Aviation industry worldwide faces pressure to make progress on its carbon emissions

Lengthy American article that looks, in a fairly general way, at the likelihood of some mechanism being put in place, in the foreseeable future, to regulate carbon emissions from the aviation industry. The industry is unlikely to achieve the carbon cuts it hoped for from using biofuels. There are only limited efficiencies that can be made by higher load factors and more efficient routing, and other gains are needed from newer aircraft with better engines and lighter materials. However, these will be slow to replace existing planes, due to the economics with improvements only incremental. Air traffic growth is set to triple the industry’s global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  If commercial aviation were a country, it would rank 7th in global greenhouse gas emissions.  Politically, it depends on whether the United Nations ICAO can establish agreement among member states on a regulatory mechanism, which in turn may depend largely on whether the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chooses to regulate aviation emissions.  There is a risk that action taken by governments and industry may be politically feasible but scientifically ineffectual. There is no guarantee that the 2016 ICAO meeting will result in binding obligations.
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Aviation industry faces pressure to stop GHG threat

By Valerie Brown (Climate News Network)

OREGON, 1 January, 2015

“Air traffic growth is set to triple the industry’s global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050”

Emissions from planes are a major clause of climate change, yet they remain unregulated. Can they be curbed in time to protect the planet?

− If commercial aviation were a country, it would rank seventh in global greenhouse gas emissions according to a recent report by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).

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The aviation industry is growing so quickly that its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are expected on present trends to triple globally by 2050. The industry itself is committed to reducing its emissions, but technological and political constraints are hindering rapid progress.

Technologically, the fate of aviation GHGs depends on how much more fuel-efficient airplanes can become, and how soon lower-carbon fuels can be made available at a palatable cost. [Not to mention, without competing with other uses for the fuel or resources.  AW note].

Politically, it depends on whether the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) can establish agreement among member states on a regulatory mechanism, which in turn may depend largely on whether – and when – the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chooses to regulate aviation emissions.

A final unknown is whether the sector’s efforts can produce results in time to avoid climate catastrophe.

By 2050,the aviation industry aims to halve its CO2 emissions compared with 2005 levels, says Steve Csonka, executive director of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative, a US public-private partnership.  [This is largely by buying offsets from other sectors, rather than carbon cuts by the industry itself.  AW note]. 

Falling behind
The group is exploring biomass-derived synthetic jet fuel,  which includes oils from plants and algae, crop and forest product residues, fermented sugars and municipal solid waste.

While this type of fuel can, in principle, be used in jet engines today, Csonka says the most important goal in the near term is to develop alternatives to petroleum-based fuel “at a reasonable price point”. A few airlines are buying alternative fuels at a higher price to encourage the market, Csonka adds, but widespread adoption awaits competitive pricing. [And avoidance of any fuel that competes, directly or indirectly, with human food needs.  AW note].

Aviation fuel efficiency has been increasing, but it is not keeping pace with the sector’s growth. The ICCT report finds there was no improvement between 2012 and 2013, [in US airlines]  and that the gap between the most and least efficient airlines widened − with American Airlines burning 27% more fuel than Alaska Airlines for the same level of service.

This gap suggests the industry could reduce GHG emissions significantly if the least efficient airlines would emulate the most efficient, says Daniel Rutherford, the ICCT’s programme director for aviation and a co-author of its report.

Most of the reductions so far have come from carrying more passengers per flight, replacing old engines and buying new, more efficient planes.

Like most businesses, airlines don’t want to replace equipment until it makes economic sense. Nor does the industry want to be pinned to standards like those in the US auto industry, which would force “airplanes to improve to a certain degree every year or x number of years”, Csonka says.

Limited reductions

Such standards “completely overlook the capital ramifications” for the airlines, he adds, and companies’ profitability is a major factor in the pace at which they can replace old equipment. But the ICCT report suggests that airlines that have spent the most on new, efficient planes are also the most profitable.

Airplanes are at a disadvantage compared with vehicles and power stations. At present there are no low-carbon or no-carbon technologies − such as solar, fuel cells, nuclear reactors, electricity, or hydrogen combustion − that will work for aviation. Nor are there market-ready radically different airframe or engine designs.

Fuels derived from plants such as switchgrass, corn and algae can be used in existing engines, but to provide the same energy they need to be “essentially identical” to petroleum-derived kerosene, Csonka says. And if their hydrocarbon structure is the same, burning them will emit the same GHGs.

The advantage of synthetics, Csonka adds, is that “we are pulling recycled carbon out of the biosphere and not out of the ground”, which reduces the net carbon footprint − provided the fuels’ production does not generate too many GHGs itself.  [Except when there are lot of fossil fuel inputs into the production of the fuels, as there are.  AW note].

For the foreseeable future, this is the best that can be expected from alternative fuels. This means there is a limit on how much aviation’s net GHG emissions can be reduced, even with alternative fuels, as long as the commercial airline fleet changes only incrementally and no major technological breakthroughs reach the market.

However, there are new engines, materials and aircraft designs now available that can make a big difference, Rutherford says: “We project that the fuel burn for new aircraft can be reduced by as much as 45% in 2030 [compared with what??]  through pretty aggressive technology and development, better engines, improved aerodynamics and lighter materials.”

Campaigners would like to see regulation obliging the industry to increase efficiency by improving faster.

Aviation needs a global policy and enforcement structure; all major airlines’ aircraft emit GHGs globally. This problem brought the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to its knees in 2014.

The ETS, which came into effect in 2012, charges airlines for their emissions in European Economic Area airspace. When non-EU airlines protested, the European Commission temporarily exempted flights to or from non-EU airports but still charged for emissions within EU airspace.

Washington, one of the most energetic lobbyists against the charges, forbade its airlines by law from paying the EU fees. The US also threatened trade sanctions, and China suspended its orders from European airplane manufacturer Airbus. There is now a moratorium on extra-EU carbon charges, pending the results of the next ICAO meeting in 2016.

No hurry

But despite the EU’s surrender to foreign pressure, many observers think the dispute has increased pressure on the ICAO to devise a meaningful emissions reduction programme.

The ICAO’s actions are expected to be closely co-ordinated with those of the US Environmental Protection Agency. Within the US, GHGs are regulated by the EPA under the Clean Air Act, which requires action if an air pollutant is found to endanger the public. The US Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that GHGs are pollutants. [2007] 

Several US environmental NGOs say the EPA is dragging its feet on deciding “whether emissions cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare”.

It has refused repeated requests for an interview with an expert source and says it does not see the need for an interview. The agency expects to issue any regulations in 2016 − presumably in time for the ICAO meeting.

But there is no doubt that the EPA will have to produce an endangerment finding and eventually issue a regulation, says Vera Pardee, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity who worked on the NGOs’ notice to the EPA.

Politics versus science?

In 2013 the ICAO committed to what the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions calls “an aspirational mid-term goal of zero carbon emissions growth for the aviation industry beginning in 2020”.  [Due largely to buying offsets from sectors that are actually cutting carbon emissions, not from aviation industry cuts. The industry hopes for about 1.5% carbon  efficiency gains per year up to 2020.  AW note ]

In addition, Csonka says, the aviation industry has accepted the notion of “a market-based mechanism to offset if we miss that goal in an international environment. Our industry will have carbon monetised from 2020 onward to some degree.”

Yet time is vital, and there is a risk that action taken by governments and industry may be politically feasible but scientifically ineffectual. There is no guarantee that the 2016 ICAO meeting will result in binding obligations.

In the meantime, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change currently aims at a 40%-70% drop in total global GHG emissions by 2050 to avoid a greater than 2˚C rise in global temperature. In January 2013, climate scientist Thomas Stocker warned in the journal Science [Jan 2013] that delayed action results in the “fast and irreversible shrinking, and eventual disappearance, of the mitigation options with every year of increasing greenhouse gas emissions”.

But the next two years are likely to see a firming up of the aviation industry’s commitment to GHG reductions and some sort of international mechanism to charge for emissions.

There are signs that industry experts and green advocates are cautiously optimistic. “I see the EPA’s domestic regulation of the airlines as a real catalyst for global action,” says Pardee. “If the EPA acts, the rest of the world will have to follow”. And Csonka adds: “The future is somewhat bright.” – Climate News Network

•Valerie Brown, based in Oregon, US, is a freelance science writer focusing on climate change and environmental health. She is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and Society of Environmental Journalists.

 

http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/aviation-industry-faces-pressure-stop-ghg-threat/

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American blog “Love and long-distance travel in the time of climate change”

In a thoughtful, soul-searching article by an American climate campaigner, Eve, she sets out her dilemma about flights across the States to visit her family several times each year. About a year earlier, a meteorologist in the US, Eric Holthaus, vowed not to fly again – after he understood just how serious the issue of climate change had become, and how large a part of his personal carbon footprint flying had become. With thousands of other Americans, Eve was influenced by Eric Holthaus. She writes of her difficulties in having lived a typical American life, involving studying and working in places far from home,  yet wanting to keep in regular contact with parents and family. She describes the sadness of choosing not going home to visit parents. “It is very, very strange to be in a position now — and I don’t think I’m alone — where I find myself weighing seeing the people I love against my own complicity in the global climate crisis.” And  “Never before has our economy been so effortlessly globalized that jobs pull people back and forth across countries and oceans, and never before have we had so much evidence that the systems and habits we’ve created to actually live in that economy are quite literally destroying the planet.”
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On Twitter

I just broke down in tears in boarding area at SFO while on phone with my wife. I’ve never cried because of a science report before.

Love and long-distance travel in the time of climate change

By Eve Andrews  (Grist – USA)

24 Dec 2014

This is the first time in my life that I’ve spent the holidays in a fairly unfamiliar place, surrounded by fairly unfamiliar people. For Jews, Christmastime can always be a little weird – it’s readily acknowledged that Christmas is a holiday that everyone observes to some extent, simply by nature of everything being closed, but my family really does not. We’ve always celebrated Hanukkah, which is even more awkwardly placed than Christmas relative to Thanksgiving, and yet I’ve always been able to be with family for at least part of it, because I’ve never lived 2,500 miles away from home before.

Since moving to Seattle, it takes me about seven hours (there are no direct flights) to fly to my hometown of Pittsburgh — the city in which I was born and raised, where my parents and sister and brother-in-law live, and that will always, always hold a not-insignificant piece of my heart. I know some people who dread returning to the cities that have known them as bratty children and awkward adolescents, and I am not one of them. For all of my (admittedly brief) adult life, I have cried through each takeoff from the PIT tarmac, bound for whichever city I called home at the time.

When talking with my parents about travel plans to come home this year around the holidays, I figured I had to choose between Christmastime and Thanksgiving. Since, as stated above, we don’t really do Christmas, the choice seemed obvious.

“But we’ll pay for you to fly home whenever you want because we want to see you,” said the very loving and generous people whom I am incredibly privileged to call my parents. “If it’s a matter of money, it’s not an issue!”

But it’s not just a matter of money. I don’t know whether or not to be embarrassed by this, but I am still haunted by an article written by Slate meteorologist Eric Holthaus detailing how he was brought to tears by the IPCC’s report on climate change.

“…[L]ater that day, I was on the phone with my wife, getting ready to board a plane in San Francisco and thinking about the report more existentially. Any hope for a healthy planet seemed to be dwindling, a death warrant written in stark, black-and-white data. It came as a shock.

“This was our chance,” I told her, crying. “And it’s gone.”

Holthaus evaluated his own carbon footprint, and realized that flying regularly was his single largest contribution to the emissions that are warming our world.

I remember, vividly, reading Holthaus’ essay for the first time from the comfort of the couch in my cozy apartment in Chicago, which I shared with my then-boyfriend, in the midst of putting together my application for the Grist fellowship. I didn’t have a particularly strong background in environmental issues at the time, and was attempting to get a better grasp on the things I would hopefully be writing about. Well, I thought, after finishing the last sentence, fuck.

Not two hours after reading that, we had a conversation about what would happen if I were offered the fellowship.

“It’s not that long of a flight,” he said. “We could probably visit each other once a month!”

I racked up in my head how many flights that would be, and thought about rising sea levels, and terrible heat waves, and hurricanes in New York and New Orleans. And then I thought about our relationship of 3+ years and how much I loved him, and felt – ironically enough – so, so selfish for thinking about those other things.

Instead of flying to Seattle for the job, I bought a car and we drove from Chicago together. It was something I wanted to do for two reasons: Practically, to be able to schlep all my stuff across the country, and theoretically, to be able to comprehend the distance. With each of the days and hundreds of miles of snow-covered plains and mountains that passed, the air in the car between us seemed to grow heavier. We spent my 25th birthday driving across western Montana in long periods of silence, and I thought about the glaciers to our north receding.

Somewhere in western Montana.Somewhere on I-90 in western Montana. Eve Andrews
Humans are causing climate change. Contrary to what some politicians head-scratchingly argue, this is a matter of fact. And the onus of putting the brakes on what has become a runaway train of carbon emissions lies squarely on governments and major corporations.

But the single biggest change that I can make, as just one individual human, is to cut down on the amount of times I get on a plane. Upon realizing that, the extent to which all the people I love are scattered across the country has never been more apparent.

All the while I was growing up in Pittsburgh, the narrative of what it meant to be successful always seemed to include going far away. Leave the state for college (I did). Travel internationally (I did). Find a job in a bigger, more “exciting” city (I did – twice). “Maybe don’t put 2-3 time zones in between you and the people you love” was never really a part of that. When my best friends and I were in middle school and high school, we would talk about how excited we were to grow up and live far away from home. Now, we talk about how we can’t wait to live somewhere where we can walk to see each other instead of boarding a 747.

It is very, very strange to be in a position now — and I don’t think I’m alone — where I find myself weighing seeing the people I love against my own complicity in the global climate crisis.

I don’t know if this particular point of tension has ever existed before in our cultural consciousness: Never before has our economy been so effortlessly globalized that jobs pull people back and forth across countries and oceans, and never before have we had so much evidence that the systems and habits we’ve created to actually live in that economy are quite literally destroying the planet.

I chose not to go home for the holidays. How absurd and hypocritical would it be of me, I thought, to spend so much time writing about saving the climate and making green choices and then take two cross-country flights to the same place in one month? Especially, while we’re playing the real talk game, after flying to Bali this summer for a summit on climate change?

Instead, after staring at a blank Word document literally all day long, I am writing this at my dining room table at 11:30 p.m. on December 23 in an empty house as it pours rain outside, because this is Seattle. In the time that I should have spent writing this, I’ve talked with my dad, my mom, my sister, my brother, and my ex-boyfriend over a litany of forms of long-distance communication.

Am I pleased with my decision to remove one flight from some arbitrary yearly allotment? Do I feel that this gesture to reduce my carbon footprint for 2014 was worth it? What do you think?

In one of the half-dozen conversations I had tonight with people I very much wish I were seeing face-to-face, I said, half-jokingly, to my dad, “Being an adult is hard.”

“Yes, honey,” he agreed, emphatically. “It really just means doing a lot of things that you don’t want to do!”

I suppose that responsibility and happiness have always, throughout human history, tended to be at odds with each other — but god damn, it sucks when that hits home. Or, as the case may be, keeps you from getting home when you most want to be there.

http://grist.org/living/love-and-long-distance-travel-in-the-time-of-climate-change/

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Meteorologist Eric Holthaus’ vow to never to fly again draws praise, criticism

By Jason Samenow  (Washington Post)

October 1, 2013

Meteorologist and science writer Eric Holthaus lit up Twitter last Friday when he announced he was never flying again due to the perils of climate change. Strongly motivated to reduce his carbon footprint, the decision was especially significant as Holthaus is a frequent flyer and owns a pilot license.

Holthaus, who formerly wrote a weather column for the Wall Street Journal and now covers weather and climate issues for the Atlantic’s new online Web initiative Quartz, said the sobering conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change motivated the decision.

Andrew Freedman, a science writer for Climate Central, says Holthaus’ emotion-filled reaction to the report compromises his objectivity in writing about the issue.

But Holthaus says his “walk the walk” response to the dire consequences of climate change strengthens rather than weakens his credibility when writing about the issue.

Holthaus’ actions earned the respect of Dave Tolleris, a Richmond-based meteorologist skeptical of catastrophic climate change scenarios.

“Eric is willing to make that commitment and take the steps to change his lifestyle and not be a hypocrite,” Tolleris said. “While I do not agree with his pessimistic view [on climate change], I do think that earns some points from me.”

On the other hand, Fox News commentator Greg Gutfeld questioned Holthaus’ motives. “I’m calling BS on this drama queen,” Gutfeld said. “This is what dooms environmentalism – dishonest hysterics who put drama before data.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/10/01/meteorologist-eric-holthaus-vow-to-never-to-fly-again-draws-praise-criticism/


Why I’m never flying again

By Eric Holthaus
@EricHolthaus

1.10.2013

Last week, when a panel of the world’s best scientists issued a new report on climate change (pdf), I did my best to read it like a meteorologist. The facts led to a simple conclusion: Humans cause global warming. And without an immediate and dramatic cut in carbon emissions, the problem could become irreversible.

That was easy enough to convey. But later that day, I was on the phone with my wife, getting ready to board a plane in San Francisco and thinking about the report more existentially. Any hope for a healthy planet seemed to be dwindling, a death warrant written in stark, black-and-white data. It came as a shock.

“This was our chance,” I told her, crying. “And it’s gone.”

My wife and I realized that the “substantial and sustained reductions” called for by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had to start with us. World governments will never agree in time to coordinate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. If anything is to change, it will have to come from individuals taking ownership of the problem themselves.
And that’s why my wife and I suddenly knew we could never fly again.

Now, I’m just an average guy, trying to do my best. I already do a lot to reduce my impact on the environment: I recycle. My wife and I share a car. I’m a vegetarian. I turn out the lights when I leave the room. I take those fancy reusable bags with me when I go food shopping.
But I also fly a lot—about 75,000 miles last year. A lot of that is travel to Africa and the Caribbean, where I work on projects to reduce the impact of climate change. This year, I also started flying on behalf of the startup I work for, Weathermob. I have gold status on Delta, and my wife and I were planning trips to Hawaii and Europe, all for free with frequent flyer miles.

Still, I didn’t comprehend quite how big an impact all those flights were having on the climate until I crunched the numbers with UC Berkeley’s excellent carbon footprint calculator. I was shocked to discover that air travel comprised almost half of my household’s emissions last year, or 33.5 metric tons of CO2.

The average American household, as you can see in the chart above, flies much less than I do, and should probably focus more effort on reducing emissions from car travel (or other things) rather than planes. But for a lot of us frequent fliers, the environmental harm is dramatic and adds up fast. A one-way flight from New York to San Francisco (2.23 tons of CO2) has nearly the same impact as driving a Hummer the same distance (2.81 tons).
By vowing not to fly, I went from having more than double the carbon footprint as the average American to about 30% less than average.

I don’t take the decision lightly or imagine that it won’t have a big impact on my life. But my wife and I are lucky enough to live in a stunningly beautiful part of the country. Most of our immediate family lives within a day’s drive. I’m excited to spend future vacation days exploring the local area.

I’ll still have to travel a lot (by car and train), and I’ll use videoconferencing for meetings I can’t miss. But by removing my single biggest impact on the climate in one swoop, I can rest a bit easier knowing I’ve begun to heed the IPCC’s call to action. Individual gestures, repeated by millions of people, could make a huge difference.

That humans cause climate change was not a new finding last week, but scientists are now more confident about it (95%) than they are that smoking causes cancer or that vitamins are good for you. Also, for the first time, the IPCC report cast doubt on the efficacy of geoengineering, previously considered a possible last-ditch technical solution.

So I guess last week’s report hit me harder than I expected. My profession is meteorology, which is all about data, but my heart is drawn to people and how we interact with the planet. Together, we can reverse the damage that we have already caused. We can all do something.
My first big step is staying on the ground.

http://qz.com/129477/why-im-never-flying-again/

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Slate Meteorologist Eric Holthaus Stops Flying for A Year to Fight Climate Change

By Zain Haidar
Published Oct 3 2014

Eric Holthaus made national headlines and was branded a “sniveling beta male” by Fox News for a decision he made one year ago.

Holthaus, a meteorologist and climate writer for Slate, is used to approaching data with an objective lens, but a 2013 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – a “death warrant written in stark, black-and-white data” – brought him to tears. The IPCC made it clear that humans are negatively influencing the climate and that greenhouse gas emissions will continue to affect the Earth’s climate for centuries.

By his own estimates, Holthaus normally flew 75,000 miles a year on trips related to climate change projects and work for a startup. After some calculations, Holthaus discovered air travel comprised nearly half of his household’s emissions for a year.

After realizing the implications of the report and “taking ownership of the problem,” Holthaus and his wife made a decision to never fly again.

Holthaus reached that decision in 2013, and since then his arguments for individual responsibility toward climate change have made significant waves in the media. The Washington Post and other major outlets carried the story; Rolling Stone labeled Holthaus the “Rebel Nerd of Meteorology.” On Fox News’ immensely popular talk show The Five, co-host Greg Gutfeld criticized Holthaus’ manhood and said he was “calling B.S. on this drama queen.”

In a recent perspective piece Holthaus published in Slate, he wrote “There’s no way you can be on the fence after seeing the data the way I’ve seen it.”

But how was a year without flying for a professional who’s used to taking to the skies for both work and leisure?

Not terrible, according to Holthaus.

In his article, Holthaus says there are obvious drawbacks: bus rides that take longer than a day to get from one major city to the next and canceled speaking opportunities that could have taken the meteorologist to the United Nations and across the country.

But Holthaus says taking a year off from flying “opened my mind more to enjoying the journey than just rushing to get to the destination.”

Holthaus wrote that his experience has motivated him to adopt new goals for the next year: micro changes that can have an impact when considered on the macro scale like moving into a smaller house.

Holthaus is not the only one dedicated to avoiding airplanes to help the planet. Kevin Anderson, a professor at the University of Manchester, has gone 11 years without flying and wrote recently on the benefits of slow travel.

Decisions by writers and thinkers like Holthaus and Anderson may be controversial, but they could also help reduce carbon emissions if adopted on a larger scale.

http://www.weather.com/science/environment/news/year-without-flying-carbon-footprint-20141003

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Paper by Dr Alice Bows Larkin on need for air travel demand management to limit growth in aviation CO2 emissions

In a paper in the journal, Climate Policy, Dr Alice Bows Larkin looks at the problem of rising emissions from the international shipping and aviation sectors, and their special treatment. While all sectors face decarbonization for a 2C temperature increase to be avoided, meaningful policy measures that address rising CO2 from international aviation and shipping remain woefully inadequate. Dr Bows Larkin concludes that the more simply structured aviation sector is misguided in pinning too much hope on emissions trading to deliver CO2 cuts in line with 2C. Instead, the solution to aviation playing its part in achieving the 2C target remains controversial and unpopular. It requires demand management for air travel. Or perhaps biofuel, which seems unlikely.  She asks:  “Should aviation, which in a global context continues to be dominated by relatively affluent leisure passengers, take priority over other sectors for the use of sustainable biofuels in preference to less popular policies aiming to curb or even cut growth rates? ….The highly constrained carbon budget commensurate with 2 C does not permit any further delay in rolling out mitigation policies for aviation and shipping.”
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In the Journal “Climate Policy”

All adrift: aviation, shipping, and climate change policy

by Alice Bows-Larkin

(Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research & School of Mechanical
Aerospace and Civil Engineering, University of Manchester, Oxford Road,
Manchester M13 9PL, UK)
Published online: 06 Dec 2014.

Synthesis article.

Abstract:  All sectors face decarbonization for a 2 C temperature increase to be avoided. Nevertheless, meaningful policy measures that address rising CO2 from international aviation and shipping remain woefully inadequate.

Treated with a similar approach within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), they are often debated as if facing comparable
challenges, and even influence each others’ mitigation policies. Yet their strengths and weaknesses have important distinctions.

This article sheds light on these differences so that they can be built upon to improve the quality of debate and ensuing policy development. The article quantifies ‘2 C’ pathways for these sectors, highlighting the need for mitigation measures to be urgently accelerated. It reviews recent developments, drawing attention to one example where a change in aviation mitigation policy had a direct impact on measures to cut CO2 from shipping. Finally, the article contrasts opportunities and barriers towards mitigation.

The article concludes that there is a portfolio of opportunities for short- to medium-term decarbonization for shipping, but its complexity is its greatest barrier to change. In contrast, the more simply structured aviation sector is pinning too much hope on emissions trading to deliver CO2 cuts in line with 2 C. Instead, the solution remains controversial and unpopular – avoiding 2 C requires demand management.

………………….

……….. full paper here 

……… Just the conclusions copied below:

7. Conclusions

International aviation and shipping are distinct from other sectors in terms of governance arrangements to curb their CO2 emissions. They have also had similar CO2 growth rates since 1990, above the global average. Nevertheless, allowing the debate around these sectors to be too closely linked (as in the instance highlighted in the UK) could hamper opportunities for developing targeted measures to cut CO2 emissions in the short to medium term. There is a huge divide between the potential for mitigation in shipping compared with aviation. In short, the shipping industry has many technological and operational options that could cut emissions in the short to medium term. Aviation does
not. Nevertheless, despite many options on the horizon for shipping, its complex organizational nature is a major barrier to change.

In aviation, the limit to technical and operational change has led the industry towards a preference to use a global emissions trading scheme to provide net emission cuts. In other words, the sector expects CO2 savings will generally be made in other sectors of the economy to enable aviation related CO2 to grow or be cut by less. Yet, even with trading, a target of a 50% net CO2 cut is not sufficient to meet the 2 C goal. Ironically, by comparing aviation with shipping, it becomes clear that if there were mitigation options available to the air transport sector, its relatively simple institutional set-up, with its small number of manufacturers, fewer markets and actors, as well as a lower number of major national players, would make incentivizing change practical.

Instead, with emissions trading disconnected from the 2 C challenge, demand-management and biofuels offer the only feasible ways of cutting CO2 in the timescale compatible with the available CO2 budget.

Yet, both raise interesting ethical and moral issues. Should aviation, which in a global context continues to be dominated by relatively affluent leisure passengers (Williams, 2007), take priority over other sectors for the use of sustainable biofuels in preference to less popular policies aiming to curb or even cut growth rates?

The highly constrained carbon budget commensurate with 2 C does not permit any further delay in rolling out mitigation policies for aviation and shipping. All opportunities for urgent change need to be harnessed. Immediate CO2 cuts in the shipping sector could be delivered, at least in waters around port states, through regulations or incentives at a sub-global scale that further encourage and maintain the recent shift towards slow-steaming, better ship efficiency, and the retrofit of low-carbon technologies.

For aviation, pinning so much hope on emissions trading to meet the 2 C challenge is misguided.

Ultimately, an uncomfortable and familiar conclusion for aviation remains: a moratorium on airport expansion at least in wealthy nations is one of the few options available to dampen growth rates within a timeframe befitting of the 2 C target.


 

To cite this article: Alice Bows-Larkin (2014): All adrift: aviation, shipping, and climate change policy,
Climate Policy, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2014.965125

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14693062.2014.965125

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More about Dr Alice Bows Larkin

http://www.manchester.ac.uk/research/alice.bows-larkin/publications

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LETTER: Cutting air travel is essential choice – not only advocating more cycling & more use of rail

Writing in the local Sussex press, a local resident shows up the logical inconsistency of local LibDem councillor Frances Haigh backing a 2nd Gatwick runway (against the policy of her party) while backing more cycling and more use of rail.   With around 35 million passengers per year, Gatwick already provides far more capacity than everyone living within a reasonable distance of the airport could possibly need per year. The extra passengers with a new runway would need to come by road or rail from long distances away, possibly passing other airports which have spare capacity, like Stansted and Luton. To travel more by bike and by rail is commendable, but  the carbon emissions from flying far outweigh the savings than can be made by these more sustainable modes. The travel distances flying permits, in just a few hours, can result in the production of more CO2 per person per day than the average per car in a year. For anyone concerned about their contribution to global warming, cutting back on air travel is an obvious and essential choice.
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LETTER: Cutting air travel is essential choice

29 November 2014  (West Sussex County Times – WSCT)

Cllr Haigh’s (LibDem councillor, leader of the LibDem group on Horsham DistrictCouncil) comments (WSCT 20.11.2014) about improving cycle and rail infrastructure are spot on but her analysis of the benefits of air transport is over simplistic and misleading.

Cllr Haigh recently voiced her support for a second runway at Gatwick – involving 40,000 more supporting jobs than we have local people to fill; 120,000 more people than we have places for them to live; more than twice as many aircraft flights than we need; more than twice as much noise and air pollution than we want; and so on.

According to www.gatwickairport.com, ‘Gatwick serves around 200 destinations [more than Heathrow and any other UK airport] in 90 countries for 34 million passengers a year on short and long haul point-to-point services’.

That is more than enough for everyone, for miles around Gatwick, to fly many times each year. If the number of flights is more than doubled then the obvious conclusion is that the extra flights would be filled by people travelling by road and rail from even further away – generating more noise, air pollution and traffic congestion on their way to Gatwick.

The irony would be that, to reach Gatwick, many of those passengers would travel away from, sometimes past, nearer regional airports – like Stansted and Luton (which are running considerably below capacity).

Expanding Gatwick (which is itself running below capacity) is unnecessary and would be detrimental to the national economy, make worse the North-South (and East-West) divide; would be detrimental to the global environment and very detrimental to our local environment.

Cllr Haigh justifies her presumption that we should fly more often and drive less often by quoting some statistics – ‘greenhouse gas emissions for Europe… transport is 25%… of this 17.9% is due to road transport and 3.1% to aviation… Carbon emissions [of] a large petrol driven car with one occupant is worse… per kilometre than a short haul flight’. However, those statistics are only a part of a complex picture.

For example, the total global warming impact of each flight is thought to be more than twice the carbon emissions (research ‘aviation multiplier’). Also, the standard way to account for emissions for an international flight is to allocate half to the country of departure and half to the country of arrival.  ** [No – see below].

However, European residents take up two-thirds of the seats on the average plane landing at or taking off from a European airport. The official statistics are effectively offloading the emissions of Europeans onto the countries travellers are visiting.

Aircraft will continue to rely on inefficient and polluting combustion engines for the foreseeable future. On the other hand road and rail vehicles are already achieving considerable improvements through the use of hybrid, electric and, soon, hydrogen propulsion.

The distances flying permits can result in the production of more CO2 per person per day than the average by car in a year.

Between 1990 and 2004, despite improvements in aircraft fuel efficiencies and a reduction in business travel, the total UK CO2 emissions from aircraft doubled. Unless this growth is stopped, flying will soon add more emissions than all the cuts we make elsewhere.

The majority of people who are causing this harmful and environmentally damaging pollution are financially well off. The people who are most vulnerable are the poorest inhabitants of the poorest nations, the great majority of whom will never afford to fly.

Cllr Haigh asked: ‘What would we change to protect our planet?’

For anyone concerned about their contribution to global warming, cutting back on air travel is an obvious and essential choice.

Gatwick is big enough.

C. MORRIS

Tennyson Close, Horsham

 

http://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/letters/letter-cutting-air-travel-is-essential-choice-1-6443752

 

**  [No – in the UK the DfT calculates UK aviation carbon emissions from departing planes. See link.  There is the assumption that as many planes go one way, as then come back the other, so balancing it out.   ICAO is currently trying to work out how best to allocate carbon in future – perhaps by departures, perhaps shared … see link ].

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NATS has a new tool ‘FLOSYS’ to help on environmental efficiency of flights – but noise ignored

The CAA requires NATS to meeting “3Di” efficiency targets (3 dimensional inefficiency) to route planes by the shortest and most efficient route, and save fuel. However, one consequence of this is more noise on the ground. The increased 3Di efficiency has a trade-off between emissions and noise, between 4,000 and 7,000 feet. (Below 4,000 feet, routes should be designed with noise as the prime consideration – above 7,000 fuel burn is the main issue).  This conflict with NATS targets and noise suffered under flight paths has caused a large degree of upset at many UK airports this summer, as NATS prepares to implement the FAS (Future Airspace Strategy). Now NATS has a new tool that they call the Flight Optimisation System, or ‘FLOSYS’. This enables NATS to assess more accurately each flight trajectory.  NATS says they can better identify the opportunities for operational improvements to “save airlines fuel and cut carbon emissions.” The focus is definitely on cutting CO2 (ie. saving airlines money) which is laudable. But at the cost of very upset and angry residents under flight paths, who are suffering more noise. NATS is not widely endearing itself.

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NATS unveils real-time flight efficiency tool

Air traffic controllers are now able to analyse the environmental efficiency of flights in near real-time, thanks to a new tool developed by NATS.

The Flight Optimisation System, or ‘FLOSYS’, takes real radar data, updated every three minutes, and combines it with NATS’ 3Di airspace efficiency metric to produce a graphical representation of every flight in UK airspace.

Controllers can then analyse the efficiency of an individual aircraft through every phase of flight and airspace sector, as well as compare it against other flights along the same route up to 12 months ago, including the average and best performing.

By having access to this granularity of data for the first time, controllers and airspace managers will be able to better identify the opportunities for operational improvements that will save airlines fuel and cut carbon emissions.

Since 2012 NATS has measured the efficiency of an aircraft’s route and trajectory using its three dimensional inefficiency (3Di) metric where each flight is compared to a scale where zero represents total environmental efficiency. Most flights typically score somewhere between 15 and 35.

However it is only with the advent of ‘FLOSYS’ that controllers can now immediately see 3Di scores for individual flights and identify specific areas for improvement, or best practice techniques to share.

Ash Bennett, NATS Swanwick airspace efficiency manager, said: “What we want to do is equip our controllers with enough data to be able to understand the story behind every flight and to then make informed decisions on areas of possible improvement. That might be in the form of more direct or efficient routes, or better climb and descent profiles, all of which help save airlines fuel.”

The system has been developed by the NATS innovation centre, SPACE, together with Altran UK and Lockheed Martin, and with input from the operational ATC community at both NATS’ Swanwick and Prestwick centres. The initial roll out is at Swanwick, before moving to Prestwick Centre next year.

The project forms part of NATS’ wider environmental programme, with its interim target to cut air traffic related CO2 by an average of 4% per flight by the end of this year, along the way to achieving a 10% saving by 2020.

Ian Jopson, NATS Head of Environment and Community Affairs, said: “All the indicators point to us achieving our 4% target for the end of this year. That’s a fantastic achievement itself, but it is just a milestone on our way towards meeting our 10% goal.

“That’s why innovations like ‘FLOSYS’ are so important because it puts real data and real influence in the hands of our controllers who are often the best people at identifying fuel saving opportunities.”

http://www.airtrafficmanagement.net/2014/11/nats-unveils-realtime-flight-efficiency-tool/

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See also:

NATS hopes to continue improving fuel efficiency improvements, but its 3Di scheme does not take noise into account

According to UK air traffic services provider NATS, the environmental and operational efficiency of UK airspace improved during the first half of this year. However, it faces a challenge to meet a new tighter year-end target set by the CAA. In 2012, NATS was set an incentivised efficiency performance target (called 3Di -meaning 3 dimensional inefficiency) by the CAA. Its aim is to get the most direct and most fuel efficient routes, saving aircraft having to stack, and cutting fuel use and CO2 emissions. Each flight is given a score of its efficiency, with zero being best. Most flights typically score between 15 and 35. This year the CAA set NATS an overall target of 23. Their score was 23.7 in 2013 and a score of 23.9 in 2012. NATS says it it achieves its target scores over 3 years, planes will have saved around 600,000 tonnes of CO2 will have been saved. As well as CDA (continuous descent approach) landings, smoother take-offs, and flying at the optimum level. NATS is straightening flight paths. Their 3Di scores to not take account of the noise nuisance, and there are fears that some new flight path changes, helping NATS meet their target, are creating more noise from over-flying new areas.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/nats-hopes-to-continue-improving-fuel-efficiency-improvements-but-its-3di-scheme-does-not-take-noise-into-account/


Between 4,000 and 7,000ft, the new routes trade off noise against reducing fuel burn/emissions. Above 7,000ft, the priority has been to reduce fuel burn/emissions
rather than reduce overflying of population centres.

The runway environment – from c.4000ft  down to the ground – includes the low-level airspace reserved for take-off and landing, where the impact of aviation to those on the ground takes precedence and airports are responsible for managing the effects of

any changes on their local communities.
The LAMP programme considers a fundamental re-design of the terminal airspace at a
network level, above c.4000ft (or the ceiling of noise preferential routes).

(A1.3.1) Replicating or Re-designing procedures for PBN. At low altitudes – from c.4000ft
down to the ground – the impact of aviation to those on the ground takes precedence and airports will be responsible for managing the effects of FAS deployment on their local communities. As a minimum airports in the LAMP and NTCA environments are required to replicate their existing arrival and departure routes at low altitudes to a PBN standard,
increasing precision and integrating into the terminal network design that has been developed to the same advanced navigational standards. Some airports will
choose to go beyond simply replications and re-design their SIDs and arrival procedures to realise the potential capacity and environmental benefits of PBN.

Any changes to routes under 4,000ft are the responsibility of the relevant airport.

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140 organisations in “Taming Aviation” coalition petitions European Parliament to ban night flights

A coalition of 140 organisations that are signed up to “Taming Aviation” met European Parliament representatives on 18th November to ask for a ban on flights operating at night, over an 8 hour period.  And it also called on legislators to stop the tax exemptions the aviation sector currently enjoys. Taming Aviation, and its member organisations, is asking the Parliament to take action.  Some of the campaign’s members are from communities outside immediate airport areas. Taming Aviation co-founder Susanne Heger said aircraft noise poses serious health threats for people living near airports. According to a study from the University of Bern, the noise increases the risk of dying of a heart attack by 50% and is one of the biggest concerns of those who live under flight paths. At Frankfurt there is already a ban on night flights and this should be extended widely. Citizens’ groups have for many years taken these issues up with airports and authorities, with little success. Hence the appeal to the European Parliament to get effective action. There needs to be more action by Europe to ensure that a future aviation emissions system has teeth, and some real effect on aviation CO2.
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Coalition petitions European Parliament to ban night flights

20.11.2014 (Euractiv)

A coalition of  140 organisations  met with European Parliament representatives on Tuesday (18 November) to ask for a ban on flights operating at night. It also called on legislators to strip the aviation sector of the tax exemptions it currently enjoys.

The coalition presented MEPs with a petition under the name of Taming Aviation,, in which it formally asks the European Parliament to take action.

Aircraft noise, air pollution, and tax subsidies to airline companies are the main concerns of the coalition, which includes communities living outside airport areas.

During the meeting, Taming Aviation co-founder Susanne Heger said that aircraft noise poses serious health threats for people living near airports. According to a study from the University of Bern, the noise increases the risk of dying of a heart attack by 50% and is one of the biggest concerns of those who live under flight paths.

The petition demands that all airports have an uninterrupted eight-hour ban on nighttime flights, in order to comply with minimum health standards.

A German Court ruled in favour of a night flight ban at Frankfurt airport in 2012, in response to complaints from local residents. Taming Aviation hopes for the same result across Europe, and said that unless the EU forces all airports to close down at night, the situation will not change.

“Individual airports are reluctant to ban night flights, because the night flights will go to a competitor airport,” said John Stewart, chair of Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN).

Coalition representatives have raised these problems with local and airport authorities but have been unsuccessful in finding a common ground. They decided to call on the European Parliament to take these concerns in consideration through amendments when adopting future laws.

Keith Taylor MEP, a Greens/EFA lawmaker from the UK, said that Parliament will revise the Energy Tax and the Emission Trading System legislative proposals in 2016, to allow MEPs to address the coalition’s demands. He also said that legislators will give serious consideration whether to include aviation in the EU’s emissions scheme.

“[The airlines] should pay VAT and excise duty just like all other transport methods, so that all the costs of flying are properly accounted for,” said Taylor MEP.

Under current EU rules, airlines are exempted from paying a tax on fuel and on their revenues. Because of these incentives, Taming Aviation believes the airlines are neither motivated nor interested in reducing their gas emissions.

“With air passenger numbers set to grow 4% a year for the next 20 years, the aviation sector can well afford to pay its way,” said Heger.

“EU governments continuing to allow commercial airlines to (a) free ride to the tune of €40 billion a year with tax exemptions while their night flights pose serious health risks is nothing short of a scandal.”

The Association of European Airlines, however, said the sector receives from €27 to €35 billion per year in annual subsidies,  and compared to other transport sectors, such as rail, aviation receives half the amount of subsidies.

While Taming Aviation recognises that air transport makes a significant contribution to the economy, it still needs to be regulated. But if governments cut the airlines’ tax breaks, consumers will no longer enjoy cheap tickets on short-haul flights.

“We are hoping to work with the railway sector to balance the demand in travelling,” said Stewart.

“You will automatically get a modal shift from air to rail, especially for short distance trips, as 45% of all trips within Europe are 500km or less.”

As the petition was handed over to Cecilia Wikström, chair of the Petitions Committee, Stewart said that Taming Aviation wants to use this formal demand “to raise a wider issue with MEPs, the Commission with a view to working with different stakeholders”.

Parliament will now assess the request, and forward it to the European Commission.

Taming Aviation represents a quarter of a million citizens from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK.

http://www.euractiv.com/sections/transport/coaltion-petitions-parliament-ban-night-flights-310177

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TIMELINE:
  • 2016: European Parliament to review the Energy Tax and the Emission Trading System legislative proposals
EXTERNAL LINKS: 

 


 

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Taming Aviation petition presented to European Parliament:  250,000 demand end to scandal of Europe’s airline subsidies, tax exemptions and night flights

A ground-breaking coalition of 140 groups representing 250,000 citizens from 10 European countries has, for the first time, called on the EU to end commercial airlines’ tax exemptions and subsidies – and phase out night flights. The Taming Aviation coalition formally presented its demands in a petition to the European Parliament in Brussels on 18th November. The petition calls for an end to the absurd situation where European governments miss out on €40 billion every year because commercial airlines pay no tax on fuel and are exempt from VAT. Cash-strapped EU governments are missing out on this important revenue source, so European taxpayers must step in to fill the deficit. The subsidies are fuelling air traffic growth, with aviation’s greenhouse gas emissions expected to increase 300% by 2050. The petition also demands action to reduce aircraft noise, which poses serious health risks to people living under flight paths including increasing the risk of dying of a heart attack by up to 50%. 25 national delegates from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and the UK were present at the event.

Click here to view full story…

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

Wed 19 Nov 2014 (GreenAir online)

An annual performance study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) shows the fuel efficiency of United States carriers on domestic routes failed to improve in 2013 despite the high cost of aviation fuel and industry targets.

In a league table of performance rankings, (see below) Alaska, Spirit and Frontier tied as the most fuel-efficient domestic carriers in 2013, whereas American Airlines, whose fuel efficiency fell by 1.5%, burned an estimated 27% more fuel than the three most efficient airlines to provide an equivalent level of transport service.

As in its previous study, 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.

Alaska and Spirit have consistently led the performance ranking since ICCT’s original baseline analysis of 2010 data, with Frontier overtaking Southwest Airlines due to a 10% one-year improvement. However, these gains were offset mainly by the larger legacy carriers, with American propping up the table.

With 2013 proving to be a profitable year for most US airlines, Alaska and Spirit also had the highest operating profit margins but the study found that even less efficient carriers like Allegiant were also able to reap high profits through using older, less efficient aircraft.

ICCT’s analysis shows the average annual fuel efficiency between 1990 and 2000 improved by 2.1%, improving to 2.8% during the tough decade of 2000 to 2010 and then fell back to 1.3% between 2010 and 2012.

Multiple factors, says the independent non-profit research organisation, help explain the slowdown. Load factors, which increased from 60% in 1990 to 82% in 2010, have flattened out in recent years and are not therefore contributing to efficiency gains.

Despite the raft of new order announcements from the aircraft manufacturers, ICCT says deliveries of new aircraft to US carriers have fallen sharply – more than 60% off their peak in the last decade – so that today only one in seven new aircraft are delivered domestically.

With fewer deliveries, the US fleet has aged to almost 12 years on average last year. Although new re-engined and more fuel-efficient narrow-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft are on the horizon, relatively few new types have been brought to market over the past 15 years.

ICCT points to work at ICAO on a CO2 efficiency standard for new aircraft and a framework for a market-based incentive to cut airline carbon emissions as possible levers that will result in an improvement in fuel efficiency. With US domestic aviation carbon emissions making up one-quarter of the global total, the US Environmental Protection Agency has also announced its intent to move forward with an endangerment finding on aviation emissions under the Clean Air Act.

“Conventional wisdom says that fuel prices alone will be enough to drive airline efficiency, but that’s not what the data tells us,” commented ICCT’s Program Director for Aviation, Dan Rutherford. “This study highlights the need for international policies to address aviation emissions now that countries like China and the United States have announced their own commitments.”

Link:

ICCT – US Domestic Airline Fuel Efficiency Ranking 2013

ICCT Fuel Efficiency Scores 2013:

 


http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=2006

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Related GreenAir Online articles:

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Letter from NGOs: “All 3 of the Airports Commission’s shortlisted options would increase CO2 emissions”

Any new runway would increase CO2 emissions and make the UK’s climate change commitments much more difficult to achieve. The Commission has assumed that emissions will be somehow constrained, but has remained silent on what policy measures would achieve this in practice. A new runway would necessitate some combination of new taxes, limits on regional airport growth, and additional burdens on other sectors to cut emissions beyond the very challenging reductions already required. The NGOs are calling on all parties to make manifesto commitments that they would not permit the building of a new runway that will violate climate targets, exacerbate noise or air pollution, or damage wildlife and the British countryside. Whoever leads the next government will need to judge the recommendations of the Airports Commission in this context before deciding whether to build a new runway anywhere in the South East. (From AEF, FoE, Greenpeace, RSPB, WWF)
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Airport expansion

November 14 2014  (Published in the Times)

All three of the Airports Commission’s shortlisted options would increase carbon dioxide emissions

Sir,

The Airports Commission’s assessment of expansion proposals at Heathrow and Gatwick (“Air fares to rise as new runways run billions over budget”, Nov 11) will inevitably be followed by debate about which proposal is “the least bad” in terms of noise, air pollution and public cost. But any of the three shortlisted options would increase carbon dioxide emissions and make the UK’s climate change commitments much more difficult to achieve.

The commission has assumed that emissions will be somehow constrained, but has remained silent on what policy measures would achieve this in practice. A new runway would necessitate some combination of new taxes, limits on regional airport growth, and additional burdens on other sectors to cut emissions beyond the very challenging reductions already required.

We are calling on all parties to make manifesto commitments that no airport expansion will violate climate targets, exacerbate noise or air pollution, or damage wildlife and the British countryside. Whoever leads the next government will need to judge the recommendations of the Airports Commission in this context before deciding whether to build a new runway anywhere in the South East.

 

Cait Hewitt, Aviation Environment Federation;

Andrew Pendleton, Friends of the Earth;

Martin Harper, RSPB;

Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK;

Ben Stafford, WWF-UK.

Printed in the TImes at  http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/letters/article4266970.ece

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Airports Commission publishes appraisals of Heathrow and Gatwick expansion options

11.11.2014 (AEF)The Airports Commission has published its appraisals of options to expand Heathrow – doubling the length of one of the runways (the Heathrow Hub proposal) or building a third runway, or to expand Gatwick through building a second runway. We responded in our press release here.

The airports don’t know how much it would cost to build a new runway

The main story to emerge in the press has been the fact that all three of the scheme proposers underestimated the cost of building a new runway with Gatwick underestimating their costs by £2 billion (total cost of £9.3 billion), and Heathrow underestimating their costs by £3.8 billion (total cost £18.6 billion). It is still not clear exactly how much the costs of building a runway would be financed by public money, which we raised as a major concern in our recent blog.

Passengers would pay for a new runway

Another key issue to emerge from the Airports Commission’s appraisals is the fact that landing fees at either airport would have to increase to pay for the runway and these costs would be transferred to passengers. At Gatwick, passengers could be expected to pay an average of £15-18 for landing fees compared to £8 today. At Heathrow, the costs would rise from £20 today to £28-29 (with a peak of £32 on top of your ticket). Such price increases, as we highlighted in our report earlier in the year, would challenge the commitment of budget airlines to using Gatwick airport. The landing fees would be considerably higher than the rate of Air Passenger Duty on a shorthaul ticket.

A new runway could mean more people are affected by noise

At Gatwick, the number of people overflown would double according to the Airports Commission. The Heathrow Hub proposal, which had the main selling point of lower noise impacts than Heathrow’s proposed North West runway, would in fact also increase the numbers exposed to noise. If a North West runway was built at Heathrow, the noise impact would be less clear according to the Commission’s analysis, with numbers exposed to night noise potentially reducing while the number exposed to daytime noise could grow (compared with a no-expansion scenario).

A new runway would have ‘adverse’ impacts on local air quality

The sustainability appraisal of either a new or extended Heathrow runway describes the impact on local air quality as ‘significantly adverse’ and says it would pose a risk to local air quality levels. At Gatwick, the impact on local air quality is described as ‘adverse’. Both pose a risk of breaching legal limits on air quality.

The Airports Commission doesn’t consider carbon costs

The Airports Commission’s analysis of the wider economic impact of expansion fails to reflect the full carbon costs. These costs, according to the Commission would ‘dominate’ the economic appraisal of the schemes. The Airports Commission also acknowledges that it hasn’t considered what policies would be needed to restrict growth of emissions to the level they use in each stage of their analysis.

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Airports Commission consultation launched – acknowledging it lacks the necessary information on carbon constraints

The Airports Commission has published its consultation about the 3 short -listed runway schemes (Heathrow north-west runway, Heathrow “Hub” and Gatwick). The Commission, rather than themselves assessing whether a runway could, or should, be built – adding to UK carbon emissions, leaves that part of policy to others. The CCC (The Committee on Climate Change) has advised that UK aviation emissions should not rise to over 37.5MtCO2 per year, from around 33MtCO2 now. The Commission has had trouble trying to incorporate a new runway at one airport, as well as growth at other UK airports, within the 37.5MtCO2 cap. All sorts of assumptions have to be made. At heart, the Commission has conceded that: “The Commission intends to carry out further work to complete a fuller economic assessment of the case where UK aviation emissions are constrained to the CCC planning assumption of 37.5MtCO2e for its final report in summer 2015.”  ie. They do not have the necessary information on whether a runway could be viable, with the necessary price of carbon in future.
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Consultation document

The Commission says:  (Page 25 of the consultation document)

“2.41  It has not been possible to assess the transport economic efficiency, delays or wider economic impacts under a carbon-capped forecast. This is because carbon prices are much higher in each scheme option than the ‘do minimum’ baseline, meaning the carbon policy component of the appraisal dominates the capacity appraisal. This is particularly problematic as appropriate carbon policies have not been investigated in detail. ”

[ In other words factoring in carbon costs would mean none of the schemes would look economically beneficial.  Therefore The Commission has ignored them. ]

The whole of Para 2.41 states:

 
2.41
“It has not been possible to assess the transport economic efficiency, delays or wider economic impacts under a carbon-capped forecast. This is because carbon prices are much higher in each scheme option than the ‘do minimum’ baseline (8), meaning the carbon policy component of the appraisal dominates the capacity appraisal. This is particularly problematic as appropriate carbon policies have not been investigated in detail. For example, carbon emissions have been forecast assuming a rate of technological development and fleet turnover commensurate with past trends, whereas in reality it might be expected that the higher carbon prices associated with greater capacity could incentivise technological developments and uptake which enhance the carbon efficiency of aircraft. This risks implying greater dis-benefits attached to cutting carbon than may be realistic. The Commission intends to carry out further work to complete a fuller economic assessment of the case where UK aviation emissions are constrained to the CCC planning assumption of 37.5MtCO2e for its final report in summer 2015.”
 
Footnote (8): The Commission uses a ‘do minimum’ assessment to develop a baseline to compare the schemes against, which assumes no airport expansion at the three short-listed sites. In the case of both Heathrow schemes this do minimum case is based on Heathrow Airport Ltd’s most up to date Masterplan, and for the Gatwick scheme the respective Gatwick Airport Ltd Masterplan. These cover both what the airports are like now and agreed plans for how to develop the airport with no new runway.
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Airports Commission Consultation

11.11.2014
The Airports Commission’s consultation on their 3 short listed runway options has now been launched. It closes on 3rd February.

The main consultation document (94 pages):

Consultation document


 

 Airports Commission on Gatwick (138 pages)

Gatwick Airport second runway: business case and sustainability assessment


Airports Commission on Heathrow Hub – extended northern runway – ENR (144 pages):

Heathrow Airport extended northern runway: business case and sustainability assessment


Airports Commission on Heathrow Airport’s own runway scheme (144 pages):

Heathrow Airport north west runway: business case and sustainability assessment

 


The detailed technical documents supporting the runway schemes

Technical documents (over 50)



Consultation documents relating to carbon emissions

Commission’s page is at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/additional-airport-capacity-carbon-analysis
Both reports are by Jacobs.

1. Carbon Baseline   (69 pages)

The module considers estimates of baseline (‘do minimum’) and future runway scheme (‘do something’) emissions as far as is possible given the detail available at this stage. The baseline assumes the ‘do minimum’ base case defined as ‘how the airport will develop in the absence of a scheme to deliver an additional runway’.

2.  Carbon Assessment   (153 pages)

It identifies the potential impact of the three proposed schemes in terms of carbon (dioxide) emissions. In establishing the baseline for a 60 year appraisal, the do minimum has a base date of 2025 for Gatwick 2R and 2026 for Heathrow NWR [north west runway option]  and ENR [Heathrow Hub, extended northern runway] in line with assumed opening dates of ‘do something’ development, and corresponding end dates at 2085 / 2086. Comparisons for the years 2030, 2040 and 2050 are considered.  The report assesses CO2 emissions in terms of:

– aircraft
– passenger surface access
– airport operations (energy and fuel use)
– construction activity


Below are sections referring to carbon emissions from the Airports Commission’s consultation document:

1.8
Future demand forecasts across a range of scenarios predict significant growth
in demand for aviation to 2050, placing additional pressure on already stressed
airport infrastructure in London and the South East. This includes forecasts in which
carbon emissions from aviation in 2050 are constrained to the 2005 level, in line
with the Climate Change Committee’s planning assumption for achieving the UK’s
2050 emissions target.


1.9
Without the provision of new infrastructure the London airport system is likely to
be under very substantial pressure in 2030, and demand will significantly exceed
total available capacity by 2050. The Commission looked at accommodating this
future demand through a variety of means, including measures to redistribute
traffic, or through using surface transport improvements to replace the need for
air movements. None of these options was found to be effective in reducing the
capacity shortfall, and some of the measures were found to reduce long-haul
connectivity and be carbon inefficient. For these reasons, the Commission
concluded that there is a case for at least one net additional runway in
London and the South East by 2030.


2.32
In line with the approach taken in the Interim Report, the Commission has also
prepared two sets of forecasts for each scenario based on different approaches to
handling carbon emissions from aviation: ‘carbon-capped’ and ‘carbon-traded’.
Both sets of forecasts assume that the total number of emissions are set with
reference to stabilisation targets aiming for a global temperature increase of equal
or close to two degrees Celsius, and aiming to ensure that a four degree Celsius
global temperature increase is reached only with very low probability (less than 1%).
The two forecasts are characterised by the following key differences:

• The Commission’s ‘carbon-capped’ forecasts model the levels of aviation demand expected in a world where carbon dioxide emissions from flights departing UK airports are limited to 37.5MtCO2e – the level recommended by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) as a planning assumption to achieve carbon reductions across the whole UK economy of 80% over 1990 levels by 2050.(5) The ‘carbon-capped’ forecasts therefore increase the costs of carbon to ensure demand for aviation in the UK is reduced to stay within this planning assumption, and as such assume no trading of aviation emissions either within the UK economy or internationally (for example, under an EU Emissions Trading Scheme or any subsequent international global agreement).

• By contrast the Commission’s ‘carbon-traded’ forecasts model the levels of aviation demand in a future where carbon emissions from flights departing UK airports are traded at the European level until 2030 and thereafter traded as part of a liberal global carbon market. In contrast to the ‘carbon-capped’ forecasts these do not constrain emissions to a pre-determined level; rather, they reflect the demand response to DECC’s carbon values for appraisal.

Note (5) This assumes international aviation emissions are assigned to the UK economy on the basis of departing flights or bunker fuel sales in the UK, which is a relatively good proxy.


2.33 As with the Commission’s scenarios, the objective is not to identify a single ‘correct’ forecast, but rather to understand the varying effects on aviation demand of constraining and pricing carbon emissions. In effect the two worlds set out above represent a range of possible ways in which aviation in the UK may contribute to achieving stabilisation of the global climate.


2.34
2.34 At one end of the range the capped approach sees that happen within the UK economy. This takes a static view of what the relative effort between sectors should be, assuming no flexibility to promote economic efficiency or reflect society’s changing views of the value of aviation relative to other sectors. It is set with reference to the 37.5MtCO2e planning assumption the CCC recommends as a proxy until such time as a long-term global climate agreement is reached. This planning assumption has been developed with a view of what the relative effort of sectors should be based on what is known now – and thus reflects the CCC’s concern that should aviation emissions grow to 37.5MtCO2e, the implied 85% reduction in the CO2e emissions of other sectors may be at the limit of what is feasible. As the CCC notes it is a limit that should be kept under review, to allow for policy changes and new information about technology and abatement in different sectors.


2.35
The other end of the range assumes action to tackle emissions seeks the most globally economic efficient approach, without reference to national boundaries or other concerns that characterise current international negotiations.


2.36

The future reality is most likely to lie somewhere between these two worlds. For example, already today we can see a shift towards the international trading of aviation emissions through their inclusion in the EU emissions trading system, but also the international reactions to that and delays to its full implementation.


2.41
“It has not been possible to assess the transport economic efficiency, delays or wider economic impacts under a carbon-capped forecast. This is because carbon prices are much higher in each scheme option than the ‘do minimum’ baseline (8), meaning the carbon policy component of the appraisal dominates the capacity appraisal. This is particularly problematic as appropriate carbon policies have not been investigated in detail. For example, carbon emissions have been forecast assuming a rate of technological development and fleet turnover commensurate with past trends, whereas in reality it might be expected that the higher carbon prices associated with greater capacity could incentivise technological developments and uptake which enhance the carbon efficiency of aircraft. This risks implying greater dis-benefits attached to cutting carbon than may be realistic. The Commission intends to carry out further work to complete a fuller economic assessment of the case where UK aviation emissions are constrained to the CCC planning assumption of 37.5MtCO2e for its final report in summer 2015.”

Footnote (8): The Commission uses a ‘do minimum’ assessment to develop a baseline to compare the schemes against, which assumes no airport expansion at the three short-listed sites. In the case of both Heathrow schemes this do minimum case is based on Heathrow Airport Ltd’s most up to date Masterplan, and for the Gatwick scheme the respective Gatwick Airport Ltd Masterplan. These cover both what the airports are like now and agreed plans for how to develop the airport with no new runway.


3.16

While all of the carbon-capped scenarios keep carbon emissions from aviation within the range 37.4-37.6 MtCO2e in 2050, i.e. consistent with the Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) advice, all the carbon-traded expansion scenarios
entail increases in carbon emissions from aviation above 37.5 MtCO2e. The highest levels of emissions are associated with the low-cost is king and global growth scenarios, which would see UK aviation emissions in 2050 of 49-51 MtCO2e. If these emissions were not accounted for as part of a liberal global carbon market (as envisaged in this forecasting approach) and needed to be accommodated within any UK specific target this would see aviation emissions account for a larger share of the total and require commensurate reductions elsewhere in the economy, a situation in which the CCC advises it currently has ‘limited confidence. (Page 40).


3.67

While all of the carbon-capped scenarios keep carbon emissions from aviation at 37.5 MtCO2e in 2050, i.e. consistent with the Climate Change Committee’s advice, all the carbon-traded expansion scenarios entail increases in carbon emissions from aviation above that level. The highest levels of emissions are associated with the global growth and low-cost is king scenarios, which would see UK aviation emissions in 2050 of 50-51 MtCO2e. If these emissions were not accounted for as part of a liberal global carbon market (as envisaged in this forecasting approach) and needed to be accommodated within any UK specific target this would see aviation emissions account for a larger share of the total and require commensurate reductions elsewhere in the economy, a situation in which the CCC advises it currently has ‘limited confidence’.


For what it is worth, here are some more figures, but it is hard making sense of it all these documents …..

The Jacobs “Carbon Baseline” document, of no new runways, is at
The Jacobs  “Carbon Assessment” document of new runways, is at

Jacobs assessments of tonnes of carbon produced by air travel from Heathrow and Gatwick in the future, WITH a new runway
[tCO2 = Tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent ]
Gatwick  tCO2 over 60 years 334,749,796
of which air travel is 307,281,972
Heathrow NW runway over 60 years  1,353,628,755
of which air travel is 1,313,372,945
Heathrow extended north runway ENR  over 60 years 1,326,144,125
of which air travel is  1,287,128,426

Jacobs assessments of tonnes of carbon produced by air travel from Heathrow and Gatwick in the future, WITHOUT a new runway
By contrast, in the single runway Gatwick master plan scenario
238,421,704 tCO2 from Gatwick air travel over 60 years 2025 to 2085  with no new runway;
[(2,327,372,378) in that time for total UK aviation carbon emissions from air travel – which averages out at 38,8 MtCO2 per year, above the 37.5 MtCO2 target]
And 258,595,615  tCO2 Gatwick over the 60 years including all emissions, with surface transport, airport energy use etc
And Heathrow with just the 2 runways and without a 3rd runway
1,076,713,933 tCO2 from Heathrow air travel over 60 years 2025 to 2085
[(2,327,372,378 tCO2  in that time for total UK ]
1,109,236,629  tCO2 Heathrow over the 60 years including all emissions, with surface transport, airport energy use etc

Jacobs estimates of additional carbon emissions from building a new runway at Heathrow or at Gatwick
Gatwick:
So difference between the Jacobs assessment of air travel carbon with and without a runway is  307,281,972  minus 238,421,704 which is  
68,860,268 tonnes of CO2 more (from flights)over 60 years with a new runway.
 ie. a bit over 1 million tonnes more per year.
And 76,175,277 tCO2 more for the whole airport operations, surface transport etc over 60 years  (ie 1.27 MtCO2 more per year, with a new runway)
Gatwick emissions with 2nd runway Nov 2014 Jacobs

Heathrow:
So difference between the Jacobs assessment of air travel carbon with and without a runway is 1,313,372,945   minus 1,076,713,933 which is
236,659,012  tonnes of CO2 more over 60 years with a new runway.   ie. about 4 million tonnes more per year.
244,576,644  tCO2 more for the whole airport operations, surface transport etc over 60 years  (ie 4.1 MtCO2 more per year, with a new runway)
Note about the ground movements (which are not included) below. 
Heathrow emissions with 3rd runway Nov 2014 Jacobs

and below is the figure for Heathrow Hub – extended northern runway
Heathrow Hub runway emissions with 3rd runway Nov 2014 Jacobs

The ground movement component is not included. Jacobs says: “These emissions are not additional to the total aircraft emissions from ATMs, as they are already included by the DfT methodology used. Ground movement emissions are calculated to show a key part of the Landing and Take Off (LTO) cycle that the airport can influence through e.g. terminal, stand and taxiway design” …… and it continues …
 

Carbon Capped (= realistic growth).  Carbon Traded (= unrealistic growth)
Bear  in mind that UK total aviation carbon emissions are now about 33 – 34 million tonnes per year, and the CCC limit is 37.5 mt CO2 per year.
If Heathrow got a new runway, adding on 4 million tonnes of carbon per year, that would mean the UK would be at its maximum level, of 37.5 MtCO2 with no space for any other airport to increase long haul flights.
That just really confirms that no other airport could grow, if Heathrow got another runway. But they could if Gatwick got a new runway, for short haul holiday trips. But the problem is that exporting holiday makers and other leisure passengers does no good to the UK economy, so (whatever Gatwick likes to claim) a Gatwick runway would not benefit the UK economy much at all.
In the Airports Commission consultation, they use two scenarios.  In one (“Carbon Capped) the total carbon emissions of UK aviation have to remain below 37.5 MtCO2 per year. That means having to restrict the amount of flying, as just accommodation all the desire to fly would take the UK well over that amount of carbon.
The Commission’s other scenario is “Carbon Traded” by which, in some idealised world that does not exist (and may never exist!) there is perfect carbon trading for aviation, so the industry can grow and grow.  That depends on other sectors making huge carbon cuts, while aviation does not need to make cuts.  All a bit improbable – but the aviation industry need this to become a reality…..

Proportion of total UK aviation carbon emissions from London’s airports
Already by 2010 the London airports were 75% of the total aviation carbon emissions.
If Heathrow got its runway, with 4 MtCO2 more per year that would mean approximately 76.5% of UK aviation carbon emissions would be from London airports – if there was no growth at London airports other than the one with the new runway. That would not happen, so the % of UK aviation emissions would be more like, perhaps 80% + ?
If there is no new south east runway, the DfT forecasts in Jan 2013 said: ” [the % of UK aviation emissions from London airports]  is forecast to decline to 72% by 2030 and then to 55% by 2050. This is because in the ‘max use’ capacity scenario, growth in aircraft movements is largely only possible at regional airports after 2030.” https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/223839/aviation-forecasts.pdf

The Jacobs report says: “The Future Airspace Strategy (FAS) indicates that it will deliver 500,000 tonnes of CO2 savings through more efficient aircraft routing.”. However, checking the NATS website, that http://www.nats.aero/newsbrief/future-airspace-strategy-nominated-janes-award/  says the saving of 500,000 tonnes is from ??? date up to 2020, so it is not an annual saving, and may be reducing each year in future.

Looking at the assessments of carbon emissions, by the Jacobs Carbon Assessment, they make various assumptions about the extent to which airport energy use and its carbon emissions, and the carbon emissions of surface access to the airport, will fall with time.  All a bit vague, but there are presumptions of about 15% less carbon being emitted, by use of low carbon electricity etc. Those assumptions may, or may not, be justified.  Only a tiny part of the totals, dwarfed by the flights, of course.
The Jacobs assessment report says:
“Emissions from buildings and airport operations initially increase, but then reduce and remain steady as carbon intensity per passenger and per m2 reduce over time, most significantly due to the presumed decarbonisation of grid electricity.”
Page ii of

On the carbon price, Jacobs says:  (Page 101)
“The core assumption is that EU ETS prices, as a way to value carbon-affecting projects, remain within the Low to High boundaries. While both the Central result and the Low to High range are presented for the baseline and the proposals, it is possible that there could be significant deviation from these values. For example, the demand scenario utilises the carbon capped assumption which assumes a given carbon price in order to deliver the required capped volume of emissions in 2050. Other scenarios would require different carbon prices in order to deliver a similar net impact across a wider carbon market. “

No account whatsoever taken of non-carbon emissions from aviation
And, of course, non-CO2 is left out. Jacobs says (Page 101)
“The appraisal does not attempt to consider aviation non-carbon impacts (such as
radiative forcing). Although this changes the overall emissions impact, the science
regarding the effect remains uncertain, and these effects occur at high altitude and
regardless of the scheme. Non-carbon impacts are not reported for clarity and
uncertainty reasons. “
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Caroline Lucas MP blog on the IPCC Report: A Tipping Point for Political Action

In her blog, Caroline says it is clearer than ever that we need to phase out fossil fuels, making a decisive switch to clean energy. We cannot afford to burn the vast majority of known fossil fuel reserves. The IPCC report warns of “severe, widespread, and irreversible” climate impacts if we do.  The most important message is that the main barrier to action isn’t lack of money or lack of technology. It’s lack of political will.  We need more than tinkering around the edges of business as usual. It’s no longer good enough to have policies to cut carbon in one part of the economy but to ignore others. “It doesn’t add up to say you want UK leadership on climate change and that you’re proud of the Climate Change Act whilst backing airport expansion and the creation of a whole new fossil fuel industry in the form of fracking for shale gas.” And “… the Infrastructure Bill needs radical amendment. At the moment, it promotes high carbon infrastructure such as new roads, and contains a provision to maximise UK oil and gas production.” Leaders must act; time is not on our side.
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Caroline Lucas MP blog on the IPCC Report: A Tipping Point for Political Action

5/11/2014  (Huffington Post – Blog)

The new climate science report from the UN offers cause for hope. It confirms we still have the chance to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and to secure major social, economic and environmental benefits by slashing our carbon emissions and making the transition to a zero carbon economy.

It’s clearer than ever that we need to phase out fossil fuels, making a decisive switch to clean energy. Politicians can either keep listening to a small number of polluting fossil fuel companies, who’re keen to profit from keeping us hooked on oil, coal and gas, or they can listen to the majority of other voices from civil society to business calling for an urgent switch to low and zero carbon heat and power.

We cannot afford to burn the vast majority of known fossil fuel reserves. The report warns of “severe, widespread, and irreversible” climate impacts if we do.

But perhaps the most important message is that the main barrier to action isn’t lack of money or lack of technology. From my inbox and conversations with Brighton residents, I know it’s not lack of public support for bold action on climate change either. It’s lack of political will.

The UN report makes clear we need a rapid transformation to a clean energy system, not more tinkering around the edges of business as usual. It’s no longer good enough to have policies to cut carbon in one part of the economy but to ignore others.

It doesn’t add up to say you want UK leadership on climate change and that you’re proud of the Climate Change Act whilst backing airport expansion and the creation of a whole new fossil fuel industry in the form of fracking for shale gas.

There are some opportunities coming up for political leaders to show whether they understand.

First, the Government should be going all out for renewable energy: it’s popular, it improves our energy security, and costs are falling rapidly. This includes reversing the reckless decision to end subsidies for solar farms.

The Environment Secretary, Liz Truss, admitted there’s no real evidence for her claims that solar arrays are displacing food production. Moreover, with policies of support rather than sabotage, solar farms could generate 60GW of generation capacity by 2030, enough to power the equivalent of 18 million homes and support almost 50,000 jobs across the British solar supply chain.

Second, the Infrastructure Bill needs radical amendment. At the moment, it promotes high carbon infrastructure such as new roads, and contains a provision to maximise UK oil and gas production. Instead, home energy efficiency, to end the scandal of fuel poverty, should be at the top of the UK’s infrastructure priorities, alongside renewable energy, public transport and zero carbon, affordable homes. As the Danish Minister of Climate Energy and Buildings said: “This report convinces me that we need to phase out fossil fuels sooner than we thought”. How many Ministers and shadow Ministers agree?

And third, we must put vulnerable communities at the heart of our response to climate change – in the UK and internationally. The UK must commit to the UN green climate fund to help poorer countries adapt. The Government’s position on the post-2015 development goals must include support for a standalone climate change goal.

Renewable energy is not unaffordable as the fossil fuel giants would like us to believe. The costs are plummeting. Globally, poor countries going for wind and solar at twice the rate of rich ones. Here in the UK, we must deal with the root causes of fuel poverty and re-write the rules of the game: taking power back from the Big Six energy companies and putting people, not just profit, at the heart of our energy system. The Energy Bill of Rights, launched recently by Fuel Poverty Action, sets out a radical vision to achieve this.

Climate change demands a collective response. We can’t expect other countries to act if we don’t. And as UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said: “Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in their message. Leaders must act; time is not on our side.”

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/caroline-lucas/climate-change-ipcc-report_b_6105936.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-politics&ir=UK+Politics

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Earlier:

IPCC report says large cuts in CO2 emissions are vital, and need to be soon, to stop severe impacts of climate change

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has produced its Synthesis report, bringing together work from 3 earlier reports. It is unequivocal about the extent of the danger posed by climate change, and the imperative need to make huge cuts in global carbon emissions. The science is absolutely clear – politicians ignore it at their peril. Ignorance can no longer be an excuse for not taking action. The IPCC says climate change is set to inflict “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” on people and the natural world unless CO2 emissions are cut sharply and rapidly. They say climate disruptions will cause huge difficulties for humanity, including food shortages and violent conflicts. Inaction would be costly; the longer the delay, the higher the cost. Lord Stern said delaying cutting CO2 emissions would be “profoundly irrational”. Ed Davey said: “…we must act on climate change now.” But he backs building a 2nd Gatwick runway. With the extent of carbon cuts it is essential to make, how can the inevitable rise in UK aviation carbon emissions, caused by an additional intensely used runway, possibly be justified?

Click here to view full story…

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