GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 11 JANUARY 2018
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Latest sustainability report outlines how fast-growing Qatar Airways is facing up to its environmental challenge
Thu 11 Jan 2018 – The carbon emissions of fast-growing Qatar Airways increased by 21% last year on the back of a 23.8% increase in revenue tonne kilometres (RTKs). However, the Gulf carrier improved its average carbon efficiency (CO2/RTK) by 2.5% over the year, building on a 1.4% improvement achieved the previous year. Carbon emissions from aircraft operations have risen by 45% over the past three years, from 12 million tonnes in the 2014-15 reporting year to 17.5 million tonnes in 2016-17, while carbon efficiency has improved from 0.807 to 0.776 kg CO2/RTK over the period. The latest sustainability report from the Qatar Airways Group – whose interests include cargo handling, aviation and catering services, retail outlets, hotels and the management of Hamad International Airport – outlines its environmental policy and objectives, along with improvements planned for sustainable growth across operations.
The Group has an environmental management system in place to ensure continual improvement in environmental performance and progress towards environmental objectives. Environmental policy, standards and procedures are embedded throughout the organisation, it says, with training provided for all employees. During 2016, an environmental competency matrix developed in partnership with the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment was launched. To help employees engage in environmental management and meet the competency levels required for their role, new environmental training packages, including interactive and engaging e-learning modules, will become mandatory for all staff in the company.
To develop a culture of environmental responsibility, the Group’s workforce is expected to meet five environmental competencies: environmental and sustainability principles; environmental regulation and policy; environmental management systems; resilience, risk and continual improvement; and delivering sustainable solutions. The job description of every employee sets out environmental accountabilities linked to their role.
The Group held its first annual conference in October 2016 on safety, security and the environment for executive leaders, managers and supervisory staff. It included an interactive workshop on environmental sustainability to highlight best practice in cabin waste management, airport energy management, aviation fuel efficiency and illegal wildlife transportation.
With aviation fuel contributing 97.5% of the Group’s carbon footprint, there is an aircraft fuel and emissions programme in place to bring together key areas of the business to collaborate on fuel saving measures. During the 2016-17 reporting year, estimated savings of 52,293 tonnes of aviation fuel and 164,724 tonnes of CO2 were made from weight reduction, route optimisation and aircraft on the ground (for example, reduced engine taxi and limiting the use of APUs) initiatives. Qatar Airways is also retrofitting ‘sharklets’ to its older Airbus A320 aircraft, with three modified during 2016-17 and a further three in progress. The airline reports savings of 493 tonnes of fuel and 1,553 tonnes of CO2 in 2016-17 from the modification.
Qatar Airways is also supporting research into alternative fuels and is investing in an algae biofuel project led by Qatar University’s Centre for Sustainable Development. The first stage of the project involved establishing indoor laboratories and an outdoor demonstration facility to cultivate, harvest and analyse large-scale micro-algae production with the potential to apply biomass to biofuel production. A second stage will identify the optimal strains of algae and fuel types to be produced, and will include pilot studies into large-scale production. It will also incorporate environmental impact assessment and economic feasibility studies.
A key objective of the Group is accreditation to recognised independent certification schemes. Qatar Airways launched a programme in December 2015 to attain the highest level in IATA’s Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) programme, and last month it received IEnvA Stage 2 certification to become the first airline in the Middle East and fifth worldwide to do so.
During the 2016-17 reporting year, Hamad International Airport, which is managed by the Group, became the first airport in the Gulf Cooperation Council to achieve Level 3 of Airports Council International’s carbon accreditation programme.
The airport has set a new target to improve its carbon efficiency per passenger by 30% before 2030. It reports an 11.9% improvement in the metric during the reporting period compared to the previous year. An energy management programme has identified 325 individual initiatives for optimising lighting, heaters, transformers and ventilation and cooling systems.
With one of the lowest levels of annual rainfall in the world, water conservation is of prime importance, especially as total water consumption at the airport increased by 7% last year as a result of increased passenger numbers. However, there was a 9% improvement in efficiency compared to the previous year. The airport’s waste water treatment plant that was commissioned in November 2014 with a capacity to treat over 28,000m3 of waste water per day received 18% more waste water in 2016-17 than the previous year, recovering 91% of the waste water treated. The airport is engaged in a number of initiatives to save water that cover optimising irrigation, retrofitting faucet aerators, saving water during fire pump tests and harvesting condensation.
Last month, experts from Kahramaa’s National Programme for Conservation and Energy Efficiency delivered technical energy and water conservation training to facility management employees from the airline and airport. It was part of a memorandum of understanding to work together on a range of technical initiatives, as well as building staff and community awareness in relation to water conservation, energy efficiency systems and renewable energy.
Wildlife conservation is also an important issue for the Group and in March 2016, Qatar Airways signed the United for Wildlife Transport Industry Declaration at Buckingham Palace in London. As the world’s third largest international air cargo carrier, the airline says it adheres to industry best practice for the welfare of live animals in transportation and has a zero tolerance policy towards the illegal transportation of endangered species through its network.
During the 2016-17 reporting year, it held an interactive awareness raising workshop; carried out enhanced training for cargo staff on detection, upgraded its cargo booking system to record additional information for shipments of wildlife and improve detection of fraudulent documents; and set up a new animal occurrence reporting system to ensure detected offences are recorded. Plans for the coming year include an awareness campaign targeted at customers and employees, comprising an in-flight video, articles in the in-flight magazine, displays for customer information screens and stands at the airport.
“Our environmental performance demonstrates that Qatar Airways takes its leadership role in the international aviation community very seriously,” said Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker, commenting on the publication of the Sustainability Report 2016-17. “We lead by example in environmental matters, particularly the management of our carbon emissions and the protection of wildlife and endangered species. As a global airline serving more than 150 destinations on six continents, every corner of the globe is important to us. We are committed to our own sustainability journey as well as to contributing to the aviation industry’s target of carbon-neutral growth from 2020.”
Qatar Airways – Environmental Awareness
Heathrow raises its environmental charges in bid to persuade airlines to use cleaner, quieter aircraft
Tue 9 Jan 2018 – Heathrow Airport has increased its environmental charges by 7% from January 1 in efforts to encourage airlines to use their most efficient aircraft when serving the UK hub. Around 80 per cent of the total environmental charge is recovered through noise charges and the rest through charges on aircraft NOx emissions. Heathrow says the higher charges are part of its Heathrow 2.0 sustainability strategy to make the airport cleaner and quieter for local communities. The strategy also includes a pledge to ensure all the airport’s cars and small vans are electric powered by 2020, and Heathrow has announced it has taken delivery of its 50th electric vehicle. Heathrow is about to launch a public consultation over its expansion plans and the search is now on for someone to head the new independent Community Engagement Board.
The environment charges for aircraft operators at Heathrow make up 29% of the overall charging regime, with departing passenger charges accounting for 67% and aircraft parking the remaining 4%. The charging structure is based on a ‘maximum allowable yield’ per passenger and with Heathrow forecasting passenger numbers of around 77 million, overall revenues from the charges are expected to exceed £1.5 billion ($2bn) in 2017.
To boost UK connectivity, the airport has announced a 50% increase from January 1 in the passenger discount for domestic flights, which will have the effect of cutting £15 ($20) off airport charges for UK fliers, although it is up to airlines as whether they pass on the reduction to customers. Up till now, environmental charges have acted as a balancing factor for the shortfall in revenue from the passenger discounts. In its consultation document on airport charges for 2018 published last August, Heathrow said it intended to continue the emphasis on environmental performance by it acting as the balancing factor for the shortfall in revenues from UK and European passenger discounts and the transferring passenger charge discount.
“This rebalance reflects the increased emphasis on environmental performance and best in class fleet operations while at the same time addressing load factor and empty seat issues, the support of which are in the public interest,” said the document.
The environmental charge is based on the ICAO noise standard of the aircraft landing at Heathrow, with six categories: Chapter 3, Chapter 4 (High and Base) and Chapter 14 (High, Base and Low). Operators of old and noisy Chapter 3 aircraft will now pay £8,831.66 ($12,000) per landing, although the number of this type operating at Heathrow is now negligible. By comparison, the cheapest charge is £757.00 (up from £709.20 in 2017) for aircraft meeting the Chapter 14 (Low) noise standard, although this only applies to new aircraft submitted for certification on or after 31 December 2017. Chapter 4 aircraft will now pay a charge of between £2,271.00 and £2,523.33 per landing.
The emissions per kg of NOx landing charge rises from £15.42 to £15.96.
“Heathrow is determined to reduce the airport’s environmental impacts,” commented CEO John Holland-Kaye. “Increasing our environmental charges to incentivise airlines to bring their cleanest, quietest aircraft to Heathrow is the best way to cut emissions and shrink the noise footprint around the airport. It is a tangible step that will make a real difference to local communities.”
As well as investing in new electric vehicles, Heathrow has spent over £4 million in EV charging infrastructure since its ‘Go Electric’ pledge two years ago, with a total commitment of more than £5 million by the end of this year. The airport claims to have the highest density of EV charging infrastructure in Europe, with over 80 charging points available to passengers, staff and airside vehicles. It is also collaborating with TfL, London’s transport authority, to install seven rapid charging points in the airport taxi feeder park for black cabs this year.
As one of the world’s first 10 companies in the world to commit to the EV100 initiative led by The Climate Group, the airport plans to turn all large vans and half of its HGVs electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030.
“Our Heathrow 2.0 sustainability strategy and global commitments like EV100 tie Heathrow to some ambitious but realistic targets to clean up our fleet and speed up the take-up of electric technology across our airport,” said Holland-Kaye.
The airport is launching a 10-week public planning consultation on January 17 over its expansion and new runway proposals. Views are being sought on issues like terminal design, how best to mitigate environmental impacts and whether flights should be concentrated over a single area or spread more widely. Although the airport intends to maintain its 6.5 hour ban on scheduled night flights, the public will be able to comment on when flights should start and finish.
Alongside the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee (HACC), the airport has started the search for a high-profile Chair to head up the new independent Community Engagement Board (CEB), which is to be established shortly and act as the focal point for engagement between the airport, local authorities, community groups and passengers. The Chair will be appointed by a panel comprising the existing HACC, Heathrow Airport, government and a nominated community representative. The search is being conducted by GatenbySanderson and the closing date for applications is January 15.
Meanwhile, Gatwick Airport’s own independent Noise Management Board (NMB) has recently released its second annual progress report at a public meeting held at the airport. With representatives from the aviation sector, local community groups, local and national government, and the UK CAA, the NMB aims to address and manage aircraft noise issues at the airport.
The Board announced progress on a range of issues such as helping to drive the Airbus A320 modification programme to eliminate the “whine” air flow problem from arriving aircraft. The meeting also included a demonstration of a ‘Virtual Community Noise Simulator’ that can show different levels of aircraft noise, including how these levels could be reduced as new flight procedures or technology are introduced.
Similar to the Heathrow experience and following pressure from Gatwick campaign groups, a priority area under consideration is the spacing out of aircraft flight paths so that overflown communities experience a more equal share – as opposed to a concentration – of flight paths on any given day. A possible solution has been identified by NATS air traffic experts for a potential introduction in the near future, reports the Board. Plans are also being progressed to deliver a meaningful noise reduction at a time of day when noise sensitivity is at its peak.
“Some of the work we are progressing will deliver improvements over the next year or so, although other projects are longer term,” said Bo Redeborn, Chairman of the NMB. “We are working closely with our industry partners on some major projects, including the large-scale redesign of the London and Gatwick airspace, and this work has the potential to deliver some significant benefits for our local communities.”
Last month, UK campaign group Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) launched a guide for members of the public adversely impacted by aircraft noise from commercial airlines or light aircraft, including helicopters.
Airline fuel efficiency gains not keeping pace with rapid growth in passenger traffic and emissions, finds studies
Wed 20 Dec 2017 – Fuel efficiency gains and fleet modernisation have failed to keep pace with overall growth in aircraft carbon emissions as a result of the rapid increase in air passenger travel, finds two reports monitoring airline performance. In its annual ranking of the carbon efficiency of 200 of the world’s largest airlines that are responsible for 92 per cent of worldwide air traffic, German organisation atmosfair says global CO2 emissions increased by 4 per cent in the past year, while the kilometres flown rose by almost 7 per cent. It says airlines are only modernising their fleets at a slow pace with just 1 per cent of aircraft worldwide classified as highly fuel efficient. A study by US NGO the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) found a sharp increase in passenger traffic drove up both profits and fuel consumption on US domestic airline operations between 2014 and 2016.
Atmosfair says even the best performing airline fleets emit on average 20% more CO2 per kilometre than the most fuel efficient planes operating at full capacity such as the Airbus A350-900 or Boeing 787-9. A fleet with only a medium level of efficiency in technology and operations releases twice as much carbon than the most fuel efficient aircraft. These new aircraft models, which can achieve consumption values of less than 3.5 litres of kerosene per 100 passengers, have raised the bar considerably in terms of carbon efficiency, it says.
Airlines that have not updated their fleets or have only made small improvements have lost ground in its latest 2017 ranking, notes atmosfair. The Atmosfair Airline Index is based on the CO2 emissions of an airline per passenger-kilometre flown on all routes, and calculated using the aircraft type, engines, use of winglets and seating and freight capacity, as well as occupancy. The efficiency index is intended to be used by travellers to compare airlines when planning their flight.
The highest ranking airlines in the index will therefore be those with the most modern fleets with high seating densities and high passenger and cargo loads. Differences among airlines on the same route can be substantial, says atmosfair, with fuel consumption per passenger-kilometre possibly being twice as high for one airline than for another.
UK charter airline TUI Airways (formerly Thomson Airways) once again topped the index, reaching 80% of the technically achievable optimum. Its German counterpart TUIFly ranked third, with regional carrier China West Air in second place in the overall ranking.
European and Chinese airlines performed well, says atmosfair, with South America’s LATAM ranked as the best international net carriers as a result of its modern fleet and high rate of occupancy. US carriers performed less well overall with only three – Alaska, Delta and United – making it into the top 50 airlines in the world.
For the 2015-2016 period, Alaska Airlines was also ranked by ICCT as the most fuel efficient on US domestic operations for the seventh year in a row, while the gap between it and the least efficient carrier, Virgin America, in 2016 widened slightly to 26%.
Between 2014 and 2016, ICCT calculates overall passenger-kilometres on US domestic operations rose by 10%, outstripping a 3% overall improvement in fuel efficiency, causing fuel use and CO2 emissions to jump by 7%.
“Industry-wide, demand is swamping energy efficiency improvements and emissions are spiking as a result,” said ICCT’s Naya Olmer, lead author of the study. Since 2012, the average profit margin for US domestic carriers has increased nearly six-fold thanks to lower fuel prices and higher ancillary fees, finds ICCT, and those carriers saved around $17 billion in fuel costs last year, about 20% of which was passed on to passengers in lower fares.
Around 30% of global CO2 emissions are attributable to US aircraft and the FAA projects aviation activity to increase 2-3% annually through to 2037.
“With airline profits surging, we need to explore environmental and consumer protection if the US is going to cap aviation carbon emissions from 2020, as it has committed to do,” commented Dan Rutherford, ICCT’s aviation Program Director and co-author of the study.
Said Dietrich Brockhagen, CEO of atmosfair: “Our findings show that aviation worldwide is not on track to meet the 1.5 degree or the 2 degree target for global warming. While some airlines have significantly improved their carbon efficiency by purchasing new aircraft, the pace of modernisation is not fast enough from a global standpoint.”
UK aviation has managed to decouple passenger increase from carbon and noise growth, says industry report
Tue 19 Dec 2017 – UK cross-industry coalition group Sustainable Aviation (SA) says the sector has succeeded in disconnecting the growth in passenger numbers from the rate of growth in carbon and noise emissions. In its latest progress report, carbon emissions from the six airline members of the group – British Airways, easyJet, Monarch, Thomas Cook, Thomson Airways and Virgin Atlantic – increased by less than half a per cent between 2014 and 2016 despite a 9% increase in the number of passengers flown. During the same period, it reports a reduction of 12,000 people in the noise contour areas of five SA member airports. Commending the report, the UK Aviation Minister, Baroness Sugg, said sustainable growth was one of the key objectives of the government’s long-term strategy for UK aviation.
Total CO2 emissions from the five airlines in 2016 amounted to 33.6 million tonnes, a 0.2% increase since 2014 compared with a 2% in passenger revenue tonne-kilometres (RTKs). Fuel efficiency reached 0.347 litres/RTK in 2016, a 2% improvement over the two years and 13% better than 2005.
“Aviation is a UK success story. However, delivering environmentally sustainable aviation growth in the UK, with the significant economic benefits that it brings, is a challenge that our industry is ready to meet,” said SA Chair, Ian Jopson, acknowledging “there is more to do.”
Jopson, who is Head of Environment and Community Affairs at air navigation services provider NATS, stands down after a two-year tenure. Achievements made by the group and its members during that period, he said in the introduction to SA’s Sixth Progress Report, included an updated roadmap on delivering long-term carbon emission reductions from the sector, a leading contribution by UK airlines in securing global progress on the CORSIA emissions scheme and significant progress in creating a UK sustainable aviation fuels sector.
The latter had been achieved by securing the inclusion of such fuels in the government’s Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation and working with the government agency Innovate UK to form a group to bring together interested stakeholders. Jopson also noted progress on airspace modernisation following the government’s publication earlier this year of a revised UK Airspace Policy.
“The industry is committed to playing its role,” said Jopson. “However, we can’t achieve sustainable growth without the support and action of government.”
Sustainable Aviation published a report earlier this year on local air quality around airports, which found that aircraft emissions contributed just 1% of UK NOx emissions, compared to 32% from road transport, and 0.1% of PM10 emissions.
“However, we recognise the need to tackle this issue head on and we set out in that report a number of activities to further reduce the air quality impact of aviation,” said Jopson.
Noise, though, had been a priority for SA’s activities in 2016, he said. “We have made good progress against our 2013 Road-Map. However, I think it is fair to say that these benefits have not always been reflected by community perceptions. It is essential that we better understand the concerns of local communities.”
The group has commissioned independent research involving focus groups and one of the first tasks of incoming Chair, Neil Robinson, is to oversee the publication in early 2018 of a discussion paper on ways to further reduce aircraft noise.
Also in 2018, SA is to publish its vision for aviation in 2050 and the following year to update again its CO2 roadmap.
“I am delighted to be taking over as Chair at such an interesting time,” said Robinson, who is Group CSR Director at Manchester Airports Group, in the progress report. “As we prepare to enter the CORSIA scheme from 2020; the UK government develops a new Aviation Strategy, which places safe and sustainable growth at its heart; and we seek to limit global temperature rises to less than 1.5C, it has never been a more important time for Sustainable Aviation and our members.”
Speaking at the launch of the report, Baroness Sugg, the new Aviation Minister, said: “The aviation sector is one of our key industries, essential to our future prosperity and the very symbol of global Britain. But as we continue to push the boundaries of success, sustainability must remain at the heart of everything we do. I am encouraged by the actions of the aviation industry to embrace that commitment.”
Dutch government urged by airlines to drop tax proposals as NGOs take it to court over ICAO aircraft CO2 standard
Thu 14 Dec 2017 – Eight years after ditching an air passenger ‘eco’ tax introduced a year earlier, the Dutch government is reportedly planning new aviation taxation measures to address the sector’s environmental impact. International airline associations have written to the Dutch finance minister urging the government not to proceed with the policy. They believe the government envisages a Europe-wide aviation tax resulting from negotiations due in 2019 over the Paris climate objectives and a tax on noisy and polluting aircraft. If the two measures are deemed insufficient then an aviation passenger tax may be introduced in the Netherlands from 2021, they fear. Meanwhile, the government is being taken to court by three NGOs for refusing to release ICAO documents on the global aircraft CO2 standard adopted by the UN agency in March this year.
A Dutch aviation tax could generate around €200 million ($230m) annually from the sector, but KLM and Schiphol Group say it would not help the environment and instead would interfere with maintaining a competitive aviation market. When an air passenger tax was introduced in July 2008, it was expected to raise in the region of €300 million a year but was scrapped a year later following a steep decline in passenger traffic at the main Dutch airports, particularly at Amsterdam Schiphol, with air travellers said to have taken flights from airports in Belgium and Germany to avoid the tax (see article).
Not only would the proposed new tax would have the same negative impact on the Dutch economy, it would contradict international law, standards and principles, claim the nine associations – IATA, ERA, AIRE, AFRAA, A4A, AACO, AAPA, ALTA and NACC. The taxation policy would be “at odds with the principles that underlie all of ICAO’s requirements regarding environmental levies,” they said, pointing out that the resolution underpinning ICAO’s CORSIA scheme was to be the sole market-based measure applying to CO2 emissions from international aviation. “Moreover,” they added, “intra-EU flights are subject to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, in which airlines already pay their contribution towards reducing the environmental impact.
“As an absolute minimum, the associations request that the Dutch government undertakes an independent evaluation of the economic and environmental impact of the policy and holds an open and constructive public consultation process before making any final decisions.”
In October, another airline association, Airlines for Europe (A4E), released a study it commissioned from PwC that showed abolishing the German air passenger tax would boost the country’s GDP by €67 billion ($79bn) cumulatively over the next 12 years. PwC estimated that Germany’s revenues from air passenger taxes would raise €1 billion in 2017.
“The study demonstrates the impact of passenger taxes, which hinder economic growth and tourism. Countries that have scrapped them have seen a boom in air traffic, which has benefited their economies,” said Thomas Reynaert, A4E’s Managing Director. “Removing all air passenger levies would add more than 24.6 million passengers by 2020.”
The study estimated that around 79% of the additional passengers would come to Germany for leisure purposes and the remaining 21% for business reasons. Currently, air passenger taxes are collected in Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Norway and the UK, with Germany the second largest collector after the UK.
NGOs counter that the European sector is under-taxed as it escapes taxation on its aviation fuel and airline tickets.
The three NGOs taking the Dutch government to court – Natuur & Milieu, Transport & Environment (T&E) and environmental lawyers ClientEarth – say that by refusing to publish decisions and research about ICAO’s aircraft CO2 standard, EU citizens and civil society are being denied their right to access environmental information under Directive 2003/4/EC.
The standard was ineffective as a result of commercial pressure, said the NGOs, who claimed that two-thirds of the observers on ICAO’s rule-making environment committee CAEP were industry lobbyists and accused aircraft manufacturer Airbus of having undue influence in drafting the EU’s position on the CO2 standard.
“We’re exclusively reliant on tidbits of information from ICAO and governments about how they are addressing aviation emissions,” said Andrew Murphy, Aviation Manager at T&E. “That makes it difficult for civil society groups and outside experts to examine claims about ICAO’s effectiveness. Only by making such reports public is it possible to conduct a fair assessment of ICAO’s efforts to take climate action.”
Supported by T&E and ClientEarth, the lawsuit is being taken by Natuur & Milieu at Utrecht district court to appeal a previous decision by the Dutch government not to disclose the information.
“Emissions from aviation have a global impact that cannot be ignored. The public has the right to access information on how emissions from aircraft will be reduced and to participate in decisions that affect their health and environment,” said Ugo Taddei, a clean air lawyer at ClientEarth. “By making these decisions behind closed doors, the Dutch government is breaking EU transparency rules and putting business interests before those of the planet as a whole.”
ICAO opens consultation with States on proposed rules for CORSIA implementation
Thu 7 Dec 2017 – ICAO’s proposed rules for States and aeroplane operators on the administration; monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of CO2 emissions; carbon offsetting requirements; and emissions units under the CORSIA scheme have been circulated to the UN agency’s 192 member States for comment. The so-called CORSIA Package is made up of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and related guidance material. The 128-page document sent by the ICAO Secretary General to States on Tuesday contains a proposal for a first edition of a new Volume IV (CORSIA) to Annex 16 (Environmental Protection) of the Chicago Convention to apply from 1 January 2019. It also includes draft Implementation Elements and supporting documents. States have been requested to forward their comments on the proposals to ICAO by 5 March 2018, an unusually short consultation period.
While the administrative and MRV requirements are proposed for applicability from 1 January 2019, CO2 offsetting requirements and related actions are proposed to apply from 1 January 2021.
States’ comments on the proposals will be considered by ICAO’s Air Navigation Commission, a 19-member technical body that recommends SARPs for adoption or approval by the governing ICAO Council. The CORSIA SARPs are expected to be formally adopted by the Council at its session next June.
States may respond to the Package by agreeing or disagreeing with the proposals, with or without commenting, or having no indication of position. No objections or comments will be taken as an agreement without comment or no indication of position respectively.
Following adoption by the Council, contracting States will then have to incorporate the SARPs into their national regulations but can notify ICAO if they do not intend to adopt all the standards and recommended practices contained in the new volume.
Aeroplane operators – ICAO is using the word “aeroplane” instead of “aircraft” as CORSIA only applies to fixed-wing aircraft – conducting international flights will be required to develop an emissions monitoring plan during the second half of 2018 and submit it to their State no later than 28 February 2019. As the CORSIA baseline will be set using the average emissions between 2019 and 2020, all operators will need to start monitoring their CO2 emissions from 1 January 2019.
The SARPs apply to an operator that produces annual CO2 emissions greater than 10,000 tonnes from the use of an aeroplane with a certificated take-off mass greater than 5,700kg conducting international flights on or after 1 January 2019, with the exception of humanitarian, medical or firefighting flights. The regulation applies to all such operators, regardless of whether the country it is registered in is one of the 72 that have so far volunteered to join CORSIA from the start in 2021.
ICAO – Mechanisms for CORSIA implementation , Countdown to CORSIA checklist
Environmental groups criticise ICAO over lack of CORSIA transparency and threat to biofuel sustainability criteria
Fri 18 Nov 2017 – ICAO has come under fire from two environmental groups over a perceived lack of transparency on decisions concerning its CORSIA global carbon offsetting scheme and fears that sustainability criteria for the use of biofuels qualifying under the scheme are being heavily watered down. ICAO’s governing Council has been meeting in Montreal to discuss detailed regulations on the operation of the scheme that have been drawn up by its technical committee CAEP. However, CAEP confidentiality rules and the closed-door Council sessions are allowing ICAO to develop climate policy in isolation and this risks undermining the Paris Agreement, argues Carbon Market Watch. Meanwhile, Transport & Environment says it understands political interventions in the Council could lead to the removal of 10 out of the 12 sustainability criteria for biofuels recommended by CAEP. The CORSIA Package, as it is known, is due to be sent shortly to all ICAO states for scrutiny and approval.
CORSIA, says Carbon Market Watch (CMW) in a new analysis report, is currently the only significant carbon offsetting scheme in the post-Kyoto period when the Paris Agreement comes into force, and the reliance on purchasing carbon credits from reductions in other sectors poses significant challenges to ensure the integrity of the scheme. Transparency on how the CORSIA rules will be designed as well as opportunities to engage in this process by all affected stakeholders are paramount for the scheme’s effectiveness, it argues.
However, it accuses ICAO of developing the rules “locked away from the public domain … and shielded from public scrutiny.”
CORSIA will have a direct impact on countries’ compliance with the Paris climate targets and at a time when wider UNFCCC climate talks are taking place at COP23 in Bonn to discuss emission reduction transfers between countries, it is unclear how carbon credits purchased by airlines are booked to avoid double counting of reductions towards ICAO and the Paris goals, says CMW.
“Aviation’s measure risks blowing a giant hole in the Paris Agreement,” said CMW Aviation Policy Officer, Kelsey Perlman. “The irony is that delegates in Bonn and Montreal are currently negotiating interlinked climate issues, with one held in public and the other behind closed doors.
“ICAO needs to allow for more public scrutiny, but the truth is we can’t afford to keep waiting to see how this measure affects global climate ambition.”
CMW points to parliamentarians in Europe asking their governments for more information on CORSIA. During a recent debate in the European Parliament, a Commission official with knowledge of the contents of the CORSIA Package was unable to reveal details to members of the Parliament because of ICAO non-disclosure rules.
“The European countries that have defended transparency this week in Bonn while sitting in the dark in ICAO, need to open up the debate,” said Perlman.
How ICAO interprets transparency and public participation requirements is covered in a new paper by the Columbia Law School, which finds the ICAO governance process falls short of the public information requirements of the Aarhus Convention. The international treaty grants the public rights of access to information, participating in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters, according to the report. Of the 45 countries that are members or observers of the ICAO Council and CAEP, 13 have signed up to the treaty.
“The ICAO rules of procedure allow for access to information and public meetings but inexplicably these rules have not been followed in the decision-making process around the sector’s offsetting scheme,” said Aoife O’Leary, author of the study. “And this despite the obligations the Convention places on many of the ICAO member and observer countries.”
The CORSIA Package – comprising draft regulatory Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and guidance material – is due to be sent to all ICAO States next month, who will only be given up to four months to scrutinise and respond before adoption by the Council in June next year.
In its annual submission to the UNFCCC subsidiary body SBSTA, which met during COP23, ICAO said having rules in place covering monitoring, reporting and verification of the sector’s carbon emissions was the immediate priority so that States and airlines can be ready to report emissions from 2019. “After that, ICAO will determine eligible emissions units which airlines purchase in order to meet offsetting requirements under CORSIA,” it added.
In another submission to SBSTA, Chile – with the support of Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Peru – said given its projected growth, the aviation sector would be required to compensate 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions during the period of CORSIA’s existence (2021-2035).
“As these compensations would mainly be supplied by activities outside the sector, Parties to the Paris Agreement should carefully consider the relationship between CORSIA and the Paris Agreement. Parties should seek ways to further collaborate in the climate change process. This should create synergies and mutual support on the overall objectives of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, and the objectives of ICAO Resolution A39-3.”
Meanwhile, Transport & Environment fears that at the current ICAO Council Session, member states have voted to reject ten key sustainability criteria out of the 12 that were submitted to the Council by CAEP experts for biofuels that would qualify under CORSIA. Under the scheme, airlines using sustainable aviation fuels can be credited against their emissions obligations. A CAEP working group had recommended the defining criteria of “sustainable” that included 12 environmental and social safeguards.
According to T&E’s own sources, the two surviving rules are a 10% greenhouse gas reduction target for biofuels compared to fossil jet fuel and a ban on crops grown on land that was deforested after 2009. Removing the remaining safeguards is contrary to UN’s globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals, it said.
The sustainability rules have implications beyond CORSIA because they will become the de facto global standard for biofuel use in the aviation sector, it added.
The Brussels-based group criticised the European Commission for agreeing to the Council position, which T&E claims has been supported by France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Ireland and Germany, although opposed by the Netherlands and the UK.
“If this extreme weakening of the sustainability criteria for biofuels is confirmed, the European Commission will have effectively surrendered to ICAO, showing how little it cares about human rights or biodiversity,” said Carlos Calvo Ambel, T&E Analysis and Climate Manager.
Responding to T&E’s claim, an aviation industry spokesperson said: “The aviation sector has been working hard to ensure that the deployment of alternative fuels is done in a sustainable way, including as part of the CORSIA package. Industry is working with environmental groups and governments through the ICAO experts process to develop a robust set of sustainability criteria for the use of these fuels.
“We await the outcome of the Council meeting but according to reports, the sustainability criteria were partially adopted, with some being sent back to the experts for further evaluation in the coming months. Nothing was rejected, as we understand it, but rather needs more study. It is vital that this process is able to be done in a robust manner so we can rely on these elements well into the future.”
In its SBSTA submission, ICAO said its recent Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels had “confirmed the critical importance of ensuring the sustainability of aviation alternative fuels, which is currently under consideration by ICAO.”