and 44 in other countries in and outside of Europe for not observing ETS rules in 2012, a spokesperson for emissions trading at the German environment agency said yesterday.
Total penalties amount to 2.7 million euros ($3.7 million), said the spokesperson, who asked not to be identified according to agency policy. German officials declined to name the recipients of the sanction letters.
Emitters that fail to surrender the required number of permits face fines of 100 euros per metric ton of carbon under EU law. Member countries can also impose further penalties. EU emission permits for delivery in December rose 0.2 percent to 5.48 euros a metric ton at the ICE Futures Europe exchange as of 1:15 p.m. in London today.
EU governments have delayed the decision on penalties, risking the credibility of the ETS, according to the Transport & Environment green lobby. The group earlier this year asked authorities in the U.K., the Netherlands and Germany to take steps to ensure airlines comply with the EU carbon rules.
“We now need to see details of all offenders to ensure the law has been fairly and equitably applied,” said Bill Hemmings, Brussels-based sustainable-aviation manager at Transport & Environment.
Germany is responsible for overseeing about 500 aircraft operators under the ETS, including international airlines such as Delta Air Lines Inc., Air China Ltd. and Russia’s OAO Aeroflot, as well as companies or individuals who own an aircraft. Operators have one month to object to the sanction notices, according to the agency.
In the U.K., officials said there are no formal deadlines for the issuing of civil penalties in emissions cases.
“The regulators will publish details of penalties issued in relation to a failure to surrender sufficient allowances in the event of any such penalties being issued, and once the appeal process is complete,” a spokesperson for the U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change said by e-mail.
The inclusion of aviation in the EU cap-and-trade program sparked opposition from countries including the U.S., India, China, Russia and Brazil, which said any curbs on discharges from airlines should be regulated by an international agreement.
The EU subsequently agreed to freeze emissions-trading obligations for flights into and out of Europe and keep them only on flights within the bloc in 2012. The program originally covered the entire length of flights originating or ending at EU airports. Earlier this month, the EU prolonged the exemption and decided to spare carriers ranging from U.S. Airways to Air India Ltd. the need to pay for emissions from foreign flights for an extra four years, through 2016.
Carriers in the ETS are given free emission permits making up 85 percent of the industry cap and have to buy the remaining 15 percent at auctions.
See also the report by Sandbag on airlines in the ETS
It shows on page 26 that 3 Russian airlines were fully paid up.
Read more »
The Committee on Climate Change has reported to Parliament on progress on the UK’s carbon budgets. They say: “Under the current rate of progress future budgets will not all be met.” Carbon budgets do not currently include emissions from international aviation and shipping, but these are included in the 2050 carbon target. The government will review aviation’s inclusion in carbon budgets in 2016. In 2012 the UK’s international aviation emitted 32 MtCO2, and domestic aviation 1.6 MtCO2. The CCC and the Airports Commission say a new runway can fit within climate targets, but their own figures show aviation growth exceeding the target for decades. Growth in passengers of “around” 60% above 2005 levels could only fit within the carbon target if there is an improvement in the carbon intensity of aviation of around one-third by 2050. The Airports Commission’s own interim report says there can only be 36% growth in flights by 2050, to stay within targets. They say any more growth than that should not happen, “unless and until” there are the necessary technology improvements, cutting aviation emissions. But neither the government, nor the CCC, nor the Airports Commission can pin down what these will be, or when they will happen. UK aviation emissions remain the highest in Europe.
Page 297 of CCC report http://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/CCC-Progress-Report-2014_web_2.pdf
“We have previously suggested that returning aviation emissions to around 2005 levels in 2050 is an appropriate level of ambition. Both Airports Commission and CCC analysis suggest an additional runway by 2030 can be compatible with this approach, provided that aviation demand growth is limited to around 60% above 2005 levels and that there are significant improvements in carbon intensity of aviation (e.g. of around one-third by 2050).” Page 48 link CCC report
Policy strengthening required to meet future carbon budgets
15.7.2014 (Committee on Climate Change press release)
A new report (pdf) published today by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) concludes that carbon budgets can be met at affordable cost, but that this will require the strengthening of key policies.
The CCC’s latest progress report to Parliament identifies that good progress has been made on development and implementation of some, but not all, policies. The first carbon budget has been met through successful low-carbon policies but also as a consequence of the impacts of the recession.
There has been strong progress in improving the fuel efficiency of new cars, as required by EU regulation, and in investing in wind generation under the Renewables Obligation. Foundations have been laid for the electric vehicle market and for demonstration of carbon capture and storage (CCS), although uptake of electric vehicles has been low and progress with CCS has been frustratingly slow. In other areas, progress has been limited, notably in energy efficiency improvement in the commercial and industrial sectors and in the uptake of heat pumps. Previous good progress in residential energy efficiency fell away with the new policy regime in 2013.
Under the current rate of progress future budgets will not all be met. Current policies may only reduce emissions by 21 to 23 per cent from 2013 to 2025, rather than the required 31 per cent reduction. To close this gap, the report recommends ways to increase uptake of energy efficiency improvement and investment in low-carbon technologies, supported by some behaviour change.
Achieving this will require further strengthening of policies, including the improvement to policy design and increased ambition, extended further in time. The CCC makes recommendations in the following specific areas:
Residential energy efficiency. Progress insulating homes plummeted with the introduction of new policies in 2013 (the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation). For example, over 600,000 cavity walls were insulated in 2012 but only 170,000 in 2013. The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is now being redesigned to include more low-cost measures and new financial incentives are being introduced for the Green Deal. This is welcome, but ambition remains low and should be increased.
Renewable heat. Increasing uptake of low-carbon heat is a priority. Despite the fact that the current scheme to incentivise this – the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – is very generous, take-up of heat pumps has been very low (e.g. only around 1 per cent of spend to date in the non-domestic scheme). Rather than increase subsidy further, the Government should focus on tackling financial and non-financial barriers. This should include extending commitment and funding to the RHI beyond 2016, to reduce policy insecurity and encourage supply chain development, and allowing access to Green Deal finance for renewable heat installations.
Commercial sector. There is not much evidence of energy efficiency improvement in the commercial sector despite opportunities to do so. The policy landscape is complex and has mixed incentives. This situation should be simplified so that we lower administrative costs while, at the same time, improving delivery.
Power Sector. There has been progress on Electricity Market Reform, but there is a high degree of uncertainty about the support for low-carbon capacity beyond 2020. This undermines investment. It should be addressed by setting a carbon intensity target for 2030, together with funding to deliver this and strategies for commercialising offshore wind and CCS.
Electric Vehicles. While there have been some positive signals about the development of the electric vehicle market, the uptake of electric vehicles has been low. An ambitious EU target for new car emissions in 2030 would strengthen incentives for manufacturers to promote electric vehicles and develop innovative approaches to financing. This should be supported strongly by the Government. If put alongside further investment and development in charging infrastructure this could allow the current purchase subsidy to be phased out over time.
Action to cut emissions is increasingly important given progress that has been made towards ambitious new EU emissions targets, and the increase in the pace of international action. There is a clear economic benefit of acting now to cut emissions. This offers significant cost savings relative to delaying action, and will build a resilient energy system which is less reliant of fossil fuels.
Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said: “Climate Change demands urgent action. We have started on the road and we are being joined by much of the rest of the world. However, despite our success, the UK is still not on track to meet our statutory commitment to cut emissions by 80 per cent. The longer we leave it, the costlier it becomes. This report shows the best and most cost-effective ways to ensure we meet our targets. There is no time to lose.”
Two new reports, by RSPB and by AEF/WWF on how a new runway cannot fit within UK carbon targets
…. more details …..
Meeting Carbon Budgets – 2014 Progress Report to Parliament
This is our sixth statutory report to Parliament on progress towards meeting carbon budgets. In it we consider the latest data on emissions and their drivers. This year the report also includes a full assessment of how the first carbon budget (2008-2012) was met, drawing out policy lessons and setting out what is required for the future to stay on track for the legislated carbon budgets and the 2050 target. The report includes assessment at the level of the economy, the non-traded and traded sectors, the key emitting sectors and the devolved administrations.
Whilst the first carbon budget has been met, and progress made on development and implementation of some policies, the main conclusion is that strengthening of policies will be needed to meet future budgets.
Some extracts from the report, dealing with aviation:
UK greenhouse gas emissions including international aviation and shipping were 605 MtCO2e in 2013. Emissions in 2013 are now 25% below their 1990 level, and will need to fall a further 73% to meet the 2050 target. (Table 1). 1 Note 1: Carbon budgets do not currently include emissions from international aviation and shipping, but these are included in the 2050 target (see section 9).
Notes: *Emissions from international aviation and shipping are not currently included in carbon budgets, the government will review this in 2016. **Detailed emissions data for non-CO2 is not yet available for 2013; these figures assume the same % of total non-CO2
emissions for agriculture and waste as in 2012.
(i) Emissions trends
UK domestic transport CO2 emissions accounted for 25% (117 MtCO2 ) of all UK CO2
emissions in 2013. The majority of these are from surface transport (94%). Domestic aviation and shipping account for 3% with the remainder from other sources. Cars are the biggest contributor to surface transport emissions (58%), followed by heavy goods vehicles (22%) and vans (14%).
There are also 41 MtCO2 of emissions from international aviation (32 MtCO2 ) and shipping (9 MtCO2) – based on latest available data from 2012. These are not currently included in carbon budgets but are covered by the 2050 emissions target for at least an 80% reduction on 1990.
(iv) Aviation and shipping
In 2012 emissions from domestic aviation and shipping (included in carbon budgets) were 4.0 MtCO2, representing 3% of domestic transport emissions.
Emissions in aviation and shipping fell in the first carbon budget period, with reductions in
both domestic and international emissions (currently excluded from carbon budgets but in the
• Domestic aviation emissions fell 28%; international emissions fell 10%. This largely reflected
falling demand in the UK due to the economic crisis and improvements in fuel efficiency.
• Reductions in emissions from domestic and international shipping were both around 10%
over the first carbon budget.
In December 2013, the Airports Commission released its interim report which recommended
the need for an additional runway in the south east by 2030. It also suggested there could be
a case for a second additional runway by 2050.
We have previously suggested that returning aviation emissions to around 2005 levels in 2050 is an appropriate level of ambition. Both Airports Commission and CCC analysis suggest an additional runway by 2030 can be compatible with this approach, provided that aviation demand growth is limited to around 60% above 2005 levels and that there are significant improvements in carbon intensity of aviation (e.g. of around one-third by 2050). Executive Summary Page 48 link
[AirportWatch note: So the CCC says the UK can have another runway, as long as you do two other things, but it doesn’t spell out how or whether those two things can be technically accomplished, and also what the responsible parties have to do to achieve this. Ambiguity is thus inserted into the entire policy framework].
This approach should continue to be the basis for government policy unless and until
technology improvements allow higher passenger demand growth – and associated
infrastructure investment – to be demonstrated compatible with the 2050 target.
Although not currently included in carbon budgets,
international aviation and shipping emissions are an important part of the 2050 target, and we
consider them in Chapter 5
Total UK domestic transport CO2 emissions are provisionally estimated at 116.7 MtCO2
(25.1% of UK CO2 emissions) in 2013.
More detailed data are available for 2012, when total UK domestic transport CO2
emissions were 116.9 MtCO2 (24.7% of UK CO2 emissions), and total GHG emissions from domestic transport were 118 MtCO2 e (20.5% of total UK GHG emissions). Trends in non-CO2 emissions closely track those in CO2 (Figure 5.1).
Given the relatively low levels of non-CO2 emissions from domestic transport, the rest of this chapter will focus on CO2 emissions.
Total UK domestic transport CO2 emissions fell by 11.9% from 2007 to 2012, and a further 0.2%in 2013.
Surface transport CO2 emissions account for the vast majority of domestic transport emissions with domestic aviation and shipping accounting for 3%. The majority (96%) of surface transport emissions are from road transport and within this, the biggest contributors are cars (58%), vans (14%) and HGVs (22%)
(ii) Emissions from aviation and shipping
In 2012, at the end of the first carbon budget period, UK aviation emissions were 33.6 MtCO2
This represents a fall of 11% between 2007 and 2012 and a fall of 3% in the year ending 2012
(Figure 5.11). Both domestic and international emissions fell:
• Domestic aviation emissions fell by 4.4% in 2012 from 1.7 MtCO2 to 1.6 MtCO2
. Over the first carbon budget period they fell 28%.
• International aviation emissions (which are not included in carbon budgets) fell by 2.7% in
2012 from 32.8 MtCO2 to 32.0 MtCO2
. Over the first carbon budget period they fell 10%.
This reflects changes on both demand and supply sides:
• Demand for aviation fell substantially during the recession, and in 2012 was 8% lower than
in 2007.Chapter 5: Progress reducing transport emissions 261
• On the supply side, airlines reacted to falling demand by reducing the number of flights
(which fell by around 15% over the budget period) and by increasing the occupancy rate
of aircraft. Available data suggests fuel efficiency therefore improved (e.g. by an average of
1.6% per year over the first budget period4).
EU aviation emissions also fell over the first carbon budget period, by an average of 7% across both the EU-28 and EU-15. While UK emissions fell more, they remain the highest in Europe. This reflects the fact that UK passenger demand is the highest in Europe, as well as the UK’s role as an international long-haul hub.
4 Data from Sustainable Aviation Progress Report 2013. This covers emissions from all Sustainable Aviation partner airlines, including for their non-UK flights. It can therefore only
be considered indicative of changes in UK aviation fuel efficiency.
5. Progress in reducing emissions from aviation and shipping
Recent developments in aviation and shipping policy at the international, EU and UK levels
reflect a continuation of approaches developed over the first carbon budget period:
• International – In October 2013 the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) agreed
a roadmap at their General Assembly for a market-based measure to control global aviation
emissions, to be decided at their 2016 General Assembly and to come into force in 2020.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) continues to support implementation of the
Energy Efficiency Design Index, agreed in 2011 and which entered into force in 2013.
• EU – In April 2014, following the ICAO’s agreement at their General Assembly, the EU
agreed to extend the “stop-the-clock” period for aviation in the EU ETS. This means that the
exemption of non-EU flights will continue until 2016 (i.e. only intra-EU flights are covered).
In June 2013 the European Commission proposed a new strategy for addressing shipping
emissions. The first stage proposes monitoring, reporting and verification of shipping
emissions from 2018 for ships using EU ports. This will help build a baseline for future stages,
with reduction targets and market mechanisms envisaged in the medium to long-term.
• UK – In December 2013 the UK Airports Commission released their Interim Report on future
UK airport capacity. This recommended the need for an additional runway in the south east
by 2030. This approach can be compatible with long-term objectives, if aviation demand growth is limited to around 60% above 2005 levels and provided that there are significant improvements in carbon intensity of flying (e.g. of around one-third by 2050) (Box 5.13).
In future both aviation and shipping emissions are projected to continue to rise absent further
measures but can be reduced through a combination of fuel efficiency improvements, use of
biofuels, and, in aviation, demand moderation to around 60% market growth by 2050. In our 2012 advice on inclusion of international aviation and shipping in carbon budgets, we agreed that appropriate planning assumptions for 2050 were for aviation emissions to be at around 2005 levels and for shipping emissions to be around one-third lower than 2010 levels.
More ambitious international policies, beyond those already agreed, will therefore be required to unlock the full range of abatement potential required.
To monitor annual progress, including towards these long-term objectives, we have developed – mirroring our approach for other sectors – a set of indicators for aviation and shipping. These summarise changes in aviation and shipping emissions, and the key drivers of these changes including demand and efficiency (Tables 5.4 and 5.5). We would welcome feedback on these indicators and will be further developing the evidence base underpinning them over the next year.
Box 5.13: The Airports Commission and future UK airport capacity
In September 2012 the Government established the Airports Commission to advise on future need for airport capacity in the UK. The Commission was asked to provide an interim report by the end of 2013 and final advice by summer 2015.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) wrote to the Commission in July 201333, highlighting that:
• Aviation emissions are included in the target to reduce economy-wide emissions by at least 80% in 2050 on 1990 levels, as set in the Climate Change Act.
• CCC analysis has illustrated how an 80% reduction could be achieved by returning aviation emissions to around 2005 levels in 2050, and reducing emissions in other sectors by 85% on 1990 levels.
• Returning aviation emissions to around 2005 levels in 2050 is possible through a combination of limiting demand growth to around 60% on 2005 levels, and significant reductions in carbon intensity
• Given the need to limit aviation demand growth in a carbon constrained world, this should be reflected in economic analysis of infrastructure investments. For example, these should assess whether investments still make sense where demand growth is limited to around 60%.
In December 2013 the Airports Commission released their interim report, which:
• Recommended the need for an additional runway in the south east by 2030 and suggested a number of options for siting this. Its analysis also suggested there could be a case for a second additional runway by 2050.
• Re-examined the level of aviation demand growth compatible with 2050 objectives. The analysis found an increase in demand of 67% would be compatible with returning aviation emissions to 2005 levels by 2050, very close to our previous conclusions.
• Concluded that the need for an additional runway by 2030 was valid across a range of future scenarios, including where demand growth was limited to around 60-70% by 2050.
The Airports Commission’s emission projections are broadly similar in profile to previous CCC analysis. Both show emissions which rise over time before flattening off. However, the Airports Commission’s projections are lower in bsolute terms and show aviation emissions closer to 2005 levels in 2050 (Figure B5.13). This largely reflects a lower starting point due to the recession, lower forecasts of future economic growth and changes in Government policy on
[Note 36 The higher end of the Airports Commission’s scenario range reflects unconstrained airport capacity. The lower end of the range reflects current Government policy for no
new airport capacity. In contrast, CCC analysis was based on the then current policy of the 2003 Air Transport White Paper which assumed three additional runways by 2030 (at
Heathrow, Stansted and Edinburgh). ]
Both Airports Commission and CCC analysis suggest an additional runway by 2030 can be compatible with returning aviation emissions to around 2005 levels by 2050, provided that aviation demand growth is limited to around 60% above 2005 levels and that there are significant improvements in carbon intensity of aviation (e.g. of around one-third
This approach should continue to be the basis for government policy unless and until technology improvements allow higher passenger demand growth – and associated infrastructure investment – to be demonstrated compatible with the 2050 target.
The Airports Commission is now undertaking analysis to feed into their final report due in summer 2015, including investment and emissions appraisal of the runway options identified in their interim report. In their final report, the Commission should update their UK emission projections for each proposal to allow the long-term implications for 2050 to be accurately assessed.
We will continue to monitor trends in aviation emissions and key policy developments in the context of our annual progress reports to Parliament. We will also revisit aviation emissions and their inclusion in carbon budgets as part of our statutory advice on the fifth carbon budget, due by end-2015.
Comment from an AirportWatch member on the report
The CCC annual progress report (http://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/meeting-carbon-budgets-2014-progress-report-to-parliament/ ) contains their assessment of the compatibility between the Airport Commission’s Interim Report and their own UK Carbon Budget.
The Airports Commission’s interim report, in December 2013 (in its technical appendix at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/266670/airports-commission-interim-report-appendix-3.pdf
page 65 said:
“5.7 The new forecasts show that with carbon capped to the 2005 level of 37.5MtCO2 ,
passenger numbers in the unconstrained capacity case can increase by 65% and
ATMs by 33% above 2005 levels.62″
and footnote 62 says:
“62 The base 2005 levels are the full UK passenger and ATM totals of 229m and 160m respectively, as reported by the CAA and used by CCC. These totals include some passengers and ATMs at airports not included in the DfT modelling. If they were
excluded from the base, the growth rates would rise to 67% and 36% for passengers and ATMs”
ie. to keep UK aviation CO2 emissions to the level of 37.5MtCO2, there can be 67% more passengers, in 2050, than in 2005. And there can be 36% more ATMs than in 2005.
The CCC’s report is an artful piece of wording that leaves their own position substantially compromised:
– conclusion p.48 ‘Both Airports Commission and CCC analysis suggest an additional runway by 2030 can be compatible with this approach, provided that aviation demand growth is limited to around 60% above 2005 levels and that there are significant improvements in carbon intensity of aviation (e.g. of around one-third by 2050).’
– Box 5.13 pages 297-98 of the CCC report link has the detailed explanation. First it accepts that the CCC and AC forecasts ‘are broadly similar in profile’ when in fact they are significantly different in volume in relation to the critical ATM limit which it also doesn’t refer to.
The Airports Commission’s Technical Appendix 5.7 link said: “The new forecasts show that with carbon capped to the 2005 level of 37.5MtCO2, passenger numbers in the unconstrained capacity case can increase by 65% and ATMs by 33% above 2005 levels’ (footnote 62 increases those numbers to 67% and 36%); and now CCC says: ‘The [AC] analysis found an increase in demand of 67% would be compatible with returning aviation emissions to 2005 levels by 2050, very close to our previous conclusions.”
The Technical Appendix (pages 66 and 67) says:
“5.10 …..Figure 5.2 compares the destinations of the passengers modelled in 2050 in the two forecasts. Both assume that by 2050 long-haul flights carry 26% of passengers and are 12% of ATMs. The most obvious difference in the pattern of destinations is in the split between the domestic and short-haul passengers.”
“5.11 But the most significant difference between the CCC and Commission forecast is in the number of ATMs that can be accommodated within the carbon cap. While ATMs in the CCC forecasts grew by 55% from 2.2 to 3.4 million, in the new forecasts they grow by just 33% to 2.9 million. The difference is driven mainly by the modelling of, and underlying assumptions about, the loads on aircraft (passengers/ATM) and the distances passengers will be flying. Both assume that by 2050 long-haul flights carry 26% of passengers and are 12% of ATMs.”
The CCC no longer comment on the ATM compatibility issue. But it has changed from the CCC’s figure of 55% more ATMs in their 2009 guidance, to 36% more by the Airports Commission figures. This is due to use of larger planes, higher load factors, and a higher proportion of long haul flights,which emit more carbon per journey.
This is the most important manoeuvre by both bodies. What CCC said in 2009 link (page 26) was:
“The key implication from our analysis is that future airport policy should be designed to be in line with the assumption that total ATMs should not increase by more than about 55% between 2005 and 2050, i.e. from today’s level of 2.2 million to no more than around 3.4 million in 2050.”
The CCC use the figure of almost 2.2 million air transport movements (ATMs) in 2005. [CAA data ] If this increases by 55% by 2050, the total would be around 3.2 million ATMs.
If the 2.2 million ATMs grow by 36% by 2050, the total would be around 3.0 million.
Limiting the increase of ATMs now to just +36% of 2.2 million in 2005 (rather than 55%) in 2050 – means that 200,000 ATMs [or 400,000 ATMs taking the CCC number above] have to be taken off the capacity threshold, making it even more difficult to introduce new capacity/runways. But the CCC – as AC in the Interim Report – omit to point that out.
– This is followed by a second equally artful manoeuvre. CCC now says – referring again to Box 5.13, (on page 298) which states:
“Both [the CCC and the AC reports] show emissions which rise over time before flattening off. However, the Airports Commission’s projections are lower in absolute terms and show aviation emissions closer to 2005 levels in 2050 (Figure B5.13). This largely reflects a lower starting point due to the recession, lower forecasts of future economic growth and changes in Government policy on capacity expansion36.”
[footnote 36 The higher end of the Airports Commission’s scenario range reflects unconstrained airport capacity. The lower end of the range reflects current Government policy for no new airport capacity. In contrast, CCC analysis was based on the then current policy of the 2003 Air Transport White Paper which assumed three additional runways by 2030 (at Heathrow, Stansted and Edinburgh). ]‘
The text implies that AC are doing even better than CCC because their emissions projections are lower, whereas what the graph aboveshows is that:
(i) after 2010 (CCC) or 2020 (AC) both projections exceed the 37.5MtCO2 threshold
(ii) neither return it to 2005 levels by 2050*
– so the consequence of (i+ii) is a large cumulative exceedance through to 2050 – and in a situation where
(iii) the so called 37.5MtCO2 threshold – which is neither in or out of formal DfT policy – already takes up (with shipping) a whopping 25% of the 2050 UK carbon budget without any justification for that privileged grab.
But the CCC text again omits to point any of this out, and so portrays a significant breach of their own framework – as if it was some kind of success and compatibility.
[*As AC stated their intention of doing: ‘It therefore follows that emissions can, and do, exceed 37.5MtCO2 prior to 2050.’ Technical Appendix 5.4]
Section 5.4 (page 64 of link states:
“5.4 The targeted emissions level is met through supplementing the DECC price of traded carbon already included in the traded carbon scenario. This does not represent a new forecast of carbon prices, but is simply the value required, in the assumed absence of any other mechanism, to achieve the target of no more than 37.5MtCO2 from aircraft departing UK airports in 2050. The carbon price adjustment only aims at hitting the emissions level in 2050, as achieving the target earlier would require further transitions of the fleet and operational practices, fuels etc. beyond those included in the baseline. It therefore follows that emissions can, and do, exceed 37.5MtCO2 prior to 2050. Analysis by the CCC and the DfT has demonstrated that this target could be achieved by mechanisms other than the carbon price.61″
– Yet the overall thrust of this progress report is that the CCC UK carbon budget is now threatened by exceedance: “This is confirmed by the analysis in the report, which projects emissions in 2025 [for the UK as a whole] up to 60 MtCO2e/year above the level of the fourth budget. The cost of closing this gap is affordable … Achieving this will require further strengthening of policies – including those for residential and commercial energy efficiency, electrification of heat and transport, and power sector decarbonisation.” link page 11
Notice that transport is included in that list (and Page13-14 of the CCC report then provides a list of measures to increase surface transport decarbonisation) yet at the same time CCC is endorsing treating aviation as ‘not part of transport’ and then to be permitted to actually breach the UK carbon budget.
– Finally we have a last piece of equivocation which has the two organisations apparently in broad agreement. CCC report Page 48 Link: “Both Airports Commission and CCC analysis suggest an additional runway by 2030 can be compatible with returning aviation emissions to around 2005 levels by 2050, provided that aviation demand growth is limited to around 60% above 2005 levels and that there are significant improvements in carbon intensity of aviation (e.g. of around one-third by 2050).”
However, this is on the basis that:
(i) the AC/DfT are to be permitted to breach the CCC’s own UK carbon budget;
(ii) the apparent abandonment by CCC of their previous ATM threshold set at whatever level;
(iii) note the vagueness of the two ‘arounds’ what the AC is proposing; and
(iv) that there is no specification of how the ‘provided that’ [aviation demand growth is limited to …] is to accomplished.
So there is now a nice triangular game of ‘pass the parcel’: both the CCC and AC are stating that it is not their job and within their remit to set out the mechanisms by which demand should be limited to within a capacity/emissions threshold. And the DfT made sure that the Aviation Policy Framework (March 2013) remained ambiguous on the issue.
Government will now proceed to take a decision on capacity without having put in place, or even considered, any demand management measures.
Consequently the ’emissions constraint’ is effectively removed from the policy/decision framework, effectively in just the same way way as happened in the 2003 White Paper process – with disastrous results.
It is also neutered as a discussion point, meaning that the public debate for the next two years can remain focussed on the ‘how many runways?’ and ‘where?’ questions.
The question has to be asked: how do these documents so conveniently agree with each other to conveniently gloss over points which should be clarified, in order to let the issue of building a new runway continue without important issues being properly addressed.
The CCC’s press release http://www.theccc.org.uk/news-stories/policy-strengthening-required-to-meet-future-carbon-budgets/ contains no mention of the aviation issue. But its Chair does state: ‘.. the UK is still not on track to meet our statutory commitment to cut emissions by 80 per cent. The longer we leave it, the costlier it becomes. This report shows the best and most cost-effective ways to ensure we meet our targets. There is no time to lose.”
Plans to fit a new south east runway within UK climate targets are based on a ‘wing and a prayer’ – rather than reality
Two new reports have been produced, which seriously challenge the Airports Commission’s claim that it is possible to build a new runway and still meet the UK Government’s climate change targets. The reports also argue that building a new runway in the south east would worsen the north/south divide, as growth at the regional airports would need to be constrained in order to ensure CO2 emissions from aviation fall to their 2005 levels by 2050. The RSPB report, “Aviation, climate change and sharing the load” and the WWF report, by the AEF “The implications of a new South East runway on regional airport expansion” demonstrate that if a new runway is built, commitments under the Climate Change Act cannot be met unless significant constraints are imposed on the level of activity at regional airports. Both reports illustrate that if aviation emissions were allowed to soar, that would impose costs on the rest of the economy rising to perhaps between £1 billion and £8.4 billion per year by 2050 as non-aviation sectors would need to make even deeper emissions cuts. The regulatory regime for aviation carbon emissions is still just aspirational. Contrary to the impression given by the government and the Airports Commission, the issue of climate in relation to airport expansion has not been resolved.
Click here to view full story…
The two reports:
Read more »
Some research from the University of Reading, published in Environmental Research Letters, indicates just how much of the impact of aircraft is not only from the CO2 they emit, but also from the water vapour they emit. This will form contrails, in some weather conditions. These contrails can then expand and create a layer of high cloud, which has significant climate effects as it traps heat below it. The exact extent of the climate impact of the non-CO2 emissions from planes at high altitude is not established. It is likely to have around double the climate impact of the CO2. The research implies that it may be better for some planes to fly longer distances, burning more fuel and emitting yet more CO2, in order to avoid areas where contrails will form the most, and be the most long lasting. Contrails form where the air is very cold and moist, which is often in the ascending air around high-pressure systems. On average, 7% of the total distance flown by aircraft is in such areas. However, it is hard to compare the climate impacts of contrails and short term warming, and CO2 because the former can last just hours while the latter is irreversible and will last decades.
The research is at
A simple framework for assessing the trade-off between the climate impact of aviation carbon dioxide emissions and contrails for a single flight
1 Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK
2 Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College London, London, UK
Persistent contrails are an important climate impact of aviation which could potentially be reduced by re-routing aircraft to avoid contrailing; however this generally increases both the flight length and its corresponding CO emissions. Here, we provide a simple framework to assess the trade-off between the climate impact of CO emissions and contrails for a single flight, in terms of the absolute global warming potential and absolute global temperature potential metrics for time horizons of 20, 50 and 100 years. We use the framework to illustrate the maximum extra distance (with no altitude changes) that can be added to a flight and still reduce its overall climate impact. Small aircraft can fly up to four times further to avoid contrailing than large aircraft. The results have a strong dependence on the applied metric and time horizon. Applying a conservative estimate of the uncertainty in the contrail radiative forcing and climate efficacy leads to a factor of 20 difference in the maximum extra distance that could be flown to avoid a contrail. The impact of re-routing on other climatically-important aviation emissions could also be considered in this framework.
Persistent contrails are a climate impact of aviation whose radiative forcing may be comparable with that from aviation carbon dioxide (CO) emissions (Burkhardt and Kärcher 2011). There are few viable technological options for reducing contrail formation (Haglind 2008, Gierens et al 2008), meaning that the easiest way of mitigating this climate impact is to avoid routing aircraft through regions where contrails can form. As the ice-supersaturated regions (ISSRs) where contrails form frequently occur in relatively shallow layers (Rädel and Shine 2007), much of the previous work in this area has concentrated on avoiding contrail formation by altitude changes (Williamset al 2002, Fichter et al 2005, Mannstein et al 2005, Rädel and Shine 2008, Schumann et al 2011, Deuber et al 2013). Reducing the cruise altitude of the entire global fleet of aircraft by 6 000 ft can substantially reduce contrail formation (Fichter et al 2005); however this requires aircraft to fly at a sub-optimal altitude, leading to an increase in fuel burn and CO emissions. Assessing the viability of such a strategy requires calculating the trade-off between CO emissions and contrails. Zou et al (2013) use a monetization approach, which involves making value judgements on the relative ‘cost’ of each climate impact. Deuber et al (2013) use climate metrics which are based on the response of the atmosphere to the relative forcings, providing a framework which is useful in a policy context. For an individual flight, however, a framework is required which can be adapted to take into account the characteristics of the aircraft and the prevailing weather conditions since the altitude at which contrails are formed is highly dependent on the weather pattern (Irvine et al 2012).
Moreover, less attention has been paid to re-routing aircraft without altitude changes; such a strategy might be preferable where the increase in flight distance is small, since it allows an aircraft to remain at the altitude where it is most fuel-efficient. As motivation for this approach we provide an idealised example. Figure 1 shows a circular ISSR of radius 2 degrees, located along the great circle route between two airports. As shown on figure 1 the shortest alternative route avoiding the ISSR (in zero wind conditions) is to fly great circle routes from LON-A, and A-NY. This increases the flight distance by 22.5 km, 0.4% of the original route. We note also that since the increase in flight distance is dependent on how wide the ISSR is in the direction perpendicular to the original flight, it is independent of the contrail length. Together this implies that if regions in which contrails may be formed can be predicted, and routes recalculated to avoid them, then the added flight distance and therefore the CO penalty may be small.
We have developed a simple framework to enable the trade-off between contrail and CO climate impacts to be estimated for a single flight. The framework currently considers re-routing without altitude changes, which has the advantage of allowing the aircraft to fly at its most fuel-efficient altitude. The trade-off calculation depends on aircraft parameters such as fuel flow rate which are known a priori, and meteorological parameters such as the contrail size, lifetime and radiative forcing, which would be required to be known a priori were such a strategy to be implemented operationally.
The framework calculates the maximum extra distance that can be added to a flight, before the additional CO emissions outweigh the benefit of not contrailing. As the quantity of CO emissions depends on aircraft type, any decision to avoid making the contrail would be highly dependent on aircraft type. For example, using the AGWP metric with 100 year time horizon, the extra distance that a small jet can fly is more than ten times the avoided contrail length, whilst for a very large jet this reduces to three times. As discussed by Deuber et al (2013), it is important to choose a suitable metric, depending on the required outcome. Here, we find a factor of 3–10 difference between the AGTP and AGWP results, depending on the time horizon used.
This framework is useful to show where the major uncertainties are. Joos et al (2013) find that calculations of the atmospheric COresponse agree within 15%, thus the climate impact of the flightʼs CO emissions can be calculated with a relatively small uncertainty, given knowledge of aircraft fuel burn. The calculation of the climate impact of the contrail has a much larger uncertainty. The uncertainty chiefly arises from two sources: an inability to estimate, a priori, the eventual size and therefore climate impact of the contrail that would be formed, and second the radiative forcing (which has a potential dependence on the time of day, not taken into account here) and climate efficacy of that forcing. Even if the radiative forcing were calculated operationally within a forecast model, there would still be an uncertainty in the size of the calculated radiative forcing due to the radiative forcing codes (Myhre et al 2009), and also due to uncertainty in the contrail characteristics. Taking into account the uncertainty in the eventual climate impact of a contrail of 100 km length, the estimate of the maximum diversion distance varies by a factor of 20.
The application of such a strategy in the real world would require highly accurate forecasts of ISSRs where potential contrails form, and the ability to know a priori the climate impact of a potential contrail, as well as being highly dependent on air traffic control and other operational and economic considerations. In addition, the overall climate impact of the flight should take into account the chemical forcings from aircraft emissions; detailed calculations of such ‘climate optimal’ routings are currently being performed by the REACT4C project. We note here that for small horizontal diversions it is possible that the chemical forcings between the two routes would be comparable; however since the impact depends on where the emissions are advected, small diversions could potentially result in large differences in impact (Grewe et al 2014). The impact of black carbon and other aerosol emissions may also be important and could be incorporated in more detailed estimates (Jacobson et al 2012).
Nevertheless, despite the uncertainties, the calculations presented here indicate that once a metric (and time horizon) choice has been made, guidance can be given as to whether it is beneficial to divert to avoid contrails. So for example, adding 100 km distance to a flight to avoid making a contrail would seem beneficial for many of the cases presented here, and other parameter choices, such as the extreme high values in Haywood et al (2009), could allow significantly longer diversions.
Full research paper at
Longer flights could cut global warming caused by contrails
by BEN WEBSTER (THE TIMES £)
JUNE 23, 2014
Passengers may be forced to spend longer in the air because their aeroplane’s flight path could be altered at short notice to reduce the formation of condensation trails, or contrails.
Contrails disperse into wispy clouds which trap heat in the atmosphere, a study showed. These clouds, which can be 1600km long, could contribute more to global warming than the carbon dioxide in the fuel burnt by the aircraft which formed them.
Dr Irvine said it was difficult to compare the climate impacts of contrails and CO2 because the former can last hours while the latter can last decades.
She said that governments needed to consider the impacts of aviation when setting green targets because a measure designed to reduce fuel use could be counterproductive for some flights.
“Current mitigation targets do not yet address the non-CO2 climate impacts of aviation, such as contrails, which may cause an impact as large, or larger, than aviation CO2 emissions.”
Full article at
Re-routing flights could reduce climate impact, research suggests
By Pete Castle (EurekAlert)
Institute of Physics
Aircraft can become more environmentally friendly by choosing flight paths that reduce the formation of their distinctive condensation trails, new research suggests.
In a study published today, 19 June 2014, in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters, researchers from the University of Reading have shown that aircraft contribute less to global warming by avoiding the places where the thinly shaped clouds, called contrails, are produced – even if that means flying further and emitting more carbon dioxide.
Contrails only form in regions of the sky where the air is very cold and moist, which is often in the ascending air around high pressure systems. They can sometimes stay in the air for many hours, eventually spreading out to resemble natural, wispy clouds.
The findings suggest that policymakers need to consider more than carbon emissions in discussions about how to make aviation less environmentally damaging. Recent research has shown that the amount of global warming caused by contrails could be as large, or even larger, that the contribution from aviation CO2 emissions.
The work was carried out by Dr Emma Irvine, Professor Keith Shine, and Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, at the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading.
Dr Irvine said: “If we can predict the regions where contrails will form, it may be possible to mitigate their effect by routing aircraft to avoid them.
“Our work shows that for a rounded assessment of the environmental impact of aviation, more needs to be considered than just the carbon emissions of aircraft.”
Just like natural clouds, contrails reflect some of the Sun’s incoming energy, resulting in a cooling effect, but also trap some of the infrared energy that radiates from Earth into space, therefore having a warming effect. Detailed calculations indicate that generally the warming effect wins over the cooling effect.
The researchers estimate that smaller aircraft can fly much further to avoid forming contrails than larger aircraft. For example, for a small aircraft that is predicted to form a contrail 20 miles long, if an alternative route adds less than 200 miles onto the route (i.e. 10 times the length of contrail that would have been produced) then the alternative route would have a smaller climate impact.
For larger aircraft, which emit more CO2 than smaller aircraft for each mile flown, the alternative route could still be preferable, but only if it added less than 60 miles (i.e. 3 times the contrail length) onto the route.
Dr Irvine added: “Comparing the relative climate impacts of CO2 and contrails is not trivial. One complicating factor is their vastly differing lifetimes. Contrails may last for several hours, whilst CO2 can last for decades. In terms of mitigating these impacts, air traffic control agencies would need to consider whether such flight-by-flight re-routing is feasible and safe, and weather forecasters would need to establish if they can reliably predict when and where contrails are likely to form.
“The mitigation targets currently adopted by governments all around the world do not yet address the important non-CO2 climate impacts of aviation, such as contrails, which may cause a climate impact as large, or even larger, than the climate impact of aviation CO2 emissions.
“We believe it is important for scientists to assess the overall impact of aviation and the robustness of any proposed mitigation measures in order to inform policy decisions. Our work is one step along this road.”
- Aviation CO2 emissions accounted for 6% of UK total greenhouse gas emissions in 2011.
- Global CO2 emissions from aviation were estimated at 630 million tonnes of CO2 for 2005. This is 2.1% of the global emissions of CO2 in that year.
- Previous research by scientists at the University of Reading has shown that, on average, 7% of the total distance flown by aircraft is in cold, moist air where long-lasting contrails can form (2.4 billion km out of a global total of 33 billion km flown in 2005).
- Aircraft engines emit a number of other gases and particles that can alter climate (such as oxides of nitrogen and sulphur gases) and their effects might also depend on the route taken.
Aviation now contributes 4.9% of climate change worldwide
Work by the IPCC now estimates that aviation accounted for 4.9% of man-made climate impacts in 2005. This contrasts with the 2% figure that is constantly quoted by aviation lobbyists, and 3% which the same authors quoted two years ago. They have now revised their estimates with 2 important changes: including for the first time estimates of cirrus cloud formation and allowing for aviation growth between 2000 and 2005. The effect of these is to increase aviation’s impacts to 3.5% without cirrus and 4.9% including cirrus. 23.5.2009
Work by the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) has been updated by
the same authors. They estimate that aviation accounted for 4.9% of man-made climate
impacts in 2005. This contrasts with the 2% figure that is constantly quoted
by aviation lobbyists.
Just two years ago the authors came up with a figure of 3% for aviation’s worldwide
contribution to climate change. They have now revised their estimate for 2005
(David Lee et al ‘Aviation and global change in the 21st century’). There are
two important changes:
* Including for the first time estimates of cirrus cloud formation
* Allowing for aviation growth between 2000 and 2005
The effect of these is to increase aviation’s impacts to:
3.5% without cirrus
4.9% including cirrus
In quite a long and complex paper, the authors estimate the radiative forcing or RF due to aviation emissions and express these as a % of worldwide RF from
all sectors. Several gases have climate impacts (some cause cooling rather than
warming) and there are considerable uncertainties about the exact impacts and
thus wide error limits. The range of uncertainly around the 3.5% figure (excluding
cirrus) is given as 1.2% to 10%.
The uncertainties about cirrus formation are particularly great, which is why
scientists have previously been reluctant to quote figures. The range of uncertainty
around the 4.9% (including cirrus) is 2% to 14%.
The figure of 3.5% (excluding cirrus), includes CO2, O3, CH4, NOx, H2O vapour,
contrails, SO4 and soot. The total impact of these is 1.96 times greater than
CO2 alone. This illustrates how important it is it to assess the full RF and
not just the effect of CO2.
The figure of 4.9% includes cirrus as well as all these other substances.
The total impact is then 3.06% greater than CO2. This illustrates even more
the importance of looking at all aviation’s emissions.
All the figures quoted are for 2005. Because of the high rate of aviation growth,
the %s would be higher if re-calculated for 2009.
The relative impact of aviation in the UK is much higher. The government (Department
for Transport) estimates that CO2 accounts for 6.3% of total UK emissions and
9.8% of all greenhouse gases, but excluding cirrus. These figures are not on
the quite the same basis as the RFs of Lee et al, but they illustrate that aviation
is a specially important issue for the UK.
Note – Radiative forcing (RF)
There is no one measure or ‘metric’ that expresses climate or global warming
impacts. Different metrics have different roles and different pros and cons. Radiative
forcing (RF) is a measure of the amount of atmospheric warming in a period, eg
a year, caused by historical emissions up to that year. Thus the RF due to aviation
in 2009 is a function of emissions from aircraft up to 2009. The relationship
between emissions and RF is complex because different substances last a different
amount of time in the atmosphere. For example, CO2 can last a hundred years or
more whereas H2O may only last a matter of days.
Read more »
Air transport has proved to be one of the fastest growing industries over the past 20 years, with passenger traffic nearly tripling in terms of revenue-passenger-kilometres (RPKs) and increasing at an average of 5.4% per year since 1994. However, though there have been improvements in fuel use per revenue-tonne-kilometre (RTK), the industry’s carbon emissions increasing by 150% since 1994. With a similar rate of increase in air traffic expected over the next 20 years, the emissions can only go up. The increase in air travel had been helped by a halving in its cost over the period. The future cost of jet fuel is unknown but IATA hopes the price of jet fuel will be stable, and the cost of flying will get even lower – justifying huge expansion predictions. IATA says curbing demand for air travel is not realistic. ( Why ?) IATA knows its aim of so called “carbon neutral growth” cannot be achieved, but hopes ICAO will come up with something to enable aviation emissions to be traded, so the industry can buy carbon cuts in other sectors, while it continues to emit more.
With air traffic likely to triple over the next 20 years, decoupling emissions growth will be a major challenge, warns IATA economist
Tue 13 May 2014 (GreenAir online )
Air transport has proved to be one of the fastest growing industries over the past 20 years, with passenger traffic nearly tripling in terms of revenue-passenger-kilometres (RPKs) and increasing at an average of 5.4% per year since 1994. However, despite strong efficiency gains that have seen fuel use per revenue-tonne-kilometre (RTK) decline by nearly a half, this has led to the industry’s carbon emissions increasing by one-and-a-half times over the same period, reported IATA’s Chief Economist, Brian Pearce (right), at the ATAG Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva. With a similar rate of increase in air traffic expected over the next 20 years, industry and governments will need to overcome the challenge of decoupling it from the growth in emissions, he said.
Pearce told delegates the global spend on air transport had closely followed the upward trend of global nominal GDP since 1994 and if forecasts were correct, that spend would increase from currently around $7 billion a year to $2.5 trillion by 2034. The world spent around an annual average of 0.9% of GDP on air transport over the past 20 years, he said. Although outstripped by the growth in passenger traffic, air freight (measured in FTKs) had increased by an average of 4.2% per annum, compared to a 2.8% annual average increase in global GDP.
The increase had been helped by a halving in the cost of air transport over the period. “Much of that reduction has been achieved by manufacturers giving us much more fuel efficient aircraft and engines,” he said. “And the reduction has come during a period when jet fuel prices have tripled – an amazing efficiency record.”
With jet fuel forming around a third of all airline costs, the future trend over the next 20 years would be determined by fuel prices. The ‘peak oil’ view would see much higher prices but economists, by contrast, foresee a reduction in energy costs as a result of a stimulation in innovation and efficiency caused by the rapid increase during the past 20 years. “The consensus is that we are likely to see stability in fuel prices,” said Pearce. “Therefore, I think we should probably bet that we will see air transport continuing to become cheaper.”
Air travel would be in strong demand over the next 20 years, supported by the growth of large cities and the need to connect those cities, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, forecast Pearce, with the growth in passenger traffic outstripping that of air cargo.
Despite the rising levels of carbon emissions, Pearce said curbing that demand in order to achieve the industry’s carbon-neutral growth target was not a realistic option. “Air transport is critical for economic development. Do we really want to suppress the travel needs of, say, India and China? Because that is what we’re talking about here,” he questioned.
“But it illustrates the challenge that we, the industry, and governments need to overcome. We do need to decouple the growth in air transport from the growth in emissions. The industry has been thinking a lot about this and how it is possible to design a mechanism that can address those differences sufficiently and fairly. The challenge we have over the next three years at ICAO is to make sure that thinking is reflected in the discussions by governments.”
Pearce said a study carried out by IATA and consultants McKinsey had showed there was scope to make a range of cost-effective reductions amounting to around 215 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year by 2030 (the industry emitted around 689 million tonnes in 2012). However, he said, most of those reductions would need to come from infrastructure measures that only governments could act on, such as air traffic management improvements in Europe and the United States.
“But even with implementation of all these measures, the demand for air travel, and to a lesser extent air cargo, means there is going to be tremendous pressure on the industry because of the inevitable rise in emissions. Carbon-neutral growth, therefore, is going to be critical for us and for the wider economy in order to deliver the benefits from the industry that we have seen over the past 20 years.”
During the conference, ATAG released a new report ‘Aviation Benefits Beyond Borders’ that shows the industry’s economic impact was worth $2.4 trillion, with 3.4% of global GDP and over 58 million jobs supported by aviation. In 2013, 3.1 billion passengers were carried around 5.4 trillion kilometres on 36.4 million commercial flights that served nearly 50,000 routes.
Brian Pearce’s slide presentation
ATAG Global Sustainable Aviation Summit
ATAG Global Sustainable Aviation Summit Video Channel
‘Aviation Benefits Beyond Borders’
IATA Fact Sheet – Climate Change
IATA ‘s “Industry Goals”:
- An average improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year to 2020
- A cap on net aviation CO2 emissions from 2020: carbon-neutral growth [NET not gross]
- Cut net CO2 emissions in half by 2050 compared to 2005 [by carbon trading with other sectors that actually make the carbon cuts, allowing aviation emissions to grow.]
Carbon-Neutral Growth 2020 (CNG2020)
- CNG2020 means that aviation’s net CO2 emissions will not increase beyond 2020 levels even as demand for air transport continues to grow
- The industry is working hard to deliver CNG2020 (Four Pillar strategy), but it is also contingent upon action by other stakeholders, notably:
- The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) needs to adopt a CO2 emission standard for new aircraft types
- Governments and fuel companies need to support and scale up the production of sustainable biofuels for aviation
- Governments and air navigation service providers need to improve air traffic management, and live up to their commitments to deliver the Single European Sky in Europe and NextGen in the United States
- At its Annual General Meeting in June 2013, IATA members adopted a resolutionproviding a set of principles on how governments could integrate a single global market-based measure as part of an overall package of measures to put a cap on net aviation emissions from 2020
Four Pillar Strategy to Address Climate Change
- Short-term: enhancements and modifications to existing in-service fleet
- Medium-term: accelerate fleet renewal, introduce latest technologies, including drop-in biofuels
- Long-term: radical new technologies and aircraft designs
- IATA Technology Roadmap identifies technologies that could reduce fuel burn per aircraft by up to 30%
- Improved operations can save fuel and CO2 emissions by up to 6% per year (IPCC)
- IATA helps fuel conservation by compiling best practices, publishing guidance, visiting airlines and training
- IATA will extend fuel conservation programs and promote airline environmental management systems
- Governments and infrastructure providers could avoid up to 12% of CO2 emissions by addressing airport and airspace inefficiencies (IPCC)
- Some 4% of this has already been achieved since 1999 (according to the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation – CANSO)
- Single European Sky (SES), US NextGen Air Transport System and flexible use of airspace would contribute to these savings
- To the extent that the industry’s climate change objectives may not be achieved through the first three pillars alone, a cost-effective single global market-based measure is needed to bridge the gap
- Considering the international nature of aviation, a global approach to aviation emissions must be preferred over a patchwork of individual and uncoordinated policies:
- A market-based measure should be cost-effective and administratively simple
- Airlines should only be held accountable once for their emissions
- A patchwork of measures may lead to the same emissions being covered by more than one mechanism.
- A global mechanism is needed to prevent market distortions and carbon leakage
At its 38th session, the ICAO Assembly decided to develop a global market-based measure for international aviation. It requested the ICAO Council to finalize the work on the technical aspects, environmental and economic impacts and modalities of the possible options for a global MBM scheme. The results of the work of the Council will be reported to the next Assembly in 2016 for approval.
Updated: December 2013
Read more »
Gatwick and Heathrow have been trying to get the best publicity they can for their runway, while simultaneously having a dig at each other. But does either deliver on environmental issues? Many of the new ideas, such as noise compensation schemes and a congestion charge, aim to tackle these impacts but much of what has been proposed either misses the key questions or makes impressive promises on issues that are outside the control of airports. Heathrow’s only contribution towards cutting carbon emissions appears to be using some renewable energy in its new terminal and incentivising efficient aircraft. They remain silent on inconvenient issues. Giving the go-ahead to any of the runway options would mean UK carbon emissions would have to be cut elsewhere, either though imposing limits on regional airports, or expecting other sectors and industries to deliver near impossible emissions reductions. UK aviation has been given a very lax emissions target of only having to keep its CO2 emissions to 2005 levels by 2050. The assumption that this means an increase of 60% in passengers, or 55% in flights depends on carbon cuts in line with the rate of growth. It is by no means clear those carbon efficiencies will, or can, be made.
Heathrow and Gatwick battle it out in the media, but is either environmentally deliverable?
Gatwick and Heathrow have been building up to this week for some time so that they could submit their updated proposals for a new runway to the government-appointed Airports Commission. They have done their best to keep the media interested by drip feeding their new ideas to the public while simultaneously having a dig at their rival.
Much of the media reporting has pitted the two airports against each other with a focus on which of the three schemes (two at Heathrow and one at Gatwick) would offer greatest benefit and be the easiest to deliver.
But do any of the new proposals deliver on environmental issues? Many of the new ideas, such as noise compensation schemes and a congestion charge, aim to tackle these impacts but much of what has been proposed either misses the key questions or makes impressive promises on issues that are outside the control of airports.
The new Heathrow proposal, for example, while seeking a 50% increase in flights, makes a commitment to “keep CO2 emissions within UK climate change targets“. The UK Government has also made this commitment – the Climate Change Act – and Heathrow’s only contribution towards this appears to be using some renewable energy in its new terminal and incentivising efficient aircraft.
Gatwick, while responsible for a smaller proportion of the UK’s emissions today, promises a similar increase in flight numbers and the addition of the many long haul flights it promises would carry a big carbon penalty.
Unlike Heathrow, the UK is required to meet its commitment on CO2 emissions under legislation. Giving the go-ahead to any of the runway options would mean emissions would have to be cut elsewhere, either though imposing limits on other airports, like Birmingham or Manchester (which currently have room to grow), or expecting other sectors and industries to deliver near impossible emissions reductions.
Heathrow promises to play its part in meeting local air quality limits but its commitments on this look shallow. The airport plans, for example, to introduce a congestion charge for those accessing the airport by road if a new runway is built. But air pollution at Heathrow is already above EU legal limits and as pollution from aircraft themselves adds to the problem, an additional 270,000 flights for an extra 40 million passengers and a doubling of freight capacity is likely to significantly increase emissions. A congestion charge would have to be spectacularly high in order to compensate for this.
On both noise and air pollution issues Gatwick claims a comparative advantage over its rivals, as its rural location means that there is a lower population density in the area and fewer sources of air pollution. But it is that very rural location, with its low levels of background noise, that is valued by the thousands of people who would be affected by a second runway at Gatwick.
Comparing itself favourably with Heathrow, where noise affects more people than at any other airport in Europe, doesn’t mean there is no noise problem at Gatwick, even today, and air pollution doesn’t need to breach legal limits to be harmful.
While all three runway proposals offer some sweeteners to deal with environmental impacts, none has been able to show how noise could be brought within the levels that are safe for human health or how a new runway could be compatible with the UK’s commitments on climate change.
With additional problems in relation to surface access and air pollution, the Airports Commission will have its work cut out in making a new runway look like an attractive investment for the next Government.
An AirportWatch member adds:
Neither Heathrow nor Gatwick has explained how they will deal with their carbon emissions being a huge proportion of the UK’s aviation carbon emissions, and how much greater a proportion this would be if a new runway was built. If Heathrow or Gatwick got a runway, and used it fully, the carbon emissions from other UK airports may need to be reduced. There is currently no mechanism by which this would be done, but the operators of other significant regional airports may well look at a new south east runway nervously.
Until Heathrow, Gatwick or indeed the Airports Commission itself explain how their expansion is compatible with the Climate Change Act, the presumption must be that it is NOT compatible, and that any new runways cannot proceed without representing a fundamental challenge to the UK’s response to dangerous climate change.
The CCC guidance in 2009 recommended that 55% more flights than in 2005 could be fitted within the carbon ceiling, by 2050 – on condition that carbon efficiencies were made of the same scale. Thereby keeping the emissions broadly at the same level each year, of some 37.5 million tonnes CO2 per year. If these carbon efficiencies ( NOT including carbon trading with other sectors ) do not come about, then UK aviation cannot expand by that amount. ie. by another heavily use, long-haul runway, which is what Heathrow and Gatwick want ( as Gatwick hopes for more long haul destinations).
This is what the CCC guidance, on which the Airports Commission depends, says on carbon cuts by the UK aviation industry, and future aviation expansion:
Page 10 CCC
Achieving the aviation emissions target
• Given prudent assumptions on likely improvements in fleet fuel efficiency and biofuels penetration, demand growth of around 60% would be compatible with keeping CO2
emissions in 2050 no higher than in 2005:
– In our Likely scenario, assumptions on improvement in fleet fuel efficiency
and biofuels penetration result in annual carbon intensity reduction of
– The cumulative reduction of around 35% in 2050 provides scope for
achieving the target with around 55% more Air Traffic Movements (ATMs).
With increasing load factors over time this could allow for around 60%
more passengers than in 2005.
– Given currently planned capacity expansion and with a demand response
to the projected carbon price and to some of the opportunities for modal
shift, demand could grow around 115% between now and 2050.
– Constraints on demand growth in addition to the projected carbon price
would therefore be required to meet the 2050 target.
• Future technological progress may make more rapid demand growth than 60% compatible with the target, but it is not prudent to plan on the assumption that such progress will be achieved:
Page 7 :
The report also notes the potential implications of non-CO2 aviation effects
on global warming. The scale of such effects is still scientifically uncertain, and
the effects are not covered by the Kyoto Protocol, the UK Climate Change Act
or the Government’s aviation target. The Committee notes the likely need to
account for these effects in future global and UK policy frameworks, but we
do not propose a specific approach in this report. Our assessment of required
policies is therefore focused on the target as currently defined – keeping 2050
UK aviation CO2 emissions to no more than 37.5 MtCO2
In January 2009 the Government set a new target to reduce UK aviation
emissions to 2005 levels or below in 2050 as part of its decision to support
expansion of Heathrow. ……
The target is consistent with assumptions that it is prudent not to plan for net
credit purchase by the aviation industry further out to 2050, and that other
countries will be operating under similar constraints on aviation emissions:
• The fact that the target is set in terms of gross rather than net emissions (i.e.
it relates to actual emissions rather than emissions net of purchase of credits
from other sectors or from the international carbon markets) reflects an
assumption that the supply of cheap credits will be exhausted over time and
that it is therefore important for the aviation sector to focus on reducing its
The chart given by the CCC in their guidance shows management of demand for air travel as a key part of keeping UK aviation emissions down.
By contrast, the chart ( from “Sustainable Aviation” substitutes carbon trading for reduction in air passenger demand, therefore being contrary to the CCC advice.
The two charts, for comparison:
In the Heathrow document “Taking Britain further” here are the relevant extracts on carbon emissions and local air quality:
[By contrast, the Committee on Climate Change had a less unrealistic scenario for future UK aviation emissions. ]
Read more »