GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 1 JUNE 2016
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Canadian jet biofuel initiative selects Montreal-Trudeau for co-mingled fuel supply project
Wed 1 June 2016 – Montréal-Trudeau Airport has been chosen by Canada’s Biojet Supply Chain Initiative (CBSCI) for a project to supply aircraft with sustainable aviation biofuel from a shared fuel system. The three-year collaboration involving 14 stakeholder organisations, including Air Canada, is aiming to introduce 400,000 litres of biojet. Previous Air Canada biofuel flights used biojet that was segregated from regular jet fuel and loaded separately into an aircraft by a tanker but CBSCI is looking to develop a more efficient operational framework that will make use of a multi-user, co-mingled airport fuel supply system. The first of its kind in the country, the objective of the CBSCI project is to create a sustainable Canadian supply chain of biojet using renewable feedstocks.
The biojet will be sourced from Canada’s abundant agricultural and forestry biomass resources, says Air Canada, using globally recognised sustainable production and harvesting practices. The commercially available, certifiably sustainable oleochemical feedstocks will then undergo a Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA) conversion process before being blended with conventional petroleum jet fuel and introduced into a shared fuel tank at Montréal-Trudeau. The CBSCI project will also identify and help solve supply logistic barriers that arise when aviation biofuels are introduced at major Canadian airports.
GARDN – CBSCI , Air Canada – Environment
Industry carbon reduction programme now extends its reach to over 150 airports worldwide
Wed 1 June 2016 – During the COP21 climate summit in Paris last December, airport industry organisations ACI World and ACI Europe signed an MoU with the UNFCCC to promote the UN climate agency’s Climate Neutral Now project and jointly encourage airports to reach the highest levels of the industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) programme. Nearly six months on, ACI has released an update on progress that shows ACA status has now been earned by 157 airports across the world, which collectively handle 33% of global passenger traffic. Of these, 21 airports have now achieved the highest Level 3+ representing carbon neutrality, with Turkey’s Izmir Adnan Menderes the latest to join the ranks. Originally developed and launched by ACI Europe exactly seven years ago, the ACA was extended to airports in Asia-Pacific in 2011 in partnership with ACI Asia-Pacific and has since been rolled out in all other ACI regions.
“An impressive two billion air passengers now travel through airports certified at one of the four levels of the programme,” said Angela Gittens, ACI World’s Director General. “With over 100 airports now engaged in ACA, Europe is in the lead on carbon management, but other parts of the world are ramping up their efforts as can be seen from the strong momentum in Asia-Pacific and North America, and growing interest in the Latin America/Caribbean and Africa regions. The programme is clearly empowering airports across the world to address their impact on climate change.”
The European airport industry committed during COP21 to increasing the number of carbon neutral airports from 20 to 50 by 2030. “Most promisingly, we are seeing a lot of airports moving up the levels of the programme as they strive to get closer and closer to carbon neutrality,” reported Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI Europe. “There are now 20 European airports at Level 3 Optimisation – the level just before carbon neutral status – and they welcome over 29% of European air passengers.”
Since Paris, the 10 French airports in the Vinci Airports group and Rochelle, Riga, Sofia, Keflavik and Vilnius airports have all joined ACA at the lower levels. With its additional airports in Portugal and Cambodia, in December 2015 Vinci became the world’s first international airport group to have all of its airports certified at one of the levels.
Growth in accreditation has also been impressive in the Asia-Pacific region with 31 airports now certified. “Since ACA was extended to the region five years ago, we have embarked on the journey towards carbon neutrality with our members,” said ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Director Patti Chau. “I encourage more members to become accredited and demonstrate our airports’ dedication to sustainable growth.”
Following the programme’s launch in North America less than two years ago, 13 airports have become certified, including Dallas Forth Worth and San Francisco at Level 3 Optimisation and Denver and Toronto-Pearson at Level 2 Reduction.
“With so many airports in our region applying to the programme in the past 18 months, it’s clear that the North American airport industry is taking significant steps to becoming leaders in environmental stewardship. We look forward to more airports joining the programme in the year ahead,” said Kevin Burke, President of ACI North America.
Understandably, growth in programme membership has been slower in the Africa and Latin America & Caribbean regions with two airports entering in the former and four in the latter region.
The independently administered programme has the support of a number of international organisations, including ICAO, UNEP, Eurocontrol, the European Commission and now the UNFCCC.
Full results for Year 7 of the programme (covering June 2015 to May 2016), which will include details of the carbon reduction achieved, will be released at ACI Europe’s annual assembly in Athens from 20-22 June.
As an adjunct to the programme, ACI has recently released version 3.2 of the Airport Carbon and Emissions Reduction Tool, a free application for airports of all sizes to track their carbon emissions.
Airport Carbon Accreditation , Airport Carbon and Emissions Reduction Tool , UNFCCC Climate Neutral Now
Aviation industry encouraged by ICAO progress on global carbon scheme negotiations but call for higher emissions coverage
Thu 19 May 2016 – Aviation industry representatives attending last week’s High-level Meeting (HLM) on a global market-based measure (GMBM) at ICAO in Montreal say they were encouraged by the progress made during the talks. While difficult negotiations remained on a couple of key areas, said cross-industry Air Transport Action Group’s (ATAG) Executive Director Michael Gill, the meeting had demonstrated ICAO was the right place for the discussions. Prior to the meeting, aviation leaders issued a communiqué at a one-day conference in Montreal that asked for ICAO states to support the implementation of a global carbon offsetting scheme to complement other technology and operational initiatives to reduce the industry’s climate impact. The message was repeated yesterday at an international transport conference in Leipzig attended by 50 ministers of transport.
Speaking after the ICAO HLM, Gill said delegations had shown “impressive efforts” to consolidate the proposals contained in the draft Assembly Resolution text under discussion and come to an agreement.
“We are encouraged by all parties’ willingness to engage pragmatically in the negotiations,” he said. “There are large parts of the new working text which the aviation industry can support and which will provide a solid basis for the world’s first global market mechanism.
“However, we are also eager to ensure that the scheme covers a high level of global air traffic and would encourage governments to have this in mind as the negotiations continue. The industry is ready to play its role and we further encourage governments to deliver a deal with concrete parameters that allows us to start implementation from 2020.”
During the HLM, IATA presented a working paper with recommendations on key paragraphs in the draft text on the phased implementation criteria of the GMBM scheme (paragraph 7) and the formula for calculating the amount of CO2 emissions required by an aircraft operator in a given year from the scheme’s start in 2021 (paragraph 9). The paper points out the use of revenue tonne kilometres (RTKs) to determine the share of international aviation emissions as part of the phased implementation approach does not specify whether the share of aviation activities would be calculated using RTKs from Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders registered in each state – the method used by ICAO – or using RTKs from flights arriving and departing from each state.
IATA says the use of AOC-holders would significantly reduce the environmental effectiveness of the GMBM scheme on two counts. Firstly, from its own analysis, the AOC approach would reduce the share of CO2 emissions to be offset from 80% to 69% in Phase 1 (2021-2025) and in Phase 2 (from 2026) from 93% to 88%. Secondly, it suggests, AOC does not appear to be the optimum means for identifying accountable entities under the scheme. While aircraft operators engaged in commercial air transport must hold an AOC, it points out, there is no AOC requirement for non-commercial operators such as non-commercial business jet owners and other general aviation operations.
Until the preferred metric of the use of CO2 emissions becomes readily available, says the paper, “we therefore strongly suggest that the RTKs to determine the share of international aviation emissions under paragraph 7 be based on departing/arriving flights rather than AOC-holders.”
At the opening ministerial session of the International Transport Forum Summit yesterday, IATA Director General Tony Tyler said: “We came together in 2009 to launch the first climate goals for any global transport sector. We need your help this year with our mid-term goal to cap net aviation CO2 emissions from 2020. The industry is looking to government ministers in this room to support the ICAO work on developing a global offsetting scheme for international aviation.
“A well-designed global offsetting scheme will help us to balance our climate responsibilities with a pragmatic, simple and cost-effective international solution. As a sector, we take pride in our ability to collaborate. It is one of the ways in which we have grown such an enviable record in safety. On this issue too, we collaborate. Day-in, day-out at airports and airlines, air navigation service providers, makers of aircraft and engines and throughout the supply chain, our experts are working to make air travel even more efficient.
“In Montreal this September, we would like to collaborate with your governments as well, to help support a global offsetting scheme for air transport and to provide a clear path for our sector’s climate future.”
Today, the ITF Summit features a session on ‘Innovation for greening aviation’ with speakers including ATAG’s Michael Gill; Eurocontrol Director General Frank Brenner; ACI International Director General Angela Gittens; Jane Hupe, Deputy Director, Air Transport Bureau, ICAO; Michael Keenan, Deputy Minister of Transport, Canada; and Michel Wachenheim, Senior Adviser, Public Affairs, Airbus.
Meanwhile, a communiqué issued at the end of a meeting of G7 environment ministers held in Toyama, Japan, said that recognising the significance of projected growth of emissions from international aviation and shipping and although welcoming efforts by states through ICAO and IMO to reduce those emissions, called on member states “to implement effective measures without delay. In particular, we emphasise the importance of reaching an agreement on a global market-based measure at the 2016 Assembly in order to enable carbon neutral growth from 2020.”
ATAG’s Global Sustainable Aviation Summit , Global Sustainable Aviation Summit Communiqué , IATA Working Paper for ICAO HLM , International Transport Forum Summit 2016 , Full speech of Tony Tyler at ITF Summit , ICAO High-level Meeting , ICAO International RTK by State of AOC 2014 , ICAO International RTK by State of AOC 2012 by % share
Key differences must be bridged quickly to avoid failure by countries to agree a global aviation carbon scheme, say NGOs
Wed 18 May 2016 – Following last week’s High-level Meeting in Montreal of ICAO member states to consider proposals on a global market-based measure (GMBM) to cap net carbon emissions from international aviation, environmental NGOs say unresolved differences risk “a high profile failure”. Six international organisations have come together to campaign that aviation makes a fair contribution to the goal of limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Although some progress was made during the negotiations, they say the current draft text on a resolution to be put to the ICAO Assembly in September falls short even of what is needed to reach ICAO’s own goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020.
The NGOs’ FlightPath 1.5 campaign was launched in March, 100 days after the successful conclusion of the Paris COP21 climate talks and 200 days before the ICAO Assembly draws to a close on October 7 by when a global agreement must be reached in time for implementation of the GMBM scheme from 2020. The campaign is spearheaded by the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), Carbon Market Watch, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), Transport & Environment (T&E) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF). It calls for an initial cap of net carbon emissions from international aviation at 2020 levels along with a regular review of the cap so that over time, levels can be ratcheted down in line with the aspirational 1.5 degree C target of the Paris Agreement.
The campaign also calls for the use of high-quality carbon offsets in the proposed scheme, and NGOs attending the ICAO High-level Meeting (HLM) welcomed progress on the issue, with states supporting a proposal that offset criteria should be reflected as an ICAO standard rather than just guidance. They were also satisfied with the greater detail in the new text of the review clause and wording of bringing the industry into line with contributing towards meeting the long-term temperature goals contained in the Paris Agreement.
However, they point out that those long-term goals are unlikely to be met under the current text, with a number of issues unresolved and a potential for delaying effective action on emissions.
“ICAO, the aviation industry and member states have all highlighted the importance of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but there is little common understanding on how these pieces of the puzzle fit together,” said James Beard, Climate & Energy Specialist, Aviation & Bioenergy, WWF. “For us it’s clear: the aviation emissions goal must align to the 1.5 degree goal, and the activities promoted by the MBM should support sustainable development benefits, such as poverty alleviation, food and water security, health and biodiversity.”
The FlightPath 1.5 campaign group also said HLM representatives “took a big step backwards” on the question of which states would be covered by the scheme, believing the criteria for inclusion in the first phase of the scheme (2021-2025) had been weakened so that even more states, and therefore emissions, would be exempted. States had also sidestepped the vital issue of how to divide up the responsibilities for capping emissions, they said, pointing to deep divisions between slower-growth states such as the United States and faster-growth states like China.
A proposal presented during the HLM for a pre-implementation or pilot phase to address the concerns of major developing nations like China also drew some criticism from the NGOs.
“Pre-implementation beginning in 2018 to help countries get acquainted so that full implementation begins on 1 January 2021 could improve the environmental integrity of the proposal,” said AEF Director Tim Johnson. “But a trial period beginning in 2020 with low airline participation would undermine credibility.”
Added Kelsey Perlman, a policy researcher with Carbon Market Watch: “Discussions around the duration and parameters of a pilot phase could either be a useful learning experience or a dangerous delay in climate action. The market needs clarity on rules and the level of participation, or ICAO will not meet its own goals. The current GMBM proposal is not in line with the high-level pledges that global leaders have made to confront climate pollution.”
Andrew Murphy, Aviation and Shipping Policy Officer with Brussels-based T&E, noted the insertion of a proposal to make the ICAO scheme the exclusive market-based measure for dealing with international aviation emissions, seen as an attempt by some states to weaken the scope of the Aviation EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
“Amid these sensitive discussions that leave open the question of whether ICAO will be able to deliver a credible deal in September, the question of the compatibility of regional measures with ICAO was raised. This was counterproductive and unhelpful, particularly as so much work remains to be done to bridge the yawning gap in Montreal.”
The FlightPath 1.5 members said having spent 19 years arguing over how to address aviation’s climate pollution, ICAO states must finalise the GMBM at the Assembly and unless they take action, emissions will triple over the coming decades.
“Back, forth and sideways is not a recipe for an on-time departure for the measure,” said Annie Petsonk, EDF’s International Counsel. “The credibility of ICAO and its leadership is on the line. If ICAO doesn’t repair the gaping holes in coverage, its credibility will be badly tarnished.”
The six environmental NGOs are represented at ICAO by the umbrella International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA). To increase its profile, ICSA has recently relaunched its website and during the HLM announced the appointment of Pierre-Philippe Lortie as its full-time, Montreal-based policy representative to ICAO.
Commentary: CAAFI and its 10-year journey to the cutting edge of sustainable jet fuel commercialisation
Thu 26 May 2016 – On March 11 this year, the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) celebrated with United Airlines, AltAir Fuels, Honeywell/UOP and World Fuel Services as they introduced drop-in, sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF) into regular commercial flights out of LAX. That is just the first of what we project to be several commercialisation efforts over the next several years, writes Steve Csonka, Executive Director of CAAFI. The industry’s ultimate goal is to see SAJF become a primary means for capping, and eventually lowering, the total net greenhouse gas emissions from aviation, even as the industry continues to grow and fulfil worldwide demand for safe, high-speed, highly-efficient transport of people and goods to all corners of the globe.
Why is this industry effort different from others? The global jet-powered aviation enterprise – commercial, business and military users – is united in its interest in alternative fuels. Why else are we different? While most other industries have viable options for switching energy sources, or for introducing other methods to produce power, aviation depends on liquid fuels as the only technically feasible option for several decades to come. But the good news is that SAJF works well and provides many options for fuel production world-wide from a broad range of sustainable sources.
CAAFI’s four sponsoring organisations – the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Airlines for America (A4A), Airports Council International - North America (ACI-NA) and Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) – came together in 2006 to establish the CAAFI coalition, which today represents more than 800 members and 450 organisations. Together, these stakeholders from government agencies, airports, fuel producers, airlines, NGOs, aerospace companies and others are leading the development and deployment of alternative jet fuels produced from renewable or recycled sources for commercial aviation and its partners.
These fuels can be produced from oilseeds, sugars, plant matter, municipal solid waste, industrial off-gases and biogas, to name but a few. AltAir Fuels in California is producing high quality sustainable jet fuel for commercial aviation in 30% blends, as well as renewable diesel for the Navy in 10% blends. This renewable fuel is produced from food processing waste streams.
Multiple studies have shown that SAJF can reduce net lifecycle carbon emissions and local air quality pollutants around airports. In some cases, 60-80% net carbon reductions are possible. In others, for example where biochar is a co-product of the SAJF production, use of that carbon as a soil amendment can actually result in carbon-negative fuels; that is, more carbon is put back into the ground than is generated by the lifecycle of the fuel’s creation and use. The aviation industry is keenly interested in these benefits and the fact that these fuels can also improve energy security, minimise price volatility and provide additional societal benefits, including economic and rural development and secondary environmental services.
We’ve come a long way since our establishment and are proud to reflect on the significant accomplishments of the industry over the past 10 years, which include:
- Collaboration with FAA, ASTM and aircraft manufacturers to validate and establish the drop-in jet fuel concept, followed by five alternative jet fuel approvals.
- Created and released the ASTM D4054 Users’ Guide, to assist entrepreneurial firms with navigating the fuel qualification process.
- Crafted the Fuel Readiness Level evaluation framework and receipt of endorsement for the use of this evaluation methodology as a best practice by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
- Created Sustainability Overview and Environmental Progression frameworks to complement CAAFI/USDA Feedstock Readiness Level.
- Published R&D Critical Challenges Position White Papers and holding multiple webinars on various topics of interest to the alternative fuel community.
- Issued Guidance for Selling Alternative Fuels to Airlines in cooperation with Airlines for America (A4A), to help producers prepare for airline offtake discussions.
- Formed a strategic alliance between airlines (via A4A) and the Defense Logistics Agency, signalling a ‘single market’ for alternative jet fuel.
- Facilitated the signing of the ‘Farm to Fly 2.0’ agreement between USDA, DOE and CAAFI sponsors to accelerate the development of feedstocks, execute various feasibility assessments and foster regional development activities in several states.
- Facilitated airline/fuel producer offtake agreements in cooperation with A4A. There are currently seven publicly communicated agreements to date.
- Expanded cooperation with international counterparts in Australia, Brazil, Spain, Germany and Indonesia.
Over the next 10 years we envision the following:
- Enable industry production of SAJF volumes that help aviation achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020 onward.
- Enhance the efforts being undertaken in the National Jet Fuel Combustion programme, a U.S. multi-agency and industry effort to improve the understanding of the impact of variation in fuel composition on combustion. The results of this multi-million dollar research work will assist the industry in significantly lowering the cost and time associated with ASTM International qualification of new fuel pathways, help the industry to move in the direction of more compositionally-based fuel specifications and enable the use of fully synthetic fuels that can completely replace the use of petroleum fuels and further reduce net carbon emissions.
- Offer assistance to the commercialisation of multiple fuel production facilities associated with all existing and future ASTM approved pathways, to produce sustainable jet fuel from every form of affordable, sustainable feedstock possible.
- Maximise the impact of U.S. government agencies with support for the implementation of a national alternative jet fuel R&D strategy.
- Continue collaborating with non-U.S. entities to fully exploit the value of research, development, demonstration and deployment efforts wherever they may occur, and enable the acceleration of SAJF solutions worldwide.
- Continue to foster business development efforts leading to pilot, demonstration and full scale production opportunities, leveraging support from other interests.
- Take advantage of the tremendous gains taking place in genetic mapping and evaluation to leverage the development of lower cost and higher production purpose-grown feedstocks for SAJF.
- Pursue advanced fuel production concepts like electro-fuels, solar fuels and tailored microbial conversion of low-cost feedstocks that are still in their infancy but represent great opportunities.
CAAFI will be providing further updates on our progress and other related efforts from across the industry as we lead up to our 10-year anniversary celebration and review at the CAAFI Biennial General Meeting in October 2016.
For more information on CAAFI, visit www.caafi.org, email email@example.com or follow on Twitter at @caafiaviation.
Analysis: Unpicking the complex ground rules for international aviation’s proposed global carbon emissions scheme
Wed 1 June 2016 – The recent High-level Meeting (HLM) of ICAO member states to consider a draft proposal on a global market-based measure (GMBM) scheme to address fast-growing carbon emissions from international aviation was seen by some as being marred by deep divisions. But those close to the negotiations are now more confident an agreement will be reached. Reporting significant progress during the talks on finding areas of common agreement, ICAO Council President Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu acknowledged though there was “still work to be done” on key elements of the scheme before it is presented for consideration by ICAO’s 191 member states at their 39th Assembly in late September. This article attempts to unpick the draft Assembly Resolution text, which attempts to lay out the ground rules for what would be the first-ever global sectoral carbon scheme, resulting from the ICAO meeting.
Firstly, some background. Following a resolution adopted at the last Assembly in 2013 (A38-18), ICAO’s governing Council, to be supported by member states, was tasked with developing a GMBM scheme and for a decision to be made on implementation at the forthcoming Assembly. An Environment Advisory Group (EAG) composed of 17 Council members and an industry representative was then set up to oversee the development of the scheme, with technical support from ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP). A basic ‘Strawman’ proposal for a scheme based on carbon offsetting was drawn up by the ICAO Secretariat for consideration by the EAG with a view to generating discussion and analyses on the advantages and disadvantages of the scheme’s design elements.
The EAG held 15 meetings between March 2014 and January 2016, the last of which considered a draft Assembly Resolution text on the scheme based on the progress achieved and views expressed during previous EAG deliberations. The EAG/15 meeting recommended the establishment of an 18-state High-level Group (HLG) on a Global MBM Scheme to further converge views and finalise the draft text for consideration by the Council. Taking into account feedback from a series of Global Aviation Dialogues (GLADs) with states and other stakeholders, plus informal consultations with small groups of states, two meetings of the HLG resulted in clarifications and proposed changes to a number of provisions in the eventual draft text presented at the High-level Meeting attended by 65 states.
Differing views and ideas that arose during the HLG discussions were aired by major aviation states and regions, as well as input from industry and civil society representatives, in papers presented to the HLM and posted on the HLM website. The purpose of the HLM was to go through the preamble and each of the 20 paragraphs of the draft Assembly Resolution text to try and reach a convergence on the scheme’s design details and make recommendations to the ICAO Council during its Session now in progress, its last before the Assembly. The draft text under discussion was the revised version presented to the Council on April 20 and contained in the Appendix to a paper presented by the Secretariat on developments on the GMBM scheme since the last Assembly.
Papers presented at the HLM by the Russian Federation and China point to some substantive disagreements with the GMBM proposal but are consistent with past statements.
The Russian paper called into question the notion of carbon offsetting and whether the intended goal of the GMBM scheme – carbon-neutral growth from 2020 – was actually achievable as currently proposed. It said the meetings of the EAG and HLG, together with the GLADs, had failed to conciliate different views on how a carbon offsetting scheme should work. Russia predicted it would produce market distortions and put an excessive cost burden on the aviation sector that could lead to widespread airline bankruptcies in developing countries should the scheme go ahead in its present draft form. The proposed scheme was also in conflict with the spirit of the Paris Agreement and 13 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development goals, it added, and also failed to fully take into account the UN climate principle of common but differentiated principles (CBDR).
As an alternative to the global offsetting scheme, Russia instead proposed a ‘Clean Development Mechanism for Aviation (ACDM)’ in which states contributed voluntarily to an ‘ICAO ecological budget’ based on fuel use by international flights. This, it argued, would be simple and cost-effective to administer and could raise around $300 million a year for projects in developing countries if each tonne of jet fuel carried a surcharge of one US dollar. The ACDM would also recognise efforts of early-mover airlines that had already invested in improving the fuel efficiency of their aircraft fleet. It also pointed out the current offsetting scheme proposal would encourage airlines to increase their emissions as far as possible before the 2020 baseline year kicked in to relieve their “tax burden” after that date.
“It is important to note that the proposed two-stage approach to GMBM implementation excludes [the] possibility of achieving the global goal of carbon neutrality after the year 2020 (CNG2020) even at the imaginary level,” argued the paper.
Russia mentions in the paper it had presented its ACDM proposal to the 11th meeting of the EAG in May 2014 with the support of India and China. However, not only did the proposal fail to find favour with other states attending the HLM, China presented its own paper that accepted the establishment of a global carbon offsetting scheme but instead proposed a number of far-reaching changes to the draft Assembly Resolution text that would, in its view, better reflect the provisions of the Paris Agreement and the CBDR principle.
The paper noted that there were different views among member states on the aspirational CNG2020 goal and that the draft proposal “may impose inappropriate economic burden on developing countries, where the international aviation market is still maturing.” During the HLM, China argued that CNG2020 should not be a goal as it would imply the GMBM was a primary rather than a complementary element of ICAO’s ‘basket of measures” to tackle emissions.
Developed countries, emphasised China, should take the lead in the post-2020 period, “by committing and implementing more ambitious, absolute quantified aviation emission reduction targets while developing countries will enhance their different types of efforts to grow sustainable aviation.” It noted “with concern”, developed countries had been reluctant to dramatically reduce their international aviation emissions to leave room for the growth of developing countries. However, Europe’s attempts to take the lead by including aviation in its EU Emissions Trading Scheme was criticised, without direct mention, as being unilateral and without global consensus, and “would hamper the international collaboration to limit and reduce aviation emissions.”
The real differences of opinion that China had during the HLM, though, proved not to be with Europe but with the United States, and to further reinforce the principles outlined in its paper took the step of issuing a joint statement with allies Argentina, Brazil, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia during the talks.
During the course of the HLM, two revised drafts of the Assembly Resolution text – called Flimsy 1 and Flimsy 2 – were published to reflect changes and amendments suggested by states where there was some degree of convergence and were used as the basis for further discussion. Flimsy 2 was presented on the final morning of the HLM and represents the latest published version of the draft text. The amount of red ink in the text demonstrates the considerable number of suggested amendments to the original draft put forward by the states taking part.
Let’s now take an in-depth look at the text as it stood by the end of the HLM.
The wording in the preamble to the draft Assembly Resolution text, which sets out the basis and reasoning for the resolution, has been amended to recognise the new Paris Agreement and striking out references to the Kyoto Protocol that ends in 2020. It also emphasises ICAO is the appropriate forum to address international aviation emissions and reaffirms concerns among ICAO states that international aviation could be used as a source of climate finance, although one participant pointed out that buying UN-approved offsets under the GMBM scheme was in itself a form of climate finance for other sectors.
While welcoming the adoption of the Paris accord, the preamble also states the implementation of the scheme “should support the achievement of the long-term temperature goals” of the Agreement. Although there was opposition from some states to the inclusion of this wording, it will be applauded by civil society and environmental NGOs, which are represented at ICAO by the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA). In its paper to the HLM, ICSA said it was essential the GMBM resolution ensured CNG2020 was a binding target and that there was also a roadmap for increased ambition in line with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement. ICSA members recently launched a campaign called FlightPath 1.5 to put pressure on industry and states to comply with the aspirational Paris climate goal of limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Pursuing this goal requires global emissions to peak and then decline sharply, said the ICSA paper, and although CNG2020 was a necessary first step, it was an insufficient contribution. A later paragraph (16) in the draft Resolution, which allows for a review of the scheme every three years from 2022 to assess progress towards the ICAO goal, now adds and “consideration of improvements necessary to support the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.”
Paragraphs 1 to 3 are worded to emphasise the GMBM is just one element of a basket of measures designed to address international aviation emissions and the importance of other measures – for example, aircraft technology and operational improvements, plus the development and use of sustainable alternative fuels – should not be overlooked. The three paragraphs were left largely untouched from the original draft under consideration although the role of the GMBM as “an emissions gap filler” was changed to “a temporary instrument”, leaving the interpretation open as to how long “temporary” actually meant.
Paragraph 4 was the subject of wider discussion as it introduces a name for the GMBM scheme. The title used in the initial proposal was International Aviation Global Offsetting (IAGOF), which was subsequently changed to Carbon Offsetting Scheme for International Aviation (COSIA) and remains so in the latest Flimsy 2 draft. There were calls from some states to use the word “reduction” in the title although the GMBM is not designed to reduce emissions, merely to neutralise their growth, but those states argued that it would recognise the other elements of the basket and also the offsets would result in emission reductions elsewhere, even if in other sectors. (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Civil Aviation – CORSICA?).
In the first revised draft (Flimsy 1) presented on the second day a new sub-paragraph (4bis) was introduced that stated the ICAO GMBM scheme was to be the “exclusive” MBM for emissions from international flights, adding in Flimsy 2 “unless agreed otherwise between affected states”. This unexpected inclusion was clearly aimed at the potential application of the EU ETS to international flights post-2020 and threatened to cross a red line for European states. A European Commission official told GreenAir at the HLM that if the intent was to ensure there was no duplication of emissions coverage from international aviation then there would be no objection but if it was designed to prevent states or regions from taking market-based measures of their own then this would have sovereignty implications. There was debate between states on whether “exclusive” should be replaced by “single” or “appropriate”, or even both. There was little support for “unless agreed …” and 4bis could be dropped altogether.
To encourage and incentivise aircraft operators in the scheme to use sustainable alternative fuels, an addition was made to Paragraph 5 that calls for a methodology to be developed so that the use of such fuels by an operator would reduce its offset requirement obligations. No changes were suggested for the provisions in Paragraph 6 that recognises different treatment should be applied to certain states, particularly developing states, depending on special circumstances and respective capabilities (SC&RC), ICAO’s lighter-touch version of the UN CBDR climate principle.
Paragraphs 7 and 9 form the basis of the whole scheme and around which much of the conflict between states exists, with discussions taking up a considerable portion of the HLM’s three days.
The aim of Paragraph 7 is to determine which states are included in the GMBM scheme and from when they join. To take into account SC&RC, the draft Resolution proposes a phased implementation approach in which states either join the scheme from the start in 2021 or later in a second phase from 2026, with permanent exemptions from the scheme applying to those classified as Least Developing Countries, Small Island Developing States or Landlocked Developing Countries.
To calculate which countries should join when, the proposal under consideration by the HLM had two methodologies, one based on a state’s individual share of international Revenue Tonne Kilometres (RTKs) and the other based on a state’s gross national income (GNI) per capita as calculated by the World Bank. A state would join the appropriate phase based on whether they satisfied either the RTK or the GNI criteria.
On GNI, states classified as ‘high income’ in 2018 would join in phase one and those classified as ‘upper-middle income’ would enter from phase two. In one of the few shows of unanimity on what proved, perhaps unsurprisingly, to be the most contentious paragraph, most states proposed GNI be dropped as the alternative metric to RTKs. While some states believed RTKs should be the sole criterion, others wanted to retain an economic criterion and the new text in Flimsy 3 suggests other possible criteria such as a developed/developing country split or ICAO’s own Scales of Assessment, a complex formula based on national economic and traffic criteria used to assess a member state’s financial contribution to the running of the Organization.
A problem with the developed/developing country criterion is that the Annex I/non-Annex I split applied under the Kyoto Protocol should cease to exist after 2020 and there is no official UN definition of a developing country. The World Bank itself has just announced it will no longer be distinguishing between developed and developing countries when presenting data.
Although there was consensus that RTKs for the year 2018 was a correct criterion, states argued on the definition for calculating them. The ICAO method is to apportion international RTKs to states based on flights by aircraft operators holding an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) issued by that state. An AOC authorises an operator to carry out commercial air transport activities so, for example, business jet operators are not included in the ICAO RTK figures. A number of countries, such as Uruguay, have no international RTKs apportioned to them at all by ICAO as they do not have national airlines undertaking international flights.
A paper submitted by IATA said using AOC significantly reduced the environmental integrity of the scheme as analysis it had carried out showed the share of CO2 emissions to be offset would be reduced from 80% to 69% in the first phase and from 93% to 88% in the second compared to using RTKs based on departing/arriving flights. Some states backed the use of departing flights for the calculation of RTKs, others suggested using State of Registration, under which all civil aircraft operators are required to have an operating certificate.
Those states that are excluded or exempted under the phased implementation approach are encouraged in the original draft to volunteer to participate in the scheme but the wording was altered in the HLM drafts to “strongly” encouraged. A suggestion from the United States was made that instead of states choosing to voluntarily opt in to the scheme, all states should be considered to be in the scheme but those states identified by the RTK or other criteria as being allowed to opt out of the scheme could choose to do so. Another suggestion was to bring the five-year phase-in period (2021-2025) into line with the three-year cycle for operators to reconcile their offsetting requirements – the first phase runs from 2021 to 2023 (Paragraph 14).
However, alternative approaches to the phased-in concept were proposed by some states, including a pre-implementation phase. In its paper to the HLM, China put forward a proposal that developed states and other states with an RTK share in 2018 above 0.5% of the total should submit ‘nationally determined contributions’ (NDCs) – the amount of CO2 emissions to be offset by aircraft operators registered in the country – by 30 June 2020 for the period 2021-2025, with exempted states “encouraged” to participate. By implication, this would bring the scheme more into line with the voluntary ‘intended nationally determined contributions’ (INDCs) pledges made by countries in the lead up to the climate summit in Paris. By contrast, the European HLM paper says the concept of NDCs would not be an appropriate measure for the ICAO scheme as it would not guarantee to reach the CNG2020 climate objective.
Depending on the experiences gained and progress made under the Paris Agreement, the Chinese paper said the ICAO Assembly in 2025 would then decide on whether to implement the first phase of the GMBM scheme, from 2026 to 2030, to include developed states and those with a share of RTKs in 2025 above 1% of the total, with remaining countries with a share above 0.5% of the total joining in 2031. China also proposed that aircraft operators in developed states should have the emissions they are required to offset from 2026 have a higher multiplier applied than those from developing states.
A delay in full implementation was not welcomed by a number of states and it was reported a UNFCCC observer at the HLM warned that delaying the scheme past 2020 would send the wrong signal to the UN climate community.
Singapore put forward a late conciliatory proposal for a pre-implementation or pilot phase for MRV testing from 1 January 2018, with some major developed states agreeing to consider the implications after the HLM. States will now look at whether there is time and resources to implement and complete such a phase before the scheme’s intended start on 1 January 2020.
Paragraph 8 stipulates that in order to avoid market distortion, the scheme is applied to all operators on routes where both states are included but where one state is exempted, or both states are exempted, then all flights between the two states are excluded from offsetting requirements, while retaining simplified reporting requirements. This was passed largely without comment.
Discussions over paragraph 9 centred round the so-called ‘100% sectoral’ approach contained in previous draft texts and a proposal from the United States in its HLM paper for a ‘dynamic’ approach. Under the former, the carbon offsetting requirements of all aircraft operators during the entirety of the scheme are based on the sector’s overall growth rate rather than on an individual operator’s emissions performance. This is designed so that faster growing operators from developing countries are not penalised at the expense of slower-growth airlines in more mature aviation markets. While some see this as lacking benefit for airlines to, for example, invest in new, more fuel-efficient fleets, the approach has backing from most states, including those in Europe.
The US paper though argues the approach “places an undue burden on slow-growing carriers, including those based in developing countries, and it does not provide an added incentive for individual operators to reduce their own emissions.”
Under the US proposal, which was backed by a few developed countries, the dynamic approach would initially be weighted in favour of the sectoral growth rate and then transition in three-year periods over the course of the scheme towards an individual growth rate.
To deal with the very different approaches proposed by the United States and China in paragraph 9, together with the many issues raised by states in paragraph 7, the Chairperson of the HLM, Ellen Burack of Transport Canada, published a document (Flimsy 3) detailing the serious proposals for consideration by the ICAO Council and further discussion.
Unopposed, Paragraphs 10 and 11 exempt a new entrant from the scheme for three years or until the year in which its emissions exceed 0.1% of total emissions in 2020, whichever occurs earlier; operators emitting less than 10,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions from international flights; aircraft with less than 5,700kg of Maximum Take-Off Mass; and humanitarian, medical and firefighting operations.
Paragraph 12 decides that those emissions not covered by the scheme as a result of the phased implementation and exemptions are not redistributed as offsetting requirements by those operators included in the scheme. If left unaddressed, this emissions gap puts at risk the CNG2020 climate objective, said the European paper. However, reports suggest that states showed no enthusiasm to discuss this and the original draft text remains intact for now.
Paragraph 13 notes the work of ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) on monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV), emissions unit criteria (EUC) and registries to enable the scheme to start in 2020. Wording was added during the HLM to the effect that EUC took into account developments at the UNFCCC following the Paris Agreement and called for work on the three issues to be completed as soon as possible. Following a call from a number of least developed states, wording was also added to include capacity building and assistance.
The three-year compliance period noted in Paragraph 14 for aircraft operators to reconcile their offsetting requirements (the first cycle from 2021 to 2023) while they reported required data to a single state authority every year, was unopposed. New wording to Paragraph 15 concerning cost safeguards to the industry in the event of “excessive pricing of emissions units or restrictions to carbon market access” calls on the Council to decide on the basis for applying such criteria and then identify possible means to address them.
Paragraph 16 covers the review of the effectiveness of the scheme every three years from 2022 and new text spells out in more detail what that review should cover. It includes assessment of the scheme’s progress towards achieving ICAO’s climate aspirational goal (not stated but presumably CNG2020); the market and cost impact on operators; and the functioning and possible improvements of the scheme’s design elements. As previously noted in the preambular text, consideration should also be made in the review of “improvements necessary to support the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.” Environmental NGOs will be expecting the reviews to ratchet up the stringency of the scheme to bring international aviation into line with the Agreement’s well below 2 degree C global climate goal and efforts towards limiting the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degree C.
New text changes to the paragraph also removes reference to the scheme’s design elements coming to an end in 2035 and instead calls for a special review before the end of 2032 to consider an extension or termination of the scheme after 2035, taking into account the contribution of other elements of the basket of measures in reaching ICAO’s environmental objectives.
These last four paragraphs of the draft Assembly Resolution cover in more detail the establishment of the major mechanisms of the scheme: MRV, EUC, registries and governance. Key issues concerning MRV and EUC will only be determined during the 2017-2019 ICAO triennium so, for example, a decision on which type of offsets will be eligible under the scheme may not be adopted until 2018. However, an important revision to the new text is the application of an ICAO standard (SARP) to EUC, which will help satisfy concerns over offset quality under the scheme. An EUC standing technical advisory body is to be established to make recommendations on eligibility.
Paragraph 17 also looks at the implementation of the MRV system and requests the Council and CAEP to develop SARPs and guidance material for adoption by the Council by June 2017.
The paragraph provides for guidance material for the establishment of registries be adopted by 2018 and a consolidated central registry under ICAO auspices be operational no later than 1 January 2021, with states or groups of states to develop in time the necessary arrangements for the establishment of their own registries or group registries.
Paragraph 17 also notes that the Council is to oversee the scheme with support from the standing technical advisory body and CAEP, including the review of the design elements of the scheme. Member states are also required to ensure the necessary national regulatory framework be established for compliance and enforcement of the scheme by 2020.
Paragraph 18 reinforces the requirement for providing capacity building and assistance for the implementation of the scheme from 2020, particularly regarding the implementation of the MRV system and establishment of registries. This is to include the organisation of seminars and training in all regions from 2017 and the facilitation of financial support where needed.
Paragraph 19 requests the Council to promote emission units that benefit developing states, including those from the Clean Development Mechanism and its UNFCCC post-2020 successor, and encourages states to develop domestic aviation-related projects. Final paragraph 20 requests the Council to explore further development of aviation-related methodologies for use in offsetting programmes under the UNFCCC.
Down to the wire
The draft presented at the beginning of the third day (Flimsy 2) will be updated to reflect final day discussions and some ‘tidying-up’. So far, the drafting process has avoided the use of square brackets, favoured within the UNFCCC, to indicate where differences exist. Together with the document outlining the outstanding issues relating to Paragraphs 7 and 9, the revised draft Assembly Resolution will be presented during the current 208th Session of the ICAO Council and will be discussed at a meeting in mid-June. Bilateral and multilateral talks are also expected to continue between states to bridge the remaining gaps.
Despite the differences, those close to the negotiations are optimistic an agreement will be reached, although former Council President Roberto Kobeh González told GreenAir that he expected it would go down to the wire at the Assembly. With long experience of dealing with clashes at previous Assemblies on the climate protection issue, Kobeh has chaired the two meetings of the GMBM High-level Group and was a member of the Mexico delegation at the HLM. In an interview with GreenAir immediately after the HLM, his successor, Dr Aliu, said the HLM had been very productive and states now had a better understanding of each other’s position, interests and opinions. “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,” he said.
Leaders from the wealthiest industrial nations at the G7 Summit in Japan last week added their weight to those calling for an agreement. A statement (page 28) issued afterwards said: “Recognizing the urgent need for effective efforts in the field of international aviation, we express our strong commitment to work together for the adoption of a Global Market-Based Measure in order to enable carbon neutral growth from 2020, through engaging constructive dialogue, by reaching a decision at the 39th session of ICAO Assembly. We encourage all world leaders to join us in supporting a decision later this year.”
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