Might the ICAO deal, weak in itself, be the beginning of the end for very cheap flights?

The recent deal from ICAO on slightly limiting the rise in global aviation carbon emissions would perhaps add around 2% to the price of an air ticket. That would be about the cost of a coffee on many short haul cheap flights – not a deterrent. It would not start till 2020. The aviation industry may worry that its wafer thin margins (shocking it makes so little profit for the emission of SO much CO2) may be further hit.  But the industry is pleased there is an ICAO deal, as it will be much cheaper for them than a patchwork of more stringent regulations by regions or countries. Hence their (muted) enthusiasm for it.  They have got off lightly. The aviation industry currently has very cheap fuel, but it has not had a good year due to fears of terrorism, cutting growth – and also fears of coming economic gloom, with Brexit as part of that. There have been airline staff cuts.  Airlines will need to invest in newer planes, that emit less carbon per mile – to save themselves costs in future. The price of oil is not likely to stay low for ever, especially due to the lack of investment in the current downturn.  With the first mechanism to act on aviation CO2 now agreed, there may in future be more environmental regulation for the sector. With anticipated growth of 4 – 5% per year, the CO2 emissions from global aviation could become around 25%of the total by 2050 – eclipsing the progress made in cutting carbon from other sectors. 
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Is it all over for the age of cheap air travel?

Some UN observers are dismayed at the carbon deal, saying it will amount ‘to little more than adding the price of a cup of coffee to a ticket’

By Jillian Ambrose (Telegraph)
8 OCTOBER 2016

The aviation industry has crossed a threshold. After almost two decades of talks, 191 countries gathered in Montreal last week to adopt a global market-based system to tackle the rise of carbon emissions from international air travel.

The deal has been welcomed by governments as an unprecedented diplomatic success, and by green groups as a hopeful starting point for further environmental progress. But for some embattled airlines, it could deliver a fatal blow to the gilded decades of low-cost flights.

The second half of the last century played host to a revolution in air travel, driving the globalised economy that is taken for granted today. In 1945, it might have taken 130 weeks for a person earning the average Australian wage to earn enough for the lowest Sydney to London return air fare. Now it would take less than two. But the boom in air travel is quickly giving way to an industry-wide bust. Airline profits have plummeted amid terror attacks and economic gloom, sparking aggressive staff cuts and strike action.

Even easyJet, one of Europe’s most successful short-haul players has admitted that it is bracing for a £90m hit in its first profit warning since 2009.

Air Berlin, Germany’s second largest carrier, is expected to slash 1,200 jobs and halve its fleet of 144 aircraft after reporting its eighth consecutive annual operating loss last year. Even with fuel oil costs at historic lows, European airline bosses say the industry is facing the toughest market in 30 years. The gloom could take until the end of the decade to fade.

By then, airlines will need to face up to steadily rising environmental costs running into the billions of dollars while undertaking green investment totalling trillions as the oil market threatens a return to higher prices.

Under the new deal, airlines will be expected to offset their emissions growth after 2020 by buying “offset credits” in line with their carbon footprint.

The carbon costs are expected to incentivise the industry to develop lower-carbon fuels and technologies, while the money raised by the credits will fund environmental initiatives to help to tackle climate change.

This cost is forecast to grow to as high as $23.9bn by 2035, or 1.8% of the airlines’ revenue. At the same time airlines will need to spend more on developing lower emissions aircraft, technologies and fuel.

Still, there are many who believe that the cost is too low. UN observers at the campaign group Transport and Environment claim the costs are “peanuts” to the airlines and will amount “to little more than adding the price of a cup of coffee to a ticket”.

Yet, there seems little doubt that there will be further pressure to ratchet costs higher. The direction of travel raises the question: is the golden age of cheap European air travel losing its gleam?

To date, airlines have avoided the cost burden of addressing climate change, while energy and heavy industry have borne the brunt. But the aviation sector has come under increasing pressure to act after the Paris Agreement, which came into law last week, left out both the aviation and shipping industries.

The global aviation business is a large one to overlook: almost 1,400 airlines operate a fleet of 25,000 aircraft burning 1.5bn barrels of jet fuel every year. Last year alone nearly 3.6bn passengers were carried by the world’s airlines, producing 781 million tonnes of CO2.

Currently, airlines contribute 5% of global CO2 emissions, but the industry’s projected growth of around 4% to 5% a year has unsurprisingly raised concerns that aviation emissions could soon eclipse the progress made in cutting carbon from other areas of the economy.

The world’s commercial jet fleet is expected to more than double by 2025, and by 2050 would be responsible for almost a quarter of the world’s carbon emissions if no action was taken.

The current global fleet of aircraft is estimated to be well over 80% more efficient than aircraft in the 1960s but the industry has a long, costly road ahead if it is to meet its carbon reduction ambitions.

The Air Transport Action Group estimates that by the end of the decade, the world’s airlines will have had to purchase 12,000 new aircraft at a cost of $1.3 trillion to meet its 2020 targets. Still, the group is supportive of the deal in line with other industry groups representing the sector.

At first glance it seems counter-intuitive for an industry to welcome a step that could be the first along a costly road, but the framework represents the path of least pain in an environment where costs are bound to rise.

Tim Alderslade, head of the British Air Transport Association, does little to dispel the claims that the industry is getting off lightly. It might be the beginning of the end of cheap travel, but it helps the industry avoid the more costly fate of individual government intervention.

“The [deal] is the single most cost- effective way for airlines to address carbon emissions, more so than any other solution. It would also be substantially less than a tax would end up costing,” Mr Alderslade says.

HSBC analyst Andrew Lobbenberg says the new carbon plan matters less than what may follow now that the floodgates of environmental regulation have opened.

“What will matter is how much expense the industry ends up facing. It’s a very unprofitable business. In the history of the economy it’s only really started to create value in the last few years,” Mr Lobbenberg says.

He expects most airlines to experience falling profits next year even if market jitters over terrorism and the UK’s Brexit vote begin to wane. The industry’s structural issues, he suggests, could persist for the next three years.

“We do not deny the relevance of the terror attacks and the Brexit decision, but the trend is bigger and simpler: the airline industry is doing what it usually does and is adding too much capacity at the wrong time, exacerbating the impact of regular economic cycles,” Mr Lobbenberg says.

In addition, by 2020, when the first phase of the carbon plan comes into effect, experts predict that the oil market could face a renewed round of price shocks due to the lack of investment in the current downturn. The price of jet fuel makes up a third of an airline’s total costs, potentially delivering a fatal blow to smaller airlines if prices spike.

Accendo Markets’ equity analyst, Mike van Dulken, agrees that the days of cheap and cheerful European air travel could be numbered. Holidaymakers may face a more “budget” experience for higher prices, as airlines are forced to invest in new aircraft to escape escalating carbon costs.

Already British Airways has announced plans to scrap free food and drink on its short-haul flights in favour of selling snacks and sandwiches from Marks & Spencer.

He says: “Unless lower flying costs through fuel efficiency can offset higher aircraft prices, the difference will almost certainly have to be passed on to flyers. Should the oil price rise again due to undersupply in the next five years, this would add an additional unwelcome headwind for airlines already struggling badly.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/10/08/is-it-all-over-for-the-age-of-cheap-air-travel/

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See also

 

ICAO’s aviation offsetting deal is a weak start – now countries must go further to cut CO2

A deal was finally agreed by ICAO on 6th October. It was progress, in that there had never been any sort of agreement on global aviation CO2 emissions before. But it was not a great deal – and far too weak to provide the necessary restriction on the growth of global aviation CO2. It came in the same week that the Paris Agreement crossed its crucial threshold to enter into force, but the ICAO deleted key provisions for the deal to align its ambitions with the Paris aim of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees with best efforts to not exceed 1.5 degrees C. Tim Johnson, Director of AEF and the lead representative of The International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA) – the official environmental civil society observer at the global negotiations, said in relation to the UK: “But while today’s deal is applauded, this international effort falls well short of the effort required to bring UK aviation emissions in line with the Climate Change Act. With a decision on a new runway expected later this month, the UK’s ambition for aviation emissions must match the ambition of the Climate Change Act, and not simply the ICAO global lowest common denominator of carbon neutral growth from 2020. The ICAO scheme could make a contribution towards the ambition of the Climate Change Act, but it does not solve the whole problem.”

Click here to view full story…

Report shows EU’s ‘imperfect’ ETS still outperforms draft UN aviation deal on aviation CO2

When in April 2014 the EU agreed, reluctantly, to “stop the clock” on its inclusion of aviation in the ETS (Emissions Trading System) it was on the condition that this limiting of the scheme would be re-assessed in 2017, depending if ICAO had come up with an effective scheme to restrict aviation CO2 by then. Currently the EU ETS only includes carbon from flights within, (not to and from) the EU. But the deal that ICAO is likely to sign up to next month looks as if it will fail, by being too small in its scope, voluntary not obligatory, and depending on unknown biofuels and technologies in future, no environmental safeguards, as well as unreliable carbon offsets which may not in practice cut CO2 emissions. It will not meet ICAO’s stated goal of “carbon neutral growth” from 2020. Therefore, as the ICAO scheme does not meet the requirements of the EU, in order to suspend its ETS, the EU may find it necessary to revert to its full ETS system, to include flights out of (maybe also into) the EU as well as flights within the EU. The EU needs to ensure it gets agreement through ICAO that it can continue to include aviation in its ETS. The ETS scheme had its faults, but used emissions allowances instead of dubious offsets, was binding instead of voluntary, and include all CO2 emissions. To be fully effective, the cap on aviation carbon in the EU scheme needs to reduce each year. A new report “Aviation ETS – gaining altitude” sets out the details of how the ETS could work in future.

Click here to view full story…

China, US and EU reported to have pledged to join the weak, voluntary, initial stages of ICAO scheme for CO2

It is reported that China, Europe and the US have pledged to join the initial voluntary phases of ICAO’s carbon-offsetting scheme designed to give international aviation a chance of achieving it goal of “carbon-neutral growth” after 2020. On 3rd September, the 44 member states of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) committed to being part of ICAO’s global market-based measure (MBM) scheme “from the start”. On the same day the US and China said they “expect to be early participants” in the global MBM, also called the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA. On 2nd September ICAO released a revised text that will be presented for adoption by the ICAO Assembly in early October. This makes participation voluntary in the pilot and first phases of the scheme, covering 2021-26. The MBM will become mandatory only in the 2nd phase, covering 2027-35, with exemptions for countries with only a small share of international aviation activity in 2018. India and Russia are opposed to joining the global MBM. Under the CORSIA scheme, airlines would “offset” additional CO2 growth beyond 2019-20 levels by buying credits from designated environmental projects.There are concerns about REDD forestry credits being used. ICAO estimates the cost to airlines would only be at most 1.4% of total revenues, by 2035. Far less till then.

Click here to view full story…

MEPs shocked by ‘secretive’ and unacceptably unambitious ICAO plan to cut aviation CO2 emissions

A meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment has been told of the way a possible agreement by ICAO next month – on global aviation carbon emissions – has been watered down. MEPs were informed of the likely 6-year delay, with the scheme for a global market based mechanism (GMBM) not taking effect properly until 2027, rather than in 2021 that had been foreseen. Opt-in to the GMBM scheme before 2027 would be voluntary, but mandatory from 2027 through to 2035. There will be exemptions for poor nations, and even after 2027 the participation of the least developed countries and small island states would remain voluntary only. EU deputies said they were “shocked” to learn how many concessions the EU was prepared to make at the Montreal meeting, which took place in May behind closed doors. Then, to make matters yet worse, “a special review in 2032 will determine whether the mechanism will be continued,” taking into account progress made as part of a related “basket of measures” which includes “CO2 standards for aircraft”, technological improvements, air traffic management and alternative fuels. In a rare show of unity, Parliament representatives from across the political spectrum urged the EU to be more aggressive in the negotiation. Bas Eckhout, a Dutch MEP, said what is on offer now is not acceptable.

Click here to view full story…

and more at  ICAO / EU ETS News Stories

Read more »

ICAO’s aviation offsetting deal is a weak start – now countries must go further to cut CO2

A deal was finally agreed by ICAO on 6th October.  It was progress, in that there had never been any sort of agreement on global aviation CO2 emissions before. But it was not a great deal – and far too weak to provide the necessary restriction on the growth of global aviation CO2.  It came in the same week that the Paris Agreement crossed its crucial threshold to enter into force, but the ICAO deleted key provisions for the deal to align its ambitions with the Paris aim of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees with best efforts to not exceed 1.5 degrees C. Tim Johnson, Director of AEF and the lead representative of The International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA) – the official environmental civil society observer at the global negotiations, said in relation to the UK: “But while today’s deal is applauded, this international effort falls well short of the effort required to bring UK aviation emissions in line with the Climate Change Act. With a decision on a new runway expected later this month, the UK’s ambition for aviation emissions must match the ambition of the Climate Change Act, and not simply the ICAO global lowest common denominator of carbon neutral growth from 2020. The ICAO scheme could make a contribution towards the ambition of the Climate Change Act, but it does not solve the whole problem.”
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Aviation offsetting deal is a weak start – now countries must go further

October 6, 2016 (Transport & Environment)

Today’s decision to offset but not reduce CO2 emissions from aircraft, and on a voluntary basis, is a weak start which must be followed with more effective measures by states to rein in aviation emissions, Transport & Environment (T&E) has said.

The deal’s coverage of emissions falls well short of the ‘carbon neutral growth in 2020’ target promised by UN aviation body ICAO and industry, and the lack of clear rules for offsets presents a clear risk to the measure’s environmental effectiveness. 

At the last minute states also quietly dropped plans to align ICAO policies with the Paris agreement’s 1.5/2°C warming limit just a day after that agreement crossed its threshold to enter into force.

The decision in Montreal will see airlines in participating countries emit increasing amounts of CO2 so long as the carriers pay for offsetting projects in other sectors.

ICAO still has not agreed on the contentious environmental criteria to ensure offsets have a climate impact, such as whether they are ‘double counted’ or whether the emissions reductions would have happened anyway.

Furthermore the coverage of emissions growth may total between 75-80%, but only 20% of total aircraft CO2 emissions between 2021 and 2035 will be offset [Forthcoming analysis to be published by T&E], shifting the burden onto other sectors to do more if global warming is to be limited at 1.5/2°C, as was agreed in Paris last year.

Speaking in Montreal, T&E aviation director Bill Hemmings said: “Airline claims that flying will now be green are a myth. Taking a plane is the fastest and cheapest way to fry the planet and this deal won’t reduce demand for jet fuel one drop. Instead offsetting aims to cut emissions in other industries.”

ICAO and the aviation industry must finalise and implement robust criteria for offsets and then develop further measures if we are to have any hope of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. This week’s ratification of the Paris climate agreement also means countries and regions – starting with large historical emitters like Europe and the US – must introduce additional measures to close aviation’s ambition gap. In Europe, the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) needs to be strengthened and aviation stripped of its harmful privileges.

Bill Hemmings added: “Today is not mission accomplished for ICAO, Europe or industry. The world needs more than voluntary agreements. Without robust environmental safeguards the offsets won’t cut emissions, leaving us with a deal that amounts to little more than adding the price of a cup of coffee to a ticket.”

T&E is an observer to the ICAO talks as part of the ICSA coalition of environmental NGOs, which said “critical work” remains to be done to ensure environmental integrity and broad participation.

International aviation and shipping were not explicitly mentioned in the Paris agreement. ICAO’s decision today still leaves it unclear how aviation will or intends to meet its reduction commitments.

Aviation is currently responsible for an estimated 5% of global warming. Aircraft CO2 alone is projected to quadruple and will potentially account for 22% of all CO2 emitted globally in 2050.

https://www.transportenvironment.org/press/aviation-offsetting-deal-weak-start-%E2%80%93-now-countries-must-go-further

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Global Aviation Climate Deal Concludes With Mixed Results – AEF comment

Montreal — An overwhelming majority of countries agreed to take a first step to address emissions from international aviation by adopting a global market-based measure (GMBM) for the sector.

However, in the same week that the Paris Agreement crosses its crucial threshold to enter into force, countries sent a worrying signal by deleting key provisions for the aviation agreement that would align its ambitions with the Paris Agreement’s aim of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees with best efforts to not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Commenting on the landmark deal, Tim Johnson, Aviation Environment Federation Director and the lead representative of The International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA) – the official environmental civil society observer at the global negotiations, said:

“Viewed globally, this is a landmark deal that addresses a gap in the plan to deliver the Paris Agreement, namely how to tackle the soaring emissions from international aviation.

“But there are gaps in coverage and many issues still to be decided that will determine its effectiveness.

“We urge ICAO and states to view the goal of keeping net emissions at 2020 levels as the start of a process. ICAO will now need to show strong leadership to strengthen the goal over time in line with the effort to deliver Paris.

“But while today’s deal is applauded, this international effort falls well short of the effort required to bring UK aviation emissions in line with the Climate Change Act.

With a decision on a new runway expected later this month, the UK’s ambition for aviation emissions must match the ambition of the Climate Change Act, and not simply the ICAO global lowest common denominator of carbon neutral growth from 2020.

“The ICAO scheme could make a contribution towards the ambition of the Climate Change Act, but it does not solve the whole problem.”

Aviation emissions are projected to consume approximately a quarter of the world’s remaining carbon budget by 2050, highlighting the urgency of reaching an agreement to tackle airline pollution. AEF recognizes the agreement as a hard-fought political compromise to see that aviation contributes its fair share in the climate change fight, but critical work remains to ensure environmental integrity and broad participation.

The UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreement to establish a GMBM contains some good provisions and a number of troubling elements that need improvement to reflect ICSA’slongstanding recommendations to strengthen the GMBM:

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Positive Elements Negative Elements
The three-year review clause and its connection to the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals in the GMBM resolution, though this connection was substantially  weakened in the accompanying climate resolution adopted by ICAO provisions. The GMBM, falls short of the goals of carbon neutral growth from 2020, Paris Agreement goals, and the industry goal of halving emissions from 2050.
The mandate that emissions unit criteria (EUC) and monitoring reporting verification (MRV) modalities be reflected as standards by ICAO. A lack of public commitment that insists offsets and alternative fuels credited under the GMBM must have high environmental integrity.
A solution to the difficult issue of dividing up offsetting responsibilities. No explicit text mandating that emissions reductions are not double counted.
Explicit text on the importance of avoiding double-counting of UNFCCC emission reductions. Lack of clear provisions on ensuring transparency of the process for finalizing the GMBM

 

ICSA’s current analysis of the resolution text and the commitments from more than 60 countries to join the first phases of the GMBM suggests that the measure will cover an estimated three quarters of international aviation’s expected emissions growth between 2021 and 2035.

Although this falls short of ICAO’s own target of carbon neutral growth from 2020, the anticipated coverage would be 2.5 billion tons of CO2 emissions, provided the emissions criteria to be elaborated allow only high quality carbon credits.

Importantly, the integrity of the agreement’s emission reductions depend on rules not yet in place.

ICSA welcomes that more than 60 states have so far stated their intent to participate in the measure from the beginning.

However, it is critical to expand coverage of the measure given the shortfall between what was agreed to at the assembly and the goal of stabilizing emissions at a 2020 level and the need for further action.

ICSA urges ICAO member states to use the resolution’s review clause to ratchet up ambition over time. It is also important that states and regions, especially developed and fast-developing ones, adopt additional measures to mitigate aviation’s climate impact.

ICSA is committed to ongoing engagement to ensure a high level of environmental integrity, broad participation, and a transparent process.

ICAO member states should work to align the reduction of aviation climate impacts with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement’s temperature targets.

ICSA will maintain pressure as discussion on the EUC and overall implementation continue, which will need to stand up to public scrutiny.

 

Notes

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

The International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA) works to reduce pollution from air travel. As a network of nonprofit organizations representing millions of members, ICSA is the only environmental civil society group accredited as an observer by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the UN standard-setting body for international air travel.  

http://www.aef.org.uk/2016/10/06/global-aviation-co2-deal-concludes-with-mixed-results-aviation-environment-federation-comment/

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ICAO deal: Soaring success or timid take-off?

By Madeleine Cuff (Business Green)

7 October 2016

The aviation deal is a step in the right direction, but needs an explicit link to the Paris Agreement goals and a credible offsetting system to really set the industry on a climate-friendly flight path 

What a week. Hot on the heels of the momentous ratification of the Paris Agreement – confirming that the landmark deal will enter into force next month – environmental campaigners and journalists once again rolled out the superlatives to applaud the agreement of the first deal to limit emissions from the international aviation sector.

“Historic”, “unprecedented” and “visionary” were all words used by commentators to describe the deal, which seeks to limit emissions from international passenger and cargo flights at 2020 levels, via a carbon offsetting scheme. Participation will be voluntary at first, and from 2027 most countries are mandated to join.

While the media may be getting superlative fatigue following this week’s mini-flurry of “historic” deals, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) agreement really is worthy of the fuss. After years of political wrangling, it represents a major diplomatic breakthrough on the topic of international aviation emissions – which have historically been left out of UN climate deals and not regulated under domestic climate law. It is also the first agreement of its kind to cover a single sector of a global industry.

And while not perfect, there is much in the deal to be celebrated.

From 2021 around 75% of emissions from the global aviation sector will be offset, with dozens of countries – including China, the US and Japan – voluntarily taking part in the first phases of the scheme, more than ICAO had assumed would when the idea of a voluntary phase was first floated.

This means that over the 15 years of the programme (from 2021-2035) airlines could offset almost 2.5bn tonnes of carbon dioxide – equivalent to taking 35 million cars of the road each year –according to the Environmental Defense Fund. It seems the ‘peer pressure’ effect that was so important to the early signing and ratification of the Paris Agreement is once again having the desired effect in spurring countries on to commit to higher climate action.

Airlines will now also have a major – read, financial – incentive to make their routes, and their aircraft, more fuel efficient, boosted by new carbon dioxide standards for new aircraft agreed earlier this year by ICAO. By 2021 Virgin Atlantic has promised to have a purely twin engine aircraft fleet – planes which are on average 30% more fuel efficient than traditional aircraft. Other airlines will follow suit.

And although the cost of the scheme is expected to add very little to the cost of the airfare on customers – a maximum of 2% on ticket prices, according to ICAO – as the scheme becomes mandatory it could become a vital source of cash for climate projects around the world. By 2035 ICAO figures suggest it could have funded up to $24bn worth of offsetting projects around the world, from reforestation to alternative energy projects.

And the fact the deal is a single, unitary agreement backed by 191 countries means aviation avoids what many were viewing as the inevitable alternative if a compromise wasn’t reached – a messy patchwork of national and regional policies that could lead to overlapping costs and confusing bureaucracy for many international airlines.

It was a risk ICAO was well aware of going into the meeting: “In recent years, there has been a marked increase in the number of carbon pricing instruments, such as CO2 taxes or emissions trading schemes, applied around the world,” read one briefing note. “A similar proliferation of carbon pricing instruments on aviation would result in an unsustainable patchwork of measures for operators and for governments. Indeed, there are strong indications that a number of States around the world have considered the adoption of economic measures in this area and the International Monetary Fund has specifically called for a tax on CO2 on aviation and shipping.”

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/opinion/2473448/icao-deal-soaring-success-or-timid-take-off

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UK secures historic deal to combat global aviation emissions

From:  Department for Transport and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

6 October 2016

The UK has agreed a huge aviation climate deal with 190 countries. Airlines will offset emissions aiming for carbon neutral growth from 2020.

The UK along with 190 other countries has secured a major global climate deal to combat aviation emissions. The deal was struck on 6 October 2016.
This is the first worldwide scheme to address emissions in any single sector. Under the deal, airlines will offset their emissions with reductions from other sectors and activities with the aim of delivering carbon neutral growth for the aviation sector from 2020.

It is the most significant global deal on climate since the Paris Agreementlast year, when the world agreed to pursue efforts to keep the global temperature increase well below 2 degrees. As one of the two sectors not covered by Paris, it was critical that international aviation also took action. This agreement is a major step forward, and the UK has played an important part in delivering this.The deal was reached at the 39th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, following 3 years of challenging negotiations.

Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad said:

This is an unprecedented deal, the first of its kind for any sector. International aviation is responsible for putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year than the whole of the UK and yet until now, there has been no global consensus on how to address the growing problem of aviation emissions.

For years, the UK has pushed to tackle aviation emissions globally. Now, 191 countries have agreed on a global measure and sent a clear message that aviation will play its part in combating climate change.

The UK’s focus will now be on ensuring the scheme is implemented successfully across the world.
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Read more »

Report shows EU’s ‘imperfect’ ETS still outperforms draft UN aviation deal on aviation CO2

When in April 2014 the EU agreed, reluctantly, to “stop the clock” on its inclusion of aviation in the ETS (Emissions Trading System) it was on the condition that this limiting of the scheme would be re-assessed in 2017, depending if ICAO had come up with an effective scheme to restrict aviation CO2 by then.  Currently the EU ETS only includes carbon from flights within, (not to and from) the EU.  But the deal that ICAO is likely to sign up to next month looks as if it will fail, by being too small in its scope, voluntary not obligatory, and depending on unknown biofuels and technologies in future, no environmental safeguards, as well as unreliable carbon offsets which may not in practice cut CO2 emissions. It will not meet ICAO’s stated goal of “carbon neutral growth” from 2020. Therefore, as the ICAO scheme does not meet the requirements of the EU, in order to suspend its ETS, the EU may find it necessary to revert to its full ETS system, to include flights out of (maybe also into) the EU as well as flights within the EU.  The EU needs to ensure it gets agreement through ICAO that it can continue to include aviation in its ETS.  The ETS scheme had its faults, but used emissions allowances instead of dubious offsets, was binding instead of voluntary, and include all CO2 emissions.  To be fully effective, the cap on aviation carbon in the EU scheme needs to reduce each year.  A new report “Aviation ETS – gaining altitude” sets out the details of how the ETS could work in future.
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EU’s ‘imperfect’ emissions trading system still outperforms draft UN aviation deal – report

September 20, 2016

By Transport & Environment

Despite being in need of reform, the EU’s aviation ETS is functioning, is being complied with, and has the potential to deliver real emissions reductions, a new analysis shows.

Its key design features – emissions allowances instead of offsets, being binding instead of voluntary, and full instead of partial coverage of emissions – are all superior to the draft global deal under negotiation at the UN’s aviation agency ICAO.

Europe is under pressure to dismantle its regional measure even though discussions on a global measure at ICAO remain fractious.

The ETS’s use of allowances ensures greater transparency of emission reductions than the agreement taking shape at ICAO, which relies on offsets of potentially unreliable quality, the T&E report finds.

Additionally, once the current surplus in the overall ETS is addressed, it will deliver greater emissions reductions.

Meanwhile, the published draft of the ICAO global measure will fall well short of that organisation’s own goal of carbon neutral growth by the aviation sector in 2020 and lacks essential environmental safeguards.

Andrew Murphy, aviation policy officer at T&E, said: “The EU stopped the clock on its own ETS to give ICAO time to develop an environmentally meaningful measure, not a voluntary scheme which postpones serious action for a decade or more. Europe should be proud of setting the global benchmark, and never replace it with something inferior that is open to bogus offset programmes.”

To realise greater emissions reductions, the EU should reduce the cap of its ETS by 2.6% annually and introduce a similar declining cap for aviation allowances, the report recommends.

Phasing out the free allocation of allowances to aircraft operators would require airlines to purchase more general ETS allowances and start to reflect the true cost of their climate impact.

Andrew Murphy said: “Not only has the EU’s ETS disproved sceptics from both within and beyond Europe, but it has served as a model for nascent trading systems in such countries as China and Mexico. Replacing the ETS with the promise of something to take effect in 2021 which is far less than global, which sets a weaker target and lacks environmental safeguards, is not the way to strengthen Europe or the world’s climate ambition.”

ICAO has been working for almost two decades on aviation’s climate impact and its latest  deadline to produce a result is at its 2016 assembly this month. International aviation and shipping were not explicitly mentioned in the Paris agreement, leaving it unclear how their rapidly growing emissions were to be addressed. Aviation is currently responsible for an estimated 5% of global warming. Without a change in the current projections, emissions will increase by more than four times, potentially to account for 22% of global emissions in 2050.

https://www.transportenvironment.org/press/eu%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98imperfect%E2%80%99-emissions-trading-system-still-outperforms-draft-un-aviation-deal-%E2%80%93-report

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The fight must go on to protect the EU’s right to continue with its own aviation emissions scheme

By Jeff Gazzard

23.9.2016 (GreenAir online)

Over the next couple of weeks, the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will be holding its 39th Assembly in Montreal. One of the key items up for discussion/agreement/stonewalling (take your pick!) is the development and implementation of a Global Market Based Measure (GMBM) to try and control and reduce civil aviation’s growing use of fossil fuel via the use of a price mechanism that includes the cost of CO2 emissions in airline ticket prices – the practical embodiment of the ‘polluter pays’ principle, writes Jeff Gazzard.

Why is this important? GreenAir Online readers, policymakers and those with an environmental responsibility across all sectors of the aviation industry, finally realise that the huge and continuing growth of flight kilometres, based on the consumption of ever-increasing volumes of tax-free kerosene as a fuel, produces a significant climate change impact.

All forecasts from every source that I have monitored in recent months confirm that aviation emissions will put global climate change targets, whether they be 2 degrees or the recent Paris UNFCCC agreement for a lower 1.5 degree limit, at risk.

I am not going to look in any great detail at the figures as, frankly, they speak for themselves. At least the days of the industry’s strategy of “deny, delay and minimise” as a global corporate response to real and proven scientific, environmental NGO and enlightened policymaker concerns are taking a back seat. Hopefully, right at the back, cramped up against the rear bulkhead, by the toilets!

After years of campaigning, policy development, consultations, phoney PR wars and obstructive legal action, the European Union and its parliament voted in July 2008 to extend the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) to aviation.

The vote was carried by 640 votes to 30. In my view it wouldn’t have been possible to have sent a stronger message to the entire aviation industry that the game was up!

With free allowances, complex monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) arrangements, reasonable quality carbon credit availability, all-outgoing flight coverage, new entrant capacity, significant penalties for non-compliance, permanent review and policy development/revision opportunities, open public access to performance reporting and with both Parliament and the European Commission’s (EC) Climate Action Directorate General willing to engage positively with all parties, the policy was a model framework.

Not perfect, but capable of producing something workable and potentially toughened over time.

Of course, those paragons of accepting the will of the European Parliament – the global aviation industry – predictably went collectively nuts at this perceived threat to their very existence, mounting an even more aggressive campaign in what to date has proved an overall futile attempt to destroy the Aviation EU ETS.

Industry did however manage to get the scheme partially rolled back to cover intra-EU airspace emissions only by IATA developing and promoting its own parallel universe project, Carbon Neutral Growth from 2020 (CNG 2020).

This claimed that a combination of measures – technology gains, increased load factors, better ATM and flight operations, plus the aviation alternative fuels/biofuels mirage – would just leave a small amount of CO2 emissions that could be mopped-up by voluntary purchases of low-quality (but cheap!) offsets.

Successful lobbying of civil aviation regulators and transport ministries globally achieved IATA’s goal – supported incidentally by all other aviation trade associations – of transforming their CNG 2020 outline into hard ICAO policy. This neatly puts control of targets, pricing, MRV and everything else, including, funnily enough, disbanding regional schemes (i.e. the Aviation EU ETS), firmly in the hands of what can only be described as an overly bureaucratic, slow, cumbersome and most importantly, entirely producer-captured body that dances (sadly and badly, rather like your Dad!), entirely to the aviation industry’s tune.

The EU’s olive branch offer to compromise on flight coverage, the so-called ‘Stop the Clock’ option, was and is conditional upon the ICAO GMBM project coming into force with a target outcome and components at least as effective as the Aviation EU ETS, plus with the bonus of global airline participation. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Let’s be clear: the entire industry despises the EU emissions scheme precisely because the free allowances will likely disappear over time, the cap will tighten and the unit cost of both carbon allowances within the scheme and their supply will likely rise and tighten too.

The involvement of environment ministries means the industry’s symbiotic relationship with transport ministries and aviation regulators is also significantly watered down.

The IATA/ICAO CNG (carbon neutral growth)  project is simply a fig leaf of business-as-usual greenwash.

So where does this leave the EU scheme and the need for an environmentally effective response to aviation’s CO2 emissions?

Here are my thoughts on the desired outcome from a European viewpoint:

  • Europe, in the form of a tough uncompromising alliance of the EU/EC, the four-person MEP ICAO Assembly delegation and European Member States, along with global environmental NGOs and those countries most at risk from climate change impacts, must come away with the EU’s right to keep the Aviation EU ETS intact.
  • By all means continue to work through ICAO on the GMBM but acknowledge this is not at all acceptable as it stands. Indeed, there really isn’t a complete, comprehensive policy on the table right now, more a fabulous wish-list.
  • Recognise that the “up to 80%” coverage figure quoted is not 80% of emissions but just future growth beyond a contrived baseline of a 2020 start and therefore unacceptably low. It also excludes approximately 40% of worldwide aviation emission as it doesn’t cover domestic emissions at all.
  • Current discussions of offset quality are simply not a serious policy outcome.
  • The degree of exemptions proposed are contrived and unacceptable.
  • The industry cannot be trusted to develop a 1.5 degree compliant policy and indeed most importantly for a UN body, ICAO cannot and should not sign up to a policy that fails to meet the Paris goal, as this proposal singularly doesn’t.

Two weeks from next Tuesday, when the Assembly starts, is a long time to expect anybody to hold their breath in anticipation that the Assembly will transform IATA’s ‘CNG from 2020’ project into a Paris 1.5 degree compliant policy to control and reduce civil aviation’s CO2 emissions.

So I won’t be. But I do expect the EU to return from Montreal with the right to continue with its scheme – the fight will then go on.

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Jeff Gazzard co-ordinates the European GreenSkies Alliance (GSA) network, which is involved in grass roots campaigning, policy development and international advocacy to control and reduce the negative environmental impacts of air transport. He was the co-rapporteur of a task force developing a set of environmental indicators for aviation within the 41-country intergovernmental European Civil Aviation Conference, with which GSA has Observer status. Jeff is an advisor to the WHO on transport, environment and health issues, and is also the policy advisor to the UK All-party Parliamentary Sustainable Aviation Group of MPs. Until recently, he was a Board Member of the Aviation Environment Federation.
Copyright © 2016 GreenAir Communications

http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=2285

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Earlier:

Scope of coverage of aviation by EU Emissions Trading System now slashed by 75% until 2017

The compromise deal agreed by the European Parliament in early April means that, until 2017, only flights between EU airports will be regulated, not flights to or from the EU. So the result is that this only covers about 25% of the total EU aviation carbon emissions. About 75% of the total emissions, which were covered in the first year of the ETS, are now not covered – and will not be for years.  The inclusion of aviation in the ETS, agreed in 2008, covered emissions from all flights to, from and within Europe and entered force in 2012. However, an interim one-year freeze of the law, known as ‘stop the clock’, was hurriedly agreed in late 2012  to allow time for the UN’s aviation body, ICAO, to agree a global measure to reduce aviation emissions at its 2013 triennial assembly. The EU decision included a provision that if ICAO fails to agree a global measure by 2017, the original ETS, with full coverage, will ‘snapback’ then.  Bill Hemmings, sustainable aviation manager at T&E commented :”Just when the IPCC’s latest report shows how climate change is already affecting every aspect of human life, European governments and politicians have chosen to effectively scrap the only law in the world that attempts to curb aviation’s soaring emissions.”  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/05/21158/

 

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Read more »

China, US and EU reported to have pledged to join the weak, voluntary, initial stages of ICAO scheme for CO2

It is reported that China, Europe and the US have pledged to join the initial voluntary phases of ICAO’s carbon-offsetting scheme designed to give international aviation a chance of achieving it goal of “carbon-neutral growth” after 2020.  On 3rd September, the 44 member states of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) committed to being part of ICAO’s global market-based measure (MBM) scheme “from the start”. On the same day the US and China said they “expect to be early participants” in the global MBM, also called the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA.  On 2nd September ICAO released a revised text that will be presented for adoption by the ICAO Assembly in early October. This makes participation voluntary in the pilot and first phases of the scheme, covering 2021-26. The MBM will become mandatory only in the 2nd phase, covering 2027-35, with exemptions for countries with only a small share of international aviation activity in 2018.   India and Russia are opposed to joining the global MBM. Under the CORSIA scheme, airlines would “offset” additional CO2 growth beyond 2019-20 levels by buying credits from designated environmental projects.There are concerns about REDD forestry credits being used. ICAO estimates the cost to airlines would only be at most 1.4% of total revenues, by 2035.  Far less till then.
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China, Europe & US in historic accord on aviation emissions

China, Europe and the US have pledged to join the initial voluntary phases of the carbon-offsetting scheme designed to help international aviation achieve its goal of carbon-neutral growth after 2020.

On Sept. 3, the 44 member states of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) committed to being part of ICAO’s global market-based measure (MBM) scheme “from the start”.

On the same day, in a joint declaration ahead of the G20 economic summit in Hangzhou, the US and China said they “expect to be early participants” in the global MBM, also called the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA.

ICAO on Sept. 2 released a revised text http://fortune.com/2016/09/03/china-us-europe-aviation-emissions/of the resolution on the global MBM that will be presented for adoption by the ICAO Assembly in early October.

This makes participation voluntary in the pilot and first phases of the scheme, covering 2021-26. The MBM will become mandatory only in the second phase, covering 2027-35, with exemptions for countries with only a small share of international aviation activity.

ECAC members called on other major aviation states, “and those having the capacity to do so”, to commit to the global MBM, “and make their decision public before the end of the ICAO Assembly.”

India and Russia have previously voiced opposition to the global MBM.

Under the CORSIA scheme, carriers would offset additional carbon emissions from international growth beyond 2019-20 levels by buying credits from designation environmental projects.

Depending on the price of carbon, ICAO estimates the MBM will cost airlines 0.2-0.6% of total revenues from international flights in 2025. This will increase to 0.5-1.4% by 2035.

http://atwonline.com/eco-aviation/china-europe-us-historic-accord-aviation-emissions

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CAO has been working for more than a decade on aviation’s climate impact and it has set itself a final deadline of the end of 2016 for a deal. International aviation and shipping were not explicitly mentioned by the Paris agreement, leaving it unclear how their rapidly growing emissions were to be addressed. Aircraft are currently responsible for an estimated 5% of global warming. Without a change in the current projections, its emissions will increase by more than four times, to account for 22% of global emissions in 2050.

Plans to offset aviation’s ever-growing CO2 emissions using REDD credits is supported by nine mainly US-based NGOs. And it’s opposed by more than 80 NGOs internationally.

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Revised text agreed for aviation carbon offset scheme

Participation in a carbon-offsetting scheme being developed to help aviation achieve carbon-neutral growth initially will be voluntary for states under the proposed text of a resolution to be presented for approval by the ICAO Assembly in October.

The latest text, released Sept. 2, is the result of extensive consultation with states on ICAO’s proposed global market-based measure (MBM), called the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), culminating in an Aug. 16 meeting to develop a compromise text.

The new text calls for phased implementation of the MBM, beginning with a pilot phase in 2021-23 and first phases in 2024-26 in which participation will be voluntary.

The second phase in 2027-35 will be mandatory, with exemptions for nations with only a small share of international aviation activity as measured in revenue tonne kilometres flown in 2018.

“The new text includes some changes to the recommended MBM that impact the coverage of the system. Most significantly, it pushes back mandatory offsetting from 2021 to 2027,” the International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT), an environmental non-government organization, said in an initial analysis of the new draft text.

“The text also allows for countries that volunteer to join these initial phases to subsequently opt out, provided they give at least six months’ notice,” ICCT noted.“How much post-2020 growth will need to be offset now depends upon which countries opt into the initial voluntary phases.”

ICCT has previously calculated the MBM will not offset enough emissions for aviation to achieve carbon-neutral growth.

In the proposed pilot phase, each participating state will be able to choose one of two ways to calculate carbon offsets for international flights by carriers registered in that country: operator emissions in a given year or in 2020 as a baseline. The MBM will be reviewed every three years beginning 2022.

The text proposes that offsetting for the pilot and first phases, from 2021-29, be 100% based on RTKs flown by the overall international civil aviation sector. For the first compliance cycle under the second phase of the MBM, in 2030-32, 20% of offsetting will be based on individual operator’s RTKs, increasing to 70% for the second cycle, in 2033-35.

“The MBM is a significant piece of ICAO’s strategy for mitigating carbon emissions from growth in the international civil aviation sector,” the organization said, noting that emissions from international civil aviation were not covered under the 2015 COP21 Paris Agreement to combat climate change.

“Since all scenarios will exempt some traffic growth, no version of the system under debate today is expected to be consistent with the aviation industry’s goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020,” ICCT said.

“There have been predictions that the final agreement will cover 80% of emissions,” the environmental organization noted. “If Russia joins India in opting out, then Chinese participation is likely required to cover 80% of activity growth, and also that level of emissions.”

http://atwonline.com/eco-aviation/revised-text-agreed-aviation-carbon-offset-scheme

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China, US and Europe Pledge Support for Global Aviation Emissions Pact

by Reuters
SEPTEMBER 3, 2016,
Fortune Magazine

China, the United States and Europe all pledged support on Saturday for a new deal to curb carbon dioxide emissions by airlines which is due to be finalized at a meeting of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in September and is expected to go into effect from 2021.

Aviation was excluded from last December’s climate accord in Paris when countries agreed to limit the global average rise in in temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

The proposed new deal on aviation, which aims to cap the carbon pollution of all international flights at 2020 levels will be voluntary between 2021 and 2026 and then mandatory from 2027 for the world’s largest emitters.

Airlines in participating countries would need to limit their emissions or offset them by buying carbon credits from designated environmental projects around the world.

ICAO has estimated that carbon offsetting will cost operators 0.2-0.6% of total revenue from international aviation beginning in 2025, and 0.5-1.4% from 2035.

“Today, the United States and China are expressing their support for the ICAO Assembly reaching consensus on such a measure,” the two countries said in a joint statement earlier on Saturday.

The statement, released ahead of a G20 summit in the Chinese coastal city of Hangzhou, said both countries “expect to be early participants in the measure and volunteer to join.”

In a separate statement, the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), a grouping of the EU and 16 other countries, said it would join the market-based plan from the outset and urged all other major airline operating states to do so.

Participation by China, which as a developing country has traditionally been opposed to any binding emissions regime for its industries, is considered crucial to any deal, and experts say they expect it to favor Chinese airlines at least in the initial phase.

“It is not an issue for China to sign up for the ICAO deal, as the mitigation actions are voluntary until 2026,” said Chai Qimin, a researcher with China’s National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation (NCSC).

Chai said the deal could also favor China by giving it a lower share of all emissions that must be capped starting from 2020, but its participation would still depend on whether other countries could agree on terms.

China has been concerned that attempts to force its planes to buy carbon credits would represent a violation of the “common but differentiated responsibility” principle that says developed countries should take the lead in cutting emissions.

Negotiations are expected until the ICAO meets on Sept. 27.

“There are a lot of details that will determine the level of ambition,” said Li Shuo, climate adviser with Greenpeace.

While China had been more “progressive” when it came to the Montreal protocol and the phasing out of CFCs, it was showing fewer signs of movement on aviation, he said.

Annie Petsonk, international counsel at the Washington D.C.-based Environmental Defense Fund, said 80-90% of emissions above 2020 levels would need to be covered by the agreement for the civil aviation sector to hit a long-term target of carbon-neutral growth.

As an aviation powerhouse, China’s participation in the deal’s initial voluntary phases from 2021 to 2026 would likely be required to hit that 80 percent target, according to calculations by the non-profit International Council on Clean Transportation.

The council’s Dan Rutherford has said China’s absence from first phases “would definitely be a big hole in the coverage.”

On Thursday, the European Commission’s director-general for transport urged countries to join the deal.

“Our aim must be also to try to maximize the coverage and to try to have all the key aviation nations opting in,” said Henrik Hololei during an environment committee hearing.

China declined to cooperate with EU efforts to compel international airlines to buy carbon credits from its emissions trading scheme to cover flights into European airports, forcing the EU to suspend the plan.

European legislators also remain skeptical of the draft ICAO resolution, arguing it falls short of EU ambitions.

Some members of the EU parliament say the draft does not go far enough to justify extending the exemption for international flights from the EU’s own aviation emissions trading scheme beyond 2016.

The EU has to decide whether to continue exempting international flights by the end of the year.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China would not comment on China’s position, but Chai Haibo, vice-general secretary of the China Air Transport Industry Association, said the industry would support whatever decision the government made.

“Multinational negotiations under a government framework are more favorable, and we hope it will result in an acceptable deal to all parties,” he said.

The growth of low-cost carriers and emerging markets has driven increased demand, Boeing said.

China, US and Europe Pledge Support for Global Aviation Emissions Pact


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See earlier:

MEPs shocked by ‘secretive’ and unacceptably unambitious ICAO plan to cut aviation CO2 emissions

A meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment has been told of the way a possible agreement by ICAO next month – on global aviation carbon emissions – has been watered down. MEPs were informed of the likely 6-year delay, with the scheme for a global market based mechanism (GMBM) not taking effect properly until 2027, rather than in 2021 that had been foreseen. Opt-in to the GMBM scheme before 2027 would be voluntary, but mandatory from 2027 through to 2035. There will be exemptions for poor nations, and even after 2027 the participation of the least developed countries and small island states would remain voluntary only. EU deputies said they were “shocked” to learn how many concessions the EU was prepared to make at the Montreal meeting, which took place in May behind closed doors. Then, to make matters yet worse, “a special review in 2032 will determine whether the mechanism will be continued,” taking into account progress made as part of a related “basket of measures” which includes “CO2 standards for aircraft”, technological improvements, air traffic management and alternative fuels. In a rare show of unity, Parliament representatives from across the political spectrum urged the EU to be more aggressive in the negotiation. Bas Eckhout, a Dutch MEP, said what is on offer now is not acceptable.

Click here to view full story…

India to summarily reject ICAO’s proposed market based measure for aviation CO2 emissions

ICAO is meant to be getting global agreement in October on some way to control the growth of the aviation sector’s emissions. However, India – which has a relatively new and very fast growing aviation industry – is not willing to accept anything that might cost the industry money or slow its growth. The purpose of some form of market based mechanism, agreed through ICAO, is for airlines to have to buy carbon permits to offset CO2 emissions above their level in 2020. That works by the airlines having to spend money on the permits, with the likely effect of slowing growth. Airlines are naturally not keen, which is why ICAO has made virtually zero progress on this over several decades. Officials from India’s civil aviation ministry say Indian airlines are not willing to abide by the proposed “tax”. India as a country has pledged to reduce CO2 emissions, as committed at the UN Climate Change Agreement in Paris last December. Carbon emissions from Indian aviation could double from their 2011 level by 2020, but India considers itself to be a “developing country” although in many respects it no longer is. ICAO proposes allowing developing countries special leeway with their carbon emissions, but this is intended for small countries that are far less rich – and with far less thriving aviation industries – than India.

Click here to view full story…

ICAO agreement to get global aviation industry to limit CO2 may just be “voluntary” for years

ICAO is meeting in Montreal from 27th September to 7th October, with the intention of agreeing some mechanism globally to limit, or trade, aviation carbon emissions in future. However, aviation was not included in the Paris agreement, and ICAO has made little progress in getting airlines internationally to agree measures that would be effective. Aviation should contribute to the global ambition of limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees C (or 1.5 degrees C ideally) above pre-industrial levels. Now it appears that there may not even be a mandatory system, but just a voluntary one for the first 5 years for certain countries. This apparently is not yet meant to be public knowledge. Environmental groups said a voluntary first phase waters down a deal that already exempts too many countries, including most developing states, during its first five years. It will not achieve the ambition of making aviation making a fair contribution on the needed emissions reductions, especially if the largest carbon emitters do not join it. Airlines from countries that voluntarily participate would have to limit their emissions or offset them by buying carbon credits from designated environmental projects around the world.

Click here to view full story…

Govt assumed in 2013, with Aviation Policy framework, we could add a runway, as there would be a strong global deal

  1. Reminder. DfT’s Aviation Policy Framework (nearest thing we have to aviation policy) expected ICAO or EU ETS success.  It said:

    Reminder. Airports Commission final report said the UK might need to act if there was no effective measure by ICAO. It said:

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Read more »

MEPs shocked by ‘secretive’ and unacceptably unambitious ICAO plan to cut aviation CO2 emissions

A meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment has been told of the way a possible agreement by ICAO next month – on global aviation carbon emissions – has been watered down. MEPs were informed of the likely 6-year delay, with the scheme for a global market based mechanism (GMBM) not taking effect properly until 2027, rather than in 2021 that had been foreseen.  Opt-in to the GMBM scheme before 2027 would be voluntary, but mandatory from 2027 through to 2035. There will be exemptions for poor nations, and even after 2027 the participation of the least developed countries and small island states would remain voluntary only. EU deputies said they were “shocked” to learn how many concessions the EU was prepared to make at the Montreal meeting, which took place in May behind closed doors.  Then, to make matters yet worse, “a special review in 2032 will determine whether the mechanism will be continued,” taking into account progress made as part of a related “basket of measures” which includes “CO2 standards for aircraft”, technological improvements, air traffic management and alternative fuels.  In a rare show of unity, Parliament representatives from across the political spectrum urged the EU to be more aggressive in the negotiation. Bas Eckhout, a Dutch MEP, said what is on offer now is not acceptable.
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MEPs shocked by ‘secretive’ ICAO plan to cut aviation emissions

1.9.2016 (Euractiv)

By Frédéric Simon | EurActiv.com

A six-year delay, exemptions for poor nations, and a gradual phase-in system for participating countries are all being considered as part of talks to curb aviation pollution at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), MEPs discovered at a hearing in Parliament today (1 September).

Henrik Hololei, an official who headed the European Commission’s delegation to an ICAO high-level meeting in Canada earlier this year, appeared for a hearing in front of the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment.

Deputies said they were “shocked” to learn how many concessions the EU was prepared to make at the Montreal meeting, which took place in May behind closed doors.

The Montreal talks centred on the Global Market-Based Measure (GMBM) scheme which has been up for discussion since 2012 when the EU decided to “stop-the-clock” on its own aviation emissions trading system.

The EU initially intended to apply its aviation ETS to all flights landing or departing from EU territory but froze the scheme for international flights until 31 December this year in order to give ICAO a chance to conclude a global deal.

But MEPs were dismayed to hear the significant concessions Henrik Hololei said the EU was now considering in order to preserve chances of reaching an international agreement at the next ICAO general assembly opening on 27 September.

Any change to EU law following an ICAO deal would require approval by the EU assembly.

Six-year delay

According to plans currently under consideration, the global market-based system would be fully up and running in 2027 only, six years later than the initial 2021 deadline originally foreseen by the EU.

“On timing, the verification and monitoring requirements would start applying in 2019,” with the GMBM kicking-in “progressively as of 2021,” Hololei told MEPs at the hearing. “Inclusion in the scheme would become mandatory from 2027 through 2035”.

“On scope, the draft decision as it stands now would have an opt-in phase before all countries come on board in 2027, except those which are exempted,” Hololei continued, referring to small aviation players such as least developed countries and small island states for whom participation will remain voluntary only.

Finally, “a special review in 2032 will determine whether the mechanism will be continued,” taking into account progress made as part of a related “basket of measures” which includes “CO2 standards for aircraft”, technological improvements, air traffic management and alternative fuels.

“So that is what is currently being envisaged but I must stress that this is still very much a moving target,” Hololei said, adding, “the main issues relate to timing and scope”.

MEPs ‘shocked’

In a rare show of unity, Parliament representatives from across the political spectrum urged the EU to be more aggressive in the negotiation.

Bas Eckhout, a Dutch MEP who follows aviation issues for the Greens/EFA group, said he was “shocked” by the Commission’s apparent readiness to make concessions.

“We always said 2021 should be the starting date. What we’re discussing now is a voluntary scheme until 2027 and then still options for exemptions. That is a huge deviation from where we came from!” he exclaimed.

“Have you been brainwashed in Montreal? This sounds like the EU is giving away everything we stood for. Maybe a phase in for some countries can be accepted as of 2021,” but not more, Eckhout said.

“This is really unacceptable,” he added.

“Secrecy and lack of transparency”

Global leaders who met for UN talks in Paris last year agreed to aim for carbon-neutral growth in the aviation sector as of 2020, part of a landmark international agreement to contain global warming below 2°C.  [Carbon neutral growth means, in reality, that emissions from planes continue to grow fast, but offsets can be bought from other sectors that are cutting carbon emissions. ie. aviation does not itself make more than tiny cuts, while growing at 4 – 5% per year. AW note].

But other countries in the ICAO “are much less committed than the EU” to reaching that goal, Hololei pointed out, reminding MEPs that the European Commission had only observer status in the negotiations, which are taking place between ICAO member countries behind closed doors.

For Julie Girling, a British MEP from the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), it is the “secrecy and lack of transparency” in the ICAO process which is reason for concern.  No statement or meeting minutes were distributed after the May talks, Girling pointed out, “almost as if nothing had happened”. Hololei later replied that those would be published in the coming days.

Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, a Dutch MEP from the Liberal group ALDE, defended “regional schemes” such as the EU’s aviation ETS as part of any ICAO deal.   IATA, the global aviation industry lobby group, had spoken about “marginal costs for airlines” from the ETS, which shows the issue “is much more political”.

“If the costs are marginal, then why are politicians making a fuss about it?,” Gerbrandy asked. “This is the first big test: are we willing to do what we promised in Paris?”

Peter Liese, a German MEP from the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), agreed and pointed to “shortcomings” in the ICAO process. “I’m worried to hear about a pilot phase.  What’s happening in ICAO is not ambitious at all,” he warned, saying climate policy had moved beyond pilot phases. “I find this idea of a pilot phase sobering and scary.”

Speaking earlier, Girling concurred on that point, saying there was a “disconnect” between how Parliament and ICAO see the agreement taking shape.

“We see aviation as having been given an almost inexplicable exemption [from emissions regulations] whereas ICAO sees it as a pat on the back because they’ve been doing so well.”

2021 start date “not the most likely outcome”

Responding to the barrage of criticism, Hololei said the EU had wanted a mechanism to start as of 2021. “But in the international context, this is also a negotiation and there are other partners. And of course, we need to take that into account.”

Hololei, however, assured MEPs that the EU was “negotiating for the best possible outcome”, including on securing a regional scheme for Europe.

“The EU position has always been a mandatory scheme from 2021. We haven’t changed in any way our ambitions on that,” Hololei said. But “that is not the most likely outcome.”

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BACKGROUND

The airline sector, like the maritime sector, has its own UN agency, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which is responsible for organising the reduction of its CO2 emissions. ICAO was tasked by the Kyoto Protocol with addressing emissions from the sector.

It has been difficult to reach global agreement. In 2012, with no deal having been made, the EU included aviation emissions in its Emissions Trading Scheme. The decision sparked a backlash from the industry and foreign countries, like China and India who refused to comply with the scheme and threatened the EU with commercial retaliation measures.

The EU’s temporary halt to the ETS was intended to allow time for the ICAO to devise a global alternative. But in the meantime, international airlines which bitterly attacked the cap and trade scheme at every turn will be exempted from it, while intra-European airlines, which had supported it, will not.

>>Read:   Hedegaard stops clock on aviation emissions law

As a whole, the aviation industry continues to fiercely resist market-based measures as anything more than a stopgap, advocating instead a formula of technological and operational improvements – plus the wider use of biofuels – to reduce emissions.

Airlines make up 2% of worldwide CO2 emissions. But the doubling of passengers every 15 years has made it a growing source of greenhouse gases. Due to the strong link between the sector and fossil fuels, reducing its CO2 emission is a challenge. The problem of electricity storage rules out its use in the air, which thus leaves airline manufacturers, which have promised to stabilise their CO2 emissions by 2020, with few options.

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TIMELINE

  • 27 Sept.-07 Oct.: ICAO general assembly in Montreal, Canada.
  • 31 Dec. 2016: End of exemption for international flights under the EU’s aviation ETS.

 

http://www.euractiv.com/section/transport/news/meps-shocked-by-secretive-icao-plan-to-cut-aviation-emissions/


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Some earlier news stories about the ICAO negotiations: 

India to summarily reject ICAO’s proposed market based measure for aviation CO2 emissions

ICAO is meant to be getting global agreement in October on some way to control the growth of the aviation sector’s emissions. However, India – which has a relatively new and very fast growing aviation industry – is not willing to accept anything that might cost the industry money or slow its growth. The purpose of some form of market based mechanism, agreed through ICAO, is for airlines to have to buy carbon permits to offset CO2 emissions above their level in 2020. That works by the airlines having to spend money on the permits, with the likely effect of slowing growth. Airlines are naturally not keen, which is why ICAO has made virtually zero progress on this over several decades. Officials from India’s civil aviation ministry say Indian airlines are not willing to abide by the proposed “tax”. India as a country has pledged to reduce CO2 emissions, as committed at the UN Climate Change Agreement in Paris last December. Carbon emissions from Indian aviation could double from their 2011 level by 2020, but India considers itself to be a “developing country” although in many respects it no longer is. ICAO proposes allowing developing countries special leeway with their carbon emissions, but this is intended for small countries that are far less rich – and with far less thriving aviation industries – than India.

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ICAO agreement to get global aviation industry to limit CO2 may just be “voluntary” for years

ICAO is meeting in Montreal from 27th September to 7th October, with the intention of agreeing some mechanism globally to limit, or trade, aviation carbon emissions in future. However, aviation was not included in the Paris agreement, and ICAO has made little progress in getting airlines internationally to agree measures that would be effective. Aviation should contribute to the global ambition of limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees C (or 1.5 degrees C ideally) above pre-industrial levels. Now it appears that there may not even be a mandatory system, but just a voluntary one for the first 5 years for certain countries. This apparently is not yet meant to be public knowledge. Environmental groups said a voluntary first phase waters down a deal that already exempts too many countries, including most developing states, during its first five years. It will not achieve the ambition of making aviation making a fair contribution on the needed emissions reductions, especially if the largest carbon emitters do not join it. Airlines from countries that voluntarily participate would have to limit their emissions or offset them by buying carbon credits from designated environmental projects around the world.

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Guangdong will include aviation sector in its carbon market (South China)

11 July 2016  (Enerdata)   The Guangdong province will include the aviation sector in its pilot scheme for trading CO2 emissions that will be integrated in a national carbon market in 2017.

The Guangdong emission trading scheme was introduced in December 2013 and covers 189 companies handing over 365 million permits in 2015 (-1.4% from 2014). The province government will set aside 21 million permits for quarterly auctions, that will start in September 2016 (2 million permits will be available for sale). On 20 June (annual deadline for companies to surrender permits to the local government), 33 million permits had been traded (31% of the total number traded in China), corresponding to a 100% compliance rate this year.   China will implement a national CO2 cap-and-trade scheme as of 2017, to limit and and put a price on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. So far, China has already implemented seven local carbon exchanges in two provinces (Hubei and Guangdong) and in five large cities, namely Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chongqing.  http://www.enerdata.net/enerdatauk/press-and-publication/energy-news-001/guangdong-will-include-aviation-sector-its-carbon-market-china_37669.html


Bill Hemmings: An ICAO deal that falls well short of “carbon-neutral growth” target will have no credibility

Bill Hemmings, (from T&E) explains the hurdles to ICAO agreeing an environmentally meaningful deal in October. The global aviation sector needs to play its part in the international aspiration, from the Paris Agreement, to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C, or 2 degrees at worst. However, ICAO is not looking as if this is likely, largely due to the differences between historical and current CO2 emissions, and current and future growth rates, between airlines from countries (US and Europe largely) with historic aviation sectors, and those of developing countries, with young aviation industries. Ways to apportion the CO2 fairly need to be agreed, but solutions favour one group or the other. The developing countries (including Brazil, South Africa, and Nigeria) want their aviation CO2 to be exempted from any scheme. But emissions gap would amount to around 40-50% of the total, and so directly threatens the integrity of the commitment to carbon neutral growth from 2020, to which IATA pays lip service. Then there is the problem how to determine what percentage of emissions above the 2020 baseline airlines should have to offset each year. European and US airline CO2 is barely growing, but the CO2 from some is rising by 8% per year. US airlines do not want to pay for this. The issues are complicated. Read Bill’s explanation.

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

The group REDD-Monitor and other organisations have a petition asking people to sign up, to oppose the use by the global aviation industry, through ICAO, of “offsets” for its emissions using forestry. These offsets, through REDD or REDD+ (meaning (‘Reduce Deforestation from Deforestation and Forest Degradation’) would be very cheap and available in huge numbers. They would not be an effective way to compensate for growing aviation carbon emissions. The industry’s only plan to control its CO2 emissions, while doubling them, is buying credits from other sectors. In April 2016, more than 80 NGOs put out a statement opposing the aviation sector’s carbon offsetting plans through use of REDD credits. There are many really serious problems with REDD credits. Some are: They would only use large forestry institutions, or monoculture farming, not small landowners or forest peoples. Most REDD projects are not those that tackle the real drivers of large-scale deforestation – extraction of oil, coal, mining, infrastructure, large-scale dams, industrial logging etc. REDD credits carry the additional risk of becoming null and void when wildfires, storms or natural decay cause uncontrollable release of carbon stored. There are serious risks of lack of monitoring, and of fraud. REDD offsets should not be allowed for aviation carbon credits.

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

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

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

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

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Aviation low carbon future using biofuel from wood waste described as a “pipe dream”

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Wood fuel plan to cut plane CO2 branded as ‘pipe dream’

Plans to cut airline CO2 using greener jet fuels made from waste wood have been dismissed as a “pipe dream” by environmentalists.

Several high octane, waste-based biofuels are being tested by airlines as a way of curbing CO2.

UN officials are set to endorse these fuels as a key part of global plans to stabilise aviation emissions by 2020.

But critics say the plans are unrealistic and airlines are not taking the issue seriously.

Contested airspace

One of the big failures of the Paris climate agreement, adopted in December 2015, is that it doesn’t cover emissions from shipping or aviation.

The scale and impact of carbon from the booming airline business is heavily contested. The industry  points out that in 2015 only 2% of human emissions of CO2 came from aircraft.

Environmentalists point out that this doesn’t include the warming impact of contrails or other gases and aerosols. They believe the true impact is about 5%.

Earlier this year, the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), the UN body that regulates this sector, produced a report that predicted a three-fold increase in emissions from airplanes by 2050 if nothing is done to restrict carbon.

ICAO has developed a long term plan that it says will ensure that, by the middle of the century, aviation emissions will be half of what they were in 2005.

One of the key parts of that plan is green jet fuel.

Since Virgin Atlantic flew the first flight powered partly by biofuel in 2008, there have been dozens of tests with many different types of alternative jet fuels, often made from oil seed crops or animal fats.

But in the US earlier this year, the Federal Aviation Authority gave the go-ahead to a new fuel making process that some people believe will be a game changer for greener flying.

The new biofuel is made from a type of alcohol called isobutanol, which occurs naturally in the fermentation process and can be found in many items including bread and scotch whiskey.

Pine scented soup

At a large, warm and sweet smelling industrial facility in St Joseph’s, Missouri, fermenting tanks three stories tall contain a swirling mixture of wood pulp, water and enzymes.

The engineers here call the liquid, a “broth”, and it’s from pine-scented soup that isobutanol is extracted.

 captionThe UN says there could be a three-fold increase in aviation emissions by 2050 if no action is taken

“It’s like making a hot toddy, it has a bit of an alcoholic smell to it but you can still smell the undertones of the pine feedstock in the fermentation,” said Andrew Hawkins from Gevo, the company that has been licensed to make jet fuel using this new method.

The enzymes are used to extract the sugars from the pine. Genetically modified yeast then deliver the isobutanol from the sugars. By this stage, the smell of pine has long departed and the clear liquid remaining has the breathtaking whiff of a high-octane fuel.

One more refining step, at another facility, is required to complete the process.

What’s making airlines excited about using isobutanol based fuel is the fact that it is much more powerful than ethanol, the current biofuel of choice for transport.

Another attraction is that unlike, ethanol, jet fuel made from isobutanol can be carried and mixed in the same pipes and fuel trucks as petroleum products.

By using forest residue, supporters believe the new fuel can make a real and sustainable difference to airline carbon emissions as trees soak up CO2 as they grow and it is only the waste from their harvesting that’s used in production.

“We are short cutting mother nature and sucking carbon directly out of the atmosphere, that maybe yesterday’s plane put into the atmosphere,” Andrew Hawkins told BBC News.

“We then create sugars via these trees and then turn that back into fuel.”

A question of cost?

Gevo say they are planning to increase production to around 1 million gallons this year.

The company believe they can reduce the cost of production to around $3 a gallon – but that is still around $1.80 more than the current market price of petroleum based jet fuel.

Isobutanol made from corn is now being been used in test flights by Alaska Airlines in blends of up to 30% with regular fuel.

But whether they are made from wood waste or corn, the financial cost of these new fuels are likely to prove a major problem according to environmentalists.

“They are far too expensive, and they are not delivering the emissions reductions that would justify the investment,” said Bill Hemmings of campaign groupTransport & Environment.

“The new fuels are two or three times the cost of existing jet fuels, no-one in their right mind would pay that price. People continue to bang that drum about new biofuels, but they are not going to deliver. It’s all fairytale stuff.”

Attempts to regulate airline emissions have proved very difficult as countries haven’t been able to agree on the ways of measurement and responsibility. For example, if an airplane owned by a Middle Eastern airline flies from a poor African country to a poor Asian destination, who should “own” these emissions?

ICAO believe they have found a way forward that would allow airlines to offset emissions in the future by purchasing credits from certified reduction schemes, such as tree planting.

But their long-term goal of halving the level of 2005 emissions by 2050 depends on a rapid uptake of green fuels.

Critics say that this is impossible – it would require around 170 large scale bio-refineries to be built every year between 2020 and 2050, at a cost of up to $60bn a year.

Flying gorillas?

As well as biofuels, UN officials meeting in Montreal in September will also announce tougher standards for new aircraft designs to curb CO2 that will come into force in 2028. Green campaigners say this approach is “incredibly weak”.

They say that around 15% of aircraft flying today perform better than these future criteria.

Real change, they argue, won’t come through these vague international efforts. They believe that the key to solving the problem lies in the US.

“The US is the 800 pound gorilla of carbon pollution in the sky,” said Vera Pardee a lawyer with the Centre for Biological Diversity.

“More than 30% of all international carbon pollution comes from the United States.

“It is the duty of the US to get us out of this problem. If the US Environmental Protection Agency were to adopt meaningful standards then the international community will follow.

“The airplane manufacturers are not stupid, they need to meet the demands of their markets, when a regulation goes into effect for one of their major markets, that will be the catalyst to cause emissions to finally be handled correctly and come down.”

Follow Matt on Twitter @mattmcgrathBBC and on Facebook.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37108962

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New Alternative Jet Fuel Approved

from the FAA (The Federal Aviation Administration)

The FAA has played an integral role in development, testing and recent approval of a new alternative, environmentally-friendly, bio-based jet fuel, bringing the total number of these approved products for use in air travel to five.

This new fuel will make air travel more sustainable environmentally and increase our national energy resources. In contrast to traditional petroleum-based fuels, these new alternative fuels can reduce air quality emissions and are renewable.

In collaboration with the aviation industry, the FAA approves new renewable jet fuel pathways through ASTM International. The FAA’s Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) partnership with industry was crucial in completing the necessary steps to support ASTM International’s revised standard for this new fuel, known as Alcohol to Jet Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (ATJ-SPK). It is created from an alcohol called isobutanol that is derived from renewable feed stocks such as sugar, corn or forest wastes.

Other previously approved fuels include:

  • Synthesized Iso-parafins (SIP) which convert sugars into jet fuel.
  • Hydro-processed Esters and Fatty Acids Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (HEFA-SPK), which use fats, oils and greases.
  • Fischer-Tropsch Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (FT-SPK) and Fischer-Tropsch Synthetic Kerosene with Aromatics (FT-SKA). Both fuels use various sources of renewable biomass such as municipal solid waste, agricultural wastes and forest wastes, wood and energy crops. These fuels can also be made from fossil resources such as coal and natural gas.

 

These new fuels will help the aviation industry meet its climate change goal of carbon neutral growth. For example, operation with ATJ-SPK could reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a life-cycle basis by up to 85 percent.

As more alternative jet fuels are developed, these products have the potential to be increasingly viable for cost-competitive production and broad use. Another cost-saving goal and FAA focus area is a “drop-in” requirement for alternative fuels.

That means the fuels can be used directly in existing aircraft without any modification to engines or other equipment while maintaining an equivalent level of safety and performance to petroleum jet fuels.

In addition to CLEEN, the FAA is working with industry, other government agencies and academia through the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) and the agency’s Aviation Sustainability Center (ASCENT), a consortium of research universities.

https://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=85425

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India to summarily reject ICAO’s proposed market based measure for aviation CO2 emissions

ICAO is meant to be getting global agreement in October on some way to control the growth of the aviation sector’s emissions.  However, India – which has a relatively new and very fast growing aviation industry – is not willing to accept anything that might cost the industry money or slow its growth.  The purpose of some form of market based mechanism, agreed through ICAO, is for airlines to have to buy carbon permits to offset CO2 emissions above their level in 2020.  That works by the airlines having to spend money on the permits, with the likely effect of slowing growth.  Airlines are naturally not keen, which is why ICAO has made virtually zero progress on this over several decades.  Officials from India’s civil aviation ministry say Indian airlines are not willing to abide by the proposed “tax”. India as a country has pledged to reduce CO2 emissions, as committed at the UN Climate Change Agreement in Paris last December.  Carbon emissions from Indian aviation could double from their 2011 level by 2020, but India considers itself to be a “developing country” although in many respects it no longer is. ICAO proposes allowing developing countries special leeway with their carbon emissions, but this is intended for small countries that are far less rich – and with far less thriving aviation industries – than India.

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India to summarily reject ICAO’s proposed carbon emission tax

25.8.2016 ( Infracircle – India )Print Friendly
As part of its strategy to counter the carbon emission tax proposed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations’ aviation watchdog, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government will seek a formal response from the Indian carriers on the issue.

India expressed its disagreement to ICAO president Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu during his visit to New Delhi earlier this month, according to a senior official from the [Indian] ministry of civil aviation who did not want to be named.

The official said the Indian government would reiterate its discomfort when the ICAO Council meets in Montreal, Canada, next month to address these carbon emission issues and would again point out that Indian carriers are not willing to abide by the proposed tax.

According to ICAO, the tax is meant to control emission in the aviation sector.  India has also pledged to reduce emissions, as committed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris last year.

Though the aviation sector was not included in the Paris agreement adopted by 195 countries in December 2015, all the member countries have been asked to take measures voluntarily as per their national climate action plans.

“We will explain our standpoint to the ICAO team and reiterate that neither the carriers, nor the government would agree to what has been proposed. We will also hold talks with the airlines and get to know their opinion formally. They have earlier expressed their displeasure regarding the tax,” the [Indian] official added.

The ICAO team will also audit India’s air safety and air worthiness in the next few months after it was downgraded by the US Federal Aviation Authority in January 2014 over safety oversight. The ban was only lifted 15 months later, in March 2015, after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) put in effective measures, as directed by the United States Federal Aviation Administration and the ICAO.

Currently, 445 aircraft owned by commercial airlines are registered with DGCA. According to DGCA estimates, carbon emission could nearly double to 28 million tonne (MT) by 2020 from 16.33 MT in 2011, if efficient prevention methods are not adopted, especially when the aviation market is growing at a fast clip.

The official also explained that any additional tax on airlines will financially burden them as the sector’s operational costs are very high.

ICAO has been planning to cap the aviation sector’s emission by introducing a tax-based market mechanism, which is being opposed by developing countries.

Another [Indian] civil aviation ministry official, who also did not want to be named, pointed out that the country is moving towards expanding its air services through the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) and “any additional tax will only deter the airlines from taking part in our expansion plans like the RCS. This is one of the reasons we are opposing the carbon emission tax as well”.

Anil Madhav Dave, the minister of state for environment, forest and climate change, had already told the ICAO president about the government’s stand and added that the global market-based measures must take care of the interests of poor and developing countries, the second official said.

Experts support the Indian government’s stand on carbon emission.

Gurcharan Bhatura, an aviation expert and director general of Foundation for Aviation and Sustainable Tourism, said, “The government has taken a right call in the interest of the Indian airlines that are surviving on thin profit margins.”

“Any additional burden on airlines will only halt their expansion plans and that would not be good as the country is witnessing good growth in the sector,” added Bhatura, who had earlier been the airport director of Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai while he worked for AAI.

Queries emailed to the spokespersons of the ministries of civil aviation, and environment, forest and climate change on 23 August remained unanswered.

The NDA government had stated earlier that the global market-based measures in the international civil aviation sector should follow the principles of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities”, which would put the onus on developed and rich countries to cut emission on a priority basis as they have largely been the big polluters.

Apart from carbon dioxide, aircraft also emit nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, black carbon and water vapour which can form heat-trapping clouds.

In an email response to InfraCircle, Anthony Philbin, chief of communications at ICAO, said its member states proposed and are now considering the details of a global market-based measure to mitigate emissions from international air traffic. However, it won’t impact local/domestic airlines or traffic covered within the state commitments to the recent Paris Agreement.

“This is not an airline tax, but rather a means by which airlines will be obliged (depending on which state they are from and many other related factors) to offset their emissions through the purchase of offset credits,” he clarified.

The ICAO communications head added that the current negotiations will likely see that 2020 deadline moved further into the future for certain states, but those negotiations are still ongoing at the current meetings being held.

“By Friday (26 August) we will have a confirmed resolution on this matter, which will then be considered by the ICAO assembly in September. The full text of the resolution will be available on our website beginning next week,” he said.

http://www.vccircle.com/infracircle/india-summarily-reject-icaos-proposed-carbon-emission-tax/

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Earlier

India tells ICAO ‘no emissions tax for airlines’

India has told the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) that the country will not agree to any move to impose a carbon emission tax on its airlines as part of plans to offset emissions in the aviation sector, saying the global market-based measures must “take care of interests of poor and developing countries”.

India’s environment minister Anil Madhav Dave told the visiting president of ICAO Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu: “The interests of poor and developing countries should be taken on board in the development of the global market-based measures.”

He said the global market-based measures in international civil aviation sector must follow the principles of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’ (CBDR-RC). These principles mean rich nations bear the greater cost of emission cuts as they historically have been the biggest polluters.

http://www.impactpub.com.au/micebtn/85-news/btn-news/18314-india-tells-icao-no-emissions-tax-for-airlines

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World Bank to change classification of countries; India will now be called ‘lower-middle income’

31.5.2016 (Economic Times)

MUMBAI: For decades, ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ have served as agreeable economic nomenclatures to classify countries based on their prosperity and standards of living. That’s about to change, with the World Bank switching to more precise, though unvarnished, descriptions of economies.

And India — which till now found a place under the common umbrella with other ‘developing’ countries —will now be called ‘lower-middle income country/South Asia’.

The more specific definitions are aimed at categorising economies which though ‘developing’ in character, differ dramatically from one another. For instance, India, Mexico and Malawi may be hardly comparable even if a few economic and social parameters overlap.

With economies becoming less and less homogeneous, the multilateral agency will group countries based on geographical coverage and income levels to capture the changing world.In its annual edition of world development indicators (which was released a fortnight ago), the World Bank has no longer distinguished countries as developing and developed. Till now, developing stood for low-and middle-income countries while high-income countries were called ‘developed’.

Few, except developmental economists, bothered beyond it. But rising global prosperity coupled with growing inequality will now call for a sharper, less benign — and certainly less politically correct — nomenclatures. A fast changing world has made the earlier terms less relevant and not reflective of the heterogeneous sample of countries.

For instance, Mexico, China and Brazil are ‘upper-middle income’; India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are ‘lower-middle income’ (a categorisation that could irk not only New Delhi but most Indians); while ‘Malawi’ is, understandably, a notch lower at ‘low income’. So far, all were ‘developing countries’.

The bank’s logic: Malawi with per capita gross national income (GNI) of $250 can’t be in the same group as Mexico with per capita GNI of $9,860.

On measures like fertility and infant mortality rates — often considered proxies for a country’s overall well-being — the stark difference that once existed between developed and developing regions has narrowed.

In its publications and databases, the World Bank has already started phasing out the term ‘developing world’; instead, it’s focussing on the ‘sustainable development goals’ for the entire world.

……. and there is more ….

According to the World Bank data, India languishes on world indicators like labour force participation rate, electricity generation and access to improved sanitation facilities.

However, there is an improvement in certain aspects, such as under-five mortality rate and maternal deaths.

Time required to start a business in India was 29 days in June 2015 against the global average of 20 days.

In 2015, only 40% of Indians had access to improved sanitation facilities, against the world average of 68%.

The World Bank decision (to change the way countries are classified) may prompt the United Nations to follow suit. The international body has no formal definition of developing countries, but still uses the term for monitoring purposes and considers as many as 159 countries as developing.

…… and more details at

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52512636.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

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Aviation Week blog says forecast aviation demand is unsustainable and must be dampened

A blog in Aviation Week, by Antoine Gelain who works for an investment company, provides some cutting insights into demand for air travel.  He says: “When it comes to sustainability of air travel, the aviation community is lying to itself. There is an elephant in the room and nobody wants to see it. Without more significant efforts—some would call them sacrifices—air travel will continue to be a huge contributor to this planet’s pollution and global warming, with dire consequences for future generations” … and … “The bottom line is that with all the talk about the aviation community being committed to action on climate change  … and about how various supply-driven measures will improve air travel’s sustainability, everybody knows that serious progress will not be achieved unless we address the other part of the equation, aviation’s “sacred cow”—demand.” … and … “Air travel has essentially doubled in the past 15 years (and so have related CO2 emissions) and is expected to double again over the next 15 years. There is just no way supply-based measures such as technology and infrastructure improvements will come close to offsetting such rapid growth and its impact on the environment.” … and … If we in the aviation community are really serious about addressing climate change, we first need to accept that the current and forecasted demand for air travel is unsustainable and therefore must be dampened.” … and more ….
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Opinion: The Uncomfortable Truth About Aviation Emissions

The aviation community must face the truth about CO2

Aug 10, 2016

by Antoine Gelain | Aviation Week & Space Technology

When it comes to sustainability of air travel, the aviation community is lying to itself. There is an elephant in the room and nobody wants to see it. Without more significant efforts—some would call them sacrifices—air travel will continue to be a huge contributor to this planet’s pollution and global warming, with dire consequences for future generations, whether they are air travelers or not.

Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the first time officially acknowledged its duty to promulgate standards applicable to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from commercial aircraft. Indeed, aircraft remain the single largest GHG-emitting transportation source not yet subject to GHG standards in the U.S.

FACING FACTS

Air travel and related emissions have doubled in the past 15 years

Aircraft is the largest transportation source not subjected to U.S. greenhouse gas standards

Forecasted growth in air travel is unsustainable if climate change is to be tackled

The uptake of sustainable alternative fuels, which are meant to be a large part of the solution by 2050, has been extremely slow, with only two airports in the world—Oslo and Los Angeles—offering biofuels to airlines.

As for the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) progress on setting a CO2emissions standard, it is as slow as it can get. Having set some “aspirational” goals in 2010 for global net carbon emissions, it is only now getting to the point of recommending that new aircraft models entering service after 2020 and existing aircraft models coming off the production line after 2023 meet the new technical standard—which has yet to be introduced.

The bottom line is that with all the talk about the aviation community being committed to action on climate change (see, for example, the Air Transport Action Group’s position paper signed by aviation industry leaders in 2012) and about how various supply-driven measures will improve air travel’s sustainability, everybody knows that serious progress will not be achieved unless we address the other part of the equation, aviation’s “sacred cow”—demand.

Air travel has essentially doubled in the past 15 years (and so have related CO2 emissions) and is expected to double again over the next 15 years. There is just no way supply-based measures such as technology and infrastructure improvements will come close to offsetting such rapid growth and its impact on the environment.

As for the so-called “market-based measures,” such as the European Union’s Emissions Trading System or other carbon-offsetting schemes, they are just gap-filling measures that make people feel good without really changing the fundamental dynamics of the industry.

These dynamics are essentially about convincing as many people as possible to fly as often as possible. This is achieved in two ways: First, by making air travel affordable for mass consumption and second, by enticing business travelers with all sorts of bells and whistles.

The low-fare airline model has certainly made air travel more accessible to many, but in that process it has contributed to its excessive commoditization. And while it may be “low-fare,” it certainly is not “low-cost” as far as the environment is concerned. In that respect, air travel is very much akin to fast food: It may seem to be a bargain, but it passes the true cost on to the public health and purse and pushes it into the future.

As for major airlines, they are just milking the top of the market by catering to the desires of an international business community that is self-important enough to believe it deserves nothing less than increasingly dedicated and expensive services such as all-business-class flights, upscale cabins, exclusive lounges and loyalty rewards. Yet frequent-flier programs themselves create the wrong incentives, as they encourage business customers—most of which do not pay for their tickets themselves—to fly more and spend more on flights than may be necessary.

If we in the aviation community are really serious about addressing climate change, we first need to accept that the current and forecasted demand for air travel is unsustainable and therefore must be dampened. We as air travelers must become wiser customers: Do we actually need to fly to all these business conferences? Is it worth paying 10 times the price of an economy ticket for better wine, free lounge food and a more comfortable seat? Do we really believe a €20 ($22) trip from London to Copenhagen covers its true cost and true value?

Traveling to different countries can be one of the most enriching experiences in life. Let’s not trivialize it to the point where we do not think twice before buying a cheap air ticket. Let’s be honest with ourselves and accept the basic but uncomfortable truth that to make air travel sustainable, we first need to change our individual behaviors and become more discerning consumers. In the must-win fight for sustainability, there cannot be gain without pain.

Antoine Gelain is the managing director of Paragon European Partners. He is based in London.

http://aviationweek.com/commercial-aviation/opinion-uncomfortable-truth-about-aviation-emissions

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New runway would push up air fares due to carbon emissions, and restrict regional airports – new report

A new report for the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) has analysed the Airports Commission’s backing for new runway in relation to carbon emissions, and says the necessary carbon pricing would end low-cost flights by 2050.  The Commission was aware that UK aviation is expected to far exceed the cap set for the sector’s CO2 emissions (37.5MtCO2) before 2050.  Adding another runway only makes the situation far worse, by exacerbating the problem. The only way to keep aviation emissions down, with a new runway, is greatly increased cost of flights, trying to reduce the demand that has been increased by adding capacity.  This means a carbon price massively higher than today – at several hundred £s. The report, by Leo Barasi and Leo Murray, say that as well as making flights expensive (perhaps pricing out those on low pay) the addition of a new SE runway means growth at regional airports would have to be restricted to allow expanded London capacity.  Dame Julia King, who was on the Airports Commission and is on the Committee on Climate Change, admits that regional airports would need to be restricted in order to allow growth in the south east.  There has been far too little assessment and acknowledgement of the CO2 implications of a runway. The government should not rush into approving a runway until this has been fully accepted.
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Third Heathrow runway would push up air fares, say campaigners

By Gwyn Topham (Guardian)

8.8.2016

The report here

Analysis of Airports Commission’s backing for new runway claims carbon pricing would end low-cost flights by 2050

Passengers would be forced to pay substantially higher air fares if a new runway was built in the south-east and Britain kept to its carbon targets, according to an analysis of the Airports Commission’s backing for a third runway at Heathrow.

A report “air-traffic-controls: the hidden costs of a new london runway” published by the Campaign for Better Transport claims that carbon pricing, a measure the Commission suggested could be needed to ensure British aviation emissions remain on target, would add hundreds of pounds to air fares by 2050, spelling the end of low-cost flights.

Another consequence of the Airports Commission’s analysis is that growth at regional airports would have to be restricted to allow expanded capacity at Heathrow.

A member of the government-appointed commission said that prohibitive pricing or other measures to curb demand for air travel would be needed whether or not a new runway was built in the south-east.

The CBT report, Air Traffic Controls, claims that the additional carbon price to offset the growing demand in air travel from a new runway could amount to more than the cost of the ticket itself on some flights. The extra costs, implied by the commission’s data but not previously calculated, would be up to £127 for return flights from Manchester to Tenerife, £148 from Newcastle to Sharm el-Sheikh or £221 from London to Florida.

Leo Murray, one of the report’s authors, said: “There has been far too little scrutiny of the Airports Commission’s proposals for squaring airport expansion in the south-east with the UK’s climate change targets, with the details hidden deep inside hundreds of pages of technical reports. Building a new runway, while still meeting our climate change commitments, is expected to add hundreds of pounds to the cost of flights from all of the UK’s airports if the commission’s proposals are enacted.”

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “If the government approves a new runway in the south-east, it risks either breaking the national carbon budget, or pricing those on lower incomes out of the sky entirely. The Airports Commission uses heroic assumptions about technology and efficiency improvements which are at odds with the government’s own analysis. Worse, the huge sums the commission proposes adding to the cost of plane tickets to allow a new runway to be built have so far gone almost unnoticed.”

However, Julia King, who was on the commission and is a member of the Committee on Climate Change, said it was impossible to make accurate fare predictions for 2050, but that the level was irrelevant to the commission’s verdict on runways. “We already have enough runway capacity in Britain to exceed carbon emissions as it is,” she said. “The reality is that independently of whether we build a new runway or not, we will have to control the increase in flights.”

The CBT report shows price rises are likely to see regional airports decline while London’s grow. King said that while it could seem “a harsh message”, the commission’s analysis of catchment areas and hub activity meant only expansion in the south-east would make longhaul flights to key destinations economically viable for airlines.

“Clearly there would need to be slower growth at regional airports generally if you have additional capacity in London. All the indications were that the big demand is in the south-east.”

She added: “If we are to have to compensate for reduced trade with the EU post-Brexit, the longhaul requirements become even more critical – and our conclusion that the need is best fulfilled from Heathrow becomes even stronger.”

[And some vacuous and disingenuous comments from Heathrow and Gatwick are added to the article:]

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Heathrow supports the international aviation industry’s commitment to carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and the UN’s international civil aviation organisation, which plans to introduce a mandatory carbon offset system to achieve this goal.”

A spokesperson for Gatwick airport said: “Our analysis shows that expansion at Heathrow would be significantly less carbon-efficient than expansion at Gatwick.” He added that Gatwick had pledged to cap landing charges, meaning fares would stay lower.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/aug/08/heathrow-third-runway-higher-air-fares-airports-commission?CMP=share_btn_tw

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47 MtCO2 by 2050.  See reference  http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Richmond-Heathrow-Campaign-Climate-Change.pdf


In a climate-constrained world, could London airport expansion price other cities out of the market?

By Jocelyn Timperley  (Business Green) 

8 August 2016

Campaign for Better Transport analysis finds Heathrow expansion relies on higher carbon prices that could reduce demand in other parts of the country

Theresa May last week talked up plans to bolster the government’s push to reduce the divide between the economies of London and other British cities, even if she is loath to deploy George Osborne’s “northern powerhouse” rhetoric.

But a new report released today has highlighted one little spoken of, but potentially huge hiccup in the drive to balance the British economy more evenly – namely that a large-scale expansion in London’s air capacity, as would occur with the expansion of Heathrow of Gatwick airport, would necessitate a future reduction in the capacity of airports elsewhere in the country if the UK is to keep within its carbon budgets.

The analysis, published by the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT), scrutinises the assumptions and conclusions made in the final report of the Airports Commission, an independent body set up by the government in 2012 to look at how the UK should maintain its global aviation hub status. Published last July, the report recommended a third runway be built at Heathrow. When challenged on whether this would be compatible with the UK’s already generous allocation for the aviation sector in its 2050 climate target, the commission reassured those concerned that it was.

But by looking deeper into the Airports Commission’s figures, the new CBT analysis has highlighted a potential flaw behind that reassurance: the commission’s projections for keeping within the aviation climate budget rely on soaring carbon prices that would reduce the number of UK flights taken elsewhere.

A return flight from London to New York, for example, would have a £68 carbon price added to the cost of the ticket, the new report highlights. The assumption goes that this price hike would keep overall demand within the level needed to hit the sector’s carbon target – a return to 2005-level emissions by 2050, which is already an extremely generous allowance compared to other sectors that allows for a 60 per cent increase in flight demand assuming fuel efficiency improvements and the wider use of biofuels materialise as planned.

But the Airport Commission also found that expansion at Heathrow (or Gatwick for that matter) would still be justified, because even with the hike in carbon prices it expects all new London capacity to be used – an assumption which inherently means it will be those airports outside London where people are less able to pay the increased cost of flying where the number of flights will be curbed.

In addition, the report argues that under the Commission’s carbon pricing vision if a new runway is built and assumptions about demand and technology-delivered emissions-reductions prove too optimistic, prices will have to rise even further to ensure aviation remains within its carbon cap. Examples given in the report include an increase in prices of £108 by 2050 for a return ticket from Edinburgh to Malaga, a £116 increase on the cost of a flight from London to Athens, and a price hike of £140 for flights from Manchester to Tenerife. The cost for a family of four to fly from London to New York and back would be bumped up by up to £855 – a price hike with significant implications for those on a tighter budget in a country where an estimated 15 per cent of the population already take over 70 per cent of flights, and over half of people do not take any flights at all in a given year.

“They’re using carbon pricing to reduce demand, and that both means that ticket prices would be really quite a lot higher and even if we accept all their assumptions they’re quite a bit higher,” Leo Barasi, climate policy specialist and co-author of the analysis, tells BusinessGreen. “But if we start questioning whether every single one of their assumptions about technology and biofuels – which are all at the upper end of optimistic – if any of those don’t happen then the carbon pricing that they suggest would have to be higher still.”

It is important to note the expected increased in flights over the next few decades means flight numbers are still likely to increase everywhere, so that other areas will only be hit relative to the increase in flights they could have expected if no London airport expansion was delivered.

But the report echoes a warning made in June last year by the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) that by 2050, an extra runway at Heathrow would result in 55 per cent fewer passengers per year flying in and out of airports in the West Midlands, alongside a 14 per cent cut in the North West, a 36 per cent reduction in the South West, and a 11 per cent cut in Scotland compared to business-as-usual.

The new report argues the Airports Commission are likely already aware of the potentially huge impact of aviation carbon prices and have in fact concluded there would still be enough extra demand in London for a new runway to be economically worthwhile despite the assumed carbon price. However, while there are certainly reasons to believe London flight numbers will keep climbing, it is also important to note that Office for National Statistics data shows that the number of overseas business flights by UK residents has actually flatlined for the past 20 years, making up a smaller proportion of overall flights each year. Meanwhile, holidays abroad and family visits are the main growth areas for the UK aviation industry – a fact that also likely contributed to the UK’s rising tourism deficit this year reaching £17bn.

“I think they’ve applied a very narrowly economic lens to the question and I have no reason to doubt their view that the most economically efficient thing to do might well be to continue to prioritise growth in the richest part of the country and the place where most immigrants and businesses want to be,” says Barasi. “But then it’s a question for the country as a whole about where we want to put our investment in infrastructure and where we want to pursue growth.”

It’s also important to note says Barasi, that fears that London could lose out competitively compared to other European airports such as Amsterdam when it comes to being a global flight hub could be misplaced. “What’s always missed in that is that all of our European competitors that might build an alternative hub have in fact the same challenges that we do, so it’s not like we’re the only one struggling with this,” he argues.

With Department for Transport’s own projections showing the UK is currently set to exceed its aviation emissions target by 25 per cent even without increased airport capacity in London, Theresa May and her transport ministers face what should be a very tough decision on Heathrow. However, while local environmental impacts were cited as one of the main reasons for the most recent delay to the decision in December, the government has so far given little indication it would consider shelving plans for London airport expansion. Either Heathrow or Gatwick are set to be expanded, with all the implications that has for aviation emissions, carbon pricing scenarios, aircraft fuel efficiency, and regional airports.

When asked about the findings of the new report, a spokeswoman for the Department for Transport told BusinessGreen the government is fully committed to delivering runway capacity on the timetable set out in the Airports Commission’s report. “The Secretary of State and his ministerial team will consider all of the evidence very carefully before the government reaches a view on its preferred scheme,” she added.

But the CBT analysis shows if expansion goes ahead, the implications on an already tight carbon budget could be severe, while the question will also be raised as to whether people who can less afford it will accept the potentially huge rises in the costs of flights, even if such price hikes are deemed environmentally necessary.

“It feels like this is the first really difficult climate decision that the UK’s had to face, that so far it’s either been relatively small scale decisions that aren’t that expensive or things that you can present as a win-win,” says Barasi. “It’s perhaps a sign of some of the challenges that we’ll have to confront in the future.”

With aviation only representing six per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions, a failure to reach the allocated budget wouldn’t necessarily mean we breach the Climate Change Act, assuming even deeper emissions cuts are delivered elsewhere. But considering the challenges already facing the country as it strives to decarbonise other sectors of the economy on schedule, giving aviation a free pass would certainly make complying with the Climate Change Act considerably more difficult.

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/analysis/2467292/in-a-climate-constrained-world-could-london-airport-expansion-price-other-cities-out-of-the-market

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ICAO agreement to get global aviation industry to limit CO2 may just be “voluntary” for years

ICAO is meeting in Montreal from 27th September to 7th October, with the intention of agreeing some mechanism globally to limit, or trade, aviation carbon emissions in future. However, aviation was not included in the Paris agreement, and ICAO has made little progress in getting airlines internationally to agree measures that would be effective. Aviation should contribute to the global ambition of limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees C (or 1.5 degrees C ideally) above pre-industrial levels. Now it appears that there may not even be a mandatory system, but just a voluntary one for the first 5 years for certain countries. This apparently is not yet meant to be public knowledge. Environmental groups said a voluntary first phase waters down a deal that already exempts too many countries, including most developing states, during its first five years. It will not achieve the ambition of making aviation making a fair contribution on the needed emissions reductions, especially if the largest carbon emitters do not join it.  Airlines from countries that voluntarily participate would have to limit their emissions or offset them by buying carbon credits from designated environmental projects around the world. 
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U.N. aviation emissions pact may be voluntary at first – sources

Aug 2, 2016

By Allison Lampert  (Reuters)

MONTREAL  – A deal to limit carbon emissions from global civil aviation could be voluntary for the first five years instead of mandatory for certain countries under the current proposal, four sources familiar with the matter said.

Facing an October deadline, countries have been unable so far to agree on the metrics that would oblige participants to be included, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are involved in the talks and the idea of a voluntary first phase has not been made public.

The United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) meets Sept. 27 to Oct. 7 and it will be under pressure to finalise a deal that would cap the carbon pollution of all international flights at 2020 levels. Aviation was excluded from last December’s climate accord in Paris when countries agreed to limit the rise in global temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

One source from an Asian member state of the ICAO said many countries were receptive to a voluntary first phase. A second source, a Western state negotiator, said that the deal would be effective if the countries that generate most of the world’s aviation emissions join.

“What’s going to make or break this is knowing who is going to be in the first phase,” the Western negotiator said.

Airlines from countries that voluntarily participate would have to limit their emissions or offset them by buying carbon credits from designated environmental projects around the world.

The market-based plan must win the support of ICAO’s 191 member states at its assembly in Montreal, or risk the European Union breaking off talks and imposing its own emissions trading plan on international airlines.

An ICAO spokesman said the agency would only know its members’ positions at the assembly and otherwise declined comment.

Some environmental groups said a voluntary first phase waters down a deal that already exempts too many countries, including most developing states, during its first five years.

“Aviation, in particular, will need to make a fair contribution on the needed emissions reductions,” Bill Hemmings, director of aviation and shipping at Transport & Environment in Brussels, a non-governmental organisation, said in an email.

“A voluntary scheme will not achieve this,” Hemmings said.

Annie Petsonk, international counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, noted other global climate agreements such as the Paris deal were voluntary, but contained participation thresholds that had to be met for the deal to take effect.

Countries are under pressure to approve the two-phase agreement, starting in 2021, that would curb emissions from aviation, a sector that would be the world’s seventh largest carbon emitter if it were a country. The mandatory second phase would begin in 2026.

The United States, Canada, Mexico and Singapore have said they would join the first phase, while European negotiators want the 44 states in the European Civil Aviation Conference to participate, said two of the sources.

It is not yet known whether India and China with their fast-growing aviation sectors would volunteer for the first phase. A spokesman for India at ICAO declined to make his country’s position public, while China’s air transport industry association could not be reached for comment.

Countries with a high-growth aviation sector want more latitude to produce emissions than developed countries, which are growing more slowly but were responsible for generating the bulk of the industry’s greenhouse gases.

Most future global air traffic will come from Latin America and Asia, according a New Climate Economy report this year. In 1993, more than 73 percent of all traffic was carried by airlines in Europe or North America. By 2033, that share is expected to shrink to 38 percent.

(Additional reporting by David Stanway in Shanghai; Editing by Amran Abocar and Grant McCool)

http://in.mobile.reuters.com/article/idINKCN10D22N?irpc=932

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Some recent news stories about ICAO and its work on aviation CO2:

 

Bill Hemmings: An ICAO deal that falls well short of “carbon-neutral growth” target will have no credibility

Bill Hemmings, (from T&E) explains the hurdles to ICAO agreeing an environmentally meaningful deal in October. The global aviation sector needs to play its part in the international aspiration, from the Paris Agreement, to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C, or 2 degrees at worst. However, ICAO is not looking as if this is likely, largely due to the differences between historical and current CO2 emissions, and current and future growth rates, between airlines from countries (US and Europe largely) with historic aviation sectors, and those of developing countries, with young aviation industries. Ways to apportion the CO2 fairly need to be agreed, but solutions favour one group or the other. The developing countries (including Brazil, South Africa, and Nigeria) want their aviation CO2 to be exempted from any scheme. But emissions gap would amount to around 40-50% of the total, and so directly threatens the integrity of the commitment to carbon neutral growth from 2020, to which IATA pays lip service. Then there is the problem how to determine what percentage of emissions above the 2020 baseline airlines should have to offset each year. European and US airline CO2 is barely growing, but the CO2 from some is rising by 8% per year. US airlines do not want to pay for this. The issues are complicated. Read Bill’s explanation.

Click here to view full story…

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

The group REDD-Monitor and other organisations have a petition asking people to sign up, to oppose the use by the global aviation industry, through ICAO, of “offsets” for its emissions using forestry. These offsets, through REDD or REDD+ (meaning (‘Reduce Deforestation from Deforestation and Forest Degradation’) would be very cheap and available in huge numbers. They would not be an effective way to compensate for growing aviation carbon emissions. The industry’s only plan to control its CO2 emissions, while doubling them, is buying credits from other sectors. In April 2016, more than 80 NGOs put out a statement opposing the aviation sector’s carbon offsetting plans through use of REDD credits. There are many really serious problems with REDD credits. Some are: They would only use large forestry institutions, or monoculture farming, not small landowners or forest peoples. Most REDD projects are not those that tackle the real drivers of large-scale deforestation – extraction of oil, coal, mining, infrastructure, large-scale dams, industrial logging etc. REDD credits carry the additional risk of becoming null and void when wildfires, storms or natural decay cause uncontrollable release of carbon stored. There are serious risks of lack of monitoring, and of fraud. REDD offsets should not be allowed for aviation carbon credits.

Click here to view full story…

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

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

Click here to view full story…

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

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

Click here to view full story…

and more at

 http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/eu-emissions-trading-scheme/eu-ets-news-stories/

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