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Beyond CORSIA: Towards a robust strategy for mitigation of international air transport emissions | Chris Lyle
Beyond CORSIA: Towards a robust strategy for mitigation of international air transport emissions
Mon 24 July 2017 - Last October, ICAO's Assembly adopted a framework for the global Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), a market-based measure to add to the 'basket' of technical and operational emissions mitigation measures already in hand. CORSIA is being designed as the primary tool towards an aspirational goal of carbon-neutral growth (CNG) of international aviation worldwide from 2020, with full effectiveness between 2027 and 2035. Even with full implementation, however, ICAO's basket of measures will not actually produce a reduction in global aviation emissions, which will continue to grow. For more ambitious countries, Chris Lyle proposes a more stringent but complementary approach, using the CORSIA database and monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) procedures directly within the compass of the Paris Agreement.  Read more ...

Now is the time to upgrade Europe's aviation pollution rules | Kelsey Perlman,Carbon Market Watch
Now is the time to upgrade Europe's aviation pollution rules
Wed 12 July 2017 – Yesterday, the European Parliament's environment committee voted on how the aviation sector should be treated under the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), in response to a decision by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to set up a global offsetting mechanism. The ongoing revision of Europe’s carbon market rules for aviation is a critical opportunity to ensure that one of the biggest global polluters starts to contribute its fair share to EU climate action. While the term 'sustainable aviation' seems to be spreading, the reality is that the sector's emissions are growing unsustainably and will continue to do so. Kelsey Perlman suggests what action can be taken in Europe to address aviation's climate impact. (Updated 12 JulyRead more ...

The route from China to ICAO's CORSIA emissions scheme: there's still a long way to go | Ren Wang,China
The route from China to ICAO's CORSIA emissions scheme: there's still a long way to go
Tue 27 Jun 2017 - China has been a constructive and even decisive contributor to the successful outcome of the 39th ICAO Assembly on a resolution to implement the CORSIA scheme to address CO2 emissions from international aviation. During the Assembly, ICAO included China in the list of countries that have decided to join the scheme from the beginning. However, no official announcement has been made to confirm its early participation. The foundation for ICAO to develop and implement CORSIA is not solid and it's not going to be easy for China to get ready for early participation given a number of important national issues that need to be resolved, argues Ren Wang. From expectation to confirmation, there's a long way to go for both ICAO and China, he writes. Read more ...

Forest carbon offsets under CORSIA can offer a win-win for airlines, society and the planet | Ecosphere+,Althelia,Jessica Verhagen,REDD+
Forest carbon offsets under CORSIA can offer a win-win for airlines, society and the planet
Tue 14 Mar 2017 - The global carbon offsetting scheme reached by ICAO in October 2016 is a highly commendable achievement that provides a starting point to drive change in the aviation industry over the coming decades. The deal is not without its detractors from within the environmental community but it does provide an unprecedented opportunity to save threatened forests and significantly narrow the existing emissions gap for achieving a safer climate, writes Jessica Verhagen of Ecosphere+. The CORSIA scheme's rules for offsets are under development, including the types of offsets that will be accepted. Forest carbon offsets can offer the most effective climate solution the world has today to materially reduce emissions, she argues, and is easily understood by consumers. Read more ...

Regional action must be front and centre in efforts to cut aviation's climate impact | T&E
Regional action must be front and centre in efforts to cut aviation's climate impact
Tue 10 Jan 2017 - For too long, the debate about addressing aviation emissions has been reduced to regional versus global measures, with an assumption by many that global always trumps regional. Now the dust has settled on the 39th ICAO Assembly, we can see for the first time what a global market-based measure (GMBM) can deliver, and the results are not as remotely encouraging as many presumed, writes Andrew Murphy of Transport & Environment (T&E). Research commissioned by T&E found that coverage of ICAO's GMBM could deliver fewer emission reductions over its lifetime than the full inclusion of aviation in a reformed EU ETS. To match the ambition required by the Paris Agreement, both global and regional action is required, and European policy-makers should not delay in strengthening and defending the EU ETS, he argues. Read more ...

The fight must go on to protect the EU's right to continue with its own aviation emissions scheme | Jeff Gazzard
The fight must go on to protect the EU's right to continue with its own aviation emissions scheme
Fri 28 Sept 2016 - ICAO Member States start their triennial Assembly next week and one of the key items up for discussion is the development and implementation of a Global Market Based Measure (GMBM) to try and control and reduce civil aviation's growing use of fossil fuel via the use of a price mechanism that includes the cost of CO2 emissions in airline ticket prices. At the heart of this measure is the industry-led target of carbon-neutral growth of aviation emissions from 2020, which as designed is unlikely to meet the UN’s own climate goals, writes Jeff Gazzard. The GMBM proposal also attempts to disband the European Union's own emissions scheme for aviation, the EU ETS. Europe, he insists, along with global environmental NGOs and those countries most at risk from climate change, must come away from the Assembly with the EU's right to keep it intact. Read more ...

A market-based measure for CO2 emissions from international aviation: need, design and legal form | Pamela Campos
A market-based measure for CO2 emissions from international aviation: need, design and legal form
Tue 30 Aug 2016 - In the global effort to cut carbon pollution, international aviation has managed to escape emissions limits - at least so far. Government negotiators met in Montreal last week to seek agreement on a global cap on carbon pollution from international aviation. Text of a draft resolution is expected to be presented to the ICAO Assembly for approval in early October. Anticipating these events, Carbon and Climate Law Review (CCLR) has released a special issue that includes a broad spectrum of voices - from industry, former government officials, and the research and environmental communities - calling for a cap on carbon pollution from international aviation, writes Pamela Campos. Other voices from the scientific and regulatory communities lay out the full impact of aviation emissions, and call attention to the risks the aviation industry itself faces from climate change. Read more ...

Is success in sight for a global agreement on an effective economic measure to address international aviation emissions? | Chris Lyle
Is success in sight for a global agreement on an effective economic measure to address international aviation emissions?
Thu 30 June 2016 - In the 18 years since being given a mandate under the Kyoto Protocol for reduction or limitation of greenhouse gas emissions from international civil aviation, ICAO has pursued a 'basket of measures' for mitigation, with significant effectiveness on the technical and operational side, but the UN agency has made limited progress on a vital global market-based measure (MBM). Following an intense period of activity, with the added stimulus of last December's UNFCCC Paris Agreement, ICAO's governing Council has now developed a framework for a Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), to be submitted to the ICAO Assembly in September. Chris Lyle reviews the substance of the proposal, the issues yet to be resolved, the prospects for adoption by the Assembly and subsequent implementation, and the adequacy of the likely contribution to global GHG emissions mitigation, suggesting possible means of achieving greater ambition. Read more ...

An ICAO deal that falls well short of carbon-neutral growth target will have no credibility | T&E
An ICAO deal that falls well short of carbon-neutral growth target will have no credibility
Thu 7 July 2016 - ICAO's Assembly to agree on how to address the climate impact of international aviation is just two months away. However, important details remain unresolved, potentially putting any credible and environmentally meaningful ICAO agreement at risk, argues Bill Hemmings. At the heart of the issue is the question of differentiation, a fundamental aspect of all international climate agreements. To address this, the current proposals allow for exemptions based on a country's aviation activity but the emissions gap due to these exemptions is now some 40-50% and directly threatens the integrity of the commitment to carbon neutral growth from 2020. Other issues remain over the formula to be used for determining the offsetting obligations of carriers and the industry's unwillingness to close the gap through a redistribution of exempted emissions. Read more ...

CAAFI and its 10-year journey to the cutting edge of sustainable jet fuel commercialisation | CAAFI
CAAFI and its 10-year journey to the cutting edge of sustainable jet fuel commercialisation
Thu 26 May 2016 - The aviation industry's ultimate goal is to see sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF) become a primary means for capping, and eventually lowering, the total net greenhouse gas emissions from aviation, even as the industry continues to grow and fulfil worldwide demand for safe, high-speed, highly-efficient transport of people and goods to all corners of the globe. As the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) celebrates its 10th anniversary, Executive Director Steve Csonka looks back at significant progress in the development of SAJF, before focusing on how the industry, with CAAFI's assistance, will address over the next 10 years the challenges that remain to enable meaningful airline use of sustainable alternative jet fuel. Read more ...

Mitigation of international aviation emissions: The flightpath from Paris to Montreal | Chris Lyle
Mitigation of international aviation emissions: The flightpath from Paris to Montreal
Tue 12 Jan 2016 - The COP21 climate summit last month produced a remarkable global consensus on the mitigation of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to their residual impact. Specific text addressing international aviation and shipping emissions was cut from the Paris Agreement during the meeting - seemingly with cursory consultation at most - and proved too difficult to reintroduce in the pressures of the final hours. But the Agreement embodies several features, notably increased ambition, which will serve to guide continuing work on mitigation of aviation emissions through ICAO. Of particular relevance is the development by ICAO of a global market-based measure (MBM) for consideration by the 39th Session of its Assembly later this year and intended implementation from 2020. Chris Lyle reviews some implications of the Paris Agreement for ICAO's undertaking. Read more ...

ICAO must design robust sustainability criteria for aviation biofuels into its market measure | WWF-UK,James Beard
ICAO must design robust sustainability criteria for aviation biofuels into its market measure
Fri 25 Sep 2015 - The market-based measure (MBM) under development at ICAO is expected to set a framework that for the first time recognises emission reductions from biofuels in international flights. WWF supports the use of sustainable biofuels in aviation because, unlike power generation, there are not really any other low-carbon energy sources on the table, writes WWF-UK aviation & bioenergy specialist James Beard. However, past experience has shown extreme care must be taken in designing biofuel policies in order to avoid damaging consequences. ICAO needs to develop criteria to ensure airlines are using the right kinds of biofuel, which means tackling indirect land use change (ILUC) and supporting all three dimensions of sustainability: social, economic and environmental. This is a key aspect of making sure the MBM is environmentally effective, works in a way that is fair for all peoples of all countries, and is consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Read more ...

A real deal - how aviation can contribute to success in Paris | Andrew Murphy
A real deal - how aviation can contribute to success in Paris
Fri 28 Aug 2015 - Responding to a GreenAir Commentary article last month by Huang Yue, Andrew Murphy agrees that airlines from developing countries should not be penalised under a global measure to tackle aviation emissions for enjoying rates of growth previously experienced by those in developed countries. The Chinese proposal for a measure based on historic emissions can address this concern, though he argues differentiation by route group would also fairly resolve the responsibility burden while still adhering to the international civil aviation principle of non-discrimination and also be easiest to implement. However, he says, it is worrying that 12 months before its triennial Assembly there is little information or progress on this important issue at ICAO, in contrast to the approach adopted by the UNFCCC ahead of the forthcoming Paris COP. Paris must bring international aviation into the climate agreement and require ICAO to increase its ambition in line with the 2-degree target, he adds. Read more ...
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Fast-growing airlines from developing countries should not have to shoulder an unfair share of the GMBM burden, says China | Huang Yue,China
Fast-growing airlines from developing countries should not have to shoulder an unfair share of the GMBM burden, says China
Mon 20 July 2015 – Agreed at its 38th Assembly in October 2013, the work on developing a global market-based measure (GMBM) to address civil aviation's growing carbon footprint has now passed the midpoint in ICAO's traditional three-year cycle, and the UN agency has little more than a year to come up with a proposal to put before the next Assembly. So far, an advisory group (EAG) made up of 19 members from ICAO's governing Council set up to oversee the GMBM has met 11 times and a technical task force (GMTF) has begun its recommendations in key areas such as MRV and emission units criteria. Huang Yue provides a perspective from China on how the process is progressing and its own proposals on how fast-growing airlines from mainly developing countries could be accommodated under the GMBM in order they are not unfairly penalised. Read more ...

Ending international aviation’s $65 billion fuel tax exemption an essential step towards decarbonisation | Andrew Murphy,T&E
Ending international aviation’s $65 billion fuel tax exemption an essential step towards decarbonisation
Thu 16 Apr 2015 - With the Paris COP only eight months away, the expectation remains that an agreement to cover all Parties, all sectors and all emissions can be reached. The objective is to limit any global temperature increase to below 2 degrees C, with many calling for a more ambitious target. Whatever the exact target, there is broad acceptance - including by the key actors China, the EU and the US - that it can only be achieved by the widespread decarbonisation of the world economy and a serious energy transition to renewables. For aviation, decarbonisation must include phasing out the fuel tax exemption that is inflating demand but is without any rational economic basis. This exemption, as pointed out in a recent GreenAir article, is rooted in legal agreements, but that is no reason to exempt it from scrutiny, argues Andrew Murphy.  Read more ...

Why taxes are not an option in addressing international civil aviation's carbon footprint | Alejandro Piera
Why taxes are not an option in addressing international civil aviation's carbon footprint
Thu 26 Mar 2015 - While the aviation sector continues to implement new technological and operational measures to mitigate its carbon footprint, including the development of sustainable alternative fuels, these initiatives by themselves will not be sufficient to offset the growth in its emissions and resolve the sector's climate change dilemma. Given mounting international pressure, regulatory intervention will be required. Some outside the sector, and now even voices within the discussion of ICAO's Environment Advisory Group (EAG) tasked with developing a global market-based measure (MBM), argue that the easiest way to address the problem is through the imposition of carbon taxes. Dr Alejandro Piera examines the legal barriers embedded in the international civil aviation legal regime that preclude this option. Read more ...

Dealing with aviation’s carbon challenge in the lead up to the Paris climate summit | Chris Lyle
Dealing with aviation’s carbon challenge in the lead up to the Paris climate summit
Fri 13 Mar 2015 - There is a considerable 'wedge gap' between the continuing growth of CO2 emissions from international air transport and their mitigation from technological and operational improvements and the use of alternative fuels. In a decision to address this gap, the ICAO Assembly in 2013 agreed that the Organization should develop a global scheme on market-based measures (MBMs) for consideration by its next Assembly in 2016 and intended implementation from 2020. The critical meeting of the UNFCCC to be held in Paris in December this year will review progress by ICAO and may provide new direction. Chris Lyle discusses this agenda and emphasises a need for more far-reaching and better directed efforts towards a meaningful price on air transport’s carbon emissions. Read more ...

Addressing carbon emissions from international aviation requires the recognition of special circumstances | Alejandro Piera
Addressing carbon emissions from international aviation requires the recognition of special circumstances
Mon 26 Jan 2015 - At ICAO's 38th Assembly in 2012, States agreed to develop a global market-based measure (MBM) to address carbon emissions from international aviation. It is expected that in 2016 the 39th Assembly will consider a proposal for a global scheme designed to start in 2020. According to the resolution adopted (A38-18), in developing such a scheme, ICAO must take into account the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR), special circumstances and respective capabilities (SCRC), non-discrimination, and equal and fair opportunities. But what do these seemingly contradictory principles mean in the context of addressing international aviation’s carbon footprint? Aviation legal expert Alejandro Piera explains. Read more ...

The challenge of finding a legal vehicle to enforce compliance with a global aviation emissions scheme | Alejandro Piera
The challenge of finding a legal vehicle to enforce compliance with a global aviation emissions scheme
Wed 19 Nov 2014 - By agreeing to develop a global market-based mechanism (MBM) for international civil aviation, ICAO's 38th Assembly has set the expectation that such a scheme will be adopted in 2016 and that it will be operational by 2020. ICAO has already carried out a considerable amount of technical work, yet significantly less attention has been paid to the legal vehicle through which the scheme would be implemented. Although experts have identified standards, Assembly resolutions and international conventions as possible options, very little analysis has been undertaken. It is clear the final selection will depend on a number of technical and political considerations, writes Alejandro PieraRead more ...

Designing a market-based scheme to address international aviation emissions through carbon offsetting
Designing a market-based scheme to address international aviation emissions through carbon offsetting
Fri 10 Oct 2014 - The deadlock that has continued for many years between developed and developing countries has hindered concerted action on addressing greenhouse gas emissions from the international aviation sector. However, an agreement was reached by States at the ICAO Assembly in late 2013 to develop a global market-based scheme designed to take effect from 2020. A favoured mechanism is through the use by the sector of carbon offsets. In this article, taken from a wider study of the potential scheme, researchers at Oeko-Institut and CE Delft suggest key design options of such a scheme. They cover which entity should be responsible for purchasing offsets, how requirements for purchasing offsets can be divided between the covered entities and what needs to be considered to ensure environmental integrity. Read more ...

Reconciling CBDR with non-discrimination: A fundamental requirement for ICAO's global MBM success | Alejandro Piera
Reconciling CBDR with non-discrimination: A fundamental requirement for ICAO's global MBM success
Tue 23 Sept 2014 - Greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation will continue to remain one of the sector's biggest and most complex challenges. ICAO Member States decided in 2013 to develop a global market-based measure (MBM) to address this growing concern. Although the organisation has identified potential options for this scheme, and in fact has established a road map to achieve the objective, a number of issues remain unresolved. Perhaps one of the most complex remains the articulation of the UNFCCC's Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) principle with ICAO's non-discrimination. Given the highly political nature of the issue, industry has left it for States to decide. Similarly, ICAO has hitherto only scratched the surface of the matter. By mapping out an incremental, route-based global MBM, Alejandro Piera suggests certain criteria to select routes to be covered under the scheme and at what stage. Read more ...

To restore relevancy and credibility, ICAO must show leadership and direction on a global aviation emissions scheme | Ruwantissa Abeyratne
To restore relevancy and credibility, ICAO must show leadership and direction on a global aviation emissions scheme
Mon 1 Sept 2014 - The task facing ICAO States in coming up with a workable global market-based measure (MBM) by 2016 to limit the growth of international aviation emissions is daunting. The Organization has to balance the interests of both developed and developing States in shaping the proposal. The technical requirements aside, which the key players would be amply capable of handling, ICAO will have to move with a strong sense of purpose, direction and conviction, and dispel accusations regarding its own ineptitude in handling the subject, writes aviation legal expert Ruwantissa Abeyratne. The leadership of ICAO should restore the relevancy and credibility of the Organization by establishing time lines and a work programme for the next three years that would ensure delivery to the 39th Assembly of an MBM scheme applicable from 2020. Any scheme will have to promote compliance through clear and precise measures and introduce legalisation that offers a fair deal to every State concerned. Read more ...

Mitigating international air transport emissions through a global measure: Time for some lateral thinking | Chris Lyle
Mitigating international air transport emissions through a global measure: Time for some lateral thinking
Thu, 6 Feb 2014 - The ICAO Assembly last October reached what was hailed as a "historic agreement" on market-based measures (MBMs) to fill the 'wedge gap' between the continuing growth of CO2 emissions from international air transport and their mitigation from technological and operational improvements and the use of alternative fuels. This accord was essentially a decision for ICAO to develop a global MBM scheme for consideration by the next Assembly in 2016 and intended implementation from 2020. However, the relevant climate change resolution couched this in terms that offer several loopholes, with continuing fundamental differences on both the goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and guiding principles. The resolution was also subject to numerous 'reservations', a provision whereby individual States indicate they will not commit to a clause or clauses. Chris Lyle (above) takes a 'big picture' look at the agreement in the context of the geopolitical influences at work, and suggests ways of resolving key differences as well as a modified approach to the global ambition. Read more ...

An NGO message for the ICAO Assembly: Introduce a global market-based measure now | ICSA,T&E,AEF,ICAO 38th Assembly
An NGO message for the ICAO Assembly: Introduce a global market-based measure now
Tue 17 Sept 2013 - In his groundbreaking speech on climate change this June, Barack Obama asked "whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late". His own administration answered the question with a resounding "no" when they pushed to delay decisions on the regulation of the aviation industry's ballooning CO2 emissions, argue James Lees and Bill Hemmings. President Obama spoke of the need for the United States of America to maintain its role as a global leader on climate change. At ICAO's special Council meeting in Montreal earlier this month, his administration ensured that the international community continued to avoid acting on aviation’s contribution to global warming - currently at 5 per cent and rapidly growing. The time has now come for the White House to lead the international community into taking action at the forthcoming ICAO Assembly, they say. Read more ...

Will ICAO States at last deliver a meaningful global agreement on mitigating international aviation emissions?
Will ICAO States at last deliver a meaningful global agreement on mitigating international aviation emissions?
Mon 2 Sept 2013 - Later this month the triennial ICAO Assembly will address mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international air transport for the sixth time since the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, the fifth time since the publication of the IPCC Special Report on Aviation and the Global Atmosphere, and the third time since the Kyoto Protocol came into force. The not inconsiderable technological and operational improvements over the past 16 years since its adoption have proved nowhere near sufficient to reduce aviation emissions in absolute terms - or even to maintain them at current levels - but ICAO States have been unable to achieve consensus on the additional mitigation measures necessary. Can we finally expect a comprehensive global agreement to realise Kyoto's "through ICAO" mandate? Chris Lyle (right) outlines the context, the key issues, and the prospects for an end game. Read more ...

How silos can be bridged to achieve a global accord on market-based measures for mitigating aviation carbon emissions
How silos can be bridged to achieve a global accord on market-based measures for mitigating aviation carbon emissions
Mon 10 June 2013 - In October 2012, WWF (the World Wide Fund for Nature), concerned with the contribution of aviation emissions to climate change, convened a high-level aviation stakeholders group to "generate new perspectives, identify policy options and trade-offs, and find areas of consensus" in addressing air transport carbon emissions. The exercise was designed to provide helpful input to ICAO and its member States in their ongoing negotiations towards a global accord on mitigation of international aviation emissions. Participants included government ministers and officials from developed and developing countries with responsibilities for aviation, transportation, tourism and the environment; global, regional and national aviation industry representatives; the tourism sector; and NGOs. Chris Lyle, an invited stakeholder straddling air transport and tourism, gives his individual take on the exercise so far and the next steps. Read more ...

Aviation in a carbon-constrained world: 2050 scenarios for long-haul tourism | Shaun Vorster
Aviation in a carbon-constrained world: 2050 scenarios for long-haul tourism
Tue 16 Apr 2013 - Tourism and its 'midwife', aviation, are exposed to various global uncertainties. The basic dilemma is that unconstrained growth in aviation emissions will not be compatible with 2050 climate stabilisation goals, and that the stringency and timing of public policy interventions to control aviation emissions could have far-reaching consequences - either on the market for future growth or the natural ecosystem on which tourism depends. With a 2050 horizon, Shaun Vorster considers the impact of the evolving global climate change regime on long-haul tourism (LHT) in a scenario-building exercise informed by the principal driving forces of carbon constraints and the long-term decarbonisation of aviation. He identifies three possible outcomes over the next 40 years, from an optimistic 'green lantern' scenario to a devastating 'grim reaper' worst case. Read more ...

Allocating international aviation CO2 emissions: the airspace-based approach and its alternatives
Allocating international aviation CO2 emissions: the airspace-based approach and its alternatives
Mon 21 Jan 2013 - The ICAO Council established a High-level Group (HLG) last November to consider political questions relating to a global market-based measure (MBM) for international aviation and a Framework for MBMs. The Framework basis should harmonise state/regional MBM schemes that could build over time into a global scheme. Provisions for geographic scope in the Framework and global architecture should be consistent in order to avoid duplication. The Framework should presumably contribute towards a workable resolution of the dispute over the EU ETS. However, some states see the Framework as merely intended to 'contain' the EU ETS, in which case the two architectures - Framework and global - might not be compatible. So a key question for ICAO is how geographic scope is to be treated in the national/regional MBM Framework. However, argues Bill Hemmings (right), basing it on airspace - as becoming increasingly favoured by some major states - is unrealistic. Read more ...

Forces for good but aviation and tourism share a responsibility to address their growing carbon footprint
Forces for good but aviation and tourism share a responsibility to address their growing carbon footprint
Mon 22 Oct 2012 - Not only is tourism a significant contributor to gross domestic product and job creation, it adds to the quality of life and promotes social inclusion at a global level. However, the rapid expansion in travel and tourism goes hand in hand with increased greenhouse gas emissions and other sustainability problems. For historical reasons, the aviation and tourism sectors have been institutionalised and regulated in silos. Yet they both face many cross-cutting policy challenges, which require coordinated action between different government line functions, United Nations agencies and industry bodies, writes Marthinus van Schalkwyk (right), South Africa's Minister of Tourism. He argues that once the near-term carbon abatement opportunities for aviation have been optimised, only two long-term options remain, namely drop-in, sustainable second-generation biofuels and a global cap-and-trade scheme. Read more ...

Climate change and bold action on green policies can drive a third golden age of aviation | McManners
Climate change and bold action on green policies can drive a third golden age of aviation
Fri 31 Aug 2012 - Policy-makers face a dilemma, torn between supporting continued expansion of aviation and the need to address the sector's environmental impact. Social and economic benefits accrue from flying but the associated emissions are causing damage to the atmosphere. The looming dangers of climate change mean that this dilemma must be resolved. Looking through the lens of sustainability, there appears to be a policy stalemate that is preventing substantive progress. Dislodging the twentieth-century model of aviation, to launch twenty-first century green aviation, will require breaking this stalemate, writes author and academic Peter McMannersRead more ...

Rio, Kyoto, Brussels and Chicago: Reconciling principles related to international air transport emissions
Rio, Kyoto, Brussels and Chicago: Reconciling principles related to international air transport emissions
Fri 27 July 2012 – Last month’s Rio+20 summit was notable for its lack of ambition and goals although it did reaffirm the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ (CBDR), despite recorded objections from Japan and the United States. The principle evolved under the Kyoto Protocol into responsibility for pursuing limitation or reduction of GHGs falling on the industrialised States, not the developing world. Reconciling this with the ICAO non-discrimination principle has proved extremely difficult in moves towards a global agreement through the UN agency on mitigating international aviation emissions. However, as an ICAO Ad hoc Working Group makes progress on an all-important market-based mechanism to limit the growth of net emissions, consensus needs to be found on a global model that reflects the differing circumstances of States. The concept of differentiation by route grouping has come under consideration at ICAO. Chris Lyle (right) explains how this might work in practice, and also looks at the formidable challenges that still lie ahead. Read more ...

Dropping the application of CBDR to international aviation could unlock significant financing for developing countries | The Climate Group,AGD,
Dropping the application of CBDR to international aviation could unlock significant financing for developing countries
Thu 8 Dec 2012 - The issue of how to address emissions from international aviation and maritime transport has been a perennial issue within climate change negotiations. Despite years of discussions both within the UNFCCC and its sister UN organizations - the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) - countries have been unable to agree any firm measures. However, pragmatic and fair solutions for addressing emissions from international aviation and maritime transport exist and that the keying to unlock action lies to a large extent in the hands of developing countries, reports Damian Ryan, right, Senior Policy Manager, The Climate Group from the COP 17 climate talks in Durban. Read more ...

EU airlines could be ETS victims over definition of 'equivalence' as non-EU states seek exemption from scheme
EU airlines could be ETS victims over definition of 'equivalence' as non-EU states seek exemption from scheme
Wed 2 Nov 2011 - The initial Opinion delivered by Advocate General Kokott to the European Court of Justice in October states that the EU emissions trading legislation does not infringe the sovereignty of other states and confirms that the EU ETS is compatible with relevant international agreements. However, with a growing number of states challenging the scheme, including some within the EU itself, it seems likely that the Advocate General's Opinion is likely to increase legal wrangling rather than resolve the issue, writes Mike Ambrose of the European Regions Airline Association. The EU ETS directive provides for exemption on incoming flights from the scheme for non-EU states that implement "equivalent measures" of their own to reduce aviation emissions, but there is no definition on equivalence and this could have unintended consequences for EU carriers. Read more ...
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Aviation and climate change: what now for a global approach? | Chris Lyle
Aviation and climate change: what now for a global approach?
Mon 24 Jan 2011 - The outcomes of the ICAO Assembly in Montreal last October and the UNFCCC's COP 16 in Cancun in December were greeted with cautious optimism. Agreements were reached in both forums, specific to international aviation in the case of ICAO and looking at the totality of GHG emissions by COP 16. Both ICAO's Assembly Resolution and the Cancun Agreements were, though, incomplete and fragmented. Nevertheless, the results provide building blocks for progress and, as far as international aviation is concerned, ICAO is now firmly in the pilot's seat. Chris Lyle provides a timely strategic overview of the status of efforts towards a global approach to regulating greenhouse gas emissions from aviation. Read more ...

China's actions and stand on greenhouse gas emissions from international civil aviation
China's actions and stand on greenhouse gas emissions from international civil aviation
Tue 1 June 2010 - Innovation and advances in engine technology, biofuels and air traffic management are the best choices in making substantial reductions in aviation greenhouse gas emissions whilst still guaranteeing the sustainable development of the industry, writes Dr Ma Xiangshan of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). However, developed countries should assume their responsibility and take the lead in reducing emissions. Full consideration should be given to the fact that developing countries are in their own growth stage and are facing a considerable shortage in terms of finance, technology and capability. In view of this, the fuel efficiency goal agreed at ICAO will be the most appropriate measure since it focuses on both development and emissions control, and some other goals are in fact neither practical nor reasonable if they pose a hindrance to development. Read more ...

Aviation after Copenhagen: ICAO must now develop a bold strategic vision | Chris Lyle
Aviation after Copenhagen: ICAO must now develop a bold strategic vision
Fri 5 Feb 2010 - With the dust now settling on the UNFCCC COP 15 meeting in Copenhagen, Chris Lyle takes a strategic look at the implications for aviation. Whilst the aviation industry has tried to put a positive spin on the result, it did not achieve some of the key goals it set for a post-Kyoto framework, notably treatment of aviation as a sector. ICAO's aims for Copenhagen were less defined but there was a lack of progress towards reconciliation of the divergence between the UNFCCC principle of CBDR amongst countries and principles in aviation's Chicago Convention of non-discrimination amongst operators. To sustain credibility, ICAO must now be bold and wrest back leadership by developing workable economic instruments and specific targets within an unambiguous framework. Read more ...

ICAO's flawed carbon calculator is symptomatic of a lack of industry transparency on aircraft performance | Lissys
ICAO's flawed carbon calculator is symptomatic of a lack of industry transparency on aircraft performance
Mon 1 Feb 2010 - The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is increasingly promoting its online carbon calculator, which was launched in 2008, as an official tool of the United Nations. However, the validity of the carbon calculator is open to question and the policy of adopting a fundamentally unsound instrument risks damaging the credibility of international efforts at creating meaningful CO2 standards, argues Dimitri Simos of Lissys, creator of the Piano commercial aircraft performance analysis tool. A more open, honest and scientifically correct process of aircraft assessment must instead be developed, he says, and airframers, engine makers, airlines and other institutions should consider the long-term strategic benefits of increased transparency.  Read more ...

Bunker fuels and Copenhagen - the disappointing outcome that leaves the aviation industry adrift on GHG emissions
Bunker fuels and Copenhagen - the disappointing outcome that leaves the aviation industry adrift on GHG emissions
Tue 19 Jan 2010 - The outcome of the Copenhagen climate change summit proved extremely disappointing as regards international aviation and shipping fuels (bunkers), writes Bill Hemmings of environmental NGO Transport & Environment, who helped drive an international coalition of transport NGOs at COP 15. Although more discussion amongst countries on bunker fuels at the UNFCCC occurred in the past three months than during the last ten years, it proved impossible to bridge the continuing differences. The Chairman's final draft text of the AWG-LCA secured no consensus and no mention whatsoever was subsequently made concerning bunkers in the non-binding Copenhagen Accord - save a single reference to innovative sources of finance, which could be construed as including bunkers. Read more ...

Airlines in the United States are avoiding their role in climate change by postponing meaningful action | Virgin America,Ceres
Airlines in the United States are avoiding their role in climate change by postponing meaningful action
Fri 20 Nov 2009 - As Congress considers historic climate change legislation and diplomats prepare for December's UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, it is time that the US domestic airline industry stops trying to fly above the debate over how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While air travel only contributes 2 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, the US aviation sector emitted 124 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2003 alone - equal to a year's worth of driving by 23 million cars. While other sectors have acknowledged their impact on the climate and revised their business plans accordingly, the domestic airline sector has in large part sought to postpone meaningful action, write Virgin America CEO David Cush (left) and Mindy Lubber of Ceres. Read more ...
1 opinion posted

EU emissions trading funds from airlines' hard-earned revenues should be used wisely and not squandered | ERA
EU emissions trading funds from airlines' hard-earned revenues should be used wisely and not squandered
Wed 18 Nov 2009 - Environmental experts and politicians from nations worldwide will meet next month in Copenhagen. Their task is to try to reach agreement on a new treaty, to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, and to set new limits on gaseous emissions to help protect against climate change. As this deadline approaches, the position of the EU and the European Commission has become increasingly clear. Europe is to stay in the vanguard of international action and associate legislation. However, asks Mike Ambrose of the European Regions Airline Association, is this quite as well-meaning as it first appears and where are the economic evaluations of such policies? Read more ...

The EU ETS is not that big a deal – and it even has some ingenuity | SustainAvia
The EU ETS is not that big a deal – and it even has some ingenuity
Tue 20 Oct 2009 - Understanding the EU ETS Directive and the monitoring and reporting requirements indeed requires several readings, extensive research and a lot of patience, even for the brightest brains. At the end of the day, though, the ETS is not that complicated and is simply about data collection, transfer, storage and reporting. What kind of data? Flights, payload, fuel in tanks and fuel uplift. In most cases, flights and payload are already properly monitored by airlines. Similarly, fuel data is already available in most cases since it is included in the flight log, and flight logs are always a requirement. In other words, the EU ETS should be no big deal for most aircraft operators, argue Julien Dufour and Gary ClevenRead more ...
1 opinion posted

The control of aviation emissions reaches a critical juncture | Chris Lyle, ICAO, UNFCCC, AGD Group, AEA, AGD, Aviation Global Deal
The control of aviation emissions reaches a critical juncture
Fri 24 July 2009 - With less than six months to the crucial UNFCCC summit in Copenhagen and calls by world leaders for international aviation to be included in a post-Kyoto Agreement, there is a need to distill the number of proposals that have been put forward and gauge their potential to offer a satisfactory outcome to the challenge that has so far proved elusive. Chris Lyle provides a comparative analysis of evolving positions in ICAO, IATA and other groupings in the context of the December meeting, along with a review of the draft negotiating texts for Copenhagen related to international aviation, and outlines some next steps. Read more ...

Taxing international aviation to pay for adaptation to climate change in developing countries is only a partial answer | Aviation Environment Federation
Taxing international aviation to pay for adaptation to climate change in developing countries is only a partial answer
Mon 13 July 2009 - As the Copenhagen climate negotiations in December draw ever closer, we are increasingly surrounded by proposals on how to structure a new international deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol in 2013. Amongst these, and thrown all too briefly into the media spotlight, was a proposal from the Maldives to impose a levy on all international flights. Tabled on behalf of the fifty least developed countries, the aviation levy is intended to create revenues to fund climate change adaptation measures in developing countries. However, writes Tim Johnson, Director, Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), without an emissions target for the aviation sector, a levy appears, at best, to be only a partial answer. Read more ...

Kyoto v. Chicago: ICAO debates how to apply the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities to aviation | Chris Lyle, ICAO, GIACC, UNFCCC, UNWTO
Kyoto v. Chicago: ICAO debates how to apply the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities to aviation
Mon 18 May 2009 - The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) set up the Group on International Aviation and Climate Change (GIACC) in 2007 to consider all options available to address aviation's contribution to climate change. It was tasked to develop and recommend to the ICAO Council "an aggressive Programme of Action based upon consensus". The 15 members of GIACC convene at the end of this month for a fourth and final meeting but one issue in particular has proved a stubborn obstacle so far in reaching an accord. Chris Lyle examines the underlying conflict between the basic principles that underpin ICAO and its sister UN agency UNFCCC and suggests a way forward. Read more ...

A global scheme for aviation emissions provides a better deal than US and EU cap-and-trade systems | ICF, SH&E, Waxman-Markey
A global scheme for aviation emissions provides a better deal than US and EU cap-and-trade systems
Wed 19 Aug 2009 - Airlines around the globe are scrambling to put together monitoring plans in preparation for the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) starting in 2012. The good news is that under the US cap-and-trade Waxman-Markey bill, which would set up a national market for pollution permits in 2012, carriers flying to, from and within the United States will not need to bother with monitoring plans. In fact, under the draft American Clean Energy and Security Act, aviation is not directly included in the cap-and-trade scheme. The bad news, according to Etienne Gabel of ICF International/SH&E, is the cost of the scheme to the aviation industry is not likely to be any cheaper than the EU ETS. Read more ...

FAA lays out a plan by which it hopes to achieve carbon neutral growth in aviation emissions through increased operational efficiency and technology | Daniel Elwell, FAA
FAA lays out a plan by which it hopes to achieve carbon neutral growth in aviation emissions through increased operational efficiency and technology
Fri 25 Jan 2008 - The US Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Assistant Administrator, Daniel Elwell, outlines a five-point plan to tackle aviation greenhouse gas emissions through operational and technological environmental performance improvements, coupled with market measures where necessary. This approach, he says, can form the basis of achieving an effective framework to address international concerns. Read more ...
by Daniel Elwell, FAA

The search for alternative aviation fuels: understanding the challenge | Jeff Gazzard, Aviation Environment Federation, AEF, alternative fuels, CAAFI, Richard Altman, biofuels
The search for alternative aviation fuels: understanding the challenge
Mon 10 Nov 2008 - Against a background of increasing pressure on the industry to do more to control and reduce its carbon emissions, alternative fuels have moved firmly onto and up the agenda as one way in which some or all of aviation's greenhouse gas emissions might be further controlled and reduced. Jeff Gazzard of the Aviation Environment Federation outlines the issues from the perspective of an environmental NGO.  Read more ...
1 opinion posted

California and its allies join forces with Europe to break the Bush administration's intransigence on aviation emissions | Professor Dan Hamilton, San Francisco Chronicle
California and its allies join forces with Europe to break the Bush administration's intransigence on aviation emissions
Wed 16 Jan 2008 - The European Union is pressing ahead with proposals to bring aviation into a cap-and-trade emissions scheme and have found American allies - not in Washington but in California and a host of other states. The states have petitioned the US Environmental Protection Agency to impose a similar scheme on domestic and foreign aircraft departing or landing at American airports. This European-Californian pincer movement has raised the stakes in the battle both parties have been having with the Bush administration over global environmental regulation. Read more ...
by Prof. Dan Hamilton

Disagreement on environmental impacts of air transport is seriously undermining UK government policy | Hugh Raven, Sustainable Development Commission
Disagreement on environmental impacts of air transport is seriously undermining UK government policy
Thu 28 Aug 2008 - Air travel has been heralded as one of the great successes of the modern world, creating wealth and employment, enabling worldwide economic and cultural interaction, and enriching our lives, writes Hugh Raven, Commissioner at the UK's Sustainable Development Commission. We know there are environmental concerns, which may or may not be answered by future technological breakthroughs. But the economic imperative to expand is surely overwhelming. Or is it? Read more ...

A way forward in achieving an acceptable global aviation emissions mitigation framework | Chris Lyle, ICAO, Air Transport Economics, UNFCCC
A way forward in achieving an acceptable global aviation emissions mitigation framework
Wed 16 July 2008 - The search for an international consensus to tackle the problem of aviation greenhouse gas emissions has so far proved elusive. The UN agency charged with developing a global framework of mitigation measures and targets, ICAO, is attempting to reach an accord to put before the UNFCCC Copenhagen conference in December 2009. Chris Lyle analyses the issues and offers some thoughts on a way forward. Read more ...

Why aviation must be included in the European Emissions Trading Scheme
Mon 26 Nov 2007 - It was high time that the European Commission presented a legislative proposal to address the greenhouse gas emissions of aviation, which have doubled since 1990, but it is no breakthrough. According to a lot of studies, it will not really limit emissions and - what is more regrettable - it will not significantly promote innovation in the airline industry. That is why the European Parliament voted for a lot of amendments to make the proposal much more ambitious. Read more ...
by Dr. Peter Liese, MEP