GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 16 MAY 2016
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Despite disagreements on key elements of global aviation CO2 scheme, ICAO chief confident of success
Sun 15 May 2016 – After three days of complex negotiations, ICAO member states are moving towards the likelihood of an agreement at ICAO’s triennial Assembly starting in late September on a global market-based measure (GMBM) to cap net carbon emissions from international aviation. However, differences still remain on key aspects of the proposals contained in the draft Assembly resolution text that was discussed during the High-level Meeting (HLM) convened by ICAO and are unlikely to be resolved until during the Assembly. But ICAO Council President Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu expects further ICAO initiatives and bilateral talks to continue over the summer and he remains highly optimistic the UN agency will pass an Assembly resolution to launch the proposed global carbon offsetting scheme.
Around 200 officials from 65 ICAO member states, plus observers from industry and civil society, progressed through all 20 paragraphs of the text with new drafts of the Assembly resolution text published during the meeting as a result of interventions by states. States were still considering additional amendments and proposals by the end of the meeting and the latest draft, along with recommendations, will be forwarded for consideration by the ICAO Council during its next session next month – the last before the Assembly.
“We had very productive discussions during the High-level Meeting,” Dr Aliu told GreenAir in an interview after its conclusion on Friday. “Thanks to the efforts made before the meeting, including the Global Aviation Dialogues, all states that participated here came prepared to have informed deliberations on all aspects of the resolution text.
“There is now a better understanding of each other’s position, interests and opinions, which is in itself a huge movement forward. Once you have achieved this and understood where other sides are coming from, it is much easier to meet in the middle. We are in a better place now than we were three days ago. There is still some work to do, there is no doubt, but we have a number of proposals that we can work on that can lead to compromise and an even better consensus.
“What I am most appreciative of all is that the text on the table was to a large extent found acceptable by a significant number of the delegates. Having said that, ICAO consists of 191 member states and it is important that we get everybody on board. That is the way we do our business. Maybe this is a much more difficult subject than the technical issues our members are used to but at the end of the day we need consensus in order to have a workable scheme.”
Dr Aliu said significant progress was made in identifying a number of areas of common agreement and understanding, including the need to establish a global scheme to ensure ICAO could deliver on its aspirational goals and a route-based approach to ensure a level playing field. There was also a recognition by all states of a need to recognise the special circumstances and respective capabilities of states while minimising market distortions, he said. There was also consensus, he stated, that the scheme had to be administratively simple and cost-effective, yet promoted environmental integrity, and to use aviation-related metrics regarding the participation of states.
Other common areas, he said, included the treatment of new entrants, technical exemptions to avoid an undue administrative burden and the important need for robust monitoring, reporting and verification procedures along with clear emissions unit criteria. In recognition of ICAO’s ‘No Country Left Behind’ pledge, there was also general consensus of a need to ensure assistance and capacity building, especially in developing countries, reported Dr Aliu.
However, he conceded not everything in the draft resolution text had been agreed, especially regarding the key provisions of paragraphs 7 and 9, which he described as the centrepiece of the proposals. “There is still work to be done in relation to the use of other phase-in criteria, economic development metrics, and on the use of an approach that takes into account both sectoral growth and individual state growth of emissions,” he said.
Unable to find consensus on these key elements of the scheme, the chairperson of the meeting, Transport Canada’s Ellen Burack, presented a document during the HLM that highlighted the different positions of states and alternative proposals put forward during the meeting on the two paragraphs.
“The recommendations from the meeting will now be considered by the Council, which will suitably decide on the next steps,” said Dr Aliu. “In all the areas on which we have general agreement – for example on the need for a global offsetting scheme with the characteristics I have just mentioned and on the provision of assistance, including capacity building – there will be no changes to the current draft.
“For the remaining contentious issues, I expect that both through ICAO initiatives and discussions among states, efforts will be made to bridge the gap between the positions of states.”
Addressing concerns that under current proposals the scheme would fall short of ensuring the goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 would be met, Dr Aliu said it would cover a minimum of 80% of international revenue tonne kilometres (RTKs) flown in the initial phase (2021-2025), rising to an expected 95% in the second phase applying from 2026.
“In addition, the draft Resolution text contains a clause permitting the voluntary participation of states not covered by the phase-in criterion, and we expect several to take advantage of this opportunity to be more proactive.”
The remaining shortfall, he believed, would be made up from other efficiency improvements. “The MBM is just one of a basket of measures that includes innovative aircraft technologies, more efficient operational procedures and sustainable alternative fuels,” he said. “We are already exceeding our 2% per year fuel efficiency improvement goal on this basis and the MBM is meant to complement this progress and address any remaining gaps.”
Work on the resolution text is expected to continue between now and the Assembly, said Dr Aliu, along with possible wider consultations. Despite the differences that emerged during the meeting, he is upbeat on prospects for an eventual consensus on the design elements of the GMBM scheme.
“What I have witnessed these last three days was a common desire among states to better understand the concerns and problems of others, and together with industry and NGOs, to address those concerns in a constructive manner,” he said.
He added member states had recognised the international climate agreement reached in Paris meant an agreement needed to be found at ICAO since the decision to leave aviation out of Paris was a recognition that ICAO would address the issue.
“We are all moving in the right direction and I am confident that by continuing to work through the Council, and during the Assembly, the remaining outstanding issues of the resolution text will be resolved and the resolution that will be adopted at the forthcoming 39th Assembly will find agreement among all 191 ICAO states,” he concluded.
ICAO High-level Meeting
ICAO states convene to reach consensus on a global measure to cap international aviation emissions
Wed 11 May 2016 – Officials from ICAO member states have gathered in Montreal for a three-day high-level meeting (HLM) to forge a consensus on a global market-based measure (GMBM) to cap net carbon emissions from international aviation. Under discussion is a draft resolution text proposed by the ICAO Council President to be put before the next ICAO Assembly in late September that would pave the way for the introduction of a Carbon Offsetting Scheme for International Aviation (COSIA) from 2020. Despite sharp differences between major nations on key elements of the scheme, largely based around the issue of differentiation, ICAO officials are quietly confident that a deal can be struck but is likely to be taken to the wire at the Assembly.
Opening the HLM, ICAO Council President Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said the scheme would be an essential tool in bridging the gap between the growth in emissions and the technological gains and efficiencies that had already resulted in meeting ICAO’s 2% annual fuel efficiency improvement goal.
The HLM is the culmination of global outreach efforts by ICAO to inform and consult with all 191 member states and seek agreement on key elements of the scheme. Since the last Assembly in 2013, the governing ICAO Council has formed an Environment Advisory Group (EAG) to come up with the scheme’s framework design and a Global MBM Task Force (GMTF) to consider and recommend rules on emissions monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) and carbon offset eligibility criteria. The ICAO Secretariat has also held two annual rounds of regional Global Aviation Dialogues (GLADs) to consult with officials from member states on the scheme. More recently, a High-level Group (HLG) of states chaired by former ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh González was formed to support the Council on formulating the draft proposal.
“The objective of this HLM is therefore to focus our deliberations on bridging any remaining points of contention in the draft MBM Assembly Resolution text,” Dr Aliu told representatives from states, industry and civil society at the opening ceremony. “I am optimistic, with your support, that the 39th ICAO Assembly will adopt a Resolution.
“Thereafter, a lot of work will still need to be done by ICAO and member states for the scheme to become fully operational by 2020. However, the critical impetus for moving forward starts firstly with agreeing on a draft Resolution at this meeting.”
In a keynote address, Canada’s Transport Minister, Marc Garneau, said reaching a consensus on a global measure to address international aviation emissions was an important step in following the example of the Paris climate agreement.
“It is the first time ever that the international community has come together to agree on a specific measure to reduce emissions from across an entire global industry sector,” he said. “Emissions from international aviation have increased at a rapid rate. And they are projected to continue increasing by as much as 80% between 2020 and 2035. This makes it all the more important for us to work towards sustainable and responsible growth within the sector.
The HLM is being chaired by Ellen Burack, Director General of Environmental Policy at Transport Canada. The format over the three days is for states to air their views on the 20 paragraphs of the draft Resolution text in batches, with the contentious paragraphs – 7, 8 and 9 – being discussed today. By later tomorrow (Thursday) the meeting is expected to consider the draft Resolution in its entirety and reach recommendations to be put forward for consideration by the next session of the ICAO Council starting next month, the final session before the Assembly.
Although a consensus has started to form around the draft, key issues need to be resolved around which states are to be included in the scheme from the start and how the offsetting responsibilities are distributed.
“To include an ambitious and pragmatic outcome, any approach we agree upon must include all the major emitters,” said Garneau. “It must prevent a proliferation of regional measures that would create undue burden and could lead to distortions in global aviation markets.
“We need to work towards an outcome that will accommodate our differences sufficiently without being discriminatory. And we need to work towards an outcome that will demonstrate real emission reductions, including thorough robust data monitoring, verification and reporting.
“Accomplishing this would be an enormous step forward and is essential for a successful Assembly. Achieving global consensus is challenging, and we all know it requires significant compromise by all involved.”
In a keynote address yesterday at the Global Sustainable Aviation Forum held by industry coalition group Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), ICAO Secretary General Dr Fang Liu said the GMBM was the most complex and challenging effort facing the UN agency but environmental protection was key to achieving a sustainable future for air transport.
“As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed during his visit to ICAO earlier this year, the peoples of the world are now looking to our Organization and its states for concrete environmental action post-COP21, and we intend to deliver just that,” she promised.
ICAO High-level Meeting , Text of Dr Aliu’s HLM speech , Text of Dr Liu’s GSAF speech
ICAO CO2 emissions standard was a factor in the decision to favour the all-new Bombardier C Series, says Delta
Wed 4 May 2016 – Last week’s announcement that a major US airline, Delta, had ordered C Series aircraft from Canadian manufacturer Bombardier was a shot in the arm for the troubled and much-delayed all-new aircraft programme. The deal was also a boost for the aircraft CO2 emissions standard proposed by ICAO’s environmental technical committee in February, which has come in for criticism from certain quarters for being unambitious. Delta’s SVP for supply chain maintenance and fleet strategy, Greg May, said the decision to purchase 75 short- to mid-range CS100 aircraft with options for an additional 50 had been partly influenced by the introduction of the new standard. Bombardier claims the C Series, which is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1500G engine will deliver a 20% savings in fuel and CO2 emissions compared to existing in-production rivals and will be the quietest commercial jet aircraft in its class.
The entirely new C Series, which comprises the CS100 and larger CS300, has been designed specifically for the 100- to 150-seat single-aisle market. Extensive use has been made of advanced aluminium in the aircraft’s fuselage and advanced composites in its wings, empennage and rear fuselage to reduce weight that results in a considerable fuel burn advantage, says Bombardier. Its superior noise performance and short-field capability will make it ideal for varied types of operations such as at urban and noise-sensitive airports, suggests the manufacturer, with a noise footprint up to four times smaller than that of comparable in-production aircraft. It is also expected to emit 50% fewer NOx emissions than the ICAO CAEP6 NOx emission standards.
Speaking to journalists at Delta’s recent Media Day about the influence the ICAO CO2 standard had on the C Series purchase, May said: “It’s definitely a consideration. It’s not the deciding factor, but we’re always monitoring our entire fleet for emissions, noise and environmental friendliness.”
In its latest published corporate responsibility report (see article), Delta recorded a 1.93% improvement in fuel efficiency over the previous year, exceeding IATA’s 1.5% goal but the average since 2009 has been 1.23%, although the total carbon footprint has decreased by 16% since 2005. The airline, the second-biggest US carrier by traffic, reported total emissions began increasing in 2013 and pledged to align itself with the IATA target through the introduction of new, more efficient aircraft from 2015 onwards and other measures such as the installation of wing-tip devices.
The US aviation industry, meanwhile, is awaiting the outcome of a ruling by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on regulating emissions from commercial aircraft. Environmental groups have recently taken legal steps to force the EPA to act, which has itself been working with the FAA on the CO2 standard at ICAO (see article). Some observers believe the EPA could decide to impose a tougher stringency than that reached by ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP).
The standard is expected to be formally adopted by ICAO’s governing Council shortly. Under the CAEP recommendation, the standard would apply to new aircraft type designs as of 2020 and new deliveries of current in-production aircraft types from 2023.
Delta Air Lines – Corporate Responsibility , Bombardier C Series
WestJet teams with clean energy centre to develop a sustainable aviation fuel supply chain in Western Canada
Fri 29 Apr 2016 – Canadian carrier WestJet is to team with the new Clean Energy Technology Centre (CETC) in the town of Drayton Valley in central Alberta to accelerate the development and deployment of sustainable aviation biofuels in Western Canada. The area is said to be abundant with agricultural and forestry wastes as sustainable sources for the making of aviation biofuel. The fast-growing Calgary, Alberta-based airline says the location can help solve many of the challenges in finding an efficient and economical way of getting fuel from production to aircraft. In the final stages of completion, the CETC is situated in an integrated bio-industrial park called the Bio-Mile, which was established by the town to attract businesses from the emerging bio-economy.
The airline says biofuels represent the biggest and best opportunity for the aviation industry to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
“WestJet has already made significant, demonstrable progress in our environmental commitment. As an example, our fleet investment over the last 15 years has improved our fuel efficiency by almost 50%,” said Geoffrey Tauvette, WestJet Director, Environment and Fuel. “The natural next step for us was getting actively involved in tapping Western Canada’s innovation potential in developing scalable, affordable and sustainable aviation biofuels.”
The Bio-Mile park is close to forestry and oil and gas industries whose infrastructure and human resources could eventually support the development of alternative fuel sources, says the airline.
Added CETC COO Manny Deol: “We are extremely well positioned and we offer a full spectrum of advantages to clean energy researchers, entrepreneurs and innovators, including location, ready access to feedstock, transportation networks, a supportive community and academic partnerships in Alberta and Europe.”
The mayor of Drayton Valley, Glenn McLean, believed the purpose-built CETC would ideally complement the venture with WestJet. “We are ready to work with talented people all across the biofuel supply chain to meet the ambitious challenge set by WestJet,” he said.
WestJet – Environment , Clean Energy Technology Centre (CETC) and Bio-Mile
Europe must be prepared to be flexible in ICAO GMBM negotiations, EU Transport Commissioner Bulc tells MEPs
Thu 28 Apr 2016 – Appearing before the European Parliament’s Environment Committee (ENVI), EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc told MEPs there were still significant challenges in reaching an agreement at ICAO on a global market-based measure (GMBM) to cap net carbon emissions from international aviation but she was confident a deal could be struck. However, it would require compromises and flexibility from all ICAO states, especially on issues such as differentiation, said Bulc, but “warmly welcomed” the proposals currently tabled. The EU would be pushing for strict rules on monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) and the use of high-quality carbon offsets in the scheme that guaranteed genuine emission reductions, she added. MEPs were generally supportive of the Commission’s negotiating efforts but some expressed concern over a lack of the scheme’s climate ambition and insisted the Aviation EU ETS be retained in some form after the proposed scheme starts in 2020.
Bulc said she was fully committed to working with other countries to reach an ambitious agreement on the GMBM at the ICAO Assembly in September/October that delivered on what was agreed by the last Assembly in 2013. Despite very strong criticism from “some stakeholders”, she said ICAO Council President Aliu had managed to keep the draft Assembly resolution text first released last December as the only proposal so far tabled. It had served, she believed, as a good basis for the negotiations as it balanced the principle of non-discrimination and equal treatment for all aircraft operators with the common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) – also known as special circumstances and respective capabilities (SCRC) – principle of developing countries, while at the same time preserving environmental integrity.
However, the proposals could be further strengthened by the addition of important key elements, she said, to achieve stabilisation in the growth of international aviation emissions post-2020, such as periodic reviews of the scheme to ensure the carbon-neutral growth goal of the scheme was met and in keeping with future climate commitments. In addition, the scheme had to be built on “solid transparency provisions” concerning MRV and carbon offset rules. As it was unlikely all the design elements of the scheme would be in place by the time of the Assembly, Bulc said the draft resolution should contain wording on a roadmap to ensure finalisation of these elements by the time the GMBM started in 2020.
On the current state of the negotiations, Bulc told the MEPs: “Many important stakeholders and partners are already supporting the President’s proposals but we have to say openly that not everybody is on board yet. The good news is that those states that have not yet explicitly expressed their positions are in favour of reaching an agreement. We all want to build upon the positive energy of COP21 and I’m confident we will find a solution in the end, but substantial negotiating efforts will be needed.
“Initially we would have liked a more ambitious climate goal but, given the difficulties of the negotiations, let us make the important first step of carbon-neutral growth happen. If we can reach an agreement, then this will give us a solid basis for a strong ongoing process through the periodic reviews. Whatever we achieve in October need not be the final product.”
She urged EU member states and MEPs to “stick together” during the negotiations, which would require flexibility and understanding of the positions of third countries, not all of whom shared the EU’s views, she said.
“Achieving all our objectives will be quite challenging. Yes, we have to stay ambitious but we also need to be flexible and ready to compromise. New solutions may have to be found to deal with differing opinions.”
She said the Commission was engaging with other key states on the issue. Discussions earlier this week with US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx had been fruitful, she reported, with both sides pledging to be united in the process. “This time we are both on the same side,” she said, referencing past differences on regulating international aviation emissions.
Bulc revealed she would shortly be visiting China and would be addressing the GMBM issue, “on which China has not yet clearly expressed its position.” African states, she added, were “fully on board” regarding reaching an agreement.
Responding, German MEP (EPP) and the Parliament’s rapporteur for the inclusion of aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), Peter Liese, said there was frustration that it taken over 10 years to reach the point where only carbon-neutral growth was being considered at ICAO when actual emission reductions were needed. He said he was concerned that the proposals did not cover how emissions from routes exempted from the scheme would be covered elsewhere and suggested that those states included would have to do more, for example, through bilateral agreements outside of ICAO.
Despite early difficulties, Liese said the inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS had shown it worked, with airlines from countries such as China, India and the United States now participating. The emissions covered by the intra-EU scope of the scheme were significant, he said. “We must not give it up and we should at least continue with it for flights within Europe,” he demanded.
However, UK Conservative MEP Julie Girling said insisting on keeping both a regional and a global mechanism would be difficult to resolve and although carbon-neutral growth was not a particularly ambitious goal, there was a danger of “the perfect being the enemy of the good.”
Bulc responded that the EU ETS had indeed been a great success but aviation was a global business requiring a global agreement, which wouldn’t deal with internal markets. “Any internal discussion on the EU ETS has to happen after we have the results of the Assembly,” she added.
Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (ALDE) was concerned about the carbon offsetting element of the scheme since the experience of using UN offsets within the EU ETS and generally had resulted in “huge negative effects” with the CDM being used, for example, to help fund new, albeit cleaner, coal-fired power stations in China and India. “Offsetting can often be the problem, not the solution,” he said. “I might be willing to go along with the proposals but only if we set very strict criteria on offsetting.”
Noting Bulc’s call for a need to compromise on the ICAO agreement, Green MEP Bas Eickhout said carbon-neutral growth after 2020 was already a significant compromise for the EU to accept and a huge concession. He was also highly critical of the Commission’s statement that the aircraft CO2 standard agreed at ICAO in February had been a “landmark deal”.
“When the most inefficient aircraft are still staying in production until 2028 and half of the claimed 650 Mt of CO2 being saved is on a voluntary basis, I cannot call that a landmark deal,” he said. “The Commission is not setting a very comforting standard when we are going into the negotiations at ICAO on the GMBM.”
He called on Bulc to insist that exempted emissions are compensated for and that the agreement does not include any language prohibiting regional measures. Otherwise, he warned, “you will have problems in the Parliament trying to get a new Stop-the-Clock on the EU ETS. The Parliament will fight for these issues.”
Bulc defended the CO2 standard agreement, which, she said would evolve over time and said it was a positive move in helping the GMBM negotiations.
Ivo Belet (EPP), who led a delegation of MEPs to Montreal in February to meet with ICAO officials during the CO2 standard talks, said although the standard was not overly ambitious, it represented some progress at the UN agency. However, he said, he had been “astonished” by the lack of transparency he found at ICAO and called for the GMBM process and governance to be opened up to public access. Another delegation of MEPs is due to attend the High-level Meeting (HLM) taking place at ICAO early next month to discuss the proposals.
Responding to the MEPs, Bulc said: “I’m in favour of ambitious goals but we must be realistic. We all agree that this will not be an easy negotiation but we are part of a global community and we cannot exclude ourselves from the rest of the world. We must invite, not push, others to join us. This is the spirit in which I am acting. We really must find common agreement in September.”
Europe has put forward a joint working paper for the HLM that offers its position on the current draft text on the GMBM scheme. It calls for the emissions gap caused by the phased implementation approach – which Europe supports – of the scheme to be addressed, otherwise the climate objective would be put at risk. However, the paper is generally supportive of the main design elements of the scheme as set out in the latest version of the draft resolution.
European Parliament – video recording of ENVI meeting with Commissioner Bulc (starts 2:15:15)