GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 28 JUNE 2017
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US domestic aviation emissions could increase 33-50% by 2030 as a result of Trump climate withdrawal
Tue 27 Jun 2017 – Although there has been recent speculation over the possibility of the United States not joining the voluntary phase of ICAO’s CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme as a result of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, there are other implications for global aviation emissions. Pledges made by countries under the agreement must take into account reductions in domestic aviation emissions, which are not covered by CORSIA. Globally, domestic aviation emissions make up around 38% of all aviation emissions, with the US responsible for nearly a half. According to research by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Centre for Aviation, Transport and the Environment (CATE), US domestic aviation emissions could rise by 33-50% over 2005 levels if the US does not carry out its CO2 reduction plans and so heavily impact the sector’s overall emissions.
“Aviation falls into two categories in terms of its CO2 emissions – domestic aviation, which is accounted for by the country that emits it, and international aviation, which falls to ICAO, thus Trump’s actions affect any potential reduction of US domestic aviation CO2 emissions,” explained CATE’s Professor David Lee.
As part of a wider project within CATE, the Centre’s Dr Sarah Freeman has been analysing how aviation CO2 emissions may fit into the Paris pledges.
“I realised that my previous analysis, which had assumed the US may reduce its domestic aviation emissions proportionally to other emissions as part of its Paris pledge, might be significantly affected, so needed to update my calculations,” she said.
Under a simple assumption of proportional reduction, Freeman calculated this would result in a reduction of US domestic aviation CO2 emissions of 85 million tonnes, a 50-56% reduction over business-as-usual projected emissions by 2030, based on 2005 levels.
Dr Bethan Owen, who did the complex underlying projections of aviation emissions, said: “The US currently represents 49% of global domestic aviation CO2 emissions, which is by far the largest individual contribution. This is projected to be around 33% in 2030 in a business-as-usual scenario, so if they drop out and their aviation emissions are affected in this proportional manner, it will make a large impact.”
Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, under a simple assumption of proportional decreases, the US share of global domestic aviation CO2 emissions could be as high as 64% in 2030, say the researchers.
Virgin Atlantic sees impressive gains in fuel efficiency and an 8% fall in emissions as a result of fleet changes
Tue 27 Jun 2017 – Following a slowdown in the overall fuel efficiency of its fleet in 2015, Virgin Atlantic Airways has rebounded with an impressive 8% annual improvement last year, according to the airline’s latest Sustainability Report 2017. This is largely down to the positive impact of Boeing 787 aircraft entering the fleet in 2016, improved passenger load factors and other operational gains. Total CO2e aircraft emissions fell from 4.43 million tonnes in 2015 to 4.08 million tonnes in 2016, from a high of 5.22 million tonnes in 2007 when Virgin Atlantic set a target to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% per revenue tonne-kilometre (RTK) by 2020. The 22% reduction since 2007 is matched by a 17% fall in CO2 per RTK and a 22%drop in CO2 per passenger km over the past 10 years. This, says the airline, puts it well ahead of the industry’s annual fuel efficiency improvement target for the period up to 2020.
Replacing the four-engined Airbus A340-600 aircraft with new twin-engined Boeing 787s has been transforming the fleet’s efficiency, says the new report. Four more 787s are expected to join the fleet by the end of 2018 and an order for 12 Airbus A350s, which are due to enter service between 2019 and 2021, “will complete the fleet transformation and offer significant carbon savings, as well as an unrivalled experience for our customers,” said CEO Craig Kreeger.
The airline is expecting the new aircraft to deliver fuel savings of 30% over their predecessors and by 2021 Virgin Atlantic claims the fleet will be one of the youngest for a long-haul operator. It is therefore expecting further improvements in its fuel efficiency metrics although, points out Claire Lambert, Fuel Efficiency Programme Manager: “We may not always see the same magnitude of savings in future years. Like most airlines, the factors underlying our carbon footprint are complex, but key to our recent success has been our ongoing fleet renewal programme, with the last of our Heathrow 747s leaving service in 2015 and more of our 787s coming online.”
At the end of 2016, the Virgin Atlantic fleet comprised 39 aircraft, which were 6.9 years old on average and over two years younger than in 2014. Boeing 787-9 aircraft now make up a third of the fleet, with old A340-600 and Boeing 747-400 aircraft accounting for 40% of the total, the remainder being A330-300s. The airline expects to have a full twin-engined fleet by the end of 2021.
The target is to reduce CO2 per RTK from 0.869kg in the 2007 base year to 0.608kg by 2020. In 2016 the metric stood at 0.724kg (-17% on the base year) and the CO2 per passenger km at 76.9g (-22% on the base year).
The sharp 8% fall in emissions in 2016, mirrored by similar improvements in the two metrics, have also been helped by passenger load factors rising to 78.7% in 2016, following a fall to 76.8% in 2015 from the previous year as a result of increased capacity that year. Route and fleet deployment changes also hindered progress on fuel efficiency in 2015.
Apart from fleet renewal, Virgin Atlantic embarked on a number of fuel-saving initiatives in 2016, including updating pilots’ guidance manuals across the Airbus fleet to enable the use of just one or two engines, depending on the aircraft, when taxiing to the runway. Pilots have also been given access to updated and customised wind and temperature information so they can better optimise their flight. Virgin Atlantic also published a report in 2016 following a successful study to better communicate standard fuel efficiency information to pilots that resulted in savings of 6,828 tonnes of fuel and 21,507 tonnes of CO2 over eight months (see article).
Long-haul travel will require drop-in liquid fuels for the foreseeable future and finding sustainable alternatives to kerosene is crucial to reducing emissions, says the airline’s 2017 sustainability report, which details progress of its venture with alcohol-to-jet fuel developer LanzaTech that started in 2011. The technology involves converting waste carbon monoxide gas from heavy industrial sites like steel mills into ethanol before further conversion into jet fuel. Aided by Virgin Atlantic, LanzaTech is going through the rigorous process of getting the fuel pathway certified for commercial aviation use by an ASTM committee of industry technical experts.
For fuel testing purposes, last year the company produced the first-ever batch – 1,500 US gallons – of LanzaJet fuel made from waste steel mill gas derived ethanol, as well as a further 2,500 gallons of jet fuel from other ethanol sources. The LanzaJet fuel is claimed to have up to 75% lower CO2 emissions than conventional kerosene. Late last year, the cleantech company was awarded a grant by the US Department of Energy to design a 3-4 million gallon-per-year pre-commercial jet fuel facility in the US, and has also secured funding for commercial ethanol plants in China, Taiwan and Belgium.
Although the ASTM qualification process has been long, LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren says it is going to plan and the company is now awaiting feedback from the latest ASTM Committee meeting held this month. “We hope to know shortly what their expectations are of us, what else they require and to define the next steps,” Holmgren told GreenAir. The Committee next meets in December. Once the fuel pathway receives the green light, Virgin Atlantic is hoping to conduct a proving flight using a blend of the fuel.
The sustainability report also highlights efforts to deal with aircraft cabin and catering waste, and high value recyclables; sustainability standards for inflight food; and progress against its aircraft noise target.
“Despite political and economic headwinds, we remain fully committed to our sustainability programme and will continue to drive new ways to reduce carbon emissions, and promote responsible supply chain and tourism practices,” commented Kreeger.
UK airspace improvements help NATS reduce carbon emissions but more modernisation required, it warns
Fri 23 Jun 2017 – Air navigation service provider (ANSP) NATS reports that improvements to the design of UK airspace helped save 55,900 tonnes of CO2 in 2016, worth £6.2 million ($8m) in fuel savings for airlines. In 2008, NATS became the first ANSP in the world to set an airspace environmental target and says it is currently tracking at a 5% improvement on a goal to reduce air traffic management (ATM) related CO2 emissions by 10% by 2020. However, warns NATS, it will become more difficult to achieve this unless further efficiencies can be delivered by modernising UK airspace. CO2 savings in the previous year were 157,000 tonnes. In its annual Responsible Business report, NATS says its campaign to increase the use of continuous descent approach (CDA) procedures by aircraft landing at UK airports resulted in an additional 32,070 quieter arrivals in 2016 over 2015.
The ATM CO2 savings have come about following a number of airspace improvements over the past year at higher levels that have made routes more direct and vertically efficient, says NATS, and speed control measures have been introduced to slow aircraft down en-route to avoid holding in congested areas close to airports. Maturing initiatives, such as CDAs, cross-border arrival management, time-based separation and flexible use of airspace are all contributing to the CO2 reduction target, it adds.
As part of efforts within the industry’s Sustainable Aviation coalition to increase the use of CDAs, NATS reports over 810,000 individual quieter arriving flights have taken place since they were introduced. Its CDA Outreach Programme has received a Responsible Business award by Business in the Community for the third year in a row.
“We continue to support and refine CDAs into 14 airports across the UK and we are working with 22 airlines to make this operation more widespread,” says the NATS report. The ANSP says it is continuing to focus as well on enabling continuous climbs for aircraft on departure to minimise fuel burn and noise.
In addition to its voluntary 2020 CO2 reduction target, NATS’ environmental performance is also measured under an initiative called 3Di that it developed in conjunction with the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and introduced in 2012. The three-dimensional inefficiency (3Di) methodology measures NATS contribution to shrinking ATM-related CO2 emissions and financially penalises or rewards performance. The lower the 3Di score, the better the performance. NATS average score has crept up over the past two years, reaching 30.3 in 2016 compared to 30.1 the previous year. This is against a tightening by the CAA of the target score to 29.3 in 2016 but, points out NATS, this is within the regulator’s target range for the fifth year in a row.
Acknowledging the impact of noise on people who live under flight paths, NATS says it is developing a new responsible business policy to understand how best to manage this, and is seeking to work more closely and earlier with communities. NATS has been invited by ICAO to lead a task force developing best practice on how to engage communities on the introduction of performance-based navigation technology.
“Our enduring goal is to deliver a safe and efficient air traffic system that provides real value to its users and, above all, a system that operates effectively while limiting and where possible reducing its environmental impact,” commented Ian Jopson, NATS Head of Environmental & Community Affairs. “We’re proud of how far NATS has come, driving social and environmental responsibility through all aspects of our business.”
EU States back proposals on extending Aviation EU ETS ‘stop-the-clock’ and provisions for CORSIA review
Thu 22 Jun 2017 – EU Member States have agreed a common negotiating position ahead of talks with the European Parliament (EP) on existing regulations concerning the Aviation EU ETS and its post-2020 future when the global CORSIA market-based scheme starts. The Council, which represents the States, says it broadly supports European Commission proposals, including to extend the derogation – known as ‘stop-the-clock’ – for extra-EEA (European Economic Area) flights until the end of the current phase of the EU ETS in 2020. This is also supported by most EP members but as the derogation ceased to exist at the end of 2016, swift action will need to be taken to adopt a revision by the end of this year to avoid a legal gap. The two institutions must also agree on future steps to be taken in the light of decisions still to be reached at ICAO on the global scheme. A report has already been submitted by EP rapporteur Julie Girling, along with proposed amendments by members of the EP environment committee (ENVI), with a vote scheduled for July 11 and a EP plenary vote in the autumn.
Published in February, the Commission proposal recommends continuing with the ‘stop-the-clock’ scope that was applied to the 2013-2016 period under which flights to and from outermost regions and third countries were derogated, while flights between EEA airports remain fully covered. The amount of free allocation of allowances received by aircraft operators from 2017 would remain the same, so proportional to intra-EEA activity. The dates for reporting and surrendering allowances from emissions in 2017 are 1 April and 1 May 2018 respectively.
The Commission also proposes to apply the linear reduction factor (LRF), under which the number of allowances decline at an annual rate in an effort to achieve the EU’s 2030 emissions reduction target, to the aviation sector from 2021. This is an important part of a reform package for Phase 4 (2021-2030) of the scheme that is currently under discussion.
The Commission proposal sets out provisions for a review of the EU ETS Directive (2003/87/EC) in view of the implementation of CORSIA and once all the relevant decisions have been taken by ICAO on issues such as monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) and offsets to be approved under the scheme. Subject to the review, the Council says it supports the LRF application, as do rapporteur Girling and most other EP members.
To prepare for CORSIA implementation, the Commission proposes two new articles (28b and 28c) in the EU ETS Directive. The first requires it to report to the EP and Council on international developments over CORSIA, including actions taken by third countries to implement the scheme. The Commission says it will need to consider ways to implement the relevant ICAO instruments in Union law through a revision of the Directive, which may be accompanied with legislative proposals as appropriate. The second article concerns provisions for the appropriate MRV of emissions applicable under CORSIA.
The Commission is also proposing an amendment to Annex I of the Directive to extend from 2020 to 2030 the exemption for non-commercial aircraft operators emitting less than 1,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. This has proved an effective measure in lessening the administrative burden on small operators and has reduced the number of operators regulated by Member States by around 2,200, while representing only 0.2% of emissions, it says.
In her report to the ENVI committee, Girling – who has succeeded Peter Liese in the rapporteur’s role and is now also the rapporteur on the EU ETS Phase 4 reform file – said she “broadly concurs” with the Commission proposal, adding that it would be prudent to await further ICAO progress before fully assessing the EU ETS for the post-2020 period. However, she wants specific milestone dates specified in the new legislation for reporting by the Commission on ICAO progress and an expiry date included on the latest derogation extension.
“As the implementation report will establish the requirements for future EU ETS legislation, your rapporteur believes it is important to stipulate the key technical elements, processes, and environmental impacts to be evaluated,” she says. “The report should examine CORSIA’s overall ambition in relation to the EU’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. In particular, to assess its effectiveness, the report should also inspect the level of third country participation, penalties for non-compliance, processes for public input, standards for MRV, rules on the use of biofuels, and should evaluate offsetting provisions against objective criteria. Through addressing these points, the implementation report will enable the Commission and the co-legislators to ensure the environmental standards of the EU ETS are maintained.”
She expressed concern about a lack of transparency at ICAO and the non-disclosure protocol of ICAO’s environmental technical committee, CAEP. “Your rapporteur is concerned that such limited transparency in the process could undermine the quality of information required to inform the EU’s post-2020 discussions as well as institutional trust. It will therefore be essential for CAEP to allow the Commission to provide regular substantive updates to the European Parliament and Council.”
Other amendments she wants to see included call for the aviation sector to receive, in line with other sectors, 10% fewer allowances than its 2014-2016 average, to increase the number of auctioned allowances from 15% to 50% and for revenues generated by these allowances to be earmarked for climate finance and research, development and commercialisation of new climate technologies.
Amendments proposed by other ENVI members include making EU Emission Allowances (EUAs) and EU Aviation Allowances (EUAAs) interchangeable so that EUAAs can be used in the stationary sector as well; additional to the intra-EEA scope from 2017 to 2020, the scope should be extended to cover 50% of emissions to and from extra-EEA airports; flights to and from OECD countries not joining CORSIA from the beginning to be subject to the EU ETS; provision to address the non-CO2 climate impact of aviation; and more clarification on the Commission’s tasks in the scope of its reporting on CORSIA implementation progress. Another proposal calls for introduction of recital text that from the second phase of CORSIA starting in 2024, the aim should be for a single global scheme with ICAO’s measure taking precedence over the attainment of the EU’s targets.
Elsewhere, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) has issued an ordinance entering force on 1 July 2017 that requires aircraft operators from 2018 to acquire and report tonne-kilometre data for domestic flights and flights from Switzerland to EEA Member States. This is as a result of an agreement – yet to be signed and ratified – to link the EU and Swiss emissions trading schemes, and Switzerland plans to integrate aviation emissions into its own scheme after the two systems have become formally linked, a longstanding process that has taken many years of negotiations to resolve.
FOEN says the TK data will be used to determine the maximum quantity of available emission allowances for the aviation sector in the Swiss ETS and the number of allowances to be allocated free of charge to operators. It estimates around 120 operators are affected, of which a 100 foreign and a dozen Swiss operators are already included in the EU ETS, so the procedure will be new only for a small number of Swiss operators.
Heathrow adds emissions along with noise metrics to its airline performance league table
Wed 21 Jun 2017 – Heathrow Airport has extended its quarterly ‘Fly Quiet League Table’ to include for the first time the emissions performance as well as the noise performance of airlines serving the airport. The 50 busiest airlines at Heathrow are now publicly ranked on their efforts to reduce emissions from the aircraft they use for operations at the airport. A new metric has also been introduced that takes into account unscheduled night flights operating between 11.30pm and 4.30am. The league table has tracked airline noise performance since 2013 and is credited with incentivising airlines to use their quieter aircraft types and operating procedures at Heathrow. Based on data from January to March, British Airways short-haul, Aer Lingus and Etihad Airways were judged to be the cleanest and quietest fleets at the airport.
The two new emissions-based criteria scores the type of engines used by aircraft and the efficiencies of aircraft NOx emissions per seat. Better scores are given to aircraft that are compliant with the more recent and stringent standards produced and published by ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP). The score is based on the certification for a single engine so, for example, a twin-engined aircraft compliant with CAEP 6 standard gets the same score as a four-engined aircraft with engines compliant with the same standard.
Regarding the NOx efficiency metric, for each arrival and departure the total mass of NOx emissions is calculated, based on the certified values and accounting for the number of engines for the aircraft associated with individual flights. The aggregate of certified NOx emissions for all flights of an airline are then divided by the aggregate seat capacity.
“While the main contributor to local pollution remains road traffic, Heathrow is playing its part to improve air quality by reducing emissions from its vehicles, buildings and aircraft,” commented Matt Gorman, the airport’s Director of Sustainability. “We are excited to add a whole new dimension to the league table and have another tool to help airlines reduce their impact on air quality. Together, we can play our part to improve our local environment and help the UK and London governments meet their air quality targets.”
As well as the new emissions metrics, the other metrics measure noise quota per seat, noise certification (ICAO Chapter number), continuous descent approach violations, track keeping violations and early or late movements between 23:30 and 04:30. Each metric is assigned a RAG (red, amber or green) status based on the performance bands set for that indicator so that operators towards the top of the table will have more green scores than those towards the bottom. Amber indicates airlines have met minimum performance targets and green that they have exceeded them. Heathrow says it works closely with those airlines with a red status in a particular category.
In third place behind British Airways’ short-haul operations and Aer Lingus, Etihad Airways operates an Airbus A380 three times a day between Abu Dhabi and Heathrow. The airline said its 2.5% fuel efficiency improvement across the business in 2016 amounted to a cut of nearly 190,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions over the previous year, the equivalent of 1,200 flights between Abu Dhabi and London.
“In addition to safety, our pilots are trained to focus on efficient flying, especially into busy airports like Heathrow. So it is very pleasing to be placed at the top of the first Fly Quiet and Clean table,” said Etihad’s SVP Operations, Rick Allen. “This attention to detail brings great benefits in terms of lowering fuel usage and reducing noise. We will continue to work closely with the airport authorities and aim to stay at the top of the league of airlines operating into Heathrow.”
Heathrow – Fly Quiet and Clean
COMMENTARY: The route from China to ICAO’s CORSIA emissions scheme: there is still a long way to go
Tue 27 Jun 2017 – The 39th session of ICAO Assembly last October is regarded as a milestone in addressing CO2 emissions from international aviation. Specifically, the resolution on the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) was adopted by the Assembly, in spite of the fact that Russia, India and a few others maintained their serious concerns on the equity and feasibility of the scheme. China is a constructive and even decisive contributor to the successful outcome of the Assembly after a long series of give-and-take discussions, writes Ren Wang.
During the Assembly, ICAO included China in the list of countries that have decided to join the scheme from the beginning based on the wording “…China and the United States support the ICAO Assembly to reach consensus on a global market-based measure this October, and expect to be early participants in such measure” included in the US-China Climate Change Cooperation Outcomes in September 2016. However, no official announcement is available to confirm China is or will be an early participant. From expectation to confirmation, there’s a long way to go for both ICAO and China.
I would argue the foundation for ICAO to develop and implement CORSIA is not solid. Firstly, CORSIA is basically a quasi-compliance market. According to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, ICAO is a UN agency with a purpose to ensure that “…international civil aviation may be developed in a safe and orderly manner and that international air transport services may be established on the basis of equality of opportunity and operated soundly and economically.” Literally speaking, the focus is on air transport safety, equal service opportunity and economic operation.
To develop a market-based measure scheme is obviously not in the centre of the scope of tasks that the Convention authorised the Organization to deal with. Moreover, as Professor Michael Milde, formerly at McGill University, has pointed out, the Convention on International Civil Aviation established ICAO as “an international organisation with wide quasi-legislative and executive powers in the technical regulatory field and with only consultative and advisory functions in the economic sphere.”
Lacking legal obligations and mandates on States to address their emissions from international aviation, ICAO can depend on nothing but the political will of States. However, political will can facilitate the development of the scheme but not guarantee its implementation, which needs something legally binding rather than an assembly resolution, which is only a collective decision without any penalty clause.
Secondly, the development and implementation of the relevant Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) by ICAO may further the distrust among States to jointly address international aviation and climate change.
Article 37 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation provides clearly the scope of issues which need SARPs. The monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of emissions, emissions unit criteria (EUC) and registries are completely out of the scope. It is assumed that ICAO recognises it is short of executive power to ensure the implementation of CORSIA, and SARPs – which are used to deal with safety, regularity, and efficiency of air navigation – is a tool which can “request” States to take tangible actions. But the point is that issues like emissions unit generation and registry development are closely related to governments’ social and economic administration modes, which can never be standardised due to the various development stages of the 192 Member States.
During the Assembly, China, among some major developing or emerging economies, highlighted serious concerns over ICAO’s decision to develop SARPs on MRV, EUC and registries. Unfortunately, ICAO and the developed states habitually choose to neglect such concerns and keep accelerating the pace to develop the SARPs. Hence, it can be assumed that ICAO will successfully add another volume to Annex 16 of the Convention but may also see a record-breaking number of notifications of departures from the standards.
China’s participation in CORSIA
I would also argue that it is not easy for China to get ready for the participation in CORSIA. China is a large developing country with the largest population in the world, which has created a huge aviation market. It is highly possible that China, now the world’s second largest aviation market, will maintain an annual growth rate of over 10% in the next 5-10 years. China has been enhancing its efforts to build a green and low-carbon aviation sector and the CAAC 13th Five-year Plan on the Development of Civil Aviation has highlighted its resolution to take tangible actions. But it does not mean China is ready to announce its participation in the CORSIA right away. The Chinese government has to tackle three challenges ahead of the next ambitious step.
Firstly, it must deal with the issue of Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR. As per the currently-developed rules on CORSIA, it is the position of Member States to report air transportation and emissions data to ICAO, which is correct from a political perspective. As a result, all aircraft operators registered in China, including those registered in Taiwan province, Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR, must submit their verified reports, among others, to an authority mandated by the Chinese central government, for example the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), which will then contact ICAO.
As such issues are closely related to the “state sovereignty”, “national security” and “territorial integrity” of China, which are core Chinese interests, any trial or proposal to allow the three regions to contact ICAO (and other UN agencies) without the central government approval is illegal and surely faced with a resolute and huge “NO” from China. At present, such channels between the central government and the three regions has not yet been established and it will be very difficult to do that due to the political and historical reasons known to all.
Another related issue is how to define “international aviation” for airlines registered in the three regions. Currently, flights between the Taiwan province/HK SAR/Macao SAR and Mainland China are accumulated as international flights by those airlines registered in the three regions and regional (neither domestic nor international) by airlines registered in Mainland China. If China joined CORSIA, change must take place on statistics methodology and practices, which, again, is not a purely technical problem.
The second challenge is the coordination between China’s national carbon market and CORSIA. The Chinese Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will kick off in late 2017 and it is reported that civil aviation will be included in the scheme. Officials from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), who are involved in building the ETS, have hinted that it is an item on the future – but not the present – agenda to get the ETS linked with other carbon markets. A dilemma then has to be faced up to. On the one hand, the Chinese carbon market would get more robust and liquid if its carbon units are ICAO eligible. On the other, an ICAO-eligible unit will inevitably be a medium to get two or more carbon markets linked indirectly and hence make the market more volatile, which is not desirable for the newly-born carbon market.
Another related problem is ICAO policy on registries. As per the Assembly resolution on CORSIA, a consolidated central registry would be established under the auspices of ICAO, and Member States are required to develop necessary arrangements for the establishment of their own registries in accordance with ICAO guidance. The Chinese registry has been established for the national carbon market prior to the ICAO policy or standards, which are not self-executing. If the Chinese registry departs from the ICAO material on the development of a national/regional registry, will the Chinese government modify its economy-wide policy merely for an industry with less than 1% of its total CO2 emissions?
Chinese airline complaints
Thirdly, there is the outcry from Chinese airlines. Airline CEO-level personnel know little about carbon markets and the battle with the European Union regarding the EU ETS has left them an impression that a market-based measure is something evil.
Since last October, some experts from the Chinese airlines have been complaining they would lose billions of RMBs each year to join the scheme. Their rationale is that Chinese airlines are expected to grow very fast – particularly concerning international flights – and the CORSIA formula to calculate the offset responsibility penalises that growth. Such complaints further enhance those senior managers’ concerns and have surely got the attention of senior government officials. This will lead to a more comprehensive evaluation of CORSIA before any further decision is taken by the government.
Objectively speaking, the current CORSIA design takes into account both the historical and future responsibilities of airlines because the first 10 years adopts the sectoral approach and the last five years a mixed approach (sectoral and individual). Although more refinement is necessary on the methodology and even rationale, those analyses from airline experts are correct in pointing out that it is unfair to take 2020 emissions as the CORSIA baseline, about which the Chinese government filed a reservation shortly after the 39th Assembly.
“It is evident that China is earnestly fulfilling its commitment made in the Paris Agreement …. As a developing country, tackling climate change is a tough process for China and requires extraordinary efforts. However, we will persistently progress along this path,” Premier Li Keqiang said at a State Council executive meeting on June 14.
That said, we can assume the journey from China to the confirmation of her participation in CORSIA will not be quick due to the ICAO procedural issues and China’s special national circumstances mentioned above. But China will not stop or withdraw from her plan to develop green aviation.
The author, Ren Wang, is Deputy Director at the Research Center for Civil Aviation Environment and Sustainable Development, Civil Aviation University of China.
NEW BOOK: Economic and Environmental Regulation of International Aviation
From Inter-national to Global Governance
By Steven Truxal
The core structure of the regulatory regime for international civil aviation (the ‘Chicago System’) is inter-national (sic). The features of the Chicago System were designed in an era when the world’s airlines were State-owned, and the most pressing international concerns were for navigation and safety regulation. Economic liberalisation and intense globalisation since the Second World War have impacted on the industry; today, it is global.
This book observes the developing governance of global aviation, taking into account the concepts of sovereignty, jurisdiction and territoriality, and the proliferation of actors and participants as partners in a global public policy network, to posit that an upgraded system of global governance for civil aviation helps to explain the emerging complex landscape for global governance of civil aviation.
As evidence of the emerging, complex matrix of governance of global aviation, this book identifies and reviews a selection of contemporary, transnational economic and environmental challenges facing the globalised aviation sector, e.g. fair competition safeguards, consumer protection, noise pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and the respective ‘legal’ and policy actions taken at national level (United Arab Emirates, Qatar and People’s Republic of China), regional level (the European Union) and international level (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and International Civil Aviation Organization).
The book concludes that economic and environmental regulation of international aviation, designed for an inter–national world of yesterday, evolves into global governance of aviation, which is more suited for today’s global world.
This book will be of particular interest to scholars and practitioners of aviation law, competition law and environmental law, as well as in the areas of transnational law, global governance and international relations.
The changing landscape from the early days of the Chicago System – the Chicago Convention and its Annexes, and ICAO and its structures – in which a largely State-owned airline sector has evolved into a fast-growing, liberalised and global multi-national industry, together with global challenges like climate change, requires a new impetus for the economic and environmental regulation of international aviation, argues Truxal. The Chicago System that was designed for an inter-national world of yesterday should evolve into global governance of civil aviation, more suited for today’s global world, he says.
In the globalised economy, the nature of the law is layered and at times overlapping in terms of environmental regulation. Environmental protection is an essential component of the global public good and as a contributor to global climate change, the aviation sector must take an active role in finding solutions to this complex problem. Some States and groups of States, namely the European Union, have taken perceived unilateral action to already delivering solutions, such as including aviation with the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), which met with international resistance.
“All the same, there is a genuine opportunity for global civil aviation vis-à-vis transnational environmental governance to contribute to innovation in global climate change policy,” writes Truxal. “If we accept the transnational nature of the problem and the limits of the international system generally, we may be able to reorientate the Chicago System, authority and governance of international civil aviation away from the exclusive, monopolistic State.
“By ‘going global’, I seek in this book to extend the scope of the territorial sovereignty-based Chicago System by including not only States but also non-State actors and private actors. I accept that globalisation diminishes the authority of the State, however highly contested that theory may be.”
The agreement by ICAO States to implement the CORSIA global market-based measure (GMBM) scheme for international aviation emissions last October has revealed an unprecedented and transformational shift from the traditional ‘standard-setting’ authority of ICAO, including environmental regulation, towards an upgraded system of global economic regulation that brings with it more inclusive norm-setting and decision-making processes, as well as responsibility for non-State and private actors.
“The GMBM and its processes are examples of how transnational climate governance is developing outside the UNFCCC negotiations and, if successfully implemented, can thus serve as a prospect for influencing global climate policy.”
About the author: Dr Steven Truxal is senior lecturer in law at City, University of London.
Publisher: Routledge, United Kingdom
Hardback: ISBN 978-1-138-84345-5 £110.00
eBook: ISBN 978-1-315-73100-1 £27.99
More details and to order book click here