GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 6 FEBRUARY 2017
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European Commission proposes intra-European flights should remain covered by EU ETS pending ICAO progress
Fri 3 Feb 2017 – The European Commission has proposed that a continuation of the ‘stop the clock’ intra-EEA scope of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) for aviation would be the most suitable option to address the period 2017-2020. The ‘stop the clock’ legislation automatically ended on 31 December 2016 pending the outcome of ICAO negotiations on a global market-based measure, and revised legislation is now required. Since ICAO States agreed at their Assembly in October to implement the phased Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), debate has centred around what the EU should do with its own scheme both before and after CORSIA starts in 2021. The Commission says it would be premature to take a decision on the post-2020 regime at this stage while there were still outstanding uncertainties affecting the implementation of CORSIA.
In a press statement, the Commission says it played an instrumental role in securing the CORSIA agreement and a revision of the EU ETS is needed to maintain a contribution of the aviation sector to European climate objectives, while ensuring “the smooth implementation” of the ICAO measure. Continuing with the current geographic scope – covering flights between airports in the European Economic Area (EEA) – would ensure a level playing field and equal treatment of all airlines flying in Europe, it argues. Aviation is contributing around 17 million tonnes of CO2 emission reductions per year through the EU ETS, it points out.
The proposal also says this step would be welcomed by third countries and provide momentum for ICAO to finalise the outstanding rules for the implementation of CORSIA.
The Commission proposes to extend the current approach until there is sufficient clarity about the nature and content of the legal instruments adopted by ICAO for CORSIA to allow it to carry out further assessments and to review the EU ETS for the post-2020 period. Given that the scope from 2017 would remain as in 2016, the amount of free allocation received by aircraft operators would continue to be the same. The amount of allowances to be auctioned should also continue being the same as in 2016. The so-called Linear Reduction Factor that applies to all other sectors and effectively tightens the cap on free allowances would only apply from 2021 onwards if there is a future decision to continue with the inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS after 2020.
A new article to the EU ETS Directive would require the Commission to report to the European Parliament and Council on relevant international developments and actions taken by third countries to implement CORSIA. The Commission is also to consider ways to implement the relevant ICAO instruments in European Union law through a revision of the Directive. A further article has been proposed to provide for the appropriate monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of emissions applicable to aircraft operators for the purposes of CORSIA MRV rules currently being decided at ICAO.
The Commission also proposes to extend from 2020 until 2030 the exemption for non-commercial aircraft operators emitting less than 1,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
The Commission accompanies the proposal with an Impact Assessment analysing different options both for the period pre-2020 and for the period from 2021, when CORSIA starts. It indicates the option to continue with the current intra-EEA scope is the most suitable for the period 2017-2020 but puts forward different options for post-2020, showing whether and how they would contribute to meeting the EU’s 2030 climate targets. One option considers that intra-EEA emissions are offset through CORSIA, while another keeps the EU ETS obligations for intra-EEA flights to either seek some alignment with CORSIA or to combine both systems (with the EU ETS covering emissions not addressed by the global measure).
In the absence of a revision to the regulations, the EU ETS reverts to its original – although so far never implemented – full scope from 2017, which includes flights to and from third countries as well as within Europe. The Commission therefore requires an agreement from the European Parliament and Council before the end of this year and for the revised regulations to enter into force no later than early 2018, so as to provide legal certainty and clarity for operators who would otherwise have to surrender allowances for their full emissions to and from third countries by the end of April 2018.
The Commission’s proposal has been largely favourably received by the European airline industry, but added they expected the EU ETS to make way for the global ICAO scheme when it starts in 2021.
“We welcome the proposal to continue the application of the aviation EU ETS only to flights within the EEA,” said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director of Airlines for Europe (A4E), which includes many of Europe’s biggest carriers. “This is a step in the right direction as a transition to a global offsetting scheme to address aviation carbon emissions. This proposal provides certainty for European operators, enabling them to focus their efforts on the implementation of the global deal to effectively tackle climate change. We call upon the European Parliament and the Member States to swiftly adopt the legislation.”
The airline body said CORSIA would complement industry efforts to develop cleaner aircraft, switch to low-carbon fuels and operate more efficiently. “With an ICAO scheme in place, A4E expects this to be the only measure applicable to carbon emissions from flights within the EEA as per 2021,” it added.
The International Air Carrier Association (IACA), which represents leisure airlines, said it would now expect the EU to focus on a smooth transition from the current EU ETS towards the ICAO global scheme.
“We rely on the EU legislators to bring the EU within CORSIA. Airlines should not be burdened with two systems. It would penalise passengers and the EU economy. CORSIA is the right instrument, the right scope and it is agreed. It must replace the aviation EU ETS,” said Sylviane Lust, IACA’s Director General.
The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) went further by calling for the suspension of the EU ETS ahead of CORSIA starting, arguing the current reduced scope of the EU ETS had limited environmental effectiveness, yet imposed considerable administrative burdens on many of its members. However, the ERA welcomed the commitment by the Commission for a further review of the scheme prior to CORSIA coming into force.
“Our members now have clarity on what is expected, but we would like to see a further commitment that ultimately the EU ETS will be replaced by CORSIA,” said ERA Director General Simon McNamara. “As an industry we have already committed to addressing our climate impact and we are investing in technology and making operational improvements every day. It is time for EU States to make the same commitment and put a renewed effort into delivering major infrastructure projects such as the Single European Sky that have been gaining little headway recently. Arguably, these projects have much more potential to reduce aviation’s CO2 emissions and improve flight efficiency than economic instruments such as the EU ETS.”
Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) said the Commission’s proposals had let the aviation industry off the hook by not regulating flights to and from Europe.
“The Commission’s decision cuts across the conclusions of its own Impact Assessment that even if the recent UN global aviation deal gets off the ground, it will fall well short of the required ambition,” it said, although pointing out the proposal allows for the exemption of intercontinental flights to be reviewed if the CORSIA scheme failed deliver.
T&E welcomed as long overdue the proposal of a declining emissions cap should the sector continue to be included in the EU ETS after 2020.
“Reducing aviation’s emissions cap fixes a bizarre situation where we had a cap-and-trade system with no declining cap,” said T&E Aviation Director Bill Hemmings. “It needs to be backed up with a more comprehensive plan to cut the proliferation of subsidies and tax breaks enjoyed by the sector. Without concerted action, the sector will continue to be a deadweight on Europe’s efforts to cut emissions.”
Not so, said the EU’s Climate Commissioner, Miguel Arias Cañete. “With this proposal we are making sure that the aviation sector also contributes to our climate objectives,” he commented. “Now, we call on countries around the world to participate in the global scheme from the beginning and help us finalise and implement sound environmental criteria to deliver real emissions reductions in the aviation sector.”
Added Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc: “Following ICAO’s landmark agreement, the European Union is now focused on getting the global scheme up and running. We are serious about achieving carbon-neutral growth for aviation, and we will provide technical and financial assistance to make it happen. Aviation is a global business and no country can be left behind.”
European Commission – Proposal and Impact Assessment
UK government opens consultations on Heathrow Airport expansion and airspace modernisation
Fri 3 Feb 2017 – The UK government has published a draft Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) that lays down the planning and decision-making framework for a third runway at Heathrow Airport and has opened it to a 16-week public consultation. The draft NPS sets out the measures that Heathrow will have to comply in order to get development consent for the airport expansion. These include noise insulation measures for homes and schools, above market value compensation for home owners having to make way for the new runway, mitigation of noise impacts and a commitment to no increase in airport-related road traffic. However, the NPS has been criticised by environmental groups for a lack of detail on how an expansion of air traffic sits with the UK’s climate change targets. The government has also announced separate proposals and a consultation on modernising UK airspace and managing aircraft noise. The proposals include setting up an independent aviation noise commission.
Following the government’s decision last October to support a third runway at Heathrow, the draft NPS sets out the reasons for the choice as well as the requirements the airport will have to meet in order to get development consent. At the same time as the public consultation, Parliament will also scrutinise the draft and a final NPS is expected to be laid before Parliament for debate and vote next winter.
“Aviation expansion is important for the UK both in boosting our economy and jobs, and promoting us on the world stage,” said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. “By backing the north-west runway at Heathrow and publishing our proposals, we are sending a clear signal that when we leave the EU, we are open for business.
“The NPS is a big step forward for what is one of the UK’s most important, major infrastructure projects. This is an important consultation and I encourage everybody to get involved across the country.”
Under the government’s proposals, Heathrow will have to put in place noise mitigation measures that include legally binding noise targets, periods of predictable respite and a ban of six-and-a-half hours on scheduled night flights. It will also be required to provide “a world-class package” of support for communities affected by the expansion, including noise insulation for homes and schools and improvements to public facilities.
To mitigate the already harmful effects of air quality around Heathrow, the airport will need to show how it can deliver on a commitment it has already made of no increase in airport-related road traffic, despite a forecasted sharp rise in air traffic as a result of the expansion, and more than half of passengers using public transport to access the airport.
The government’s decision to favour a third new runway at Heathrow follows acceptance of a final report by the Airports Commission in July 2015 that also shortlisted two other schemes: an extension of the existing north runway at Heathrow to provide dual use and a new second runway at Gatwick Airport. Since the Commission’s report, the government has undertaken further work, it says, on air quality, noise, carbon emissions and impacts on local communities.
The work on air quality is outlined in the government’s air quality re-analysis and an Appraisal of Sustainability. It says this has demonstrated that with the right mitigation, expansion is capable of taking place within legal limits.
The government says it agrees with the Commission’s assessment that a new runway is deliverable within the UK’s legal climate change obligations, following an appraisal by the Department for Transport. The Commission used two carbon policy scenarios in its analysis. The first was a ‘carbon capped’ scenario in which emissions from the aviation sector are limited according to the planning assumption of the government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC), under which UK aviation CO2e emissions are no more than 37.5 million tonnes in 2050. The second was a ‘carbon traded’ scenario, in which emissions are traded as part of a global carbon market, allowing reductions to be made where they are most efficient across the global economy. While domestic aviation emissions are included in UK carbon budgets, those from international aviation have so far been excluded, but remain under review.
The NPS says that of the three schemes the Commission shortlisted, the Heathrow north-west runway would produce the highest carbon emissions in absolute terms, in part due to its greater additional connectivity potential, but was still deliverable within UK climate change obligations.
However, this has failed to satisfy environmental groups and the House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee (EAC).
The Transport Secretary appeared before the EAC in November to answer questions from MPs on the environmental impacts of Heathrow expansion. In a follow-up letter to the committee, the minister said the government had not yet taken a view on whether to accept the CCC’s planning assumption and remained open “to considering all feasible measures to ensure that the aviation sector contributes fairly to UK emissions reductions.”
He added that measures were available to allow the planning assumption to be met under the forecasted higher traffic demand growth of 60% and work had begun on the government’s Aviation Strategy that would include a more detailed consideration of available policy measures to address the climate change impacts of aviation.
This drew a frosty response from EAC Chair Mary Creagh MP. “The government has said that Heathrow can be delivered within carbon limits. Yet this letter shows it has not yet decided what those international aviation emissions should be. This implies it is considering rejecting the advice of the independent Committee on Climate Change,” she commented. “The government should set out its strategy to limit carbon emissions from international aviation before taking a final decision on Heathrow expansion. Anything else is putting the cart before the horse.”
Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director of the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), commented: “Despite repeated warnings from the government’s own advisers that it needs to be able to show that Heathrow expansion won’t compromise the Climate Change Act, there is no plan to even consider aviation emissions policy till later this year.”
James Beard, Climate Change Specialist at WWF-UK, said: “The NPS doesn’t contain any actual policy on climate change. The government claims a new runway can be delivered within climate goals, but without firm commitments and a credible plan this is merely wishful thinking. Its forthcoming Emissions Reduction Plan must set out how emissions from the new runway will be dealt with before the NPS is finalised.”
Giving evidence before a Scottish Parliament committee this week, Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of industry representative body Airlines UK, said his members recognised that aviation growth had to go hand in hand with action to tackle carbon emissions and noted that UK aviation in recent years had been delivered without any increase in CO2 emissions.
“UK airlines have invested in more than 470 new aircraft since 2005, at a cost of over £37 billion [$46bn], helping the industry to reduce its carbon emissions by 20 million tonnes,” he said. “We are confident the actions being taken by the aviation industry, including improvements in engine technology, will continue to see emissions come down.”
Although welcoming the NPS launch, Airlines UK expressed concern over the cost of Heathrow expansion being passed on to airlines and passengers. The airport was already the most expensive hub in the world, it pointed out.
The government’s separate proposals and consultation on modernising UK airspace will look at how the number of aircraft entering and leaving airspace can be managed effectively through using the latest technology that would reduce the need for stacking and making flights more efficient and environmentally friendly. They also include draft guidance on how noise impacts should be assessed and used to inform decisions on airspace.
The consultation also includes proposals on the role of an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise to be set up by the government. “The commission would build relationships between industry and communities and ensure an even fairer process for making changes to the use of airspace and flight paths,” says the government.
“These proposals will influence decisions taken later in the planning process for a north-west runway at Heathrow, including how local communities can have their say on airspace matters and how impacts on them are taken into account.”
The UK aviation industry has recently come together under ‘The sky’s the limit’ coalition to campaign for UK airspace modernisation, so has welcomed the announcement. The coalition says that without redesigning the UK’s network of flightpaths and airways, the airspace infrastructure would be unable to cope with forecasted traffic growth. Modernising airspace would also benefit the environment and communities, it claimed, through utilising better operating procedures that would allow aircraft to fly more directly and routes to be designed to avoid noise-sensitive areas or provide a more equitable spread of noise.
“Airspace modernisation will benefit the whole country and it is vital the government moves ahead at pace on this, separate from the process around designating a NPS for additional airport capacity in the south-east of England,” said Ed Anderson, Chairman of the UK Airport Operators Association, a coalition member.
AEF Director Tim Johnson said the proposals followed intense community pressure for the government to act to prevent significant airspace changes being implemented without either consultation or compensation for those affected on the ground.
“Communities who have been suffering the noise effects of aircraft flying down increasingly narrow corridors as a consequence of satellite navigation technology will welcome today’s proposals to take better account of local circumstances and engage more with those affected,” he said. “Communities will also be encouraged by the prospect of compensation for airspace changes, a call-in power for the Secretary of State to intervene where the impacts are likely to be significant, and a requirement to assess noise down to lower thresholds.”
He was hopeful an independent noise commission would provide “some fresh thinking” on the noise issue. However, he was concerned that its effectiveness could be limited if there was no requirement to deliver a noise reduction strategy, and without enforcement powers or the teeth to make binding recommendations.
“Noise levels around many airports are already too high, and are likely to get worse if the sector continues to expand. We urgently need a Government strategy for limiting noise to within levels that are safe for health,” he said. “It shouldn’t fall to members of the public to have to defend themselves against their local noise environment becoming intolerable.”
Responded Tim Alderslade of Airlines UK: “We know that airspace redesign can present major challenges for airports, and good community engagement will be a vital part of the process. That said, to ensure capacity can keep pace with demand, airspace modernisation is urgently required and without it, delays faced by passengers are likely to soar to 4 million minutes by 2030.
“However, airspace modernisation wouldn’t just increase capacity and help prevent such sustained delays. Flying more direct routes will also reduce fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions, lessening aviation’s impact on the climate and local air quality – and in the process seeing a substantial reduction in aviation emissions.”
Both consultations close on 25 May 2017.
The government has also announced it has granted planning permission for works at Heathrow Airport that when completed will enable full use of both existing runways. It says this does not allow for any increase in aircraft movements and should result in a fairer distribution of aircraft noise in built-up areas close to the airport.
Department for Transport – Draft Airports NPS and UK airspace modernisation
Aviation must continue to be included in the EU ETS post-2020, says influential European lawmaker
Thu 2 Feb 2017 – International flights between Europe and major aviation countries that do not participate in ICAO’s CORSIA global carbon offset scheme from the start in 2021 should be covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), said the European Parliament’s top lawmaker on aviation carbon policy. Peter Liese, former rapporteur on the inclusion of aviation into the EU ETS and environment spokesperson for the Parliament’s biggest political group, indicated this could include flights between Europe and countries such as India and Russia, which have said they do not intend to join CORSIA until the mandatory phase commences in 2027. Liese also fully expects all flights within Europe to continue to be included in the EU ETS post-2020 under more stringent emission reduction targets than currently. Tomorrow, the European Commission is due to present proposals on the future direction of aviation’s inclusion in the scheme as new legislation is required from 2017 if it is not to automatically revert to its full original scope.
Speaking to journalists yesterday, Liese said the CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) agreement reached by ICAO States in October was unsatisfactory to the Parliament as it fell short of what was required by the Paris Agreement since its ambition was merely to stabilise emissions growth rather than target emission reductions. He also expressed disappointment that the climate change resolution adopted by States at the ICAO Assembly did not go far enough in deciding a long-term target called for by the industry of halving emissions by 2050.
The quality of offset mechanisms to be used under CORSIA also remained unclear, he said, and experience had shown a prevalence of unsustainable offset credits under the UN CDM and even fraudulent misuse. Other misgivings he held were that the ICAO agreement was legally unsafe and was only binding after 2027.
However, he said, “It is much better than nothing and we should work with partners on the basis of CORSIA – but it is far away from what is necessary after the global commitment to address climate change in Paris.” The scheme was a starting point and should be supported, he added.
Crucial to the success of CORSIA was the participation of both China and the United States, said Liese. China, he noted, had volunteered to join the scheme from the start in 2021 but had stated at the Assembly that it disagreed with the goal of holding international aviation emissions at 2020 levels on which the scheme is based. “China is now an important ally on climate change,” he said. “We need China to commit to carbon-neutral growth.”
With the new Trump administration, it was also unclear whether the United States still intended to join CORSIA but he was cautiously optimistic it would do so as CORSIA had strong US airline industry backing.
He said as far as the EU was concerned, a prior fundamental requirement of the CORSIA agreement was that nothing could prevent the EU from continuing with the EU ETS after 2020. “Legally speaking, not only can we continue with intra-European flights but also intercontinental flights,” he insisted. “That is very clear, otherwise EU Member States would not have supported a resolution that prevented us. There may be political expectation from some third countries that we will completely abolish our scheme but we are not obliged to. This is a red line for the European Parliament and also for the EU as a whole.”
Liese expects the Commission’s proposal released tomorrow to carry on until 2020 with the current ‘stop the clock’ arrangement that limits the scope of the EU ETS to intra-European flights.
“Extending it is logical as it makes sense to give more time for negotiations to continue at ICAO on developing CORSIA,” he said. “As yet we don’t know what kind of offsets will be agreed or which countries will definitely participate.”
However, from 2021 he is expecting the Commission to propose a ‘carrot and stick’ approach by which intercontinental flights to and from third countries that participate in CORSIA would not be subject to the EU ETS, although they would be included if those countries failed to join from 2021. If the proposal did not contain this stipulation then this would be taken up by him in the co-decision negotiations on the next step in the EU legislative process between the EU institutions, he warned, adding that a failure to agree a compromise would result in a snap-back to the full scope of the EU ETS in which all flights to, from and within Europe would be covered under the scheme as of 2017 and airlines would have to surrender allowances accordingly in 2018.
“I think we should have the same legal situation in two or three years’ time whereby we have the option to snap back to the full scope if we don’t see the necessary progress at an international level,” he said. “It is clear to me that the Commission cannot propose to abolish the EU ETS.”
A full plenary session of the Parliament is shortly to debate and vote on proposals to strengthen the EU ETS in general after 2020, which include raising the overall emissions reduction target for all industries. This would involve allowances that can be used by fixed installations to cover emissions to be 43% lower in 2030 compared to 2005, with 100% auctioning. However, the proposals for aviation are considerably less stringent, with just a 5% reduction target, which Liese said was an unfair contribution.
“In two weeks’ time, we are going to vote in Strasbourg on the general review of the EU ETS,” he said. “My group [the centre-right EPP] is fighting strongly for a better protection of energy-intensive industries like steel. How can I explain to a steel worker who is afraid of losing his job that his sector will be covered by a 43% reduction target while another industry is getting away with almost no ambition?”
Liese said he would like to see the aviation reduction target doubled to 10% and the level of auctioning of allowances increase from 15% to 50%. “This would deliver more for the climate than CORSIA, at least until the period 2030 to 2035,” he believed.
Another important issue for him would be to apply the same ‘Linear Reduction Factor’ to aviation as is proposed for other industries in the next phase of the EU ETS, under which the total quantity of allowances reduces linearly over the period 2021-2030.
“This would be a direct help to other industries that are under threat from carbon leakage,” he said.
In 2014, the aviation sector emitted more CO2 into the atmosphere than the combined emissions of the 129 lowest emitting countries, noted Liese.
“It is necessary that the aviation industry participates in the efforts to limit climate change from the point of fairness to other modes of transport. Unfortunately, aviation is the least climate-friendly and while other modes are highly regulated and subject to many taxes and fees, aviation has not been addressed at a European level.”
United commits to a lower carbon footprint during the coming year than its American and Delta rivals
Mon 30 Jan 2017 – United Airlines has pledged it will have a lower gross carbon footprint this year than its two main US rivals, Delta and American, as part of its 2017 Global Performance Commitment to corporate account customers. If the airline fails to meet the target then it will compensate eligible accounts in the form of United Services Funds, which can be used for certain waivers and amenities such as upgrades. The commitment comes as United was named Eco-Airline of the Year by Air Transport World (ATW) magazine for its environmental leadership. The award recognises the carrier’s multiple initiatives over recent years, including becoming the first US airline to begin using commercial-scale volumes of sustainable aviation biofuel on regular scheduled flights from its Los Angeles (LAX) hub and its investment in alternative fuels producer Fulcrum BioEnergy.
United’s Global Performance Commitment programme has, up until now, been used to set standards in on-time arrivals and flight completions, as well as baggage delivery. The airline aims to ensure that over the course of the coming year, the performance across the network in terms of scheduled arrival times and flight cancellations will be better than either Delta or American. It also pledges the mishandled baggage rate will also be lower than its two rivals.
The new additional goal for 2017 defines the airline’s carbon footprint as the carbon output for mainline and regional operations measured in metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions divided by available seat-miles (ASMs). It does not include the purchase of carbon offsets. To measure the carbon footprint of the three airlines, United says it will use Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and independently verified in each competitor’s Carbon Disclosure Project response or corporate responsibility report, and ASMs as reported in financial statements. For the purpose of interim reporting, United will provide fuel efficiency metrics on a quarterly basis as fuel will be considered a proxy reporting metric for carbon emissions.
United started using blended sustainable fuels on flights from LAX in March, following the purchase of 15 million gallons of biofuel from AltAir over a three-year period with the intention of integrating the 30/70 blended fuel into the airport’s regular jet fuel supply operations. AltAir has also received ATW’s Eco-Company of the year award for 2016. AltAir’s retrofitted biorefinery in Paramount, California, is expected to produce 35 million gallons per year when it becomes fully operational. The facility converts sustainably-sourced non-edible, natural oils and agricultural wastes into jet fuel that is claimed to provide a greater than 60% reduction in life-cycle carbon emissions when compared to jet fuel produced from traditional petroleum.
Under United’s partnership with Fulcrum, which was announced in June 2015, up to five biofuel refineries are to be developed and located near US hubs These refineries are expected to produce up to 180 million gallons per year from municipal solid waste, with United having the option to purchase at least 90 million gallons each year for a minimum of 10 years, subject to availability. First deliveries could start from as early as next year, says United.
Other achievements recognised by the ATW award include United becoming the first airline to fly with Boeing’s Split Scimitar winglets, which reduce fuel consumption by up to 2%, continued replacement of eligible ground equipment with electric-powered alternatives and the airline’s Eco-Skies CarbonChoice carbon offset programme, which United says is the airline industry’s only such programme for corporate business travel and cargo shipments.
United is also the only US-based airline named to the Carbon Disclosure Project’s ‘Leadership’ category for environmental disclosure, with an A- score in 2016.
“Innovation and sustainability are twin engines that drive our progress as the most environmentally conscious airline in the world,” said CEO Oscar Munoz, commenting on the award. “From pioneering investments in biofuels to increasing efficiency and reducing waste to supporting a single global market-based measure for carbon emissions, United is committed to innovating solutions that we hope will become the expectation for our industry, not the exception. And while we take great pride in this important recognition for our efforts, the measure of our success is the opinion of our children and grandchildren who will look back on our efforts and say that we lived up to our obligations to them in protecting the planet for future generations.”
The ATW Airline Industry Achievement awards will be presented at a gala dinner in New York on March 28.
United Airlines – Eco-Skies
Airport operator Fraport joins global elite of the world’s 100 most sustainable large corporations
Fri 27 Jan 2017 – Fraport, the owner and operator of Frankfurt Airport, has been recognised as one of the world’s top 100 most sustainable companies in the annual Global 100 index compiled by media and research firm Corporate Knights. This is the first time an airport has been included in the index, which started in 2005 and measures 14 key performance indicators (KPIs) across companies with a market capitalisation of over $2 billion. Nearly 5,000 companies from around the world were evaluated for their economic, environmental and social performance. Fraport, ranked 96th in the index and the only company represented from the transportation infrastructure sector classification, scored an overall 51.89%, compared to a score of 73.10% achieved by the 2017 index leader Siemens. The airport operator maintained its rating on a number of other sustainability indexes during 2016.
Fraport said the inclusion into the 2017 Global 100 index, which was released during the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, was recognition of its group-wide sustainability and ethical commitment.
“Frankfurt Airport’s future sustainability is not only measured in terms of connectivity and revenues, but also with regard to what we do for our employees and our environment,” commented Fraport’s executive board chairman, Dr Stefan Schulte. “Being recognised as one of the world’s 100 most sustainable companies confirms us in our approach to combine economic growth with responsible management.”
Toronto-based Corporate Knights publishes what it claims is the world’s largest circulating magazine focused on sustainability and responsible business, describing itself as ‘The magazine for clean capitalism’. Its CK Research unit offers a range of investment product sustainability ratings and tools, and manages several external research projects including the Newsweek Green Rankings and Carbon Clean 200.
The Global 100 index rankings are based on publicly disclosed data such as financial filings and sustainability reports instead of company submissions. Under the methodology, companies are assessed using quantitative data and KPIs, and compared against their industry group peers based on KPIs for which the underlying data are reasonably well disclosed by their industry group globally. Those companies involved in tobacco or armaments manufacture are excluded from consideration. An aerospace and defence company is only eliminated if it derives a majority of its revenue from its defence business group.
Despite the well-reported opposition the airport has faced from community groups over runway expansion and night flights, Fraport has received recognition elsewhere for its sustainability efforts. For the eleventh year in a row, it has been listed in the FTSE4Good Index, which measures the environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices of companies. ESG Ratings, which include data on over 4,100 companies worldwide, can be used as part of investment and risk management analysis and decisions. They also support alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with all 17 SDGs reflected in the 14 Themes under the ESG framework.
Munich-based sustainable investment rating agency Oekom Research has also awarded Fraport its Prime Status rating. Fraport has also retained its listing on both the Ethibel Sustainability Index Excellence Europe and the Euronext Vigeo Eiris Eurozone 120 index, and since its introduction in 2014, it has been included in the national Deutschland Ethik 30 stock index.
Fraport – Responsibility
Record additions of new aircraft fail to help Emirates improve fuel efficiency of its passenger operations
Tue 24 Jan 2017 – Longer flight paths due to avoid regional trouble-spots, along with a drop-off in load factors, are blamed by Gulf carrier Emirates for failing to improve the fuel efficiency of its passenger operations for the second year in a row. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions grew 12.8% in the year 2015-16, outstripping the 11% growth in capacity with the introduction of new routes, higher frequencies and increased capacity with larger aircraft on a number of existing routes, according to Emirates’ latest environmental report. Despite bringing down the average age of the fleet from 75 months to 74 as a result of adding 29 new aircraft, passenger fuel efficiency reached 4.20 litres per 100 passenger kilometres, compared with 3.99 L/100 PK in 2014-15. As in the previous year, however, the fuel efficiency of Emirates’ freighter operations managed to improve fuel efficiency performance.
Explaining the fall in fuel efficiency, Emirates’ sixth annual environmental report says: “Weighing against the successful growth of our network and our fuel efficiency efforts, we faced challenges such as continuing and new closures of airspace for security reasons in several regions, requiring longer flight paths to avoid these areas; a decline in overall load factor by 1.8 percentage points to 65.5%, partly reflecting global market dynamics; and a need to put in place measures to ensure the integrity of our hub operations.”
The fuel efficiency of Emirates’ freighters improved 0.9%, reaching 0.1803 litres per freight tonne kilometre, but overall fuel efficiency for the entire fleet climbed to 0.3269 litres per tonne kilometre, compared with 0.3057 L/TK the previous year.
Jet fuel consumption rose from just under 9 million tonnes in 2014-15 to 10.1 million tonnes in 2015-16, resulting in CO2 emissions increasing from 28.3 million tonnes to 31.9 million tonnes.
With a fleet of 252 passenger, freighter and executive aircraft as of the end of March 2016 – comprising mainly Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s – in 2015-16 Emirates added a record 29 new aircraft to its fleet while retiring nine older aircraft. It is one of the youngest fleets for a major carrier and nearly half the industry average of 140 months.
To improve fuel performance, the airline’s flight operations specialists have been working with air traffic management providers and airports around the world to deliver more efficient flight routings and operational procedures. At its Dubai International main hub, infrastructure and operational changes have increased capacity and reduced holding delays, reports Emirates, increasing the predictability and resilience of operations. The airline has also been working with NATS in the UK to support the airspace restructure around Heathrow Airport, together with the implementation of ‘time-based separation’ to enable reductions in delays and airborne holding times.
“We will be redoubling our efforts on fuel efficiency in the coming year,” says the report, “looking at all aspects from pilot operating techniques, through ground handling and auxiliary power unit use, to maintenance and weight reduction opportunities, as well as continuing our cooperation with authorities and air traffic management providers around the world to ensure that we can fly the most fuel-efficient flight paths.”
The report welcomes the ICAO CAEP agreement on a new CO2 efficiency standard and progress on a new standard for aircraft engine particulate emissions. On the decision by the ICAO Assembly last October to establish the global CORSIA carbon offset scheme, it adds: “It will now be important for the international aviation industry, and for all of the stakeholders who benefit from international aviation, that market-based measures involving international aviation be globally harmonised to the extent possible, to avoid the potential development of overlapping schemes.”
On the ground, a one megawatt array of solar phot voltaic panels has been installed at the Emirates Engine Maintenance Centre in partnership with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. The array is made up of 2,990 photovoltaic panels that are expected to generate over 1,800 megawatt-hours of electricity annually and help save around 800 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Other advances include a reduction of the carbon footprint of the Emirates’ ground transportation fleet by 10%, replacement by LEDs of the lights used for aircraft cabin maintenance and improvements in energy efficiency at Emirates’ London office and facilities in Australia.
During the year, in addition to supporting ongoing wildlife conservation efforts in Dubai and Australia, Emirates partnered with United for Wildlife to raise awareness about the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products.
“As our business grows, we are ever conscious that we have a responsibility to the communities we serve around the world. Aviation and travel services as an industry can make a real contribution towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, CEO of Emirates Airline & Group, commenting on the report’s release. “As we head into 2017, agility will be the defining characteristic of our approach, both to react quickly to challenges and to make the most of opportunities. Working together with our partners across the industry, we will continue to invest in technologies and processes that enable us to deliver our services effectively, efficiently and with the minimum environmental impact.”
Emirates Group – Environment Report 2015-16
COMMENTARY: 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 measure can deliver, and the results are not as remotely encouraging for global action as many presumed, writes Andrew Murphy of Transport & Environment (T&E).
Research commissioned by T&E has found that environmental coverage of ICAO’s global market based measure (the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation – CORSIA) has the potential to deliver fewer emission reductions over its lifetime than the full inclusion of aviation emissions in a reformed EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).
Even if the geographic scope of the EU ETS is restricted to cover only flights within Europe and half of the emissions from flights to and from Europe, CORSIA barely edges out the EU ETS over its 2021-2035 lifetime. And all this presumes CORSIA will include effective enforcement and airtight offset rules – which is far from certain.
What makes these findings so important is that Europe took most of its aviation emissions out of the EU ETS for at least five years in order to facilitate an ICAO outcome, and may extend this exclusion for another four years while ICAO preparations continue – making a total of nine years of delay, all to facilitate a global measure which has the potential to deliver even less ambition than Europe acting regionally.
What explains this result? The simple reason is that the EU ETS is far more environmentally ambitious than ICAO’s CORSIA, with a reformed EU ETS delivering a declining cap from 2004-2006 emissions while CORSIA fails to deliver even the promised stabilising of emissions at 2020 levels. This of course isn’t so surprising – the EU is a major emitter, responsible for 18% of all global aviation emissions, and it’s appropriate that along with other major emitters like North America, it adopts more ambitious policies. ICAO’s remit, as in areas such as safety and security, is to establish global minimum – or lowest common denominator – standards.
European policy-makers should read the T&E report in full. The current European Commission has bought into the industry line that global is automatically better, and that European climate action can be suborned entirely to ICAO (and IMO for shipping) for climate action. Its transport decarbonisation paper, released last summer, is a classic example of this flawed thinking. While it proposed quite ambitious action for other transport modes, both shipping and aviation were outsourced to the lowest common denominator approaches at IMO and ICAO, directly contradicting the Kyoto and Paris requirements that developed countries can and must do more.
It’s clear that CORSIA falls well short of the ambition required by the Paris Agreement and resistance will remain strong within ICAO to do much more, given the fragility of the whole deal as it is today.
Encouraging greater efficiency is essential, but CORSIA won't deliver this. CORSIA’s low level of ambition and the chronically low price of offsets, which industry and many in ICAO are striving to perpetuate, will provide no incentive for airlines to deliver in-sector emission reductions. Quite the contrary, ultra-low offset costs can easily be passed on to customers, effectively neutralising environmental risk for the industry. ICAO’s failed efforts last year to agree a CO2 standard that would have any impact on efficiency of future aircraft is further strong evidence, were it needed, that the airline industry has neatly positioned ICAO where it wants it to be.
The report rehabilitates the necessity of regional ambition, which has endured almost a decade of sustained attack by industry and their compliant transport ministries. We can now toss out the myth that we have to choose between global and regional action – neither alone will deliver the ambition required. And with ICAO’s Assembly resolution endorsing developed countries taking the lead, the path is open to regional ambition like never before.
European policy-makers should not delay anymore – the EU ETS must be strengthened and defended. The full scope snap-back now in force should apply at least until 2021 when voluntary offsetting by carriers is set to start to operate. For flights within Europe, CORSIA should never apply as it would cut the emission reductions the EU ETS could achieve by three-quarters. In addition, reliance on offsets for aviation would undermine Europe’s decision that as from 2021 economy-wide emission reductions must be delivered within Europe.
Industry lobbying for global over regional is now exposed for what it is – not an effort at greater ambition but an attempt to weasel out of climate action. Industry should drop its hysterics about a ‘patchwork of measures’. The map of CORSIA participating countries is the ultimate patchwork. Instead it should accept that only global and regional measures, working in tandem, can deliver the ambition needed. And European policy-makers should accept they have a responsibility to ensure Europe leads on climate ambition in all sectors, and not try to outsource the job to ICAO.
The author, Andrew Murphy, is a policy officer with Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment (T&E).