GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 24 JULY 2015
This is a text-only version. If you would like to see the full version of any article with images, videos, related articles, comments, etc, then click on the headline of the article.
US study finds link between climate and flight times results in higher fuel consumption and emissions
Fri 24 Jul 2015 – The contribution of emissions from commercial aviation to climate change has been widely researched, although uncertainties still remain over the warming impact of aircraft at altitude. But what effect may a warming planet have on air travel itself? Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts and the University of Wisconsin Madison believe they have found a connection between climate and longer airline flight times that adds significantly to fuel consumption and emissions. In turn, says WHOI’s Kris Karnauskas, who led the study that has just been published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the consequent additional input of CO2 into the atmosphere can feed back and amplify emerging changes in atmospheric circulation. The study looked at every flight between Honolulu and three US West Coast airports over the past 20 years and compared data with flight times and daily wind speeds at cruising altitudes.
The study began after a flight from Honolulu to the US East Coast taken by Hannah Barkley, a doctoral student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography and subsequent co-author of the study, arrived at its destination well ahead of schedule. Together with Karnauskas, an associate scientist in WHOI’s Geology and Geophysics Department, they discovered the jet stream that day was extra fast.
Through a database maintained by the US Department of Transportation, they downloaded departure and arrival data for four different airlines on every flight between Honolulu and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle over the 20-year period. As upper level winds blow from west to east, the eastbound leg of a roundtrip flight is generally faster than the westbound leg. What they found was that regardless of the carrier, the difference in flight times looked the same.
“Whatever was causing these flights to change their duration was the exact same thing, and it wasn’t part of the airline’s decision-making process,” says Karnauskas, who concludes that climate variability and not just day-to-day weather determines flight times.
When he overlaid the plots of the airlines’ differences in flight times with graphs of wind variability at climatic time scales, Karnauskas found them to be virtually identical, even after smoothing out seasonal differences due to the jet stream being stronger in winter and weaker in summer. The results also pointed towards the influence of the El Niño effect, in which the temperature of the equatorial Pacific Ocean rises and falls and sets off atmospheric waves towards higher latitudes of both hemispheres to change circulation patterns.
Karnauskas, who has studied El Niño extensively, found that just by looking at the state of the tropical Pacific Ocean, he could predict what the difference in the airlines’ flight times had been. “We’re talking about anomalies happening down at the equator that are affecting the atmosphere in such a spatially broad way that it’s probably influencing flights all around the world,” he says.
An important finding of the study is that the difference in flight times between eastbound and westbound flights on any given route did not cancel each other out, although minor.
“The net additional flying time for a pair of eastbound and westbound flights between, for example, Honolulu and LA is only a couple of minutes for every 10mph speedup of the prevailing wind,” says Karnauskas. “But the wind really fluctuates by about 40mph, so multiply those couple of minutes by each flight per day, by each carrier and by each route, and that residual quickly adds up.”
Based on what they had learned about residual flight times on the routes, the researchers explored how climate models predict the atmospheric circulation to change and to make some estimates of how much more CO2 would be emitted by the airline industry in the face of those changes. Global climate models do incorporate projected emissions from global aviation but, they say, if the atmospheric circulation changes, those initial assumptions would miss the potential feedback.
From a simple extrapolation on a global basis, applying an extra minute to the 102,470 flights per day on 49,871 routes served by commercial airlines in 2014, would mean aircraft spending an extra 300,000 hours per year in the air. This translates, says the study, to around 1 billion gallons of jet fuel costing $3 billion (at $3/gallon) and CO2 emissions of 10 billion kilograms of CO2 (at 9.6kgCO2/gallon) on an annual basis.
Karnauskas believes the study could be useful for the airline industry to more efficiently plan for future fuel costs, reallocate fuel resources, refine the predicted flight durations for their customers, and better manage all the inconveniences and manpower related to flight delays. However, he is surprised the industry is not more aware of flight-time patterns beyond the day-to-day.
“The industry keeps a close eye on the day-to-day weather patterns but they don’t seem to be addressing cycles occurring over a year or longer,” he says.
He now plans to extend the scope of the research to total global airline traffic, which he says will be “a massive undertaking”. To work with such large datasets, he has been granted access to Azure, a powerful cluster of networked supercomputers operated by Microsoft, under a special research grant jointly offered between Microsoft Research and the White House Climate Data Initiative.
Nature Climate Change – ‘Coupling between air travel and climate’ study , Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
ATR demonstrator starts flight testing of green regional aircraft technologies as part of Clean Sky initiative
Fri 24 Jul 2015 – The first flight has taken place of the ‘green’ ATR 72 Flying Demonstrator as part of a European Clean Sky programme to test new and more effective composite insulating materials and acoustic damping on regional aircraft. The demonstrator has been conceived by ATR and its joint shareholder Alenia Aermacchi, and an entire aluminium section of the upper fuselage on the test aircraft has been replaced with an innovative composite panel. Embedded in the panel is a layer to provide additional acoustic damping as well as two different technologies for structural health monitoring (SHM). The overall objective of the initiative, which is expected to include six flights, is to reduce aircraft weight, fuel consumption, noise and CO2 and NOx emissions in regional aircraft.
The purpose of the first flight was to target weight benefits, internal noise, assembly costs and SHM capability, and a second flying demonstrator later in the year will check improvements to electrical distribution, energy dispersal and air conditioning systems. Also tested during the programme will be innovative navigation avionics designed to optimise route management in order to reduce flight times and fuel burn.
“The ATR already enjoys a worldwide reputation for low emissions due to its low fuel consumption and structural efficiency, with a large use of composite materials on primary structures,” said ATR’s SVP Engineering, Carmine Orsi. “As aircraft manufacturers, we have a real responsibility to develop increasingly green technologies, in particular given that in the coming years, more and more aircraft will be taking to the skies.”
Clean Sky is a Joint Undertaking of the European Commission and the European aeronautics industry and is the largest European research programme for aeronautics, with a €4 billion ($4.4bn) budget over a seven-year timeframe. It is targeting ACARE environmental goals of a reduction in CO2 emissions of 50%, an 80% cut in NOx emissions and a halving of noise levels by 2020 compared to 2000 levels.
“This successful flight shows real progress accomplished in introducing large pieces of innovative materials in regional aircraft,” commented Eric Dautriat, Clean Sky Executive Director. “The outcome opens the door to further improvement in environmentally friendly planes that people expect. I am pleased to see evidence that the Clean Sky Demonstrators are already in the sky.”
Alenia Aermacchi – Clean Sky , ATR – Environment , Clean Sky
FedEx joins Southwest as airline customers for Red Rock’s woody biomass to renewable jet fuel product
Thu 23 Jul 2015 – FedEx Express has agreed to purchase three million gallons of renewable jet fuel annually over eight years from Colorado-based Red Rock Biofuels. This matches a similar agreement made in 2014 between the woody biomass to jet fuel company and Southwest Airlines. The two carriers will take Red Rock’s total jet fuel production from its new refinery in Lakeview, Oregon, which is expected to come online in 2017 after construction starts later this year. Partly funded by a $70 million grant from the US Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Navy, the $200 million refinery will convert around 140,000 tonnes of locally-sourced woody biomass into 15 million gallons per year of renewable jet, diesel and naphtha fuels.
“As we look to break ground on our refinery in the coming months, we’re thrilled to have signed a contract with FedEx as they look to diversify their fuel supply and reduce emissions throughout their aviation unit,” said Red Rock CEO Terry Kulesa, who is expecting to complete debt and equity financing for the refinery shortly.
Red Rock’s technology platform involves the gasification of woody biomass to produce synthesis gas that is cleaned and then converted through a Fischer-Tropsch process where it is in turn converted to liquid hydrocarbons before being refined into ASTM-approved renewable fuels. The company claims it can produce the renewable fuels at cost parity with conventional fuels because of the availability of cheap forest wastes.
“With our total jet fuel capacity now sold to FedEx and Southwest Airlines, we are building a suite of powerful, global customers that continue to commit to the future of alternative fuels in a market where oil prices are low, providing true validation of our business model and mission,” said Kulesa.
FedEx has set a target of sustainable alternative aviation fuels making up 30% of its jet fuel supplies by 2030 as part of efforts to reduce its environmental footprint. With a fleet of over 650 aircraft, the international freight and package delivery company used more than 1.1 billion gallons of jet fuel during its last financial year at a cost of $2.8 billion. Carbon emissions from the fleet amounted to 10.5 million tonnes in 2014, a decrease from 10.8 Mt the previous year as a result of a drop in overall fuel burn of 34.4 million gallons.
Red Rock Biofuels , FedEx – Environment and Efficiency
E-Fan cross-Channel flight could herald a green future for hybrid-electric regional passenger aircraft
Thu 23 Jul 2015 – Following in the steps of Louis Blériot’s pioneering cross-Channel flight 106 years ago, the recent flight of Airbus Group’s all-electric E-Fan technology demonstrator aircraft in the opposite direction – between Lydd Airport on England’s south coast and Calais Airport – could herald a new era in green aviation travel. The E-Fan is a key element in the European aircraft manufacturer’s electric aircraft roadmap towards achieving emission-free and almost noiseless flight and is targeting advanced technological breakthroughs that could one day bring hybrid-electric propulsion to passenger aircraft. While Airbus is now working towards commercialisation of two-seater and four-seater versions of the E-Fan, it is also collaborating in a long-term project with Rolls-Royce on a completely new regional aircraft design incorporating a radically more efficient electrical distributed propulsion system that would result in significantly lower fuel consumption, fewer emissions and less noise.
“E-Fan is a crucial step on Airbus Group’s journey towards all-electric aviation,” commented Detlef Müller-Wiesner, Head of E-Aircraft Programmes, on the cross-Channel flight. “Our initial steps today potentially are leading to giant leaps forward in the future.”
With two seats and a weight of just 600kg, the E-Fan 1.0 is equipped with two electric motors that provide a combined power of 60 kilowatts, each driving a ducted, variable pitch fan. Airbus is investing €20 million ($22m) in E-Fan 2.0, a two-seater aimed at pilot training with a first flight planned for 2017. When it enters service, which is scheduled for 2018, it will be the world’s first all-electric plane certified to international civil airworthiness standards, claims Airbus.
This will be followed in 2019 by the E-Fan 4.0 four-seat airplane for full pilot licensing and the general aviation market. It will include an internal combustion engine that serves as a ‘range extender’ by recharging the batteries during longer flights. Construction on a final assembly line to industrialise both versions is due to begin next year in Pau, France, with production initially targeted at around 10 aircraft annually.
Airbus estimates the operating costs of both versions to be around one-third of traditional piston-engine light aircraft. A ground-based charging unit will be able to bring the aircraft batteries to their full flight endurance in 1.5 hours.
E-Fan is just one activity in Airbus Group’s short, medium and long term development of electric planes and e-aircraft technology, which is being led by the E-Aircraft System House based near Munich. It is responsible for the design and verification of electric and hybrid propulsion system architectures, harmonising research activities across the company and setting Group-wide project targets.
As part of plans for a regional aircraft with hybrid-electric propulsion, Airbus is looking to build a 1MW hybrid ground demonstrator in 2016, to be followed at a later date by a 2-6MW version. Airbus EVP Engineering Charles Champion foresees a hybrid-electric regional aircraft within the 2030 timeframe that would have a 25% lower fuel burn on a typical 300 nautical mile mission.
The E-Thrust regional airliner concept is being developed by research and technology arm Airbus Group Innovations and Rolls-Royce, with the UK’s Cranfield University as a partner. With a 2050 timeframe, the Distributed Electrical Aerospace Propulsion (DEAP) project, which started in 2012, is exploring innovative technologies that will enable improved fuel economy and reduced exhaust gas and noise emissions.
Compared to engines on existing commercial airliners, a distributed propulsion system will require a much higher level of integration with the airframe design than that of today’s aircraft. The concept involves a number of electrically-powered fans – six are being considered as a starting point – distributed in clusters along the wing span, with one advanced gas power unit providing the electrical power for the fans and for re-charging of the energy storage system. Initial results show that a single large gas power unit has advantages over two or more smaller units, providing better overall noise reduction and allowing filtering of particles in the long exhaust duct at the back of the engine. As well as allowing for a more aerodynamic overall design, having a number of smaller fans integrated in the airframe instead of large wing-mounted turbofans is also expected to reduce the total propulsion system noise.
To optimise propulsive efficiency requires a fundamental increase in the bypass ratio beyond values of 12:1 achieved by today’s most efficient turbofans to over 20:1, which would lead to significant reductions in fuel consumption and emissions.
During the aircraft’s take-off and climb, power would come from the gas power unit and the energy storage system, the latter being sized to ensure safety should the gas power unit fail during this phase. In the cruise phase, the gas power unit would provide the cruise power and the power to recharge the energy storage system. In the initial descent phase, no power is provided to the fans and the gas power unit switched off so the aircraft is effectively gliding, with the energy storage system providing the power for the aircraft’s on-board systems. The fans would then windmill in the second phase of the descent and produce electrical power to top-up the energy storage system. For the landing phase, the gas power unit is re-started to provide power at a low level for the propulsion system. This is a safety feature to cover a hypothetical loss of power from the energy storage system.
For the distributed propulsion concept to work, step changes are required in enabling technologies such as energy storage and superconductivity.
Airbus expects new generations of energy storage systems to exceed energy densities of 1,000 watt hours per kg within the next two decades, more than doubling today’s best performance. Although still under development and not yet commercially available, lithium-air batteries provide the best solution for E-Thrust’s energy storage requirements, as they have a higher energy density than lithium-ion batteries, which are fitted to the E-Fan.
For the power levels in the megawatt range that are required in an electrical distributed propulsion network, a new high-voltage superconducting electrical system has to be designed and validated to meet stringent efficiency requirements when transferring electrical power from the gas power unit and energy storage to the fans. Superconductivity is a quantum mechanical phenomenon of exactly zero electrical resistance, which occurs in certain materials when they are cooled below a critical temperature – normally minus 245 degrees C – and allows the electrical system components to be much smaller, lighter and more efficient than conventional technology. The necessary cooling can be achieved either by supplying cryogenic fluids or by using a cryocooler, a technology used today in space applications and in MRI scanners.
Airbus sees the paradigm shift DEAP project as a vital element in achieving the EU’s ‘Flightpath 2050’ environmental targets of reducing aircraft CO2 emissions by 75%, along with NOx reductions of 90% and 65% lower noise levels by 2050, compared to standards in the year 2000.
Airbus – E-Fan , Airbus – E-Thrust (PDF)
Air India hit with UK fine for failing to comply with Aviation EU ETS
Thu 16 Jul 2015 – Air India and four other aircraft operators have received civil penalties totalling £95,456 ($150,000) by the UK authorities for non-compliance with the Aviation EU ETS for the year 2012. They were deemed not to have surrendered sufficient allowances to cover their annual reportable emissions by the end of April 2013. Two of the operators have since come into compliance and surrendered allowances for the three years 2012-14 but on government instructions, Air India has so far refused to conform with the scheme that currently covers carbon emissions on flights between airports in Europe. An Indian government official told GreenAir that it was unlikely the airline would pay the penalty and the issue would have to be dealt with at a diplomatic level. Another Indian airline that reports to the UK on the EU ETS, Jet Airways, recently lost an appeal against a similar fine but has since come into compliance and does not appear on the list of penalty notices.
UK civil penalties are calculated on the basis of the sterling equivalent of €100 for each allowance (equivalent to one tonne of CO2) the operator fails to surrender. Further penalties can apply for failure to submit an emissions plan, monitor aviation emissions or report aviation emissions. The UK legislation says that if a civil penalty is not paid within six months, there are powers to detain and sell the operator’s aircraft and/or request the European Commission to impose an operating ban.
The penalty imposed on Air India amounts to £12,377 ($19,300). The other operators to receive penalties are Russia-registered Loid Global (£42,217), US-based Media Consulting Services (£12,787), Nigerian oil company Oranto Petroleum (£9,325) and Primevalue Trading (£9,749), which is registered in the British Virgin Islands. According to the EU Transaction Log (EUTL), which records individual operator verified emissions and surrendered allowances, Media Consulting Services and Primevalue Trading have now surrendered 257 and 115 allowances respectively to cover their 2012 emissions and further allowances to cover 2013 and 2014.
The EUTL shows Jet Airways has now surrendered a total of 425 allowances to cover emissions on intra-European flights for the years 2012-14. It has not been disclosed whether the airline has paid the €15,000 ($16,000) penalty imposed on it for failure to surrender 150 allowances to cover emissions in 2012, which it appealed. Jet Airways argued, unsuccessfully, that the unilateral action of the EU in imposing the scheme on foreign operators was not in accord with a global consensus reached at ICAO and that the Indian Government had prohibited it from complying (see article).
The Indian government official suggested the decision by Jet Airways to comply was taken by the airline’s board of directors. Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways, which is also administered by the UK for EU ETS purposes and has fully complied with the scheme, took a 24% stake in Jet Airways in 2013.
Air India is joined by the flag carriers of Russia and Saudi Arabia – Aeroflot and Saudia – in refusing to comply with the European carbon scheme on government instructions. Saudia has already been fined €1.4 million ($1.6m) by the Flemish authorities (see article).
UK Department of Energy & Climate Change – Civil penalties: aviation
Japanese initiative plots map to commercialisation of aviation biofuels in time for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Wed 15 Jul 2015 – Boeing and a consortium of Japanese aviation and other industry organisations, together with academic and government bodies, have published a roadmap report that aims for commercial production of sustainable aviation biofuels in Japan in time for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. The report identifies potential raw material and technology routes that could provide sufficient quantities of alternative fuel supplies within the next five years. The roadmap is the result of a year-long study and collaboration by 46 members of the Initiatives for Next Generation Aviation Fuels (INAF) – which includes All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan Airlines, Nippon Cargo Airlines and the University of Tokyo, as well as Boeing – that was set up in May 2014. The report accepts the current price differential with conventional jet fuel is a major barrier to commercialisation and says policy incentives are a prerequisite to success in aviation biofuel use.
The roadmap assesses the entire biofuel supply chain, including procurement of raw materials, production of sustainable aviation fuel, blending biofuel with conventional jet fuel and how biofuel can be incorporated into an airport’s fuelling structure.
The development of the supply chain is based around six raw materials identified in the roadmap: municipal solid waste, microalgae, natural plant oils, waste food oil, non-edible biomass and woody biomass. Because they are already part of the fuel supply chain in Japan, municipal waste, natural oils and waste food oil are considered paths where the production of next-generation aviation fuels can be expected to commence early.
The report does not go into detail about costs of production or financing and instead calls for the formulation of a business plan over the coming year, to be followed by the design and construction of a plant between 2016 and 2018, trial operation in 2019 and commencement of supplies in 2020.
As it is unavoidable that the price of alternative aviation fuel will significantly exceed that of conventional jet fuel, the report recommends the differential be met by businesses that comprise the supply chain, such as fuel producers and airlines, users of air services and the public “which enjoys the benefits of greenhouse gas countermeasures and energy security”.
Costs, it says, could be lowered through improvements at each stage of the supply chain, system optimisation, technological innovation, user fees, area charges and public support. Fiscal support should also be provided to help capital investment and consideration given for a reduction in aircraft fuel taxes when using next-generation biofuels. Overseas partnerships will also be essential in developing and producing such fuels in Japan, it adds.
“Commencing the production and supply of next-generation aviation fuels in Japan is a golden opportunity for the nation … and it is desirable that the promotion of this business be accelerated now,” concludes the report.
Commenting on the release of the roadmap report, Shinji Suzuki, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Tokyo, said: “Developing and using sustainable aviation biofuel is an excellent way for Japan to show its commitment to the environment and technologies that can reduce aviation’s environmental impact.”
INAF Roadmap , INAF
COMMENTARY: Fast-growing airlines from developing countries should not have to shoulder an unfair share of the GMBM burden, says China
Mon 20 July 2015 – At the 38th Assembly of ICAO, unilateral measures to address the matter of climate change and international aviation emissions were denounced. Instead, it was decided to establish a multilateral framework to tackle this issue, namely to establish a Global Market Based Measure (GMBM) from 2016 and to implement it from 2020 to reach a goal of Carbon Neutral Growth (CNG2020), writes Huang Yue.
Two working mechanisms were subsequently set up under ICAO to fulfil the given mission. One is the so-called Environmental Advisory Group (EAG) of the ICAO Council, consisting of 19 Member States, which is mainly responsible for evaluating different options of a GMBM. The EAG has held 11 meetings so far since its establishment at the beginning of 2014. Another group known as the Global Market Based Measure Technical Task Force (GMTF), under ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP), is focusing on developing the Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system and emission unit criteria for the GMBM, and is more technically oriented compared to the EAG.
In order to reach the CNG2020 goal, the baseline for determining quantities to be offset is computed by using an average of three years of emissions from 2018 to 2020 in order to account for any exceptional variation that may be caused by individual operators in a specific year. The purpose is to set a cap for the growth of international civil aviation. Several options of the GMBM have been put on the agenda for the EAG to consider.
At the outset, the ICAO Secretariat came up with a ‘Strawman’ proposal that put forward for consideration a carbon offsetting mechanism that is based on a calculation of 50% individual airline growth and 50% collective industry growth after 2020 to determine each participant’s offsetting obligation. Under this method, those airlines with a fast growth rate would shoulder the overwhelming majority of emission reduction responsibilities, compared to those matured airlines with less or no growth demand.
Aware of the possible detrimental consequences that might be brought about by the Strawman to fast-growing carriers, particularly to those in the developing countries, China and five other States (India, Russia, Egypt, Libya and Saudi Arabia) have jointly submitted a working paper to the EAG. Its intention is to revise the basic calculation proposed by the Strawman. The core part of China’s proposal is to determine each operator’s offsetting amount after 2020 based on the proportion of its own accumulative emissions in a certain period to the global accumulative emissions in the same period. The proposed period for accumulation is 1992-2020, the start being the year when 190 States concluded the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Under the Accumulative Emission Proportion (AEP) approach, those who emitted more in the past will shoulder more offsetting responsibilities, and provide fast growers with more space to develop in the future.
This method takes into account differing guiding principles set out in ICAO’s A38-18 Resolution, including the principle of CBDR, the principle of equal and fair opportunity and, above all, would ensure administrative simplicity and minimise market distortion. As our jointly submitted working paper argues, it builds a bridge and provides a solution that could address each Member State’s different concerns across what has previously been perceived as a divide.
A third option, the Route Based approach has been proposed by Brazil and Argentina, which has the underlying rationale of guaranteeing the same treatment of all airlines operating on the same route, while offering a phase-in period or setting different co-efficient factors for certain routes (i.e. routes between developed and developing countries) so as to reflect a ‘differentiation’ principle.
All three options are currently under survey and study, particularly but not exclusively focusing on their administrative simplicity and social and economic impact on different types of airlines. Preliminary results have shown that under the Strawman approach, the fast and mid growth airlines will shoulder more offsetting responsibilities than the legacy carriers. Meanwhile, the AEP approach burdens those legacy carriers with heavier offsetting responsibilities, thus providing those carriers with growth demand greater opportunity to develop after 2020. With regard to the Route Based approach, formulating the categorisation of the routes as well as the distribution method are still under analysis.
According to its terms of reference, the major mission of the GMTF is to:
- Recommend requirements and procedures for monitoring, reporting and verification of global CO2 emissions from international civil aviation; and
- Assess and then recommend eligibility criteria for emission units and/or eligibility criteria for carbon credit programmes and MBMs whose emission units could be eligible for compliance use under a global MBM.
Alternative aviation fuels remains one of the most topical subjects under discussion in the MRV group. In particular, the whole life-cycle monitoring of biofuels has been scrutinised, with some experts questioning the monitoring boundary of biofuels and how the ownership rights of the emission reductions generated by biofuels at different stages should be clarified. They also claim this is crucial to avoid double claiming.
Compared to MRV, the discussion of emission unit criteria has witnessed more debate, especially in the sense of how to address the environmental integrity of carbon credits on the market in a fit and proper way. The preliminary proposed criteria recommends that carbon units must represent additionality, the programmes that would generate the units should have a realistic and credible baseline, and these units must be quantified, monitored, reported and verified.
Age of offsets has also been proposed as one of the criteria to guarantee environmental integrity. Some advocate that for offset credits, only those generated after 2020 can be purchased by the industry to meet the CNG2020 goal. Others insist that as long as the carbon credits represent permanent and real reduction, this should not be applied as one of the restrictions.
A current report of ICAO shows that under the assumption of a carbon price of $45 per tonne during the whole compliance period of the GMBM from 2020 to 2035, the cost of the scheme to the aviation industry is likely to amount to $23.9 billion. However, aviation is an industry with poor margins and, according to airline statistics, in the year of 2010, which was a most financially successful year for the industry, the global profit was merely $17.3 billion. The enforcement of the GMBM would therefore bring about a huge economic burden for the aviation industry. This should be fully considered and evaluated during the GMBM design process.
Regarding the enforcement mechanism, no format has the absolute compulsory legal binding force within the realm of ICAO. For instance, a reservation can be made to a multilateral convention or the ICAO resolution. As to ICAO standard and recommend practices (SARPs), a State can file and submit its differentiation if there are any, pursuant to Article 38 of Chicago Convention. Hence, it should be noted that the political will of States plays a key role in GMBM implementation and a lack of it is highly unlikely to lead to a successful agreement.
The submission of the AEP approach demonstrates China’s constructive role and its strong desire to safeguard the interests of the fast-growing airlines from developing countries. We believe they should not be unfairly penalised because of their growth demand after 2020. We constantly emphasise that ‘differentiation’ should be incorporated into the GMBM in order to protect their right to develop after this date.
China has participated in the process of establishing the GMBM since the very beginning and has appreciated the contribution of the ICAO Secretariat and other stakeholders. During the months ahead, we will expect more intensive negotiations and further research into different GMBM options. China looks forward to working closely with others in jointly developing a GMBM that is in compliance with the principles listed in the Annex to ICAO’s A38-18 Resolution.
The author, Huang Yue, is Assistant Researcher at the China Academy of Civil Aviation Science and Technology, part of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), and she is a member of China’s delegation in the ICAO GMBM process.