AEF asks: how should policymakers react to Covid-19 problems for aviation, and plan for the sector’s future?

The global changes to the aviation sector, caused by Covid-19, have been rapid and radical. It would have been impossible back in January to anticipate how many flights would be grounded, how air travel demand would sink, and how many airlines would be struggling to stay solvent. In a thoughtful piece by the AEF (Aviation Environment Federation), they consider how aviation policy needs to be re-thought, when the virus crisis is over. It is an opportunity to re-think society’s relationship to air travel, in a world that has been woken up to the realities of a global pandemic, and its consequences. Even when the sector hopes, post-virus, to get back to “business as usual” flying, the long-term danger of climate breakdown remains – and the threat worsens. The AEF says it is time to cease aviation exceptionalism, and the special treatment is gets on environmental policies and regulations. This needs to change.  And there should not be measures to cut aviation tax, as demanded by the industry, that increase air travel demand. That is not justifiable. Covid-19 has demonstrated the desire, by millions, to look after and care about the welfare of others. Perhaps this virus wake up call could bring the dawning of a more responsible age.
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Covid-19 and aviation: how should policymakers react, and plan for the future?

Coronavirus may prove to be the biggest shock ever seen to the aviation industry. Some airports could close, while airlines are cutting services by 80% or more as a result of travel restrictions and are talking about imminent bankruptcies. Virgin Atlantic, whose majority shareholder is billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, is understood both to have requested a government bailout of the airline and to have asked its staff to take 8 weeks of unpaid leave.

The Airlines Operators Association has called for a package of measures including suspension of business rates and regulatory costs, airlines ­wan­­­­t an APD holiday and air traffic control charges frozen, and Unite the Union has called for part nationalisation of the industry, and subsidies for certain routes.

The drop off in aviation activity has already meant a reduction in aviation pollution. Fewer planes mean less noise and a dramatic reduction in emissions. Flights departing the UK emit around 100,000 tonnes of CO2 per day, so a reduction in flights of 80% would reduce emissions by around 80,000 tonnes of CO2 for every day that measures are in place. Yet for those impacted by or particularly at risk from the virus, and for those, including airport and airline staff, facing an uncertain future and economic hardship, these are extraordinary and difficult times.

Coronavirus and the policy response: what do we want to see?

How, then, should the Government respond? The situation, in terms of how long restrictions are likely to be in place, and what the UK and other governments will do in response, is changing daily.  It is right for aviation activity to be curtailed to limit the spread of coronavirus between countries. Possible financial support and possible bailouts for the industry are currently being negotiated.

Here are our thoughts so far on this:

Financial support must be targeted at workers, not airline shareholders

Many staff within the aviation industry will, along with those in many other sectors, be facing sudden loss of income and potential redundancy. The Government should keep under review what extra financial support they may need during the crisis. This should be designed as far as possible to directly benefit staff and not to bail out airline or airport businesses.

The Government should resist aviation exceptionalism

In his statement on measures to be implemented in response to the virus on 17th March Chancellor Rishi Sunak singled out aviation as likely to need a special package of support, alongside the wider offer being made to UK businesses. Aviation as an industry has long been given special treatment, including exemptions and exclusions from a raft of environmental policies and regulations over the decades. We think it’s time to think differently about this.

In terms of the sector’s economic significance or otherwise, as head of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol has pointed out in the context of government rescue plans being drawn up around the world, “Aviation represents 1% of the global economy but it’s 8% of global oil consumption”. Passenger air travel is a service used by only half of us in any given year in the UK, and even then, most likely for leisure (over 70% of trips are for holidays). Any ‘special’ considerations should instead , surely, be focused on providing the goods and services we use and need every day.  And while it is true that airlines will be hard hit by Covid-19, so too will other sectors.  It’s hard to see why aviation should be given preferential support compared with, for example, hospitality, leisure or retail.

Perhaps, in fact, the Chancellor has come to a similar view. It’s being reported in the media that Rishi Sunak has written to the industry to say there would be no sector-wide rescue to prevent companies going out of business, and that further taxpayer support for the sector would only be possible once they had exhausted other options including raising money from shareholders, investors and banks.

Recovery plans should focus on building a sustainable future

Before the Coronavirus outbreak, a different crisis had started to make headlines, one with its own communities of vulnerable people, and its own threats to health and security. The impacts of Covid-19 are already proving brutal, but the climate crisis is likely both to be more complex to tackle and to have longer lasting impacts. Just before the virus hit in the UK, we had the historic court ruling that the Government’s approach to Heathrow expansion had failed to consider the Paris Agreement on climate change, and we’d started to see evidence of shifts in the public and political mood around aviation that were opening up conversations about growth, demand and the place of aviation in a zero carbon future. A government consultation on this had been imminent.

We can’t let the Government drop the ball on climate change. To quote Fatih Birol again, “This is a historic opportunity for the world to, on one hand, create packages to recover the economy, but on the other hand, to reduce dirty investments and accelerate the energy transition.” In planning short-term measures such as bailouts, guarantees and tax cuts, politicians need to stay focussed on the longer-term goals of decarbonisation and public wellbeing. Industry loans or moves for Government to buy out parts of the industry must not, for example, lock in incentives to deliver levels of aviation activity that are fundamentally unsustainable. Any financial measures that appear designed to boost aviation demand, such as the removal of Air Passenger Duty (a tax levied not on airlines but on passengers) cannot be justified, even if they apply only once flight restrictions are lifted, as argued for by the AOA.

In terms of jobs, in future, we need more people to be working on zero carbon fuels, carbon capture and storage, railways, and domestic tourism and the Government’s plans need to keep this bigger picture in mind.

Moving forward

What lessons can we take from people’s response to this situation? The current reality – fear, people staying isolated in their homes and avoiding contact with people outside their own family, small businesses failing and streets deserted – is a world away from the vision of personal wellbeing, and of strong and active local communities that motivates many environmental campaigners.

But perhaps there is some hope to be drawn from the fact that governments have acted quickly (if, some argue, not quickly enough) to deal with a global emergency despite economic consequences. Populations have been ready to make enormous sacrifices (alongside some examples of selfish panic buying) for the wellbeing not just of themselves and their families but of people who are more vulnerable. It’s become socially unacceptable to put other people at risk, we’re trying to work out who our neighbours are and how to be neighbourly, and people who have never taken part on online meetings are learning how they work.

How much of this will stick, and how the aviation sector in particularly is impacted in the longer term is hard to predict. We don’t yet know how far the Government will yield to the demands of the AOA to do “whatever it takes to sustain the UK aviation industry”. Some anticipate mass airline closures and bankruptcies, others argue that the industry typically recovers – and resumes its upward CO2 trajectory – faster than expected. Let’s hope that by the time the UK emerges from this horrible crisis we’ll have had the opportunity, during the slowdown in global CO2 emissions, to ourselves slow down and think about the kind of future we want, collectively, to rebuild.

https://www.aef.org.uk/2020/03/25/covid-19-and-aviation-how-should-policymakers-react-and-plan-for-the-future/

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DfT consultation on “Decarbonising Transport” – nothing of substance to cut aviation CO2

The DfT has quietly published (no press release or announcement – we are in the Covid-19 crisis) a consultation about Decarbonising Transport.  The end date is around June, but not specified.  Shapps says: “2020 will be the year we set out the policies and plans needed to tackle transport emissions. This document marks the start of this process. It gives a clear view of where we are today and the size of emissions reduction we need.”  And, less encouragingly: “We will lead the development of sustainable biofuels, hybrid and electric aircraft to lessen and remove the impact of aviation on the environment and by 2050…” (he actually believes electric planes will make much difference in a few decades??). It also says “Aviation, at present, is a relatively small contributor to domestic UK GHG emissions. Its proportional contribution is expected to increase significantly as other sectors decarbonise more quickly.” And while saying we are working with ICAO on its CORSIA carbon scheme (unlikely to be effective) the document states: “…we would be minded to include international aviation and shipping emissions in our carbon budgets if there is insufficient progress at an international level.” But overall the intention is to let demand for air travel continue to rise.
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“Decarbonising Transport  – Setting the Challenge”

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876251/decarbonising-transport-setting-the-challenge.pdf

 

Published 26.3.2020  (no DfT press release – it just appeared ….)

Consultation till about June – no final date has been given (as we are in the Covid-19 crisis, with no certainty about when life might return to a semblance of normality).

Shapps says in the introduction (“Ministerial Foreward”)

… just some extracts of relevance to aviation below: 

“We will lead the development of sustainable biofuels, hybrid and electric aircraft to lessen
and remove the impact of aviation on the environment and by 2050, zero emission ships
will be commonplace globally.”

“As we move towards a net zero GHG emissions transport system, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the UK is on a journey with the rest of the world. Action is needed beyond the UK, and we are in a unique position to demonstrate real leadership domestically, as well as leading change in sectors that require global solutions, such as international shipping and aviation.”

 

This is the text in the section on Aviation:

Aviation

Current position of the sector versus historical emissions

2.45 In 2018, UK domestic aviation (flights that take off and land in the UK) was responsible
for 1.5MtCO2e of GHG emissions  (53). This is a decrease of 6% since 2017, with domestic
aviation contributing less than 1% of UK GHG emissions and lower than the most recent
peak in 200554.

2.46 International aviation emissions, at 37MtCO2e in 201855, have more than doubled
since 1990. The majority of the increase came in the 1990s and early 2000s, however
emissions have also been increasing since 2012. There has been an increase of 1%
since 2017  (56  – see link ).

2.47 Aviation, at present, is a relatively small contributor to domestic UK GHG emissions.
Its proportional contribution is expected to increase significantly as other sectors
decarbonise more quickly.

Current government aims and targets

2.48 In December 2018, the Government published the Aviation 2050 green paper that
included a range of measures to achieve its 2050 ambitions at the time, including
efficiency improvements in technology, operations and air traffic management, use of
sustainable aviation fuels and market-based measures. The consultation closed in June
2019 and work is underway on the Aviation Strategy.

2.49 Airport expansion is a core part of boosting our global connectivity and levelling
up across the UK. The Government takes seriously its commitments on the
environment and the expansion of any airport must always be within the UK’s
environmental obligations.

2.50 Domestic aviation emissions are included in the UK’s carbon budgets with international
aviation and shipping emissions accounted for via “headroom” within our existing carbon
budgets, meaning that the UK can remain on the right trajectory for net zero global
greenhouse gas emissions across the whole economy. These international emissions
are treated differently, largely because the inherently international nature of both sectors
means that it is difficult to attribute these emissions to individual states. It is widely
agreed among states that a sectoral approach (rather than state-by-state) is preferable,
which is why the Kyoto Protocol gave UN International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)
and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) responsibility for pursing measures to
reduce these emissions.

Current policies in place to deliver those targets

2.51 Given their global nature and the absence of any international agreement on how to
assign international aviation emissions to individual states, action at an international
level is the Government’s preferred approach for addressing aviation’s international
carbon emissions.

2.52 The UK is already a respected and influential member of the UN International Civil
Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The UK has been instrumental in securing many important
environmental agreements including the 2016 Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme
for International Aviation (CORSIA) agreement – the first worldwide scheme to address
CO2 emissions in any single sector – and the CO2 standard.

2.53 ICAO has defined a basket of measures designed to achieve its medium-term goal
of carbon neutral growth for the sector from 2020 (CNG2020). This consists of
more efficient aircraft technologies as incentivised by the CO2 standard, operational
improvements such as more efficient flight procedures, the development and use of
sustainable alternative fuels and market-based measures like CORSIA.

2.54 Under CORSIA, qualifying aeroplane operators are required to offset the growth in
international aviation CO2 emissions covered by the scheme above average 2019 and
2020 levels. At present, 82 states (including the UK) have volunteered to join CORSIA
from the start in 2021, representing over 75% of international aviation activity57. From
2027 to 2035, the scheme will become mandatory, meaning that over the entire lifecycle
of the scheme (2021 to 2035), it is estimated that approximately 2.5Gt of CO2 will be
offset58. Since 2012, the aviation sector has been part of the EU Emissions Trading
System (ETS). According to the European Commission, this has contributed to reducing
Europe’s carbon footprint by more than 17MtCO2e per year59. The UK committed in its
2017 Clean Growth Strategy that its future approach would be at least as ambitious as
the EU ETS and provide a smooth transition for relevant sectors

2.55 Figure 12 shows our central projection for GHG emissions from international and
domestic aviation to 2050. Between 2018 and 2050 demand is projected to increase
by 73%. However, emissions reductions per plane and per passenger km are driven by
larger and more efficient planes, and limited uptake of low carbon sustainable aviation
fuels. This results in aviation GHG emissions projections remaining broadly flat.

Figure 12: Projection of change in combined domestic and international aviation GHG emissions, passenger distance flown and gCO2/passenger km from current policy compared to 1990f60 Index (1990 = 100). GHG Passenger km GHG per passenger km

Planned future work

2.56 Later this year a consultation on net zero aviation will be published. This consultation
represents the growth in government ambition since the green paper, including the
2050 net zero target and further CCC advice on international aviation and shipping, and
will propose how the Government plan for aviation to play its part in delivering our net
zero ambitions.

2.57 Internationally, we are committed to negotiating in ICAO for a long-term emissions
reduction goal for international aviation that is consistent with the temperature goals
of the Paris Agreement, ideally by ICAO’s 41st Assembly in 2022. At the 40th ICAO
Assembly in October 2019, ICAO not only reaffirmed its commitment to CORSIA but
crucially, prioritised work towards a long-term climate goal for international aviation.

Footnote:

f Historic emissions are final UK GHG statistics 60. Historic passenger kms are DfT estimates based upon CAA airports data. Aviation forecasts are produced using the DfT Aviation model. The model is an updated version of the model used for the Aviation forecasts 2017. Key updates include revised fleet mix and aircraft efficiency assumptions. In addition, a precautionary approach to airport capacity assumptions was adopted such that these represent an upper bound for carbon emissions, but the approach does not pre-judge any future planning applications or the development of policy (including following the outcome of proceedings e.g. on Heathrow expansion).

2.58 As a responsible national government, we need a contingency measure in case
international progress does not go far enough or fast enough. That is why in the
Government’s response to the latest CCC Progress Report, we made it clear that we
would be minded to include international aviation and shipping emissions in our carbon
budgets if there is insufficient progress at an international level.

======

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Britain hopes to:

• Lead international efforts in transport emissions reduction
• Recognise aviation and maritime are international by nature and require international solutions
• Harness the UK as a global centre of expertise, driving low carbon innovation and global leadership, boosting the UK economy

======

Within transport, road transport is the largest emitter of GHG. Cars contributed 55%
of domestic transport emissions (68MtCO2e) in 2018; as figure 3 shows, absolute
emissions from a number of transport sectors have decreased since 1990, but there
have been noticeable increases in emissions from vans and international aviation. (b)

(The image below just has the international aviation and shipping part of a large graphic)

Footnote:

b International aviation and shipping emissions are accounted for via “headroom” within our existing carbon budgets. This is consistent with the Kyoto Protocol which gives two UN Organisations – the ICAO and IMO – responsibility for pursing measures to reduce these emissions. There is no agreed way of allocating emissions to different countries, so our international emissions estimate are based on bunker fuels sales for international flights and journeys.

…..

See the full consultation document at

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876251/decarbonising-transport-setting-the-challenge.pdf

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Fatih Birol, of IEA, says due to Covid-19 Governments have ‘historic opportunity’ to accelerate clean energy transition

International Energy Agency (IEA) head Fatih Birol is calling on heads of state and international financial institutions to make Coronavirus recovery plans sustainable. He says political and financial leaders have “a historic opportunity” to usher in a new era for global climate action with economic stimulus packages. These stimulus packages are a critical opportunity for governments to “shape policies” in line with climate action. This is a great opportunity to focus, instead of on fossil fuels, on clean energy technologies and accelerating the transition away from fossil fuels. Currently huge sums are spent on keeping the price of fossil fuels low. Instead, now is a unique historic opportunity. This includes the aviation sector, which represents 1% of the global economy but 8% of global oil consumption. When plans to reinvigorate economies get going, they must address climate breakdown; including financial stimuli using low interest rates for low carbon electricity is key – and funding carbon capture and storage technologies. Governments need to increase the production of climate-proof jobs, avoiding jobs in “stranded asset” fossil fuel industries.

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Governments have ‘historic opportunity’ to accelerate clean energy transition, IEA says

IEA head Fatih Birol is calling on heads of state and international financial institutions to make coronavirus recovery plans sustainable

By Climate Change News

Political and financial leaders have “a historic opportunity” to usher in a new era for global climate action with economic stimulus packages to confront the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said.

In an interview with Climate Home News on Tuesday, Fatih Birol said stimulus packages to prop up economic recovery marked a critical moment for governments to “shape policies” in line with climate action.

“I am talking with several governments and international financial institutions leaders because they are all busy designing stimulus programmes for the economy – the plans they will put together will be extremely important,” he said.

“This is the reason I am telling them that we can use the current situation to step up our ambition to tackle climate change.”

Birol said he had urged political and global financial leaders to design “sustainable stimulus packages” that focus on investing in clean energy technologies and accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels.

“This is a historic opportunity for the world to, on one hand, create packages to recover the economy, but on the other hand, to reduce dirty investments and accelerate the energy transition,” he said.

The health crisis has hammered the economy in the week since the World Health Organisation declared coronavirus a pandemic. Stock markets have seen some of their toughest days of trading, sparking fears of a global economic recession.

The aviation industry has come under particularly strains in recent weeks, with a number of airlines announcing a dramatic scale-back of their operations and executives calling for government bailouts to avoid bankruptcy.

“The global economy is going through very difficult times and the energy sector is disproportionately affected,” said Birol. “Aviation represents 1% of the global economy but it’s 8% of global oil consumption.”

“I understand that when I talk to governments, they are very much preoccupied with the current economic turmoil but we should keep the eye on the ball that is addressing climate change,” he said.

Birol was speaking before reports in US media that President Donald Trump would be seeking an $850 billion stimulus package, including $50 billion for airlines.

Last year, a report by UN Environment found the world needed to cut emissions by 7.6% per year until 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5C by the end of the century – the tougher temperature goal countries committed to under the Paris Agreement.

In most recent years, global emissions have increased but they stagnated in 2019, according to an IEA analysis.

Birol insisted 2019 could mark a definite peak in emissions, but only if governments seized interventions to recover from the impacts of the coronavirus as the moment to gear the economy towards a green transition.

“It may well be the case that we will see 2020 emissions decline. In my view, this is not a reason to celebrate because emissions reduction should be the result of right energy policies,” he said.

In a statement last week, Birol wrote that such policies could include large-scale investments in clean energy technologies such as solar, wind, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage technologies.

The massive investment plan outlined by Birol echoed proposals such as the EU Commission’s “green deal for Europe” aimed at accelerating the shift of capital towards the green economy while creating climate-proof jobs.

The IEA has previously come under criticism for underplaying the speed of renewable energy deployment and for not considering the Paris Agreement’s more ambitious target of 1.5C in its influential World Energy Outlook scenarios.

Birol also advocated for countries to capitalise on low interest rates to boost innovation on hydrogen and carbon capture and storage technology, and use the opportunity of steep reductions in oil prices to cut fossil fuel consumption subsidies.

The IEA estimates annual fossil fuel consumption subsidies are worth $400 billion worldwide, 40% of which are used to make oil products cheaper.

Birol expressed optimism governments could bend the emissions growth curve this year because of a number of favourable factors.

An IEA analysis found that 70% of global energy investments is driven by governments directly or indirectly as a response to policy. Meanwhile, the low cost of clean energy strengthens the economic case for the clean energy transition to drive stimulus packages.

“This is a huge opportunity we cannot miss,” he said. “Here the issue is not only the level of money [dedicated to stimulate the economy] but the direction of the money,” he said.

https://www.climatechangenews.com/2020/03/17/governments-historic-opportunity-accelerate-clean-energy-transition-iea-says/

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See also:

Coronavirus may toughen airlines’ goals for curbing emissions in 2020s

Coronavirus likely to lower a key 2019-20 baseline for average aviation emissions that will force more carbon offsets if flights rebound in 2020s

By  (Climate Change News)

The coronavirus outbreak has sent the aviation industry reeling from one of its biggest economic shocks in recent years.

But the virus is also putting the finger on one of the industry’s most difficult challenges: curbing the sector’s increasing greenhouse gas emissions from a baseline of 2019 and 2020.

As part of goals to limit emissions, members of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao), the UN body responsible for aviation, have agreed an “aspirational goal” to make all growth in international flights after 2020 carbon neutral.

Under the plan, countries have agreed to use a market-based offset mechanism known as Corsia to mitigate emissions from flying. Offsets are the primary tool to curb the sector’s emissions with alternative fuels and energy efficiency technologies not developed at scale.

The resolution to establish Corsia adopted in 2016 states that the sector’s growth should be offset compared with a baseline of average total emissions for 2019 and 2020.

But with thousands of flights grounded because of the coronavirus, emissions from aviation are anticipated to fall this year, reducing average emissions over the two years.

If traffic rebounds in coming years, growth from the baseline will be bigger than previously expected, forcing airlines to do more to offset emissions than they would if flights in 2020 were unaffected by coronavirus.

Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it anticipated revenue losses for passenger business of between $63 billion and $113 billion. Airline share prices have also been hit hard by the outbreak, now considered a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

“Emissions can rebound next year from the coronavirus situation,” Annie Petsonk, aviation expert at Environmental Defense Fund, told Climate Home News, adding “airlines could have more to offset” emissions growth.

On the other hand, “the coronavirus paired with concerns about climate change could mean that people will act more carefully about getting to places in the future,” she said.

Separately, Petsonk wrote in a statement that Icao was likely to come under pressure to “change the fundamentals of Corsia” to ease the financial hardship for airlines.

That could include calls to revise the 2019-20 baseline. “This would be a dangerous mistake because it might trigger a reconvening of the 190+ member countries of Icao’s Assembly to renegotiate the hard-fought 2016 resolution,” she wrote.

From January 2021, only flights between countries which have volunteered to participate in the Corsia system will have to compensate for the growth in their emissions. From 2027, offsetting obligations will become mandatory for all international flights.

Flying accounts for about 2%-3% of global emissions, roughly the same as Germany. Icao’s own forecast anticipates emissions to increase by up to 300% by 2050 under business as usual.

On Friday, Icao’s council – a body of 36 countries, including the world’s largest air travel manufacturing and infrastructure nations – is due to start discussing which of 14 carbon offset schemes  airlines will be allowed to use during the first three-year voluntary stage. The meeting is due to last until 20 March.

The decision is key to the integrity of the Corsia scheme in delivering real emissions reductions since it will impact the quality and quantity of offsets that airlines will be able to buy to cancel out the growth of their emissions.

The inclusion of credits from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), a carbon market set up under the Kyoto Protocol, is a concern for observers and campaigners, who fear this could flood the market with billions of cheap credits that have not actually achieved emissions cuts.

A 2016 EU-commissioned report found that just 2% of CDM projects were highly likely to ensure “additional” emissions reductions.

The meeting, which is taking place in Icao’s headquarters in Montreal, is closed to observers and the media.

Icao’s Technical Advisory Body (TAB) made a set of recommendations to the council, which have not been made public. Climate Home News understands that at least six of the 14 schemes that applied have been judged eligible to be used under Corsia.

Campaigners have called on Icao to publish the TAB recommendations, warning against the risk of a back room deal and the politicisation of the decision.

In a letter, the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation warned the council its decisions and “the transparency with which you make these, puts the credibility of aviation’s climate efforts in the global spotlight”.

The start date to accept offset projects could have a key impact on the scheme’s integrity.

An earlier date would allow more credits on the market while a later start date would restrict the market’s liquidity. But research has found that the supply of credits is much higher than the demand forecast.

study by Ecosystem Marketplace found that starting the crediting period in 2013, would allow for a billion tonnes of carbon credits from the CDM to become available under Corsia.

That is the equivalent of six to ten times airlines’ foreseeable demand, according to Ecosystem Marketplace.

Another option, reportedly being considered by Icao, is to include offsets that were based on emission reduction activities that have taken place between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2020.

“A lot of people began developing projects in 2016 explicitly because Corsia was announced that year,” said Steve Zwick of Ecosystem Marketplace.

An analysis by Carbon Market Watch found that credits currently available on the voluntary markets, which exclude credits from the CDM for instance, are enough to cover Corsia’s demand well into 2025.

“This would leave five years for new projects to start and generate credits for the rest of Corsia,” Gilles Dufrasne, policy officer at Carbon Market Watch said, insisting eligibility should been defined by the quality over quantity of credits.

In its letter, the ICSA has called on Icao’s council members to exclude any offsets from projects which were started before 2020.

ICSA also called on the council to ensure emissions reductions are not double counted by both the airline buying the credits and the host country benefiting from the project.

There is still no international agreement on avoiding double counting emissions reduction after countries failed to agree on the issue at the last UN climate talks in Madrid in December.

https://www.climatechangenews.com/2020/03/13/coronavirus-may-toughen-airlines-goals-curbing-emissions-2020s/

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Manston DCO decision postponed to May – but would be the first since the Appeal Court ruling on climate impact

Though it has not had much publicity outside east Kent, the application to turn Manston  (which has been closed as an airport since May 2014) into a freight airport could be an important case. It was the first airport to have to take its plans through the DCO (Development Consent Order) process, dependant on the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS). Manston is a crazy place to have a freight airport, being at the north eastern tip of Kent, miles from anywhere. It always failed as an airport in the past, largely due to its location. The Heathrow runway has been blocked by the Court of Appeal, which ruled (27th March)  the ANPS is illegal, as it did not take carbon emissions into account properly. That has implications for Manston’s plans. Already before the Court judgment, the Manston DCO had been delayed from 18th January, to 18th May.  The initial DCO application had nothing on carbon emissions. Something was finally added, because of pressure from local campaigners. Now lawyers say the decision about Manston’s DCO could have implications for other airport DCOs in future including Gatwick and Luton, as well as Heathrow.
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HIDING IN PLANE SIGHT – MANSTON: THE AIRPORT EXPANSION STORY NO-ONE IS TALKING ABOUT … AND WHY, PERHAPS, THEY SHOULD

By Emma Montlake (Environmental Law Foundation, ELF)

11.3.2020

While Heathrow Airport Ltd ponders its next move in light of the historic judgment of 27 February 2020, the first big test of the Government’s resolve as regards airport expansion in light of the Paris Agreement – and NetZero – is already deep into its final stages. A decision is due on the UK’s first ever airport Development Consent Order (DCO) on 18 May 2020.

This follows an announcement earlier this year – with very little fanfare – from the Department for Transport of a delay in the Development Consent Order (DCO) decision on Manston Airport, with plans to turn the current lorry park and former airfield into a new dedicated air cargo hub.

As this is the UK’s first ever airport DCO – the process which the Planning Act 2008 sets out for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) – decisions made for the Manston DCO could have implications for other airport NSIPs to follow, including Gatwick, Luton and – yes – Heathrow.

Response from the media and even airport expansion and environmental campaigners has been muted.  In a list of 21 airport expansion schemes around the UK highlighted by Extinction Rebellion’s call-to-action on Twitter, posted 48 hours after the DfT announcement, the plans to develop Manston were completely ignored and not included in the list. Nor was it featured in Carbon Brief’s recent study of UK airports currently seeking to expand.

This is as surprising as it is concerning – and not just for the locals who have fought an extraordinary campaign against the developer’s proposals. Buried at number 22 of the 30 issues where the Secretary of State is seeking further clarification before deciding on the Manston DCO, there’s the small matter of climate change. Specifically, whether the carbon emissions contribution from the airport development – proposed somewhat fancifully as “Nationally Significant” – might impact on the UK’s commitment to meet Net Zero emissions by 2050.

Crucially, when the High Court initially found in favour of the Government against campaigners who launched a judicial review of the Airports National Policy Statement and Heathrow’s third runway on climate change grounds, paragraph 648 of the May 2019 judgment ruled that “at the DCO stage this issue will be re-visited on the basis of the then up-to-date scientific position”. The February 2020 Court of Appeal judgment does not change this – in fact, it asserts at para 275 that “it is incumbent on the Government to approach the decision-making in accordance with the law at each stage”, (our emphasis), “not only in the current review of the ANPS or at a future development consent stage”.

Whilst there is much to celebrate in the Court of Appeal judgment of 27 February, the conclusion of the Lords Justice was very clear at para 285 that “we have not decided, and could not decide, that there could be no third runway at Heathrow”.

In essence, the recent judgment has removed – pending review – policy support for Heathrow, but DCO applications will still continue. In this respect, the DCO examination process remains our last line of defence, (judicial reviews on the Secretary of State’s DCO decisions notwithstanding).

As the UK’s first ever proposed airport development to go through the DCO examination process, Manston is the first time the government’s resolve will have been tested post-Heathrow judgment and on the “up-to-date scientific position” of the NetZero report, published a little over mid-way through the six month examination. Which makes the lack of attention from environmental groups and media alike all the more surprising, especially given the latest ruling and impact this may have on airport expansion schemes across the UK – including any prospective Heathrow DCO application.

Bizarrely, when the UK Planning Inspectorate set out the list of Principal Issues to be examined in the Manston DCO during the Preliminary Hearing in January last year, climate change did not even make the list, with the Examining Authority claiming it would instead “conduct all aspects of the Examination with these objectives in mind”. Only the intervention of local campaigners during that hearing ensured climate change was added as a Principal Issue in its own right, with the necessary weight and focus that this entails.

The Manston DCO applicant, Riveroak Strategic Partners, (RSP), was represented in the latter stages of the DCO hearings by the same QC who represented Heathrow Airports Ltd during its two most recent judicial review hearings. And that set alarm bells ringing in our heads that, perhaps, there may be a bigger game at stake here, especially with the approach the Applicant took on the climate change issue during those DCO hearings.

Seeking, perhaps, to avoid any further discussion or investigation of the issue, the argument was put forward that “Government explained during those [Heathrow] judicial reviews its decision and those grounds of challenge to the Airports National Policy Statement failed,” adding that “it’s not the function of this examination … to re-examine Government policy”.

Essentially, the Applicant appeared to be arguing that the climate change issue as it relates to aviation emissions had already been set down by Government, decided in the original Heathrow judgment of May 2019 and needed no further examination during the DCO hearings. Needless to say, the exact opposite approach was taken during the recent Heathrow Court of Appeal case, with the February 2020 judgment reporting at para 275 the Heathrow argument that:

“… it is unnecessary and inappropriate to grant a remedy in these proceedings because policy in the ANPS requires the applicant for development consent to provide evidence of the carbon impact of the project “such that it can be assessed against the Government’s carbon obligations” .

So how was the carbon impact and assessed against the Government’s carbon obligations during the first airport DCO? In the entire examination, only four written questions were asked by the Examining Authority specifically on the Principal Issue of climate change. Every single one of them was related to the proposed development’s approach to climate change adaptation. In other words, how the developers proposed mitigating against the impact of climate change on the airport rather than the other way around. A further written question was asked under the General and Cross Topic heading, specifically relating to energy consumption and dependency on road surface access. At no point were any questions asked relating to aviation emissions during the Examination – until the Secretary of State’s most recent question in January this year.

The lack of attention on Manston is perhaps hardly surprising from Government. On the one hand, there’s the fact that the DfT has spent millions converting the Manston site into a lorry park for Operation Brock/Stack and may not want to draw attention to the idea of now turning it back into an airport. On the other, the DfT’s often preferred airport consultants, York Aviation, submitted reams of evidence during the DCO process questioning the credibility of the applicant, the strength of their need case and the viability of their proposals. In response to the Secretary of State for Transport’s recent call for Comments and Further Information in its follow-up Consultation, York Aviation again confirmed its reports from 2013 and 2015 “do not, as was made clear in our subsequent reports, support the case for a new dedicated freight airport in Kent”.

Coming so soon after FlyBe, this has all the hallmarks of, at best, another regional airport bail-out waiting to happen and, at worst, Grant Shapps’ very own Seabourne Freight fiasco in the sky, (Skyborne Freight?).

But as the DfT comes under criticism in yet another legal challenge for a culture that has been “highly resistant to openness and transparency”, it must be said that this is not the issue here. The DCO process, for all its flaws, is predicated on these principles, with every single one of the record-breaking 1,997 documents submitted and 648 pages of questions asked made publicly available on the UK Planning Inspectorate website, along with high quality recordings of every single hearing.

Yet openness and transparency are meaningless where there is an almost total lack of external scrutiny. So far, this has been the case here from anyone other than the 2,000+ local individuals and organisations who fed into the DCO process. That’s ten times higher than the national average for any DCO – and the second highest ever – but the weighty voices of the larger national campaign groups and NGOs are not amongst them, save for the local branch of the CPRE.

Tempting though it may be to write this off as yet more evidence that the Applicant’s vision for Manston isn’t nearly as “nationally significant” as they claim it to be, there is a real danger lurking.

If the Manston DCO is refused – as it most surely must be – it will be because the Applicant has failed to present a credible case. Amongst the many issues – besides the climate change/NetZero question – the Applicant provided no credible evidence of financial backing or previous airport development or operational experience, the airport site has poor surface access and previous attempts to operate commercial services – including freight – from previous incarnations of Manston Airport ended in repeated failure and closure of the site in 2014. Since then, numerous industry experts have repeatedly made clear that there is no need for a new dedicated freight airport in this corner of Kent.

This being the case, if a DCO application this wanting is granted, it will be because we just weren’t paying enough attention and let this one slip through.

This could set a dangerous precedent for all the other airport DCOs to follow – including Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton – and the environmental groups who seek to set limits on exponential airport expansion.

Having made contact with the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF), the significant issues around the proposed development and reopening of Manston Airport – and their potential impact on other airport DCOs to follow – are now being brought further into light through the very much-welcome and vital support of the organisation. With the DCO decision deadline extended until 18 May, following the Secretary of State for Transport’s recent call for Comments and Further Information on a range of matters – including climate change – the ELF sought and submitted a legal opinion on this issue on behalf of local campaigners, which has now been included within their own submissions. (See ELF submission here, from page 4-20).

The importance of this is made clear at paragraph 42 of the ELF submission, which notes:

“…this is the first DCO process for an airport expansion, and will be likely to be followed by others. As such, this approach to the assessment of climate change will provide an invokable precedent” (emphasis added).

While the cost of the Manston DCO will be all too visible, breathable, smellable and audible in the historic town of Ramsgate – with 40,000 residents sitting directly under the flight path just over a mile from the runway and with overflying planes at a maximum altitude of 700 feet – the wider threat of rampant airport expansion, new airports and the environmental impact on us all is hiding in plane sight.

https://elflaw.org/news/hiding-in-plane-sight-manston-the-airport-expansion-story-no-one-is-talking-about-and-why-perhaps-they-should/

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Delay till May for Shapps to decide whether to allow Manston Development Consent Order (“DCO”)

The decision by the DfT on whether to re-open Manston as an airport again for air cargo has been delayed for four months. It had been expected on 18th January.  The airport has been closed since 2014. RiverOak Strategic Partners, the consortium behind the scheme, had applied for the airport to be considered as a nationally significant infrastructure project. Having had 3 months to digest the Planning Inspectorates’ report, the DfT now want more information from RiverOak by 31 January. The Secretary of State (SoS) Grant Shapps has set a new deadline of 18 May 2020 for the decision to be made. The Aviation Strategy is expected before summer recess, with the DfT consultation on climate imminent, so the DfT are giving themselves until May to avoid shooting themselves in the foot on carbon, as they did with Flybe.  RiverOak are trying to argue that Manston could be successful on cargo, as “the air freight market is ripe for an alternative to the overcrowded London airports system”. Some people in the area are hoping Manston could provide jobs; others are deeply concerned about the noise from old freighter aircraft during the night, flying over residential areas (the approach path is right over Ramsgate).

Click here to view full story…

Manston airport decision before long, after Planning Inspectorate sends recommendation to Grant Shapps

Government planners, the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) , have made their decision on whether a bid to reopen Manston Airport as a cargo hub should be backed. The recommendations have been sent to Transport Secretary of State (SoS) Grant Shapps, who  has 3 months to decide whether to grant planning permission to site owners RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) in the form of a Development Consent Order (DCO). The decision is made the SoS because the airport re-opening is considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) which is not decided by a local authority. It the SoS approves the plans, the owners RSP will probably use the airport primarily for air cargo.  In July Stone Hill, the site’s previous owners, agreed to sell the land to RSP for £16.5m, instead of their plan to build up to 3,700 homes on it.  The tonnage of air freight has risen by only 11% in the UK in the past 10 years, with most going through Heathrow. But RSP says “there has been continuing growth in the air freight cargo market, driven chiefly by the increase in e-commerce and … e-fulfillment…”  Manston re-opening will be strenuously opposed by local people, largely to noise over Ramsgate, from old, noisy freighters, often at night.

Click here to view full story…

Manston airport has another possible chance to take cargo planes in future

Manston, once named as Kent International, was shut down four years ago. Plans to turn it into a cargo airport will be subjected to a public inquiry.  An application to upgrade the airfield and reopen it primarily as a cargo airport was accepted by the government’s Planning Inspectorate.  Its ambitions to be a cargo airport come from the days when it was touted as a viable alternative to Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted when, for a time, it traded under the name Kent International Airport. It was used by old, noisy and often clapped-out planes, that caused serious noise nuisance to residents of Ramsgate, where houses are situated on the approach path, almost up to the airport – and planes flew at night. The plans put forward by Riveroak Strategic Partners, Manston’s proposed operator, must first be subjected to a public inquiry in which local people can express their views. Cargo could perhaps be transferred onto the road system, from the airport. But its location, so far out to the north east of Kent, is far from ideal for any sort of airport.  In 2012, Flybe and KLM launched services from Manston in the mistaken belief that it could be a passenger airport.

Click here to view full story…

 

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New report – if the UK seriously wants to be net-zero carbon by 2050, flying will need to be seriously reduced

A new report has been produced by the government-funded research group, called Catapult Energy Systems, whose computer models are used by the Committee on Climate Change, which advises government.  The report called “Innovating to Net Zero” looked at various scenarios for the UK to cut its carbon emissions by 2050. It considers that the UK cannot go climate neutral much before 2050 unless people stop flying and eating red meat almost completely. It also warns that the British public do not look ready to take such steps and substantially change their lifestyle. For the world to have a realistic chance of avoiding an average global temperature rise of over 2 degrees C, carbon cuts internationally will have to be made well before 2050. The report says it might be possible for the UK to get to net zero by 2050, but only if ministers act much more quickly. And as well as cutting flying, the UK will only manage to continue with our current lifestyles, if there is a lot of progress on carbon capture and storage with bioenergy crops; hydrogen for a wide variety of uses if there is spare renewably generated electricity; and advanced nuclear power. Even if flying was almost eliminated, the UK is unlikely to reach net zero before 2045. 

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Climate change: UK ‘can’t go climate neutral before 2050’

10th March 2020
The report says people will need to fly less

The UK cannot go climate neutral much before 2050 unless people stop flying and eating red meat almost completely, a report says.

But it warns that the British public do not look ready to take such steps and substantially change their lifestyle.

The report challenges the views of campaign group Extinction Rebellion.

It believes the UK target of climate neutrality by 2050 will result in harm to the climate.

The claim comes from the government-funded research group Energy Systems Catapult, whose computer models are used by the Committee on Climate Change, which advises government.

Its report says: “A number of groups have called for net zero to be accelerated to 2025, 2030 or 2040.

“Achieving net zero significantly earlier than 2050 in our modelling exceeds even our most speculative measures, with rates of change for power, heat and road transport that push against the bounds of plausibility.”

Glimmer of good news

But the authors offer some optimism too. They calculate that the UK can cut emissions fast enough to be climate neutral by 2050 – but only if ministers act much more quickly.

They say the government urgently needs to invest in three key technologies: carbon capture and storage with bioenergy crops; hydrogen for a wide variety of uses; and advanced nuclear power.

Chart showing progress in reducing emissions across different sectors.

 

The report modelled options for society to 2050. It concluded that if decisions are made early, the cost of climate neutrality can be held down to 1-2% of national wealth – GDP.

Scenarios rely on some technologies still in their infancy, which will be controversial. For instance, it draws heavily on burning energy crops, capturing the carbon emissions and burying them underground.

It says hydrogen use will need to grow to supply industry, heat and heavy transport.

Electricity generation will need to double with heavy reliance on solar power and offshore wind.

Controversially, it calls for small, modular nuclear reactors to support three-quarters of heating in cities through district heating systems. Modular reactors are much smaller than conventional reactors, and brought to a site in a kit of parts to be assembled.

It warns that livestock production for dairy and meat may need to be cut by 50% rather than the 20% currently envisaged by the Committee on Climate Change. And people will need to eat less meat and dairy by the same amount.

The report’s author, Scott Milne, said: “Whichever pathway the UK takes, innovation, investment and inducements across low-carbon technology, land use and lifestyle are essential to achieve net zero.

“And there are massive economic opportunities for the UK to lead the world in these areas.”

However, the report warns that the public do not appear ready for substantial lifestyle changes. It warns, for instance, that if people’s homes are better insulated, they may choose to spend the same amount on heating to deliver a warmer home.

It says: “Early evidence suggests a general willingness to adopt new technologies (such as new heating or mobility) as long as these can deliver the same experiences as before.

“Conversely, approaching the subject of dietary change or aviation often elicits a more resistant and emotional response.”

Some experts will be critical of the report’s expectation that new technologies such as carbon capture and storage will be rapidly adopted.

A recent report said it was unrealistic to expect that carbon capture and hydrogen will develop fast enough to achieve the net zero target.

A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion told BBC News: “The global response to coronavirus shows we can radically address crises if we put our minds to it. Meanwhile, the net zero date has not been put to the people of the UK.

“The science tells us that net zero by 2050 means a hell of a lot worse than giving up flying and red meat – people are dying now around the world as you read this due to governmental inaction.”

Chart showing the breakdown of household emissions in 1990, 2017 and 2050.

 

The report was not welcomed by the National Beef Association.

Its spokesman Neil Shand told BBC News that scientific studies typically underestimate the role of livestock in capturing carbon in the soil.

He said: “It does seem rather unfortunate that the report links beef production and aviation in this way.

“The timing is more than a little ironic; the shops are full of people panic-buying and it seems clear that the nation’s food sector relies very heavily on imports, and the associated transport that brings them into the UK.

“Food produced on their own doorstep, using a system where animal and non-animal foods are symbiotic requires very little air travel, and makes excellent use of the resources our beautiful country provides. Foreign travel does not have the same necessity.”

In addition, a report from a group of environmentally-minded business leaders has called on the government to show increased ambition and delivery of carbon-cutting policies to get the UK on track to meet climate goals.

It said there was an urgent need especially for policies to bring low-carbon heating to people’s homes.

Follow Roger on Twitter.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-51804212

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Innovating to Net Zero

Published: 10 March 2020
(From Catapult Energy Systems’s website)

Introduction

A new report by Energy Systems Catapult has found Net Zero by 2050 is possible if the UK supports innovation and scale-up across three essential areas – Low Carbon Technology, Land Use and Lifestyle.

The Innovating to Net Zero report modelled 100s of potential pathways to 2050 – ramping up or down different technologies and behaviour changes – to understand the combinations, interactions and trade-offs of competing decarbonisation approaches.

Meeting the UK’s Net Zero target will require unprecedented innovation across the economy. Innovation not just in new technologies, but in new ways of deploying existing technologies, new business models, new consumer offerings, and, crucially, new policy, regulation and market design.

The Challenge and Opportunity

In 2018, the International Panel on Climate Change published evidence on what would be required for a 1.5°C limit and the implications of not doing so.

In May 2019, the CCC recommended to the UK Government a Net Zero emissions target by 2050. Advice that was accompanied by supporting research, including our Living Carbon Free report which set out the implications for households.

In June 2019, the UK Government amended the Climate Change Act from 80% to 100% GHG emissions reduction – or Net Zero – by 2050. ‘Net’ means balancing any residual emissions with an equal quantity of carbon removals from the atmosphere, as long as this takes place in the UK.

In March 2020, Energy Systems Catapult released an update of its internationally peer-reviewed Energy System Modelling Environment (ESME) to take account of Net Zero targets.

The new ESME report Innovating to Net Zero has found that meeting the UK’s Net Zero target will require unprecedented innovation across the economy. Innovation not just in new  technologies, but in new ways of deploying existing technologies, new business models, new consumer offerings, and, crucially, new policy, regulation and market design.

While the challenge is daunting, the commercial opportunity for those companies able to deliver the innovations needed is huge. This analysis will help identify those opportunities, and what may be needed to unlock them. While our assumptions should be challenged, our goal is to show ‘what you have to believe’ in order to deliver Net Zero.

The Innovation

The internationally peer-reviewed Energy System Modelling Environment (ESME) is the UK’s leading techno-economic whole system model – it has been used by the Committee on Climate Change, industry, academia and the UK Government. EMSE is independent of sector interests and identifies cost-optimised decarbonisation pathways.

ESME is a whole-system optimisation model and finds the least-cost combination of energy resources and technologies that satisfy UK energy service demands along the pathway to 2050. Constraints include emissions targets, resource availability and technology deployment rates, as well as operational factors that ensure adequate system capacity and flexibility.

Importantly, ESME includes a multi-regional UK representation and can assess the infrastructure needed to join up resources, technologies and demands across the country, such as  transmission and distribution of electricity and gas, and pipelines and storage for CO2.

The previous options in ESME were sufficient for exploring 80% pathways. For Net Zero, new technology and behaviour change options have been added for different scenarios:

  • Ships fuelled by hydrogen/ammonia
  • Decarbonisation of industry via electrification or hydrogen have been extended
  • Off-road mobile machinery to transition away from fossil fuels
  • Carbon, capture and storage with 99% capture rates (up from 95%)
  • Direct air carbon capture and storage
  • More UK biomass and forestry
  • Larger reductions in livestock farming.
  • Slower aviation demand growth.

Key points

Net Zero narrows the set of viable pathways for the future energy system. Where an 80% target allowed considerable variation in relative effort across the economy, with some fossil fuels still permissible in most sectors, Net Zero leaves little slack. Innovating to Net Zero has found:

  • Success depends on innovation across the whole system: in technology, land use change and behaviour.
  • Net Zero before 2050 is not possible without highly speculative changes to lifestyle, land use and low carbon technologies. Even if demand for aviation and livestock products were eliminated by 2050, and technology deployment raised to even more ambitious rates, Net Zero could only be brought forward to 2045.
  • CCS and bioenergy are both essential to delivering Net Zero. While an 80% target was still possible without CCS and scaling up biomass but with a much higher system cost. Failure to deploy either option means foregoing the negative emissions essential to offsetting continued demand for aviation and livestock products. Under Net Zero, CCS is also vital for mitigating industrial emissions and hydrogen production.
  • Land use must be optimised to balance carbon sequestration with other priorities. New forestry can provide a net carbon sink for decades during growth and bring wider environmental benefits. Biomass crops, when regularly harvested for energy (coupled with CCS), offer more intensive and indefinite sequestration.
  • Hydrogen may need to grow from virtually zero to levels equivalent to today’s electricity generation to supply industry, heat and heavy transport.
  • Electricity generation will need to double to supply huge increases in heating and transport (perhaps treble if hydrogen uses electrolysis). Offshore/onshore wind and solar will need to grow significantly under any scenario. Advanced nuclear technologies and small modular nuclear – 7GW or around 20 odd reactors at 300MW each – supporting ¾ of all District Heat in cities – more than a 10-fold rise.
  • Net Zero cost can be limited to 1-2% of GDP  with stable, credible policies enacted this Parliament to help reduce the cost of capital for the private sector.

Policy and Regulatory reform

Robust and enduring policies and regulation will be essential to building the necessary confidence with innovators to  invest in low carbon products and services.

  1. Economic incentives to go low carbon – balanced, economywide framework of market, pricing and regulatory interventions – such as new carbon standards for buildings to promote adoption of low or zero carbon heating and potentially road transport, and new incentives for climate friendly land use choices.
  2. Local Area Energy Planning – rolled out to identify the unique low carbon solutions, infrastructure and investment needs in different local areas to shape decision making
  3. CCS and hydrogen production – direct support for innovation and early deployment in industrial clusters, including funding mechanisms for CO2 transport & storage infrastructure.
  4. Reform of power markets – to improve efficiency and unlock flexibility and distributed low carbon technologies, including to match user needs and local system circumstances.
  5. Open energy data and digitalisation governance framework in line with recommendations of the Energy Data Taskforce to enable tailored consumer-focused innovation, business models, market designs and consumer protections.
  6. Development of tradable instruments such as carbon credits, and associated market arrangements, to enable capital to flow to sectors where emissions reductions are being delivered most efficiently, so for markets to reveal least-cost combinations.  https://es.catapult.org.uk/reports/innovating-to-net-zero/

Some quotes from the report:

https://es.catapult.org.uk/reports/innovating-to-net-zero/

Net Zero requires society-wide adoption of low carbon
heating and transport technologies.
It may also mean limiting growth in
aviation demand and changing diets.

….

Our early public engagement
suggests a general willingness to
adopt new technologies (such as new
heating or mobility) as long as these
can deliver the same experiences as
before. However, approaching the
subject of dietary change or aviation
often elicits a more resistant and
emotional response.

….

Even if demand for aviation
and livestock products were
eliminated by 2050, and
technology deployment raised
to even more ambitious rates,
Net Zero could only be brought
forward to 2045.

….

Slower aviation demand
growth. Normally assumes
an increase in passenger
demand of 60% vs 2005 levels.
Speculative holds this to only
20% growth.

….

Clockwork

Aviation and shipping
The number of international
flights continues to increase,
with the average distance flown
by people in the UK reaching
an average of nearly 7,500km
per year by 2050. New engine
and aircraft designs increase
efficiencies through to 2050,
improving the fuel consumption
of aircraft. However, without
new, low-carbon propulsion
technologies, aviation is unable
to move away from fossil fuels.

….

Patchwork deep dive

Aviation and shipping
By 2050, the average distance
travelled is 5,000km per person
per year – equivalent to two
short trips to Europe each year.
These short haul journeys to
the continent might one day
be suitable for some form of
low-carbon aircraft but this does
not happen before 2050. So, to
maintain an industry in a world
where people are concerned with
their individual carbon footprints,
flight operators ensure that their
aircraft are the most efficient on
the market, retiring older planes
when better ones become
available.

….

We anticipate continued
emissions from aviation,
livestock, and parts of
industry, meaning the
system requires negative
emissions if the target
is to be achieved.

….

Carbon Capture and
Storage (CCS)
CCS encompasses a family of
technologies with applications
in the production of various
energy carriers (electricity,
hydrogen, bio-methane and
liquid bio-fuels), and in industrial
processes like steel and cement
manufacturing. In combination
with biomass, CCS can help to
generate negative emissions,
alleviating the need to eliminate
activities that are hard to treat,
like aviation.

….

To meet Net Zero, a more
profound transition is required.
Negative emissions can help
counter residual emissions
from activities like aviation, but
wherever possible delivery of
final energy by fossil fuels is
substituted out. As a result, the
share of fossil fuel in the final
energy mix falls to 25%

….

In our central assumptions,
aviation demand in 2050
climbs to 60% above 2005 levels,
though progress in technology
and logistics means overall
emissions are relatively
unchanged at ~30MtCO2

….

Aviation therefore relies on
breakthrough innovation
elsewhere to ensure sufficient
quantities of negative emissions
to offset this.

….

In our maximum scenario described on
page 45, we even consider the
impact of eliminating aviation
altogether by 2050.

….

In short, this MAX pathway
involves a rate of change for
power, heat and road transport
that pushes against the bounds
of plausibility. Achieving Net Zero
any earlier than 2045 cannot rely
on further acceleration of these.
Instead, it would have to be
through more rapid (non-linear)
reductions in aviation and
livestock emissions (or more
rapid scale up of sequestration
measures)

Read more »

Ban short-haul flights for climate? In EU poll by the European Investment Bank, 62% say yes

A majority of European citizens would support a ban on short-distance flights to fight climate change, according to a recent survey the European Investment Bank (EIB). Of 28,088 respondents to the survey, 62% favoured a ban. And 72% said they would support a carbon tax on flights. The poll, conducted in September-October 2019, covered the then-28 European Union member states, including Britain.  It simply asked about support for a ban on short-distance flights and did not specify the length.   Emissions from flights inside the European Economic Area are covered by the EU carbon market, the Emissions Trading System. These CO2 emissions increased in each of 5 years, 2014-2018, according to the latest available EU data. More people are aware of the climate impact of flying, and considering cutting down how much they fly.  European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said all sectors must contribute to the EU’s target to reduce the bloc’s net emissions to zero by 2050. The EIB said its survey showed Europeans might support action to tackle climate change, even when it impacts their daily lives.
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Ban short-haul flights for climate? In EU poll 62% say yes

By Kate Abnett

BRUSSELS (Reuters)

A majority of European citizens would support a ban on short-distance flights to fight climate change, according to a survey the European Investment Bank (EIB) said on Tuesday.

Of 28,088 respondents to the survey, 62% favored a ban and an even greater majority of 72% said they would support a carbon tax on flights. The poll, conducted in September-October 2019, covered the then-28 European Union member states, including Britain.

It simply asked about support for a ban on short-distance flights and did not specify the length.

Emissions from flights inside the European Economic Area are covered by the EU carbon market. These emissions increased every year over the five years to 2018, according to the latest available EU data.

Europe’s aviation sector faces increased scrutiny from customers and regulators over its carbon footprint and it is also battling other headwinds, including a sharp drop in demand because of the coronavirus outbreak.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said all sectors must contribute to the EU’s target to reduce the bloc’s net emissions to zero by 2050.

Some airlines have started voluntarily offseting emissions using carbon credits, although it is not clear whether the EU would accept these as a contribution to its 2050 goal.

The EIB, which is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is owned by the bloc’s member states, has ambitious goals on sustainable finance.

The bank said last year it would stop funding unabated fossil fuel energy projects at the end of 2021.

The EIB said its survey showed Europeans support action to tackle climate change, even when it impacts their daily lives, but measures that would cause direct cost increases tended to receive less support.

A large majority of respondents – 91% – were in favor of schools teaching about climate change and recycling, while 85% said they supported a ban on single-use plastic items. The EU will ban single-use plastic items, including straws, cutlery and cotton buds, next year.

The poll found 59% of respondents were in favor of higher prices for carbon-intensive food and goods, such as red meat, food transported over long distances and some clothing.

Reporting by Kate Abnett; editing by John Chalmers and Barbara Lewis

 

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-eu-flights/ban-short-haul-flights-for-climate-in-eu-poll-62-say-yes-idUKKBN20X2RA

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The EIB survey:

EIB climate survey finds big support for banning short-distance flights and penalising car use in city centres

The third part of the survey, conducted in partnership with market research firm BVA, found that 82% of Europeans believe that communities and workers most affected by the transition to clean energy should receive financial support. In terms of transportation and climate-conscious consumption, 62% of Europeans favour a ban on short-distance flights, while 59% support a price increase for food and goods that have a large carbon footprint. 91% of Europeans back school programmes that promote climate change and waste sorting.

The purpose of this release of the EIB climate survey is to reveal how Europeans perceive their responsibilities in fighting climate change and to search for policy solutions.

“Climate change is among the main concerns of European citizens. They are prepared to make personal sacrifices to fight global warming and to live in a more sustainable way, but at the same time they expect governments and companies to take action to reduce carbon emissions and improve environmental protection. We must all be part of the answer to this challenge,” Vice-President Emma Navarro

https://www.eib.org/en/surveys/2nd-citizen-survey/climate-action-and-policy-solutions.htm

Download the data at 

https://www.eib.org/attachments/survey/climate-action-and-policy-solutions-all-data.xlsx

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Read the Transport & Environment report:

Roadmap to decarbonising European aviation

https://www.transportenvironment.org/publications/roadmap-decarbonising-european-aviation

 

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Biofuels (including for aviation) to drive massive increase in palm and soy demand by 2030

A new report by Rainforest Foundation Norway looks at the impact of global biofuel policies on tropical deforestation. Palm oil and soy, in particular, are biofuel feedstocks that are associated with high deforestation risk. The report analyses biofuel policies in all key markets and assesses. It found the impact on demand for palm oil and soy-based biofuels in the coming decade will be huge, and may rise by over 60 million more tonnes of palm oil by 2030. That is about 90% of current global palm oil production. The demand for soy oil might rise by over 40 million tonnes, about 75% of current production. This would cause an estimated 7 million hectares of deforestation, including up to 3.6 million hectares of peat drainage. There would be tragic loss of biodiversity, including charismatic species like orang utans. The deforestation would cause over 11 billion tonnes of extra CO2 entering the atmosphere, by 2030 (more than China’s annual CO2 emissions). The aviation industry is potentially the largest consumer of high deforestation risk biofuels, followed by Indonesia and Brazil. The world is in a dual ecological crisis of climate change and biodiversity loss.  This use of biofuels is NOT the answer, to either crisis.
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Biofuels to drive massive increase in palm and soy demand by 2030

On behalf of Rainforest Foundation Norway
Oslo, 10 March 2020

new report looks at the impact of global biofuel policies on tropical deforestation. Palm oil and soy, in particular, are biofuel feedstocks that are associated with high deforestation risk. The report analyses biofuel policies in all key markets and assesses the impact on demand for palm oil and soy-based biofuels in the coming decade. The conclusions of the report are alarming.

Key findings:

  • Current ambitions for the use of biofuels is likely to lead to a massive increase in demand for palm oil and soy by 2030. Total demand for palm oil may increase by 61 mill tons, equal to 90% of current palm oil production, and demand for soy oil may increase by 41 million tons, almost 75% of current production. (high demand scenario)
  • This increase would cause an estimated 7 million hectares of deforestation, including up to 3.6 mill ha of peat drainage.
  • Global CO2 emissions from this additional deforestation are estimated to be 11.5 billion tons – more than China’s current annual emissions from burning fossil fuels.
  • The aviation industry is potentially the largest consumer of high deforestation risk biofuels, followed by Indonesia and Brazil.

The world is in a dual ecological crisis of climate change and biodiversity loss. Tropical deforestation and peat destruction are major contributors to these crises, resulting in carbon dioxide emissions from lost vegetation and disturbed soils and driving the massive extinction of species. The global biofuel industry stands at the nexus between these climate change and biodiversity crises and are therefore in a prime position to affect meaningful change.

“Current biofuel policies around the world may lead to massive deforestation and increased greenhouse gas emissions. Policy makers and industries around the world must halt the use of high-deforestation risk feedstock for biofuels, like palm oil and soy, to ensure that biofuel policies don’t have adverse impact on the climate and increase rainforest destruction,” says Nils Hermann Ranum, head of Rainforest Foundation Norway’s Drivers of Deforestation Program.

Biofuels were supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but this is not what’s happening in reality. If decision makers don’t avoid crop biofuels and especially high-risk feedstock like palm oil and soy, biofuel policies risk adding fuel to the current forest fires around the world,” says Laura Buffet, energy director of Transport & Environment, Europe’s leading NGO campaigning for cleaner transport.

Increased production of palm oil and soy has led to massive deforestation in Southeast Asia and South America, and the report reveals that biofuels are currently by far the major driver of demand for vegetable oils.

  • Biofuels accounted for 90% of vegetable oil demand increase since 2015.
  • Palm oil (incl. PFAD) and soy are the two vegetable oils with the highest deforestation risk and are unsuitable as biofuel feedstocks.

“Biofuels based on palm oil and soy are expected to cause higher GHG emissions than fossil diesel. Increased production of palm oil and soy oil has resulted in massive tropical deforestation over the last two decades. The EU and the US have introduced measures to avoid palm oil-based biofuels due to high deforestation risk, but globally demand for high deforestation risk biofuels is still increasing. That has to change, and fast”, says the author of the report, renowned biofuels expert Dr. Chris Malins.

ENDS

The new report can be downloaded in English, here. (See also FrenchSpanish & German)

For further comments, contact:

  • Head of RFN’s Drivers of Deforestation Program, Nils Hermann Ranum, by email (nils.hermann@rainforest.no) or phone (+47 99 00 10 32); or
  • The author of the report, Dr. Chris Malins, via chris@cerulogy.com or phone, +44 (0)7905 051 671

 

The report says: 

Deforestation and peat loss on this scale have a CO2 cost. As shown in Figure 2, the high palm oil demand scenario could lead to 9.1 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions from land use change, with the high soy oil scenario leading to 2.6 billion tonnes. Combined, this is equivalent to about a year of China’s total emissions from burning fossil fuels.2 This value represents land use change emissions only, and would be partly offset by displacement of fossil fuel use by biofuels.

1) Emissions from removal of tree cover plus twenty years of degradation of peat soils. Peat degradation can continue for decades, resulting in further
ongoing emissions not counted here.
2) https://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/overview.php?v=booklet2019

….

Aside from the carbon cost of ill-conceived biofuel policies, ongoing agricultural expansion
is the main cause of human-led biodiversity destruction and fuels land conflicts with local communities, often indigenous peoples.

 

….

We recommend that:

Palm oil, soy oil and PFAD are unsuitable as biofuel feedstocks due to their link to deforestation and biodiversity loss. Consumption should be phased out as soon as possible.

EU Member States should adopt policies to rapidly phase out support for high ILUC-risk biofuels.

The European Commission should lower the level at which the threshold for “significant expansion into land with high carbon stock” is set.

In Europe, the use of biodiesel other than that produced from approved waste or by-product feedstocks should be reduced.

Member States should take measures to favour lower-ILUC biofuels and reduce incentives for the use of soy oil biofuels.

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See also earlier:

 

Major Italian oil company fined €5 million for adverts greenwashing diesel made from palm oil

Italian oil giant Eni has been fined €5 million over its greenwashing of palm-oil based diesel as ‘green’.  It ran a major marketing campaign to con consumers into mistakenly believing its ‘Eni Diesel+’ had a positive impact on the environment. T&E and an Italian environmental organisation had complained about the adverts.  The ruling and fine deliver a blow to attempts by fossil fuel companies to portray biofuels to politicians as a way to decarbonise transport. In practice, diesel made from any sort of food crop causes deforestation due to indirect land use change (ILUC) impacts. Use of palm oil drives destruction of rainforests and wildlife, and EC data shows biodiesel from palm oil is 3 times worse for the climate than regular diesel when ILUC is accounted for. In March 2019 the EU ruled that the use of palm oil in diesel will be gradually reduced from 2023 and should reach zero in 2030, with some exemptions. But palm oil producing countries like Malaysia and Indonesia are pushing hard for palm oil to be used to produce jet fuel, with the pretence that it is lower carbon than conventional fuel.

Click here to view full story…

Badly thought-through aviation carbon targets, involving biofuels, risk massive deforestation to grow palmoil and soya

A new report shows that the aviation industry’s attempts to cut its carbon emissions (caused by encouraging more and more people to take more flights….) are likely to lead to a dramatic increase in demand for palm oil and soy for aviation biofuels. They suggest the amount of tropical forest that would be taken for this could be 3.2 million hectares – an area larger than Belgium. The aviation industry hopes to be able to use as much alternative fuel as possible, and hopes this will be classed as lower carbon than conventional kerosene jet fuel. These hopes are unrealistic. To try to prevent climate destabilisation from worsening, the world needs as much forest as possible left standing, intact and health. The last thing we need is forest being cut down, in order to produce fuel for planes – largely for hedonistic leisure travel.  It makes no sense to destroy so much forest, and its biodiversity, for such an inessential reason. The report says the only technology currently operating at a commercial scale to make bio-jet fuel is the ‘HEFA’ (Hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids) process using vegetable oils and animal fats. The cheapest and most readily available feedstocks for HEFA jet fuel are palm oil and soy oil, which are closely linked to tropical deforestation – not to mention competition for land for human food.

Click here to view full story…

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Leeds Bradford Airport expansion could now be in doubt – if the landmark Heathrow climate case can be used against it

The ruling on Heathrow’s 3rd runway on 27th February, by the Court of Appeal, put the scheme seriously in doubt – on the grounds of its carbon emissions. The DfT had decided not to take proper account of the extra carbon emissions, in relation to the UK’s commitments under the Paris Agreement, when it produced the Airports National Policy Statement . The ruling is ground-breaking, because it sets a global precedent that can now be used to challenge other developments which damage the environment. The expansion plans of Leeds Bradford would result in a possible increase in passengers from about 4 million per year now to about 7 million. This means the plans are not considered large enough to require the National Policy Statement and DCO route. Instead the application goes through the usual planning process. So the Heathrow ruling may not have a direct bearing on this case, though the principle of the need to properly account for carbon emissions from new developments, may be used to argue against it if it went to appeal. Leeds has declared a climate emergency, and its local Citizens’ Assembly resolved that the airport should not expand, due to its carbon emissions.
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Major Leeds Bradford Airport expansion could now be in doubt – what landmark Heathrow case means for LBA

Friends of the Earth say the decision “sets a global precedent” for using the Paris Agreement to challenge developments which damage the environment

4th March 2020

By Nathan Hyde (Leeds Live)

Environmentalists are celebrating after the Court of Appeal threw plans for a third Heathrow runway into doubt with a landmark ruling.

The court ruled that the government’s legal framework for the Heathrow expansion was “produced unlawfully” because it failed take into account climate change commitments set out in the Paris Agreement.

It is the first major court ruling in the world to be based on the international agreement, which aims to limit the increase of global temperatures to 1.5°C.

Friends of the Earth, which challenged the expansion in the court, says the ruling is “an absolutely ground-breaking result for climate justice” and it “sets a global precedent” for using the Paris Agreement to challenge developments which damage the environment.

While Magdalena Heuwieser, from the campaign group Stay Grounded, told The Guardian the decision “gives hope to hundreds of communities around the world in their struggles against destructive airport projects”.The decision has not completely killed plans for the £14bn runway, which could be used by around 700 planes a day.

Airport bosses are planning to appeal and even though the government says it won’t challenge the decision and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been an outspoken objector for years, it could draw up a new framework for the project.

The ruling states the court “have not decided, and could not decide, that there will be no third runway at Heathrow” and the government “now have the opportunity to reconsider” their current framework, which is known as Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS).

This ruling cannot be used to stop the controversial expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport, which is looking to build a new £150 million terminal and increase passenger numbers to 7 million by 2030.

The people in charge of Leeds Bradford Airport have applied for planning permission to build the new terminal and Leeds City Council councillors will probably approve that if it is in accordance with a different framework, known as the National Planning Policy framework.

When the airport was granted permission to extend and refurbish the current terminal building in 2018, that was approved as it was deemed to be an “acceptable scheme in accordance with the National Planning Policy framework”.

Councillors in Leeds will have to carefully consider the planning application for a new terminal at Leeds Bradford Airport when it is submitted and there will be plenty of objections from some environmentalists, including those who staged a demonstration in the council officers when the plans were first discussed.

Extinction Rebellion members staged a "die-in protest" against the planned expansion to Leeds Bradford Airport
Extinction Rebellion members staged a “die-in protest” against the planned expansion to Leeds Bradford Airport

 

They will also consider the environmental impact of the new building and the increase in pollution that extra flights will bring.

The Labour-run council has declared a climate emergency and councillors are asked to factor that into their decision making with each and every planning application.

They have also been told by climate scientists from University of Leeds that the expansion will result in a dramatic increase in harmful emissions and ruin the city’s chance of hitting its ambitious carbon reduction targets.

However, councillors will be expected to make a decision on the Leeds Bradford Airport plans using the National Planning Policy Framework, which says there should be a presumption in favour of development.

And if they abandon the framework, they will be required to provide “clear and convincing reasons for doing so”, otherwise the decision will be overturned on appeal.

The council has also drawn up plans for a new train station near the airport and this seems to suggest that it wants the airport to expand.

Earlier this year, North Somerset Council made a landmark decision, when they rejected plans for the expansion of Bristol Airport, due to concerns about the environmental impact.

Councillor Don Davies, leader of North Somerset Council, said: “What the committee has considered is that the detrimental effect of the expansion of the airport on this area and the wider impact on the environment outweighs the narrower benefits to airport expansion.”

Environmentalists hope Leeds City Council and other councils around the country will follow the example set by North Somerset Council, but they also know the decision could be overturned at a public enquiry.

https://www.leeds-live.co.uk/news/leeds-news/leeds-bradford-airport-expansion-heathrow-17834278

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See also details from Friends of the Earth, about their legal victory in the challenges against Heathrow:

https://policy.friendsoftheearth.uk/insight/ruling-against-heathrow-expansion-impacts-and-significance

 

Friends of the Earth won its campaign to protect the climate from Heathrow’s planned third runway. Lawyer Katie de Kauwe reflects on the significance of the win – and what it might mean for other projects.

By Katie de Kauwe  (Friends of the Earth)

28 Feb 2020

Heathrow appeal: the result

The government’s policy giving the green light to Heathrow expansion (set to be one of the country’s largest infrastructure projects) and establishing the need for more airport capacity in the south east has been ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal on climate grounds. The ruling follows years of work by the legal team at Friends of the Earth (myself included), along with our external solicitors at Leigh Day, and our barristers (David Wolfe QC at Matrix Chambers, Peter Lockley at 11KBW and Andrew Parkinson at Landmark Chambers).

In the year that the UK is to host vital UN climate talks, the court accepted our submissions that:

  • The Secretary of State for Transport (at the time Chris Grayling) failed to consider important climate factors in the decision to allow the building of a third runway at Heathrow Airport, already one of the biggest single sources of carbon emissions in the UK.
  • Specifically, the Secretary of State should have taken into account the Paris Climate Agreement, the non-CO2 warming impacts of Heathrow expansion, and the climate impacts of the project beyond 2050.
  • The Secretary of State also breached their duty to undertake a lawful strategic environmental assessment (in accordance with legal requirements).

This ruling shows that government has systematically and illegally failed to consider its obligations under the Paris Agreement in producing their Airport National Policy Statement (ANPS) and their decision to support a third runway at Heathrow. The Court of Appeal has declared the adoption of the ANPS as unlawful and ruled that it ceases to have any legal effect (until such time as the government conducts a review to correct the legal errors identified by the Court in relation to climate). The Secretary of State was also ordered to pay our legal costs.

With the ANPS deemed unlawful, there will be no third runway at Heathrow as currently set out.

The Court of Appeal also rejected the applications for permission to appeal made by 2 developers: Heathrow Airport Limited and Arora Holdings Limited. That means their only option is to apply for permission to the Supreme Court, but the Secretary of State is not challenging the decision, and this undermines the developers’ position considerably. We’re prepared to fight on to the Supreme Court if needs be, but the Supreme Court may not even grant the developers permission to appeal.

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What does the Heathrow ruling mean for other projects?

This historic judgement has implications way beyond Heathrow airport.

The Court did not constrain its findings on the relevance of Paris, non-CO2 impacts and post-2050 climate impacts to decisions under the Planning Act which is incredibly exciting, as it means those arguments could be relevant to other decisions on aviation, and beyond.

Just a few weeks ago (in January 2020), Bristol councillors refused an application for airport expansion. If the developer appeals, then the relevance of Paris and non-CO2 climate impacts may need to be factored into the decision, increasing the chance that the appeal will fail.

And it’s not just aviation that these arguments could apply to. Following this judgment, Paris will need to be considered whenever a National Policy Statement is created or reviewed,[1] and we think it will be relevant to decisions on big pieces of carbon-intensive infrastructure, such as energy projects.

For example, a challenge is currently being brought by legal charity ClientEarth in respect to the Drax gas power plant, which the government wants to build in Selby, North Yorkshire. This would be the largest gas power plant in Europe, and we think the Heathrow ruling could have clear implications for this case too. We’ve already been in touch with ClientEarth to offer our support.

We also think that Town and Country Planning projects could be impacted – such as a proposed coal development at Druridge Bay. The Secretary of State previously refused permission for the development to go ahead on climate change grounds, but this was successfully challenged by the developer and the High Court ruled that the Secretary of State had not set out their reasons adequately. Following the Heathrow victory, we think that Paris could be relevant to the Druridge decision too, strengthening the climate argument against coal.[2]

…. and there is much more at
https://policy.friendsoftheearth.uk/insight/ruling-against-heathrow-expansion-impacts-and-significance

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Gatwick expansion – up to 15 mppa more – using main runway should be subject to planning controls

Gatwick airport intends to expand its number of flights and air passengers, both by increasing numbers on its current runway, and then also by moving its emergency runway slightly north by a few metres, so it can take more flights. The change of the emergency runway would require a Development Consent Order (DCO) as there would be more than 10 million annual passengers, and building work is needed. The increased use of the main runway could add another 15 million annual passengers, which should necessitate going through the DCO process, but as almost no building work is needed, Gatwick is aiming to by-pass this, and make the increases just through permitted development rights. The joint campaign coalition, “Gatwick’s Big Enough” (GBE) wrote to the councils in areas affected by Gatwick on this matter. They have received a reply, that the councils believe there is little they can do about the expansion on the main runway, as there are no mechanisms under current planning law to require the airport to submit a planning application. GBE is taking legal advice on the matter. The Appeal Court ruling on the Heathrow runway and ANPS, about the need to take carbon emissions into account, may be helpful here.
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Gatwick’s Big Enough (GBE) campaign update

23.2.2020

Last year the GBE campaign, which GACC leads, wrote to all the county and district /town councils around the airport asking them to put in place arrangements to ensure all Gatwick’s growth was robustly scrutinised, consulted on and subject to planning consent.

Proposed growth deriving from potential use of Gatwick’s emergency runway will be subject to a planning process known as a Development Consent Order(DCO), but that the larger
share of proposed growth, deriving from more intensive use of the current main runway, is not currently subject to any planning approval.

We believe this is wrong in principle and against government policy (and we have written separately to the government on it).

On 31st January we received this letter GBE Joint LA Ldr final letter jan 2020 from some of the councils closest to the airport.  Essentially their view is that, however desirable planning consent for main runway growth might be, councils have no mechanisms under current planning law to require it. (See below).

They argue that alternative agreements between the airport and councils provide a degree of control over the impacts of growth.

We are considering the councils’ response and continuing to engage with them. We strongly disagree that the alternative arrangements currently in place provide effective control: in our view they are feeble.

We will report further on this in due course.

More encouragingly other councils have taken a more robust view on Gatwick growth and we are engaging with them too.

And some news from government:
Kelly Tolhurst MP has been appointed Aviation Minister (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State) at the DfT. She is the 6th Aviation minister in 3 years – they don’t last long !

 

The letter from the councils:

GBE Joint LA Ldr final letter jan 2020 (003) (002)


Part of the letter from the local authorities to GBE:

 

“We have carefully investigated the various points made in your letter and write to provide our conclusions. In summary, the increase in passenger numbers from 46 million per annum to 61 million per annum in the absence of the proposed DCO authorising the use of the Northern Runway does not constitute a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) under the Planning Act 2008 nor is it development requiring planning permission under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.”

and

“Your suggested actions

We note that the annex to your letter includes a number of suggested actions that you would like the Authorities to undertake. We address each of these in turn.

1. “Request the Secretary of State to ensure that his policy […] is fully delivered” – The government’s policy needs to be viewed in the context of the Planning Act 2008 which sets out the legal framework for determining whether development is an NSIP. As set out above, the Authorities do not consider that GAL’s proposals to increase passenger numbers from 46mppa to 61mppa satisfy the statutory requirements for an NSIP.

2. “Invite the SoS to direct that the project be considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project under section 35 of the Planning Act 2008” – While the Authorities acknowledge the national significance of the airport, they do not currently consider that the increase in passenger numbers from 46mppa to 61mppa (or the physical works proposed by GAL in connection with this increase) constitutes development which should be subject to a section 35 order. The increase in passenger numbers is largely to be achieved through operational changes which do not constitute “development” for the purposes of the Planning Act 2008. In any event, under section 35ZA of the Planning Act 2008, it is not for the Authorities to make such an application. It is for the Authorities, and for Crawley Borough Council in particular, to monitor that development is carried out in accordance the various planning legislation. If we consider that any development is not being carried out in accordance with the legislation, it is open to Crawley Borough Council to take enforcement action.

3. “Investigate whether the main runway growth will require “alterations that would bring it within the scope of the 2008 Act” – The Authorities expect GAL to provide as part of the DCO application process a robust justification for how it will increase its passenger numbers from 46mppa to 61mppa – in other words, a clear and detailed justification of how the operational changes will have that effect and why the proposed development will not will be required. If this is not provided then the Authorities will raise this with GAL and the Secretary of State, as we did in responding to the Scoping Report. The Authorities will be interrogating GAL’s evidence on this. Furthermore, going forward Crawley Borough Council will also carefully scrutinise on a case-by-case basis any proposals to use permitted development rights to establish whether they fall within the scope of section 23.

4. “Review whether the main runway project is a material change of use requiring planning permission under sections 55 and 57 of the Planning Act 1990” – The Authorities do not consider the increase in passenger numbers from 46mppa to 61mppa to constitute a material change of use requiring planning permission under the 1990 Act.

5. “Terminate the current Section 106 agreement with Gatwick and negotiate a new agreement incorporating a cap” – The Authorities cannot compel GAL to enter into a new agreement incorporating a cap at the current time and there is clearly no commercial incentive on GAL to agree to such a cap. However, the Authorities will seek to negotiate a section 106 agreement as part of the DCO process and this may include reference to caps and other control measures on the number of passengers, flights or runways, linked to the capacity and likely significant environmental effects assessed as part of the EIA for the DCO.

Read more »

GACC welcomes the judgement by the Court of Appeal that ANPS was unlawful – that would also apply at Gatwick

GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) welcomes the judgement by the Court of Appeal that the Government’s Airports National Policy (ANPS) was unlawful, as it failed to take into account the Government’s commitment to the provisions of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The ANPS was an important and relevant consideration in respect of applications for new runway capacity and other airport infrastructure elsewhere in London and the South East. GACC believes the Court’s decision therefore raises the bar for all airport expansion decisions. It is good news for communities impacted by any UK airport that wants to expand, and for our environment more widely. For Gatwick the Court’s decision, if confirmed by the Supreme Court, has important implications, as the climate impacts of a new Gatwick runway would be similar to those of Heathrow. Also if Gatwick tries to make greater use of its existing runway, adding another 50,000 annual flights, and another 12 million annual passengers, would be a huge increase in carbon emissions. This would be clearly contrary to the Government’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon by 2050. 
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GACC welcomes the judgement by the Court of Appeal that the Government’s Airports National Policy was unlawful

28.2.2020  (GACC press release)

GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) welcomes the judgement by the Court of Appeal that the Government’s Airports National Policy was unlawful, as it failed to take into account the Government’s commitment to the provisions of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

In addition to providing the basis for detailed planning decisions on proposals for a third runway at Heathrow, the ANPS was an important and relevant consideration in respect of applications for new runway capacity and other airport infrastructure elsewhere in London and the South East.

We believe the Court’s decision therefore raises the bar for all airport expansion decisions. It is good news for communities impacted by any UK airport that wants to expand, and for our environment more widely.

For Gatwick the Court’s decision, if confirmed by the Supreme Court, has three important implications:

  • Suggestions that the new runway should be built at Gatwick instead of at Heathrow, made for example by the London Mayor and by four London Boroughs, are kyboshed. The climate change damage caused by a new Gatwick runway would be the exactly the same as for one at Heathrow. Gatwick Airport’s plan for a full-scale new runway, south of the existing runway, which was the basis of their massive publicity campaign from 2013 – 2016, and which is repeated in their current Master Plan, can be put in the waste bin.
  • Gatwick’s plans for regular use of the emergency runway north of the existing runway cannot proceed. They would result in an additional 1 million tons of CO2 emissions annually, increase noise and congestion and reduce air quality. In the light of this judgement Gatwick should withdraw its expansion proposals.
  • Gatwick’s proposals to increase the number of flights by around 50,000 pa, and the number of passengers by over 12.0 million per year by more intensive use of the existing runway are – like the Heathrow runway – clearly contrary to the Government’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon by 2050.  At present, as pointed out pessimistically by the planning officers of local Councils, there appears to be no method to prevent this expansion through the planning system. Local planning authorities should now bring forward proposals to cap Gatwick’s operations and so prevent any future growth unless and until it can be clearly demonstrated to be consistent with the Paris Agreement and the UK’s 2050 net zero obligations.

GACC will continue to campaign vigorously to deflate Gatwick’s climate-destroying ambitions.

It was significant that the Court of Appeal did not overturn the Heathrow National Policy Statement decisions regarding air quality or noise. The Court also specifically stated that it was not challenging the Government’s decision that Heathrow was preferable to Gatwick as providing a superior hub airport. So there is no case to argue that a new runway at Gatwick would be a better choice.

In recent months local planning authorities have rejected plans for growth at Bristol and Stansted airports principally on environmental grounds. The Court’s decision today, and the Government’s acceptance of the decision, should end plans for airport expansion and runway development anywhere in the UK.

GACC congratulates our fellow campaigners for their efforts in achieving this result.


Gatwick’s Big Enough (GBE) campaign update

Last year the GBE campaign, which GACC leads, wrote to all the county and district /town councils around the airport asking them to put in place arrangements to ensure all Gatwick’s growth was robustly scrutinised, consulted on and subject to planning consent.

Proposed growth deriving from potential use of Gatwick’s emergency runway will be subject to a planning process known as a Development Consent Order(DCO), but that the larger
share of proposed growth, deriving from more intensive use of the current main runway, is not currently subject to any planning approval.

We believe this is wrong in principle and against government policy (and we have written separately to the government on it).

On 31st January we received the response from some of the councils closest to the airport.  Essentially their view is that, however desirable planning consent for main runway growth might be, councils have no mechanisms under current planning law to require it. (See below).

They argue that alternative agreements between the airport and councils provide a degree of control over the impacts of growth.

We are considering the councils’ response and continuing to engage with them. We strongly disagree that the alternative arrangements currently in place provide effective control: in our view they are feeble.

We will report further on this in due course.

More encouragingly other councils have taken a more robust view on Gatwick growth and we are engaging with them too.

And some news from government:
Kelly Tolhurst MP has been appointed Aviation Minister (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State) at the DfT. She is the 6th Aviation minister in 3 years – they don’t last long !

 


Part of the letter from the local authorities to GBE:

 

“We have carefully investigated the various points made in your letter and write to provide our conclusions. In summary, the increase in passenger numbers from 46 million per annum to 61 million per annum in the absence of the proposed DCO authorising the use of the Northern Runway does not constitute a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) under the Planning Act 2008 nor is it development requiring planning permission under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.”

and

“Your suggested actions

We note that the annex to your letter includes a number of suggested actions that you would like the Authorities to undertake. We address each of these in turn.

1. “Request the Secretary of State to ensure that his policy […] is fully delivered” – The government’s policy needs to be viewed in the context of the Planning Act 2008 which sets out the legal framework for determining whether development is an NSIP. As set out above, the Authorities do not consider that GAL’s proposals to increase passenger numbers from 46mppa to 61mppa satisfy the statutory requirements for an NSIP.

2. “Invite the SoS to direct that the project be considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project under section 35 of the Planning Act 2008” – While the Authorities acknowledge the national significance of the airport, they do not currently consider that the increase in passenger numbers from 46mppa to 61mppa (or the physical works proposed by GAL in connection with this increase) constitutes development which should be subject to a section 35 order. The increase in passenger numbers is largely to be achieved through operational changes which do not constitute “development” for the purposes of the Planning Act 2008. In any event, under section 35ZA of the Planning Act 2008, it is not for the Authorities to make such an application. It is for the Authorities, and for Crawley Borough Council in particular, to monitor that development is carried out in accordance the various planning legislation. If we consider that any development is not being carried out in accordance with the legislation, it is open to Crawley Borough Council to take enforcement action.

3. “Investigate whether the main runway growth will require “alterations that would bring it within the scope of the 2008 Act” – The Authorities expect GAL to provide as part of the DCO application process a robust justification for how it will increase its passenger numbers from 46mppa to 61mppa – in other words, a clear and detailed justification of how the operational changes will have that effect and why the proposed development will not will be required. If this is not provided then the Authorities will raise this with GAL and the Secretary of State, as we did in responding to the Scoping Report. The Authorities will be interrogating GAL’s evidence on this. Furthermore, going forward Crawley Borough Council will also carefully scrutinise on a case-by-case basis any proposals to use permitted development rights to establish whether they fall within the scope of section 23.

4. “Review whether the main runway project is a material change of use requiring planning permission under sections 55 and 57 of the Planning Act 1990” – The Authorities do not consider the increase in passenger numbers from 46mppa to 61mppa to constitute a material change of use requiring planning permission under the 1990 Act.

5. “Terminate the current Section 106 agreement with Gatwick and negotiate a new agreement incorporating a cap” – The Authorities cannot compel GAL to enter into a new agreement incorporating a cap at the current time and there is clearly no commercial incentive on GAL to agree to such a cap. However, the Authorities will seek to negotiate a section 106 agreement as part of the DCO process and this may include reference to caps and other control measures on the number of passengers, flights or runways, linked to the capacity and likely significant environmental effects assessed as part of the EIA for the DCO.

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