A reformed EU ETS would cut almost 4 times more aircraft CO2 in Europe than ICAO’s global scheme

A reformed and full scope EU ETS would deliver substantially more savings than ICAO’s measure over the period 2021-2035, and that’s especially the case for flights within Europe. When aviation was included in the ETS in 2012, it covered all flights within, into and out of Europe. Due to huge opposition from countries such as the USA, the ETS was altered in 2013 to include only flights within Europe. ICAO finally came up with a very weak and incomplete global deal in October. New analysis for T&E shows that with the original full ETS in place, and with a cap on carbon emissions, the reduction in emissions from flights into, out of and within Europe would be four times as great than with the weak new ICAO scheme, during the period 2021 – 2035. The study comes as MEPs this week vote on proposals to reform the EU ETS. The proposals include a progressive decrease of both the cap on aircraft emissions and of free allowances available to airlines, thus bringing aviation into line with obligations on other industries. Just considering the CO2 from flights inside Europe, the full ETS would mitigate about 950 Mt of CO2 while ICAO’s scheme, (on the same flights) would mitigate a maximum of about 270 Mt (2021 – 2035).  If a scheme as strong as the ETS scheme was introduced globally, it would be hugely more effective than the ICAO plan, which may only mitigate a maximum of about 2,700 Mt by 2035.



A reformed EU ETS will cut almost four times more aircraft CO2 in Europe than ICAO’s global scheme – report

From T&E (Transport & Environment)
Strengthening the ETS as proposed by MEPs will cut almost four times more emissions from flights within Europe than the UN’s new offsetting scheme for aviation CO2, a new independent study [by  CE Delft] has revealed.
Europe has faced sustained pressure from industry and other states to remove aviation from its ETS and leave climate action to UN aviation body ICAO.
But the study, commissioned by Transport & Environment, also finds that the ICAO global scheme will deliver less for the climate than the original aviation ETS, which only covers flights in, from and to Europe.
The study comes as MEPs this week vote on proposals to reform the EU ETS. The proposals include a progressive decrease of both the cap on aircraft emissions and of free allowances available to airlines, thus bringing aviation into line with obligations on other industries.

Reforming the aviation ETS in this way and still only covering flights within Europe will mitigate 956Mt of CO2 while ICAO’s scheme, applied to those same intra-EU flights only, would mitigate a maximum of just 271 Mt over its 2021-2035 lifetime, consultant CE Delft found. [1]
Even when applied to flights “globally”, the ICAO scheme will only mitigate a maximum of 2,711 Mt – less than what the original full-scope aviation ETS would have delivered and much less if the cap was decreased annually from 2021 in line with other sectors.
Andrew Murphy, aviation policy officer at T&E, said: “We now know why industry wants the ICAO deal and not the ETS. A reformed ETS is much more effective than the cheap offsets that the ICAO deal will rely on.”

The CE Delft report also finds that ICAO’s scheme will offset only a maximum of about one-fifth (22%) of emissions over the 2021-2035 period because it just addresses emissions growth above 2020 levels and then only some 80% of that target due to countries not participating.
The ETS cap is much stricter. The climate effectiveness of ICAO’s scheme also depends heavily on the application of strict rules governing the quality and type of offsets which will be permitted.
Without strong political will, it’s possible that airlines will be able to purchase cheap offsets which in fact deliver no real-world emission reductions. The agreement adopted by ICAO as yet contains no such rules.
Andrew Murphy concluded: “This report shows that good regional action delivers more than weak global action. Cutting the cap in the ETS, as Parliament will be voting on, is the way to go. An ICAO-only approach, which has been the mantra of some in Europe for too long, won’t do the job. ICAO is only the bare minimum and Europe needs to build on it.”
Europe launched its ETS in 2005 and included emissions from all flights within, to and from Europe from 2012. This step was taken after ICAO repeatedly failed to act, but faced immediate resistance from industry and other states who claimed a global approach was better for such an intense and rapidly growing driver of climate change. Under this pressure, the EU relented and agreed to suspend flights to and from Europe from its ETS, leaving only flights within Europe (intra-EU) in the system.
Aviation‘s CO2 and non-CO2 make it responsible for an estimated 5% of global warming.
Without a change in the current projections, emissions will increase by more than four times, potentially to account for 22% of global emissions in 2050. Aviation CO2 has grown from 1.4% to 4.5% of Europe’s emissions between 1990 and 2014, due largely to Europe’s indifference to the sector’s climate impact.
Note to editors:
[1] The study based a reformed ETS on a linear reduction factor, by which the cap on the total number of ETS allowances is reduced, of 2.2% each year from 2021. This is widely expected once the current reform process is finalised by lawmakers.



See earlier some other news on the ETS and ICAO:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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and more earlier news at https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/eu-emissions-trading-scheme/eu-ets-news-stories/