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/

Read more »

Committee on Climate Change report stresses the problems climate change will cause for the UK

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Climate change: Advisers warn of climate change domino effect

Climate change could have a domino effect on key infrastructure in the UK, government advisers have warned.

In a 2,000-page report, the Climate Change Committee says flooding will destroy bridges – wrecking electricity, gas and IT connections carried on them.

The committee also warns that poor farming means the most fertile soils will be badly degraded by mid-century.

And heat-related deaths among the elderly will triple to 7,000 a year by the 2050s as summer temperatures rise.

The UK is not prepared, the committee says, for the risks posed by climate change from flooding and changing coasts, heatwaves, water shortages, ecosystem damage and shocks to the global food system.

The projections are based on the supposition that governments keep promises made at the Paris climate conference to cut emissions – a pledge that is in doubt.

The committee says if emissions are allowed to spiral, London summer temperatures could hit 48C (118F) in an extreme scenario, although the advisers say they don’t expect that to happen.

The report from 80 authors is the most comprehensive yet on the potential impact of climate change on the UK.

‘Cascade of risks’

It identifies 60 risks and opportunities – many of them happening already as the climate has warmed.

Its conclusions on the inter-linking nature of threats to infrastructure is based on recent research.

The chairman of the committee’s adaptation sub-committee, Prof Sir John Krebs, told BBC News: “Infrastructure could be affected in a way that interacts.

“So, if you take electricity supply, the delivery of fuel to power stations might be affected by flooding which would then affect electricity.

“Then look at flooding… if bridges are affected then they carry electricity cables and communications infrastructure, so we have to look not just at how each piece of infrastructure works but how they interact together.

“There could be a cascade of risks.”

Higher food prices

On food and farming, the committee warns that UK shoppers could face higher food bills as imported crops like soya are harmed by heat or drought.

It says farming in the UK might benefit from more warmth but warns that soils are likely to dry out quicker, and that rain is more likely to arrive in unhelpful downpours.

The committee also says some of the UK’s most fertile land – the peat fields of the East Anglia fens – are suffering badly from decades of intensive farming.

Prof Krebs said 85% of the peat had been washed or blown away, and the rest would follow in coming decades unless farmers were more careful.

On over-heating, the committee forecasts a risk to the health of elderly people in homes, hospitals and care homes.  Prof Krebs said he had tried to insert rules in recent housing legislation to oblige builders to ensure adequate ventilation, but the government deemed these onerous to business. 
Dr Sari Kovats, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “We are far from prepared to deal with these changes. 
“More heatwaves in the UK are also likely, yet there are no comprehensive policies in place aimed at reducing the risk of overheating in new and existing homes.”

Risks and opportunities

Among the other risks needing more action the committee mentions:

• Coastal change risks to communities, businesses and infrastructure

• Risk of shortages in public water supply with impacts on freshwater ecology, water for agriculture, energy generation and industry

Opportunities for the UK from climate change include:

• Economic opportunities for UK businesses from an increase in global demand for adaptation-related goods and services, such as engineering and insurance

• Milder winters should reduce the costs of heating, helping to cut winter cold deaths.

Prof Piers Forster, from the University of Leeds, said: “The UK gets off lighter than many countries but this important report confirms that we are already seeing damage to homes, businesses and livelihoods. 
“There are a few opportunities hidden in the mix but the future is clearly one of increased risk that we need to prepare for now.” 
The report will inform the government’s climate change adaptation strategy, due in 2018. Ministers are about to publish their National Flood Resilience Review.  
A government spokesman said: “We are committed to making sure the UK is prepared for the challenges of climate change. That is why we are investing record amounts in flood defences, developing a long-term plan for the environment and reviewing planning legislation so new construction projects are sustainable and resilient.”

 

Follow Roger on Twitter @rharrabin

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-36765925

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Prime Minister Theresa May must get serious about climate change – now

By Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party
12.7.2016

The status quo is not an option and demands urgent action, writes Natalie Bennett

Today the Committee on Climate Change released a deeply concerning report warning that the UK is ill-prepared for the effects of climate change set to hit this country in the coming decades – including fatally hot summers, new diseases and flooding here, and climate-stoked wars and rising migration overseas.

The report is a stark reminder that while political parties wrangle and cabinets reshuffle, the climate is burning, and it must decisively set the agenda for new Prime Minister Theresa May.

Under David Cameron, the Tories’ promise to be the ‘greenest government ever’ turned into a sad, sick joke as subsidies for solar power and onshore wind were slashed, plans to force all homes to be zero-carbon from 2016 were scrapped, fracking was given the green light and vital regulations were stripped away.

The vote to leave the EU has put our environment further at risk, as we stand to lose protections for clean air, wildlife, and water and targets on renewable energy and emissions.

Theresa May’s record on climate change and environmental issues does not look promising: she has generally voted against measures to prevent climate change, in favour of the disastrous badger cull, and against stronger regulation of fracking.

However, there is still room for her to show the leadership that the country – and the planet – needs. The environmental crisis we face is one which crosses party lines and requires tough decisions and urgent action.

Today’s report warned that deadly heatwaves like that of 2003 will become normal by 2040; by 2050 the number of homes at risk of flooding will double; and extreme weather will lead to lost crops and drive up food prices.

These are not fringe issues or distant concerns but serious threats to our health and security which will impact us within our lifetime.

This is only one of the crises facing our new prime minister.
…. and it continues on other matters ….

https://leftfootforward.org/2016/07/prime-minister-theresa-may-must-get-serious-about-climate-change-now/

 

 

Read more »

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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An ICAO deal that falls well short of carbon-neutral growth target will have no credibility

Thursday 7 July 2016 (GreenAir online)

By Bill Hemmings (Aviation Director of sustainable transport group Transport & Environment)

 

ICAO’s triennial Assembly, to agree on how to address the climate impact of international aviation, is just two months away. (Starts 27th September, ends 7th October). States undertook in 2013 to develop a global measure that would cap annual aviation CO2 at 2020 levels. 

Largely reflecting industry concerns over cost, it was later agreed that this would be achieved by requiring airlines to purchase carbon offsets for all emissions above the 2020 baseline.

Industry and the US argued strongly that a global deal was preferable to a so-called patchwork of measures, a reference to Europe’s first-of-its-kind emissions trading system (ETS).

The EU was prevailed upon to drastically reduce the scope of the ETS to give ICAO and its parties time to sort out details of the global market-based measure (GMBM) before the forthcoming assembly. Regrettably, important details remain unresolved, potentially putting any credible and environmentally meaningful ICAO agreement at risk.

At the heart of the issue is the question of differentiation, a fundamental aspect of all international climate agreements. In the case of ICAO, differentiation means asking how the obligations of all carriers can reflect the fact that the vast bulk of historical emissions are due to legacy carriers headquartered chiefly in North America and Europe. Should developing country carriers have to share an equal burden? A Chinese proposal to have obligations related to the share of carriers’ emissions since 1990, when developing country aviation was largely in its infancy, was rejected on grounds that there was no data.

Initially, Europe, and later civil society, called for a route-based system where carriers on routes between geographic regions might bear varying carbon obligations depending on the density of traffic or country status – a rough indicator of where historical emissions lie.

In the end, however, the ICAO Council President opted for a simple system for determining eligibility and obligations based on traffic generated by each country’s registered carriers, together with a GDP per capita formula that was later discarded.

Most African countries, which account for barely 2-3% of global emissions, were always going to be exempt. But the President’s proposal exempted a second tier of countries with a larger share of emissions – including Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria and possibly even smaller EU countries.

ICAO's patchwork of measures

The emissions gap due to these exemptions is now some 40-50% and directly threatens the integrity of the commitment to carbon neutral growth from 2020. The position of countries like China and Russia in any agreement also remains unclear.

The only element of differentiation left in the deal – apart from the huge exemptions gap – is the formula for determining what percentage of emissions above the 2020 baseline carriers should have to offset each year.

The ICAO proposal has all carriers together offsetting the average growth of the sector above 2020 levels. This introduces an important element of differentiation, as fast-growing carriers – more often than not from the emerging markets – will have to offset a lower percentage of their emissions above 2020 levels than if the obligation were to be based on individual carrier growth.

However, US carriers represented by A4A together with IATA are arguing for an approach based more on individual airline growth. And now it seems the US supports this position, calling for carriers over time to pay a percentage closer to their actual growth rate.

The reason is not hard to find; according to the latest IEA statistics, US international outbound CO2 emissions between 2010 and 2013 declined on average 0.02% a year while Chinese international outbound emissions grew on average 8.02% a year in the same period.

If we assume national airline traffic/emissions growth is pretty closely related to growth in a country’s total outbound emissions, then we can roughly estimate a carrier’s annual growth in emissions. So if the US and Chinese trends above are any indication of the state of the industry post 2020, under the individual approach a carrier like United Airlines might well incur zero or near zero offset costs while an airline like China Southern might have to pay over 8%.

The table below  (see http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=2257 ) from the most recent IEA data suggests airlines from Mexico, India, Brazil, Argentina and Nigeria might be in a similar position if the formula for determining offsetting obligations was based on individual carrier growth.

Such a formula would represent a pretty good deal for US carriers like United. The more so given that unlike Europe where domestic emissions are covered by its ETS, US carriers are currently bound by no domestic climate measures, yet they generate within the US alone almost 20% of all aviation CO2 globally.

On top off this, at its recent AGM, IATA has stated bluntly that “emissions which are not covered by the scheme, as the result of phased implementation or exemptions, should not be re-distributed to those operators which are subject to the scheme.”

Since it is only airlines that will have to offset their emissions, it is either the case that negotiations in the next few weeks prevail upon a wider group of countries to join the GMBM and their routes close the gap, or carriers on routes within the GMBM offset more in order to close the gap. The ideal solution is a mixture of minimising the gap through increased participation and then closing the gap through a higher offsetting obligation on carriers operating on developed country routes. Industry should be to the fore in calling for such an outcome.

However, rather than use its influence to help resolve this, IATA’s statement regrettably seems tantamount to industry washing its hands of the huge emissions gap problem. It removes any possibility of achieving carbon neutral growth from 2020, something industry claimed to support.

Even worse, suggestions are now circulating that there should be no eligibility criteria for exemptions; states should be given the option at the Assembly of stating whether they would like their airlines to opt in or not. A patchwork of measures indeed.

Industry and the US need to think again. A deal which falls well short of the target of carbon neutral growth from 2020 goal will have no credibility.

As it is, such a commitment is a very modest first step for the sector to deliver the level of reductions that the Paris agreement requires and would need to be strengthened and supplemented quickly.

And if there is no deal, or a weak deal – possibly because the US, industry and others wind back on differentiation – then we are back to where we started, perhaps choosing between patchworks, but after three wasted years while the planet warms.

Bill Hemmings is Aviation Director of sustainable transport group Transport & Environment

http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=2257

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The Paris Agreement and Implications for Reducing Aviation Emissions

The Paris Agreement and the ICAO process to adopt effective climate measures are not separate. The Paris Agreement covers all anthropogenic emissions, sets out important principles on carbon markets, and sends a clear signal that the aviation sector must act.

Download the full document “THE PARIS AGREEMENT AND IMPLICATIONS FOR REDUCING AVIATION EMISSIONS”  here

This states that the Paris Agreement: 

“SETS A LONG-TERM GOAL FOR ALL MAN-MADE EMISSIONS

The Agreement commits parties to limit an increase in global temperatures to well below 2°C, pursue eforts to limit that increase to 1.5°C, and reduce emissions to net zero. This would achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases since the second half of the 20th century. Not only would this transpire on the basis of equity, but in the context of sustainable development and eforts to eradicate poverty. As aviation emissions, both international and domestic, are very much caused by humans, this directly brings them into the ambition and requirements of the Agreement.

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It “ESTABLISHES THE PRINCIPLE OF INCREASING AMBITION OVER TIME

The contributions put forward by parties to date are insufficient to achieve the 1.5/well below 2°C objectives. The Agreement therefore requires the ambition of these contributions to rise over time in order to reach the 1.5/well below 2°C objectives. These increases in ambition will take place as part of a regular, five-year review process starting with a stock-take in 2018. Simply maintaining the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Global Market Based Measure (GMBM) target of stabilizing net emissions at 2020 levels will be inconsistent with the 1.5/well below 2°C objective. It is important that the ICAO commits to substantially increasing its ambition to bring its reduction targets in line with temperature objectives as soon as possible.”

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The document concludes:

“THE PARIS AGREEMENT AND THE ICAO MBM (Market Based Measure) ARE MUTUALLY SUPPORTIVE

The Paris Agreement and the ICAO process to adopt efective climate measures are not separate. The Paris Agreement covers all anthropogenic emissions, sets out important principles on carbon markets, and sends a clear signal that the aviation sector must act. While measures adopted at the ICAO level must have unique features – such as respecting the principle of nondiscrimination between airline operators – this is not a barrier to swift and effective action to reduce aviation’s climate impact. The spotlight is now on ICAO to live up to its commitment to finalize a (global market based measure) GMBM at its upcoming Assembly in October 2016.”

http://icsa-aviation.org/the-paris-agreement-and-implications-for-reducing-aviation-emissions/

Read more »

UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres, urges Britain to remain a global leader on tackling climate change

Christiana Figueres, completing her second term as Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, has said the UK’s Brexit vote is not an obstacle to continued cooperation between Britain and the EU on climate change. She says Britain must continue to be a world leader when it comes to acting on climate. Though when Article 50 is triggered, for the two year process of leaving the EU, will cause huge uncertainty, cooperation on climate change could be one area of continuity between the UK and EU.  Climate change action is now unstoppable, and global. In the UK there are fears that many politicians backing “Leave” are climate sceptic, and this could result in climate policies and protections being weakened. However, carbon targets are enshrined in UK law under the Climate Change Act, which was passed in 2008 with just five MPs voting against it, and requires steeper emissions cuts than EU targets.  The UK has not yet ratified the  Paris Agreement on climate change, and neither has the EU. There are fears that Brexit could mean the UK delays ratification, unless the current government does this quickly.  There are fears the Brexit climate scepticism could lead to weakening of targets and commitments by other countries. Outside the EU, the UK would have to agree its own contribution to emissions cuts if it stays in the Paris accord. These would most likely be based on the Climate Change Act.
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UN climate chief urges Britain to remain a global warming leader

Christiana Figueres tells business leaders that Brexit vote is not an obstacle to continued cooperation between Britain and the EU on global warming

‘Climate change action is by now unstoppable. It is global,’ Christiana Figueres tells business leaders at a summit in London.
‘Climate change action is by now unstoppable. It is global,’ Christiana Figueres
tells business leaders at a summit in London. Photograph: Matt Alexander/PA

Britain must continue to be a world leader when it comes to acting on global warming despite the EU referendum result last week, the UN’s climate chief has urged.

Christiana Figueres warned that should article 50 be triggered it would bring uncertainty for two years but cooperation on climate change could be one area of continuity between the UK and EU.

“Should that be the case [article 50 being triggered], there is going be quite a lot of uncertainty, transition, volatility for at least two years,” she told an audience of business leaders in London on Tuesday.

“However, let us remember that the Brexit vote was not about climate change, it was not about should the UK continue to modernise its industry and its manufacturing, and it was certainly not a vote about innovation, which is fundamentally the opportunity that we have by acting on climate change,” said the outgoing executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Over these next two years, my suggestion would be to use the proverbial UK [message]: ‘stay calm and transform on [to a low-carbon economy]’. It’s not ‘stay calm and do nothing’, it’s ‘stay calm and transform on’ because the UK and EU have had a very important leadership on climate change, there’s no reason to change that whatsoever.”

Asked if the Brexit vote would become an obstacle to action on climate change, she said: “No. Climate change action is by now unstoppable. It is global.”

A pre-referendum poll found that leave voters were more likely to be climate sceptics than remain voters, and green groups have raised fears that the Brexit vote could lead to “the climate change-denying wing of the Conservative party” being strengthened.

However, carbon targets are enshrined in UK law under the Climate Change Act, which was passed in 2008 with just five MPs voting against it, and requires steeper emissions cuts than EU targets.

Figueres said that if the UK were to go ahead with leaving the EU, action on climate change could be a much-needed track of stability and continuity between the two.

She added that a Brexit may force the EU to revisit the emissions plan it submitted to the Paris summit last year.

Figueres’s comments were echoed by Ed Miliband on Monday, who stressed the need to fight for a vision of a “new relationship withEurope which has environmental protection at its heart”.

Speaking at a panel discussion in London hosted by the Environmental Defense Fund Europe, the former Labour leader, who was climate and energy secretary under Gordon Brown, said that Britain could continue to negotiate alongside the EU on climate and energy matters: “we’re stronger negotiating with them than we would be on our own.”

Miliband also argued that it is crucial that Britain maintains the “progress that was made through Europe on a whole range of environmental protections and other issues”.

“I do think it’s very very important that we don’t leave the debate about this – no pun intended – to those who wanted to come out of Europe,” he added, “because they wanted a race to the bottom … they didn’t believe in climate change and all of that”.

“The debate cannot be left to them, with the Remain part of the argument being ‘we’d like to reverse the decision, thank you very much,’ because then that will leave the field clear for those who have a horrible agenda on this.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/28/un-climate-chief-urges-britain-to-remain-a-global-warming-leader-brexit

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EU out vote puts UK commitment to Paris climate agreement in doubt

Leave victory risks delaying EU ratification of the Paris deal, leaving the door open for Obama’s successor to unpick the pact

By Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent (Guardian)

Saturday 25 June 2016

Neither the UK government or the EU have ratified the Paris climate agreement yet.

The UK government won high praise six months ago for taking a leading role in the successful Paris climate change agreement, the first legally binding commitment on curbing carbon emissions by all 195 United Nations countries.

With the vote to leave the EU, the UK’s future participation in that landmark accord is now in doubt.

More importantly, for the rest of the world, the Leave campaign’s victory provides a fillip globally for groups opposed to climate action, and if it causes delays to the Paris accord coming into effect, it could provide an opening for aspiring right-wing leaders – including Donald Trump – to try to unpick the pact.

“There is a risk that this could kick EU ratification of the Paris agreement into the long grass,” Jonathan Grant, director of sustainability at PwC, told the Guardian.

That would be a setback to the UN in itself, but also concerns participants because of the US presidential election this year.

Donald Trump has vowed to withdraw from the Paris agreement if elected. Proponents of the agreement are therefore hoping for a quick process of ratification by as many parties as possible, including EU member states, which would bring the agreement into immediate effect and make it much harder for countries to renege upon afterwards.

As an EU member state, the UK negotiated on key issues such as greenhouse gas emissions limits as part of the bloc, and was expected to take on its own tally of emissions reductions based on an EU-wide “burden-sharing” agreement, yet to be worked out.

But while the UK is also individually party to the agreement, as a sovereign nation, neither the government nor the EU has yet ratified the accord in law.

This means a future, possibly Eurosceptic, prime minister will face the choice of whether to ratify, unless the current government, led by David Cameron for the next three months, decides to do so as a matter of urgency.

France became the first EU member state to ratify the agreement individually earlier this month, so in theory Britain could follow suit quickly. But this would be an unusual step given the host of pressing issues following from the referendum, and would be likely to prompt an outcry from sections of the pro-Brexit right, prominent members of which are also climate change sceptics.

Amber Rudd, the energy and climate change secretary, who was praised by many other countries for taking a leading role at Paris, has not yet revealed what the plans are likely to be.

The UN’s climate chief, Christiana Figueres, said in advance of the referendum that Brexit would require a “recalibration” of some kind but it is not clear what that might entail.

The UK would have to agree its own contribution to emissions cuts if it stays in the Paris accord. These would most likely be based on the Climate Change Act, which sets out long-term targets on greenhouse gases and five-yearly “carbon budgets” that governments must meet. To renege on the act’s commitments would require its repeal, as favoured by some Brexit campaigners, but this is unlikely in the short term as they lack broad enough support in parliament.

Stephen Cornelius, chief adviser on climate change at WWF-UK, said: “The UK has signed up to the Paris agreement in its own right.

“Outside the European Union the UK can still play a leading role in fighting climate change. It should ratify the Paris agreement as soon as possible, pass the fifth carbon budget under our domestic Climate Change Act and turn this into an ambitious international pledge to cut emissions.”

That will be largely an issue for the UK, which accounts for less than 2% of global emissions. What is of much wider concern is the signal the referendum vote to leave sends to the world.

Grant said: “Today’s outcome is a major setback for the type of collaboration needed to tackle global environmental issues such as climate change. The UK government has been a champion of climate action at home, within the EU, and in Paris. This leadership is at risk, with many supporters of Brexit also opposed to climate policies such as carbon taxes and efficiency standards.”

The wider political implications, rather than the mechanics of the accord, will take time to work out, but it is already clear that the Brexit vote will be used as a rallying cry for an agenda that frequently includes climate scepticism among its tenets, alongside curbs to immigration and to government regulation.

Many climate sceptics around the world will have been encouraged by the Brexit vote, as there is so much overlap between the two camps, and environmental and carbon goals under the EU were a key target of the Leave campaigners. For instance, Lord Lawson, one of the leaders of the Leave camp is also founder of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate sceptic thinktank.

Trump hailed the referendum result in visiting the UK. Some of his supporters share his climate scepticism, and the common cause with Brexit campaigners will have given both sides a boost.

The calls from right-wing parties for further breaks from the EU could also endanger climate consensus within the EU, which has been a key driver of actions on climate change within the UN and other international institutions. Without a unified EU, support for those actions could decline.

Green campaigners were quick to call for the UK to maintain its commitments on climate change, irrespective of Brexit.

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, told the Guardian: “Britain isn’t leaving the international community, and we’re certainly not leaving the planet. That means the Paris agreement is every bit as vital to our future as it was yesterday. In fact, sticking to our Paris promises is more important than ever: we are about to negotiate new trade deals, and the last thing we can afford to do is break the commitments we made to the world just six months ago.

“Cameron’s successor has a chance to immediately reaffirm Britain’s relationship with the international community by ratifying the Paris deal.”

Debbie Stockwell, managing director of Sandbag, a campaigning group focused on the EU’s carbon commitments, said: “The UK has agreed to contribute to the Paris agreement as part of the EU. Now that the country has voted to leave, both the UK and the EU will have to reconsider this arrangement. It is vital that the UK continue to work with the EU to deliver ambitious action to tackle climate change.”

Nick Mabey, chief executive of E3G, https://www.e3g.org/about predicted that the UK would hold true to its promises, and its national interests: “The Brexit vote does not end the climate crisis. The UK will still ratify and implement the Paris climate agreement as this protects Britons from the worst impacts of climate change.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/25/eu-out-vote-puts-uk-commitment-to-paris-climate-agreement-in-doubt

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Amber Rudd confirms government will agree 5th Carbon Budget on 30th June

The government was under obligation to write the 5th Carbon Budget into law by 30th June. Amber Rudd has now made a statement to confirm this will be done. The budget sets the cap on UK emissions for the period 2028-2032, and requires cuts in the UK’s CO2 emissions of 57% against 1990 levels by 2032.  The carbon budgets are important for aviation, even though international aviation and shipping are not included in them. The CCC advises that “International aviation should continue to be allowed for in the size of the budget for other sectors, but not formally included.” The CCC has long recommended that in order to allow for aviation’s future inclusion in carbon budgets, Government should plan on the assumption that aviation CO2 emissions in 2050 should not exceed their level in 2005 – 37.5 MtCO2. With the Brexit vote, there were fears that a more climate-sceptic government might try to weaken the budgets.  Amber Rudd has now said that though “Brexit would result in a “harder road” for the UK as it worked to meet its climate goals, the government remained firmly committed to the emission reduction targets set out in the Climate Change Act.” Amber said, in relation to climate-sceptic Boris, that the stance of a candidate for Prime Minister on climate would be important in her decision of who to back.
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Amber Rudd: UK remains fully committed to climate action in wake of Brexit vote

By Michael Holder and James Murray  (Business Green)
29 June 2016

Energy and Climate Change Secretary insists government is still “full tilt” behind Hinkley Point, and says she will only support a Tory leadership candidate who takes climate action seriously

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd today sought to reassure green businesses and investors of the government’s continued commitment to securing clean energy supplies and building a low carbon economy in the wake of last week’s decision to leave the European Union.

In her first major speech since the referendum result, Rudd – who was a leading backer of the Remain campaign – stressed that while she still believed Brexit would result in a “harder road” for the UK as it worked to meet its climate goals, the government remained firmly committed to the emission reduction targets set out in the Climate Change Act.

She also confirmed the government would announce its decision on the long-awaited Fifth Carbon Budget tomorrow, the day of the legally binding deadline for approving new carbon targets for the early 2030s.

Appearing at the Business and Climate Summit in London, Rudd reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the Hinkley Point nuclear power project, and emphasised that she would strive to make sure the UK secured a strong Brexit deal with the EU that supported continued investment in clean energy infrastructure.

“The decision to leave the European Union was of historic significance – I argued fervently against it but a clear majority disagreed with me,” said Rudd. “So what do you do after you’ve lost such a battle? You dust yourself down, take a deep breath and get back to fighting for what is best for the country.”

She told the audience that despite the referendum result and uncertainty over who would take over as Prime Minister, the government remained committed to delivering a secure energy supply alongside affordable bills for families.

“I want to outline our commitment to climate change,” she said. “We made a clear commitment to tackling climate change in our manifesto last year. That will continue.

“So while I think dealing with the planet has been made harder by last Thursday, our commitment to dealing with it has not gone away,” she added. “Central to that is the Climate Change Act.”

Rudd also emphasised that the 2008 Climate Change Act was “not imposed on us by the EU – it was delivered with cross party support” in Parliament, before praising the legislation for “underpinning remarkable investment” in low carbon technologies and renewable energy since 2010.

Observers have voiced fears that the involvement of leading climate sceptics in the Leave campaign could lead to post-Brexit push to water down environmental policies and low carbon investment programmes.

But Rudd insisted the government remained fully committed to meeting its climate goals and would continue to work with international partners to tackle the threat presented by climate change. “As investors and businesses you can be confident we remain committed to building a low carbon infrastructure fit for the 21st century,” she told the audience of green business executives.

 

…. more on energy infrastructure ….

….

But asked whether she approved of Boris Johnson’s previous hints that he did not fully accept warnings from climate scientists, Rudd stressed that any contender she ended up backing would have to be committed to tackling climate change. She added that their stance on climate change would “absolutely essential to my decision and I will be very clear on getting a commitment on that”.

Rudd closed by arguing that for those who voted to leave the EU, the decision was an emotional one rather than an economic one and as such presented a lesson for green businesses and campaigners. She said it was important for the government and green business leaders to make a stronger emotional argument for tackling climate change and boosting clean energy investment, given it was ultimately about “protecting our planet and protecting our future”.

The speech was widely welcomed by green groups.

“Coming a few days after the outcome of the EU referendum, it is positive to hear Amber Rudd highlight the importance of continuing to tackle climate change,” said Nick Molho, executive director of the Aldersgate Group.

“As shown by the 195 countries that adopted the Paris Agreement in December, climate change is an issue that is of major concern to leaders around the world. The world economy is also seeing an important shift towards low carbon technologies, with a record $285bn invested in renewable energy in 2015 and countries such as China reducing their production of coal. It is in the UK’s environmental and economic interest to stay in touch with these global trends, remain actively involved in international climate change diplomacy and support the growth of a strong national low carbon economy that already employs over 238,500 people directly.”

His comments were echoed by Sue Armstrong Brown, policy director at Green Alliance, who said Rudd’s speech “embodied the best of the Conservative political tradition, demonstrating that the government’s commitment to the protection of our green and pleasant land is undiminished, despite the fast changing geopolitical landscape”.

She added that to provide investors with further assurances the approval of the fifth carbon budget now needed to be “quickly followed by a robust carbon plan, to improve investors’ damaged confidence and to enable the UK to attract much needed infrastructure investment”.

Sam Barker, director of the Conservative Environment Network, said green businesses now had an opportunity to help shape a Brexit deal that benefits the environment.

“Ministers across this Conservative government have delivered significant environmental improvements, from planning an ambitious coal phase-out to creating the world’s largest marine reserve,” he said. “That is a strong foundation for coming years. The result of the referendum provides an unprecedented opportunity for innovative environmental action. New policies can deliver new markets and bring greater protection to nature. All the leadership contenders must set out their stall as regards the environment.”

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2463181/amber-rudd-uk-remains-fully-committed-to-climate-action-in-wake-of-brexit-vote

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UK ministers to approve world-leading carbon emissions target

Fears had been raised that EU referendum would result in deadline being missed but sources say carbon budget will be agreed

By  (Guardian)   @adamvaughan_uk

Ministers will this week approve a world-leading carbon emissions reduction target for the early 2030s, the Guardian understands.

Fears had been raised by green groups and industry that the EU referendum would cause the UK government to miss a deadline on Thursday for accepting carbon targets from its statutory climate advisers.

But a Whitehall source has confirmed that the so-called fifth carbon budget – put forward by the Committee on Climate Change last November – will be agreed before the month is out, as legally required by the Climate Change Act.

The commitment should allay anxieties in the green energy sector that last week’s leave vote would water down the UK’s leadership on climate change, or that the decision to approve the budget would be left to the next prime minister.

The question of whether to accept the last emissions target – the fourth carbon budget – sparked a battle in 2011 between factions in the coalition government, with David Cameron eventually intervening to approve the target.

The energy secretary, Amber Rudd, is scheduled to give a speech on climate change on Wednesday to business leaders in London, though she is not expected to use it to announce the acceptance of the fifth carbon budget

Separately, the UN’s climate change chief has urged a post-Brexit Britain not to give up its leadership on global warming action.

Christiana Figueres warned on Tuesday that should article 50 be triggered it would bring uncertainty for two years but cooperation on climate change could be one area of continuity between the UK and EU.

“Should that be the case [article 50 being triggered], there is going be quite a lot of uncertainty, transition, volatility for at least two years,” she told an audience in London.

…….

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/28/uk-ministers-world-leading-carbon-emissions-reduction-target-climate-change

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From the Committee on Climate Change website:

The fifth carbon budget – The next step towards a low-carbon economy

This report presents the Committee’s advice on the fifth carbon budget, covering the period 2028-32, as required under Section 34 of the Climate Change Act 2008.

The Committee recommends that the fifth carbon budget is set at 1,765 MtCO2e, including emissions from international shipping, over the period 2028-2032. That would limit annual emissions to an average 57% below 1990 levels. This balances a range of factors the Committee must consider, keeps the UK on its cost-effective path to the 2050 legislated commitment to reduce UK emissions by 80% on 1990 levels, and continues the UK’s historical rate of emissions reduction.

To date, in line with advice from the Committee, four carbon budgets have been legislated. The Government must legislate the level of the fifth carbon budget by June 2016.

The fifth carbon budget report

Individual chapters 

https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/the-fifth-carbon-budget-the-next-step-towards-a-low-carbon-economy/

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See earlier: 

 

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

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

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/05/conservative-backbenchers-urge-cameron-to-back-fifth-carbon-budget-targets-against-treasury-and-bis/

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and

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forests and soils do not offset fossil fuel emissions

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

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

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

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


See also

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

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

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


REDD:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

This Introduction was updated in February 2011.

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

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

16.6.2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Katherine Watts is a senior policy advisor at Carbon Market Watch

 

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

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Airlines accused of backsliding on climate commitments

3.6.2016 (Climate Home)

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

By Megan Darby

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Report: Rich and poor divided over UN aviation emissions deal

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Read more »

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

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

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

May 14, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

REACTION

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

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

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

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

FURTHER TALKS

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Ben Garside – ben@carbon-pulse.com

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

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See also

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

May 11, 2016

By Ben Garside (Carbon Pulse)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FAIR SHARE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GLOBAL PATCHWORK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESTART THE CLOCK

The EU also has an additional negotiating chip.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Read more »

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

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

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

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

The preamble to the questionnaire says:

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

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

The importance of global action on aviation emissions

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

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

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

The inclusion of aviation into the EU ETS

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

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

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

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

ICAO Global MBM scheme

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

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

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

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

ETS review

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

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

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

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

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Transport & Environment explains the issues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crowd

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

Going backwards placard

Says it all ….

M and E

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

Brent and the plane

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

Marching backwards down Whitehall 2

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

Marching backwards down Whitehall

Marching – backwards – down Whitehall

giant step

A new runway = giant step backwards for UK climate policy

Sheila

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

 

Go back

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

Details of the protest from the Campaign Against Climate Change

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

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

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

Planned timetable:

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

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

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

End 2pm

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

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