ICAO trying to negotiate standards for fuel efficiency requirements for new and future planes

Talks are going on – till 12th February –  in Montreal at ICAO, on global fuel efficiency standards for aircraft. The proposals would mean makers of the world’s largest passenger jets would be forced to upgrade models currently in production, or stop producing certain models as early as 2023 (or maybe 2028).  Planes currently flying are not included. Big improvements in aircraft CO2 emissions are needed, as the sector was left out of the Paris agreement. The sector intends to continue growing fast – with emissions rising much faster than any feasible fuel efficiencies. As well as the fuel efficiency of planes, ICAO is meant to be (after 6 years) finalising a “market-based mechanism” for all airlines later this year – as a two-part strategy.  There are differences between countries on how tight the fuel efficiency standard should be, on a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the best). The US and Canada are pushing for more stringent targets than the EU. Environmental groups say the EU is dragging its feet.  Airbus may have to change the engines on the A380, and the Boeing 747-8 may no longer be produced. Aircraft makers are not keen on having to make costly improvements to planes now in production.  The tougher standard for new designs could go into effect by 2020.

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Environmental groups said the standard will boost efficiency, but it will only make a small dent on the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions, which are projected to triple or quadruple from current levels by 2040.

They say the standard needs to be accompanied by a strong global market-based approach.

 

UN agency seeks to end rift on new aircraft emission rules

7.2.2016 (Reuters)

MONTREAL/WASHINGTON

Europe and the United States tried to bridge differences over emissions standards for aircraft on Sunday as global aviation leaders prepared to adopt new rules that could affect Boeing Co and Airbus Group’s production of the largest jetliners and freighters.

Proposals being debated in Montreal by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations’ aviation agency, would force makers of the world’s largest passenger jets to upgrade or stop producing certain models as early as 2023, according to sources close to the negotiations and documents seen by Reuters.

U.S. and European negotiators are trying to come up with the world’s first carbon dioxide emissions standards for aircraft as part of the industry’s contribution to efforts to combat climate change.

Aviation was not included in the global climate deal agreed by a UN conference in Paris in December, but ICAO is trying to nail down the first of its two-part strategy as soon as Monday after six years of talks. It is due to finalize a market-based mechanism for all airlines later this year.

Differences remain on where to place the bar on efficiency, with the United States and Canada pushing for more stringent targets than the European Union, while environmental groups have accused Europe of dragging its feet.

“The CO2 standard will push industry to be as fuel-efficient as possible in all market conditions to reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions and the impact of aviation on climate change,” stated the Canadian paper presented at ICAO last week.

The proposals could revive pressure on European planemaker Airbus to upgrade the world’s largest passenger jet, the A380 superjumbo, with new engines. Airbus recently examined that proposal to boost sales, but it has dropped down its list of priorities.

It could also spell the end for Boeing’s struggling 747-8 passenger jet and freighter and force the U.S. planemaker to upgrade at least one of its two smaller freighters.

Airbus and Boeing declined to comment on negotiations.

The Montreal talks, which run until Feb. 12, are designed to set ambitious rules for new types of aircraft in the future.

A less stringent standard would apply to aircraft already in production, but this has led to the fiercest arguments since some of these planes would need to have costly improvements.

The fuel efficiency standards would apply to smaller business and regional jets, along with larger commercial planes weighing at least 60 tonnes that account for the majority of aviation sector emissions, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The rules for in-production aircraft would come into effect by 2023, but could also be phased in over a five-year period until 2028, one source said. The tougher standard for new designs could go into effect by 2020.

Participants have been weighing 10 different options for new targets, with one being the weakest and 10 requiring the greatest reduction in emissions, the documents seen by Reuters showed.

European representatives have said they will not back a standard higher than 6 on large planes in production.

The United States and Canada had initially backed options 8 and 9 but said they would not budge below a 7, and at one stage did not rule out breaking off talks, the sources said. However, on Sunday some progress was reported in narrowing differences.

Tougher standards have higher cost implications for planemakers.

While Airbus and Boeing have already planned more fuel-efficient upgrades to most of their programs, including the popular A320 and B737, some jets would have to be upgraded or cease being produced by as early as 2023.

“They’re not content,” one delegate said of the jetmakers.

A question mark remained over the current-generation wide-body jets produced by Airbus and Boeing, the A330 and 777-300ER.

Both are likely to be superseded by new models before 2023, but aviation analysts have said recent market experience and low oil prices suggest demand for older jets can be resilient.

Environmental groups said the standard will boost efficiency, but it will only make a small dent on the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions, which are projected to triple or quadruple from current levels by 2040.

They say the standard needs to be accompanied by a strong global market-based approach.

(Additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris and Alwyn Scott in Seattle; Editing by Bill Rigby)

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See earlier:

Europe falls behind US in new plans to tackle CO2 emissions from planes

The aviation industry is growing so fast that, on current trends, it could make up 22% of global emissions by 2050, according to a European Parliament study. However, Europe’s proposals for a landmark international fuel efficiency standard for aircraft would save considerably less carbon emissions than those put forward by the US. The US plan could cut emissions by 37.5%, and the EU proposal by 33%. The 4.5% gap is equal to 350 million tonnes of CO2, worldwide, per year – which is slightly more than Spain emits every year. The standard could mark a turning point for efforts to regulate fast-growing CO2 emissions from aircraft, which are not covered by December’s much-hailed Paris climate agreement. The standard would only apply to planes produced after 2020, meaning the planes currently being used – or ordered now – would not be included.  Both the US and the EU proposals are going to ICAO, for consideration, next month. ICAO is looking at two approaches to reducing the rate of increase of aviation emissions; a market-based mechanism – MBM – (meaning trading, so airlines have to pay for their CO2); and improving the fuel efficiency of engines and aircraft. ICAO will be working on these this year, with the full council meeting in September, for a possible approval of an MBM in 2017.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/01/europe-falls-behind-us-in-new-plans-to-tackle-co2-emissions-from-planes/


 

 

New study by ICCT show new plane fuel efficiency gains are more than a decade late for UN ICAO goal

group, T&E, say that since 2010, the average fuel burn of new aircraft has improved by 1.1% per year, which suggests that aircraft manufacturers may miss UN aviation body ICAO’s 2020 fuel efficiency goals by 12 years. This has been show by a new study by the ICCT. IATA forecasts 4.1% annual growth of global aviation for the next 20 years. By contrast, the 1.1% progress in fuel efficiency of new commercial jets falls way behind the progress needed to meet ICAO’s targets. The gap between 4.1% growth and 1.1% improvement is massive. Since 2009 ICAO has been working on a CO2 standard for new aircraft to boost fuel efficiency technology in the fleet. Work should be completed in 2016, with the standard for new commercial jets taking effect in 2020. Decisions on the actual stringency of the standard are due over the next months. T&E said: “ICAO must help airlines meet their own climate goals and agree a COstandard that actually forces new technology in the fleet, rather than doing business as usual….. It’s a no brainer for ICAO to agree a global market-based measure that drives fuel prices up steadily over time.”  More progress in fuel efficiency strongly correlates with higher fuel prices. Aviation’s massive CO2 emissions are projected to triple by 2050. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/09/new-study-by-icct-show-new-plane-fuel-efficiency-gains-are-more-than-a-decade-late-for-un-icao-goal/

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Overall fuel efficiency of US airlines fails to improve on domestic routes during 2013, finds ICCT study

An annual performance study by the ICCT shows the fuel efficiency of US carriers on domestic routes failed to improve in 2013.  ICCT found little correlation between airline efficiency and profitability, and is concerned that as fuel prices steady or even fall there will even less incentive to make fuel efficiency gains.  Even less efficient carriers were also able to make  high profits through using older, less fuel efficient aircraft.   ICCT’s analysis shows the average annual fuel efficiency between 1990 and 2000 improved by 2.1%, improving to 2.8% between 2000 and 2010 and then fell back to 1.3% between 2010 and 2012.  Load factors rose from 60% in 1990 to 82% in 2010, but have flattened out in recent years.  The US aircraft fleet is ageing, with fewer new planes. The price of oil has fallen markedly in the past year, and may remain low for some time, due to US oil production. There is concern there will be less incentive, with cheaper fuel, to make energy savings. Or meet the IATA goal of 1.5% energy improvements annually to 2020.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/11/overall-fuel-efficiency-of-us-airlines-fails-to-improve-on-domestic-routes-during-2013-finds-icct-study/

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First EU-wide report on aviation’s environmental impacts shows growing challenges

A new report by European environment and aviation agencies – the European Aviation Environmental Report  – has been published, by the European Environment Agency, and EASA. The aim of the initiative is to “monitor, promote and strengthen the EU’s efforts for a more sustainable European aviation sector.” The report looks at a range of issues for European aviation, including its noise impact, its carbon emissions, and local air quality. It is aware that “the historic rate of improvement in various areas (e.g. technology and design) has not kept pace with past growth in the demand for air travel leading to increased overall pressures (e.g. emissions, noise) on the environment, and this trend is forecast to continue.” The report is aware that future growth of the sector, out to 2035, will require environmental improvements. On noise, the report says around 5 million people in Europe were exposed to aircraft noise levels above 55 dBA Lden in 2012. While average jet aircraft noise decreased by around 4 dB per decade since 1960, the improvement has recently slowed to 2 dB per decade.  On carbon emissions, the report says CO2 emissions from aviation have increased by around 77% between 1990 and 2005 and a further 5% from 2005 to 2014. They are likely to rise by a further 45% up to 2035. They note that biofuel development has been slow, and that a market based mechanism for global aviation carbon emissions is needed.
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First EU-wide report on aviation’s environmental impacts shows growing challenges

A new report by European environment and aviation agencies – the European Aviation Environmental Report  – has found that the growth in European air traffic has outstripped technological and operational improvements over the past 25 years, leading to increased environmental pressures which are forecast to intensify out to 2035.

The report is a collaboration between the European Commission, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the European Environment Agency (EEA) and EUROCONTROL (see the end of this article for an explanation about each of their roles in EU aviation policy).

The trends

Between 1990 and 2005, the extent of environmental impacts – noise, CO2 emissions and air pollution – and the number of flights grew at similar rates. However, emissions and noise exposure today remain around the same as in 2005 due primarily to the economic downturn in 2008 that has seen little change in the number of flights.

A major change that has occurred since 2005 is as a result of changing airline practises: the average number of passengers per flight increased from 87 in 2005 to 113 in 2014. This has meant that passenger numbers grew by around 25% between 2005 and 2014, while the actual number of flights declined by 0.5%. The lack of a relationship between passenger growth and the number of flights is one of the arguments used in AEF’s recent report: ‘The Runway Myth’.

Comparison of trends (since 2005 and out to 2035) in noise, CO2, NOx, passenger numbers, and flights. Source: European Aviation Environmental Report

Comparison of trends (since 2005 and out to 2035) in noise, CO2, NOx, passenger numbers, and flights. Source: European Aviation Environmental Report

The impacts

Aircraft noise

Around 2.5 million people were exposed to aircraft noise levels above 55 dBA Lden (which is the level EU members states are required to map and report noise under the Environmental Noise Directive) in 2014 but this figure was only for the 45 major European airports which had submitted noise exposure data to the European Commission. The actual figure, according to the report, was around 5 million people in 2012.

While average jet aircraft noise decreased by around 4 dB per decade since 1960, the improvement has recently slowed to 2 dB per decade. As a result, the population exposed to noise above 55 dBA Lden (measured over 24 hours) decreased by only 2% between 2005 and 2014. The report highlights that new aircraft are quieter than previous generations with fleet renewal being a major factor contributing to reduced noise from a single flight. However, the population exposed to aircraft noise levels above 55 dBA Lden is forecast to increase by 15% up to 2035.

Changing practices associated with low cost carriers increasing the number of flights each aircraft makes a day (with the average number of flights per day per aircraft increasing from 3.1 in 2005 to 3.4 in 2014) have led to increases in morning and evening levels of aircraft noise as airlines attempt to fit in additional flights. AEF’s recent report on the health impacts of aircraft noise illustrates the impact of morning and evening flights on the health of children, shift workers and vulnerable populations.

CO2 emissions

CO2 emissions from aviation have increased by around 77% between 1990 and 2005 and a further 5% from 2005 to 2014, according to the report, and are forecast to grow by a further 45% up to 2035. This was despite the fact that average fuel burn per passenger kilometre flown for passenger aircraft, excluding business aviation, went down by 19% between 2005 and 2014.

The report emphasises several factors that are leading to increasing CO2 emissions from the aviation sector. Firstly, the fleet across Europe is slowly ageing, with the average age of aircraft increasing from 9.6 years in 2005 to 10.3 years in 2014. Low cost airlines tend to have newer fleets but all-cargo aircraft have an average age of 19 years.

A second factor is that the uptake of alternative fuels in the aviation sector has been “very slow”, states the report, despite the aviation industry promoting the importance of biofuels for addressing aviation emissions. Assistance for the industry has also come from the European Commission through the European Advanced Biofuels Flightpath which has an aim to produce two million tonnes of sustainably produced biofuel for civil aviation annually by 2020. The report notes that this target is “unlikely” to be met.

The report argues there is a need for market based measures, including the EU emissions trading scheme, to meet aviation’s emissions reduction targets as technological and operational improvements alone are not considered sufficient, mirroring previous analyses by ICAO.

Air pollution

A key finding in the report is that NOx emissions from aviation doubled between 1990 and 2014, and are forecast to grow by a further 43% between 2014 and 2035, posing a threat to public health.  According to the report, the aviation sector is now responsible for 14% of all EU transport NOx emissions, and 7% of the total EU NOx emissions, as other economic sectors have achieved significant reductions. The report says that improvements driven by new emissions standards (usually agreed by the UN body ICAO’s Committee on Aviation and Environmental Protection) have come too slowly, indicating the importance of ambitious international environmental standards.

The Timing

The report’s launch coincides with the environment committee (CAEP) of the UN aviation body, ICAO, meeting in Montreal to decide on a CO2 standard for new aircraft, with Europe being pressured to show more ambition. AEF are present at the CAEP meeting to call for a CO2 standard that will drive reductions in emissions.

The new report also comes only a couple of months after the European Commission’s Aviation Strategy for Europe was published which gave little attention to the environmental impact of flying.


Download European Aviation Environmental Report 2016

Visit the website

Notes

Who’s who in the report?

  1. The European Commission – responsible for Directives and long-term targets that are intended to improve the environment in Europe by tackling air pollution, noise and CO2 emissions.
  2. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) – responsible for introducing environmental and safety certification for aviation products, including adoption of international standards for noise and pollutants. EASA has been given the responsibility to update the European Aviation Environmental Report every three years to assess progress.
  3. The European Environment Agency (EEA) – provides independent information on the environment in Europe and has published reports on issues including exposure to noise across Europe.
  4. EUROCONTROL – responsible for air navigation across Europe

 

http://www.aef.org.uk/2016/02/03/first-eu-wide-report-on-aviations-environmental-impacts-shows-growing-challenges/

 


 

The report, by the European Environmental Agency, and EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) – 84 pages

European Aviation Environmental Report 2016

The Welcome Message, from Violeta Bluc (European Commissioner for Transport) says:

It is my pleasure to welcome you to this first edition of the European Aviation Environmental Report. It is a valuable initiative to monitor, promote and strengthen the EU’s efforts for a more sustainable European aviation sector. This report is the result of a close collaboration between the European Commission, the European Aviation Safety Agency, the European Environment Agency and EUROCONTROL.The European Commission’s main ambition is to strengthen the EU air transport value network in order to enhance its competitiveness and make the sector more sustainable, which is why the Commission adopted ‘An Aviation Strategy for Europe’ in December 2015.

Aviation needs concerted, co-ordinated and consistent policy support, which can be delivered by the EU, with a shift in mindset. Europe must take a collective stance to tackle common challenges. In this respect, the task of finding many of the solutions lies as much with the industry as it does with the regulators who have the responsibility to provide an appropriate regulatory framework.

Europe is a leading player in international aviation and a global model for sustainable aviation, with a high level of service and ambitious EU standards. However the aviation sector’s contribution to climate change, air pollution and noise levels is under increasing scrutiny. In 2011, the Commission adopted a White Paper setting out ambitious decarbonisation objectives for the transport sector. This was taken one step further under the leadership of President Jean-Claude Juncker, by making a forward looking climate policy and a strong Energy Union one of the Commission’s top priorities.

I am confident that European aviation is taking on the challenge to contribute as much as possible to these efforts and I am convinced that innovation, both in technologies and business models will offer solutions to make aviation more sustainable. Good coordination and collaboration between the different aviation stakeholders, including policy makers and regulators, manufacturers, airlines and airport operators, air navigation service providers, non-governmental organisations and the public, are crucial.

The foundation of such an approach requires published, reliable and objective information, accessible to all. This first report marks an important step towards the regular monitoring of the overall environmental performance of the European aviation system. It will also support better coordination and collaboration within Europe on future priorities by feeding discussions on the effectiveness of different policies and measures already in place. Moreover, the Commission has proposed in its new European Aviation Safety Agency Regulation that the European Aviation Safety Agency publishes updates of this report.

 

Executive Summary

It is recognised that Europe’s aviation sector brings significant economic and social benefits. However its activities also contribute to climate change, noise and local air quality impacts, and consequently affect the health and quality of life of European citizens. The historic rate of improvement in various areas (e.g. technology and design) has not kept pace with past growth in the demand for air travel leading to increased overall pressures (e.g. emissions, noise) on the environment, and this trend is forecast to continue. Consequently the environmental challenge for the sector will increase, and future growth in the European aviation sector will be inextricably linked to its environmental sustainability.

A comprehensive and effective package of measures is required to continue to address this challenge in the coming years. The foundation of such an approach requires published, reliable and objective information, accessible to all, to inform discussions on how this challenge will be specifically addressed. This is the core objective of the European Aviation Environmental Report. Greater coordination to support subsequent editions will help to periodically monitor and report on the environmental performance of the European aviation sector.

Overview of Aviation Sector

• Number of flights has increased by 80% between 1990 and 2014, and is forecast to grow by a  further 45% between 2014 and 2035 .

• Environmental impacts of European aviation have increased over the past 25 years following the growth in air traffic.

• Mean aircraft age was about 10 years in 2014, but fleet is slowly ageing.

• Due to technological improvements, fleet renewal, increased Air Traffic Management efficiency and the 2008 economic downturn, emissions and noise exposure in 2014 were around 2005 levels.

• About 2.5 million people were exposed to noise at 45 major European airports in 2014 , and this is forecast to increase by 15% between 2014 and 2035.

• CO2 emissions have increased by about 80% between 1990 and 2014, and are forecast to grow by a further 45% between 2014 and 2035.

• NOX emissions have doubled between 1990 and 2014, and are forecast to grow by a further 43% between 2014 and 2035.

Technology and Design

• Jet aircraft noise levels have generally reduced by about 4 decibels per decade. The progress has recently slowed to about 2 decibels per decade, and this rate of improvement is expected to continue in the future.

• The future trend in noise improvements may be adversely influenced by a  new engine design known as a Counter-Rotating Open Rotor that is due to enter service around 2030. • More stringent aircraft noise limits and engine NOX emissions limits have been introduced over time to incentivise continuous improvement.

• Average NOX margin to CAEP/6 limit for in-production engine types has increased by about 15% over the last 5 years.

• Additional standards for aircraft CO2 emissions and aircraft engine particulate matter emissions are expected to enter into force in the near future.

Sustainable Alternative Fuels

• Uptake of sustainable alternative fuels in the aviation sector is very slow, but assumed to play a  large role in reducing aviation greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades.

• The European Advanced Biofuels Flightpath provides a  roadmap to achieve an annual production rate of 2 million tonnes of sustainably produced biofuel for civil aviation by 2020.

• European commercial flights have trialled sustainable alternative fuels. However regular production of sustainable aviation alternative fuels is projected to be very limited in the next few years, and thus it is unlikely that the roadmap 2020 target will be achieved.

Air Traffic Management and Operations

• European network handles 27,000 flights and 2.27 million passengers per day.

• Europe is investing heavily in modernising the air traffic management system through the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) programme which is the technological pillar of the EU Single European Sky (SES) legislative framework.

• En route and arrival operational efficiencies show a  moderate but steady reduction in additional distance flown, as does taxi-out times, thereby combining to reduce related excess CO2 emissions.

• SESAR deliverables will form the core of the European deployment of new operational capabilities which will contribute to achieving the SES Performance Scheme targets and high level goals as well as enhance global harmonisation and interoperability.

Airports

• 92 European airports are currently participating in the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, and 20 of these airports are carbon neutral.

• 80% of passengers in Europe are handled via an airport with a certified environmental or quality management system.

• Involvement of all local stakeholders in the implementation of the balanced approach to aircraft noise management is recognised as a crucial factor in reducing the annoyance for people living near airports.

• By 2035, in the absence of continuing efforts, it is anticipated that some 20 major European airports will face significant congestion and related environmental impacts due to air traffic growth.

Market‑Based Measures

• Market-based measures are needed to meet aviation’s emissions reduction targets as technological and operational improvements alone are not considered sufficient.

• The European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) currently covers all intra-European flights. This will contribute around 65 million tonnes of CO2 emission reductions between 2013 and 2016, achieved within the aviation sector and in other sectors.

• More than 100 airports in Europe have deployed noise and emissions charging schemes since the 1990s.

Adapting Aviation to a Changing Climate

• Climate change is a  risk for the European aviation sector as impacts are likely to include more frequent and more disruptive weather patterns as well as sea-level rise.

• Aviation sector needs to prepare for and develop resilience to these potential future impacts. Actions have been initiated at European, national and organisational levels.

• Pre-emptive action is likely to be cost-effective in comparison to addressing impacts as they occur in the future.

………….. and it continues …..  (84 pages)

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ICAO rejects request by 5 MEPs to attend meeting on CO2 emissions from aviation

The UN’s agency for aviation, the ICAO, has a Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP), that looks at the problem of carbon emissions from aviation globally. There will be a meeting of CAEP in Montreal, from 8 to 12 February.  Its aim is to talk about how offsetting CO2 emissions would work globally, how fuel burn will be measured, and who will be reported to.  It is a technical meeting to discuss moves to create a market-based mechanism to make airlines pay for their CO2 output. The CAEP will also look at greening planes, with a new fuel efficiency standard.  Now five MEPs (four from the Parliament’s Environment Committee and one from the Transport Committee) have requested, through the EC President, Jean-Claude Juncker, that they attend the meeting of CAEP, due to their interest in the CO2 emissions issue. However, their request has been rejected, though some MEPs will have a meeting in May. The CAEP drafts environmental rules and has 22 states and 15 observers, made up of other states, industry and one NGO. The way the UN process works is that the CAEP agrees a standard, which is then sent to the ICAO Council for formal approval. Nine of the 22 voting states are European. The  EU also contributes about one third of ICAO’s funding.
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Aviation is responsible for around 5% of the world’s global warming at present, and the industry is growing so fast that, on current trends, it could make up 22% of global emissions by 2050, according to a recent European Parliament study.

 

UN rejects EU request to attend green aviation meeting

By James Crisp

29.1.2016 (Euractiv)

Grounded. MEPs won’t be allowed to attend the UN aviation meeting.

The United Nations’ agency for aviation, the ICAO, has snubbed a request by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to allow MEPs to sit in on a crunch meeting to reduce the industry’s contribution to climate change.

Juncker applied for permission for the delegation of five lawmakers after European Parliament President Martin Schulz asked him to write to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The five MEPs, four from the Parliament’s Environment Committee and one from the Transport Committee, wanted to attend an ICAO Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP). It will be held in Montreal, Canada, from 8 to 12 February.

The CAEP drafts environmental rules and has 22 states and 15 observers, made up of other states, industry and one NGO. It is a technical meeting to discuss moves to create a market-based mechanism to make airlines pay for their CO2 output.

Talks are expected to centre on how offsetting emission would work globally, how fuel burn will be measured, and who will be reported to.

A separate approach, due to be discussed next week focuses on greening planes with a new fuel efficiency standard.

The CAEP agrees a standard, to then be sent to the ICAO Council for formal approval. Nine of the 22 voting states are European, making the European position central to the final outcome, which is far from certain.

The ICAO has accepted a separate meeting request from seven members of the Transport Committee but not until May. It is likely to deal with a whole range of issues, such as safety, and not specifically the environment. A high level meeting on CO2 is scheduled the following week.

Aviation is responsible for around 5% of the world’s global warming at present, and the industry is growing so fast that, on current trends, it could make up 22% of global emissions by 2050, according to a recent European Parliament study.

The sector was not covered by the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, which secured an international agreement to cap global warming.

Knock-back

The denial – thought to be the first time the UN has knocked back such a request – was communicated to the European Commission on 22 January.

The CAEP said the meeting was very technical in nature, and that there was no precedent for elected observers to attend. Participants in the CAEP process should have the requisite technical background and expertise and the organisation has been cautious to ensure that political issues will not interfere, the letter said.

The snub is particularly stinging as EU countries contribute about a third (33.6%) of the ICAO’s costs. The US is the next largest contributor with 25%. The Commission does not finance ICAO but provides grants for projects of common interest, such as technical cooperation initiatives.

No comment

EurActiv’s request for comment from the ICAO was not immediately answered.

The five MEPs pencilled in to attend were Brits Julie Girling (European Conservatives and Reformists) and Seb Dance (Socialists & Democrats), Germans Matthias Groote (S&D) and Peter Liese (European People’s Party), and Belgian EPP member Ivo Belet.

The MEPs, including Dutch Green Bas Eickhout, plan to travel to Montreal anyway. They will meet ICAO Secretary General Fang Liu for talks. None were available to comment when contacted by EurActiv yesterday. Requests to Schulz’s office were also redirected. But sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the rejection.

Today (29 January), Girling said, “It’s disappointing that we won’t be able to join the formal meetings but we will be meeting will very senior members of ICAO and having many bilaterals. As the EU only has observer status at icao it is impossible to insist that MEPs are accredited.”

The Commission’s transport department informed the MEPs of the rejection. Allegations that the Juncker request was a month in the making could not be substantiated.

It is understood Juncker promised Schulz the Parliament would be kept informed of developments.

Officials said the European Union would have a representative at the CAEP meeting, but only with observer status.

Europe lagging?

Europe is calling for a considerably less ambitious carbon emissions standard for airplanes than the US in the new global push. The gap between the two proposals is greater than the annual emissions of most medium-sized European countries.

>>Read: Europe lags behind US in tackling CO2 emissions from planes

The story, broken by The Guardian, drew a furious rebuke from CAEP Secretary Jane Hupe.

In a communication seen by EurActiv, she wrote, “It is with dismay that yet again there has been a breach in the confidentiality of information developed by CAEP in the open media. […] This breach will not be taken lightly; we are already looking into it carefully,” she said.

Hupe warned, “The disrespect and abuse of the rules of engagement by some will require that stronger measures be taken to address such issues, which can even include the suspension of observership/membership.”

>Read:The greening of the airline industry

 

BACKGROUND

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

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

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

>>Read: Hedegaard stops clock on aviation emissions law

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

Airlines make up 2% of worldwide CO2 emissions. But the doubling of passengers every 15 years has made it a growing source of greenhouse gases.

Due to the strong link between the sector and fossil fuels, reducing its CO2 emission is a challenge. The problem of electricity storage rules out its use in the air, which thus leaves airline manufacturers, which have promised to stabilise their CO2 emissions by 2020, with few options.

TIMELINE

Europe falls behind US in new plans to tackle CO2 emissions from planes

The aviation industry is growing so fast that, on current trends, it could make up 22% of global emissions by 2050, according to a European Parliament study. However, Europe’s proposals for a landmark international fuel efficiency standard for aircraft would save considerably less carbon emissions than those put forward by the US. The US plan could cut emissions by 37.5%, and the EU proposal by 33%. The 4.5% gap is equal to 350 million tonnes of CO2, worldwide, per year – which is slightly more than Spain emits every year. The standard could mark a turning point for efforts to regulate fast-growing CO2 emissions from aircraft, which are not covered by December’s much-hailed Paris climate agreement. The standard would only apply to planes produced after 2020, meaning the planes currently being used – or ordered now – would not be included. Both the US and the EU proposals are going to ICAO, for consideration, next month. ICAO is looking at two approaches to reducing the rate of increase of aviation emissions; a market-based mechanism – MBM – (meaning trading, so airlines have to pay for their CO2); and improving the fuel efficiency of engines and aircraft. ICAO will be working on these this year, with the full council meeting in September, for a possible approval of an MBM in 2017.

Click here to view full story…

The exclusion of international aviation & shipping CO2 from Paris COP21 deal makes 2°C limit close to impossible

The Paris climate agreement text has now dropped mention of international aviation and shipping. The weak statement that has been removed only said that parties might “pursue the limitation or reduction of greenhouse gas emissions” through ICAO “with a view to agreeing concrete measures addressing these emissions, including developing procedures for incorporating emissions from international aviation and marine bunker fuels into low-emission development strategies.” Even that has gone, so there is no ambition for CO2 regulation. Transport & Environment (T&E) says this has fatally undermined the prospects of keeping global warming below 2°C. The CO2 emissions of these two sectors amount to about 8% of emissions globally. In recent years their emissions have grown twice as fast as the those of the global economy – an 80% rise in CO2 output from aviation and shipping between 1990 and 2010, versus 40% growth in CO2 emissions from global economic activity – and they are projected to grow by up to 270% in 2050. They could be 39% of global CO2 emissions by 2050 if left unregulated. After 18 years of being supposed to come up with measures to tackle aviation emissions, ICAO has done almost nothing – and little is expected of it.

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“Heathrow13” climate protesters found guilty of aggravated trespass – sentencing 24th February, for possibly prison

Thirteen members of the Plane Stupid campaign group who occupied the eastern end of Heathrow’s northern runway on 13th July 2015 have been found guilty of aggravated trespass and entering a security-restricted area of an aerodrome. They have been told it is almost inevitable they will face a prison term. Their defence had been that their actions were intended to prevent death or serous illness to people. However, district judge Deborah Wright (who sat alone) said the cost of the disruption at Heathrow was “absolutely astronomical”. Those convicted were clapped and cheered as they left the court. They have been bailed to appear for sentencing on 24 February. A statement released by the #Heathrow13 following their convictions read: “Today’s judgement demonstrates that the legal system does not yet recognise that climate defence is not an offence. We took action because we saw that it was sorely needed. When the democratic, legislative and processes have failed, it takes the actions of ordinary people to change them.”  They say instead of the government taking action to cut carbon emissions, it is intending to spend millions making the problem bigger, if another runway is allowed. Though the judge recognised “They are all principled people” she considered what the protesters did was “symbolic and designed to make a point, not to save lives”.
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Heathrow climate protesters found guilty of aggravated trespass

Thirteen members of the Plane Stupid campaign group who blocked north runway at Heathrow in July 2015 told they are likely to face prison

Plane Stupid activists at the start of their court hearing. The 13 were found guilty of aggravated trespass.
Plane Stupid activists at the start of their court hearing. The 13 were found guilty of aggravated trespass. Photograph: Mark Kerrison/Demotix/Corbis

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Press Association
Monday 25 January 2016

Thirteen protesters who chained themselves to railings at the UK’s largest airport have been told it is almost inevitable they will be jailed for their actions.

Members of the Plane Stupid campaign group cut a hole in a fence and made their way on to the north runway at Heathrow in July last year. They were found guilty of aggravated trespass and entering a security-restricted area of an aerodrome.

Giving her verdict at Willesden magistrates’ court, district judge Deborah Wright said the cost of the disruption at the airport on 13 July 2015 was “absolutely astronomical”.

outside court

Outside court, after the verdict

The demonstrators had admitted being on the runway but claimed their actions were necessary to stop people dying from the effects of pollution and climate change. Supporters packed the public gallery this afternoon, with one calling proceedings “a farce” and others shouting “shame on you” at the judge.

Those convicted were clapped and cheered as they left the courtroom. They have been bailed to appear for sentencing on 24 February.

outside the court

Outside the court after the verdict – the press interview the activists

A statement released following their convictions read: “Today’s judgement demonstrates that the legal system does not yet recognise that climate defence is not an offence. We took action because we saw that it was sorely needed. When the democratic, legislative and processes have failed, it takes the actions of ordinary people to change them.”

“We are very grateful for all the messages of support and solidarity we have received from all over the world, and are immensely proud of the action we took to combat emissions from aviation. Climate change and air pollution from Heathrow are killing people now, and the government’s response is to spend millions making the problem bigger. As long as airport expansion is on the agenda, Plane Stupid will be here. We’re in it for the long haul.“

Heathrow heroes placard

One of the placards by supporters, outside the court

The demonstration at around 3.30am last July caused delays for passengers around the world and 25 flights were cancelled.

It came after a long-awaited report recommended a new runway should be built at Heathrow rather than Gatwick.

Judge Wright found that the demonstration must have been linked to the publication of that report.

Dismissing the defence that their actions were necessary, she said what the protesters did was “symbolic and designed to make a point, not to save lives”.

She said thousands of passengers had been affected by delays that day, and said there are continuing costs as a result of their actions with additional security measures put in place since the incident.

Judge Wright paid tribute to the demonstrators for their passion for environmental matters, saying: “They are all principled people.”

But she added the incident was so serious that it is “almost inevitable that you will all receive custodial sentences”.

Ms Wright said there had been times during the week-long trial when defendants seemed “at pains to make political points”.

She added: “I sincerely hope the court process has not been used as a political platform.”

The protesters had enjoyed the support of Green party leader, Natalie Bennett, on the first day of the trial, and shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, had been due to be called as a defence witness but was barred from doing so by the judge who deemed his statement irrelevant.

A Heathrow spokesman said: “We welcome today’s verdict. Anyone who breaks the law and interferes with the safe and smooth operation of the airport can expect full prosecution under the law.”

Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said: “Today, we stand in solidarity with the activists who have put their liberty on the line to protect us from the health and climate damage a new runway will cause. These campaigners have been found guilty in a court of law, but it’s pro-expansion politicians and aviation bosses that history will put in the dock – and the judgment won’t be kind.

“A third runway at Heathrow will exacerbate the air pollution crisis that’s already costing thousands of lives every year. And just weeks after the government signed a major climate deal in Paris, these activists are reminding us of the crucial international commitments we have made and should fulfil.”

Those convicted are Rebecca Sanderson, 28, of Newton Road, Machynlleth, Powys; Richard Hawkins, 32, and Kara Moses, 32, both of Heol y Doll, Machynlleth, Powys; Ella Gilbert, 23, of Magdalen Street, Norwich; Melanie Strickland, 32, of Borwick Avenue, Waltham Forest, north-east London; Danielle Paffard, 28, of Blenhiem Grove, Peckham, south-east London; Graham Thompson, 42, of Durlston Road, Hackney, north-east London; Sheila Menon, 44, of Pellerin Road, Hackney; Cameron Kaye, 23, Edward Thacker, 26, Alistair Tamlit, 27, and Sam Sender, 23, all of Kenwood Close, Sipson, West Drayton, west London; Robert Basto, 67, of Blackborough Road, Reigate, Surrey.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/25/heathrow-climate-protesters-found-guilty-of-aggravated-trespass

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NDDL and PS solidarity

The opponents of the planned airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes feel they share a common struggle with Plane Stupid


 

Earlier:

Dad of one of the #Heathrow13 sets out eloquently why we should be grateful for the climate warning they tried to give

The #Heathrow13 – the activists from “Plane Stupid” who carried out a protest on Heathrow’s northern runway in July 2015 – were in court on 18th January, and the Judge’s verdict was given on Monday 25th January. All were found guilty. Tim, the father of one of the activists, Rebecca Sanderson, has written about why (despite his earlier career working for an oil company) he is proud of what his daughter did, why he applauds their action, and why we should be grateful that they have tried to warn us about the climate dangers we face. Tim comments: “I am appalled by the apparently complete disconnect between what we know and what we do. …. There is now an overwhelming consensus that growth in carbon emissions could spell climatic disaster for our planet. Everyone apparently knows this ….. the general public, assiduously switch off mobile phone chargers and avoid over-filling the kettle. And then we feel so virtuous and pleased with ourselves that we book a flight to New Zealand, and wipe out all our emissions savings before we have even reached cruising altitude.” …. Tim makes the analogy of the “Railway Children” in which they trespass on the railway line waving a red flag, to prevent an accident. “The Heathrow Plane Stupid protesters have tried again to warn us. They have stepped onto the runway, and they have waved their red flags. They have trespassed, and we should be grateful to them.”

Click here to view full story…

Dad of one of the #Heathrow13 sets out eloquently why we should be grateful for the climate warning they tried to give

The #Heathrow13 – the activists from “Plane Stupid” who carried out a protest on Heathrow’s northern runway in July 2015 – were in court on 18th January, and the Judge’s verdict was given on Monday 25th January. All were found guilty. Tim, the father of one of the activists, Rebecca Sanderson, has written about why (despite his earlier career working for an oil company) he is proud of what his daughter did, why he applauds their action, and why we should be grateful that they have tried to warn us about the climate dangers we face. Tim comments: “I am appalled by the apparently complete disconnect between what we know and what we do. …. There is now an overwhelming consensus that growth in carbon emissions could spell climatic disaster for our planet. Everyone apparently knows this ….. the general public, assiduously switch off mobile phone chargers and avoid over-filling the kettle. And then we feel so virtuous and pleased with ourselves that we book a flight to New Zealand, and wipe out all our emissions savings before we have even reached cruising altitude.” …. Tim makes the analogy of the “Railway Children” in which they trespass on the railway line waving a red flag, to prevent an accident. “The Heathrow Plane Stupid protesters have tried again to warn us. They have stepped onto the runway, and they have waved their red flags. They have trespassed, and we should be grateful to them.”

Click here to view full story…

Supportive protest outside start of Plane Stupid’s #Heathrow13 trial for Heathrow incursion in July

The trial of the 13 members of Plane Stupid, who broke into Heathrow airport on 13th July, started at Willesden Magistrates Court on 18th. They are charged with Aggravated Trespass and entering a security restricted area. Their protest caused the cancellation of some 25 flights, which saved an estimated 250 tonnes of CO2. In doing so, they argue that helped to save lives in the Global South, by making a small cut in the emissions that fuel climate chaos. All 13 are pleading not guilty, and say their action was reasonable and justified in the climate context. They say “Climate defence is not an offence!” The judge hearing the case, by herself, is Judge Wright. The prosecution has been brought by the CPS. There was a large gathering outside the court, for the start of the trial, with many groups expressing their solidarity. This started with a short statement by the #Heathrow13 on their defence, before they entered the court to repeated chants of “No ifs, No Buts, No new runways!” Judge Wright declared that the fact that aviation fuel is linked to climate change is indisputable. The judge is looking at two issues: 1. Did the 13 genuinely believe their actions were necessary to prevent death or serious illness? And 2. Whether objectively their actions were reasonable and proportionate in order to prevent death or serious illness.

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Europe falls behind US in new plans to tackle CO2 emissions from planes

The aviation industry is growing so fast that, on current trends, it could make up 22% of global emissions by 2050, according to a European Parliament study. However, Europe’s proposals for a landmark international fuel efficiency standard for aircraft would save considerably less carbon emissions than those put forward by the US. The US plan could cut emissions by 37.5%, and the EU proposal by 33%. The 4.5% gap is equal to 350 million tonnes of CO2, worldwide, per year – which is slightly more than Spain emits every year. The standard could mark a turning point for efforts to regulate fast-growing CO2 emissions from aircraft, which are not covered by December’s much-hailed Paris climate agreement. The standard would only apply to planes produced after 2020, meaning the planes currently being used – or ordered now – would not be included.  Both the US and the EU proposals are going to ICAO, for consideration, next month. ICAO is looking at two approaches to reducing the rate of increase of aviation emissions; a market-based mechanism – MBM – (meaning trading, so airlines have to pay for their CO2); and improving the fuel efficiency of engines and aircraft. ICAO will be working on these this year, with the full council meeting in September, for a possible approval of an MBM in 2017. 
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Europe falls behind US in new plans to tackle CO2 emissions from planes

Europe’s proposals for a landmark international fuel efficiency standard for aircraft would save considerably less carbon emissions than those put forward by the US

The aviation industry is growing so fast that, on current trends, it could make up 22% of global emissions by 2050, according to a European Parliament study

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Friday 22 January 2016 (Guardian)

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Europe is calling for a considerably less ambitious carbon emissions standard for airplanes than the US in a new global push to reduce aviation’s contribution to climate change, the Guardian has learned.

The standard would mark a turning point for efforts to regulate fast-growing emissions from airplanes, which are not covered by December’s much-hailed Paris climate agreement.

The milestone would apply to new models and existing aircraft put into production after 2020, but the EU’s preferred version would be less stringent than alternative US proposals, which the Guardian has also seen.

Both blueprints have been filed with the UN’s civil aviation agency, Icao, ahead of talks in Montreal next month.

“The US proposal is definitely more ambitious,” said Joris Melkert, a former flight test engineer and senior aerospace lecturer at Delft University in the Netherlands. “It would save more emissions, and the difference is quite considerable.”

The gap between the two proposals is greater than the annual emissions of most medium-sized European countries, and privately confirmed by EU officials.

Aviation is responsible for around 5% of the world’s global warming at present and the industry is growing so fast that, on current trends, it could make up 22% of global emissions by 2050, according to a recent European Parliament study.

The ICAO talks are pursuing a twin track approach of making airlines pay a cost for their CO2 output under a market-based scheme, [a market based scheme means some form of carbon trading] and greening aircraft with a new fuel efficiency standard.

The debate on the standard began in 2007 and proposals agreed in Montreal will be sent on to an Icao council for approval next year. “After many years, decision time has finally come,” one EU official said. “I believe that we are going to have an ambitious standard and I hope we can secure it next month.”

Airplanes emit CO2 in the process of burning engine fuel to provide a lift force that can overcome the aerodynamic drag created by wind resistance. For this reason, the ICAO proposals focus on measures to improve planes’ aerodynamics, lightness and engines.

Under the technical proposals, a stringency option of ‘9’ suggested by the US would reduce overall aircraft emissions by 37.5%, while the ‘7’ setting favoured by the EU would imply a 33% cut. The 4.5% gap is equal to 350m tonnes of CO2, or slightly more than Spain emits every year.

EU officials privately concede that their proposal is “the second most ambitious of the positions put on the table”. But they insist that it is still “quite close to the US one” and that the agreement’s small print on cargo aircraft and categorisations should not be overlooked.

Environmentalists argue that the involvement of the Environmental Protection Agency and an unshackled president Obama in the US has contributed to the relative weakness of the EU’s position.

But insiders in Brussels say that the sheer variety of complex issues still to be agreed – and the amount of aircraft manufacturing countries involved, from Brazil and Ukraine to India and China – make like-for-like comparisons unwise, and stringency factors of ‘10’ impossible.

“There are so many parameters to be decided that it creates a lot of pieces you can move around on a chessboard,” one EU source told the Guardian.

Europe has proposed a 60 tonne threshold for classifying aircraft, as this could cover 90% of emissions and apply to aircraft of the size of a Boeing 737 or Airbus 320 and above.

But the classification would be further sub-divided between new model types and those in production; jets ferrying 19 people or less, and planes carrying freight instead of passengers. Alternate starting dates of 2020 and 2023 for the benchmark are other options under discussion.

An EU source said: “We need a standard that reflects the state of art of the technology, that is as close as possible to what engineers are capable of doing, without going so high that a number of 60-tonne aircraft types would be put out of the market as that would be environmentally unhelpful, economically detrimental and also quite unfair, as lead-in times for aircraft take about 10 years.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/22/europe-falls-behind-us-new-plans-tackle-co2-emissions-planes?CMP=oth_b-aplnews_d-2

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Earlier:

The exclusion of international aviation & shipping CO2 from Paris COP21 deal makes 2°C limit close to impossible

The Paris climate agreement text has now dropped mention of international aviation and shipping. The weak statement that has been removed only said that parties might “pursue the limitation or reduction of greenhouse gas emissions” through ICAO “with a view to agreeing concrete measures addressing these emissions, including developing procedures for incorporating emissions from international aviation and marine bunker fuels into low-emission development strategies.” Even that has gone, so there is no ambition for CO2 regulation. Transport & Environment (T&E) says this has fatally undermined the prospects of keeping global warming below 2°C. The CO2 emissions of these two sectors amount to about 8% of emissions globally. In recent years their emissions have grown twice as fast as the those of the global economy – an 80% rise in CO2 output from aviation and shipping between 1990 and 2010, versus 40% growth in CO2 emissions from global economic activity – and they are projected to grow by up to 270% in 2050. They could be 39% of global CO2 emissions by 2050 if left unregulated. After 18 years of being supposed to come up with measures to tackle aviation emissions, ICAO has done almost nothing – and little is expected of it.

Click here to view full story…

New study by ICCT show new plane fuel efficiency gains are more than a decade late for UN ICAO goal

The European group, T&E, say that since 2010, the average fuel burn of new aircraft has improved by 1.1% per year, which suggests that aircraft manufacturers may miss UN aviation body ICAO’s 2020 fuel efficiency goals by 12 years. This has been show by a new study by the ICCT. IATA forecasts 4.1% annual growth of global aviation for the next 20 years. By contrast, the 1.1% progress in fuel efficiency of new commercial jets falls way behind the progress needed to meet ICAO’s targets. The gap between 4.1% growth and 1.1% improvement is massive. Since 2009 ICAO has been working on a CO2 standard for new aircraft to boost fuel efficiency technology in the fleet. Work should be completed in 2016, with the standard for new commercial jets taking effect in 2020. Decisions on the actual stringency of the standard are due over the next months. T&E said: “ICAO must help airlines meet their own climate goals and agree a CO2 standard that actually forces new technology in the fleet, rather than doing business as usual….. It’s a no brainer for ICAO to agree a global market-based measure that drives fuel prices up steadily over time.” More progress in fuel efficiency strongly correlates with higher fuel prices. Aviation’s massive CO2 emissions are projected to triple by 2050.

Click here to view full story…

Tom Burke article exposes the fallacy of hoping carbon pricing will lower CO2 emissions

The aviation industry is reluctantly realising it needs to cut its carbon emissions, and work is under way, through ICAO, on a “market based measure” by which the industry could pay for carbon emissions. This, like the EU ETS, would be by being able to buy carbon permits from other sectors which had managed to make actual carbon cuts. A hard-hitting article from Tom Burke casts serious doubt on whether this sort of carbon pricing and trading could ever work effectively. He fears many high carbon industries pay lip-service to the concept, in the full knowledge that it will never work sufficiently well to curtail their activities, and it delays the need for any real action. He says: “The intent is to create the impression of an industry in favour of urgent action whilst actually slowing that action down”…. [with the carbon price remaining too low] … “If only governments were brave enough to put the carbon price up higher and faster, they will lament, we would get there sooner. This is hocus-pocus. They know full well governments will be deeply reluctant to put up consumers’ bills.” … “There is no chance that the world will agree on a global price for carbon in the forty years we have to keep the climate safe…. Their purpose is clear, to set a trap for unwary policy makers and environmentalists. Shame on those who fall into it.”

Click here to view full story…

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Dad of one of the #Heathrow13 sets out eloquently why we should be grateful for the climate warning they tried to give

The #Heathrow13 – the activists from “Plane Stupid” who carried out a protest on Heathrow’s northern runway in July 2015 – were in court on 18th January, and the Judge’s verdict was given on Monday 25th January.  All were found guilty. Tim, the father of one of the activists, Rebecca Sanderson, has written about why (despite his earlier career working for an oil company) he is proud of what his daughter did, why he applauds their action, and why we should be grateful that they have tried to warn us about the climate dangers we face. Tim comments: “I am appalled by the apparently complete disconnect between what we know and what we do.  …. There is now an overwhelming consensus that growth in carbon emissions could spell climatic disaster for our planet.  Everyone apparently knows this ….. the general public, assiduously switch off mobile phone chargers and avoid over-filling the kettle.  And then we feel so virtuous and pleased with ourselves that we book a flight to New Zealand, and wipe out all our emissions savings before we have even reached cruising altitude.” …. Tim makes the analogy of the “Railway Children” in which they trespass on the railway line waving a red flag, to prevent an accident. “The Heathrow Plane Stupid protesters have tried again to warn us. They have stepped onto the runway, and they have waved their red flags.  They have trespassed, and we should be grateful to them.”
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The Runway Children

By Tim Sanderson, the father of Rebecca Sanderson, one of the #Heathrow13

This piece also appears in the Guardian (25.1.2016)

22.1.2016

On Monday morning last week my eldest daughter went on trial at Willesden Magistrates’ Court.  She is 28 years old, and this was the first day of a court case which lasted all week.  She, along with twelve others, is charged with aggravated trespass and unauthorised entry to the runway areas of Heathrow on July 13th last year.

She and her colleagues are all members of the Plane Stupid pressure group, who are engaging in direct action against plans to expand aviation capacity by building a third runway.

I am proud of my daughter and I applaud this action.

I might seem an unlikely apologist.  I have spent most of my life working in the oil exploration business.  During the 1980s I was at the forefront of scientific research into commercial exploitation of the sensitive Arctic offshore.  I spent the next fifteen years working for one of the world’s biggest multinational oil companies, and I am now director of a small high-tech company offering oil executives training courses in strategy and management.  I drive an unnecessarily large BMW and I subscribe to the Daily Telegraph.

And yet, I was outside court last Monday, waving a placard and chanting: “No Ifs!  No Buts!  No new runways!”

Why? 

Because I am appalled by the apparently complete disconnect between what we know and what we do.  This is not just about aircraft noise and Gatwick vs Heathrow.  It is about the global environment.  There is now an overwhelming consensus that growth in carbon emissions could spell climatic disaster for our planet.  Everyone apparently knows this – the public knows and government knows.

What do we do?  We, the general public, assiduously switch off mobile phone chargers and avoid over-filling the kettle.  And then we feel so virtuous and pleased with ourselves that we book a flight to New Zealand, and wipe out all our emissions savings before we have even reached cruising altitude.

As for the government: they acknowledge the wise warnings of the scientific community.  They make apparently sincere commitments to reduce carbon emissions, and they encourage emerging economies to take greater responsibility and exercise moderation.  But then, with their next breath, they apparently forget everything – and earnestly advise us about the importance of our own economic growth and how vital it is to expand aviation capacity to keep pace with growing trade.

Well, I am sorry to say this does not make sense.  Life – whether business, personal or political – is all about choices.  To claim that you can choose a booming aviation-based economy while at the same time reducing carbon emissions is a cowardly deception.

Politicians should be brave enough to expose the real choices, which are basically quite simple:  either continue with our destructive habit of dependency on air travel (and ignore climate change) or make radical changes to our frequent-flying lifestyle, re-think our strategies for economic growth, and – hopefully – preserve the planet in a habitable state for future generations.

This, I believe, is essentially why these protesters took the action which has landed them in court.

There is a famous scene in “The Railway Children” by E. Nesbit, where three young children avert a major railway disaster, by warning an express train of a landslide on the line.  They do so by stepping onto the railway and waving improvised red flags.  The train stops – just in time – and many lives are saved.  In Chapter VII, entitled “For Valour” the children are praised by everyone for their prompt and courageous action.

They were, of course, trespassing on the railway.

We are, all of us, on that express train.  We are all hurtling towards climatic disaster.  We have been warned by scientists.  The authorities responsible for the railway are fully aware of the dangers.  The passengers know, and the train driver knows.  And still the train roars forward at full throttle, oblivious, yet knowing.

The Heathrow Plane Stupid protesters have tried again to warn us.  They have stepped onto the runway, and they have waved their red flags.  They have trespassed, and we should be grateful to them.

Tim Sanderson, Acton, London W3

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This was reported in the Telegraph:

Why former BP oil executive Tim Sanderson thinks the Heathrow expansion is ‘plane stupid’

Despite his past career in exploiting the environment for commercial gain, Sanderson supports the Heathrow runway protestors – including his own daughter who is now on trial at Willesden Magistrates’ Court

Tim Sanderson and his daughter Rebecca, who is one of the Heathrow 13 who allegedly chained themselves to a Heathrow runway.  Photo: Clara Molden

“No ifs, no buts, no new runways,” he shouted from the court steps in clipped Oxbridge tones, as lawyers, defendants and witnesses trooped inside.

This was no die-hard climate warrior, but Tim Sanderson, a former BP oil executive who spent a large proportion of his high-flying career devising how best to exploit the environment for commercial gain – from the North Sea to the sensitive Arctic offshore.

His 28-year-old daughter, Rebecca, is one of 13 people currently on trial for allegedly chaining themselves together on a Heathrow runway last summer, in protest at the proposed expansion of the airport. The judge presiding over the case is expected to deliver a verdict on charges of aggravated trespass and entering an aerodrome without permission on Monday.

Activists protest in front of Willesden Magistrates? Court against a third runway at Heathrow.

In a statement read outside court by Rebecca, the group said: “We are all pleading not guilty, as our actions were a reasonable, proportionate and justified response to the scale of the problem of climate change, a problem that aviation contributes massively to as the fastest growing source of carbon emissions.”

Sitting alongside Rebecca in the living room of the family’s large, cluttered and resolutely middle class home in Acton, West London, where chickens cluck in the garden and originals, rather than prints, line the walls, Mr Sanderson admits to a sense of incredulity at his transition from oilman to activist. His “unnecessarily large” BMW Five Series is parked on the quiet street outside.

Does he worry about what former colleagues will think about this new identity? “No, not at all”. Then does he feel like a hypocrite? “Every now and then”.

The trial of the thirteen activists who occupied Heathrow?s northern runway will commence on Monday.

At 3.30am on July 13, members of the Plane Stupid group allegedly cut a hole in a perimeter fence at Heathrow Airport before blockading a runway. The ensuing demonstration led to the cancellation of 22 flights and worldwide delays. The first Mr Sanderson and his wife Jenny (a music teacher) heard of the alleged involvement of the eldest of their four daughters was when she returned home after a night in the cells.

“It came as a complete surprise,” Mr Sanderson says. “It was a drawing of breath moment as I gradually realised the seriousness of the situation. But it turned quite rapidly to a certain reluctant pride when I saw how sincere she was.”

When I arrive early for our interview, the family are sat down to a lunch of poached eggs and mushrooms on toast, during which they discuss possible outcomes of the looming court ruling.

Like her father, who attended Merton College in Oxford, Rebecca is a first-class student. After school in Ealing (she will not say exactly which) she attended Edinburgh University and graduated in psychology. She currently lives with her partner in North Wales where she works in social science research.

Tim Sanderson and his daughter, Rebecca, live with their family in a house directly underneath the Heathrow flightpath.  Photo: Clara Molden

Her parents’ house, however, lies directly beneath the Heathrow flightpath and as we speak the steady drone of aeroplanes can be heard. “It becomes background noise after a while,” she says.

Her interest in the environment strengthened while at university. She became a vegetarian (much to her father’s good-natured disdain) and began investigating the impact of the aviation industry. “We’re in the 20-mile radius of Heathrow where a statistic shows that about 31 deaths a year happen [due to air pollution]. I was quite shocked when I found out that statistic contained my family house where I grew up.”

“I never expected to see my dad waving a ‘No third runway’ banner outside a court and in the public gallery cheering me on.”
Rebecca Sanderson

Her campaigning led to “difficult dinner conversations every now and then” and during our interview she sighs whenever her father defends the environmental credentials of oil multi-nationals. He remains company director of a business that trains would-be executives for the industry.

What of her own well-to-do stock, a charge often levelled at activists? “It’s an easy way to do a character assassination and make it look like you are acting because you have a privilege to act,” she says. “What characterises activists is they care about the issues, rather than have wealthy parents.”

That said, she has not shied away from her family background during the hearing. One of the character witness statements she supplied to the court was from an uncle (a high court judge). Of her father’s unexpected support she says she is “immensely proud”.

“I never expected to see my dad waving a ‘No third runway’ banner outside a court and in the public gallery cheering me on.”

It would be unfair to depict Mr Sanderson’s previous career as one entirely preoccupied with profit over the environment. After leaving Oxford with a degree in Philosophy and Physics he worked for a spell with the British Antarctic Survey, where in 1979 he published a landmark paper on ice sheet melt leading to sea level rise, which was one of the first to predict the impact of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“I think the young generation can show us you can believe something and act in the way you believe you should act. I feel very strongly, with my generation, that we all feel one way but [act] another.”
Tim Sanderson

He returned to England to study for a PhD at Imperial College before the oil industry came calling. A few years after joining BP he recalls attending a cocktail party for young company highfliers in Moorgate and arguing with a senior executive about the scientific evidence supporting climate change. The man resorted to attacking Sanderson for driving a company car – which he had refused, he was able to counter, in preference of a bicycle.

After Rebecca was born, however, the family moved up to Aberdeen and his principles faltered. Soon he did request a company car from BP – a gleaming black BMW 316. Later appointed commercial manager of Central North Sea operations with specific responsibility for planning and performance, other financial rewards followed.

Mr Sanderson is the first to admit the dichotomy between his thoughts and deeds, but puts this down to human fallibility.

“One of the big contradictions that I see about climate change and burning fossil fuels, is that we all earnestly read about the threat and agree with it and accept the scientific evidence,” he says. “We earnestly switch off our mobile phone chargers and half fill the electric kettle assiduously – and then we go on a long distance drive or take a plane to New Zealand and burn up all those savings in a matter of minutes. It’s almost as if we’ve got two brains that don’t communicate with each other. I felt like that then and still do to a certain extent.”

What prompted Mr Sanderson’s change of tack was being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1995. He left BP two years later to set up his own company and as we speak the faint tremors of the degenerative condition are apparent. “It gives me some restrictions and freedoms,” he says. “It’s enabled me to do things I really wanted to do.”

One of those things is to reboot his own environmental concerns. “I find the young generation has a sincerity and zeal lacking from my own generation,” he says. “After rationing, we were the first who had the freedom to do anything we wanted. That led to a glorious feeling of freedom in the Sixties, followed by the yuppie era in the Seventies and Eighties of conspicuous over-spending and extravagance.

“I think the young generation can show us you can believe something and act in the way you believe you should act. I feel very strongly, with my generation, that we all feel one way but [act] another.”

Mr Sanderson likes to equate the Heathrow protest to the scene in E. Nesbit’s The Railway Children, where the youngsters step on to the tracks and wave red bloomers at a passing train to avert it from disaster. In the following chapter, the children are praised for their actions despite trespassing on the line.

Whether the judge agrees with him remains to be seen. But whatever happens to the Heathrow 13, the ranks of future airport expansion protests will be bolstered by one fruity voice – from the twilight, the oilman cometh.

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See earlier:

Supportive protest outside start of Plane Stupid’s #Heathrow13 trial for Heathrow incursion in July

The trial of the 13 members of Plane Stupid, who broke into Heathrow airport on 13th July, started at Willesden Magistrates Court on 18th. They are charged with Aggravated Trespass and entering a security restricted area. Their protest caused the cancellation of some 25 flights, which saved an estimated 250 tonnes of CO2. In doing so, they argue that helped to save lives in the Global South, by making a small cut in the emissions that fuel climate chaos. All 13 are pleading not guilty, and say their action was reasonable and justified in the climate context. They say “Climate defence is not an offence!” The judge hearing the case, by herself, is Judge Wright. The prosecution has been brought by the CPS. There was a large gathering outside the court, for the start of the trial, with many groups expressing their solidarity. This started with a short statement by the #Heathrow13 on their defence, before they entered the court to repeated chants of “No ifs, No Buts, No new runways!” Judge Wright declared that the fact that aviation fuel is linked to climate change is indisputable. The judge is looking at two issues: 1. Did the 13 genuinely believe their actions were necessary to prevent death or serious illness? And 2. Whether objectively their actions were reasonable and proportionate in order to prevent death or serious illness.

Click here to view full story…

Read more »

First 2 days of the trial of Plane Stupid’s #Heathrow13 for their runway incursion in July

The trial of the #Heathrow13 is taking place at Willesden Magistrates Court, in front of Judge Wright. The 13 activists are charged with Aggravated Trespass and entering a security restricted area, with the prosecution by the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service). On the first day, evidence was given by two witnesses from Heathrow airport, on the extent to which the airport was disrupted by the protest, and the 20 flights that were cancelled. Two of the protesters gave evidence in the afternoon. On the second day, seven further witnesses gave evidence. The Judge has said she does not  need other expert witnesses to appear – Sian Berry and John McDonnell had offered to give evidence. On the 3rd day, proceedings finished early, after lunch.  It is likely that closing statements will be heard at 10am Monday 25th January, and the Judge’s verdict will not be before 2pm on Monday at Willesden Magistrates court. Plane Stupid have produced summaries of what the defendants said, while being questioned, and some of the arguments they made. All were very certain of the necessity for carbon emissions to be reduced, in order to prevent increasing risk of death and serious illness for people across the world, especially those in the Global South. All were very certain that actions, such as theirs, were reasonable and proportionate in order to cut CO2 emissions.
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#Heathrow13 Trial: Day 1

 

Solidarity Demo

The day got off to an amazing start. Around 100 supporters came to show solidarity in a demo called for by the national campaign network, Reclaim the Power. The demo began with a statement from the #Heathrow13, in which they explained why their actions were justified. They argued that the effects of climate change due to emissions from aviation are happening now and are being felt locally and globally, predominantly by those in the Global South who have least to do with causing climate change. They also stated that the failed “no ifs, no buts” promise of David Cameron further jeopardises our future. A video of the full statement can be seen here.

In addition to this there was singing from a radical choir, massive inflatable #redlinescobblestones and solidarity banners with international struggles against aviation, such as la Zad in France.

The #Heathrow13, then, proudly entered the court to chants of “No ifs, No Buts, No new runways!”, reminding everybody of David Cameron’s previous election promise.

The Day’s Proceedings

Inside the court, the day began with a discussion about the expert witness, Alice Bows-Larkin, who is a climate change and aviation expert. Unfortunately, it was decided that she would not be allowed to give evidence in the court. On the plus side, however, this was because Judge Wright declared that the fact that aviation fuel is linked to climate change is indisputable, which is a huge statement for a Judge to make.

Prosecution

Next, the Prosecution put forward their case. This was fairly straightforward, mainly confirming the facts that the 13 activists were: on the runway, created a structure of mesh fencing and a tripod, and that people locked-on to this structure in a variety of different ways in order to prevent as many flights as possible from taking off. A Police video was played in court showing this. Chuckles may have been heard when a polar bear on top of the tripod came into shot. None of these facts are contested by the activists.

The Prosecution then called 2 witnesses: Mr OxbyHead of Business Resilience, and Mr ThomasFlow Manager. They mainly gave evidence about the supposed level of disruption caused to the airport. On cross examination, however, it was made clear that despite causing 25 flights to be cancelled, the impact on passengers could not be separated from the effects of weather, nor was it likely that the number of passengers supposedly affected was accurate given that most flights cancelled were short haul and therefore it is likely that passengers could be moved onto later flights.
Mr Oxby claimed that Heathrow airport contributes around £7bn to the UK economy. He was unable to answer, however, if this took into account the negative impacts of climate change, for example, the £5bn cost of the recent floods in the North of England, which scientists from Oxford university say has a 40% probability to have been caused by climate change. Nor could he say if it took into account the cost of 3,000 hospital admissions every year due to London air pollution.

Defendants’ Evidence

In the second half of the day, the first two defendants gave their evidence in court. This first began with Ms Ella Gilbert who, having two climate change related degrees, brought the science of climate change into the courtroom – quite literally as the lawyers presented a huge ring-bound folder of peer-reviewed science, which Ms. Gilbert said was only a selection of the most seminal papers which have informed her decision to take part in this action against climate change.

She stated that papers such as the IPCC’s 2015 report laid out the science clearly; that the evidence was ‘unequivocal’ that climate change is ‘human induced’ and that the recent warming is ‘unprecedented’. Thus, the need for radical action.

She further highlighted the impacts of climate change on sea level, the spread of disease, agriculture, and extreme weather – all of which are going to hit the Global South hardest.

She also added that that following the 2008 Climate Change Act it has been recommended that a cap on aviation emissions be set at 2005 levels. However, aviation is the fastest growing source of CO2 in the UK, and we are set to miss the 2050 targets at this rate.

The second defendant to take the stand was Mr Sender, who grew up under the flight path and has lived in the Heathrow villages for around three years. This meant that he has personal first hand knowledge of the impacts of Heathrow on local health, such as the ‘Heathrow Cough’, the increased levels of asthma and the fact that every Londoner has their life expectancy cut short by two years due to air pollution.

Judge Wright pressed both defendants on why they chose to stop emissions from aviation when other transport such as cars cause a larger amount of CO2 in the UK. It was mentioned, however, that in the area surrounding Heathrow, the majority of traffic is related to the airport and therefore cannot be separated. (Also, perhaps we should also fight roads and cars too – like the Combe Haven Defenders do!).

Both defendants came across as knowledgeable, passionate and reasonable individuals. So much so that Judge Wright repeatedly stated that she had no doubt about the genuine beliefs of the activists in taking this action.

The trial continues tomorrow, in Willesden Magistrates Court, with around seven more defendants giving evidence.

http://www.planestupid.com/blog


 

 

#Heathrow13 Trial: Day 2

19.1.2016 (Plane Stupid blog)The second day of trial got off to a roaring start, with 5 more defendants giving evidence in the morning session, and 3 in the afternoon.

Amusingly, after getting schooled yesterday by Ella Gilbert on the use of “Third World”, the prosecution lawyer McGhee has rather taken to using the term “Global South”. If nothing else, that’s an achievement in itself.

The Prosecution has been trying to prove that any effect we had on emissions was minimal in the grand scheme of things. Those who have given evidence so far have refuted this by comparing the emissions saved by cancelling 25 flights to the energy usage of individuals and households in the UK, and confirming that in absolute terms, the figures are astounding.Stopping a flight is probably the most significant action an individual can take to reduce emissions, if you consider that the average UK citizen generates 9.4 tonnes of CO2 in a year, and the average household uses 20.7 tonnes (and a flight emits about 11).

All the defendants have detailed the lengths which they have gone to in order to change their own lifestyles – most of us have not flown in several years, do not drive and are actively involved in campaigning.

Mel Strickland kicked off the day’s proceedings, delivering measured, sincere and impassioned evidence.  She emphasised that the actions of Plane Stupid on the 13th of July were a direct action, which directly reduced emissions from aviation by preventing aircraft from taking off. She drew on expert testimony from Alice Bows-Larkin to show that this was a reasonable and proportionate response, given that Heathrow represents 48% of UK emissions from aviation, and that aviation cannot be decarbonised.

“We are 13 ordinary people who find ourselves in an impossible situation…with the colossal problem of climate change. We don’t have the power, influence or resources that Heathrow does and there is no political will to change things via legal procedures.”

Mel told the Prosecutor in her cross-examination that it is those who are unrepresented and have no stake in the political process, the millions who are suffering as a result of climate change, and local residents breathing poisonous air who she had in mind on that runway.

Amazingly, at this point, the Judge acknowledged that CO2 emissions cause climate change, with potentially “catastrophic” effects, and that aviation contributes to this.

Mel went on to say that efforts beyond the law are essential to democracy, and she exemplified, “That’s why you’re a Judge, Madam, because of the efforts of the suffragettes” ; hands-down most badass retort to the judge all day (or any day)!

She ended on another powerful note: “This action was a carefully considered minimum possible response to total political failure to tackle climate change. We felt it was a basic moral commitment to act.”  BOOM!

Next up, Dr. Rob Basto gave an emotional and clear testimony. He was typically modest, underplaying the understanding he has as a result of years of work and the small matter of a PhD in atmospheric physics. As he mentioned, the Arctic may be nearly ice-free in the summer by mid-century. Rob cited reading about this 15 years ago (when it was nowhere near as certain) as one of the pivotal and terrifying moment when he really became aware of climate change.

Rob also spoke emotively about the impacts of Heathrow Airport’s toxic air pollution on his sister-in-law’s health. He drew a useful analogy with smoking – we have a law against smoking inside. By preventing one person from smoking, you are improving the health and life outcomes of everyone in the room. Just because there is no identifiable person or effect does not mean the law to prevent people smoking inside is any less valid. Cancelling flights is like this – one less plane is 11 tonnes more CO2 that is not emitted.

We all have a responsibility to act, and the danger is now, and Rob isn’t going to stand idly by while people die, and neither will any of the other defendants.

Graham Thompson is a veteran climate campaigner, and he explained at length the negative effects of emissions from aviation, particularly at high altitude. As he noted, Heathrow is a huge point source of emissions, second in the UK only to Drax Power Station.

Judge Wright’s patience began to “wear thin” after Graham continued to elaborate on climate change’s relationship with Heathrow, but again she noted that she was prepared to believe that all the defendants feel passionately about the issues and feel they’ve been “banging their heads against a brick wall.”

Edge-of-the-seat stuff! What a result! Graham’s best quotes were tough to decide; it’s a clincher between these two:

“I’m sometimes concerned that I’m not doing enough, but I’ve never been worried I’m doing too much”

“I don’t believe I am entitled to break the law generally. I felt like breaking the law was not the most serious issue in this particular instance.”

The Judge keeps coming back to the issue that the emissions prevented were a tiny fraction of those emitted globally – however, this doesn’t detract from the fact that the world is 250 tonnes of CO2 better off as a result.

Next up: the polar bear (AKA Cameron Kaye).  Cameron is a community campaigner who lives in the Heathrow villages and is involved with grassroots groups like HACAN and SHE. He restated that the Davies Report had been the final straw in terms of the campaign.

When pressed by the Judge, he described the difference between a direct action such as ours and a protest. Direct action stops the issue that one is concerned about, whereas a protest is more about raising awareness and lobbying. On the issue of necessity: “I felt like I didn’t have a choice any more.”

Comically, Cameron was grilled about why he was dressed as a polar bear – this mainly focused on the visual connotations and imagery associated as a means to suggest our actions were a publicity stunt.

Danielle Paffard, a “Professional Environmental Campaigner”, took to the witness box next. She came out swinging with some comparisons and statistics on climate and aviation emissions. As she pointed out, 2015 was the hottest year on record and contained news of Indonesian forest fires, floods in the UK and droughts in California.

Before Danni could get much further the judge interjected to prevent the trial becoming a“political platform”.

Even the people we hire to think about the impacts of aviation and climate change are being ignored by government. This represents a “huge failure in democratic processes [around Heathrow] and actions needs to be taken”. There are no other avenues to take. As Danni aptly put it, “Given the scale of the challenge, I think it was completely reasonable. Given the scale of the challenge, I think it was completely necessary.” Every tonne of carbon counts, especially when we’re running out of time.

The award for the best out of context quote for the day goes to District Judge Wright:

“Were you taking action in order to save the apples?”

Lucky number 8, Alistair Tamlit, focused on the failure of the political process, and the effects of climate change on people in the global South who are not responsible for emissions from aviation. He defended our actions as “absolutely” necessary and“absolutely reasonable in the face of the scale of climate change.”

Sheila Menon rapidly followed, hailing climate change as a “human rights issue of gargantuan scale”. She reminded us that the window of opportunity to act on climate change is rapidly closing and therefore reinforced the urgency that underpinned our decision to act.Ordinary people are paying with their lives because economic growth and prosperity are prioritised over life and limb, and people around the world are discounted in decisions, alarmingly.

Sheila then highlighted the inadequacy of the Davies Commission’s findings in that they investigated which airport to expand rather than whether to expand at all. Deciding to fly more planes represents a “suicidal” decision, given that we are currently on track for 4°C warming, which would have severe implications across the world. Even sitting in the shade in the hottest parts of the world could lead to death from exhaustion and heat stroke.

The day concluded abruptly and somewhat dramatically with the Judge rescheduling and shortening the trial. Tomorrow is likely to be the last day of evidence, with the final 3 defendants giving evidence. Judgement is expected to be delivered next Wednesday, the 27th January.

http://www.planestupid.com/blogs/2016/01/19/heathrow13-trial-day-2

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See also

Supportive protest outside start of Plane Stupid’s #Heathrow13 trial for Heathrow incursion in July

The trial of the 13 members of Plane Stupid, who broke into Heathrow airport on 13th July, started at Willesden Magistrates Court on 18th. They are charged with Aggravated Trespass and entering a security restricted area. Their protest caused the cancellation of some 25 flights, which saved an estimated 250 tonnes of CO2. In doing so, they argue that helped to save lives in the Global South, by making a small cut in the emissions that fuel climate chaos. All 13 are pleading not guilty, and say their action was reasonable and justified in the climate context. They say “Climate defence is not an offence!” The judge hearing the case, by herself, is Judge Wright. The prosecution has been brought by the CPS. There was a large gathering outside the court, for the start of the trial, with many groups expressing their solidarity. This started with a short statement by the #Heathrow13 on their defence, before they entered the court to repeated chants of “No ifs, No Buts, No new runways!” Judge Wright declared that the fact that aviation fuel is linked to climate change is indisputable. The judge is looking at two issues: 1. Did the 13 genuinely believe their actions were necessary to prevent death or serious illness? And 2. Whether objectively their actions were reasonable and proportionate in order to prevent death or serious illness.

Click here to view full story…

.

 

 

Read more »

Supportive protest outside start of Plane Stupid’s #Heathrow13 trial for Heathrow incursion in July

The trial of the 13 members of Plane Stupid, who broke into Heathrow airport on 13th July, started at Willesden Magistrates Court on 18th. They are charged with Aggravated Trespass and entering a security restricted area. Their protest caused the cancellation of some 25 flights, which saved an estimated 250 tonnes of CO2. In doing so, they argue that helped to save lives in the Global South, by making a small cut in the emissions that fuel climate chaos. All 13 are pleading not guilty, and say their action was reasonable and justified in the climate context. They say “Climate defence is not an offence!” The judge hearing the case, by herself, is Judge Wright. The prosecution has been brought by the CPS. There was a large gathering outside the court, for the start of the trial, with many groups expressing their solidarity. This started with a short statement by the #Heathrow13 on their defence, before they entered the court to repeated chants of “No ifs, No Buts, No new runways!” Judge Wright declared that the fact that aviation fuel is linked to climate change is indisputable. The judge is looking at two issues:  1.  Did the 13 genuinely believe their actions were necessary to prevent death or serious illness?  And 2. Whether objectively their actions were reasonable and proportionate in order to prevent death or serious illness.
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All outside court

The 13 cut the fence and set up a tripod with a Heras fence triangle on the far eastern end of the northern runway, on 13th July, with many of them locked to each other, and to the structure.

 

Heathrow 13 Trial: Day 1

18/01/2016  (Plane Stupid Blog)


Today saw the beginning of the #Heathrow13 trail, who on the 13th of July 2015, occupied the Northern Runway at Heathrow airport. In doing so they cancelled 25 flights and saved an estimated 250 tonnes of CO2. In doing so, they argue that they have saved lives in the face of climate chaos. All 13 are pleading not guilty, as this action was reasonable and justified in the climate context. Climate defence is not an offence!

Solidarity Demo

The day got off to an amazing start. Around 100 supporters came to show solidarity in a demo called for by the national campaign network, Reclaim the Power. The demo began with a statement from the #Heathrow13, in which they explained why their actions were justified. They argued that the effects of climate change due to emissions from aviation are happening now and are being felt locally and globally, predominately by those in the Global South who have least to do with causing climate change. They also stated that the failed ‘no ifs, no buts’ promise of David Cameron further jeopardises our future. A video of the full statement can be seen here.

In addition to this there was singing from a radical choir, massive inflatable #redlines cobblestones and solidarity banners with international struggles against aviation, such as la Zad in France.

The #Heathrow13, then, proudly entered the court to chants of “No ifs, No Buts, No new runways!”

The day’s proceedings

Inside the court, the day began with a discussion about the expert witness, Alice Bows-Larkin, who is a climate change and aviation expert. Unfortunately, it was decided that she would not be allowed to give evidence in the court. On the plus side, however, this was because the Judge Wright declared that the fact that aviation fuel is linked to climate change is indisputable, which is a huge statement for a judge to make.

Prosecution

Next, the prosecution put forward their case. This was fairly straightforward, mainly confirming the facts that the 13 activists were: on the runway, created a structure of Heras fencing and a tripod and that people locked on in a variety of different ways in order to prevent as many flights as possible from taking off. A video was shown from the police, which showed this. Chuckles may have been heard when a polar bear on top of the tripod came into shot. None of these facts are contested by the activists.

The prosecution then called 2 witnesses: Mr Oxby the head of business resilience and Mr Thomas who is the ‘Flow Manager’. They mainly gave evidence about the supposed level of disruption caused to the airport. On cross examination, however, it was made clear that despite causing 25 flights to be cancelled, the impact on passengers could not be separated from the effects of weather, nor was it likely that the number of passengers supposedly affected was accurate given that most flights cancelled were short haul and therefore it is likely that passengers could be moved onto later flights.

Mr Oxby claimed that Heathrow airport contributes around £7bn to the UK economy. He was unable to answer, however, if this took into account the impacts of climate change, for example the costs from the recent floods in the North of England, which scientists from Oxford university say has a 40% probability to have been caused by climate change. Nor could he say if it took into account the local impacts on peoples health or early deaths.

Defendants Evidence

In the second half of the day, the first two defendants gave their evidence in court. This first began with Ella Gilbert, who having two climate change related degrees [the second a Masters in a climate science topic from the University of East Anglia], brought the science of climate change into the courtroom – quite literally as the lawyers presented a huge ring-bound folder of peer – reviewed science, which Ms. Gilbert said was only a selection of the most seminal papers which have informed her decision to take part in this action against climate change.

She stated that papers such as the IPCC’s 2015 report laid out the science clearly; that the evidence was ‘unequivocal’ that climate change is ‘human induced’ and that the recent warming is ‘unprecedented’. Thus, the need for radical action.

She further highlighted the impacts of climate change on sea level, the spread of disease, agriculture, and extreme weather – all of which are going to hit the Global South hardest.

She also added that that following the 2008 Climate Change act it has been recommended that a cap on aviation emissions be set at 2005 levels. However, aviation is the fastest growing source of CO2 in the UK, and we are set to miss the 2050 targets at this rate.

The second defendant to take the stand was Mr Sam Sender, who grew up under the flight path and has lived in the Heathrow villages for around 3 years. This meant that he has personal first hand knowledge of the impacts of Heathrow on local health, such as the ‘Heathrow Cough’, the increased levels of asthma and the fact that every Londoner has their life expectancy cut short by 2 years due to air pollution.

Judge Wright pressed both defendants on why they chose to stop emissions from aviation when other transport such as cars cause a larger amount of CO2 in the UK. It was mentioned, however, that in the area surrounding Heathrow, the majority of traffic is related to the airport and therefore cannot be separated. (Also, perhaps we should also fight roads and cars too – like the Combe Haven Defenders do!). [Judge Wright commented – paraphrasing her words – that as cars produce more CO2 per year than planes, “I’m not suggesting you do it” but why did the protesters not block a road to cut carbon?  AW note]

Both defendants came across as knowledgeable, passionate and reasonable individuals. So much so that Judge Wright repeatedly stated that she had no doubt about the genuine beliefs of the activists in taking this action.

The trial continues tomorrow, in Wilsden Magistrates, with around 7 more defendants giving evidence.

http://planestupid.com/blogs/2016/01/18/heathrow13-trial-day-1


 

The trial had been expected to last as long as two weeks.  However, Judge Wright does not appear to want to hear evidence from expert witnesses, so the process may be complete by Friday.  The Judge my even give her verdict by Friday this week, rather than take up court days – a valuable resource – next week.


More photos from the first day of the trial:

Natalie Bennett Shahrah Ali Jonathan EssexWith Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennett and Deputy Leader,  Shahrah Ali, and Jonathan Essex 

We are in it for the long haulPlane Stupid banner: “We are in it for the long haul” and Green Party “No New Runways” banner

Red line

La ZAD partout NDDL

Solidarity with the protesters at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, where a new runway for Nantes is planned – and where a protest attended by about 20,000 people took place on 9th January.

Aviation Expansion Climate Threat


Plane Stupid activists accused of chaining themselves to Heathrow runway hold protest outside court

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett joins dozens of protesters on first day of trial for campaigners who allegedly locked themselves to railings

Activists protest in front of Willesden Magistrates' Court

Activists protest in front of Willesden Magistrates’ Court Photo: Frank Augstein/AP

Thirteen members of the Plane Stupid group allegedly cut a hole in a fence before attaching themselves to railings in a protest againstexpansion that caused widespread delays for passengers.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett joined dozens of protesters with banners and signs outside court on Monday morning, the first day of the two-week trial.

“We are all pleading not guilty, as our actions were a reasonable, proportionate and justified response to the scale of the problem of climate change, a problem that aviation contributes massively to as the fastest growing source of carbon emissions,” the defendants said in a statement read by Rebecca Sanderson, one of the group members.

There was applause from the public gallery, which was packed with supporters, as the defendants entered the dock at Willesden Magistrates’ Court.

District Judge Deborah Wright warned the public to “behave” or they would be thrown out. “If you start behaving like that I will exclude you. This is a court it isn’t a theatre,” she said.

Speaking outside court, Ms Bennett said: “Our party applauds the determination of the Heathrow 13. We stand up for the activists just as they are standing up for our planet.

“Our party applauds the determination of the Heathrow 13. We stand up for the activists just as they are standing up for our planet”
Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader

“Bigger airports make no climate sense. The UK cannot make its contribution to cutting carbon emissions whilst expanding its airports and increasing emissions from aviation.

“If this Government is in any way serious about delivering climate-sensitive policies then airport expansion plans must be immediately shelved and other measures – including encouraging short-haul flight passengers on to existing rail services and introducing a frequent flyer tax – must be explored.”

The demonstration, at around 3.30am on July 13 2015, caused delays for passengers around the world and 22 flights out of the airport were cancelled.

It came after a long-awaited report recommended a new runway should be built at Heathrow, rather than Gatwick.

After three years of investigation, the Airports Commission said Heathrow was best placed to provide “urgently required” capacity.

But environmentalists warned that building a new runway there will make it harder to reduce air pollution and climate change emissions.

The seven men and six women took turns to stand and give their names and addresses.

They are charged with aggravated trespass and entering a security-restricted area of an aerodrome.

A supporter joins 13 climate change protestors from the activist group Plane Stupid at Brent Magistrates Court, January 18, 2016

A supporter joins 13 climate change protestors from the activist group Plane Stupid at Brent Magistrates Court   Photo: Jane Mingay/The Telegraph

It is alleged that they entered the northern runway at London Heathrow Airport, having trespassed on the land, and in relation to a lawful activity, namely the operations of landing and departing of aircraft which persons were engaged in on that land, did an act, namely erected a temporary structure and locked themselves to it, or within it, with the intent of disrupting that activity.

The second charge alleges that they entered a security-restricted area of an aerodrome without permission.

The defendants are:

Rebecca Sanderson, 28, of Machynlleth, Powys; Richard Hawkins, 32, and Kara Lauren Moses, 31, both of Machynlleth, Powys; Ella Gilbert, 23, of Norwich; Melanie Strickland, 32, of Waltham Forest, north-east London; Danielle Paffard, 28, of Peckham, south-east London; Graham Thompson, 42, of Hackney, east London; Sheila Menon, 43, of Hackney; Cameron Kaye, 23, Edward Thacker, 26, Alistair Tamlit, 27, and Sam Sender, 23, all of West Drayton, west London; Robert Basto, 67, of Reigate, Surrey.

Plane Stupid protesters on the northern runway at Heathrow on Monday morning

Plane Stupid protesters on the northern runway at Heathrow in July  Photo: @planestupid

Prosecutor Philip McGhee said: “It was in the early hours of July 13 last year that, apparently in protest at the prospect of a third runway being built at Heathrow Airport, these 13 defendants passed through part of a perimeter fence that had been cut near to the east end of the northern runway in the airport, breaching airport security.

“They got on to the northern runway and began the demonstration by way of erection of a large tripod of poles and fencing.

“They were either inside the fencing, locked to the outside of the fencing, in one case on top of the scaffolding tripod or in other cases were secured to each other.”

Thirteen Plane Stupic activists arrive at Willesden Magistrates' Court January 18, 2016Thirteen Plane Stupid activists arrive at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Monday  Photo: Jane Mingay/The Telegraph

Some of the defendants laughed or smiled as Mr McGhee described how Kaye was wearing a white polar bear suit and attached himself to the top of the scaffolding.

Police were forced to use “specialist cutting equipment” to free several of the defendants who had connected themselves to each other by their arms using tubes, glue and expanding foam, the court was told.

The trial continues.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/12105559/Plane-Stupid-activists-accused-of-chaining-themselves-to-Heathrow-runway-hold-protest-outside-court.html

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Richard Heinberg post COP21: “we may have to write off aviation as anything but a specialty transport mode”

After COP21, Richard Heinberg has had a long, hard look at how humanity can reduce consumption of fossil fuels and achieve the carbon reductions needed  before 2050. He only touches on aviation, but his message is very clear: Looking at shipping: “One way or another, global trade will have to shrink.” On aviation: “There is no good drop-in substitute for aviation fuels; we may have to write off aviation as anything but a specialty transport mode. Planes running on hydrogen or biofuels are an expensive possibility, as are dirigibles filled with (non-renewable) helium, any of which could help us maintain vestiges of air travel.” One recommendation: “Where key uses of fossil fuels are especially hard to substitute (aviation fuel, for example), argue for work-arounds (such as rail) or for the managed, gradual scaling down of those uses.”  And “It will likely require a global authority to determine how to direct the use of the world’s remaining burnable fossil fuels—whether toward the further growth of conventional manufacturing and transportation, or toward the build-out of renewable energy-based generation and consumption infrastructure. Only such an authority could globally prioritize and coordinate sectoral shifts….”
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Renewable Energy After COP21: Nine issues for climate leaders to think about on the journey home

By Richard Heinberg, from the Post Carbon Institute

This is a very long paper, well worth reading in its entirety.  Below are just a few extracts, especially relating to transport and aviation …… there is much, much more on a range of energy topics in the paper.

Full paper at

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2015-12-14/renewable-energy-after-cop21-nine-issues-for-climate-leaders-to-think-about-on-the-journey-home#

 

Extracts:

COP21 in Paris is over.  Now it’s back to the hard work of fighting for, and implementing, the energy transition.We all know that the transition away from fossil fuels is key to maintaining a livable planet. Several organizations have formulated proposals for transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy; some of those proposals focus on the national level, some the state level, while a few look at the global challenge. David Fridley (staff scientist of the energy analysis program at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory) and I have been working for the past few months to analyze and assess many of those proposals, and to dig deeper into energy transition issues—particularly how our use of energy will need to adapt in a ~100 percent renewable future.

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Level One: The “easy” stuff
Nearly everyone agrees that the easiest way to kick-start the transition would be to replace coal with solar and wind power for electricity generation. That would require building lots of panels and turbines while regulating coal out of existence. Distributed generation and storage (rooftop solar panels with home- or business-scale battery packs) will help. Replacing natural gas will be harder, because gas-fired “peaking” plants are often used to buffer the intermittency of industrial-scale wind and solar inputs to the grid (see Level Two).
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Transportation represents a large swath of energy consumption, and personal automobiles account for most of that. We could reduce oil consumption substantially if we all drove electric cars (replacing 250 million gasoline-fueled automobiles will take time and money, but will eventually result in energy and financial savings). But promoting walking, bicycling, and public transit will take much less time and investment, and be far more sustainable in the long-term.
The food system is a big energy consumer, with fossil fuels used in the manufacturing of fertilizers, in food processing, and transportation. We could reduce a lot of that fuel consumption by increasing the market share of organic, local foods. While we’re at it, we could begin sequestering enormous amounts of atmospheric carbon in topsoil by promoting farming practices that build soil rather than deplete it.
If we got a good start in all these areas, we could achieve at least a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions in ten to twenty years.
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Level Two: The harder stuff
Solar and wind technologies have a drawback: they provide energy intermittently. When they become dominant within our overall energy mix, we will have to accommodate that intermittency in various ways. We’ll need substantial amounts of grid-level energy storage as well as a major grid overhaul to get the electricity sector to 80 percent renewables (thereby replacing natural gas in electricity generation). We’ll also need to start timing our energy usage to better coincide with the availability of sunlight and wind energy. That in itself will present both technological and behavioral hurdles.
Electric cars aside, the transport sector will require longer-term and sometimes more expensive substitutions. We could reduce our need for cars (which require a lot of energy for their manufacture and de-commissioning) by densifying our cities and suburbs and reorienting them to public transit, bicycling, and walking. We could electrify all motorized human transport by building more electrified public transit and intercity passenger rail links. Heavy trucks could run on fuel cells, but it would be better to minimize trucking by expanding freight rail. Transport by ship could employ modern fsails to increase fuel efficiency (this is already being done on a tiny scale), but re-localization or de-globalization of manufacturing would be a necessary co-strategy to reduce the need for shipping.
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Level Three: The really hard stuff
Doing away with the last 20 percent of our current fossil fuel consumption is going to take still more time, research, and investment—as well as much more behavioral adaptation. Just one example: we currently use enormous amounts of cement for all kinds of construction activities. Cement making requires high heat, which could theoretically be supplied by sunlight, electricity, or hydrogen—but that will entail a nearly complete redesign of the process.
While with Level One we began a shift in food systems by promoting local organic food, driving carbon emissions down further will require finishing that job by making all food production organic, and requiring all agriculture to sequester carbon through building topsoil. Eliminating all fossil fuels in food systems will also entail a substantial re-design of those systems to minimize processing, packaging, and transport.
The communications sector—which uses mining and high heat processes for the production of phones, computers, servers, wires, photo-optic cables, cell towers, and more—presents some really knotty problems. The only good long-term solution in this sector is to make devices that are built to last a very long time and then to repair them and fully recycle and re-manufacture them when absolutely needed. The Internet could be maintained via the kinds of low-tech, asynchronous networks now being pioneered in poor nations, using relatively little power.
Back in the transport sector: we’ve already made shipping more efficient with sails in Level Two, but doing away with petroleum altogether will require costly substitutes (fuel cells or biofuels). One way or another, global trade will have to shrink. There is no good drop-in substitute for aviation fuels; we may have to write off aviation as anything but a specialty transport mode. Planes running on hydrogen or biofuels are an expensive possibility, as are dirigibles filled with (non-renewable) helium, any of which could help us maintain vestiges of air travel. Paving and repairing roads without oil-based asphalt is possible, but will require an almost complete redesign of processes and equipment.

One of the Recommendations: 

  • Where key uses of fossil fuels are especially hard to substitute (aviation fuel, for example), argue for work-arounds (such as rail) or for the managed, gradual scaling down of those uses.

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The technical coordination of the renewable transition is itself an enormous task, and currently nobody is handling it. It will likely require a global authority to determine how to direct the use of the world’s remaining burnable fossil fuels—whether toward the further growth of conventional manufacturing and transportation, or toward the build-out of renewable energy-based generation and consumption infrastructure. Only such an authority could globally prioritize and coordinate sectoral shifts (in agriculture, transport, manufacturing, and buildings) to reduce fossil fuel consumption as quickly as possible without reducing economic benefits in unacceptable ways.
But in the absence of such an international authority, the onus of this work will fall largely upon nonprofit environmental organizations and their funders, along with national and local governments.
One way or another, it’s time to make a plan—as comprehensive and detailed as we can manage—and run with it, revising it as we go. And to “sell” that plan, honestly but skillfully, to policy makers and our fellow citizens.

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2015-12-14/renewable-energy-after-cop21-nine-issues-for-climate-leaders-to-think-about-on-the-journey-home#

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Shipping, like aviation, slow and reluctant to agree any measures to limit global CO2 emissions

The international climate agreement in Paris still puts additional pressure on shipping to change, despite its exclusion from the text (with aviation). The Paris agreement should be signed by countries early in 2016 – it covers actions to cut carbon emissions, from 2020 onwards. Global shipping is a huge emitter of carbon, and is growing. Lloyds List says new ships being ordered now will have to meet design requirements and all ship operators need to be aware of the ship energy efficiency management plan. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is tasked with – eventually finding some mechanism to limit carbon emissions from the sector. It has been ineffective so far. Mention of work by the IMO was dropped from draft versions of the Paris agreement. In due course, some form of emissions trading system might be introduced. The EU aready has its pending requirements for all ships to report CO2 emissions on voyages to, from or between European ports — the so-called MRV rules, meaning monitoring, reporting and verification of annual CO2 emissions. The first year of results will have been collated by 2020. European NGO, T&E wants shipping to be part of the European ETS. Lobby groups have been appalled at the slow pace of the IMO in coming up with strong measures to curb CO2.
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Pressure still on for shipping to curb CO2

By Craig Eason and Gary Howard  (Lloyds List)

14 December 2015

 

THE international climate agreement in Paris still puts additional pressure on the maritime sector to change, despite not having a direct reference to shipping.

The Paris Agreement, as it is being called, is a text that commits member states of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to report their intentions to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and to then work towards stronger targets.

It is open for signatures from countries early next year and will cover actions and targets from 2020 onwards; there are existing agreements covering the period up until then.

While there is no immediate change to any regulation for shipping, there will be. In the meantime, owners ordering new ships will still need to ensure they are aware of existing design requirements for newbuildings, and all ship operators need to be aware of the ship energy efficiency management plan and the ship board certification that ships should carry.

The more immediate impact will be with the regulators, both regional and international, as they look to new regulations for four years’ time, and the pressure is on within diplomatic circles with lobbying to influence any outcome set to intensify.

According to climate experts, the simple fact that the Paris Agreement alludes to limiting the increase in average temperatures to “well below” 2°C and as close as possible to 1.5°C degrees rather than 2°C is significant.

 

Stronger regional pressure

Environmental lobby groups believe the Paris Agreement will make Europe amend its climate change regulations and there will be increased pressure as a result of the 1.5°C reference for the mechanisms it currently has, such as its emissions trading scheme, to be more demanding on industry.

This could well mean including transport, namely aviation and shipping.

The European Union already has its pending requirements for all ships to report CO2 emissions on voyages to, from or between European ports — the so-called MRV rules, meaning monitoring, reporting and verification of annual CO2 emissions.

The first year of results will have been collated by 2020 and could be used as the basis for setting targets for shipping in the newly revised EU climate rules.

Additionally, one of the lobby groups pushing for strong rules for shipping, Transport and Environment, sees the potential for shipping to be part of the European emissions trading system as a chance to create an alternative compensation fund.

Shipowners could pay it in the compensation fund instead of being in the ETS, argues T&E policy adviser Sotiris Raptis. He likens this to proposals for a bunker levy, saying that it is what shipowner lobby groups such as the International Chamber of Shipping have said they prefer.

However, this is still regional, so there is the work at the International Maritime Organization. The text that was initially proposed for the Paris agreement by European environment ministers, and has now been removed, alluded to the role of the IMO in creating the measures for shipping to curb its CO2. However, it was vague and did not suggest that the IMO link shipping with a specific reduction target or emission cap.

European Community Shipowners’ Association secretary-general Patrick Verhoeven told Lloyd’s List that the omitted text was “perfect” for Ecsa.

“It really put the confidence within the IMO, and if it had been approved then that would have been an important signal for Europe; that was the key issue we were looking for.”

Whereas Ecsa was hoping the text would stunt European regulatory ambition, the International Chamber of Shipping is glad the proposed text was omitted, as ICS secretary general Peter Hinchliffe told Lloyd’s List: “We were uncomfortable and think it would have inhibited the IMO debate if the UNFCCC had actually told IMO what kind of mechanism to use.

“That would deny IMO the ability to look at the mechanism in the round and see what the impact would be not only on the industry, but on world trade.”

Emissions experts have also said there was a clear change in the message that came from businesses at the Paris meeting. A consortium of businesses, including some big charterers, were vocal about the need for strong measures to be adopted. Anne Marie Warris, director of environmental consultancy Ecoreflect, said one of the notable voices was among the Danish Shipowners’ Association, where a number of members have been increasingly vocal about the need for policy change.

She also pointed out that the Paris Agreement, while pushing for emissions targets that will help achieve a much less than two degree temperature change, has text that does encourage other UN bodies, which would include the IMO, to do the same.

IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu said: “The absence of any specific mention of shipping in the final text will in no way diminish the strong commitment of IMO as the regulator of the shipping industry to continue work to address [greenhouse gas] emissions from ships engaged in international trade.”

Strong, bold and international

Lobby groups have repeatedly said they are appalled at the slow pace of the IMO in coming up with strong measures to curb CO2.

While groups such as Transport and Environment lambast the IMO member states, it does recognise, as does nearly everyone, that the IMO is the only place where strong global rules can be created.

Both the ICS and Ecsa are hoping that political will from COP21 will bring new momentum to discussions at the IMO next year, and hasten the introduction of international MRV regulation ahead of the EU’s own policy.

“IMO MRV should be in place and a mandatory requirement by January 1, 2018,” said Mr Hinchliffe, adding that such a quick turnaround would prove to Europe that the IMO can act equally quickly, and that it can create more successful global legislation, giving a better perspective on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

One of the problems has been the disagreement between developed and developing countries both at the UNFCCC and the IMO. While the Kyoto Protocol had different commitments, the developing nations were reluctant to agree on CO2 measures at the IMO as it might be seen as a weakening of their position at the UNFCCC.

Ms Warris from Ecoreflect believes that as there is much more accord following the  Paris Agreement, this could lead to more co-operation at the IMO, especially when the Marine Environment Protection Committee meets in the spring.

MEPC has on its agenda the development of a global system for ships to monitor and report annual CO2 emissions. Member states had been stalling the development of any other measures until after the Paris meeting. With two meetings of the MEPC in 2016 there could be some headway in developing agreement next year, allowing for it to be established and running before 2020.

Once up and running and the first year of data collected then comes the task of creating further, probably market based, measures to curb shipping’s CO2.

Whether this remains simply the measurement of CO2, or includes elements of the cargo carried such as the transport work done, by ships has yet to be decided.

The shipowners want see the global system for monitoring up and running. Not only would this put pressure on the EU to drop its regional MRV and the risk of the regional system being linked to the EU ETS, but it would also a give more accurate data.

The ICS is cautious on what this data could be used for. Although it was open to a passage deferring to the IMO to regulate shipping emissions, the ICS went to Paris to push for shipowners to be left to do their own work on reducing CO2 from ships and for any future regulation to be self-regulation, citing statistical proof for its argument.

Lobby groups dismiss this. They argue the time period used by the ICS is misleading as it compares pre-crisis 2007 figures, when emissions are accepted as being exceptionally high, and disagree with the statistics the ICS used to make its case.

http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/sector/ship-operations/article475690.ece

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See earlier:

 

Ship emissions reporting ‘must be stepping stone to CO2 target’

Shipping users will for the first time be granted access to transparent data that identifies the most efficient ships and practices, under a law approved by the European Parliament in full today. The public disclosure of fuel efficiency data will enhance competition for the best ships and routes, which in turn will trigger market forces that will result in fuel savings. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) said the measure is astepping stone to CO2 targets that will start delivering much-needed cuts to shipping’s ever-growing emissions.

The Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) regulation will require ship operators to publicly report information on the environmental performance of ships. [1] Cargo owners and ship operators have been crying out for efficiency data – some already adhere to a similar yet voluntary ‘Clean Shipping Index’ – as the more cargo a ship can carry using the same amount of fuel, the more efficient, cleaner and cheaper the service. [2]

But fuel efficiency improvements will be offset by the increase in transport demand. In its latest greenhouse gas (GHG) study the UN’s shipping body, the IMO, projects a 50 to 250% rise in shipping emissions by 2050. [3]

Sotiris Raptis, clean shipping officer at T&E, said: “This law is expected to produce a virtuous circle of increased transparency, increased competition and greater fuel efficiency. But this is where our cheering stops. Given that the sector’s rapid growth is set to outstrip efficiency gains, only CO2 targets under the EU’s 2030 plan and Energy Union can deliver actual emissions cuts.”

EU governments will have an opportunity to support a global CO2 target for the sector when the IMO’s environment committee (MEPC) debates a submission from the Marshall Islands in two weeks time.

“The Marshall Islands, the existence of which is threatened by rising sea levels, has called for a global reduction target on maritime carbon emissions. When the holders of the world’s third largest shipping registry can see the existential threat posed by rising shipping emissions, it’s time for European nations to step up to the plate and support definitive action at the IMO,” Sotiris Raptis concluded.

Currently ships are responsible for over 3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If these emissions were reported as a country, maritime transport would be Europe’s eighth largest emitter. According to the latest IMO study on GHG emissions from ships, under a business-as-usual scenario, shipping could represent 10% of global GHG emissions by 2050.

http://www.transportenvironment.org/press/ship-emissions-reporting-%E2%80%98must-be-stepping-stone-co2-target%E2%80%99

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Shipping emissions 17% of global CO2, making it the elephant in the climate negotiations room

Shipping could be responsible for 17% of global CO2 emissions in 2050 if left unregulated, according to a new scientific study. Any agreement at the Paris Climate Summit must therefore send a clear signal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that CO2 reduction targets and measures for shipping are needed to help keep warming below dangerous levels, according to NGOs Seas At Risk, Transport & Environment (T&E) and the Marine Conservation Society.

Emissions from shipping, along with aviation, are the elephant in the COP21 negotiations room, the groups said in a dossier presented to delegates arriving for the IMO’s 2015 Assembly in London today.

Almost 40% of all CO2 emissions in 2050 will be caused by shipping and aviation if left unregulated, the study published by the European Parliament found. However the IMO, the UN body tasked with tackling the climate impacts of shipping, has so far failed to grasp the nettle on shipping’s growing contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions [1], while the proposal for emissions cuts from industry – as represented by the International Chamber of Shipping – would fall short of what shipping needs to do to help meet the 2°C warming target limit by some 121%.

The European Parliament’s study took into account the IMO’s own research which found that shipping GHG emissions are up 70% since 1990 and are projected to grow by up to a further 250% by 2050 [2]. Shipping currently accounts for nearly 3% of global CO2 emissions – higher than those of Canada, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, France or the United Kingdom. All these countries have now pledged domestic emissions cuts ahead of next month’s talks but the IMO’s Secretary General thinks differently having recently claimed publicly that “…measures aimed at reducing shipping’s overall contribution of CO2 emissions… must be avoided” [3].

Without inclusion of ship GHG emissions in the Paris agreement and significant additional action to reduce emissions, shipping will consume a growing proportion of the 2 degree carbon budget and ultimately make it all but impossible to meet climate stabilisation targets.

Seas At Risk and T&E are members of the Clean Shipping Coalition [4], which has Observer status at the IMO. They are calling urgently on the IMO Assembly delegates to set a major course correction. Countries participating in the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) need to agree that the IMO should set targets and agree emissions re­duction measures that are consistent with shipping making a fair and pro­portionate contribution to keeping warming below 1.5/2 degrees.

Sotiris Raptis, shipping policy officer at T&E, said: “Now we know that, left unregulated, ships and airplanes could be responsible for almost 40% of global emissions in 2050 if other sectors decarbonise. Any deal in Paris must lead to an emissions reduction target and measures for shipping and aviation, otherwise the efforts of all other sectors of the global economy to meet the 2 degree target could be derailed.

John Maggs, policy advisor at Seas At Risk and President of the Clean Shipping Coalition said: “Paris should be the moment when the world sets itself on a course that avoids dangerous climate change. To achieve this all will have to play their part; there is no room for shirking responsibility or special pleading, least of all from an industry like shipping that has so much untapped potential to reduce emissions and move to a low carbon business model.”

 

Notes to editors:

[1] http://www.cleanshipping.org/imo-left-to-its-own-devices-has-failed-to-tackle-shippings-ghg-emissions/.

[2] International Maritime Organisation, Reduction of GHG emissions from ships – Third IMO GHG Study 2014, (July 2014) http://www.imo.org/OurWork/Environment/PollutionPrevention/AirPollution/Documents/MEPC%2067-INF.3%20-%20Third%20IMO%20GHG%20Study%202014%20-%20Final%20Report%20%28Secretariat%29.pdf.

[3] www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/HotTopics/GHG/Documents/Shipping%20and%20climate%20change.pdf

[4] The Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC) is the only global international environmental organisation that focuses exclusively on shipping issues. It has eight member organisations and is an observer at the IMO. http://www.cleanshipping.org/about/

http://www.transportenvironment.org/press/shipping-emissions-17-global-co2-making-it-elephant-climate-negotiations-room

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