Aviation & Shipping Emissions
Landmark Agreement on Climate Change at ICAO
Major Progress on Environment, Safety, Security, Operations and Regulation
(IATA) The International Air Transport Association (IATA) praised the leadership of governments in reaching a landmark agreement on Climate Change at the close of the 38th Assembly of the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The agreement commits ICAO to developing a global market-based measure (MBM) that will be an essential enabler for the industry to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020 (CNG2020). A global MBM complements progress on improving technology, operations and infrastructure in the industry’s long-established four-pillar strategy to manage aviation’s climate change impact.
Pressure Mounts to Cap Airline Emissions
(IPS) – A contentious global agreement on how to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the global airline industry will be at the top of the agenda over the next two weeks at an international summit, potentially solidifying details that have yet to emerge after more than a decade and a half of talks.
While civil society and the aviation industry have often been far apart in their views on the optimal strength and framework for the new regulations, prominent voices on both sides are now urging governments to set a clear timetable at talks that began Tuesday in Montreal.
Some say the negotiations, under the 191-member International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a U.N. body, will offer a last, best opportunity to cut back on the sector’s globally significant greenhouse emissions while offering a fillip to broader multilateral efforts at combating climate change. Others are warning that failure to reach an agreement at the summit, which runs through Oct. 4, could result in an international trade war.
Historic Agreement on Carbon-Neutral Growth
(IATA Press Release) The International Air Transport Association (IATA) 69th Annual General Meeting (AGM) overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution on “Implementation of the Aviation Carbon-Neutral Growth (CNG2020) Strategy” (pdf).
The resolution provides governments with a set of principles on how governments could:
Establish procedures for a single market-based measure (MBM)
Integrate a single MBM as part of an overall package of measures to achieve CNG2020
“Airlines are committed to working with governments to build a solid platform for the future sustainable development of aviation. Today, they have come together to recommend to governments the adoption of a single MBM for aviation and provide suggestions on how it might be applied to individual carriers. Now the ball is in the court of governments. We will be strongly supporting their leadership as they seek a global agreement through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) at its Assembly later this year,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Environment will be at the top of the agenda for the 38th ICAO Assembly in September. The aviation industry urgently needs governments to agree, through ICAO, a global approach to managing aviation’s carbon emissions, including a single global MBM. IATA member airlines agreed that a single mandatory carbon offsetting scheme would be the simplest and most effective option for an MBM.
“For governments, finding agreement on MBMs will not be easy. It was difficult enough for the airlines, given the potential financial implications. Bridging the very different circumstances of fast growing airlines in emerging markets and those in more mature markets required a flexible approach and mutual understanding. But sustainability is aviation’s license to grow. With that understanding and a firm focus on the future, airlines found an historic agreement. This industry agreement should help to relieve the political gridlock on this important issue and give governments momentum and a set of tools as they continue their difficult deliberations,” said Tyler.
Top Obama men join U.N. quest to curb airline emissions
(WEN|Planet Ark) A more than decade-long quest for a global plan to curb airline emissions is likely to pick up speed this week, with a meeting set for a new high-level team of officials, including two U.S. government advisers.
The meeting has been scheduled for December 12-13 in Montreal after a stand-off between the European Union and non-EU nations over a law to include all airlines that use EU airports in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. The law has stirred threats of a trade war.
This week’s talks should be followed by a second meeting towards the end of January and another in March or early April, according to a letter dated November 16 from Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez, president of the council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), seen by Reuters.
U.N. Aviation Body Hit By Carbon Emission Dispute
(WEN/Planet Ark) The question of what role developing countries should play in reducing carbon emissions threatened to derail discussions at a top-level meeting of the United Nations body that oversees civil aviation, according to one official who attended Wednesday’s meeting.
The concept of differentiated responsibilities argues that developed countries should shoulder most of the burden for cutting emissions.
In a decision obtained by Reuters, the council instructed a working group to continue its study of “market-based measures” to deal with aviation emissions and report back at the next council meeting, scheduled for June.
Climate change and air travel: Slash emissions, fly by zeppelin
(The Economist|Gulliver) … Air travel [would be] slower, more dangerous, and a lot more expensive than it is now. Whatever you think of the science of climate change, I think we can all agree we don’t want that.
New EU aviation tax renews talk of global deal
Opposition to the new European Union carbon tax on airlines could trigger a tit-for-tat trade war, argue planemakers, putting pressure on the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization to devise a global plan for carbon pollution that one analysis shows could amount to an EU bill to airlines of 505 million euros ($670 million) for 2012. EU representatives say that, while they are open to compromise, they will not suspend the tax, which is seen as critical to fighting climate change. AlertNet/Reuters (2/13), BBC (2/12)
Cargo boat and US navy ship powered by algal oil in marine fuel trials
Substituting biofuel for bunker fuel may bring about revolution in world’s shipping fleets
(The Guardian) Giant cargo boats and US navy warships have been successfully powered on oil derived from genetically modified algae in a move which could herald a revolution in the fuel used by the world’s fleets – and a reduction in the pollution they cause.
The results of substituting algal oil for low-grade, “bunker” fuel and diesel in a 98,000-tonne container ship are still being evaluated by Maersk, the world’s biggest shipping company, which last week tested 30 tonnes of oil supplied by the US navy in a vessel travelling from Europe to India. Last month, the navy tested 20,000 gallons of algal fuel on a decommissioned destroyer for a few hours. Both ran their trials on a mix of algal oil – between 7% and 100% – and conventional bunker fuel.
UN report spotlights climate jockeyingA report released Tuesday by the UN Environment Program is providing lawmakers with a snapshot of the past two decades of global environmental changes in the run-up to next year’s sustainable development meeting in Rio de Janeiro. The rifts among governments over climate goals are expected to come into sharp focus at the meeting today of the UN International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal, Canada, where China, Russia and the U.S. are expected to ask the European Union to make non-EU airlines exempt from its emissions trading system. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (11/1), Bloomberg (11/2)
International pact on shipping emissionsSeveral dozen of the world’s biggest seafaring countries have agreed at a meeting of the United Nation’s international maritime organization to improve the energy efficiency of ships built after 2013 in order to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020. Developing countries such as China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and South Africa were granted a six-year waiver for complying with the agreement, the world’s first ever to govern shipping emissions. The Guardian (London) (7/18)
Europe And U.S. In Legal Clash Over Airline Emissions
(Reuters/Planet Ark) U.S. airlines will step up their campaign against European Union climate policy next week, with a legal challenge at Europe’s highest court to their inclusion in the EU carbon market.
The EU aims to lead the world in fighting climate change, and says it needs to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions to guard against future climate impacts such as crop failures, droughts or flooding.
From January 2012, airlines flying to or from Europe will have to buy permits from the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme for 15 percent of the carbon emissions they produce. They join 11,000 factories and power plants already in the scheme.
Airlines warn of a looming trade war, but the EU says it will not back down. The carriers say their emissions should only be tackled in United Nations bodies, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Airbus chief warns on emissions policy
The head of Airbus has warned Brussels it faces a trade war with China and other powerful countries over Europe’s plans to make international airlines pay for their carbon emissions
Study reveals jet vapor as contributor to global warming
A study by the DLR German Aerospace Center shows that vapor left behind by jet engines on a normal day accounts for more carbon dioxide than that which has accumulated since the start of aviation more than a century ago. The jet contrails also help form cirrus clouds, which trap heat and further contribute to global warming — a factor that might potentially lead to government-imposed penalties designed to slow climate change. Reuters (3/29)
U.S. Opposes European Emission Charges for Airlines
The United States has stepped up pressure to stop European regulators from charging U.S. and other foreign airlines for their greenhouse gas emissions when they take off and land in Europe, prompting a defiant response from Brussels on Thursday.
Like Sept.11, volcano plane ban may hold climate clue
(Reuters) – Plane-free skies over Europe during Iceland’s volcanic eruption may yield rare clues about how flights stoke climate change, adding to evidence from a closure of U.S. airspace after September 11, 2001, experts say.
‘Eruption disruption’ could have long-term benefit
Expert says an ‘excellent opportunity’ has presented itself after Iceland’s volcano grounds thousands of flights
(Globe & Mail) Iceland’s volcano grounded thousands of flights but Judith Patterson, an expert on the impact of fossil fuel combustion in the atmosphere, says the eruption presents an “excellent opportunity.”
“Train travel is up in Europe and this shows the benefits of the train, instead of short haul, inter-Europe flights,” said Patterson, a professor of geology at Concordia University.
Ms. Patterson says while travelers aren’t likely to start boating across the Atlantic, modal shifts are on the horizon, but there will likely be a long-term effect on traveller confidence term effect is likely to be on the psyche.
Iceland volcano causes fall in carbon emissions as eruption grounds aircraft
(Guardian) Cooling effect from volcano ash cloud will be ‘very insignificant’, but flight ban stops emission of estimated 2.8m tonnes of CO2
Richard Branson Aims To Rock The Boat For Green Shipping
(Greenbiz.com) According to Richard Branson’s new NGO, which is called the Carbon War Room, the global shipping fleet is the equivalent on the sixth most polluting country in the world:
Annual CO2e emissions currently exceed one million tons and are projected to grow to 18 percent of all man-made CO2e emissions by 2050. Yet existing technology presents an opportunity for up to 75 percent gains in efficiency, with required investments repaid in just a few years.
Fixing shipping will take bold ideas — see the ship at left, which is equipped with a kite from a company called SkySails — and it will take simple ones, like slowing ships down a little, adopting the equivalent of a 55 mph limit on the open seas. (See this New York Times story, which is literally about a slow boat to China.) And it will require bringing shipping companies, customers, regulators and others to work together to attack the problem.
(NYT) Slow Trip Across Sea Aids Profit and Environment
In a global culture dominated by speed, from overnight package delivery to bullet trains to fast-cash withdrawals, [Danish shipping giant Maersk] has seized on a sales pitch that may startle some hard-driving corporate customers: Slow is better.
By halving its top cruising speed over the last two years, Maersk cut fuel consumption on major routes by as much as 30 percent, greatly reducing costs. But the company also achieved an equal cut in the ships’ emissions of greenhouse gases.
One has to wonder what the IATA reps were smoking when they approved this cheery [and very self-satisfied] version:
Copenhagen Agreement Step in Right Direction – Aviation Strengthens Commitment to Tough Targets
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the Copenhagen Accord as an important step in the right direction for climate change. Aviation emissions were not addressed specifically in the Accord, a reflection of the pro-active measures the industry has taken to set challenging targets for itself, together with an aggressive strategy to achieve them.
Climate Deal On Ships And Planes Seen Slipping Away
(Reuters/Planet Ark) COPENHAGEN – Climate negotiators warned on Wednesday they may miss the opportunity to cap emissions from shipping and aviation and so miss out on billions of dollars in taxation to help poor countries cope with climate change.
With just two days left to reach a new U.N. climate change deal, negotiators say they are still a long way from agreeing targets for shipping and aviation, which together produce as much as 8 percent of the world’s climate-warming emissions.
Japan, Saudi Arabia, China and the United States have been blamed for blocking progress on tackling emissions from the two sectors. Both industries have recently called for tough carbon-cutting goals, but talks have become bogged down over technicalities.
First Fuel Cell Boat Cruises Amsterdam’s Canals
Emitting only water vapour and gliding silently through Amsterdam’s centuries-old canals, a canal boat — a popular tourist attraction — powered by fuel cells made its debut cruise on Wednesday.
The “Nemo H2,” which can carry about 87 people, is the first of its kind designed specifically to run on a fuel cell engine, in which hydrogen and oxygen are mixed to create electricity and water, without producing air-polluting gases.
From spring, visitors will have the option of a ‘CO2 Zero Canal Cruise’, for an extra 50 (euro) cents, which will go toward further research into carbon-reducing technology. The new boat cost more than double to build than a canal boat running on a diesel engine, and needs to visit a hydrogen dispensing station for a refill once a day, while normal boats only need a fuel top-up once a week.
But developers of the 3 million euro project, which was partly government funded, said costs would decline as more boats followed this test phase, and if more advanced hydrogen distribution infrastructure emerged.
Curbs To Ship Pollution Would Stoke Global Warming, Study Says
(Reuters/ Planet Ark) Shipping is slowing climate change by spewing out sunlight-dimming pollution but a clean-up needed to safeguard human health will stoke global warming, experts said Friday. “So far shipping has caused a cooling effect that has slowed down global warming,” Jan Fuglestvedt, of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research Oslo (CICERO), told Reuters.”After some decades the net climate effect of shipping will shift from cooling to warming” because of cleaner fuels, he and colleagues in Germany, Britain and Norway wrote in this week’s edition of the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
New study to provide roadmap for sustainable freight transportation
(CEC) The Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) has embarked on a new study to evaluate opportunities for making freight transportation more sustainable in North America.
The transportation sector contributes about 26 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in North America. At least a quarter of that share is related to transporting freight. Billions of tons of goods are moved every year in complex industrial and commercial supply chains that span the continent. Two-thirds of these goods are moved by truck and most of the rest by rail, giving the freight sector a significant environmental footprint.
Forget Grassroots Environmentalism; Branson’s Carbon War Room Is Taking Charge
… the Carbon War Room, a so-called “philanthropic initiative” started by SunEdison founder Jigar Shah and financially backed by Richard Branson, is pushing for ships to lower their carbon footprints. More specifically, the initiative mandatory emissions cuts enacted in the U.S. and EU, with the ultimate goal of cutting ship emissions by 20% on working vessels and 35% for ships built in 2012 and after. The Carbon War Room is also gunning for a mandatory provision for exhaust gas cleaning technology, which could cut over 80% of particulate matter and black carbon from ships emissions.
Airlines Will Be First U.S. Industry to Confront Cap and Trade
(NYT) Sometime this month, the European Union will release a list of airlines it will regulate under its existing cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide. Beginning in 2012, all international flights landing in the region must abide by the regulations. And several airlines on that list will have a decidedly New World feel: Delta, United and American.
A new solar-powered aircraft attempts to fly around the world with zero emissions
The prototype will be unveiled on June 26th by Solar Impulse, a project the aviators run. Mr Piccard helped pilot Orbiter 3, the first balloon to fly non-stop around the world, and comes from a family of adventurers: his grandfather, Auguste, was the first to fly a balloon into the stratosphere and his father, Jacques, plunged to record depths in a bathyscaphe. Mr Borschberg is an engineer and fighter pilot.
Climate Deal For Shippers
(Reuters/Planet Ark) COPENHAGEN – The head of shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk called on Tuesday on governments to reach a global climate deal for the shipping industry when they meet on a new climate treaty in December. International shipping was not included in the Kyoto Protocol, a replacement for which the world will try to thrash out in Copenhagen in seven months. Many shippers fear that competition will be distorted if the Copenhagen talks do not result in a global deal, causing some countries and regions to regulate separately. The best way to cap the global shipping industry’s greenhouse gas emissions would be a tax on fuel consumption as that would be easiest to control and administrate, Andersen said. The tax money should be put in a fund for environment friendly measures, he said.
Sustainable next generation biofuels could reduce our carbon footprint by up to 80%. Three years ago nobody thought it possible, but four successful test flights in the last year prove that biofuels work. I am confident that certification by 2011 will be a reality. For the first time aviation could have a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. We did this work on our own without government involvement. We could achieve much more, much faster, with a fiscal and legal framework to accelerate research and reward investment. Where do we go from here? Kyoto recognised that aviation could not be handled within national targets. Unlike power plants our aircraft operate across borders and over the high seas. This has not changed and must be reflected in Kyoto 2 with a global policy framework that holds aviation accountable as a sector under the leadership of ICAO, working with the UNFCCC.
The pressure to include their greenhouse gas emissions in national inventories is growing inexorably. This issue has suddenly become more urgent, with the publication of a new study in the journal Atmospheric Environment. It suggests that the greenhouse impact from aviation is about 4.9% of all “anthropogenic forcing” – which means humankind’s contribution to climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report proposed only 3%. You might be tempted to imagine that this is still small beer; but it is massive by comparison to the size of the sector. In the UK, the turnover of all air transport (including freight) in 2007 was £20billion. This is smaller than the machinery rental sector. Aviation accounts for 0.78% of total business turnover in the UK. Yet it is responsible for 13% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Any fair pricing of greenhouse gases would make flying prohibitively expensive.
18 November 2008
Bordeaux – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) challenged Europe to deliver a Single European Sky (SES) by 2012.
“After decades of talks and little action, failure to implement an effective SES is Europe’s biggest environmental embarrassment. In 2007, this failure resulted in 21 million minutes of delays and 468 million kilometres of unnecessary flight. This wasted 16 million tonnes of CO2.”
Fuel efficiency will eventually make flying cheaper
(Montreal Gazette) International passenger traffic slowed to a five-year low in July and sagged farther in August, but the International Air Transport Association and its 230 member-airlines feel compelled to push ahead with their Green Vision. First-generation biomass fuels made from sugars, starches, oils or fats from farm products and competing with food production are not yet allowed for aviation fuel, David Behrens, director of IATA’s infrastructure strategy, said. Second-generation biomass fuels from forest and farm residues and municipal waste is already here. Third-generation biomass, made from algae – green pond scum – and other crops need lots more research but has high potential for reducing emissions. IATA is backing both second and third-generation biomass fuels to blend with kerosene or petroleum-derived fuels. Next-generation aircraft will be able to use a wider sources of fuels, Behrens said. Ultimately, Green Vision claims “zero emission” aircraft could be flying by 2050 – a goal that has met with skepticism from Boeing, Airbus, the big engine manufacturers and others. Environment Still a Top Priority Even in Times of Crisis
The government has some good climate policies. It also has some bleeding disastrous ones, which appear to commit the United Kingdom to high carbon pollution for the entire period covered by the bill. A future Labour government would find itself snared by its own current policies. Surely it wouldn’t be foolish enough to set such a trap for itself?
One policy alone seems to doom future governments to prosecution: the planned doubling of the capacity of the UK’s airports by 2030. Using the Department for Transport’s projections, I estimate that by 2050 aeroplanes will account for 91% of all the greenhouse gases the country should be producing. Under the less optimistic figures published by Defra, the environment department, the proportion rises to 258%.
INNOVATIVE GREEN WAVE/AIRBUS PARTNERSHIP TAKES FLIGHT
With the aim of raising public awareness on the importance of biodiversity and to engage young people in the global biodiversity agenda, Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Farnborough International Airshow in the UK in support of Green Wave, a multi-year worldwide educational campaign for children and youth leading up to the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010. To coincide with the announcement of the MoU, the official Green Wave logo was also launched. More
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a Specialized Agency of the United Nations, will be holding a unique Workshop on Aviation and Carbon Markets
An interesting discussion broke out today at the UN climate change talks in Bangkok (yes, every so often it happens). It involved how the Kyoto Protocol could be strengthened by including greenhouse gases or emitting sectors that had previously been excluded.
Much of the discussion focused on emissions from international aviation and international shipping, what people here call “bunker fuels.”
Both of these sectors are significant contributors to global warming. If either were countries, they’d be in the top 5 or 6 globally in terms of their contribution to polluting the atmosphere. More importantly, emissions from both sectors are rising fast, faster in fact than any other sector. Emissions from international flights, for example, have nearly doubled since 1990.
When the Kyoto Protocol was being negotiated back in 1997, the technical issues surrounding how to allocate the emissions were deemed too complicated. For example, when a ship or plane leaves one country, arrives in another, and maybe refuels in a third along the way, which country is responsible for the emissions? Nobody had easy answers, so the industry associations—the International Civil Aviation Association (ICAO) and the International Marine Organization (IMO)—were formally given the mandate of figuring out how to address their own emissions.
Ten years later, guess what’s happened? Nothing. ICAO gave a presentation at the UN today whose message was essentially, “It’s really still too complicated.” Many countries, including the EU-27 and Norway, have made the point that the barriers are political, not technical. Today, they made concrete suggestions. For example, emissions from international flights could be assigned to where planes refuel. Wow, that doesn’t seem complicated at all.
The EU’s message was pretty clear: Enough is enough. If the industries don’t want to come up with solutions, we should. So let’s set up a working group to decide this at the UN. Seems reasonable, after so much time. As expected, there was opposition from countries that serve as international shipping hubs (Panama) and aviation hubs (Singapore), who would probably prefer no regulation at all. Unfortunately, however, Canada also opposed having a UN discussion, though we did say we wanted these emissions addressed. Apparently, the Canadian government thinks the industries need just a little more time to figure things out.