GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 6 NOVEMBER 2015
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Final draft negotiating text for Paris climate summit reinserts “unambitious” reference to international aviation
Mon 26 Oct 2015 – References to international aviation and shipping have been reinserted into the latest draft negotiating text agreed at the final climate meeting of the UNFCCC in Bonn before COP21 begins at the end of next month in Paris. Text relating to the two sectors was included in a 86-page draft text that came out of talks held in Geneva in February (see article) but a slimmed-down version released earlier this month omitted the paragraphs entirely (see article). The new references are believed to have been inserted following pressure by the European Union and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). However, the earlier text that called for global sectoral emission reduction targets be set for the two sectors has been heavily watered down and merely calls on parties to “pursue limitation or reduction” of emissions, working through ICAO and IMO. Industry and ICAO will also be relieved that earlier text calling for a levy scheme be imposed to provide climate finance has not been included.
The new draft agreement now includes the following paragraph (19, page 12, International Transport Emissions):
“Option 1: Parties [shall][should][other] pursue limitation or reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation and marine bunker fuels, working through the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization, respectively, with a view to agreeing concrete measures addressing these emissions, including developing procedures for incorporating emissions from international aviation and marine bunker fuels into low-emission development strategies. Option 2: No text.”
The Geneva text had two paragraphs (23 bis and 47.5) that stated:
“In meeting the 2°C objective, Parties agree on the need for global sectoral emission reduction targets for international aviation and maritime transport and on the need for all Parties to work through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to develop global policy frameworks to achieve these targets.”
“Encourages ICAO and IMO to develop a levy scheme to provide financial support for the Adaptation Fund” and both UN agencies “are encouraged to take into consideration the needs of developing countries, particularly the LDCs [Least Developed Countries], SIDS [Small Island Developing States] and countries in Africa heavily reliant on tourism and international transport of traded goods.”
The reinsertion of the two sectors into the final draft agreement was welcomed by environmental NGOs, which had lobbied strongly both before and during last week’s talks in Bonn. It is understood that as well as the LDCs wanting the text inserted, other developing countries had been persuaded to follow suit.
“The latest text is the result of developed and developing countries cooperating on this issue for the first time,” commented Bill Hemmings, Clean Shipping and Aviation Manager at Brussels-based Transport & Environment (T&E).
However, T&E said the draft lacked ambition and the language needed to be strengthened if the sectors’ growing climate impact was to be curbed.
“International aviation and shipping emissions are the elephants in the room for the UNFCCC,” said Hemmings. “The Paris Agreement must send a clear signal – not a passing reference – to the two UN bodies regulating these emissions that time is up and action is now due. The 2-degree global warming limit becomes next to impossible if Paris gives these sectors a free pass.”
Work continues at ICAO this week towards developing a framework on a global market-based measure based on carbon offsetting for international aviation emissions, with the two technical task force groups advising on monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) and carbon emission unit eligibility criteria meeting in Montreal.
After concerns that the slimmed-down version had little reference to carbon markets, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) welcomed the addition of market provisions in the new draft text.
“IETA is particularly pleased to see a more robust section on mitigation that clarifies the market provisions,” said IETA International Policy Director, Jeff Swartz. “It now makes clear that countries can cooperate on markets with proper accounting of transfers, and it sets policy to avoid double-counting of emissions reductions.
“There are also several references to ‘international transferrable mitigation outcomes’, which is in line with what IETA has been proposing to governments for more than a year.”
UNFCCC – Draft Agreement as of October 23 (pdf) , Transport & Environment (T&E) , International Emissions Trading Association (IETA)
Adelaide Airport to cut carbon emissions by 10 per cent with new rooftop solar power system
Fri 6 Nov 2015 – Adelaide Airport is to build what it claims will be the largest airport rooftop solar power system in Australia and is expected to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by close to 10 per cent. The 1.17MW system is to be built on the short term car park roof by Solgen Energy and will be more than 10 times larger than the airport’s existing system, bringing the total rooftop solar capacity to 1.28MW. Made up of 4,500 panels – enough to power the equivalent of more than 300 homes – it will be the largest private-sector solar system in South Australia. As part of its drive to be the most environmentally friendly airport in Australia, Adelaide has become the country’s first to be certified at the third level of the industry Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.
The airport first installed solar panels on the roof of its domestic and international terminal in 2007 and construction of the new solar system, which will cover 8,000 square metres of rooftop, is expected to start next month and be completed by April 2016.
“Working within Adelaide Airport’s site constraints, we engineered a bespoke solution to solve the delicate balance of optimising power output while delivering a robust business case,” said Solgen Energy Director David Naismith. “This project further demonstrates the growing uptake of solar power as an integral part of any business’s energy mix, irrespective of industry.”
It will be one of the first installations within Australia to utilise the SMA Sunny Tripower 60000TL solar inverter. The system will incorporate Trinasmart solar panels with the ability to operate independently through built-in Tigo Energy power optimisers. As a result, each panel will be able to operate at its maximum output irrespective of partial shading that may occur on the array. In addition, each panel is independently monitored and, for added safety, the entire array can be shut down at panel level from a single switch.
Adelaide Airport Managing Director Mark Young said the solar system would significantly reduce energy consumption while assisting the state government in achieving its renewable energy targets.
“Adelaide Airport’s vision is to be a top tier airport business centre in the Asia-Pacific region and further improving our environmental credentials is a key part of this vision,” he added.
In May the airport announced it had been certified at Level 3 (Optimisation) – one below the top carbon neutrality Level 4 – under the global industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme for its work in reducing its carbon footprint whilst also working to guide and influence other stakeholders at the airport to do the same. It is just the seventh airport in the Asia-Pacific region to reach this level.
“Adelaide is now in rare company for our carbon reduction initiatives alongside the likes of Hong Kong and Incheon international airports,” said Young.
Recent initiatives at the airport include the construction of green star rated buildings, installation of LED airfield lighting, bicycle storage facilities at the terminal and the purchase of an electric car for staff use. “In addition, we’re now working closely with our tenants, including airlines and ground handlers, to jointly recognise and reduce our carbon footprints,” reported Young.
The airport has also developed a five-year sustainability strategy and carbon management plan, which has identified a number of future carbon reduction initiatives.
Adelaide Airport – Environment , Solgen Energy , Airport Carbon Accreditation
Scottish EU-funded project launched that will help remote and rural airports to reduce their carbon footprint
Thu 5 Nov 2015 – A three-year, €2.4 million ($2.6m) project has been launched in Scotland to heighten awareness of the importance to rural and remote communities of local air services and to use innovative technologies to make them as cost effective and environmentally friendly as possible. The Smart Peripheral and Remote Airports 2020 (SPARA 2020) project will include two work strands to foster more sustainable energy use at airports in the Scottish Highlands and Islands region to include electric vehicle surface access and the possibility of offering biofuels to airlines serving those airports. The project is part of the EU’s Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (NPAP) with funding of €1.5 million coming from a grant from the European Regional Development Fund. The NPAP aims to help peripheral and remote communities on the northern margins of Europe to develop their economic, social and environmental potential.
The SPARA project will bring together a range of public authorities, academic institutions, airports, small businesses and specialists to focus on the particular challenges of airports in remote and peripheral areas, and to assist them in the use of new technologies. The lead in the project is HITRANS, the transport partnership representing local councils in the Highlands and Islands region, with other partners coming from Scotland, Sweden, Ireland, Norway and Australia.
Scottish partners include the University of Highlands and Islands and Robert Gordon University, whilst Sweden is represented by the Swedish Transport Administration, Sundsvall Timrå Airport and Storuman Municipality. The North West Regional Assembly of Ireland will represent airports such as Donegal and Ireland West (Knock) in the project, with Molde University in Norway and the University of Sydney the remaining partners.
The initiative was launched at Inverness Airport by Derek Mackay, Scottish Minister for Transport and the Islands. “Air services have a vital role to play for remote communities across Scotland so this project, looking at how we can help develop our airports in remote and rural areas, is very welcome,” he said. “The focus on improving performance and making them more cost effective is incredibly important as we look to continue to provide the best possible service to communities that depend on these transport links. The project will also look at how we make remote and rural airports more environmentally friendly, investigating new and innovative measures to reduce their carbon footprint.”
Low-carbon fuel airport surface access demonstrator trials are being developed by HITRANS in partnership with member councils, the Energy Savings Trust and Highlands and Islands Airports, which operates and manages 11 airports in the region. This is aimed at decarbonising links from the airport to its local population centres and is hoped to include support for electric bus operation, EV car hire and electric/hybrid taxis.
The business case for offering biofuels to incoming aircraft at the region’s airports will be examined in some detail, learning from pioneering work at Karlstad Airport in Sweden, says HITRANS. Last year, Karlstad was chosen as the location for Sweden’s first ‘bioport’ by sustainable jet fuel supplier SkyNRG and aviation fuel supplier Statoil (see article).
The SPARA project also intends to examine the distinct socio-economic role that airports play in the Northern Periphery and Arctic area and also to refine and improve economic impact assessment methodologies of those airports with a view to better guide future public investment.
The NPAP comprises nine partner countries that include EU member states Finland, Ireland, Sweden and the UK (Scotland and Northern Ireland), along with the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Norway. Despite geographical differences, the large area shares a number of common features, such as low population density, low accessibility, low economic diversity, abundant natural resources and a high potential impact from climate change. This combination results in joint challenges and opportunities that can best be overcome and realised by transnational cooperation, says the programme.
HITRANS , Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme , European Regional Development Fund
Cathay Pacific achieves 4.5% improvement in fuel efficiency as it makes progress on sustainability performance
Fri 30 Oct 2015 – Cathay Pacific achieved a 4.5% improvement in the fuel efficiency of its passenger and cargo operations in 2014 over the previous year, according to the airline group’s latest annual sustainability report. Since 1998, the overall revenue-tonne-kilometre (RTK) fuel efficiency performance has improved by 22.8%. In addition to a contribution from a higher load factor in 2014, the airline attributes the progress to ongoing fleet modernisation and flight efficiency measures such as single-engine taxiing and onboard weight reductions. However, as a result of growth in capacity, CO2 emissions from fuel burn for Cathay Pacific and sister airline Dragonair increased from 15.5 million tonnes in 2013 to 16.4 million tonnes in 2014 (+5.8%), the group’s first rise in total emissions since 2011.
During 2014, the two airlines took delivery of 16 new Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and nine new aircraft are scheduled for delivery this year, which they say will deliver significant fuel savings and a lower noise footprint. Boeing 777-300ER aircraft form the backbone of the Cathay ultra long-haul fleet, realising fuel efficiency improvements of 26-28% compared to their predecessors. Six Boeing 747-400s were retired last year. Over the next 10 years, the airline is expecting to add 79 new aircraft to its fleet, including the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777-9X and 747-8F.
“We recognise the amount of research and development effort that goes into designing, testing and manufacturing a new aircraft and the significant investment and risk associated with bringing a new product to market,” says the report. “But this is the challenge of climate change – where a step-change through radical designs and technology is imperative in meeting our climate change targets.”
In 2014, the group established the Flight Efficiency Working Group to manage better use of fuel and improving fuel efficiency. Projects are now focused in areas such as aircraft weight, performance and operation, as well as airspace efficiency.
One project last year included a study with Hong Kong International Airport in preparation for a ban on APU use at the airport and various procedures were evaluated to minimise APU usage. As a result of action by the Working Group, Cathay Pacific also implemented reduced engine taxiing during 2014, following its introduction by Dragonair the previous year.
Other measures introduced in 2014 that have resulted in a reduction in fuel and emissions include a move towards paperless cockpits that involve replacing weighty charts, manuals and documents with Electronic Flight Bags. Three aircraft have been used to evaluate the use of new antennas that significantly reduce aircraft drag and therefore fuel burn. Around 5,600 tonnes of fuel was saved from engine core washes during 2014, resulting in a reduction of 17,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
The airline group is an active player in the development of sustainable aviation biofuels. In addition to membership of the industry Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), Cathay Pacific last year joined the Commercial Alternative Aviation Fuel Users Initiative (CAAFI). In 2014, it also announced an investment in US-based municipal solid waste (MSW) to jet fuel developer Fulcrum BioEnergy, which includes a long-term supply agreement for an initial 375 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel over 10 years.
The sustainability report reveals that under Cathay Pacific’s FLY greener carbon offset programme, its passengers offset 3,300 tonnes of CO2 in 2014, the same outcome as in 2009. Cathay Pacific and Dragonair also offset 10,000 tonnes of CO2 at a cost of around HK$250,000 ($32,000) in respect of staff travelling on business during 2014. The programme supports hydro power and wind power projects in Guangdong Province, China.
On the ground, the group has implemented a number of measures to reduce food waste where possible from passenger meals and a trial has been run to donate unopened TetraPak juices to a local food bank in Hong Kong. Various environmental inflight initiatives have led to the recycling of more than 500,000kg of glass, around 20,000kg of aluminium and over 40,000kg of plastic. Glass bottles collected from flights have been turned into paving bricks for pathways and roads.
The airline’s passenger lounge at Paris Charles de Gaulle has achieved silver level LEED certification in recognition of the practical and measurable strategies and solutions implemented at achieving a higher performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. It is the first and only airport lounge in the world to have received such certification to date.
In 2014, Cathay Pacific partnered with Business for Social Responsibility’s Centre for Sustainable Procurement to develop and trial a set of specially designed, simple comparative tools to assess the environmental impact of different materials used in the airline’s products. This, says the airline, is helping its teams in the procurement of more environmentally friendly and sustainable products, such as lighter and reusable containers and cutlery for the inflight meal service.
“At Cathay Pacific we believe that life should be lived well, and that part of living well is to take a more sustainable approach that can help to preserve the environment for future generations. The Cathay Group’s sustainability strategy focuses on five key aspects, including our operations, people and communities, customers, suppliers and infrastructure,” said James Tong, Cathay Pacific Director Corporate Affairs.
“We continued to make progress on our sustainability performance last year, making a positive and far-reaching contribution to the sustainable development of our industry, the people and communities we serve, and the environment in which we live.”
Cathay Pacific – Sustainable Development Report 2014
Plentiful supply of quality offsets can meet international aviation demand under ICAO global carbon scheme
Thu 29 Oct 2015 – Concern that there will be an insufficient supply of quality carbon offsets to meet demand under a global market-based mechanism (GMBM) for international aviation appears groundless, according to analysis by Oeko-Institut. The UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is the largest source of credits, with more than 7,500 projects registered to date. The German research organisation found that credits from the pipeline of existing CDM projects could cover international aviation demand for a period of at least eight years from the potential start of the scheme in 2021 even if tight eligibility requirements are introduced. Meanwhile, some in the airline sector are pushing for REDD+ forestry credits to be also included in the GMBM. Eligibility criteria for offset units under the GMBM is currently under scrutiny by an ICAO expert working group tasked with ensuring the environmental integrity of the scheme.
The objective of the GMBM being developed at ICAO is to ensure any growth in international aviation carbon emissions from 2020 is neutralised through the purchase of carbon offsets. According to projections cited by Oeko, the offset demand increases from 26 million tonnes (Mt) in 2021 to 448 Mt in 2035, when the scheme is due to end. Aggregated over the entire period, from 2021 to 2035, it amounts to 3.3 billion tonnes.
CDM project pipelines are provided and regularly updated in two databases compiled by the UN based on data supplied in the project design document of each project. One database (IGES) includes an estimate of the projected Certified Emission Reduction (CER) unit issuance per project while the other (UNEP DTU) compares projected and actual issuance to calculate an issuance success rate, which enabled Oeko to adjust future CER supply potential. Both databases can be merged into one comprehensive database and can be used to discount projects that are withdrawn, rejected or under validation. For the purposes of its analysis and to provide a conservative estimate, Oeko took into account only registered projects and the supply potential was adjusted by the project-type specific issuance success rate.
Oeko’s analysis shows that the potential adjusted CER supply for the 2021-2035 period totals just over 6.5 billion CERs (one tonne = 1 CER). If contentious project types – such as hydro, wind and HFCs – were excluded from the GMBM offset criteria over environmental integrity concerns, this would drop to around 1.2 billion CERs.
Registration of new CDM projects has considerably slowed from a peak in 2012, mainly as a result of declining CER prices, notes Oeko, although since 2013 almost 500 new projects have been registered. If ICAO agreed on the GMBM by the end of 2016, it says, it is very likely that project developers would aim at registering new projects to meet the demand, although estimating the volume of such a supply would be speculative.
At the start of the GMBM, the adjusted yearly CER supply is much higher than the demand and only after 10 years would demand exceed supply. If all contentious projects were excluded, the yearly supply would still be higher than demand in the first four years.
However, emissions do not have to be offset by units from the same year and therefore it is more appropriate to compare accumulated demand and supply. In which case, the adjusted CER supply would be about twice as high as the demand from international aviation. Even if all contentious project types were excluded, the supply would still be sufficient for eight years and if wind projects were eligible, the CER supply could fully cover the demand even if no new projects are registered.
Another issue is the vintage of the CERs and Oeko argues that offsets generated prior to the start of the GMBM involve a higher risk of undermining the GMBM’s environmental integrity. This can result from a seller country later taking on a greenhouse gas reduction target and a double-claiming if that target covers the sector under which the CDM project was implemented. However, if the concerns were appropriately addressed under the UNFCCC through consistent accounting of CERs then these offsets could also be taken into account, suggests Oeko.
Under these assumptions, the adjusted supply would be more than three times as high as the international aviation offset demand, and even if all contentious projects were excluded, the supply would last for more than 10 years. This would certainly provide project developers with enough lead time to develop and register new CDM projects, points out Oeko.
On this basis, concerns that there is a scarcity of offset supply for ICAO’s GMBM would seem to be groundless, even if ICAO was to deem only credits with high environmental quality standards were eligible and only recent vintages were to be used, concludes the report.
Meanwhile, a number of airlines, particularly from the United States, are pushing for credits generated by Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) programmes, which are outside the CDM system, be used under the ICAO GMBM.
Deforestation and forest degradation is a “massive problem” around the world and is responsible for around 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions as well as biodiversity loss, David Antonioli, CEO of Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), told a pre-conference seminar at the recent industry Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva.
Delta Air Lines, which has already committed itself ahead of the industry to a policy of carbon-neutral growth as from 2013, is involved in REDD+ projects with VCS in Belize and Chile.
Nancy Young, VP Environmental Affairs for US airline association A4A said: “We feel very strongly that REDD+ projects can meet the environmental integrity requirements of the ICAO GMBM and we are seeking to have States validate this as an option for meeting the industry’s carbon-neutral growth goal from 2020.”
REDD+ is viewed with suspicion by some States and NGOs over issues of permanence, double-counting and leakage but, said Young, many of these concerns were based on a different era and great progress had been made at UNFCCC over robustness. Including REDD+ credits within the GMBM would send a strong demand signal that would boost interest and activity in this sector, she added.
Oeko-Institut – ‘Availability of offsets for a global market-based mechanism for international aviation’ , UNFCCC - CDM , UN-REDD , Verified Carbon Standard
Overall industry progress as Alaska, Spirit, Frontier and Southwest again lead ICCT’s US airline fuel efficiency rankings
Fri 23 Oct 2015 – For the second year running, Alaska, Spirit, Frontier and Southwest remained the top four most fuel-efficient airlines on US domestic operations in 2014, according to the annual rankings study carried out by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). After slowing in recent years, overall industry fuel efficiency improved by 1.7% from 2013 to 2014 on a revenue passenger mile (RPM) basis, largely as a result of a 1% gain in passenger load and 1.6% increase in seating density. Airlines also implemented fleet renewal programmes that for the first time since 2010 slightly reduced the average age of aircraft used on domestic flights to 11.5 years. One clear trend is the slowly but steadily increasing number of seats per aircraft, or upgauging, which has the effect of increasing fuel efficiency but, points out ICCT, at the cost of reduced passenger comfort and access to flights.
“Our 2013 study showed no net fuel efficiency improvement on US domestic passenger flights. The 1.7% efficiency improvement in 2014 is largely in line with industry’s voluntary climate targets,” commented ICCT’s Dan Rutherford, one of the authors of the report. “The data suggests that these improvements came largely from putting more seats on each plane and reducing the number of flights, rather than through the use of more efficient aircraft.”
In 2010, there were 145 seats on an average US domestic flight flown by mainline carriers. In 2013, this number rose to 149 and reached 150 in 2014. For example, the popular Airbus A320 aircraft on average carried 153 passengers in 2014, up from 148 passengers in 2010 and, according to both Airbus and Boeing, the trend is expected to continue.
“The approach increases load factors but reduces flight frequency and the number of airports served. Overall, travellers experience these changes as reduced comfort, longer wait times and fewer destinations,” said Rutherford. “If consumers start to push back, these gains may turn out to be unsustainable.”
With all the major airlines profitable in 2014, ICCT observed a stronger correlation between fuel efficiency and profitability in 2014 than was evident in 2013, despite a sharp fall in oil prices in the latter half of the year that could be expected to weaken the link between fuel efficiency and profitability.
Alaska and Spirit, the two most efficient airlines in 2014, for the fifth year in a row, have also been the most profitable on US operations since 2011. Carriers such as American Airlines and Virgin America, which came last in ICCT’s 2014 efficiency rankings were still able to remain profitable despite having more fuel-intensive operations.
Alaska again renewed its fleet in 2014, including the addition of 10 new Boeing 737-900 aircraft. It has also added split-scimitar winglets to 48 of its planned deliveries, which is expected to improve aircraft fuel efficiency by 1.5%. The airline continues to lead in domestic fuel efficiency by providing a combination of mobility (passenger miles travelled) and access (destinations reached and/or flight frequency) in a fuel-efficient manner, commends ICCT in its report.
Despite operating the least efficient US domestic flights once again in 2014, American Airlines’ absolute fuel efficiency improved substantially from 2013, consuming 5% less fuel per RPM and 3% less fuel on a typical flight. The carrier phased out its Boeing 767-200 aircraft and removed 17 of its older MD-80 aircraft from the fleet. These improvements helped close the gap between the best and worst performers in the rankings to 25%, compared with 27% in 2013.
Next year’s study will report on the impact of American’s merger with US Airways, the latter carrier having climbed from tenth place in 2013 to seventh place in 2014 as a result of maintaining an 84% load factor while replacing older, smaller aircraft with newer, larger types.
Despite both airlines experiencing a 2% overall increase in passenger load factors compared to 2013, the fuel efficiencies of Delta Air Lines and Virgin America worsened considerably in 2014, causing them to lose ground relative to others. Although still a comparatively young fleet, ICCT suggests in Virgin America’s case that this may be due to not adding to it in 2014. Virgin America and Allegiant were the only two airlines in the rankings that did not make any fleet changes in 2014.
According to Rutherford, ICCT is expecting to release next month its first international rankings of the top 20 carriers serving the transatlantic market.
ICCT – US domestic fuel efficiency ranking 2014
UK aviation minister urges airlines to phase out older aircraft over environmental and climate concerns
Wed 21 Oct 2015 – As aircraft and engine technology improves, pressure should be kept up on airlines to replace aging aircraft and invest in the newest models so that the environmental benefits can be realised as soon as possible, said UK Minister for Aviation Robert Goodwill yesterday at the Aerodays conference in London. Addressing Europe’s flagship aerospace research event, Goodwill said the sector’s history of innovation and invention was needed more than ever to respond with new technology and processes to make aviation less harmful to the environment and human health. In the light of the VW scandal, Goodwill said it would sharpen regulatory focus on manufacturers’ emission claims. He also stressed the importance of achieving a global agreement at ICAO next year on a market-based measure for international aviation carbon emissions.
Goodwill said there was a concern by many people around the growth of aviation because of the resulting increase in carbon emissions – between 1990 and 2006 international emissions had more than doubled, he pointed out – and therefore its contribution to climate change.
Even with the predicted growth in aviation demand, Goodwill said research provided by UK industry group Sustainable Aviation showed carbon emissions from aviation could fall between now and 2050 provided preventive action was taken and there was a continuation in new technology development. The aviation industry, supported by researchers, scientists and engineers, had to ensure that in the next 35 years they succeeded in achieving this reduction, he stressed.
“We must make changes in how aircraft are operated and managed in the air, how quickly aging aircraft are replaced, how quickly we can develop new engines and how soon we can introduce pioneering new low-carbon fuels,” he told delegates at a ‘Greening of Aviation’ plenary session. “Airports can do more too, such as encouraging staff to use low-emission vehicles and provide good public transport links, such as well-designed, high-capacity bus and railway stations.”
He added: “In the shorter term, we must develop a new global market-based plan to offset the growth in aviation emissions.”
With reference to the changes made last year to the international scope of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), Goodwill said it was fortunate that Europe had “held back from some of the more damaging aspects” of “going it alone” on regulating international aviation carbon emissions that was affecting relations “with our friends in China and the US”.
“The key is next year to get a global agreement on a market-based system to prevent the EU ETS having to kick back in and causing the same problems again,” he said. “Our people at ICAO understand the importance of getting that agreement and I hope the US and other major aviation States do too.”
Goodwill said aircraft noise was a serious problem in London, with more people affected by noise from Heathrow than any other airport in Europe. Measures to address noise recommended in the Airports Commission report on runway expansion were currently being studied, he said. These included a statutory independent aviation noise authority, a national noise levy to fund compensation and mitigation schemes and a ban on night flights.
“The Government is considering all these proposals but at the same time we must remember that in recent decades the greatest contribution to reducing aircraft noise has been made by technology,” he argued. “And that progress gives us reason to hope that technology will make a big difference in future decades too.”
He said his colleagues in Parliament had asked him whether the aviation industry could be guilty of the same kind of cheating as Volkswagen over air quality.
“My answer is clear: the VW scandal will sharpen regulators’ focus on engine manufacturers’ emissions claims,” he said. “The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is responsible for maintaining the high standards of testing processes that ensure emissions data is reliable. According to EASA data, engine performance has improved. In 2010, NOx emissions were 10% below ICAO’s environmental protection regulated limit. Today they are 27% below. For that progress, we must again be thankful for new technology and greater engine efficiency.”
Since 1991, the Aerodays conference has been held during each successive EU framework programme for research and innovation, and brings together European policymakers and the aviation industry. The London event marks the seventh of its kind. At Aerodays 2011, ‘Flightpath 2050’ targets were presented for reducing the environmental impact of aviation in Europe. These include a reduction in CO2 emissions by 75% (on a pax/km basis), NOx by 90% and perceived noise by 65% relative to the year 2000. Two public-private EU partnerships, Clean Sky and the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR), are tasked with meeting the targets.
Also on the ‘Greening of Aviation’ panel, Ric Parker, Chairman of the Clean Sky Governing Board, said with air travel predicted to increase eight times as much over the period to 2050, “to earn the right to grow, we must achieve these targets.”
Boeing VP Product Development Mike Sinnett said the goals were “very much achievable”. NASA’s Fayette Collier, who is in charge of the US Environmentally Responsible Aviation programme said technologies under development would potentially save the US airline fleet around 88 billion gallons of jet fuel by 2025.