Offsets can play limited role in reducing aviation CO2 – but there’s poor understanding of their limitations

With the growth in air travel demand forecast to outstrip fuel efficiency improvements, the only hope for the aviation industry’s CO2 emissions goals is if they could be achieved through the purchase of carbon offsets. However, says a new study, there is considerable misunderstanding about offsetting and the difference between scientific and policy perspectives. Offsets are merely a way to cancel out aviation carbon, by nominally assisting other sectors to make actual reductions in carbon emissions. Offsets are just a way of concealing the problem, and giving the impression that aviation is not just adding to global carbon emissions.  The study says offsets do not “make emissions ‘go away’ in some miraculous manner” and there is a low level of understanding about the limitations of offsets in reducing global CO2. For example, the influence on the global climate system of additional atmospheric CO2 from the combustion of fossil fuels is not neutralised by offsets in the land sector.  As it does not reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2, carbon offsetting should be seen as a second or even third best option behind technological advances or demand reduction efforts to make the necessary deep cuts in aviation emissions over the long term.
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Carbon offsetting can play an important role in achieving airlines’ climate goals, says study, but finds low level of understanding

By GreenAir online

Friday 8 Sept 2017

With the growth in air travel demand forecast to outstrip fuel efficiency improvements, the aviation industry’s CO2 emissions goals can only be achieved through the purchase of carbon offsets. However, says a new study, there is considerable misunderstanding about offsetting and the difference between scientific and policy perspectives.

Through their customer carbon offsetting schemes, airlines have already built partnerships with offset providers but it is important they correctly communicate the climate change benefits, say researchers from Griffith University in Australia. A total of 139 airlines were analysed in a study to investigate what information they provided on their role in carbon offsetting and whether the option was offered to their customers, with 44 airlines found to be actively involved. The researchers provide a number of best-practice principles to help airlines improve the reporting of their offsetting schemes.

“The key message of our paper is really to understand that carbon offsets play an important role in addressing climate change, but not in the sense that they make emissions ‘go away’ in some miraculous manner, but that they help slow down the flow of emissions into our atmosphere,” said Professor Susanne Becken of the Griffith Institute for Tourism, who co-authored the paper with Professor Brendan Mackey of the Griffith Climate Change Response Program.

“We argue that there is a lot of confusion about what offsets can achieve and the use of language is often inaccurate or scientifically wrong. Given the airline industry is going to engage even more with offsetting through ICAO’s global CORSIA scheme, it is essential we clearly understand offsets and how to use them.”

The key, they say, to assessing the aviation sector’s carbon offsetting schemes is to appreciate the difference between science and policy. From a scientific perspective, the benefits and limitations of such schemes can only be understood in the context of the global carbon cycle and the major stocks, flows and natural processes that regulate, among other things, the atmospheric concentration of CO2.

For example, forest protection and restoration do not offset fossil fuel emissions in the physical understanding of the word. The influence on the global climate system of additional atmospheric CO2 from the combustion of fossil fuels is not neutralised by offsets in the land sector. However, both forest protection and restoration are important components of a comprehensive approach to greenhouse gas mitigation along with the deep cuts needed in fossil fuel emissions.

“Indeed, emissions from both sources must reduce to zero by the end of this century to meet the Paris Agreement global warming target,” says the paper, which is published in the Journal of Air Transport Management.

Climate change policy, on the other hand, reflects negotiated outcomes between national governments that are parties to the UNFCCC. As a consequence, the idea of carbon offsets has developed a meaning and usage that is not necessarily consistent with the scientific understanding of the word, argues the paper.

Carbon offset projects can be broadly classified into three categories: those that are energy related so that CO2 emissions are reduced or avoided from fossil fuel use; those that relate to forest management (forest protection and reforestation); and waste projects that reduce greenhouse gases other than CO2.

Purchasing an offset generated from an energy project results in the avoidance of an additional one tonne of fossil fuel CO2 that would otherwise have occurred. This achieves a relative reduction of one tonne of CO2 compared with the alternative of not buying the offset. So if the flight produced one tonne of CO2 the offset results in one instead of two tonnes of fossil fuel emissions. Offsetting therefore leads to a relative reduction of the carbon flow into the atmosphere, compared with the status quo scenario of two parties emitting one tonne each.

When purchasing an offset generated from a forest protection project, the credit is generated through changes in forest management that prevent deforestation and degradation and thereby avoid future biomass carbon emissions. As with the energy-related example, the forest protection carbon credit results in one not two additional tonnes of CO2 flow into the atmosphere. However, in this case the avoided emission of one tonne is biomass CO2 rather than fossil fuel CO2. Again, in absolute terms and from the perspective of atmospheric carbon stock, emissions in the atmosphere have increased by one tonne of fossil fuel CO2.

When purchasing an offset from a reforestation project, the credit has been generated by making use of previously deforested land that can serve as a sink to regrow biomass carbon stock. In this case, the one tonne of CO2 has been sequestered from the atmosphere and the offset has served to ‘repay the carbon debt’ from when the land was previously cleared and is therefore restoring a depleted biomass carbon stock.  The end result is the same as in the other two project types that in absolute terms, emissions in the atmosphere relative to pre-industrial levels have still increased by one tonne of fossil fuel CO2.

These examples show that the science of what carbon offsetting means for atmospheric concentrations of CO2 is not straightforward and different to the commonly held view that it ‘neutralises’ aviation emissions, say the researchers. Therefore, in all three cases the offsets result in there being one less tonne in the atmosphere and so a relative reduction of CO2 flow has been achieved but not an absolute one in terms of atmospheric stock. However, they add, offsetting aviation sector emissions through purchasing carbon credits, while not neutralising them in terms of concentrations in the atmosphere, can make a significant contribution to mitigation efforts by slowing the rate at which anthropogenic CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere and helping repay the carbon debt.

Until CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) gets underway in 2021, carbon offsetting in aviation has focused on airline voluntary schemes for air travellers. However, the practice is still at a very low level, possibly in the order of several per cent of travellers, with previous research showing widespread scepticism and uncertainty about carbon offset schemes. This is not surprising given the complexity around carbon offsetting, suggests the paper, and airlines play a key role in communicating and facilitating offsetting.

To find out to what extent this is currently the case, the researchers looked through 139 major airline websites and company reports and found 44 (or 31.7%) actively involved in carbon offsetting activities, with five others stating they did not support offsetting at all. Of the 44 airlines, 34 provide an offsetting option to their customers on their website, but only four feature a link to carbon offsetting on their home page (Iberia, KLM, Scandinavian Airlines and Thai Airways). The study found that additional information was relatively limited, with just 18 airlines giving detail on the certification of their carbon offsets. Similarly, airlines’ reporting of methods used to calculate emissions was found to be neither comprehensive nor consistent, with 11 not disclosing any information on their methods.

Ten airlines reveal how much carbon has been offset through their schemes but since the uptake by travellers is comparatively small, very few demonstrate adequate disclosure on the total amounts of carbon offsets in a given timeframe. On the other hand, most of the 44 airlines offer some information on the projects they support financially through offsetting purchases by customers, although the extent of detail and transparency varies.

Airlines are taken to task in the study over the lack of clarity or scientific accuracy when communicating what carbon offsetting achieves, noting one North American airline implying that purchasing carbon offsets results in reduced CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. “Very few airlines correctly stated that the offset results in avoided emissions elsewhere, and still have a climate impact in that fossil fuel carbon is released into the atmosphere – just less of it,” it says.

Becken and Mackey propose five principles as best practice for airline customer carbon offset schemes:

  • The terminology and wording used by the sector to describe their schemes accurately portray the scientific realities and the mitigation benefits being achieved;
  • Customers have the information needed to understand what carbon offsets achieve in relation to the emissions from their flights;
  • Understand that the most credible aviation carbon offset programmes are those designed to genuinely help avoid emissions through funding renewable energy projects and forest protection and restoration activities, and have important co-benefits;
  • The projects supported are selected carefully, reported on regularly and communicated transparently; and
  • Carbon credits are third-party audited and information on the quality of the credit – including assurance that double counting does not occur – is disclosed.

 

As the Paris Agreement comes to be implemented, it will have profound implications for the operation of the voluntary carbon market under which the aviation sector funds project-based offset activities and how aviation offsets are related to national mitigation commitments and associated national greenhouse gas accounts. All industrial sectors, including aviation, will also come under careful attention on how the mitigation burden of limiting global warming will be shared.

“While the social licence under which the aviation sector clearly operates is unlikely to be revoked, its emissions, especially the international component, will come under increasing scrutiny,” say the authors. As it does not reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2, carbon offsetting should be seen as a second or even third best option behind technological advances or demand reduction efforts to make the necessary deep cuts in aviation emissions over the long term, they argue.

“However, when pursued, the principles suggested here should be adhered to so to provide a credible basis on which airlines can develop their brand-specific approach to carbon offsets,” they conclude. “In addition, adoption of these principles as part of a sector-wide framework will facilitate the aviation industry’s reporting of credible aggregate mitigation statistics, enhancing its role as a Non-State Actor.”

 

A PDF of the paper is available by email from co-author Professor Susanne Becken;

Link:

‘What role for carbon offsetting aviation greenhouse gas emissions in a deep-cut carbon world?’

https://www.academia.edu/34506591/What_role_for_offsetting_aviation_greenhouse_gas_emissions_in_a_deep-cut_carbon_world

http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=2404

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MEPs place limits on aviation ETS exemption and put airlines on intra-EU flights CO2 reduction path

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MEPs place limits on aviation ETS exemption and put airlines on emissions reduction path

MEPs voted today to limit the exemption from the EU ETS of flights to and from Europe until 2021, pending further information regarding the UN aviation body ICAO’s global offsetting measure known as ‘CORSIA’. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes this vote as essential to safeguarding European climate goals. MEPs also endorsed a number of reforms to aviation’s inclusion in Europe’s emissions trading scheme which will start to cut back on the sector’s special treatment on climate policy.

Andrew Murphy, T&E’s aviation manager, said: “An indefinite exemption would have been a blank cheque to ICAO and a reckless move given how little we know about how the global measure will operate, and how reliant it might be on the questionable practice of offsetting. Europe now has a leverage to make aviation contribute to our collective climate efforts as proportionally as other sectors of the EU economy shall the global measure fail.”

The full Parliament endorsed the report by MEP Girling, in charged of the aviation ETS file and passed by the Parliament’s Environment Committee in July. The Girling report accepted the Commission’s proposal to continue to exclude flights to and from Europe from the EU’s ETS, but time limited this exemption to 2021. This reflected continuing uncertainty regarding the the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which still lacks clear rules on offset quality and enforcement.

MEPs also voted through important reforms to the EU ETS for flights within the Union which are covered by the scheme. They joined the Council in endorsing the Commission proposal to start reducing the cap in aviation emission allowances from 2021, thus bringing aviation into line with other sectors covered by the scheme. All three institutions agreeing on the need for aviation to cut its emissions represents an important shift in the EU’s approach to aviation’s climate impact.

Andrew Murphy said: “Today’s ETS vote is a strong signal that aviation emissions need to decline, and ultimately go down to zero. This is very important since the question now shifts from ‘if’ to ‘how’ aviation decarbonises. The ETS is one part of the puzzle, but it cannot be the sole instrument. Just like for other sectors of the economy we’ll need other regulations to encourage efficient aircraft, cleaner fuels and measures to reverse the sector’s sky-high emissions growth.”

T&E also welcomes Parliament’s call on the Commission to take action to address aviation’s substantial non-CO2 climate effects, which the Commission itself acknowledges have been estimated to have several times the impact of CO2 emissions yet to date remain totally unregulated.

The file now moves to negotiation between the Commission, Council and Parliament, known as trilogue, with the aim to reach agreement before the end of this year.

https://www.transportenvironment.org/press/meps-place-limits-aviation-ets-exemption-and-put-airlines-emissions-reduction-path

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European Parliament backs stricter aviation pollution rules

13 Sep 2017 (Carbon Market Watch)

BRUSSELS.  Today, the European Parliament adopted its position on aviation’s role under the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). Lawmakers agreed to continue the exclusion of international flights from the EU ETS until 2021 but took steps to ensure that the sector will have to reduce and pay more for its soaring emissions.

Decision makers backed the Parliament’s environment committee position adopted in July.

They voted to continue the exclusion of flights to-and-from Europe while the rules for a global aviation deal adopted last year are being drafted. However, they want to limit the exclusion to January 2021 when the global measure will enter into force.

In another welcome move, the Parliament supported the Commission’s proposal to introduce a declining cap for aviation emissions from 2021 and proposed to increase the share of auctioning from 15% to 50%, earmarking all revenues for financing climate related projects.

Kelsey Perlman, Policy Officer for Aviation at Carbon Market Watch said:

“So far, aviation has been given special treatment, and its pollution is increasing at an alarming rate.Today, EU lawmakers took a welcome step towards levelling the playing field with other modes of transport and signalled that an ineffective international deal will not replace European climate action.” 

The proposed measures are, however, not enough to rein in the sector’s emissions which could grow by 300% over the next 30 years.

Kelsey Perlman concluded:

“To bring aviation in line with the Paris Agreement climate goals, we need a robust carbon price to incentivise efficiency and a shift to more sustainable transport modes. This means full auctioning and an end to subsidies, tax exemptions, and generous state aid.”

Informal negotiations between the EU Member States and the Parliament will start on 25th of September. They must agree on the law by April 2018 when airlines need to surrender allowances to cover their emissions in 2017.

-ENDS-

Contact:

Kelsey Perlman, Policy Officer – Aviation
+32 487 13 02 80
kelsey.perlman@carbonmarketwatch.org

Kaisa Amaral, Press Officer
+32 485 07 68 90
kaisa.amaral@carbonmarketwatch.org

Notes to editor:

In February, the European Commission proposed to continue to exempt international aviation from paying for its emissions under the EU’s carbon market rules in response to a global offsetting deal reached at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) last year. The EU Member States support the Commission proposal, having adopted their position in June.

The position adopted today by the European Parliament includes the following elements:

  • Stop the clock reinstated: The exclusion of international flights is not indefinite, but only until the end of 2020 and subject to a review
  • An annually declining cap, the so called Linear Reduction Factor applied for aviation from 2021
  • Auctioning increased to 50% and all revenues earmarked for climate finance
  • Addition of a more detailed review examining the ambition, transparency and overall environmental integrity of the global deal and a report on how the EU could implement the international agreement through a revision of the EU ETS

Aviation accounts for approximately 2.1 % of global greenhouse gas emissions. With the anticipated growth in air traffic, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) projects the emissions in 2050 to be seven to ten times higher than in 1990. In the EU, emissions from aviation account for about 3 % of total emissions.

http://carbonmarketwatch.org/press-statement-european-parliament-backs-stricter-aviation-pollution-rules/



See earlier:

Time to upgrade Europe’s aviation pollution rules – it should not be allowed to risk the Paris agreement

The European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) has voted on how the aviation sector should be treated under the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), in response to a decision by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to set up a global offsetting mechanism. The ongoing revision of Europe’s carbon market rules for aviation is a critical opportunity to ensure that one of the biggest global polluters starts to contribute its fair share to EU climate action. While the term ‘sustainable aviation’ seems to be spreading, the reality is that the sector’s emissions are growing unsustainably and will continue to do so. Even if the global aviation deal is fully implemented and enforced, it will not curb the industry’s rising emissions. Though just intra-EU flights are included in the EU ETS, unlike other sectors – aviation is not expected to annually reduce its emissions. Add the fact that the industry is exempt from fuel taxes, VAT or legally-binding fuel efficiency requirements, and it becomes clear aviation enjoys very special treatment. While greenhouse gas emissions from all other sectors in the EU carbon market fell in 2016, those from aviation grew by 8%. This risks putting the goals of the Paris climate agreement out of reach. With no quick solutions in sight, the sector needs to pay a real price for its pollution. A high enough carbon price would help.  Carbon Market Watch blog.

Click here to view full story…

Calculator by T&E helps show how a reformed aviation ETS could work better (and raise climate finance)

Transport & Environment (T&E) have produced a new calculator which aims to show how the inclusion of aviation into the EU ETC could be helpful. (Only flights between EU countries are included at present, not others). T&E says if all flights were included, and paying a reasonable price for their carbon allowances, this would not only help reduce the sector’s major and growing climate impact, but it would also help Europe to raise climate finance it needs. T&E says European decision-makers should seize this opportunity offered by the ongoing reform of aviation provisions in the EU ETS. The aviation sector made up 4.5% of EU carbon emissions in 2015, and they rose by 8% in 2016. Though tiny improvements are made in fuel efficiency, operational changes etc, these are dwarfed by the huge annual growth in numbers of flights. The industry expects to continue to grow by about 4.7% per year. There are no realistic measures in place, or in the pipeline, to rein in aviation CO2 in the EU. But the aviation provisions in the EU ETS are currently being amended in response to the ICAO CORSIA deal to establish a global offsetting scheme from 2021 onwards. The new T&E calculator enables different components to be varied, to see the effect on CO2, and on raising climate finance.

Click here to view full story…

European aviation CO2: there should be no free ride for the aviation sector – Peter Liese

Peter Liese, who has been the rapporteur on aviation carbon legislation in the European Commission, has commented that the aviation sector should be doing more to cut carbon. He said the proposal by the European Commission to at least keep intra-European flights in the ETS is a basis for negotiations but the sector should contribute as much to emission reductions as other industries do. He said the Parliament will continue to exert pressure for ambitious climate protection measures in intercontinental flights. He welcomed the proposal to have a reducing cap on the carbon of intra-European flights, as this imposed the same linear reduction factor to aviation as for other industries. “The previous treatment was unfair to other sectors, like the steel industry, where many people are worried about their jobs. How can you tell a steelworker that his company has to meet high climate protection requirements, while other economic sectors do practically nothing?” However, the deal planned by ICAO “is by no means ambitious.” He proposes that the EU “should continue to exempt intercontinental flights until 2021, but then reinstate them if the ICAO rules are not clear. We should also include flights to countries which, like Russia, refuse to join the ICAO agreement.” Trump and Putin should not dictate what we do in Europe.

Click here to view full story…

EU to continue with only intra-EU flights in the ETS, and all long haul excluded – at least for several years

The European Commission has published its proposal for aviation in the EU ETS, covering both the remainder of the 3rd trading period and the 4th trading period (that was left out of last year’s proposal). This says that flights to and from Europe will remain excluded from ETS, this time indefinitely. But flights within Europe remain in the ETS, and from 2021 onwards they’ll be subject to a declining cap (until now this cap was static). That is welcome, as it is the means by which emissions are reduced. However, this hugely diminished version of aviation inclusion in the ETS has meant, since 2013, excluding flights to and from Europe, which represent about 75% of the sector’s CO2. The Commission will review things in a few years to see how ICAO’s global market based measure [offsetting] is getting on. The review might even decide to apply ETS to all flights, or it could abolish aviation ETS entirely. Commenting on the EC proposal, Bill Hemmings from Transport & Environment (T&E) said: “The Commission has chosen to again suspend the only effective measure to regulate aviation emissions, all for a voluntary deal which is years from coming into operation and which may never actually reduce the climate impact of flying. By letting aviation off the hook again, other sectors will now have to do more on cutting their climate emissions even while air travel demand soars.”

Click here to view full story…

 

 

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Excellent AEF analysis: Why Heathrow’s sustainability strategy “Heathrow 2.0” doesn’t quite cut it

Heathrow produced a plan it calls “Heathrow 2.0” in an attempt to persuade MPs that its hoped for 3rd runway would be environmentally “sustainable” and its carbon emissions would all be offset, producing a “carbon neutral” runway. In a masterful rebuttal of the Heathrow 2.0 document, the AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) sets out clearly why this plan falls very far short of its ambition. It is likely that Heathrow hopes its document will be enough to give MPs who are poorly informed on UK carbon emissions the assurance they need, to vote for a 3rd runway. However, AEF points out that even if the airport itself tries to be “zero carbon”, that is only around 3% of the total carbon emitted by all Heathrow flights – so a sideshow. AEF explains how offsetting CO2 emissions by Heathrow planes is not an acceptable way or effective way to deal with the problem. Indeed, this is the advice given consistently by the government’s climate advisors, the CCC.  Offsets will just not be available in future decades. The Heathrow 2.0 document pins its hopes on the UK plan, CORSIA, but this does not achieve actual cuts in aviation carbon and Heathrow has no plans to do anything practical to cut emissions. The key problem is that the UK has no strategy for limiting aviation emissions to a level consistent with our obligations on climate change, though the CCC and the EAC have repeatedly asked for one. 
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Why Heathrow’s sustainability strategy doesn’t quite cut it

11.9.2017 (AEF – Aviation Environment Federation)

Earlier this year, sustainability strategy agency, Futerra, announced it had been working with Heathrow Airport on its latest sustainability strategy, Heathrow 2.0.

AEF responded to the news with its concerns, which was previously available on Futerra’s blog, and this can now be read below:

AEF commented:

We appreciate the work you’ve done in the past to highlight the challenge that aviation growth poses to climate ambition, and to show that it’s possible to cut down on flying while still connecting with people around the world and enjoying a good life. But your description of Heathrow’s latest sustainability strategy has left us wondering if we’ve read the same report as you, and your claim that Heathrow has made a “huge, bold and courageous aspiration” on climate change is baffling us.

In terms of the airport’s own emissions, we’re pleased that Heathrow wants to become, like many other airports, ‘zero carbon’. But as these emissions will account for only about 3% of the total once flights are factored in, this is obviously a bit of a sideshow that a cynic might regard as being designed to confuse hapless MPs who will soon be voting on the issue of runway expansion and who want reassurance that the ideal of sustainable growth is within reach.

Rightly, then, Heathrow also tries to cover off the issue of the emissions from departing aircraft – at least partially – with its aspiration for a ‘carbon neutral runway’. As you imply, though, this aspiration appears to have no substance beyond a kind of moral support for the UN carbon offsetting scheme for aviation, CORSIA, a scheme that applies to airlines, not airports (let alone runways), and which will be required by law. No action whatsoever is required, or proposed, from Heathrow, to deliver the scheme.

The message Heathrow seems to want to convey, of course, is that offsetting means that climate change concerns need not be a barrier to expansion.  In terms of CORSIA, AEF has worked pretty doggedly over the years, partly as an active participant in discussions, for the scheme to be as effective as possible. In a global context, particularly for countries with no climate policies, we see last year’s agreement as a step towards ending the attitude of ‘aviation exceptionalism’ that you describe, but it’s not a long-term solution and certainly not a reason to think that uncontrolled growth is now OK.

In particular, CORSIA is woefully inadequate for meeting the scale of the challenge here in the UK. We’ve written a briefing, setting out the detail on this. But it’s probably quicker to check out the advice of the UK’s official experts on climate policy, the CCC, who, while remaining fiercely neutral on the question of runways, have told Government as explicitly as possible that it should not be giving approval to expansion before it has a credible plan to limit aviation emissions in line with the Climate Change Act.  Offsetting, they say, has no bearing on this issue since by 2050 – the target date for the Act – we’ll need to be making emissions cuts domestically, not relying on increasingly scarce and expensive offsets. (The EU has meanwhile concluded, for similar reasons, that international credits won’t count towards its climate ambition.)

This brings us to the crux of the matter.

You suggest that some ‘i’s remain to be dotted and some ‘t’s have yet to be crossed.  If only that was the case.  In fact, the UK has no strategy for limiting aviation emissions to a level consistent with our obligations on climate change.  The CCC has persistently asked for one, as has the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), and the Government has persistently ignored them.

Why? Because all the evidence shows that a new runway at Heathrow can’t be compatible with such a plan. As the EAC has recently pointed out the Government’s approach to tackling emissions while expanding Heathrow appears to be based on ‘magical thinking’.

Our primary target on this is clearly not Heathrow but the Government, but ‘Heathrow 2.0’ confuses the debate by suggesting that somehow the airport can both solve the aviation climate problem and build a new runway.  If instead, Heathrow wants to make a meaningful contribution, it should start by publicly supporting the advice of the CCC that UK aviation emissions must be no higher than 37.5 Mt in 2050 without recourse to offsetting, and join the calls on Government to set out a plan – urgently – for delivering it.

Without this framing, unless it’s planning to close one of its other two runways, Heathrow’s aspiration to make a third one ‘carbon neutral’ misses the point.  

http://www.aef.org.uk/2017/09/11/why-heathrows-sustainability-strategy-doesnt-quite-cut-it/

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Heathrow 2.0

Link to the Heathrow 2.0 website by Heathrow  http://your.heathrow.com/sustainability/ 

and the document itself at

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Blog by Cait Hewitt (AEF): Is global aviation climate policy heading in the right direction?

Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director of the Aviation Environment Federation looks at aviation emissions and whether we’re on course to tackle them.  Nobody knows yet whether the ICAO agreement to implement a Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) beginning in 2020 will be at all effective in limiting aviation CO2 emissions. It depends on the unsatisfactory process of “offsetting” emissions from planes, using real CO2 cuts made by other sectors. At present, CORSIA is far less ambitious than the 2015 Paris Agreement. Cait asks:  “…does carbon offsetting offer an effective response to the global climate challenge, as its advocates argue, or is it merely a way of putting off difficult decisions?”  The UK’s statutory advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, has advised that market based measures should be seen as only a short to medium term solution for tackling aviation emissions, arguing that the sector should be preparing for deep cuts in its own emissions.  Analysis suggests that achieving the Paris Agreement will require our economies to be zero emissions by 2070. However the UK government plans a huge expansion of the aviation sector, with Heathrow’s claimed economic benefits calculated over 60 years. The does not seem compatible with zero carbon by 2070. Cait: “We have yet to have a public or political conversation about what that could mean for the role of flying in our economies and our lives.”
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Is aviation climate policy heading in the right direction?

03/07/17   (Adjacent, Open Access)

Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director of the Aviation Environment Federation looks at aviation emissions and whether we’re on course to tackle them

If the aviation sector was a country it would be seventh in a world ranking of CO2 emitters. Unchecked, its climate impact is set to triple by 2050. Technology improvements can’t keep pace with passenger growth, and while most sectors are on course to decarbonise over the coming years and decades, aircraft will remain dependent on fossil fuels for as far into the future as anyone can see.

When the Kyoto Protocol was agreed in 1997, unresolved questions about how best to allocate international aviation emissions among states led to them being left out of national targets, and the UN’s specialist aviation agency ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) was instead given the task of tackling the sector’s growing emissions. A decade of prevarication followed.

But in 2008 progress on the issue suddenly moved up the agenda. With the EU’s plans to bypass ICAO and incorporate all flights to and from EU airports in its Emissions Trading System, generating acrimonious retaliatory talk of widespread non-compliance and trade wars, plans for a global solution that all states could get behind finally started to get some attention.

Will carbon offsetting be effective?

In 2016 ICAO celebrated its agreement to implement a Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) beginning in 2020 and requiring any growth in aviation emissions from that year on to be ‘offset’ through the purchase of emissions units generated by CO2 cuts in other sectors. Whether or not the scheme will be effective remains to be seen, however.

At present, CORSIA is far less ambitious than the 2015 Paris Agreement – the landmark global climate deal which aims for no more than 1.5 degrees of warming and total decarbonisation of our economies. Environmental organisations successfully lobbied for the inclusion of a review mechanism in CORSIA, to allow for tougher carbon targets to be set over time, but it is not certain that these periodic opportunities will lead to improvements. Negotiations about what offset credits and activities will be eligible – whether to allow contentious forestry credits, for example – are ongoing. Also Trump’s determination to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, while not directly impacting CORSIA, casts a shadow of doubt over whether the US will continue to support the scheme.

More fundamentally, does carbon offsetting offer an effective response to the global climate challenge, as its advocates argue, or is it merely a way of putting off difficult decisions? The UK’s statutory advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, has advised that market based measures should be seen as only a short to medium term solution for tackling aviation emissions, arguing that the sector should be preparing for deep cuts in its own emissions. Europe voted this year not to accept international offset credits for compliance with its emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement.

The need for domestic action

What action, then, should EU states themselves be taking to ensure that their aviation activity doesn’t undermine climate change commitments? It’s a question that is perhaps only just starting to bite. In February this year an Austrian court overruled a planned airport expansion on the basis that it would be incompatible with the country’s climate change law. The UK government is currently pursuing an expansion of Heathrow Airport, but has presented no answers on how the scheme can be compatible with the country’s Climate Change Act, despite a court ruling in 2010, the last time a third runway was on the table, that the government’s suggestion that airport expansion was somehow divorced from climate law was “untenable in law and common sense” and that it must review its plans.

While CORSIA was at one level ground-breaking – it signalled a global acceptance that aviation emissions are a problem and that policy action is needed to tackle it – critical questions about what role aviation should play in a zero carbon future remain, for the most part, even to be asked let alone answered. Does a globalised outlook make it impossible to question the continued growth in air travel? Or will the digital age allow us to find ways to stay connected without the need to travel? Are direct air connections critical for global trade, or can our future connectivity needs be met without a continued proliferation of expansion by states seeking to out-compete each other with boasts about having the biggest and best airports?

Decisions we take now can have far-reaching consequences. Airport infrastructure is seen as long-term investment, for example, and the economic case for a new Heathrow runway is based on an assessment over 60 years. But while analysis suggests that achieving the Paris Agreement will require our economies to be zero emissions by 2070, we have yet to have a public or political conversation about what that could mean for the role of flying in our economies and our lives.

 

Cait Hewitt

Deputy Director

Aviation Environment Federation

info@aef.org.uk

www.aef.org.uk

@The_AEF

http://www.adjacentopenaccess.org/rail-road-air-transport-news/aviation-climate-policy-heading-right-direction-2/34544/

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See also:

Time to upgrade Europe’s aviation pollution rules – it should not be allowed to risk the Paris agreement

The European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) has voted on how the aviation sector should be treated under the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), in response to a decision by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to set up a global offsetting mechanism. The ongoing revision of Europe’s carbon market rules for aviation is a critical opportunity to ensure that one of the biggest global polluters starts to contribute its fair share to EU climate action. While the term ‘sustainable aviation’ seems to be spreading, the reality is that the sector’s emissions are growing unsustainably and will continue to do so. Even if the global aviation deal is fully implemented and enforced, it will not curb the industry’s rising emissions. Though just intra-EU flights are included in the EU ETS, unlike other sectors – aviation is not expected to annually reduce its emissions. Add the fact that the industry is exempt from fuel taxes, VAT or legally-binding fuel efficiency requirements, and it becomes clear aviation enjoys very special treatment. While greenhouse gas emissions from all other sectors in the EU carbon market fell in 2016, those from aviation grew by 8%. This risks putting the goals of the Paris climate agreement out of reach. With no quick solutions in sight, the sector needs to pay a real price for its pollution. A high enough carbon price would help.

Click here to view full story…

 

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DfT launches consultation on its Aviation Strategy, out to 2050 – closes 13th October

The DfT has launched – for consultation – its plans to develop a new UK Aviation Strategy, “to help shape the future of the aviation industry to 2050 and beyond.”  The DfT strategy is to support future growth in the aviation industry (which it claims “directly supports 240,000 jobs and contributes at least £22 billion to the UK economy each year.” With no mention of the money it takes out of the UK too …]  One issue is possible new forms of compensation for noise or designing targets for noise reduction. The document looks at how all airports across the country can make best use of existing capacity, and expand the industry. Chris Grayling said: “Our new aviation strategy will look beyond the new runway at Heathrow and sets out a comprehensive long-term plan for UK aviation. …. [it] also recognises the need to address the impacts of aviation on communities and the environment.”  The consultation closes on 13th October.  ie. a large part of it is over the summer holiday period. On environment it just says the strategy “will look at how to achieve the right balance between more flights and ensuring action is taken to tackle carbon emissions, noise and air quality.” Consultations on various aspects of the strategy will run throughout 2017 and 2018 and will be followed by the publication of the final aviation strategy by the end of 2018.
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This is the consultation document 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/631036/aviation-strategy-call-for-evidence.pdf

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AEF calls for halt to Heathrow expansion as Government launches call for evidence on aviation strategy

21.7.2017

AEF (the Aviation Environment Federation) has responded with disbelief that the Government still plans to ask parliament to give its approval to a new runway before the strategy has been developed.

 
AEF Director, Tim Johnson, said
 
“Heathrow expansion presents huge environmental challenges, and would mean lower passenger growth at regional airports as more demand gets concentrated in the South East. Why is the Government only just starting to consider a national strategy for the UK’s airports, and for tackling the sector’s impact on climate change and the local environment?
 
“It’s a classic case of the ‘cart before the horse’. How can MPs take a view on whether or not to support the Government’s plan for a new runway before there’s any plan in place to ensure that it won’t compromise our ability to get to grips with London’s air quality problem, or to deliver on legal climate change targets?”   
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There will be further consultations on climate and other issues. This consultation is on scope of the strategy and the questions they should be asking – including whether to set noise limits (that allow for growth). It closes 13th October. There will then be two phases of mini thematic consultations over the next year including climate change.

Government sets out vision for future of UK aviation

21.7.2017 (DfT press release)

Launch of plans to develop a new UK Aviation Strategy to help shape the future of the aviation industry to 2050 and beyond.

Shaping aviation to help boost economic growth, connectivity and skills will be at the centre of a new strategy to prepare the industry for the next 3 decades and beyond, the government announced today (21 July 2017).

The public are being asked to have their say on how this vital sector should respond to a range of technological, security, environmental and customer service challenges.

It also looks at how the government can support future growth in an industry which directly supports 240,000 jobs and contributes at least £22 billion to the UK economy each year.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will today launch a public discussion to help shape and promote the future of the aviation industry both up to 2050 and beyond.

Airport bag check-ins in town centres and a ‘luggage portering’ service are among a series of innovative ideas the public is being asked for views on.

Other issues include possible new forms of compensation for noise or designing targets for noise reduction.

The government is also keen for views on how it should support and regulate emerging technologies around personal travel.

The document also discusses how we can make best use of existing capacity at all airports around the country.

The Secretary of State announced the strategy at the launch of a £1 billion programme to double the size of Manchester Airport’s Terminal 2.

The project will create 1,500 jobs, allow for more international destinations, and grow passenger numbers from 27 million to 45 million a year.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

Aviation is central to our future prosperity as we leave the European Union. As a global, trading nation we want to build on the great industry we have today and create opportunities for people up and down the country

Our new aviation strategy will look beyond the new runway at Heathrow and sets out a comprehensive long-term plan for UK aviation. It will support jobs and economic growth across the whole of the UK.

Our vision puts the passenger at the heart of what we do, but also recognises the need to address the impacts of aviation on communities and the environment.

Charlie Cornish, Chief Executive of Manchester Airports Group, said:

Today, work will begin at Manchester Airport on a £1 billion investment programme that will provide passengers and airlines with world-class airport facilities, and deliver a major boost to the UK’s growth prospects and international competitiveness.

We welcome the Secretary of State’s recognition of the important role that airports across the UK will play in driving economic growth, and commitment to looking at how airports like Manchester and London Stansted can make best use of their existing capacity.

The government is today setting out 6 important themes that it will consult on over the coming months:

1) Customer service. Which will look at:

how to ensure the industry is accessible for all and caters for an ageing population and passengers with restricted mobility
the consumer protection arrangements that should be in place when things go wrong
how to deal with disruptive passengers
It also highlights new ways of working in other countries such as check-in facilities in town centres or luggage portering services, where bags are picked up from passengers before they reach the airport.

2) Safety and security. Which will look at the technology that could be introduced at UK airports to counter the threat from terrorism; what more could be done to raise security standards; and whether current safety standards are acceptable.

3) Global connectivity. Which will look at how the UK can improve our global connectivity for passengers and freight as we leave the EU; and how we can remove barriers to trade.

4) Competitive markets. Which will look at whether existing regulation produces the best outcome for consumers; how to encourage connectivity across UK nations and regions and how to stimulate competition to ensure the consumers have a wide choice of airports, airlines and destinations.

5) Supporting growth while tackling environmental impacts. Which will look at how to achieve the right balance between more flights and ensuring action is taken to tackle carbon emissions, noise and air quality.

6) Innovation, technology and skills. Which will look at which emerging technologies could significantly change the aviation market or bring benefits to passengers; and how the industry should address skills shortages and improve its diversity.

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

It is crucial that the government’s future aviation strategy supports the continued growth and development of our airports, and frees them to make the best use of their capacity to link British businesses to markets all across the world.

Stronger airports help our cities and counties attract more investment and visitors, and connect our firms to trading opportunities overseas – so we must enable them to grow and change to meet the demands of the future.

Consultations on each of these areas will run throughout 2017 and 2018 and will be followed by the publication of the final aviation strategy by the end of 2018.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-sets-out-vision-for-future-of-uk-aviation

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This is the rather bland statement by the DfT about it:

https://aviationstrategy.campaign.gov.uk/

 

Beyond the horizon: the future of aviation in the UK
A call for evidence on a new aviation strategy

The aviation industry contributes billions to our economy, supports thousands of jobs, strengthens the union and develops skills. The Department for Transport is looking at how the government, working with our partners across the sector, can help airports and the industry to grow in a way that:

  • is sustainable
  • increases competition
  • offers consumers greater choice and a quality experience

We are seeking views from across industry, business, consumers, environmental groups and anyone with an interest in aviation.

Read and respond to our call for evidence

This call for evidence begins the consultation process. We have set out our overall aims and approach, but we want to be steered and guided by you. This is your opportunity to shape the future of aviation.

The call for evidence period will be followed by a series of consultations that will run throughout 2017 and 2018, culminating in the launch of the aviation strategy at the end of 2018.

Our 6 objectives for a new aviation strategy

Aviation matters – it drives economic growth across the whole United Kingdom, connects us with the world, removes barriers to trade and supports jobs and skills. We have an aviation history to be proud of and we’re building on a track record of success.

But we also recognise the challenges that our aviation sector faces in maintaining this leading position. So the time is now right to develop a new aviation strategy that will set out the long-term vision for aviation taking us to 2050 and beyond.

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These are our 6 objectives for a new aviation strategy.

Help the aviation industry work for its customers

Enhancing the consumer experience through improved accessibility, better information and support when things go wrong.

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Ensure a safe and secure way to travel

Championing the UK’s aviation security and safety record and ensuring our approaches remain cutting edge and responsive to new challenges.

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Build a global and connected Britain

The importance of aviation to building a global Britain that is outward looking, with a strong economy that benefits the whole of the UK.

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Encourage competitive markets

Examining the sector to see whether market failures exist and how government can encourage more competition.

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Support growth while tackling environmental impacts

Building capacity and promoting regional growth and connectivity whilst balancing this with the need to tackle environmental impacts.  [No details given…]

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Develop innovation, technology and skills

How we can make best use of new technology and build on the aviation sector’s track record of success in encouraging innovation.

https://aviationstrategy.campaign.gov.uk/

 


The consultation document is at

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/631036/aviation-strategy-call-for-evidence.pdf

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This is what it says on carbon emissions:

 

Carbon emissions

7.14 On climate change, which is a global
rather than a local environmental
issue, the government’s position is that
action to address these emissions is
best taken at the international level.
Global action allows for progress in
reducing aviation’s climate change
impacts whilst minimising the risks
of competitive disadvantage to the
UK aviation industry. This position is
shared internationally. Emissions from
international aviation are tackled at the
sectoral level through ICAO, which has
been working for a number of years on
measures to achieve its goal of carbonneutral
growth for the sector from 2020.

7.15 Measures include technological
improvements, operational measures,
sustainable alternative fuels and marketbased
measures. The government
agrees that a combination of measures
and approaches are needed to tackle
this issue. The government is also
looking to make progress at a domestic
level, including by encouraging the
production and use of new aviation
fuels in the UK. It has consulted on
a proposal to extend the Renewable
Transport Fuels Obligation35 eligibility
to aviation fuels, and has announced
capital support for UK-based
sustainable aviation fuel plants.

7.16 Emissions from international aviation
(along with international shipping
emissions) are currently excluded from
the legally-binding 2050 target which
was set by the Climate Change Act
2008 and from the five carbon budgets
which have been set to date (covering
the period up to 2032). However, the
UK’s carbon budgets have been set at
a level that accounts for international
aviation and shipping emissions, so
that the UK is on a trajectory that could
be consistent with a 2050 target that
includes these emissions.

[Note – the vaguest language – it COULD be consistent.  Not would, or will.   The DfT knows perfectly well that this much aviation growth will NOT be consistent.  AW note]

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Comments by two AirportWatch members: 

It seems to me wholly irrational for the DfT – at the stage of merely calling for evidence – to signal its support for “all airports who wish to make best use of their existing runways”.

That could result in the provision of capacity for up to 7 million ATMs p.a. – more than three time the current number and twice as many as have ever been shown could be needed by 2050, in the last (2013) set of DfT demand forecasts.

This isn’t a policy  – this is the replacement of a national aviation strategy with an anarchic policy of letting a thousand flowers bloom.

The DfT hasn’t published any new demand forecast to support such a policy; nor has it published any assessment of carbon emissions that could ensue from such a policy; nor does there seem to be any  consideration of the local environmental impacts, including needless destruction of landscape and habitats to support maximum use of runways all over the country – much of which additional capacity would lie idle.  And would DfT be prepared to fund the road and rail infrastructure to support all this excess capacity?

None of this makes any sense to me.

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The DfT is in a World of its own. Why as a society do we pay a statutory committee on climate change to give us the benefit of its paid expertise and then the DfT either ignores it or states that it will conduct its own research?

The CCC 2017 Report to Parliament summary states that “Set stretching targets to limit emissions per kilometre for new cars and vans beyond 2020; and ensure aviation and shipping policy is consistent with carbon budgets. This will require continued support for the roll-out of electric vehicles through time-limited support to buy them and effective roll-out of new charging infrastructure; as well as a new aviation strategy. Fiscal incentives could also support these ambitions”.

Under “Fiscal incentives” you can list the abolition of the VAT exemption on aviation fuel. Transport must be one area, if the not the one area, where market forces should not be left to their own devices. If they are, then anti-climate change protection goes out of the window.

We are being warned time and time again from the highest and most respected sources  – yet the civil servants in the DfT take no notice.

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Time to upgrade Europe’s aviation pollution rules – it should not be allowed to risk the Paris agreement

The European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) has voted on how the aviation sector should be treated under the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), in response to a decision by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to set up a global offsetting mechanism. The ongoing revision of Europe’s carbon market rules for aviation is a critical opportunity to ensure that one of the biggest global polluters starts to contribute its fair share to EU climate action. While the term ‘sustainable aviation’ seems to be spreading, the reality is that the sector’s emissions are growing unsustainably and will continue to do so. Even if the global aviation deal is fully implemented and enforced, it will not curb the industry’s rising emissions. Though just intra-EU flights are included in the EU ETS, unlike other sectors – aviation is not expected to annually reduce its emissions. Add the fact that the industry is exempt from fuel taxes, VAT or legally-binding fuel efficiency requirements, and it becomes clear aviation enjoys very special treatment. While greenhouse gas emissions from all other sectors in the EU carbon market fell in 2016, those from aviation grew by 8%. This risks putting the goals of the Paris climate agreement out of reach. With no quick solutions in sight, the sector needs to pay a real price for its pollution. A high enough carbon price would help.
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Now is the time to upgrade Europe’s aviation pollution rules

By Kelsey Perlman (Carbon Market Watch)

Wed 12 July 2017

Yesterday, the European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) voted on how the aviation sector should be treated under the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), in response to a decision by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to set up a global offsetting mechanism.

The ongoing revision of Europe’s carbon market rules for aviation is a critical opportunity to ensure that one of the biggest global polluters starts to contribute its fair share to EU climate action. While the term ‘sustainable aviation’ seems to be spreading, the reality is that the sector’s emissions are growing unsustainably and will continue to do so. Even if the global aviation deal is fully implemented and enforced, it will not curb the industry’s rising emissions, writes Kelsey Perlman.

So what can be done in Europe now to address aviation’s climate impact?

Transport has become Europe’s biggest pollution problem, and the need to decarbonise the sector is a growing challenge. However, different modes of transport are subject to very different climate ambitions. Electric trains are covered by the EU’s carbon market, and road transport must cut its emissions under a law known as the Effort Sharing Regulation that regulates sectors which are not part of the emissions trading scheme.

Flights within the EU are also included in the EU ETS, but – unlike other sectors – aviation is not expected to annually reduce its emissions. Add the fact that the industry is exempt from fuel taxes, VAT or legally-binding fuel efficiency requirements, and it becomes clear aviation enjoys very special treatment.

It doesn’t come as a surprise then that while greenhouse gas emissions from all other sectors in the EU carbon market fell in 2016, those from aviation grew by 8%. This is a worrying trend that risks putting the goals of the Paris climate agreement out of reach.

Starting from the next phase of the EU ETS in 2021, the European Commission has proposed to apply an annually declining cap also for aviation emissions under the EU ETS – a proposal supported by ENVI. While this will not alone solve aviation’s climate problem, it is a step in the right direction.

A higher price on carbon

With no quick solutions in sight, the sector needs to pay a real price for its pollution. A high enough carbon price would incentivise more efficiency and level the playing field for other, less polluting means of transport, such as railways, thus reducing overall emissions.

Under the EU’s carbon market, the airlines currently get 85% of their pollution permits for free, and pay around €5 ($6) per tonne of CO2 emitted for the rest. It is a far cry from an effective price on pollution – at least $40 by 2020 according to the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition’s High Level Commission on Carbon Prices. A parallel revision of the EU’s carbon market rules must reduce the massive surplus on the market in order to bring the prices up to more adequate levels.

In a welcome move, the ENVI lawmakers recommend that airlines should buy 50% of their allowances, as opposed to the current 15%.

The Parliament is expected to adopt its final position at a plenary session in September, with talks to find a final compromise following shortly afterwards involving the Parliament, EU Member States and the Commission.

Despite the low carbon price under the EU ETS, the airline industry wishes to see the EU scheme replaced by the global offsetting measure, fittingly referred to by airlines as their “licence to grow”.

Entering into force in 2021, with a voluntary phase until 2027, ICAO’s global scheme, known as CORSIA, wants airlines to purchase offset credits for their future growth. There are serious doubts about many of these credits, as they might not lead to real emissions reductions, and could even risk human rights violations in the offset project host countries. The average price of offsets is currently an unimpressive 21 cents – 200 times less than the social cost of carbon pollution.

In response to sluggish progress on effective international action, national carbon pricing initiatives for the aviation sector have been popping up recently to ensure airlines pay for their pollution. The UK, Norway and Germany are currently enforcing environmental taxes, with Sweden in the process of introducing a carbon tax for aviation as well. These initiatives put aviation on a path to address its climate impact, but are heavily opposed by the industry, which demands continued exemptions from such efforts to reduce the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Letting aviation industry continue to increase its emissions while others have to reduce them is not only unfair, it is driving dangerous climate change that we have committed to fight under the Paris Agreement.

Europe now has the opportunity to improve aviation pollution rules by asking airlines to pay for and reduce their emissions like everyone else. This is a test of our decision makers’ resolve to stand up for the accord reached in Paris and a safer future.

Kelsey Perlman is the aviation policy officer at Carbon Market Watch, a pressure group advocating for fair and effective climate protection.

http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=2390

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Is aviation climate policy heading in the right direction?

03/07/17   (Adjacent, Open Access)

Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director of the Aviation Environment Federation looks at aviation emissions and whether we’re on course to tackle them

If the aviation sector was a country it would be seventh in a world ranking of CO2 emitters. Unchecked, its climate impact is set to triple by 2050. Technology improvements can’t keep pace with passenger growth, and while most sectors are on course to decarbonise over the coming years and decades, aircraft will remain dependent on fossil fuels for as far into the future as anyone can see.

When the Kyoto Protocol was agreed in 1997, unresolved questions about how best to allocate international aviation emissions among states led to them being left out of national targets, and the UN’s specialist aviation agency ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) was instead given the task of tackling the sector’s growing emissions. A decade of prevarication followed.

But in 2008 progress on the issue suddenly moved up the agenda. With the EU’s plans to bypass ICAO and incorporate all flights to and from EU airports in its Emissions Trading System, generating acrimonious retaliatory talk of widespread non-compliance and trade wars, plans for a global solution that all states could get behind finally started to get some attention.

Will carbon offsetting be effective?

In 2016 ICAO celebrated its agreement to implement a Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) beginning in 2020 and requiring any growth in aviation emissions from that year on to be ‘offset’ through the purchase of emissions units generated by CO2 cuts in other sectors. Whether or not the scheme will be effective remains to be seen, however.

At present, CORSIA is far less ambitious than the 2015 Paris Agreement – the landmark global climate deal which aims for no more than 1.5 degrees of warming and total decarbonisation of our economies. Environmental organisations successfully lobbied for the inclusion of a review mechanism in CORSIA, to allow for tougher carbon targets to be set over time, but it is not certain that these periodic opportunities will lead to improvements. Negotiations about what offset credits and activities will be eligible – whether to allow contentious forestry credits, for example – are ongoing. Also Trump’s determination to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, while not directly impacting CORSIA, casts a shadow of doubt over whether the US will continue to support the scheme.

More fundamentally, does carbon offsetting offer an effective response to the global climate challenge, as its advocates argue, or is it merely a way of putting off difficult decisions? The UK’s statutory advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, has advised that market based measures should be seen as only a short to medium term solution for tackling aviation emissions, arguing that the sector should be preparing for deep cuts in its own emissions. Europe voted this year not to accept international offset credits for compliance with its emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement.

The need for domestic action

What action, then, should EU states themselves be taking to ensure that their aviation activity doesn’t undermine climate change commitments? It’s a question that is perhaps only just starting to bite. In February this year an Austrian court overruled a planned airport expansion on the basis that it would be incompatible with the country’s climate change law. The UK government is currently pursuing an expansion of Heathrow Airport, but has presented no answers on how the scheme can be compatible with the country’s Climate Change Act, despite a court ruling in 2010, the last time a third runway was on the table, that the government’s suggestion that airport expansion was somehow divorced from climate law was “untenable in law and common sense” and that it must review its plans.

While CORSIA was at one level ground-breaking – it signalled a global acceptance that aviation emissions are a problem and that policy action is needed to tackle it – critical questions about what role aviation should play in a zero carbon future remain, for the most part, even to be asked let alone answered. Does a globalised outlook make it impossible to question the continued growth in air travel? Or will the digital age allow us to find ways to stay connected without the need to travel? Are direct air connections critical for global trade, or can our future connectivity needs be met without a continued proliferation of expansion by states seeking to out-compete each other with boasts about having the biggest and best airports?

Decisions we take now can have far-reaching consequences. Airport infrastructure is seen as long-term investment, for example, and the economic case for a new Heathrow runway is based on an assessment over 60 years. But while analysis suggests that achieving the Paris Agreement will require our economies to be zero emissions by 2070, we have yet to have a public or political conversation about what that could mean for the role of flying in our economies and our lives.

 

Cait Hewitt

Deputy Director

Aviation Environment Federation

info@aef.org.uk

www.aef.org.uk

@The_AEF

http://www.adjacentopenaccess.org/rail-road-air-transport-news/aviation-climate-policy-heading-right-direction-2/34544/

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Calculator by T&E helps show how a reformed aviation ETS could work better (and raise climate finance)

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See how a reformed aviation ETS can work better

T&E’s ETS calculator shows how getting the right balance on aviation’s inclusion in the EU emissions trading system (ETS) can help solve two problems at once: the sector’s major and growing climate impact, and Europe’s need to raise climate finance. Decision-makers should seize this opportunity offered by the ongoing reform of aviation provisions in the EU ETS.

There are two big problems confronting Europe’s climate policy, and where a lot more action is needed. The first is aviation’s major and growing climate impact. The sector made up 1.5% of Europeans emissions in 1990 but accounted for 4.5% in 2015 – and its total emissions grew a further 8% in 2016! For all the talk of efficiency gains and operational improvements, the policy measures to rein in the sector’s incredible growth in emissions are not in place.
Certainly not in comparison to the efficiency standards and carbon pricing in place for other sectors of Europe’s economy: measures which have successfully stalled or reversed emissions growth while allowing these sectors to prosper.

The other major climate issue is how to raise sufficient climate finance. The Paris agreement commits developed countries to raise at least US$100 billion a year to finance developing countries’ transition to clean growth. That target will be even harder to reach thanks to Trump, and EU member states should be looking at what is the most effective and fairest way to raise the needed cash.

Putting the EU ETS to work

Over the next few months, European decision-makers can take steps to solving both of these issues. The aviation provisions in Europe’s emissions trading system are currently being amended in response to last year’s deal to establish a global offsetting scheme from 2021 onwards. That deal, known as CORSIA (the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) has many unknowns and uncertainties. And we’ve been very vocal on its shortcomings.

A legislative response to CORSIA is needed as otherwise the aviation ETS would return to covering all flights to and from Europe. (Since a mooted trade war in 2012, the scope was reduced to just flights within Europe.) We’d have no problem with it remaining ‘full scope’ – it would be an important form of pre-2020 ambition, and would substantially increase the emissions coverage of the measure. However the political consensus is that it would upset efforts the finalise the CORSIA.

Yet this amendment also offers an opportunity to improve the environmental effectiveness of the ETS, and it’s an opportunity decisionmakers should grasp. One way to do this is to look at the revenue that can be raised through auctioning allowances to the aviation sector.

One of the peculiarities of the aviation sector is that it pays zero tax on its fuel (and is generally exempt from VAT). This is the result of the air service agreements (essentially trade deals for the sector) which prohibit the imposition of tax on fuel sold for international flights. This means that the most carbon-intensive mode of transport, which is used most often by the wealthiest section of society, receives a massive tax exemption calculated at €60 billion a year on a global level.

The ETS is one way to recoup this lost revenue. As the aviation sector grows, it must purchase allowances to cover its emissions. Normally this would mean revenue for member states which auction these allowances. However, under the current system, airlines receive 85% of these allowances for free.

The ETS calculator

Now that this legislation is being reviewed, we have an opportunity to change this. By increasing the share of auctioning from 15% to 100%, we can raise an average of €1 billion each year from the sector over the period 2021-2030. A member state such as Italy could raise an additional €100-€120 million a year over this period.

See below using our ETS calculator how different allowance prices and auctioning can raise different amounts of revenue. This can be used to fund research into clean technology or fund Europe’s climate finance commitments. Sustainable alternative fuels is an area where a lot of research is needed, and the aviation industry should pick up the bill for it.

Countries’ projected revenues from aviation under a reformed ETS, 2021-2030:

Learn more about the ETS calculator

As you can see from the tool, this ETS cost is minor compared to a scenario where the fuel tax exemption was ended. For example, if Italy imposed 33c a litre tax on kerosene, as envisaged in the Energy Taxation Directive, it would raise €871 million to €1 billion a year. Or between €1.2 billion and €1.4 billion if the average fuel tax levied in petrol for road transport (48c a litre) was applied to aviation.

The EU ETS can function as an effective carbon pricing mechanism, raising much needed revenue from a sector which is well able to pay. MEPs and member states should grasp this opportunity.

 

https://www.transportenvironment.org/newsroom/blog/see-how-reformed-aviation-ets-can-work-better

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ETS calculator

Airplane icon in blue

At present, airlines covered by the EU emissions trading system (ETS) receive 85% of their allowances for free. They are also, unlike road transport, exempt from fuel taxation. The EU is currently reforming the aviation provisions in its ETS. The tool below allows you to calculate how much additional revenue member states would earn from a reformed aviation EU ETS, and compares it to revenue member states would earn if they ended the fuel tax exemption.

The proposed ETS reforms include cutting the amount of free allowances received. Along with ending the fuel tax exemptions, these reforms would earn much needed revenue for member states and ensure this most carbon-intensive mode of transport pays its fair share.

Countries’ projected revenues from aviation under a reformed ETS, 2021-2030:

How the calculator works

Select options from the drop down menus on the left to see what revenues a reformed ETS and ending the fuel tax exemption could generate from 2021 to 2030.

Member State: All revenue raised from auctioning ETS allowances goes to member states. To date, member states have mostly used this revenue for climate and energy purpose. Selecting ‘EU28’ gives you the total revenue raised by all member states.

Linear Reduction Factor: Unlike the overall ETS, the cap for aviation emissions in the ETS does not decline. However the Commission has proposed that from 2021 this cap will decline at the same rate as the overall system. A declining cap will increase scarcity of allowances and may affect price. However under a 100% auctioning scenario, we forecast no change in total revenue raised under such a scenario, as airlines will have to buy all allowances under and over the cap.

Allowances to auction: At present, airlines receive 85% of allowances under the aviation cap for free. These below-the-cap allowances are called EUAAs (EU Aviation Allowances). When aviation emissions go above the cap, which they have done since the scheme was established, they must buy allowances from other sectors. These allowances are called EUAs (emissions unit allowances). They receive none of these ‘above the cap’ allowances for free.

The 85% free allowances provision was introduced when the EU ETS applied to all flights to and from Europe, and there was a potential risk of carbon leakage. With the ETS reduced to flights only within Europe, that risk is non-existent. Furthermore these free allowances give aviation an unfair advantage over other transport modes such as rail.

Auction price: The amount of revenue raised depends on the price of the allowances when they are auctioned. At present ETS allowances are trading at below €5 a unit, well below what is required to incentivise emission reductions. Future prices are hard to forecast, and will in part depend on reforms to the overall system which are yet to be agreed.

Fuel tax – price per litreAviation currently pays zero tax on fuel for flights. The Energy Taxation Directive permits member states to introduced such taxation, and suggests a minimum price of 33c a litre. However no member states have opted to introduce such a tax. Road users pay, on average, 48c a litre for their fuel.

Assumptions

We have used the historical average compound growth rate of the verified emissions from 2013 to 2016 as the basis for projected growth. With emissions growing from 53.5 Mt in 2013 to 61.4­­­­᠎­ Mt in 2016 in the EU, this is equivalent to 4.7% growth compounded annually, which is applied uniformly across all member states. To distribute projected emissions between member states, the distribution of EUAA and EUA auction earnings in 2015 are used as a proxy.

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If you play about with the calculator, you can see that – looking at the UK –
For UK 100% allowances auctioned (not 15% now), 2.2% linear reduction factor, auction price €25.   ie. € 171 m by 2030.
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For UK 100% allowances auctioned (not 15% now), 2.2% linear reduction factor, auction price €50.   ie. € 452 m by 2030.
You can play around with the numbers yourself, and see how much climate finance could be raised, if European aviation was charged a proper rate.
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Ever increasing numbers of city-breaks and short holidays ruining cities – and the climate

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

Can’t wait to pack your bags and head off on holiday again? It used to be that people would look forward to a long break in summer, but now tourists have got used to regular short breaks through the year. We love to jet off to the world’s glittering cities, even if only for a day or two. The trouble is, binge travelling may be killing the places we visit.

You may even have seen some “tourists go home” graffiti on your last trip, and it’s not hard to see why. Barcelona is a good example of how a city can groan under the weight of its popularity. It now has the busiest cruise port, and the second fastest growing airport in Europe. Walking through the Barcelona streets at peak season (which now never seems to end) flings you into a relentless stream of tourists. They fill the city’s hot spots in search of “authentic” tapas and sangria, and a bit of culture under the sun. The mayor has echoed residents’ concerns over the impact of tourism; a strategic plan has been put in place.

It is true though, that cities tend to start managing the impact of tourism only when it is already too late. It creeps up on them. Unlike visitors to purpose-built beach destinations and national parks, city-break tourists use the same infrastructure as the locals: existing systems start slowly to stretch at the seams. Business travellers, stag parties and museum visitors will all use existing leisure facilities.

Barcelona may only be the 59th largest city in the world, but it is the 12th most popular with international visitors. Compared to London or Paris, it is small, and tourism has spiked sharply since the 1992 Olympics rather than grown steadily as in other European favourites like Rome.

Growth is relentless. The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) even speaks about tourism as a right for all citizens, and citizens are increasingly exercising that right: from 1 billion international travellers today, we will grow to 1.8 billion by 2030, according to UNWTO forecasts.

Faced with this gathering storm, just who is tourism supposed to benefit? Travellers, cities, residents or the tourism industry?

Market forces

Managing the impact of tourism starts by changing the way destinations market themselves: once the tourists arrive, it’s too late. Tourism authorities need to understand that they are accountable to the city, not to the tourism industry. When the city of Barcelona commissioned the University of Surrey to look into how it might best promote sustainable development, we found a series of techniques which have been incorporated, at least in part, into the city’s 2020 Tourism Strategy.

In the simplest terms, the trick is to cajole tourists into city breaks which are far less of a burden on the urban infrastructure. In other words, normalising the consumption of sustainable tourism products and services. In Copenhagen, 70% of the hotels are certified as sustainable and the municipal authority demands sustainability from its suppliers.

Higher than the sun. A primal scream from the world’s cities? Josep Tomàs/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Destinations must also be accountable for the transport impact of their visitors. The marketing department might prefer a Japanese tourist to Barcelona because on average they will spend €40 more than a French tourist – according to unpublished data from the Barcelona Tourist Board – but the carbon footprint we collectively pay for is not taken into account.

Crucially, for the kind of city breaks we might enjoy in Barcelona, most of the carbon footprint from your holiday is from your transport. Short breaks therefore, pollute more per night and so destinations ought to be fighting tooth and nail to get you to stay longer. It seems like a win for tourists too: a few extra days in the Spanish sun, a more relaxing break, and all accompanied by the warm glow of self-satisfaction and a gold star for sustainability.

Destinations can also target customers that behave the most like locals. Japanese first-time visitors to Barcelona will crowd the Sagrada Familia cathedral, while most French tourists are repeat visitors that will spread out to lesser-known parts of the city. Reducing seasonality by emphasising activities that can be done in winter or at less crowded times, and geographically spreading tourism by improving less popular areas and communicating their particular charms can also help reduce pressure on hot spots, much like Amsterdam is doing.

Turnover is vanity, and profit margins are sanity. No city should smugly crow about the sheer volume of visitors through its gates. If tourism is here to stay, then the least cities can do is to sell products that will have the greatest benefit for society. Whether it’s Barcelona, Berlin, Bologna or Bognor, there should be a focus on locally and ethically produced products and services which residents are proud to sell. Tourist boards should work with small businesses that offer creative and original things to do and places to stay, adding breadth to the city’s offering.

Whether Barcelona will introduce these ideas will depend on the bravery of politicians and buy-in from the powerful businesses which are happily making short-term profits at the expense of residents and the planet. It is possible to do things differently, and for everyone to benefit more. It may be that the tipping point lies in the age-old mechanics of supply and demand: bear that in mind next time you’re booking a quick city break that looks like it’s only adding to the problem.

https://theconversation.com/how-to-stop-city-breaks-killing-our-cities-79132

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See earlier (2010)

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Take shorter breaks more often for the happiest time off

The best way to extract full value from a holiday is to interrupt it with some work, says a leisure study

BY SUSIE MESURE (Independent)

14.8.2010

It’s the annual highlight for millions of Brits: two weeks doing nothing on a beach. But holidaymakers could be missing a trick by taking long breaks, new research suggests. A number of short trips leaves people happier than one long one, psychologists believe.

What’s more, seeking out a holiday you might not enjoy at the time will pay off in the long run by providing better memories, the behavioural economist Dan Ariely argues in a new book, The Upside of Irrationality. His findings come as official figures show the number of visits abroad by British residents has slumped, leaving Europe’s biggest holiday companies with thousands of unsold summer breaks.

Tom Meyvis, associate professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business and an expert on consumer behaviour, claimed: “Longer vacations don’t give us better memories. We forget how long things actually take and just remember peak moments.” He added: “Vacations are not always that much fun, but we anticipate them as fun and remember the good parts, not, for example, the bad bus journey.”

For maximum vacation fun, experts actually suggest breaking up a trip with a spot of work, to delay the so-called “adaptation process” that makes holidays spent in the same place appear to speed up as the days go by. Professor Ariely, who teaches at North Carolina’s Duke University, said: “On a long vacation, day seven is less good than day one because it’s not as exciting. That’s why in general, going away four times [a year] provides more benefit than you would expect, and going away for one week provides less benefit than you would expect.”

Although a lucrative mini-break market has sprung up to cater for demand for shorter trips, most employees – and families – still take at least one longer holiday, usually in August, as a glance around most offices across Britain will confirm.

If your bags are packed ready for a fortnight away, then Professor Meyvis’s research might help you get the most from your time off. He discovered that disrupting a hedonistic experience helped to intensify it. So tearing yourself away from a day at the beach to tidy up your hotel room would make your holiday more fun. “We found a strong preference for not breaking up a positive experience, but it turns out that when you gave [our respondents] a break, they enjoyed something more. It’s counterintuitive; nobody wants to take a break, but the break disrupts the adaptation process so the enjoyment goes back to the original level,” he said.

Charlotte Robinson, 35, a consultant radiologist who lives in Maidenhead, said she could still visualise the high points of childhood summer holidays, even if on paper they did not sound very good. “I remember a gîte in France where it rained, the roof leaked, the septic tank overflowed, and we had power cuts, but what I really remember is the fields of sunflowers, the bicycle that came with the gîte and us calling my mother Speedy Gonzales as she cycled around, smiling, with the wind in her hair,” she said.

Not all behavioural economists back the mini-break logic. Tim Harford, the author of Dear Undercover Economist, said: “Some psychologists suggest that there’s a bigger psychic payoff from taking more, shorter holidays. But remember the hassle of packing and airports or traffic jams, the time it takes to get anywhere, and the expense of taking more short breaks. If you pack three times as many holidays into the same amount of leave, you can expect three times as much trouble. It’s not obvious to me that it’s worth it.”

Less is more: The case for the micro holiday

Emma Cotton, 35, from London, says: “My most enduring and best holiday memories are from action holidays. On short trips away I have surfed on the longest board known to man in Portugal; been flung through the air kite surfing in Egypt; hiked through the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, and been on walking trips in the Basque area of Spain. Most of these have resulted in a severe sense of humour failure at some stage, but they were all exhilarating, tiring in the best sense of the word, and above all, memorable.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/take-shorter-breaks-more-often-for-the-happiest-time-off-2052882.html

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New report shows Scot Gov plan to cut aviation tax will damage Scotland and mainly benefit frequent fliers

A new report published by Scottish Green MSPs shows that the Scottish Government’s plan to cut aviation tax will cost the Scottish public purse hundreds of millions of pounds and put £47.3million into the pockets of businesses.  It also shows wealthy frequent fliers stand to gain hugely more from the tax cut than regular travellers.  This week the Scottish Greens will make a final attempt to amend the Air Departure Tax Bill at Holyrood so that instead of rewarding wealthy households and corporations and a highly-polluting industry, any new tax regime encourages a reduction in aviation and a shift towards cleaner forms of transport. The report finds that much of the benefit of the planned cut will accrue to those living in Scotland’s central belt; only 6% of all international flights by UK residents are taken by children, so the SNP’s claim that this policy will help “families” is highly misleading; such a generous tax subsidy for business flights within the UK will harm rail travel by incentivising a shift towards air travel; and reducing the cost of air travel will lower the cost of taking holidays outside of Scotland relative to holidays within Scotland, “cannibalising” holidaymakers from Scotland’s domestic tourism industry and worsening the deficit between what we spend abroad and what visitors spend here.
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Read the report: 

PDF icon Air Departure Tax report for Green MSPs.pdf


Our report shows Scot Gov plan to cut aviation tax will put £47.3million into the pockets of businesses

18 June, 2017

By Scottish Green Party and the Frequent Flyer campaign

“Most Scots will lose out if this cut goes ahead, and it’s grossly misleading of ministers to try to sell this as about families when the overwhelming winners from this policy are wealthy frequent fliers and their businesses.”   Andy Wightman MSP

A new report published by Scottish Green MSPs shows that the Scottish Government’s plan to cut aviation tax will cost the Scottish public purse hundreds of millions of pounds and put £47.3million into the pockets of businesses.

It also shows wealthy frequent fliers stand to gain over 40 times as much from the tax cut as regular travellers.

This week the Scottish Greens will make a final attempt to amend the Air Departure Tax Bill at Holyrood so that instead of rewarding wealthy households and corporations and a highly-polluting industry, any new tax regime encourages a reduction in aviation and a shift towards cleaner forms of transport.

 

Last month at Holyrood’s Finance Committee, Green amendments to the Bill were blocked by SNP and Tory MSPs.

Today’s report, written by campaign group Fellow Travellers, finds:

– Over half of Scots do not fly and will therefore be ‘losers’ under the planned policy change.

– 70% of those in the wealthiest income decile, earning over £45,210, stand to benefit directly from a cut in air passenger taxes.

– The benefits of the planned cut will accrue predominantly to those living in Scotland’s central belt.

– Only 6% of all international flights by UK residents are taken by children, so the SNP’s claim that this policy will help “families” is highly misleading.

– Businesses will gain 29% of the benefit, worth £47.3 million in the first year.

– Such a generous tax subsidy for business flights within the UK will harm rail travel by incentivising a shift towards air travel.

– Reducing the cost of air travel will lower the cost of taking holidays outside of Scotland relative to holidays within Scotland, “cannibalising” holidaymakers from Scotland’s domestic tourism industry and worsening the deficit between what we spend abroad and what visitors spend here.

– “Hypermobile” travellers make up less than 5% of all passengers at Scotland’s airports, yet each of them will gain the equivalent of £635 a year if the air duty cut goes ahead.

– The SNP’s commitment has fired the starting gun for a race to the bottom, and any competitive advantage for Scotland’s airports will be short lived.

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Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman, a member of Holyrood’s Economy Committee, said:

“Given the social and environmental challenges we face, a cut in aviation tax was always a bizarre priority from the Scottish Government. Most Scots will lose out if this cut goes ahead, and it’s grossly misleading of ministers to try to sell this as about families when the overwhelming winners from this policy are wealthy frequent fliers and their businesses.

“SNP and Tory MSPs have combined to block changes to the Bill and it will be disappointing if they do so again at this week’s final vote. This is nothing short of a bung to business, will deprive public services of vital funds and do nothing to reduce inequality or tackle the climate crisis. We should instead be focused on improving everyday public transport, which would have a positive economic impact and be fairly shared.”

Report co-author Leo Murray said:

“Our analysis shows clearly that cutting and then scrapping taxes on air travel will primarily reward corporations and Scotland’s richest households for choices that will set us back in the fight against climate change, at the same time as damaging domestic tourism and the rail sector. The single biggest outcome of this change, if it is made, will be more wealthy Scots flying to London to spend their money there.

“It seems difficult to understand how a proposal that is so wildly at odds with the rest of the Scottish National Party’s policy agenda ever made it into their manifesto. But those of us who follow the aviation lobby closely recognise that the SNP has allowed itself to become an unwitting pawn in the long game being played the special interests that will profit most directly from this regressive policy. Winning in Scotland is merely the first stage in the aviation industry’s wider plan to achieve tax-free status throughout the UK.

“We hope this report and the new insights it offers will give Scotland’s policymakers an opportunity to reconsider this woefully under-informed policy. If not, it is incumbent on the Scottish government to urgently spell out exactly how this tax cut for the rich will be paid for; which public services do they intend to cut, or which other taxes will have to rise to make up the shortfall in the national budget?”

The report, “Air departure tax: who benefits?”, has been written by Leo Murray, founder of the Free Ride campaign and Director of Strategy at climate change charity 10:10, and by Charlie Young, an independent researcher with a background in economics and climate change. The report uses figures from Transport Scotland, HMRC and the CAA. You can download a copy here.

https://greens.scot/news/our-report-shows-scot-gov-plan-to-cut-aviation-tax-will-put-47-3million-into-the-pockets-of-businesses

 

Leo Murray claims better off travellers will benefit most.Leo Murray claims better off travellers will benefit most.

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See also:

Campaigners point out that cutting Scottish air tax benefits rich households and corporations the most

Plans by the Scottish Government to reduce and then abolish Air Passenger Duty (APD) in Scotland are “predominantly a tax giveaway for Scotland’s wealthiest households and corporations”, according to a new report. The study by the Fellow Travellers campaign group against high carbon emitting air travel found 70% of Scotland’s richest households stand to benefit from the proposed cut, compared to 30% of the poorest.  A Scottish air departure tax is set to come into force from April 2018 if passed by parliament, replacing APD. The SNP wants the tax cut by half by the end of this parliamentary term, with the charge to be scrapped when resources allow, claiming it will improve connectivity and create economic benefits. However, the Fellow Travellers report found that, based on official figures, halving the tax would lead to £189 million in lost revenue for Scotland by 2021/22.  It says:  “The SNP’s commitment has fired the starting gun for a race to the bottom on air passenger taxes in Great Britain. Any competitive advantage conferred on Scotland’s airports from a reduction in these taxes will be short-lived.” …. “This is predominantly a tax giveaway for Scotland’s wealthiest households and corporations.”  APD currently brings in about £300 million per year. That could pay to employ 11,500 nurses. Or fund a year of childcare for 54,000 children. Or convert every bus in Edinburgh to being fully electric.

Click here to view full story…

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Campaigners point out that cutting Scottish air tax benefits rich households and corporations the most

Plans by the Scottish Government to reduce and then abolish Air Passenger Duty (APD) in Scotland are “predominantly a tax giveaway for Scotland’s wealthiest households and corporations”, according to a new report. The study by the Fellow Travellers campaign group against high carbon emitting air travel found 70% of Scotland’s richest households stand to benefit from the proposed cut, compared to 30% of the poorest.  A Scottish air departure tax is set to come into force from April 2018 if passed by parliament, replacing APD. The SNP wants the tax cut by half by the end of this parliamentary term, with the charge to be scrapped when resources allow, claiming it will improve connectivity and create economic benefits. However, the Fellow Travellers report found that, based on official figures, halving the tax would lead to £189 million in lost revenue for Scotland by 2021/22.  It says:  “The SNP’s commitment has fired the starting gun for a race to the bottom on air passenger taxes in Great Britain. Any competitive advantage conferred on Scotland’s airports from a reduction in these taxes will be short-lived.” …. “This is predominantly a tax giveaway for Scotland’s wealthiest households and corporations.”  APD currently brings in about £300 million per year. That could pay to employ 11,500 nurses. Or fund a year of childcare for 54,000 children. Or convert every bus in Edinburgh to being fully electric.
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The report is  at  Air Departure Tax report for Green MSPs.pdf

 

Plans to axe aviation tax ‘a giveaway to the wealthy’

About 70% of the country’s richest households will benefits from the Scottish Government’s plans, compared to 30% of the poorest, they claim.

Air departure tax is expected to come into force from April 2018, replacing air passenger duty.

Campaigners Fellow Travellers, who are are opposed to the plans, say businesses and wealthy leisure travellers who fly frequently will benefit the most.

They estimate that the average saving per journey will be £54 on a luxury jet, £20 in first class and £8 in economy.

Their report, which was published by the Scottish Greens, says halving the tax will lead to £189m in lost revenue for Scotland by 2021/22.

Co-author Leo Murray said he hoped the “woefully under-informed” policy would be reconsidered.

He said: “Our analysis shows clearly that cutting and then scrapping taxes on air travel will primarily reward corporations and Scotland’s richest households for choices that will set us back in the fight against climate change, at the same time as damaging domestic tourism and the rail sector.

“The single biggest outcome of this change, if it is made, will be more wealthy Scots flying to London to spend their money there.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said it was committed to a “progressive, fairer tax system” and its air tax plans are a “fundamental component to improving Scotland’s international connectivity and providing a real boost to our economy”.

He added: “UK air passenger duty is the most expensive tax of its kind in Europe and one of the highest in the world and continues to act as a barrier to Scotland’s ability to secure new direct international services and maintain existing ones.”

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1391501-plans-to-axe-aviation-tax-a-giveaway-for-the-wealthy/

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Scottish Government’s air duty cut will ‘help the wealthy, not the poor’

SLASHING air passenger duty will hand nearly £50 million to big business –and cost the public purse hundreds of millions of pounds a year, a new report has claimed.

Control over Air Passenger Duty (APD) is being handed to Holyrood next year and MSPs will this week vote on a Scottish Government Bill to cut the levy in half by 2021.

Scotland’s airports estimate the plan could add one million extra passengers every year as airlines are promising a raft of new routes if APD is cut.

However, both the Greens and Labour are against the move on environmental grounds, and the fact the change would do little for the country’s poorest – given half of Scots have not taken a flight in the last year.

And now a new report claims the biggest winners from change will be wealthy, frequent flyers to and from London.

The study by the Fellow Travellers campaign group found 70% of Scotland’s wealthiest households stand to benefit from the plan, compared to 30% of the poorest.

Cutting APD by 50% will lead to £189 million in lost tax revenue for Scotland by 2021/22, the study also found.

Report co-author Leo Murray said: “Our analysis clearly shows cutting and then scrapping taxes on air travel will primarily reward corporations and Scotland’s richest households for choices that will set us back in the fight against climate change.

“At the same time it will damage domestic tourism and the rail sector.

“The single biggest outcome of this change, if it is made, will be more wealthy Scots flying to London to spend their money there.

“It is incumbent on the Scottish Government to urgently spell out exactly how this tax cut for the rich will be paid for – which public services do they intend to cut, or which other taxes will have to rise to make up the shortfall in the national budget?”
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The report found businesses would take 29% of the benefit, £47.3m the first year, while 8.3% (£13.5m) goes to leisure passengers in the richest 10% of Scottish households and 2.4% (£4m) to the poorest 10%.

Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman, a member of Holyrood’s Economy Committee, added: “Given the social and environmental challenges we face, a cut in aviation tax was always a bizarre priority from the Scottish Government.

“Most Scots will lose out if this cut goes ahead, and it’s grossly misleading of ministers to try to sell this as about families when the overwhelming winners from this policy are wealthy frequent fliers and their businesses.

“This is nothing short of a bung to business, will deprive public services of vital funds and do nothing to reduce inequality or tackle the climate crisis.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Our plan to cut Air Departure Tax by 50% by the end of the Parliament, and then abolish it when public finances permit, is a fundamental component to improving Scotland’s international connectivity and providing a real boost to our economy.

“UK APD is the most expensive tax of its kind in Europe and one of the highest in the world and is a barrier to Scotland’s ability to secure new direct international services and maintain existing ones.”

https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/scottish-governments-air-duty-cut-will-help-the-wealthy-not-the-poor/

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New report shows Scot Gov plan to cut aviation tax will damage Scotland and mainly benefit frequent fliers

A new report published by Scottish Green MSPs shows that the Scottish Government’s plan to cut aviation tax will cost the Scottish public purse hundreds of millions of pounds and put £47.3million into the pockets of businesses.  It also shows wealthy frequent fliers stand to gain hugely more from the tax cut than regular travellers.  This week the Scottish Greens will make a final attempt to amend the Air Departure Tax Bill at Holyrood so that instead of rewarding wealthy households and corporations and a highly-polluting industry, any new tax regime encourages a reduction in aviation and a shift towards cleaner forms of transport. The report finds that much of the benefit of the planned cut will accrue to those living in Scotland’s central belt; only 6% of all international flights by UK residents are taken by children, so the SNP’s claim that this policy will help “families” is highly misleading; such a generous tax subsidy for business flights within the UK will harm rail travel by incentivising a shift towards air travel; and reducing the cost of air travel will lower the cost of taking holidays outside of Scotland relative to holidays within Scotland, “cannibalising” holidaymakers from Scotland’s domestic tourism industry and worsening the deficit between what we spend abroad and what visitors spend here.

Click here to view full story…

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Air tax plans to reward Scotland’s richest – report

By LAURA PATERSON

18.6.2017

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Plans to cut aviation tax in Scotland are “predominantly a tax giveaway for Scotland’s wealthiest households and corporations”, according to a new report.

The study by the Fellow Travellers campaign group against environmentally damaging air travel found 70 per cent of Scotland’s wealthiest households stand to benefit from the Scottish Government plans to cut and then abolish air tax, compared to 30 per cent of the poorest.

Air departure tax is set to come into force from April 2018 if passed by parliament, replacing air passenger duty.

The SNP administration wants to cut it in half by the end of this parliamentary term, with the charge to be scrapped when resources allow, claiming it will improve connectivity and create economic benefits.

The report found businesses would take 29 per cent of the benefit, £47.3 million the first year, while 8.3 per cent (£13.5 million) goes to leisure passengers in the richest 10 per cent of Scottish households and 2.4 per cent (£4 million) to the poorest 10 per cent.

Researchers estimate the average per journey saving for a passenger is £54 on a luxury jet, £20 in first class and £8 in economy.

Based on official figures, halving the tax will lead to £189 million in lost revenue for Scotland by 2021/22, the study found.

The report states: “The SNP’s commitment has fired the starting gun for a race to the bottom on air passenger taxes in Great Britain. Any competitive advantage conferred on Scotland’s airports from a reduction in these taxes will be short-lived.”

It continues: “This is predominantly a tax giveaway for Scotland’s wealthiest households and corporations.”

Report co-author Leo Murray said he hoped the “woefully under-informed” policy would be reconsidered.

He said: “Our analysis shows clearly that cutting and then scrapping taxes on air travel will primarily reward corporations and Scotland’s richest households for choices that will set us back in the fight against climate change, at the same time as damaging domestic tourism and the rail sector.

“The single biggest outcome of this change, if it is made, will be more wealthy Scots flying to London to spend their money there.”

The report was published by the Greens who plan a final attempt to amend the Bill in parliament next week.

The party’s Andy Wightman said: “Most Scots will lose out if this cut goes ahead, and it’s grossly misleading of ministers to try to sell this as about families when the overwhelming winners from this policy are wealthy frequent fliers and their businesses.

“SNP and Tory MSPs have combined to block changes to the Bill and it will be disappointing if they do so again at this week’s final vote. This is nothing short of a bung to business, will deprive public services of vital funds and do nothing to reduce inequality or tackle the climate crisis.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said it was committed to a “progressive, fairer tax system” and its air tax plans are a “fundamental component to improving Scotland’s international connectivity and providing a real boost to our economy”.

He added: “UK APD is the most expensive tax of its kind in Europe and one of the highest in the world and continues to act as a barrier to Scotland’s ability to secure new direct international services and maintain existing ones.”

http://www.scotsman.com/news/air-tax-plans-to-reward-scotland-s-richest-report-1-4479156

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