GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 11 OCTOBER 2016
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ICAO enjoys its Paris moment as countries adopt climate resolution to address emissions from international aviation
Mon 10 Oct 2016 –The achievement by ICAO Member States to forge a consensus on adopting a resolution at their 39th Assembly that launches the CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme for international aviation from 2021 has been widely acclaimed as “historic”. It comes within days of the threshold being reached to allow an early ratification of the Paris climate agreement. Depending on the number of countries that eventually sign up to participate in CORSIA from the start of the six-year voluntary pilot and first phases, up to 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions could be offset over the duration of the scheme, which will run to 2035. By the end of the Assembly, 65 countries had agreed to voluntarily participate, representing 86.5% of international aviation activity, says ICAO, although emissions coverage will be lower due to route exemptions. A number of high activity States from the developing world have though raised objections to the scheme’s aim of carbon-neutral growth.
After many years of criticism over its failure to deliver a market-based measure to address the rapid growth of CO2 emissions from international aviation, which has outstripped the sector’s ability through technological advances to mitigate the impact, the CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting & Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) agreement is an undoubted feather in the UN agency’s cap.
“It is historic for a whole global sector to achieve what it has managed today, coming immediately as it does after the Paris Agreement ratification,” ICAO Council President Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu told GreenAir in an exclusive interview after the conclusion of the Assembly on Thursday. “ICAO has established a recognition within the UN system in how it manages to get things done across the various domains.”
Responding to those doubters who believed ICAO was not up to the task of handling this complex political issue, he said: “ICAO is the only organisation that could have done this. A lot of effort has been made both inside and outside this building. For example, the outreach activities, the examination of the different mechanisms, the various groups that were formed and the meetings we held were all steps in building the consensus that has been reached at this Assembly.”
The outreach was mainly concentrated on a series of workshops called the Global Aviation Dialogues (GLADs), which were held during the past two years by ICAO for its Member States in all international regions. However, it also included what Aliu described as his “diplomatic shuttle”.
“I travelled to many countries to discuss the issue at government level with ministers from different departments to bring them on board,” he recounted. “A lot of important work went on in the background to engage with States on a personal level.”
The Paris Agreement reached last December was a defining moment in the ICAO discussions, he said, and related how he came back from COP21 and put a draft resolution on the table for States to consider. “Having a document to debate was a key factor for them. It brought States together to understand the concerns of others, to find ways of accommodating them and yet still focus on what we were trying to achieve.
“The subject of climate change is obviously different to dealing with the technical issues we are used to, and it has been more of a challenge because there are other political and economic considerations that come into play.”
Aliu said he was nevertheless confident all along an agreement would be reached. “I have always been driven by a sense of optimism that we could get things done. Having said that, you have to be realistic to know that States have issues and legitimate concerns, and are at different levels of development.
“It has been important to become transparent about what is going on and getting everybody engaged, so our outreach to States was vital at the different levels. The other ingredient was the participation of industry in the process.
“It was also important to involve civil society. Initially, they were sceptical about what we were doing but once they knew what we were trying to achieve, they helped with bringing the necessary understanding to States of what was at stake.”
Aliu is under no illusion that the Assembly resolution is the end of the journey. “Having taken this decision, we still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “We have to develop a monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system, set up registries, determine emissions unit criteria and we will have to carry out a lot of training and capacity building for our Member States. But I’m confident we will do it.”
Another challenge facing him is to persuade more States to sign up for the initial voluntary phases. “Our initial forecast on numbers has been surpassed at this Assembly and our coverage can only increase,” he told a post-Assembly press conference. “We are going to continue our conversations with Member States and I’m sure the coverage will increase over the next few years.”
With Qatar announcing its intention towards the end of Assembly to join from the start, it now leaves Russia, India and Saudi Arabia as the only countries with a share of international aviation activity (expressed in RTKs) above 1% of the global total that have yet to declare. Brazil, another with an important aviation markets, has also not yet committed but a late concession to add resolution text it was looking for on UN credits may be enough to change its previous stance that it would not enter earlier than the second mandatory phase. It said at the final plenary session that it fully supported scheme, which was “a giant step forward”. Another previous waverer, South Africa, supported the resolution and said it was “time to act”.
Russia, India and Saudi Arabia, along with Argentina and Venezuela announced during the plenary that they would file reservations, or objections, against the carbon-neutral growth from 2020 (CNG2020) goal of the CORSIA scheme. They argued it was inconsistent with the Paris Agreement and had the potential to inhibit the growth of aviation in developing countries. China also said it would file a similar reservation over the goal and offered little open support for the scheme during the Assembly but is still considered to be an early participant, following a statement it made with the United States after a joint meeting last month.
Despite long-standing opposition to a market-based measure based on carbon offsetting, Russia left the door open when its chief delegate to the Assembly told the plenary that although it was not yet in a position to express its participation, “it doesn’t mean we won’t take part in future.” It remains highly unlikely that India will change its opposition to joining the voluntary phases, at least in the short term.
“CNG2020 is an aspirational goal but what is more important is having the baseline for our calculation so that any increase in emissions by industry from 2020 will have to be offset,” Aliu explained to journalists. “There have been a number of reservations made but that doesn’t stop the process moving forward. We have adopted the resolution, so the resolution is in effect.”
Aliu announced at the end of the plenary that all States would be sent a letter asking them to officially respond over their participation intentions.
Although quick to praise the efforts of Member States and the ICAO Secretariat, the Assembly outcome is a major achievement for Aliu himself as he comes to the end of his first term as President of the governing Council.
“I am very, very happy with the result, which has surpassed all expectations,” he told GreenAir. “I feel ICAO is unique amongst the UN agencies in that we have a history in which to provide the platform to get States and industry to work together. That is something we have to continue to preserve.”
ICAO 39th Assembly , ICAO GMBM Resolution and details of CORSIA (as contained in Assembly WP/462) , ICAO CORSIA and list of current participants
Airport carbon programme shows fall in annual overall CO2 reductions but improved efficiency of operations
Thu 6 Oct 2016 – Trade body Airports Council International (ACI) has reported 170 airports around the world are now participating in the industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, with 26 airports, mainly in Europe, reaching the highest carbon neutrality level. Despite the growing numbers of airports taking part and others moving up the levels in the programme, the collective reduction of CO2 in 2015/16 fell to 206,090 tonnes from 212,460 tonnes in the previous year. However, momentum continues to build, reported ACI World Director General Angela Gittens at the organisation’s Annual General Assembly last week. The event was also marked by the launch of the new 4.0 version of the Airport Carbon and Emissions Reporting Tool (ACERT), which has been specially designed to be compatible with all four levels of the programme.
“It’s been an incredible year for the programme, with applications to participate still increasing and new developments such as the important partnership with the UNFCCC and its Climate Neutral Now initiative signed at the COP21 climate negotiations,” said Gittens.
“As of this week, we now have 170 airports in the programme and over 36% of global air passenger traffic – well over 2 billion passengers – now travel through airports certified at one of the four levels. I also particularly want to congratulate the latest airports to become carbon neutral: Nice Cote d’Azur; Dallas Fort Worth International, North America’s first carbon neutral airport; and Delhi Indira Ghandi International, the first carbon neutral airport in Asia-Pacific.
“These recent accreditations highlight that carbon neutrality is no longer just a goal shared by airports worldwide, it is becoming a tangible reality. The constant efforts of airports to move up the levels in the programme is one of the reasons for its success.”
Robert O’Meara, Communications Director for ACI Europe, which originally developed and launched the programme in 2009, attributed the drop in CO2 reductions achieved by the programme to the relative maturity of some airports’ participation. “This means the ‘low hanging fruit’ for reducing their direct emissions has gone, so as a result, the reductions they make each year may be less substantial,” he explained.
“It’s also worth bearing mind that the baseline from which reductions are calculated also changes from year to year – it is based on the average total CO2 emissions of the previous three years. That figure is also based on the overall footprint of the certified airports across the entire programme, so it also includes those at Level 1 who have mapped their CO2 emissions but not yet demonstrated a reduction.
“Most importantly, certified airports show an improving carbon efficiency of their operations. Whereas their average emissions per passenger amounted to 2.31kg of CO2 in year 6 of the programme, they dropped to 2.10kg this year, representing a reduction of 7%. This confirms an overall downward trend of emissions per passenger since the launch, while at the same time, the number of certified airports has been growing.”
The programme is independently administered and has endorsements from the UNFCCC, ICAO, UNEP, FAA and the European Commission.
“COP21 in Paris was about engaging governments at the highest level but effective climate action must also be significantly supported by a progressive private sector – sustainability is everyone’s responsibility,” said Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary. “What Airport Carbon Accreditation has achieved over the past seven years is both surprising and inspiring. There is much that other industries can learn from this and even emulate.”
The latest version of ACERT, which was developed by Transport Canada and further enhanced by ACI World and Zurich Airport, is a self-contained Excel spreadsheet that enables an airport operator to calculate its own greenhouse gas emissions inventory. It is available at no cost to airports and can be used without emissions or environmental expertise by inputting readily available operational data, says ACI. The new version also accounts for the use of biofuels in vehicles and machinery, clarifies electricity data by providing some additional information and a flow chart, and includes the calculation and results of remaining emissions after offsetting.
In accordance with feedback from users, ACI says it is currently developing an ACERT tutorial, which will be distributed to airports to both assist and encourage them to take full advantage of the tool.
Meanwhile, ACI and ICAO announced yesterday in Montreal they would enhance their cooperation efforts on environmental related initiatives. The Memorandum of Understanding signed during the ICAO 39th Assembly will see the two bodies working more closely to implement new and improved green programmes for airports worldwide. These include greater information exchange, practical guidance for best practices at airports and joint environmental workshops and training supporting the ICAO No Country Left Behind and the ACI Developing Nations Assistance programmes. In addition, a new collaboration for the development of an ACI Airport Excellence (APEX) in Environment programme will feature prominently in the intended outcomes, said the two parties.
ICAO States ready to overwhelmingly endorse proposal for global carbon scheme
Thu 6 Oct 2016 - Countries are poised to overwhelmingly adopt an ICAO Assembly resolution today that paves the way for the introduction of the global CORSIA offsetting scheme to address CO2 emissions from international aviation. After a six-day hiatus to allow bilateral behind-the-scenes talks on resolving areas of contention in the draft text of the resolution, a meeting of the Assembly’s Executive Committee took place yesterday afternoon. States were invited to respond to small changes to the text first presented, which were endorsed by nearly all those present. However, Russia, India, Brazil and, to an extent, China still have concerns over the proposed scheme and also its climate neutrality goal but States from elsewhere in the world lined up to call for no further changes. The Committee meeting resumes this morning and the resolution is then expected to be adopted at a full plenary session by the end of the morning.
ICAO Council President Dr Olumuyiwa Aliu said yesterday that since the previous meeting last Thursday, the time had been used to address the concerns of some States but without losing the general support for the text that had already been endorsed. He said there would still be outstanding issues but it would become the responsibility of the Council to address them and warned States that still wanted changes about upsetting the “fine balance of the text” and losing the majority of the support now in place. “We want as many States as possible to join the consensus but remember the views of the majority,” he told delegations.
While China is still expected to join the CORSIA scheme from the start, the other reluctant BRIC nations have indicated elsewhere they will not join the pilot and voluntary phases, which run from 2021 to 2026. India and Russia have asked for substantive changes to the text but it appears there has been no move to satisfy their demands since last week and have been left out in the cold. Brazil’s objections may be addressed following a late offer from the United States to see if they could be overcome before today’s meeting.
Over 50 countries made interventions during the three-hour meeting and barring the BRICs, all strongly supported the text as it now stands and urged adoption of the Resolution without further delay. As many States remarked, the text was a fair compromise and it was important not to upset a fragile balance by reopening it to further change at this late stage. The support came from all regions of the world, both developed and developing, with emotional pleas from some delegates - the African state of Burkina Faso in particular drawing wide applause from the Assembly hall - whose countries stood to be badly affected by climate change.
“States have shown a great deal of solidarity concerning environmental action by ICAO and 63 States representing over 80% of international aviation activity have volunteered to participate in the pilot and first phase the scheme. This voluntary approach has proved more successful than if we had decided on a compulsory approach,” said the representative for Mexico, the former ICAO Council President, Roberto Kobeh González. “There has been overwhelming support for this resolution. I make an appeal to all delegations here to adopt it by consensus at the plenary while observing the sovereign right of States to express their disagreement.”
China, Russia, India and Saudi Arabia also intervened to object to the sector’s carbon-neutral growth goal, although again found no support for this from other countries.
China’s main concern with the text is that did not adequately reflect the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and has been working principally with the United States to accommodate this since the Committee meeting last Thursday. Text has now been inserted, with the approval of all other States, to the effect that developed States have taken the lead in action on climate change by already volunteering to join the pilot and first phases of the CORSIA scheme.
“Our view is the text was fine the way it was but we were happy to work with China on their concern,” a senior US State Department official close to the negotiations told GreenAir on the sidelines of the Assembly yesterday.
She acknowledged that although the issue had been debated for nearly three years since the last Assembly, there were still a number of countries with uncertainties over the scheme “and need to feel comfortable with the package.” However, there was still plenty of time to address this before the scheme started in 2021, she said, and developing countries had the in-built facility to opt out “if it’s not what they expected.”
While the United States had been very encouraged by the large number of developing states that had indicated they would opt in to the voluntary phases, she did expect the major aviation countries, including China, to participate from the beginning and not to use the opt out facility.
“For this scheme to work, it needs to be global, which means it should include countries with major aviation activities and we and China are the two biggest.”
She said there was broad support for the agreement from governments as well as industry and NGOs. “What has struck me at this Assembly, compared with what I heard three years ago at the last, is that countries have come here seeking a resolution and letting ICAO play its part for sustainable aviation and putting this issue behind us after 10 years. There is a lot of goodwill here.
“Assembly resolutions are there to set broad direction and the technical committees can work afterwards on the details. We have reviews built into the scheme every three years, so we can tweak it if concerns arise. But to get there, we have to get started.”
For the industry, she believed the scheme addressed its concerns over an international patchwork of approaches. “It also sends a strong signal that the sector will do its part to address climate change and enable the sustainable growth of aviation,” she added.
With the threshold for the entering into force of the Paris Agreement having been crossed, an upcoming amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs and now an anticipated climate deal at ICAO, this would be “an incredible month” she said.
“ICAO reaching an agreement this week will send one of the strongest signals possible to say the momentum of Paris is alive and well.”
ICAO 39th Assembly , ICAO Global Market-based Measure
ICAO extends emissions reduction capacity-building project with the EU as it receives its 100th State Action Plan
Fri 30 Sept 2016 – Away from the spotlight on the GMBM discussions at its 39th Assembly, ICAO has announced it has received its 100th Action Plan from States that collectively represent 89.9 per cent of international aviation activity. The Action Plan initiative was set up after the adoption of a resolution at the 37th Assembly in 2010 that invited States to voluntarily demonstrate their commitment to the environment and outline strategies to mitigate their international aviation CO2 emissions. The ICAO Secretariat has since embarked on an extensive assistance programme to support States, particularly those from the developing world, with their plans. The effort has been aided by a European Union dedicated capacity-building and assistance project that started in 2013 involving 14 States – 12 in Africa and two in the Caribbean – which have each now submitted quantified Action Plans. On Monday, the European Commission and ICAO signed a Declaration of Intent to continue the cooperation.
As well as growing the number of Action Plans, ICAO is also encouraging States to update their plans every three years. Another key element of the strategy is the formation of joint partnerships to facilitate access to financial resources to help those States most in need to reduce their emissions. It also encourages States that have already submitted plans to build partnerships through a ‘buddy programme’ to help other States that have yet to.
Under the €6.5 million ($7.3m) EU assistance project, tailor-made Aviation Environmental Systems (AES) have been installed in each of the countries, which means they each now have an integrated process that automates all fuel burn and CO2 emissions data related to international aviation from input by airlines, airports and air navigation service providers. The data is then gathered by the civil aviation authorities (CAAs) in each country, which can then be sent to ICAO as monitoring, reporting and verification activity. The project has also included pilot mitigation measures at two airports involving the provision of renewable power from solar energy at aircraft gates.
ICAO has established National Action Plan Teams (NAPTs) to enable each CAA to bring together all the stakeholders involved in international aviation activity to ensure their engagement and commitment towards a common goal of environmental protection. In less than a year, the Secretariat’s project team visited each of the 14 States, encouraging them to work with members of the NAPTs to complete the collection of historical data, prepare the baseline scenarios and facilitate discussions on the potential mitigation measures available for the States to reduce fuel consumption and emissions from international aviation.
The UN agency is now supporting the selected States in the implementation of mitigation measures included in the Action Plans through providing guidance, preparing feasibility studies and facilitating access to financial resources through partnerships with international financial institutions that are interested in supporting this type of sustainable development initiative.
Action Plans have also enabled States to collect data related to domestic aviation emissions, which is outside ICAO’s remit, that can be fed into the UNFCCC’s reporting mechanism. The Plans also provide an important vehicle to identify assistance needs.
“The results achieved so far are a testimony that the project is heading in the right direction,” said Jane Hupe, Deputy Director, Environment, in ICAO’s Air Transport Bureau. “In my experience working on environment and policy development, I have never before seen an initiative with such a multiplier effect. From the success stories, we know this project has enabled a shift in institutional culture regarding the environment in the selected States. An issue that was not seen as a priority in the past has now become increasingly relevant for States, which have taken ownership, greatly increased awareness of environmental issues and are enthusiastic to undertake concrete action. This is what capacity building is all about.”
The Declaration of Intent with the EU is expected to build on the experience gained under the initial project and extend the environmental benefits observed so far under ICAO’s ‘No Country Left Behind’ initiative. To date, reports ICAO, eight States in Africa have expressed capacity-building and assistance needs.
“At this crucial time, the European Union’s commitment to pursue its partnership with ICAO sends a strong signal to our Member States,” said ICAO Secretary General Dr Fang Liu. “It is the acknowledgment that well-structured assistance and capacity-building projects can deliver long-term environmental benefits and that a sense of cooperation is deeply infused in the 39th Session of ICAO Assembly.”
The EU’s Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, added: “With this declaration of intent, the EU shows its readiness to stand by ICAO Member States and support their capacity-building activities, in a continued spirit of fruitful cooperation and upon the adoption of a landmark global market-based measure for international aviation.”
In March 2015, ICAO signed a second partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, with financing from the Global Environment Facility to undertake a Global Capacity Building project. In response to requests from Small Island Developing States in the Pacific region, Hupe said ICAO is currently exploring further ways to provide them with support to reduce CO2 emissions from international aviation.
ICAO State Action Plans
States queue up to endorse immediate adoption of GMBM resolution although opposition from BRICs
Thu 29 Sept 2016 – On the first full day of discussions at the ICAO Assembly on the CORSIA global carbon scheme, reports suggest the great majority of government representatives have backed the draft resolution almost in its entirety. Interventions by countries from both the developed and developing world queued up to endorse the resolution and called for its adoption. However, the BRIC States – Brazil, Russian Federation, India and China – expressed their concerns over the scheme and even called into question the carbon-neutral growth goal from 2020. Although Brazil and India had already signalled their intention not to join the voluntary phases, with Russia a long-standing opponent of market-based measures, China has been expected to join. The Executive Committee, which is handling the discussions, will now meet in the morning to wrap up proceedings and report to a plenary session next week. Optimism is high an agreement can be reached, with or without the BRICs.
Although it is too early to write off its participation, the loss of China from the start of the scheme would though be a major blow. It has the highest share of international aviation activity of any country, including the United States, with an 11.8% share of international revenue tonne kilometres. China’s RTKs also include those from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. The 62 countries, which includes China, that are listed on the ICAO website as having indicated they would participate from the start account for 83.8% of the global total. The loss would be even greater as it would mean the emissions from all flights to and from the country, regardless of where the airline is registered, would be excluded from the scheme.
Consultations are expected to take place overnight with those States that are unhappy with the text and the Chairman of the Committee is due to report back tomorrow.
During the meeting, Papua New Guinea became the 63rd country to volunteer to participate in the scheme from the start. It joins other volunteers from the developing world that have waived their right to be excluded, such as the Marshall Islands. “As one of the most vulnerable countries in the world, it’s critical for the survival of my nation,” said the representative from the Marshall Islands when supporting the resolution. “If we can do it, so can you,” he told other delegates.
Update Fri 30 Sept 2016:
The GMBM resolution is now listed as the last item on the Committee’s agenda for today and so not a great deal is expected to take place at the meeting, if anything. Discussions on possible amendments to the CORSIA proposal are likely therefore to take place on Monday, with behind-the-scenes negotiations on the text going on in the meantime.
The Marshall Islands has released this statement following yesterday’s meeting.
ICAO GMBM must address key environmental integrity concerns and broaden participation, say NGOs
Thu 29 Sept 2016 – Environmental NGO umbrella group the International Coalition on Sustainable Aviation (ICSA) has identified a number of key concerns in the GMBM proposal it wants addressed during the ICAO Assembly negotiations that start in earnest today. With the Paris climate agreement shortly to reach the necessary level of ratification by countries to come into force, ICSA fears ambition in the current text is insufficient to confront fast-growing emissions from international aviation and places in jeopardy the goals set in Paris. The group says more States need to commit to joining the initial six-year voluntary phase of the CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme in order to reach the sector’s carbon-neutral growth from 2020 target. Although ICAO calculates over 80 per cent of international activity is already covered by the 60-plus countries that have so far indicated their participation in the scheme from the start, ICSA argues these commitments will only offset three-quarters of emissions growth after 2020 due to exemptions and exclusions.
As the Paris Agreement transitions from aspiration to implementation, says ICSA, the outcome of the Assembly “is a defining litmus test of international willingness to truly confront greenhouse gas emissions from the fast-growing aviation sector.” A failure to act could result in its emissions soaring from a current 2% share of the global total to 22% by 2050, it forecasts.
With environmental integrity as well as broad participation as the defining characteristics by which any agreement will be judged, says ICSA, there remains a great deal of work to be done during the Assembly. “ICSA stands ready to work with ICAO Member States over the next two weeks and beyond to help close the gap,” it offers.
In addition to a call for greater level of participation, particularly from industrialised and major aviation countries, ICSA has identified a number of other elements of the draft scheme that it believes reduces its effectiveness.
The recent adoption into the text, for example, of an opt-out provision that allows States to leave the voluntary phases of the scheme after joining runs counter to the need to increase participation and emissions reductions in line with Paris temperature goals. With just six months’ notice, the provision also sows uncertainty for airlines, adds ICSA, and suggests text modifications or firm commitments by States could address the issue.
ICSA would also like to see stronger text to address the possibility of double counting, whereby offsets bought by airlines under CORSIA are also credited by States to meet their national emissions reduction pledges. The text should also allow – and encourage – other more ambitious states and regions to go further in reducing their emissions through efforts such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme for aviation.
Finally, suggests ICSA, the text should demonstrate a recognition of the need for strict and enforceable quality and sustainability rules on emissions credits and the use of alternative fuels under the scheme. Stressing the importance of emissions credits and alternative fuels in the text would help guide future discussions in the ICAO technical committees, it believes.
All eyes are turning to Montreal for an inclusive outcome with meaningful integrity, suggests ICSA. “Just one month before COP22 takes place in Morocco to focus on Paris Agreement implementation, an ICAO deal on a GMBM can send a critical signal to countries and industry alike that aviation emissions will not be allowed to balloon to consume a quarter of the world’s remaining carbon budget.”
ICSA, the official civil society observer to ICAO, is running a global campaign, FlightPath 1.5, to ensure the aviation sector contributes its fair share to the Paris goal of limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels.
Update Fri Sept 30:
ICSA member WWF issued a statement following yesterday’s Executive Committee meeting (see article) calling on more countries to opt in to the voluntary phases of the scheme and strengthen the proposal. It said the new discussions on whether to open up the draft agreement for further changes put it at risk.
“In Paris, world leaders put great faith into ICAO to deliver emissions reductions from international aviation. Global aviation needs to step up and agree to a plan that matches the demands of science,” said Lou Leonard, WWF’s SVP Climate and Energy. “But without broad participation, the proposed deal represents a low bar for an international climate agreement.”
WWF said the current participation of countries – 63 so far – that have opted in to the voluntary phases will lead to a shortfall in reaching the CNG 2020 target. There must be a greater participation from countries representing all countries of the world, including Latin America, said Roberto Troya, WWF’s Latin America Regional Director.
“Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica have already demonstrated climate leadership by opting in to the early phase. Now we are looking at major regional players like Argentina and Brazil. Opting in would be consistent with their commitment to limit warming to 1.5⁰. We encourage these and all countries to opt in.”
Current global aviation CO2 scheme proposal is a pragmatic compromise that must be implemented, says IATA chief
Wed 28 Sept 2016 – As government representatives start their deliberations today on finalising consensus on the CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme to cap net emissions from international aviation from 2020, the industry has urged them to agree on what would be the world’s first sectoral mechanism for tackling climate change. While the industry would have preferred a mandatory rather than initial voluntary approach covering all ICAO States, IATA’s new Director General, Alexandre de Juniac, said the current proposal was a pragmatic compromise. IATA says the scheme “must focus on real emissions reductions”, take into consideration differing circumstances of airlines based on maturity of markets and not distort competition. To coincide with the Assembly and to encourage governments to support CORSIA, cross-industry group ATAG has put together a series of videos featuring young aviation professionals calling for early environmental action.
As of today, 62 countries have now indicated they are prepared to participate in CORSIA from the start of the six-year voluntary phase in 2021 – Australia, Thailand, Israel and Costa Rica have signed up since the Assembly began yesterday. “Momentum is building,” observed de Juniac.
Added Michael Gill, Executive Director of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG): “We are heartened to see these States now demonstrate their willingness to join the offset scheme voluntarily from the beginning. We encourage all other States meeting over the next two weeks of the Assembly to show the same leadership and sign up. Now is the time to follow the successful Paris Agreement with an aviation plan of action which will secure the sustainable future of the air transport sector.”
IATA Senior Vice President Paul Steele, who has represented the industry at ICAO on the MBM issue over many years, said the participation of some less-developed States was important. “They didn’t need to volunteer but they have shown great leadership based on the spirit of the Paris Agreement,” he told journalists yesterday in Montreal. “This growing momentum is something we should embrace and celebrate.”
IATA describes the global market-based measure (GMBM) as a “critical gap-filler” until improvements in technology, operations and infrastructure could fully realise the sector’s sustainability goals that move from a 1.5% annual fuel efficiency improvement until 2020 to carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and then to reduce net emissions to half 2005 levels by 2050.
Compared to the possibility of a patchwork of national and regional measures in not having a global agreement, CORSIA represented the most cost-effective way for the industry to address its climate impact, using high quality offsets that benefit developing countries, said Steele.
He is confident a successful outcome can be achieved. “We are now much, much further down the road than we were at the last Assembly in 2013,” he said. “We should not pretend it’s easy but we’ve made a huge amount of progress.”
With negotiations still to take place over certain elements of the scheme, he wouldn’t predict when a result might be reached at the Assembly. “If it gets done early, so much the better but if it takes until the final Friday next week, then so be it. What’s important is that we come out with a deal.
“There is a confidence among States that this is the right way to go. If they succeed, it will be historic – it has never been done before for an industry sector.”
As Assembly gets underway, ICAO President and UN Secretary-General urge States to deliver GMBM
Tue 27 Sept 2016 – After nearly 20 years of painfully slow progress, the long-awaited opportunity for the world’s governments to show leadership in addressing fast-growing carbon emissions from international aviation has finally arrived. Around 2,000 delegates from 191 countries are expected in Montreal for the two-week 39th ICAO Assembly (A39) starting today. High on the agenda is the proposal for a global market-based measure (GMBM) that aims to cap net emissions from the sector at 2020 levels (CNG2020) through a carbon offsetting scheme. Despite a number of formal meetings at ICAO this year to hammer out a consensus, along with many bilateral and multilateral negotiations between States, there remain a number of outstanding issues to be settled during the Assembly. Although a positive outcome is expected, it may not emerge until the final days. So far, around 58 States have volunteered their willingness to take part in the scheme from the start, with more expected to join during the Assembly.
The proposal for CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) is contained in Working Paper 52 (WP/52) and is one of over 50 papers concerned with climate change issues and positions on the GMBM. These will be considered by the Executive Committee of the Assembly under Item 22, along with a further 30 papers under Items 20 and 21 that cover aircraft noise and aircraft engine emissions affecting local air quality. Opening statements on Item 22 are due to be heard on Thursday but given the number and the importance of securing an agreement on CORSIA, it may be given over to a working group that will report back to a plenary session next week.
South Korea and Guatemala, two developing states, are the latest to respond positively to a request from the ICAO leadership to advise whether they will volunteer to join the scheme from the start in 2021 “without prejudice to the final outcome of the Assembly”. ICAO is expecting more to announce their participation during the Assembly.
Under the initial CORSIA proposal, participation in a first phase (2021-2026) would have been mandatory for countries with an individual share of international aviation traffic (measured in revenue tonne kilometres) above 1% of the global total or whose cumulative share in the list of highest to lowest amount of RTKs reached 80% of total RTKs. This would have captured around 21 countries based on ICAO statistics for 2012, although countries from the developed world that fell below the threshold would have joined based on a second formula, since discarded, applying a gross national income criterion. This would have brought the total numbers participating to between 40 and 50, so the revised – and criticised by many – voluntary nature of the pilot phase (2021-2023) and first phase (2024-2026) has brought an increase in the number of countries that are now expected to participate.
However, key aviation nations in the top 21 have yet to announce whether they will join – including India, Russia, Qatar, Thailand and Australia – so coverage of international RTKs (a current proxy for emissions in the absence of data) in the voluntary phase based on the 58 participants so far is estimated by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) at around 52%, although ICAO says traffic coverage is closer to 80%. Based on the current commitments, the ICAO scheme would offset about three-quarters of post-2020 traffic growth through to its proposed end in 2035, says ICCT, so leaving the sector short of its CNG 2020 goal. Permanent exemptions from the scheme are available for around 100 of the least developed States, and emissions from all flights to and from countries that are not participating are excluded and not assigned to those taking part.
Present indications are that both India and Russia will not participate in the voluntary phases. Reuters quotes India’s civil aviation minister as saying the present proposal is not equitable but will wait until the Assembly outcome before deciding.
The two countries have joined China, which has agreed to participate, in submitting a controversial paper (WP/412) on the eve of the Assembly that reopens arguments over the negative economic impact on emerging countries of a market-based measure and presents new proposals that could have a material effect on the design of the scheme and the use of carbon offsets. Whether or not the proposals are serious, there will be attempts by States during the Assembly to both strengthen the existing text as well as watering it down, but expectations are high that an agreement will be reached next week. Failure would be a serious blow to ICAO after the success and impetus provided by the adoption of the global climate agreement in Paris last December that is currently nearing its ratification.
“The eyes of the world are squarely on ICAO for concrete action to make our industry even greener and more efficient for future generations,” Dr Olumuyiwa Aliu, President of the ICAO Council, told delegates at the opening ceremony of the Assembly today, “I kindly urge you to demonstrate our historic strengths of cooperation, compromise and consensus. I am confident we will rise to the expectations of the global community.”
In a video message to the Assembly, UN Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon said aviation emissions were growing rapidly and air traffic expected to double by 2030. “This underscores the importance of a new market-based measure to mitigate emissions from international flights. These emissions were not covered by the Paris Agreement, in recognition of the work underway at ICAO. The world will be closely following your deliberations. We are long past the point for half measures. I urge States at this meeting to show leadership and volunteer for participation in the GMBM.”
ICAO 39th Assembly
Update Wed 28 Sept:
The GMBM will now be taken up earlier by the Executive Committee during the afternoon session today. A draft report is expected to be produced by the end of this week and presented to a plenary session next week.
Australia has now joined the list of voluntary participants in the scheme from 2021.
Fuel consumption of new aircraft could be reduced by 40% within 20 years using emerging technologies
Tue 27 Sept 2016 – The fuel consumption of new aircraft designs can be reduced by around 25% in 2024 and 40% in 2034 compared with today’s aircraft by deploying emerging cost-effective technologies, finds a new report by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). This represents a more than doubling of average annual fuel efficiency improvement from slightly less than 1% since 1980 to 2.2% by 2034. The industry’s preference of late for the re-engining of aircraft rather than ‘clean sheet’ designs means key airframe technologies to improve fuel efficiency are being under-deployed, argues ICCT. Based on fleet forecasts, US airlines alone could save around 71 billion gallons of jet fuel, or more than 20% of total consumption, over the 2025 to 2050 timeframe through new aircraft technologies. With the additional benefits to the environment and consumers, this is equal to cost savings of about $285 billion based on current fuel prices.
Building on an ICAO report in 2010 by an independent expert group that looked at medium and long term goals for aviation fuel burn reduction from emerging technologies, this new study estimates their implementation costs and benefits to the US airline fleet. It was carried out in cooperation with a panel of industry and academic technical experts using NASA and US Department of Defense approved models to evaluate aviation technology programmes and assess over 45 discrete technologies. It looked at three aircraft types – single aisle, small twin aisle and regional jet – on a fuel per revenue passenger kilometre basis.
Assuming no further technological gains compared with today’s aircraft and given the projected growth in traffic, in 2050 US airlines would emit more than twice their CO2 emissions in 2005. Implementing cost-effective, fuel-efficient technologies could though reduce CO2 emissions by 6% in 2030 and by more than 30% in 2050, reducing overall CO2 emissions between 2025 and 2050 by roughly 800 million metric tonnes.
ICCT says lower fuel prices associated with increased supply and/or lower demand do have the potential to slow the deployment of fuel-efficient technologies in new aircraft, which may be particularly pronounced in the mid-term as the universe of potential technologies expands. However, across all the scenarios, for each dollar spent to purchase a more advanced aircraft, roughly $3 would be saved in operational costs (fuel plus maintenance) over a 17-year first-owner lifetime, with additional benefits to the purchasers of used aircraft, finds the study.
The report comes as the ICAO Assembly discusses the CO2 standard agreed by ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection and awaiting formal adoption. It will impose minimum fuel-efficiency targets for new aircraft designs with entry into service dates of approximately 2024 and will require about 30% of the cost-effective, near-term technology potential identified in the study, says ICCT. If the US Environmental Protection Agency, which is currently deliberating on rules to reduce CO2 from US aviation, were to strengthen ICAO’s recommended standard then ICCT says substantial economic and environmental benefits could accrue from the available new technologies.
ICCT acknowledges that for aircraft manufacturers like Airbus and Boeing, a new aircraft programme is a high-risk endeavour, requiring large upfront R&D expense, and the desire to avoid such risk may have contributed to the move to incremental improvements such as re-engining rather than completely new designs. Continued support for government research programmes like the NASA Environmentally Responsible Aviation project could alleviate some of the risk and cost burdens for manufacturers, allowing them to pursue more ambitious fuel-efficiency targets for their new products, it suggests. Other policy incentives to promote fuel efficiency, such as emissions trading or charges, could also be employed, along with airport charges that rewarded airlines operating the most efficient aircraft.