Environmental Audit Committee says government should not permit Heathrow runway without strict conditions

The EAC report’s conclusions say: “The Government should not approve Heathrow expansion until Heathrow Ltd. can demonstrate that it accepts and will comply with the Airports Commission conditions, including a night flight ban, that it is committed to covering the costs of surface transport improvements; that it is possible to reconcile Heathrow expansion with legal air pollution limits, and that an expanded Heathrow would be less noisy than a two runway Heathrow. In each case – climate change, air quality and noise – it needs to set out concrete proposals for mitigation alongside clear responsibilities and milestones against which performance can be measured. It should report regularly to Parliament, through this Committee and others, on progress. The Government should not avoid or defer these issues. To do so would increase the risks of the project: delay through legal challenge, unquantifiable costs resulting from unclear responsibilities, economic risks through constraint of other sectors to meet increased aviation emissions and longterm costs to public health from the impact of air pollution and noise.”
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Government should not give go ahead on Heathrow until environmental conditions can be met

1 December 2015 

(Environmental Audit Committee press release)

The report is at 

REPORT: Airports Commission Report: Carbon Emissions, Air Quality & Noise

The Government should not give final approval to Heathrow expansion until the airport can demonstrate that it accepts and will comply with key environmental conditions, MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee have said.

Environmental Audit Committee Chair, Huw Irranca-Davies MP:

“The purpose of this inquiry was not to reopen the debate over where extra airport capacity should be located or whether it should take place at all. It was to examine the implications of the Airports Commission’s recommendation for a third runway on climate-changing emissions, air quality and noise – and what Government and Heathrow should do about them.”

The MPs say the airport must demonstrate that: it can reconcile Heathrow expansion with legal air pollution limits; commit to covering the costs of surface transport improvements; commit to introducing a night flight ban; and show that an expanded Heathrow would be less noisy than a two runway Heathrow. Huw Irranca-Davies MP:

“The Government has a duty to reduce illegal levels of air pollution in London to protect the health and well-being of its population. The Communities living near to the roads around Heathrow already put up with noise and extra traffic, it would be quite unacceptable to subject them to a potentially significant deterioration in air quality as well. Increased pollution should certainly not be permitted on the grounds that other areas of London are even more polluted.”

On carbon emissions, the inquiry found a gap between the Government’s current policies and the policies modelled by the Commission to show expansion could be achieved within CO2 limits. The Government should set out its approach to international negotiations on aviation emissions and put in place a strategy to deliver aviation emissions no higher than 2005 levels by 2050 in line with the economy-wide target set by the Climate Change Act. 

EAC Chair, Huw Irranca Davies MP commented:

“Planes are becoming more fuel efficient, but this alone will not keep aviation emissions in line with the Government’s climate change targets given the growth in passenger numbers. Even without expansion, aviation is on track to exceed its climate change target. We heard evidence that those targets might be met in theory, but at present there is a policy vacuum and evidence-based scepticism as to whether they can be met in practice.”

On air quality, the inquiry heard concerns that the Commission’s interpretation of the Air Quality Directive implied that significant increases in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) resulting from Heathrow expansion would be allowable because of worse performance elsewhere in London. The Committee said the Government should make clear that this is not the position it intends to take when assessing Heathrow’s compliance with the EU directive on air quality.

On noise, the Committee strongly supports a ban on night flights and calls on the Government to improve trust between local people and the airport by setting up within the year a Community Engagement Board. Ministers also need to establish and explain how noisy a future three-runway Heathrow would be relative to a future two-runway airport, and ensure that communities still receive predictable respite from planes flying overhead.

In each case – climate change, air quality and noise – the Government needs to set out concrete proposals for mitigation alongside clear responsibilities and milestones against which performance can be measured.

The Government should report regularly to Parliament on its progress through the Environmental Audit Committee and other committees. It should use the consultation period that would likely follow any decision to address the recommendations in the report, before seeking Parliament’s approval for the scheme.

Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Huw Irranca-Davies MP:  

“To defer dealing with the environmental impact of a third runway would be irresponsible and could lead to legal challenges as a result of the potential damage to public health from increased air pollution and noise. If the Government decides to accept the Commission’s recommendation for a third runway in principle, we will seek assurances from the Secretary of State for Transport that environmental conditions will be met before it is given final approval.”

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BACKGROUND

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

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

 

Specific Committee Information:  eacom@parliament.uk/ 020 7219 6150/ 020 7219 6150


 

The report’s Conclusions and recommendations

5 Conclusion   (Page 26)

89. The Government should not approve Heathrow expansion until Heathrow ltd. can demonstrate that it accepts and will comply with the Airports Commission conditions, including a night flight ban, that it is committed to covering the costs of surface transport improvements; that it is possible to reconcile Heathrow expansion with legal air pollution limits, and that an expanded Heathrow would be less noisy than a two runway Heathrow. In each case – climate change, air quality and noise – it needs to set out concrete proposals for mitigation alongside clear responsibilities and milestones against which performance can be measured. It should report regularly to Parliament, through this Committee and others, on progress. The Government should not avoid or defer these issues. To do so would increase the risks of the project: delay through legal challenge, unquantifiable costs resulting from unclear responsibilities, economic risks through constraint of other sectors to meet increased aviation emissions and longterm costs to public health from the impact of air pollution and noise.

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Introduction

1. The Government has said it will set “a clear direction” on airport expansion by the end of the year. If the Government is minded to go ahead with the Commission’s recommendation, it is likely that this will be followed by a further period of consultation. The Government should use this period to address the recommendations in our report, before making a final decision on whether to go ahead with the scheme and seek the approval of Parliament through a National Policy Statement or Hybrid Bill. (Paragraph 4)

Carbon Emissions

2. The Government, when making a decision, will need to consider its carbon emissions mitigation against the full range of demand scenarios modelled by the Commission. (Paragraph 10)

3. The former Airports Commissioners told us they relied heavily on the work of the Committee on Climate Change when undertaking their work. They denied that their modelled carbon prices and policies were policy recommendations – feeling that the CCC were better placed to take on this role. Governments have in the past been reluctant to accept CCC policy recommendations on aviation. The Government cannot credibly rely on the Commission’s analysis as evidence that Heathrow expansion can be delivered within the limits set by the 2008 Act if this continues to be the case. We recommend that the Government give the CCC the opportunity to comment on the Commission’s forecasting of aviation emissions and the feasibility of its possible carbon policy scenarios. The Government should act on any recommendations they make. (Paragraph 14)

4. The Commission’s indicative carbon prices and policies were not intended as recommendations. Nonetheless, they give an indication of the scale of intervention likely to be required to bring aviation emissions within 2005 levels by 2050. Before making any decision on Heathrow expansion, the Government should publish an assessment of the likely impact on the aviation industry – particularly regional airports – and wider economy of measures to mitigate the likely level of additional emissions from Heathrow. (Paragraph 17)

5. The Government should consider developing a policy framework to advise industry about how to prioritise trade-offs between noise and carbon pollution when adopting biofuels thus giving guidance on priorities. (Paragraph 20)

6. The Commission, industry and Committee on Climate Change envisage biofuels playing a limited role in controlling aviation emissions. However, the use of biofuels is not without its own risks and uncertainties. The Government must either examine the options to encourage aviation to move to advanced fuels that are sustainable across their entire life cycle (including indirect land use change and impacts on food supplies) or identify ways in which corresponding emissions reductions will be achieved. (Paragraph 21) 

7. The Government should set out its approach to the International Civil Aviation Organisation negotiations as the previous Government did ahead of the COP 21 negotiations in Paris. It will need to demonstrate either that the agreement it is seeking can incentivise the absolute carbon emission reductions required to meet the planning assumption or what measures it is prepared to take and to what timescale in order to make up the shortfall. (Paragraph 25)

8. There are some areas of the Commission’s work on operational and technological improvements that are still the subject of significant disagreement. We urge the Government to produce and publish its own thorough evaluation of the forecasts, including its assessment of whether take-up is likely to be sufficient without Government intervention. (Paragraph 28)

9. We draw four conclusions from the evidence we heard on carbon emissions. Firstly, because the planning assumption requires additional decarbonisation from other sectors, passenger growth in aviation cannot be seen in isolation from the progress on emissions reduction made by the rest of the economy. Secondly, the industry has taken steps to reduce its carbon emissions and, in areas such as fuel efficiency, market incentives are likely to ensure further progress. Thirdly, these measures in themselves are highly unlikely to achieve the planning assumption and further measures, including demand management, will be required. Finally, there is a significant gap between the theoretical models of how a mixture of these measures might allow the planning assumption to be met and the proposals currently on the domestic and international policy tables. (Paragraph 29)

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

Air Quality

11. Before the Government makes its decision, it should make its own assessment of the likely costs of preventing an adverse impact on health from expansion at Heathrow and publish it. (Paragraph 33)

12. Many of our witnesses interpreted the Commission’s interpretation of the Air Quality Directive as implying that significant increases in NO2 resulting from Heathrow expansion would be allowable because of worse performance elsewhere in London. This would make no sense in terms of protecting public health and wellbeing. The Government should make clear that this is not the position it intends to take when assessing the scheme for compliance with the Directive. (Paragraph 43)

13. Before the Government makes its decision, it will need to demonstrate that its revised air quality strategy can deliver compliance with legal pollution limits within the timescales agreed in the finalised plan to be approved by the European Commission. The Airports Commission Report: Carbon Emissions, Air Quality and Noise 29 It will also need to show that this can be maintained even when the expanded airport is operating at full capacity. Heathrow’s existing air quality strategy should also be revised to meet the new targets. Failing this, Heathrow should not be allowed to expand. (Paragraph 47)

14. The Commission recommended that the release of capacity at an expanded airport should be conditional on air quality standards being met. The Government should not approve expansion at Heathrow until it has developed a robust framework for delivery and accountability. This should have binding, real-world milestones and balance the need for investor certainty with assurances that a successor Government cannot set the conditions aside if they become inconvenient. (Paragraph 50)

15. Disaggregating the impacts of Heathrow on local traffic, and therefore air quality, is complex and contested by the airport and the local authorities. The Government must establish clearly delineated responsibilities for meeting air quality limits before deciding to go ahead with the scheme. We foresee significant legal and commercial risks further down the line if this is not done, for example, if central Government tried to hold local authorities to account for a failure to meet the targets that they attributed to airport expansion or to penalise the airport for pollution that it attributed to background traffic. (Paragraph 53)

16. The aspiration of moving the majority of journeys to public transport with no increase in road traffic is shared by all. Transport for London told us this would require large-scale modal shift of the scale seen in central London over the last 15 years. However, there is no agreement between them and the Commission over the extent of infrastructure improvements required to achieve this, the resulting costs or, by implication, the extent to which individual parties would meet those costs. Before the Government decides to go ahead with Heathrow expansion it should set out its assessment of what would be required in terms of infrastructure improvements, agreed responsibilities for funding and milestones for completion. This should be part of a wider transport strategy for West London to minimise the risk of unintended consequences. The Government must make a binding commitment that Heathrow will fund the infrastructure improvements necessary to accommodate an expanded Heathrow. (Paragraph 61)

Noise

17. The Commission highlighted the inadequacy of relying purely on averages when
measuring the impact of noise on communities. People living close to Heathrow do
not experience noise from flights into and out of the airport as a constant decibel
level throughout the day or night. So, although the measurement of average noise
experienced provides a helpful snapshot of noise over a short period, and a useful
historical comparison, it does not reflect a range of variables such as the type, height
or engine power of an aircraft. Nor does it account for peak noise events. And, if it
lacks detail, it may also ignore a swathe of people who are overflown infrequently but
loudly. The Government, when assessing the noise impact of an expanded Heathrow,
should do so against a full range of metrics and not just average noise experienced.
These metrics need to be measured against international standards such as World
Health Organisation recommendations and inform a change in Government policy
on aviation noise. (Paragraph 67)

18. The Commission recommended the establishment of an Independent Aviation Noise
Authority. This body will need a more up to date understanding of people’s attitudes to
noise if it is to be credible. One of the first tasks of such a body should be to undertake a
survey of people’s attitudes to aviation noise. The results of this survey should underpin
both its own work and future Government policy on managing noise. In particular,
they should form part of a piece of work to develop a set of metrics to assess noise
impact. (Paragraph 73)

19. For residents around Heathrow, noise is a major part of their day to day lives.
Understandably, they are deeply concerned about the impact of an expanded airport.
The Government needs to demonstrate that, in assessing the case for expansion, it has
based its decision on whether an expanded Heathrow would be noisier or less noisy
than a two runway Heathrow at the same point in time – taking into account respite
and the need for predicable relief from overflying. (Paragraph 81)

20. The Commission’s recommended ban on night flights was a key part of the package
proposed by the Commission. The Government should publish a plan, including a
series of binding milestones, to deliver the proposed ban as part of any announcement
to proceed with expansion at Heathrow as recommended by the Commission.
(Paragraph 84)

21. Levels of trust between Heathrow and the local community are an historical
and enduring issue which has impaired effective community engagement. If the
Government decides in favour of expansion it should put in place a framework to
ensure that mitigating measures are introduced promptly. The Airports Commission
also recommended the establishment of two bodies – an Independent Aviation Noise
Authority and a Community Engagement Board – to address this. As part of the efforts
to restore trust and effective community engagement, these should be introduced in
the next year, even if the Government decides against Heathrow expansion. One of
the first pieces of work for the Community Engagement Board should be to establish
the extent to which commitments made at the time of Terminal 5 have been met.

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Full report at

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmenvaud/389/389.pdf

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Read more »

50,000 take part London Climate March – with a highly visible “No Runway” bloc

On the day before the start of the COP21 climate talks in Paris, there were some 2,500 climate marches and events around the world.  Unfortunately, the Paris authorities did not allow a march, due to security concerns. However, in London about 50,000 people braved gales and rain as they marched through London to Whitehall to demand that world leaders take urgent action.  It was the biggest demonstration of its kind the UK has ever seen.  There was a determined aviation bloc – marching with the “No 3rd Runway” fabric plane. Braving gusts of wind of around 40mph, those opposing a Heathrow runway put in a highly visible presence, even if the chants of “No Ifs. No Buts. No 3rd  Runway” sometimes got drowned out by the Hari Krishna music system in the same part of the march. Caroline Lucas briefly helped carry the “No New Runways” banner, and so did John McDonnell. Addressing the crowds alongside a host of other speakers, Jeremy Corbyn said: “The issues facing the world in Paris this week are pollution, climate change, inequality, environmental refugees, war refugees and resources wars. If we are to make a real difference in Paris, all these issues have got to be thought about and addressed.” International aviation and shipping are not getting proper carbon emissions reduction targets in the Paris negotiations.
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29th November 2015

2015 Climate March Caroline Lucas

Caroline Lucas MP helps carry the banner.

2015 Climate March John McDonnell

John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor and MP for Hayes & Harlington, helped carry the banner in Whitehall

World leaders from more than 50 countries are meeting in Paris for United Nations’ talks to secure strong deals to curb rising temperatures and shift the world to 100 per cent renewable energy.

2015 Climate March crowd

50,000 marched – perhaps the biggest ever London climate event

2015 Climate March

Finally at the end of the march, having survived the gales, in front of Parliament

 

The march in the capital was one of 80 in the UK and almost 2,500 around the world as demonstrators issued a rallying call for action to combat global warming.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also attended and told the crowds gathered in central London for a march against climate change that they had a message for the politicians gathering in Paris for talks next week – ‘Do what you are sent there to do.’

Dame Vivienne Westwood stressed the devastating impact of global warming while Jeremy Corbyn also urged politicians to act now.

Oscar-winner Emma Thompson called on world leaders to grab the ‘historic’ opportunity to reach a deal on tackling climate change as she joined thousands of environmental protesters in London on Sunday.

Thousands of people set out on a march through the capital from Hyde Park to Whitehall in an effort to persuade world leaders to reach agreements on global warming.

A march in Paris that was called off after the terror attacks two weeks ago was carried out symbolically when thousands of pairs of shoes were placed in the Place de la Republique, including pairs from the Pope and United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

 

 

Link to Daily Mail story, with lots of good photos

In London Sunday, just one day before the Paris Climate Conference begins on November 30th. Thousands of protesters demanding that world leaders enforce stricter climate-protecting guidelines have already lined the streets of Paris, and similar marches were orchestrated Sunday in cities like Madrid, Rome and the British capital, where an estimated 50,000 people, including the Radiohead singer, gathered ahead of COP21.

Paris conference asking for “an ambitious commitment to climate action, starting now, that will limit future global warming to below 2.0°C (3.6 °F) relative to pre-industrial levels,” among other recommended efforts to prevent further exacerbating climate change.

“We are deeply concerned that our global economic and industrial systems are accelerating rates of extinction, desertification and soil depletion, degrading ecosystems, acidifying and littering our rivers and oceans, and resulting in a relentless rise in greenhouse gas emissions driving irreversible climate change,” the petition stated. “In short, we are overwhelming the planet’s life support systems.”

Read more »

“The Elephants in the Room” at the Paris talks: international aviation & shipping

Transport & Environment (T&E), a Brussels NGO, is calling on countries participating in COP21 to insist that the UN organisations responsible for international aviation and shipping set realistic reduction targets consistent with 2°C objective and adopt measures to implement them. The two sectors are the “Elephants in the Room” at Paris.  Though these two sectors are crucial to our global economy, they must grow in a way that does not come at the expense of the planet.  Aviation is responsible for almost 5% of all global warming and its emissions are predicted to grow by up to 300% in 2050. Such a growth rate would make the target of keeping the global temperature increase to under 2°C almost impossible to achieve. Further ambition is required, including cooperation between the UNFCCC and the ICAO. T&E have put together a briefing debunking the myths about the carbon emissions of aviation (and of shipping). Well worth reading. The industry claims that “aviation accounts for 2% of global emissions”; it claims “aviation is delivering increased efficiency gains”; that “thousands of flights already with alternative fuel, more expected”. It claims the industry “has a target of Carbon Neutral Growth from 2020”; and that it should not be a source of climate finance. Each in turn refuted by T&E.

Elephants in the room. With sign COP21
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See the inforaphic at   http://www.elephantsintheroom.eu/

The UN body dealing with aviation is the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the body for shipping is the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

 

Elephants in the room COP21

1273 = The number of mega tonnes of CO2 emitted by aviation and shipping in 2012

250 = The % projected increase in shipping emissions by 2050 if no action is taken

300 = The % projected increase in aviation emissions by 2050 if no action is taken

40   = The % of CO2 emitted by aviation and shipping in 2050 if nothing is done


 

Full briefing from T&E:

COP21 international transport briefing from T&E


 

T&E asks:

Would it make sense to try and keep your house cool with the heating on?

International aviation is responsible for 5% of man-made global warming and shipping for almost 3% of all Greenhouse gas emissions. And their emissions are expected to increase by up to 270% if no action is taken. Therefore, limiting a temperature increase to 2°C won’t be possible if the COP Agreement does not include emission reduction obligations from international aviation and shipping.

Transport & Environment therefore calls for countries participating in COP21 to insist that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and International Maritime Organisation (IMO) set realistic reduction targets consistent with 2°C objective and adopt measures to implement them.

These sectors are crucial to our global economy, but they must grow in a way that does not come at the expense of the planet and the world’s most vulnerable states.
International Aviation Emissions – its Flight-path to 2 Degrees

Aviation is responsible for almost 5% of all global warming and its emissions are predicted to grow by up to 300% in 2050. Such a growth rate would make the target of keeping the global temperature increase to under 1.5/2°C almost impossible to achieve. Further ambition is required, and cooperation between the UNFCCC and the International Civil Organisation is essential to achieving this.


Industry myths debunked

Aviation:

ICAO is nervous that the Paris Conference is being held at an airport lest aviation’s climate record be scrutinised.

Industry claims that “aviation accounts for 2% of global emissions”. (ATAG, October 2015)

The reality is that industry always plays down the climate impact from aviation. In reality it is responsible for 4.9% of man-induced global warming. (13)

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Industry claims that “aviation is delivering increased efficiency gains”. (ATAG, October 2015)

The reality is that a 2015 report by the ICCT has found that aviation is 12 years off the efficiency target set by ICAO. The sector is still not bound by an efficiency standard, and the one currently being developed by ICAO risks having minimal or no impact on CO2 emissions from new aircraft. There is little transparency in this area. ICAO refuses to disclose the current state of fleet-wide efficiency gains. (14)

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Industry claims that “thousands of flights already with alternative fuel, more expected”.

The reality is that the current usage of alternative fuels for aviation is very low. And any increased use of alternative fuel used must be fully sustainable and have full transparency. That’s why we need clear standards and robust transparency provisions in any policies which support alternative fuel.

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Industry claims that “industry has a target of CNG from 2020”.

The reality is that this target is a weak contribution to the shared global objective of limiting a temperature increase to 2 degrees. It is a start but industry will also argue it is the endpoint. With projected growth rates up of to 300% by 2050, aviation could account for up to 15% of all global emissions under a 2 degree scenario (15). The ICAO Assembly is due to agree the measure to achieve CNG from 2020 but the process is now marked by fundamental disagreements over legal and equity issues involving developing countries. Should an agreement be reached, it will rely entirely on offsetting – other sectors will be paid to make the emission reductions that aviation won’t.

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Industry claims that industry has adopted its own target of a 50% reduction on 2005 levels by 2050.(15)

The reality is that Industry has opposed any efforts to make this target operational, rejecting any obligation in the Paris Agreement to increase their ambition. Meanwhile ICAO has failed to follow its 2013 Assembly Resolution which called for work to begin on a post-2020 target.

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Industry claims that “aviation should not be a source of climate finance”.

The reality is that airlines pay no tax on fuel used for international aviation, a subsidy which amounts to €60 billion per annum. International aviation is largely the preserve of the world’s wealthiest, while climate change will disproportionality affect the world’s poorest. Climate finance is a key element in achieving an ambitious climate agreement – aviation’s tax-free status must end and flyers start contributing (16).

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Absolute reductions in aviation GHG emissions are possible and necessary to keep warming below 1.5/2 degrees. Paris must send a strong signal to ICAO and the aviation industry that ambitious targets and measures, not PR campaigns, are required.

References for the points above here.

(13)  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231009003574

(14) http://www.transportenvironment.org/news/aviation-industry-12-years-2020-fuel-efficiency-target-Aviation

(15) http://www.transportenvironment.org/sites/te/files/publications/Shipping%20and%20aviation%20emissions%20and%202%20degrees%20v1-6.pdf

(16) https://www.iata.org/policy/environment/Documents/iata-factsheet-climatechange.pdf


Industry myths debunked

Shipping

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) have made a number of claims about their performance in tackling climate change that are contradicted by the facts.

They say that “world leaders might be tempted to consider specific measures aimed at reducing shipping’s overall contribution of CO2 emissions, such as an overall cap. Such measures would artificially limit the ability of shipping to meet the demand created by the world economy, or would unbalance the level playing field that the shipping industry needs for efficient operation, and therefore must be avoided.” (IMO Secretary-General Sekimizu, September 2015)
The reality is that the Parties included in Annex I shall pursue limitation or reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol from aviation and marine bunker fuels, working through the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization, respectively. (Kyoto Protocl 2.2 1997)

His call is not just a danger to the planet, but as the research points out, also to the shipping industry’s future prosperity, and therefore the future stability of world trade.” (Marshall Islands Foreign Ministry, Oct 2015)
They say that the shipping industry is delivering carbon neutral growth. (1)

The reality is that ship GHG emissions are up 70% since 1990 and according to the current best available science (Third IMO GHG Study) are expected to grow a further 50-250% by 2050. (2)

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They say that IMO measures reduced ship GHG emissions from 2.8% to 2.2% of total between 2008 and 2012. (3)

The reality is that since the implementation date for the IMO’s first regulations on energy efficiency is 2013, there can be no attribution of these measures to the observed trend. It is true, this change has occurred, and is because shipping GHG underwent a small absolute reduction, whilst the total emissions from other sectors increased. The absolute emission reduction is due to a reduction in shipping demand growth due to the Global Financial Crisis and fleet overcapacity resulting in energy-saving slow steaming.

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They say that slow steaming and the CO2 savings it produces are hard wired into the fleet (4) and here to stay. (5)

The reality is that there is no economic development or regulation that has occurred since publication of the Third IMO GHG Study that has ‘hard wired’ slow steaming into shipping. Referring to the fact that a large explanation for shipping’s CO2 reduction is slow steaming, a phenomenon recognised to be a function of market conditions, the Third IMO GHG Study says “…All three [oil tankers, container ships and bulk carriers] contain latent emissions increases (suppressed by slow steaming and historically low cartivity and productivity) that could return… if the market dynamics that informed those trends revert to their previous levels…”.

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They say that ships built after 2025 will be 30% more fuel efficient.(6)

The reality is that it is only true if compared with a period of historically low design efficiency; design efficiency deteriorated 10% between 1990 and 2010.(7)

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They say that a cap on global ship emissions is a cap on world trade.(8)

The reality is that between 2007 and 2012 trade increased and emissions fell by 10% (9), and numerous studies have shown that further emission reductions are feasible (10).  The real threat to world shipping comes from delay. The world’s diminishing carbon budget means that a delay in reducing shipping emissions will require steeper emission reductions from this sector in later years, presenting a far bigger challenge to the industry which may in fact damage world trade.

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They say that shipping is part of the solution to climate change.(11)

The reality is that if all other countries and sectors achieve decarbonisation pathways consistent with a 2 degree stabilisation, under current policy shipping will be responsible for up to ~17% of global CO2 emissions by 205012. Even further policy at IMO that constrains shipping to carbon-neutral growth would lead shipping to be ~6% of global CO2 emissions by 2050. Either scenario would make shipping an increasing part of the problem, and a risk for the achievement of climate stabilisation targets.

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Absolute reductions in international shipping’s GHG emissions are possible and necessary to keep warming below 1.5/2 degrees, but to make this happen the Paris Agreement must send a strong signal to the IMO that targets and measures to achieve that end are required.

References for the points above here.

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“We need to include the aviation and shipping sectors in the final agreement to be reached in Paris. The climate impact of international aviation and shipping are equal to that of Germany and South Korea respectively, yet both sectors may be exempted from the emission targets to be set in Paris.”

Comment by Matthias Groote, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Socialists & Democrats) Spokesperson on climate and part of the EP delegation to COP21

“Without ambitious mitigation action in these areas, it will therefore be even more difficult to achieve the internationally agreed goal of keeping the average global temperature rise below 2°C.”

Comment by the New Climate Economy

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T&E is holding an event, on Thursday, December 3rd 2015 (10:30 to 12:00) . At the EU pavilion, room Brussels.   The event will bring together leading experts from industry, academia and civil society to discuss what is being and can be done, and what role UNFCCC and the COP Agreement must play towards the objective of reducing emissions from the sector.

Organised by Transport & Environment and the Centre for Biological Diversity

SPEAKERS

Prof Alice Bows-Larkin, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Kassie Siegel, Senior Counsel, Centre for Biological Diversity
Andreas Hardeman, Assistant Director Environment Policy, International Air Transport Association
Lucas Chancel, Coordinator – World Inequality Report, Paris School of Economics
Introductory remarks and moderation by Claude Turmes MEP (Greens/EFA)

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See earlier:

17 NGOs write to European Commission to get them to push for inclusion of aviation and shipping in Paris agreement

In response to the announcement that the carbon emissions international aviation and shipping are to be left off the draft Paris agreement, 17 European NGOs and environmental networks have written to the Arias Cañete (Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy in the European Commission) and EU-28 Climate Ministers. They say the omission of these two large sectors, with their combined huge carbon emissions, would – if sustained – greatly undermine efforts to limit a global temperature increase to 1.5/2 degrees. Aviation is responsible for 5% of global warming with shipping emitting 3% of global CO2, and their carbon emissions are set to grow by up to 250% by 2050. The group of 17 say they represent millions of concerned European citizens. They ask that the Commission ensures these two sectors are covered by the Paris Agreement, so that they make a fair contribution to the world’s shared objective of a sustainable, low-carbon future. The letter states: “What the world needs from Paris is an agreement which charts our path to a low-carbon future. What we must not get is an agreement which says ambition for some, exemptions for others. Paris cannot mean these sectors are fuel-tax and now emissions-target free.”

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

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

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the official body advising the Government on climate change policy, has today published its advice on the fifth carbon budget, including a restatement of its recommendation that aviation emissions should be no higher in 2050 than in 2005 (37.5 Mt). CO2 from the sector is currently set to overshoot this level even without any new runways and to be higher still if expansion takes place at either Heathrow or Gatwick.

New CCC analysis published today indicates that in a scenario where emissions are not capped and only low ‘carbon abatement’ options (such as technology improvements) are available, aviation emissions could be as high as 51.9 Mt by 2050, underlining the need for policy action to address the gap.

Carbon budgets ensure that the UK is on the right path to deliver the economy-wide 80% emissions reduction required under the Climate Change Act. So far, the Government has consistently adopted and legislated CCC’s advice on the appropriate level of ambition for carbon budgets. The fifth budget will cover emissions from 2028-2032.

Image credit: Committee on Climate Change

 

Where does aviation fit in the UK climate change plan?

The CCC’s recommendation that carbon budgets must account for emissions from international aviation and shipping is longstanding. To date these emissions have not been formally included in carbon budgets given concerns about the appropriate approach to accounting for emissions from international travel.

The advice published today calls on Government to begin including shipping emissions in carbon budgets, but that “continuing uncertainties in aviation’s accounting within the EU ETS mean inclusion would be impractical at this time”. In the interim, CCC maintains that carbon budgets should continue to allow headroom for the future inclusion of aviation.

AEF supports inclusion of aviation emissions in carbon budgets and we set out some possible approaches for doing so in our response to the CCC’s consultation on its fifth carbon budget. But a continuation by Governbment of the current approach of ensuring that the UK is on course to deliver the long-term emissions target of 80% in a way that includes all sectors, and makes allowance for the future inclusion of aviation, is more important than formal inclusion of aviation emissions in carbon budgets in our view.

CCC recommends that aviation emissions should be no higher than 37.5 Mt in 2050 – the level in 2005 – and that the level of emissions reduction this assumes from other sectors in order to achieve the economy-wide target of an 80% cut is at the limit of what is feasible.

In June this year, the CCC advised the Government to draw up a policy plan for closing the gap between currently forecast aviation emissions and the 37.5 Mt target.

What does this mean for the runway debate?

The Airports Commission, in making its recommendations for a new runway at Heathrow, produced two sets of forecasts. One, the ‘carbon capped’ forecast, assumed that Government continues to act on the CCC’s advice in limiting aviation emissions to 37.5 Mt. The other, the ‘carbon traded’ forecast, ignored any constraint on emissions under the Climate Change Act and assumed that the only action to control UK aviation emissions would be inclusion in an international carbon trading scheme.

Today’s advice from the CCC implies that Government must work on the basis of a ‘carbon capped’ scenario, and that the advice of the Airports Commission to build a new South East runway should be considered in this context.

What do we want Government to do?

The Government will propose draft legislation in response to the CCC’s advice on the Fifth Carbon Budget in 2016. AEF will be asking for Government to implement the CCC’s recommendation to allow headroom for aviation emissions, and to reconsider whether in fact sufficient information either is or will be available to formally include aviation as well as shipping emissions in carbon budgets from 2028.

To demonstrate its commitment to keeping aviation emissions at a level compatible with the Climate Change Act, Government should also set out a detailed policy plan for limiting aviation demand growth to no more than 60% above its level in 2005, in line with CCC’s recommendationof June 2015, and no decisions should be taken to increase South East airport capacity unless it can be shown to be compatible with such a plan.

We’re hoping that the international climate change conference in Paris this December will produce some ambitious long-term commitments. We’re also hoping to see some evidence following the conference that the UK is willing to honour its domestic climate commitments now they are starting to bite. And getting aviation policy right is an important part of this picture.

http://www.aef.org.uk/2015/11/26/what-the-fifth-carbon-budget-advice-means-for-aviation/

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The government will propose draft legislation for the 5th budget in 2016.


The Committee on Climate Change’s report:

Sectoral scenarios for the Fifth Carbon Budget Technical report  -November 2015

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Some extracts from the CCC Fifth Carbon Budget Technical Report:

 

The Committee on Climate Change has produced its advice on the level of the 5th carbon budget, covering the period 2028-2032, as required under Section 4 of the Climate Change Act.  

UK emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) covered by carbon budgets were 520 MtCO2e in 2014. This excludes emissions from international aviation and shipping, for which 2014 estimates are not yet available but accounted for 41 MtCO2e in 2013.

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(Page 9). Aviation. While UK demand for international aviation is likely to grow considerably, emissions must be limited. Previous analysis by the Committee concluded that, based on the available evidence, aviation should plan for its emissions in 2050 to be no higher than those in 2005. That requires strong efficiency improvements to balance demand growth of about 60%.

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

Shipping. The scope of the budget should be broadened to include international shipping, with an additional 40 MtCO2e added to the fifth carbon budget, reflecting projected emissions on a bunker fuel basis and under currently agreed international policies.

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(Page 129). Domestic transport greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 117 MtCO2e in 2013, accounting for 21% of total UK GHG emissions (Figure 5.1). Within domestic transport, 94% of GHG emissions come from surface transport CO2, the remaining 6% being due to domestic aviation and shipping CO2 and non-CO2 emissions:

Emissions from international aviation and shipping were 41 MtCO2 in 2013. These are not currently formally included in carbon budgets, but are covered by the UK’s 2050 target to reduce emissions by at least 80% relative to 1990.

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(Page 150 ) b) Options for decarbonising aviation and shipping

Aviation emissions scenarios

The key drivers of future aviation emissions are demand for air travel and the carbon intensity of flying:

Demand for air travel.  The key drivers of demand will include future GDP growth, and fuel and carbon prices which feed through to ticket prices. Demand for air travel is particularly sensitive to changes in income rather than ticket prices, and will also be affected by the availability of alternatives to air travel (e.g. rail and potentially video conferencing).

Carbon intensity of flying. There are a range of options available to reduce the carbon intensity of aviation. These include improving the fuel efficiency of aircraft through engine and airframe developments, through efficiency improvements in air traffic management and in airlines’ operational practices, and through use of sustainable biofuels.

In the absence of measures, aviation emissions are likely to continue to increase. In our previous reports111, [Reference 111: For example, see CCC (2009) Meeting the UK aviation target – options for reducing emissions to 2050 and CCC (2012) Scope of carbon budgets: Statutory advice on inclusion of international aviation and shipping]  we set out analysis of the path for aviation emissions to 2050. This concluded that appropriate long-term assumptions for Government planning are for aviation emissions to be around 2005 levels in 2050 (i.e. 37.5 MtCO2). Under our ‘Likely’ scenario this was achieved through a 0.8% annual improvement in fuel efficiency, 10% take-up of biofuels, and by constraining demand growth to around 60% above 2005 levels in 2050.

For this report we commissioned DfT to model a number of emission scenarios to 2050 to test the achievability of our planning assumption. Our scenarios cover different uptake rates of abatement options:

• Central emissions scenario. Emissions are capped at 37.5 MtCO2 in 2050, in line with our planning assumption.

• High emissions ‘Barriers’ scenario. Emissions are not capped and only low abatement options are available.

• Low emissions ‘Max’ scenario. High abatement options are delivered.

In 2050, the Central scenario meets our planning assumption of 37.5 MtCO2, of which international aviation emissions are 36.2 MtCO2. In the Barriers scenario emissions are higher, at 51.9 MtCO2, and in the Max scenario emissions are lower at 32.6 MtCO2 (Figure 5.5).

Figure 5.5: UK aviation emission scenarios (2010-2050) Source: DfT projections for CCC (2015).

CCC scenarios 2010 - 2050 Nov 2015

Under our central scenario, which is designed to meet the 2050 planning assumption, emissions would be unaffected by the assumed level of runway capacity. To the extent that additional runway capacity was provided in future, there would need to be less growth in demand and hence emissions at other airports in order to stay within the overall planning assumption (or higher abatement options would have to be delivered).

The key conclusion from our analysis is that our original planning assumption remains appropriate and feasible. In order to achieve this, additional policies will be needed. For example, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is currently developing a market based measure to reduce international aviation emissions and aiming to agree this in autumn 2016. We will monitor the outcome of these talks closely to assess consistency with our planning assumption and provide further advice if necessary.

 

Inclusion of international aviation emissions in carbon budgets

In principle, emissions from international aviation should be included in carbon budgets unless there are strong practical considerations which prevent this. Where they cannot be included, budgets must be set such that the 2050 target in the Act can be met including these emissions – that has been the approach to date and is continued in this report.

Currently, inclusion of international aviation remains impractical, given the design of the EU ETS for aviation and ongoing uncertainty about how this will be treated in future:

• Given that aviation is included in the EU ETS, accounting rules for carbon budgets suggest that if international aviation is to be included in carbon budgets then it should be on the basis of UK allowances rather than on a gross basis (e.g. bunker fuels). However, the current design of the EU ETS for aviation means that only emissions from flights within Europe are covered. Inclusion on this basis would be unfavourable: it would leave a proportion of emissions outside carbon budgets, and the exact amount of UK emissions to add to carbon budgets and report annually would be unclear given the EU ETS is administered on an airline, rather than Member State, basis.

• ICAO negotiations about a global market-based measure for international aviation emissions are expected to conclude in autumn 2016. At that point the implications for carbon budgets should be assessed, including whether it is practical to include international aviation emissions in carbon budgets or more sensible to continue with formal exclusion, whilst making allowance for the emissions in the way the budget is set.

This approach to international aviation emissions does not affect the level of effort implied by our recommended fifth carbon budget. Whether or not it is included in budgets, our proposals are on a path to meeting the 2050 target with international aviation included.


 

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(Page 163)

Domestic aviation emissions could be in the range 1.6-1.8 MtCO2e in 2030, up to a 14% fall 2013 levels, largely reflecting improvements in the fuel efficiency of aircraft. [Domestic aviation and shipping includes military aircraft and shipping]

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(Page 170). 6. Delivering the scenarios

To deliver the abatement set out in our Central scenario, action is needed in the near term. The key policy implications of our scenarios are set out below.

[This includes]

Push for successful negotiations to reduce emissions from international aviation and shipping. This should ensure the agreement for international aviation delivers a policy framework consistent with the longer term climate objective, and that cost-effective abatement is incentivised in shipping, such that these sectors contribute to global emissions reduction.

 

The CCC report:  Sectoral scenarios for the Fifth Carbon Budget Technical report.  November 2015

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


See earlier:

Government must curb growing aviation demand to meet CO2 targets, warns climate committee

The Government has until 2016 to set out an effective plan for limiting aviation emissions, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said today. The UK’s official advisory body on delivery of the Climate Change Act used its 5th ‘Progress Report’ to Government to highlight the need for action on aviation, including constraints on demand.

AEF welcomes the CCC’s intervention as an important reminder of the climate change challenge facing UK aviation today, especially in the context of the airport capacity debate. AEF’s response to the CCC’s call for evidence on the fifth carbon budget highlighted the need for the CCC to reiterate its previous advice on the importance of aviation’s contribution to meeting the UK emissions target and on the need for future passenger demand to be managed.

It is encouraging to see the CCC reinforce this message while calling for the Government to set out a policy framework demonstarting how it will manage aviation emissions.

The CCC’s announcement comes on the eve of the Airports Commission’s recommendation for a where to build a new South East runway. While stopping short of explicitly recommending against the Commission’s findings, CCC cautions that “Decisions taken now need to avoid ‘lock-in’ to high carbon pathways” (p.11 of the summary and recommendations) . Since technological options for tackling aviation emissions are limited and aviation will remain dependent on fossil fuels for the foreseeable future, the warning has particular relevance for decisions about airport capacity.

AEF has consistently highlighted the gap in policy for delivering the long-term emissions target for aviation that CCC recommends. With the Airports Commission having so far ducked the question, despite admitting that a new runway will further increase the challenge of limiting aviation CO2 to the target level, CCC has placed the ball firmly back in the Government’s court. Today’s report recommends very specifically that by 2016 the Government should “publish an effective policy framework for aviation emissions” that plans for UK 2050 emissions being no higher than 2005 levels (implying around a 60% increase in demand) as well as pushing for strong international and EU policies.

Our report on the climate change impacts of a new runway, published earlier this month, highlighted the scale of the challenge in trying to work South East airport expansion into any convincing policy plan that meets the CCC’s requirements. While in the absence of new airport capacity, the predicted overshoot of the emissions target looks possible to tackle, if expansion was approved at either Heathrow or Gatwick the only options for meeting the target would be draconian restrictions on regional airports or large increases in the cost of flying to manage demand. In reality, we argue, neither approach would be deliverable.

http://www.aef.org.uk/2015/06/30/government-must-curb-growing-aviation-demand-to-meet-co2-targets-warns-climate-committee/

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and also

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

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

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French economist suggests high tax on premium air travel, to raise climate adaptation finance

How to tax the people who emit the most carbon is a tricky matter. A French economist, Thomas Piketty, has suggested a high tax on premium air travel. He says: “A €180 levy on business class tickets and €20 on economy class would raise the estimated €150 billion a year needed for climate adaptation.”  It could be a proxy for privilege. It “might be easier to implement but less well targeted at top emitters” than other options. That is one proposal to address global inequalities between high-polluting individuals and the victims of climate change.  A tax on air tickets to finance development programs already exists in some countries.  Piketty suggests we need to increase its level and generalise it.  Across the world, about 10% of people are responsible for 45% of global CO2 emissions, and increasingly some of the high emitters are a privileged elite in emerging economies. The rich in these countries now emit more carbon than working class Europeans. Meanwhile, there is a persistent shortage of finance for climate adaptation, and the OECD said just 16% of climate finance in 2013/14 went to adaptation. In the UK, a “frequent flyer” levy has been proposed, so anyone’s first flight is tax free, but the tax shoots up with each successive flight.  The reduced demand for air travel would make an additional runway unnecessary.
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Thomas Piketty proposes flight tax to raise climate funds

French economists moot €180 levy on business class tickets to help vulnerable countries adapt to the impacts of climate change

By Megan Darby (for Climate Home, part of the Guardian Environment Network)

5.11.2015

Taxing business flights is one way to target high emitting lifestyles of the global rich.

Air travel should be taxed to protect the world’s vulnerable from drought, flooding and sea level rise.

A €180 ($196/£130) levy on business class tickets and €20 on economy class would raise the estimated €150bn a year needed for climate adaptation.

That is one proposal by French economists Lucas Chancel and Thomas Piketty to address global inequalities between high-polluting individuals and the victims of climate change.

“Taxing flights is one way to target high emitting lifestyles, especially if we tax business class more than economy class,” Chancel told Climate Home.

“A tax on air tickets to finance development programs already exists in some countries. What we need is to increase its level and generalise it.”

Piketty – author of Capital, a bestseller on wealth inequality – and Chancel outline huge disparities in people’s carbon footprints across the world.

One-tenth of people are responsible for 45% of global emissions.

“Economic inequalities are reaching record high levels and reducing them constitutes a key challenge to policy-makers in the coming decades,” said Chancel.

“It’s the same thing with carbon: another huge challenge that puts our societies at risk. If we fail to address both, our societies can collapse.”

Increasingly, they say, inequalities within national borders are more important than those between countries.

The richest 1% in America, Luxemburg and Saudi Arabia emit 200+ tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year, more than 25 times the global average. The poorest in Mozambique, Rwanda and Malawi are responsible for around 0.1t CO2e.

But in between, a privileged elite in emerging economies is starting to outstrip working class Europeans.

Even in Tanzania, classed as one of the world’s least developed countries, the richest 1% emit as much as the global average – and the same as the second poorest decile in France.

Meanwhile, there is a persistent shortage of finance for measures such as drought-resistant seeds and flood defences to shield those endangered by carbon profligacy.

Just 16% of climate finance in 2013/14 went to adaptation, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates, with the rest going to low carbon projects.

The report suggests ways to close the gap, arguing it shouldn’t continue to rest on EU funds, given the growing emissions of China’s upper class.

In one scenario, all above-average emitters are taxed on carbon above that average threshold. That implies North Americans contribute 36%, Europeans 20% and Chinese people 15%.

In another, only the 1% pay. That skews the distribution way over to North America, which coughs up 57% of the total.

An airline levy is mooted as a proxy for privilege. It “might be easier to implement but less well targeted at top emitters” than other options, the report says.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/05/thomas-piketty-proposes-flight-tax-to-raise-climate-funds

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Forget airport expansion, we need a Frequent Flyer Levy

23.11.2015

By Steven Devlin (New Economics Foundation. NEF)

Photo credit:   Benson Kua

Aviation emissions are a rapidly increasing environmental problem predominantly caused by a small and wealthy travelling elite. Yet flying receives exceptionally favourable treatment in our tax system.

As the Government prepares to announce its position on expanding airport capacity in the coming weeks, we put the spotlight on proposals for a new Frequent Flyer Levy.

A Frequent Flyer Levy would punish excessive flying, limit the environmental impact in a progressive way  and eliminate the need for new runways.

By 2050 it is expected that a quarter of all UK carbon emissions will be due to aviation.

This is because the UK has the highest level of flights taken per person of any country, [probably a little more even than the USA] and because, unlike most other sectors, the aviation industry is not expected to reduce its environmental impact in absolute terms over the long run.

The Department for Transport forecasts that demand for flights from UK airports will more than double between 2010 and 2050. The driver for this demand increase is predominantly short-haul leisure travel, rather than business travel or long-haul flights.

Demand for flights is distributed highly unequally among individuals. It is estimated that 70% of all flights in 2013 were taken by just 15% of the population, while 57% of the population took no flights abroad whatsoever, in that year.

Those who take flights are also significantly better off compared to the general population. For example, the mean income for leisure passengers at Edinburgh Airport in 2013 was £56,288, more than twice the average Scottish income for that year.

The continued expansion of air travel, therefore, is a very substantial environmental threat driven by a small, wealthy elite, the consequences of which will be borne primarily by the global poor.

Air travel currently benefits from a highly favourable taxation regime in the UK, with exemptions from VAT and fuel duty. The current system of Air Passenger Duty (APD) amounts to a small average charge on each flight. [APD is £13 per return short haul flight to anywhere in Europe.It is £26 for a return domestic flight. And it is £71 for any other return flight]. 

NEF research has shown that reforming this taxation scheme to create a new Frequent Flyer Levy, which has no charge for the first flight each year and an increasing tax rate for each successive flight, could limit the environmental impact in line with official targets, while redistributing the opportunity to fly down the income spectrum.

The Government is expected to announce a decision soon on whether or not to expand Heathrow, following the Davies Commission recommendation to do so.

Expansion at either Heathrow or Gatwick is incompatible with our climate targets under the Climate Change Act, and is likely to result in increased air and noise pollution for the local area.  Modelling of the Frequent Flyer Levy proposal finds that this policy could obviate the need for any new runway capacity.

The FFL would be efficient (raising large amounts of revenue with relatively little economic distortion) and progressive (being borne primarily by richer households).

Leading French economist and LSE Professor Thomas Picketty also recently advocated an increasing aviation tax as a progressive tool for combatting climate change.

http://www.neweconomics.org/blog/entry/forget-airport-expansion-we-need-a-frequent-flyer-levy

 


 

Weekly Economics Podcast from NEF (New Economics Foundation)

In this week’s podcast Leo Murray from the campaign ‘A Free Ride’ discusses airport expansion, its links to the UK economy and how a Frequent Flyer Levy could work.

Listen: https://soundcloud.com/weeklyeconomicspodcast/flying/

Subscribe: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/weekly-economics-podcast/id970353148

NEF blog: A fairer way to fly (http://www.neweconomics.org/blog/entry/a-fairer-way-to-fly)


NEF report:

Managing aviation passenger demand with a Frequent Flyer Levy 

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COP21: 200 bikes and 5 tractors from Notre-Dame-des-Landes (planned airport site) set off for the Paris climate talks

A convoy of 200 bicycles and five tractors has left Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique) going to Paris  for the COP21 talks, to demand the abandonment of the proposed new Nantes airport.  The protesters, most wearing yellow vests proclaiming “No Airport” straddled their bikes in mid morning for a “tracto-vélo” that should arrive in Paris on November 28, two days before the opening of the international climate conference. They will “denounce the blatant hypocrisy between the will of the government to fight against global warming and the destruction of more than 1,600 hectares of farmland and wetlands in order to build a new airport.” During the week the convoy entitled “Cap sur la COP” will make the trip in stages of 40-70 km, and its stop in various towns and cities, to stay with local supporters and hold meetings and discussions with their many local support committees, that oppose the planned new airport. After the terrorist attacks in Paris, the organisers had been unsure about proceeding, but say they will not confront the police in any way, and are just attending in order to put across their message. The convoy plans to meet up with other convoys outside Paris before the COP.  Though the convoy is mainly cyclists, there will be some vehicles to transport people who can not make a long journey by bike, and for logistics.

Short briefing on the planned Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport

The group against the new airport, ACIPA, has put together a concise document, setting out 10 key reasons why no new airport is needed at Nantes.  It is in French, but quite easy to read the main headings.  “Nantes-Atlantique 10 vérités qui dérangent”
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NDDL traco velo COP21

 

COP21: 200 bicycles leave from Notre-Dame-des-Landes to cycle to the talks in Paris

21.11.2015 (Le Parisien)

An AFP (Agence France Presse) journalist reports that a convoy of 200 bicycles and five tractors left on Saturday morning from Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique) heading for Paris to demand “abandonment” of the proposed new Nantes airport, on the occasion of COP21.

NDDL COP21

The protesters, most wearing a helmet and armed with yellow vests proclaiming “No Airport” straddled their bikes in mid morning for a “tractor-bike” that should lead them to the gates Paris November 28, two days before the opening of the international climate conference.

They will “denounce the blatant hypocrisy between the will of the government to fight against global warming and the destruction of more than 1,600 hectares of farmland and wetlands in order to build a new airport, “the organizers explained. They are the occupants of the” Zad “- the “area to defend”- and associations opposed to the airport.

During this week, the convoy entitled “Down to the COP” (“Cap sur la COP”) will make the trip in several stages of 40-70 km, and its members will participate in Angers, Le Mans or in Chartres in discussions with local support committees. Demonstrators will be “staying with local hosts,” said “Camille”, generic name that will give the opponents.

After the attacks of November 13 and the proclamation of a state of emergency, “we were not entirely sure about leaving but this convoy has been prepared for months and what happens on the Zad brings hope to many people,” he
said.

“We are going because we had reasons to organize this convoy still remain the same. The COP21 will be held, we have no reason not to go. And regarding the airport project, it may be delayed, but it is not abandoned. And what we want is for it to be abandoned,” added Genevieve Coiffard, a longtime opponent of the airport project.

For Philippe, another participant, with the ban on demonstrations taken by the Government, there is “no question of going to confront the police, but to carry a message.”

Opponents of the airport should meet up with other convoys on 27 November in Saclay (Essonne) including those from Bure and Roybon, where are created “Zad” before organizing the next “great banquet” at the gates of Paris.

The airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, about twenty kilometers north of Nantes, was originally scheduled to open in 2017.

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Original French below:

COP21: départ de 200 bicyclettes de Notre-Dame-des-Landes à destination de Paris

21 Nov. 2015

Un convoi de 200 bicyclettes et cinq tracteurs est parti samedi matin de Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique) à destination de Paris pour réclamer “l’abandon” du projet de nouvel aéroport nantais, à l’occasion de la COP21, a constaté une journaliste de l’AFP.

Les manifestants, coiffés pour la plupart d’un casque et munis de gilets jaunes proclamant “Aéroport non”, ont enfourché leurs bicyclettes en milieu de matinée pour une “tracto-vélo” qui doit les mener aux portes de Paris le 28 novembre, deux jours avant l’ouverture de la conférence internationale sur le climat.

Ils entendent y “dénoncer l’hypocrisie criante entre la volonté du gouvernement de lutter contre le réchauffement climatique et la destruction de plus de 1.600 hectares de terres agricoles et de zones humides pour y construire un nouvel aéroport”, ont expliqué les organisateurs, des occupants de la “Zad” – la “zone à défendre” – et des associations opposées à l’aéroport.

Pendant cette semaine, le convoi intitulé “Cap sur la COP” fera plusieurs étapes de 40 à 70 km, et ses membres participeront à Angers, au Mans ou encore à Chartres à des débats avec des comités locaux de soutien. Les manifestants seront “logés chez l’habitant”, a indiqué “Camille”, nom générique que se donnent les opposants.

Après les attentats du 13 novembre et la proclamation de l’état d’urgence, “on n’était pas tout à fait certain de partir mais ce convoi est préparé depuis des mois et ce qui se passe sur la Zad est porteur d’espoir pour beaucoup de gens”, a-t-il affirmé.

“On part parce que les raisons qu’on avait d’organiser ce convoi sont intactes. La COP21 va se tenir, nous n’avons aucune raison de ne pas partir. Et en ce qui concerne le projet d’aéroport, il est peut-être retardé, mais il n’est pas abandonné. Et nous ce qu’on demande, c’est l’abandon”, a renchéri Geneviève Coiffard, opposante de longue date au projet d’aéroport.

Pour Philippe, un autre participant, avec l’interdiction de manifester prise par le gouvernement, il n’est “pas question d’aller affronter la police, mais de porter un message”.
Les opposants à l’aéroport doivent rejoindre le 27 novembre à Saclay (Essonne) d’autres convois venus notamment de Bure et de Roybon, où se sont créées des “Zad”, avant d’organiser le lendemain “un grand banquet” aux portes de Paris.

L’aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes, à une vingtaine de kilomètres au nord de Nantes, devait initialement être inauguré en 2017.

http://www.europe1.fr/societe/cop21-depart-de-200-bicyclettes-de-notre-dame-des-landes-a-destination-de-paris-2623937

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COP 21 – Convoi “tracto-vélo” de Notre-Dame-des-Landes à Paris

Un convoi en vélos et tracteurs du 21 au 28 novembre s’organise pour se rendre de Notre-Dame-des-Landes à Paris à l’occasion du sommet intergouvernemental.

L’Assemblée d’organisation du convoi a mis en place le trajet suivant :

  • Samedi 21 novembre : Nddl – Ancenis : 47 km
  • Dimanche 22 novembre : Ancenis – Angers : 60 km
  • Lundi 23 novembre : Angers – La Flèche : 50 km
  • Mardi 24 novembre : La Flèche – Le Mans : 45 km
  • Mercredi 25 novembre : Le Mans – Nogent le Rotrou : 66 km
  • Jeudi 26 novembre : Nogent le Rotrou – Chartres : 57 km
  • Vendredi 27 novembre : Chartres – Saclay : 71 km
  • Samedi 28 novembre : Saclay – Paris 20km (dernière étape commune avec d’autres convois et personnes venues en car)

Le convoi sera essentiellement constitué de cyclistes. Des tracteurs et quelques véhicules transporteront les personnes ne pouvant pas faire un long trajet à vélo, ainsi que la logistique.

Une caisse prix libre sera mise à disposition (un coût estimé à 10 € par jour et par personne : nourriture, hébergements etc.)

Pour un soutien financier, envoyez un mail sur mslcnddl@riseup.net avec en objet : soutien financier

Le parcours sera marqué par des discussions, échanges, repas solidaires entre les participant-e-s et les personnes et groupes les accueillant, mais aussi rencontres, communication au fil du chemin.

Suivant les étapes, les équipes Solidaires plus particulièrement sollicitées sont celles des départements 44, 49, 72, 28 91 et 75.

http://www.solidaires.org/COP-21-Convoi-tracto-velo-de-Notre-Dame-des-Landes-a-Paris

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Large variation found in airlines’ CO2 emissions due to engine efficiency and proportion of premium passengers

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Large variation found in airlines’ CO2 emissions

Lufthansa and BA two thirds as fuel efficient as Norwegian Air Shuttle, says report by group that exposed VW emissions-rigging scandal

Pollution from a non-stop transatlantic round trip averages around one tonne of CO2 per passenger, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) research [not yet published?] found – the same as would be clocked up in a year by commuting 22 miles to work daily in a Toyota Prius.  

[Prius does about 48 – 50 mpg. That’s about 110 grams CO2/km.  For new cars in the UK, a manufacturer’s average fleet must meet 130g CO2/km by 2015 Link Therefore, many cars on the road are much less efficient that the Prius – meaning it is the equivalent of less than 22 miles per day.  AW note].

Separately, a leaked European parliament study seen by the Guardian has forecast that the aviation and shipping industries will make up 39% of global CO2 emissions by 2050, based on present trends.

The ICCT report said a typical passenger on Norwegian Air Shuttle travelled 40km per litre of fuel (113 mpg) , while flyers on British Airways and Lufthansa travelled only 27km. (76 mpg)

Dan Rutherford, an author of the report, said: “Eighty per cent of the difference can be explained by two factors: seating configurations – how much premium, business and first-class seating you have – and the fuel burn of an aircraft, or how efficient it is. Norwegian Air Shuttle has invested more in newer, more fuel-efficient planes, while BA is using older, predominantly 747 aircraft.”

First-class and business passengers accounted for a disproportionate amount of the pollution. Premium passengers were responsible for 14% of available seat kilometres flown on transatlantic routes, but they accounted for around one-third of total carbon emissions, the paper found.

Other poor performers in the study included United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines, who scored barely above BA and Lufthansa. At the other end of the table, Air Berlin, KLM and Aer Lingus averaged 36km per litre of fuel.

Rutherford said the results, which will be filed with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao), showed a deterioration from last year’s rankings, which revealed a 25% difference between best and worst performers.

“There is a large and underestimated potential for in-sector CO2 emission reductions,” the report states. “This highlights the role for additional policies to limit aviation emissions, notably the CO2 standard being developed by the Icao and a global market-based measure to price aviation carbon.”

International airlines and shipping companies are not currently obliged to cut their CO2 output.

An attempt to include aviation in the EU’s emissions trading system was defeated two years ago. Icao says it will try for carbon neutral growth after 2020, but expects no new policies before an assembly in November 2016.

The projections in the leaked European parliament study suggest that aviation and shipping will continue to increase their share of global emissions. It predicts that by 2050 aviation will account for 22% of the total, and shipping 17%.

“Clearly this would derail the efforts in Paris to stay within two degrees’ warming,” said Sotiris Raptis, a shipping policy officer at Transport & Environment. “Any deal in Paris must lead to an emissions reduction target for aviation and shipping, like all other sectors of the global economy.”

Airline emissions are currently responsible for an estimated 5% of global warming, and the shipping industry around half that, and both figures are growing fast. Globally, aircraft emitted about 700m metric tonnes of CO2 in 2013, and without policy intervention that figure is expected to triple by 2050.

The issue will be discussed at the Paris climate summit, after an attempt to remove it from the draft text was blocked.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/nov/16/large-variation-found-in-airlines-co2-emissions?CMP=share_btn_tw

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Energy Secretary Amber Rudd admits misleading Parliament about missing 25% green energy undershoot

A letter from Energy Secretary Amber Rudd leaked to The Ecologist shows that she misled Parliament by promising the UK was ‘on course’ to deliver on its renewable energy targets (15% of final energy consumption from renewables by 2020) – when in fact there is a delivery shortfall in 2020 of almost 25%. Her plan to fill the gap relies on more biofuels, buying in green power and ‘credits’ from abroad – everything but wind and solar. She says: “The trajectory currently leads to a shortfall against the target in 2020 of around 50 TWh or 3.5% points in our internal central forecasts (which are not public). Publicly we are clear that the UK continues to make progress to meet the target.” However, she has told the House of Commons that the UK is still meeting renewables targets.  This puts the UK at risk of legal action taken in the UK, and fines imposed by the European Court of Justice. There could be a full Parliamentary investigation. She also has a problem with hoping that by 2020 biofuels will make up 10% of transport fuels, due to conflicts of deforestation and conflict with land for agriculture. [If the UK is not able to meet its carbon targets, in its carbon budgets, it is not possible for aviation to increase its annual CO2 emissions above 37.5MtCO2. Failure of other sectors to make cuts put the weak aviation target in question.]
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See also BBC (Roger Harrabin) article on 10.11.2015 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34774145

 

Leaked letter: Rudd admits 25% green energy undershoot, misled Parliament

By Oliver Tickell (The Ecologist)

9th November 2015

A letter from Energy Secretary Amber Rudd leaked to The Ecologist shows that she misled Parliament by promising the UK was ‘on course’ to deliver on its renewable energy targets – when in fact there is a delivery shortfall in 2020 of almost 25%. Her plan to fill the gap relies on more biofuels, buying in green power and ‘credits’ from abroad – everything but wind and solar.

The trajectory currently leads to a shortfall against the target in 2020 of around 50 TWh or 3.5% points in our internal central forecasts (which are not public). Publically we are clear that the UK continues to make progress to meet the target.

A letter from Energy Secretary Amber Rudd leaked to The Ecologist shows that the UK is on track to miss its legally binding obligation to achieve strict EU targets on renewable energy by an estimated 50TWh (terawatt hours), or 3.5% of its 15% obligation – that is a shortfall of almost 25%.

This stands in stark contrast to her public position. On 17th September she told the House of Commons: “When it became apparent that we were way in excess of [spending limits on renewables], but were still meeting our renewables targets, it was right to limit the amount of money we were spending.”

As Rudd warns, this impending failure to meet EU renewables targets puts the UK at a double risk – of legal action taken in the UK, which the government would probably lose; and of enormous fines imposed by the European Court of Justice:

“The absence of a credible plan to meet the target carries the risk of successful judicial review, and failing to meet the overall target in 2020 could lead to on-going fines imposed by the EU Court of Justice (which could take into account avoided costs) until the UK reaches the target level.”

But by misleading the House of Commons in her statement, she is now certain to have a more immediate problem on her hands – demands for her resignation and a full-blown Parliamentary investigation.

Her first test will come tomorrow before the Energy and Climate Change Committee tomorrow (Tuesday 10th November) when its members grill her on her department’s annual report and accounts.

The grisly detail of Rudd’s smoke-and-mirrors

The letter, to Cabinet colleagues Philip Hammond (Foreign Secretary), Oliver Letwin (Cabinet Office), Greg Hands (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) and Patrick McLoughlin (Transport Secretary) begins by setting out the scale of what the UK has to achieve:

“The target sets a legally binding obligation on HMG to deliver 15% of the UK’s final energy consumption across electricity, heat and transport from renewable sources in 2020, with a binding sub-target for 10% of transport fuels to be from renewable sources in 2020.

“Beyond a flat rate of renewables for each member state, the effort share for meeting the EU-wide 20% target was based on GDP. As a result of this, and the fact that the UK started from a very low base of renewables deployment, our target requires amongst the most significant annual growth in renewables deployment (16% average annual growth from 2011 to 2020) of any member state.”

And although the UK’s current trajectory is on course for a massive miss of 32-66 TWh (terawatt hours) per year by 2020, with a central estimate of a 50TWh shortfall, the UK’s public position is that there is no problem meeting the target.

Yet her public statements all indicate that everything is on track. As noted above, on 17th September she told the House of Commons: “We had a commitment to limit the levy control framework to £7.6 billion by 2020. When it became apparent that we were way in excess of that, but were still meeting our renewables targets, it was right to limit the amount of money we were spending. That is why we took action quickly to do so.”

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The ‘third way’ – buy it in from Norway

Rudd’s third step is certain to cause huge anger in the UK’s renewable energy industry as it involves simply buying it in from abroad, specifically from Norway’s hydroelectric dams. But it comes with one big problem – the required electrical connection to Norway won’t be ready on time:

“Additional deployment of electricity focuses on importing renewable electricity from Norway via the planned interconnector. This could deliver a maximum of 10TWh, depending on market forces. However, my officials do not expect the interconnector to be in operation until late 2021 at the earliest, and therefore would not strictly help the UK to reach its 2020 target.”

But that’s not the only problem: if the renewable power is generated in Norway then how can it be made to count as British just be importing it?

“Should this change, we believe that an intergovernmental agreement would be necessary, under which the UK would be required to make payment(s) to the Norwegian government (on top of that which would be paid for the electricity supplied through normal market mechanisms).”

Which is all very well, but it will cost the Uk money that should be going into our own renewables programme., Moreover there’s no guarantee that the arrangement would be considered valid by the European Commission or by the European Court.

So why not just buy in ‘statistical credits’ from other countries?

Nonetheless Rudd goers on to consider further “Use of co-operation mechanisms” that would allow the UK to finance renewable energy projects in other EU states.

Which raises the question: when the UK has Europe’s richest wind power resource, why would we want to do that? In the process exporting the jobs, expertise and industrial investment to other countries?

“In the absence of other measures to increase renewable energy consumption in the UK, a strategy to meet the target (and to ensure that the target is met in the most cost-effective way) would need to involve the UK purchasing renewables deployment later in the decade from other EU Member States which have over-achieved their target.

“There are two ways to do this The first would see HMG directly support a specific renewables project in another EU or European Economic Area Member State or third country, with an agreed proportion of the renewable energy generated being transmitted to the EU where the project occurs in a third country.”

And another problem then strikes: “However, at this stage there are no projects we have identified with the potential to deploy in the right time frames.” Which leads Rudd to attempt to invent a whole new market mechanism in ‘statistical credits’ for renewable energy from other EU countries.

“The alternative is to reach an agreement with an EU or EEA Member State, which is likely to over-achieve on its target, to buy ‘statistical credits’ from it in 2020. The market for such transactions does not yet exist, and there is a low likelihood that sufficient credits will be available to meet the total UK shortfall of 50TWh.”

Just one small problem there: there is currently no such thing as a ‘statistical credit’ that the Commission or the European Court would recognise. In addition, adds Rudd,

“We believe there is a medium – low likelihood that sufficient credits will be available to meet a shortfall of 30TWh. Costs are, however, also highly uncertain. Nevertheless, trading has the potential to make a cost effective contribution towards meeting the target alongside a package of domestic action.”

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Transport Minister warns – biofuels costly, unsustainable

In another problem for Amber Rudd’s plan Andrew Jones, minister at the Transport Department in charge of environment and innovation, wrote to Amber Rudd in a second leaked letter, warning against further increases in biofuel use in transport on cost, food security and ecological grounds:

“I concur with you, however, that meeting the 10% sub-target for renewable energy in 2020 is challenging. It requires a doubling of current biofuel inclusion rates right up to the limits allowed for by fuel standards in regular petrol and diesel in just a few years, and it will also require great care to secure sustainable sources of biomass supply and avoid consumer opposition …

“I should highlight that I do not consider it appropriate to go beyond the transport sub target. As you point out, we understand that demand at such levels appears likely to cause deforestation through new demand for agricultural land, and it could also increase food as well as fuel prices.

“This is why the UK Government argued strongly for the introduction of recently adopted measures to limit food based biofuels at EU level. As a consequence, environmental and social NGOs would be expected to campaign strongly against it.

“I believe such campaigning would be likely to win public support, not least given the estimated total increase of around 3 pence per litre on fuel costs that could result.”

Between a rock and a hard place

This all leaves Amber Rudd in an increasingly untenable position. First, she has effectively admitted to having deceived Parliament. That’s something she will surely struggle to justify to the Energy and Climate Change Committee tomorrow.

Second, she has revealed the disastrous outcome of her policy to destroy the UK’s renewable energy industry. The fact that the UK is seriously considering buying in actual power and non-existent ‘statistical credits’ for renewable energy from other European countries also speaks volumes for her policy failure.

As for the idea of supporting renewable energy projects abroad instead of here in the UK, it’s not hard to imagine how that will go down with the UK’s renewable industry. The solar industry alone is set to lose 27,000 jobs as a result of cuts to solar power subsidies.

And her idea to increase the volume of biofuels in petrol and diesel has rightly been shot out of the water by transport minister Andrew Jones.

There is of course one eminently sensible and achievable solution – to restore sustainable levels of support for wind and solar energy and roll it out in bulk for 2020 at ever diminishing cost.

Rudd, clearly, has lost all credibity at this stage, both politically and with the renewable energy industry that ultimately has to deliver the UK’s targets.

The obvious choice for Cameron is to bring back Greg Barker, who as an MP was a respected energy minister from 2010 to 2014, and remains honorary president of the British Photovoltaic Association. He now sits in the House of Lords.

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Loss of face before Paris climate talks

​Greenpeace Head of Energy, Daisy Sands commented: “This letter shows us the dark side of the government’s incoherent energy policy in full technicolour. For the first time, we learn that the government is expecting to miss the EU’s legally binding renewables target. This is hugely shocking.

“More deplorably, it is willfully hiding this from public scrutiny. The government is planning on cutting support for the solar and wind subsidies in the name of affordability. But perversely, we see that the government  believes investing in renewable energy projects involving buying power from abroad is more desirable than supporting home grown renewable energy industries.

“Even more worryingly, it seems the government is seeking to haggle with the EU to revise down our legal commitments. This policy makes no environmental or economic sense as the UK is losing jobs and affordable clean, renewable energy sources.

“The government’s claim to leadership in the Paris climate negotiations requires us to have targets, but we must meet them too.”

The full article is at

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2986190/leaked_letter_rudd_admits_25_green_energy_undershoot_misled_parliament.html

Oliver Tickell edits The Ecologist.

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17 NGOs write to European Commission to get them to push for inclusion of aviation and shipping in Paris agreement

In response to the announcement that the carbon emissions international aviation and shipping are to be left off the draft Paris agreement, 17 European NGOs and environmental networks have written to the Arias Cañete (Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy in the European Commission) and EU-28 Climate Ministers. They say the omission of these two large sectors, with their combined huge carbon emissions, would – if sustained – greatly undermine efforts to limit a global temperature increase to 1.5/2 degrees.  Aviation is responsible for 5% of global warming with shipping emitting 3% of global CO2, and their carbon emissions are set to grow by up to 250% by 2050. The group of 17 say they represent millions of concerned European citizens.  They ask that the Commission ensures these two sectors are covered by the Paris Agreement, so that they make a fair contribution to the world’s shared objective of a sustainable, low-carbon future. The letter states: “What the world needs from Paris is an agreement which charts our path to a low-carbon future. What we must not get is an agreement which says ambition for some, exemptions for others. Paris cannot mean these sectors are fuel-tax and now emissions-target free.”

Please write to your MP to ask them to put pressure on the European Commission to get aviation and shipping put back into the agreement. Details below.
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European NGOs

9 October 2015

Re: Omission of international aviation and shipping emissions from draft Paris agreement

Dear EU Ministers for Climate Change and Commissioner Arias Cañete,

European citizens are dismayed to see that the draft Paris agreement published this week has dropped any reference to reducing emissions from international aviation and shipping. CO2 emissions from these sectors exceed those of the UK and Germany combined, and are expected to treble by 2050 unless immediate measures are introduced. Yet from the draft it would seem as if these sectors don’t even exist. The aim of the UNFCCC process is to craft a climate agreement that limits a global temperature increase to 1.5/2 degrees Celsius. Excluding any requirement for international aviation and shipping to contribute their fair share to this effort will fatally undermine that objective.

18 years on, the Kyoto Protocol strictures on these sectors have clearly failed. Even the IMO Secretary-General now feels able to deny publicly any need whatsoever to cap shipping emissions. ICAO promises ambition but is clearly struggling to even see through the limited measure it committed to in 2013. The absence of any mention of aviation and shipping at Paris will not only place no obligation on either sector to contribute to meeting the 1.5/2 degree target but represent a retreat from even the limited language contained in the Kyoto Protocol. Such an outcome would represent a complete failure of international climate governance.

December’s agreement must send a clear signal to all actors that more ambition is required if we are to avoid a catastrophic increase in temperature. As the draft agreement states, there is “a need for universal and sustained action by all to respond to the urgent threat of climate change”.

Europe has played a leading role in establishing an ambitious vision for the Paris process including clearly stating the need for action by aviation and shipping. We call on European Ministers to act immediately with other states to ensure that the language in previous drafts on aviation and shipping emissions is reinstated. Paris must contain an explicit requirement for ICAO and IMO to establish reduction targets and adopt sectoral measures that contribute fairly to limiting a temperature increase to 1.5/2 degrees. Parties are already subject to such a requirement and many of them, regardless of capacity, are coming forward with increasingly ambitious targets and measures of their own. These efforts must not be undermined by special privileges to sectors that are well able to make a fair and adequate contribution.

What the world needs from Paris is an agreement which charts our path to a low-carbon future. What we must not get is an agreement which says ambition for some, exemptions for others. Paris cannot mean these sectors are fuel-tax and now emissions-target free.

For the NGOs,

Bill Hemmings, Aviation and Shipping Manager, Transport & Environment

 

On behalf of:

Air Pollution & Climate Secretariat;

Association 2Clesius;

Aviation Environment Federation;

Carbon Market Watch;

Climate Action Network Europe;

Environmental Pillar (Ireland);

Fédération InterEnvironnement Wallonie;

Germanwatch; Green Budget Europe;

Naturschutzbund Deutschland;

Oxfam;

Réseau Action Climat France;

Seas At Risk;

Surfrider Foundation Europe;

Transport & Environment;

Verkehrsclub Österreich;

World Wide Fund for Nature Europe..


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Take action !

Please write to your MP to ask them to get text including international aviation and shipping put back into the draft Paris Agreement

Seventeen European NGOs and environmental networks have written to Arias Cañete(European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy) in response to the announcement that the text calling for more ambition in limiting carbon emissions from international aviation and shipping has been dropped from the draft Paris Agreement on curbing global climate impacts.

The NGOs say the omission of these two large sectors, with their combined huge carbon emissions, would – if sustained – greatly undermine efforts to limit a global temperature increase to 1.5 to 2 degrees C. They are asking the European Commission to ensure that these two sectors are covered by the Paris Agreement, so that they make a fair contribution to the world’s shared objective of a sustainable, low-carbon future.

Please write to (or email) your MP to ask them to put pressure on the government to get international aviation and shipping carbon emissions included properly in the Paris Agreement.  A short letter of a few sentences is enough!

And ask your MP to pass your letter on to Secretary of State at  DECC (the Department for Energy and Climate Change) to get a response from the Rt Hon Amber Rudd.

You can locate your MP’s contact details here     This needs to be done soon!

Aviation is responsible for 5% of global warming with shipping emitting 3% of global CO2, and their carbon emissions are set to grow by up to 250% by 2050. The group of 17 say they represent millions of concerned European citizens.  The NGO’s letter, which was also sent to the 28 EU Climate Ministers, says these two sectors should not get exemptions not available to other sectors. As is the case for other sectors, they should have targets for their carbon emissions.

More details and to see the NGO letter – above.

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See also

Paris could leave aviation and shipping fuel tax-free and climate target-free

The international aviation and shipping sectors are set to be exempt from targeted CO2 emissions cuts in the December Paris climate agreement, according to the latest draft deal. The final deal needs to be agreed in the coming weeks. The draft deal removes previous calls for aviation and shipping CO2 reduction targets, with neither sector covered by national targets. Environmental NGOs say this is an irresponsible U-turn. Aviation is responsible for 5% of global warming with shipping emitting 3% of global CO2, and their carbon emissions are set to grow by up to 250% by 2050, making attempts to limit global warming to 2°C all but impossible. The IMO has said an overall cap on shipping emissions “would inhibit world trade.” Proposals from the least developed countries, that shipping and aviation should contribute to climate finance were also dropped in the draft, despite strong calls for them from the IMF and World Bank.Though the climate impact of global aviation is about the same as that of Germany, the sector has tax-free fuel and it is now to have target-free emissions. Bill Hemmings, of T&E said: “It’s a betrayal of future generations and a sad reflection on the way the UN has become beholden to special interests. Paris needs to think again and quickly.”

Click here to view full story…

Road to Paris: A climate deal must include aviation and shipping

In the century or so since the first commercial flight, aviation emissions have grown to account for about 5% of global warming. CO2 from shipping is about 3% of the global total. These sectors combined are equivalent to the sixth largest emitter if compared with world nations. Both sectors are among the fastest growing sources of emissions at a global level. Only domestic aviation and shipping (bunker) emissions were included in the Kyoto climate targets, set in 1997. To date, only the EU has subject its domestic and intra EU aviation emissions to a reduction target under the EU ETS. No measures are in place anywhere to limit or reduce international shipping GHG emissions.

Paragraph 2.2 of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol handed responsibility to limit and reduce international aviation and shipping emissions to the UN specialised agencies responsible for regulating these sectors – the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). In the 18 years since then, ICAO has failed to implement one single measure to limit international aviation emissions but managed to agree to rule out fuel taxation and undermine the EU’s emissions trading scheme. The jury is out on ongoing ICAO work to develop a CO2 standard from new aircraft and to agree a global market-based measure intended to commence in 2020. In the meantime aviation emissions continue to grow at 2-3% p.a. Read more in our ‘Free Guide to ICAO’.

The IMO did agree a design efficiency standard for new ships which took effect in 2013 but it will take a generation to affect the global fleet and its stringency and effectiveness are under question. Negotiations at the IMO about tracking ship fuel consumption continue while consideration of a global cap was pushed aside as recently as May 2015. Under current policies, the Third IMO GHG study forecasts shipping CO2 emissions to increase by 50% to 250% by 2050, which would then represent between 6%-14% of total global emissions. A similar scenario exists for aviation. Both Organisations have fallen way short of delivering meaningful measures to reduce emissions from these sectors, consistent with the 1.5/2 degrees objective.

Why do we need action from the Paris COP?

The upcoming Paris COP’s goal is to achieve a legally binding and comprehensive agreement to combat climate change (UNFCCC), and to keep the increase in global temperature below 1.5/2 degrees. At the Copenhagen COP in 2009, all countries – developed and developing – agreed that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and that the international community should implement measures to at least keep the increase of temperature below 2 degrees compared to preindustrial levels (Copenhagen Accord, 2009). However, this level of warming still represents a threat for many low-lying nations, so aiming to keep a temperature increase to at or under 1.5 degrees is considered a key target for other parties (Cancun Agreements, 2010; AOSIS, 2014).

To achieve these goals an imminent peak in GHG emissions is required followed by sustained emissions reductions (UNEP, 2010). This means that all sectors of the global economy must reduce their GHG emissions by 40-70% compared to 2010 levels. However, if no action is taken in the aviation and shipping sectors, these “bunker” emissions are expected to increase by between 50% and 270% by 2050.

The below graph shows the range of expected increase in GHG emissions in the shipping sector up until 2050 if no action is taken, as projected by the Third IMO GHG Study (2014).

Graph of the range of expected increase in GHG emissions in the shipping sector

 

To achieve the 2 or 1.5 degree scenario, international shipping emissions must peak in 2020 and then start to decline sharply (see below graph).

Graph of international shipping emissions

 

For aviation, the trajectory for emissions growth is equally stark. According to ICAO, all scenarios will see aviation emissions grow sharply to 2050 and beyond, again endangering achievement of the 2 degrees target.

 

What must the Paris agreement commit to?

Emission reduction targets for international aviation and shipping need to be urgently agreed so that these sectors can begin to contribute to the objective of avoiding a temperature increase of more than 2/1.5 degrees. T&E therefore calls for countries participating in the UN climate negotiations (UNFCCC) to include domestic shipping and aviation within their emission reduction plans (Intended National Determined Contributions – INDCs) which together form the global reduction effort. Countries should also insist that ICAO and IMO set realistic reduction targets consistent with 1.5/2 degrees and adopt measures to implement them. ICAO and IMO have essential expertise in their respective sectors, but they must have a clearly defined role in the global climate agreement and they must take full responsibility for setting credible targets and introducing effective measures to achieve such targets.

http://www.transportenvironment.org/road-paris-climate-deal-must-include-aviation-and-shipping

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MEPs call for reduction target on aviation and shipping emissions in Paris deal

Brussels, 14 October 2015 – statement for immediate release

Statement from Transport & Environment following European Parliament’s vote for the EU to ensure aviation and shipping emissions are included in the final Paris climate deal

Link to PR: http://bit.ly/1hExiRI

MEPs today called on the EU and all other countries at this year’s Paris climate summit to ensure a requirement is included for reducing emissions from international aviation and shipping. Parliamentarians called for emissions reduction targets for both sectors to be set before the end of 2016 by the corresponding UN agencies, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Echoing comments earlier this week from the OECD’s International Transport Forum that it would be odd for countries to have to adhere to emissions reduction targets but not the international shipping sector, the Parliament’s plenary voted for parties to the Paris deal to ensure that aviation and shipping is regulated consistent with keeping the increase in global warming below 2°C and thus avoiding the most disastrous effects of climate change.

Sotiris Raptis, shipping policy officer at Transport & Environment, said: “The Parliament has sent a clear message to the EU and all negotiators at Paris; the aviation and shipping sectors need emissions reduction targets too, so there is no reasonable excuse to continue exempting them. You just can’t have a global deal to combat climate change without capping the growing emissions from international aviation and shipping, which have CO2 emissions equal to those of the UK and Germany respectively.”

Aviation accounts for about 5% of global warming. Net emissions continue to grow 2-3% a year. CO2 from shipping is about 3% of the global total. Both sectors are among the fastest growing sources of emissions at a global level.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Sotiris Raptis

Shipping policy officer

Transport & Environment (T&E)

sotiris.raptis@transportenvironment.org

 

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New report by the Green Party shows UK will not meet climate change targets with new runways

The Green Party has published a new report entitled: “Airport Expansion Doesn’t Make Climate Sense.” The report reveals that the UK will not meet its climate change targets if David Cameron goes ahead with a new runway at Heathrow, Gatwick or anywhere in the South-East of England. It offers a fresh perspective on the airport expansion debate by offering alternatives to new runways that a climate-sensitive government would pursue; including moving many short-haul flight passengers onto existing rail services and taxing very frequent flyers. The report’s key messages are that adding a SE runway does not fit into UK carbon targets.  The current expansion debate offers a false choice, of merely whether a runway should be put at Heathrow or at Gatwick. This masks the reality that the UK has to reduce air passenger numbers, not increase them, to keep within the carbon limits in the Climate Change Act. The Government and the London Mayoral candidates must explain how it’s possible to build any new UK runway while meeting the UK’s targets for cutting emissions. The new report shows it just isn’t.
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Report reveals UK will not meet climate change targets with new runways

8.10.2015 (Economic Voice)
By Economic Voice Staff

“Airport Expansion Doesn’t Make Climate Sense” published by the Green Party

A Green Party report to be published on Friday (9 October) will reveal that the UK will not meet its climate change targets if David Cameron goes ahead with a new runway at Heathrow, Gatwick or anywhere in the South-East of England.

Airport Expansion Doesn’t Make Climate Sense will provide a fresh perspective on the airport expansion debate by offering alternatives to new runways that a climate-sensitive government would pursue; including moving many short-haul flight passengers onto existing rail services and taxing very frequent flyers.

The report’s key messages are that airport expansion does not make climate sense, the current expansion debate offers a false choice and that the UK cannot make its contribution to cutting carbon emissions whilst expanding its airports and increasing emissions from aviation.

Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett said:

“Airport Expansion Doesn’t Make Climate Sense demonstrates how the current expansion argument is offering a false choice. Debating between Gatwick or Heathrow masks the reality  that the UK has to reduce air passenger numbers, not increase them.

“The report highlights a number of ways to halt the apparent need for airport expansion, including the introduction of a frequent flyer tax which would tax aviation much more fairly.”

Bennett added:

“David Cameron and the London Mayoral candidates must explain how it’s possible to build a new runway while meeting the UK’s targets for cutting emissions. This report shows it isn’t.”

Sian Berry, the Green Party’s candidate for the 2016 London Mayoral election, who is speaking at an anti-Heathrow expansion rally at Trafalgar Square on Saturday said:

“Bigger airports make no climate sense. We cannot increase our emissions from aviation while making a fair contribution to keeping global warming within safe limits. How can the Prime Minister convince delegates at the Paris climate talks he’s serious if he goes there while wanting a new runway?

“The Greens are the only party with the clear message that we need no new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick or anywhere in the South-East of England. It’s our job to convince the government to end this false choice debate, trying to pit communities against each other over which airport to expand and who should suffer the increased pollution and noise that would result.”

http://www.economicvoice.com/report-reveals-uk-will-not-meet-climate-change-targets-with-new-runways/

 

The report is at  https://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/MINIREPORT_AirportExpansion_v4.pdf


 

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The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) says – August 2015: 

Conclusion – the carbon gap looks increasingly hard to close

AEF has consistently pushed the Airports Commission for answers in terms of the climate change impacts of a new runway, and its final report does come clean on some of these. But the headline messages handed to politicians ignore this new analysis and instead glide over the massive climate challenge that a new runway would pose.

Big issues, meanwhile, remain unresolved. Whose forecasts of future air traffic mix are right – the Commission’s or the Governments? Are the measures that would be needed to reduce emissions to the level of the carbon cap actually deliverable? And is there actually a robust economic case for expansion once environmental and other costs are factored in?

Despite its reforecasting of aviation emissions, the Commission has failed to present a credible case for how, in the real world, emissions from aviation can be limited to a level consistent with UK climate policy if a new runway is built.

It’s now for the Government to admit that building a new runway makes neither economic nor environmental sense.

http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/The-Airports-Commission%E2%80%99s-final-report-%E2%80%93-has-it-closed-the-carbon-gapFINAL.pdf


 

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Did you know that aviation CO2 is set to exceed climate targets even without a new runway?

Short briefing from AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) and AirportWatch

September 2015

Despite new technology, carbon trading, and biofuels, carbon emissions are predicted to overshoot the maximum level compatible with climate legislation and would be even higher with a new runway.

A clear plan for limiting aviation emissions in line with the Climate Change Act is essential before a decision on a new runway.

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Explanation, comment and references from AEF:

• Infographic: Why airport expansion risks the UK’s climate change commitments (March 2015)  http://www.aef.org.uk/2015/03/16/infographic-why-airport-expansion-risks-the-uksclimate-change-commitments/

• All set for take off? Aviation emissions to soar under Airports Commission proposals ((June 2015) http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/All-set-for-take-off-AEF-report.pdf

• The Airports Commission’s final report: has it closed the carbon gap? (August 2015) http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/The-Airports-Commission%E2%80%99s-final-report-%E2%80%93-has-it-closed-the-carbon-gapFINAL.pdf

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Explanation, comment and references from Airportwatch:

• Carbon emissions and a new runway – short version (July 2015) http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Climate-briefing.-June-2015-Short.pdf

• Carbon emissions and a new runway – longer version with references (July 2015) http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Climate-briefing.-June-2015-Long.pdf

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