GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 2 NOVEMBER 2016
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Airport executives meet in Amsterdam to pledge joint action on the sector’s sustainability and resilience
Wed 2 Nov 2016 – Sixteen airports and airport authorities have come together to sign a declaration pledging to become more sustainable. An initiative of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the Airports Sustainability Declaration was signed during the Airports Going Green conference taking place in Amsterdam, being held for the first time outside the United States. By increasingly working together, sharing successes and experiences, innovating and challenging their own organisations and business partners to think and act more sustainably, “the airports intend to take significant action towards increasing their sustainability,” says Schiphol. The timing of the declaration is intended to tie with developments such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris COP21 outcome and the recent ICAO agreement on capping net aviation emissions. In a keynote to the conference, Dutch environment minister Sharon Dijksma said the ICAO scheme was a start in the journey to cut aviation emissions but given the expected growth of the sector, more would be needed.
“The Paris Agreement doesn’t explicitly mention international aviation,” she told delegates to the conference, which started on Monday and ends today. “But there can be no doubt about the aviation sector’s responsibility to combat climate change.
“So it was great to witness the achievement of a historic agreement a month ago, at the 39th session of the ICAO Assembly. We now have a global scheme known as CORSIA, aimed at compensating all growth beyond 2020. The scheme complements measures that the industry is already taking to reduce CO2 emissions. Like applying innovative technology, developing sustainable bio-kerosene and continuously improving the use of infrastructure and airspace. The ultimate aim is to cut CO2 emissions by half by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.
“It’s only a start, of course, but every journey begins with a single step. This agreement lays the foundation for future efforts.
“Airports and airlines can do a lot to make aviation greener. They can build on existing initiatives or facilitate new ones. They can optimise airport infrastructure. Or improve take-off and landing procedures, striking a balance between noise and emissions reduction. Airports are key partners in the aviation fuel supply chain. And we’re already seeing initiatives around the world of airports working with airlines to boost the use of aviation biofuels.
“In fact, looking at all these initiatives, and acknowledging the difficult task the aviation sector faces, the initiative for the Declaration feels like a well-timed and logical outcome.”
The signatories to the declaration are Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Brisbane Airport Corporation, Carbon War Room, Centennial Airport, Chicago Department of Aviation, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Eindhoven Airport, Lithuanian Airports, London Gatwick Airport, London Heathrow Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Aéroports de Montréal, Flughafen München, New York JFKIAT, Port of Portland, San Francisco International Airport and Wayne County Airport Authority.
The pledge reads: “Our ambition is to strengthen a system of sustainable and resilient airports, worldwide, through collaboration, transparency, innovation and engagement. Together, we will ambitiously work towards our vision of airports voluntarily working together in a worldwide network to be socially, environmentally and economically prosperous and to be adaptable in the face of change. The Global Sustainability Goals will guide our sustainability ambitions with priority for our respective regional challenges.”
The Airports Going Green annual conference was started nine years ago by the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). The CDA makes annual awards that recognise projects, programmes or persons that contribute to the sustainability of the industry.
Award winners this year were Dallas-Fort Worth International for becoming the first North American airport to achieve the industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation at the highest carbon neutrality level; Copenhagen International (measuring air quality at the airport); HMS (food donation programme); Hong Kong International (airport carbon measurement programme); Nashville International (geothermal lake plate cooling); and United Airlines (biofuels programme). Honourable mentions were awarded to 15 other airports and industry individuals.
Airports Going Green 2016 , Sharon Dijksma speech , Airports Sustainability Declaration
Fast-growing Qatar Airways’ carbon emissions increase by a fifth but efficiency performance improves
Wed 2 Nov 2016 – Fast-growing Qatar Airways saw a 20.4% increase in carbon emissions in its 2015/16 financial year (ending March 31) compared to the previous year. However, its overall carbon efficiency improved by 1.4% during the year from 0.807kg CO2/RTK in 2014/15 to 0.796kg CO2/RTK. The airline’s fleet at the end of the 2015/16 year comprised 77 Boeing and 103 Airbus aircraft, with an average age of 5.4 years that makes it one of the youngest in the industry. It currently has more than 300 new aircraft on order or option, including 72 Airbus A350 XWB and 80 Airbus A320neo family aircraft. According to its latest 2015-2016 sustainability report, the airline was accredited by IATA’s environmental assessment programme during the year and Doha’s Hamad International Airport, which is operated by Qatar Airways Group, was also accredited under ACI’s airport carbon programme.
The sustainability report covers the environmental performance and activities of the Group, which in addition to Qatar Airways’ passenger operations and Hamad International, also includes Qatar Airways Cargo, now the world’s third largest international cargo carrier, and Qatar Aircraft Catering Company.
As well as adding new fuel-efficient aircraft to its fleet, Qatar Airways is operating a fuel optimisation programme to test and implement ways to save fuel and reduce carbon emissions. These include identifying opportunities to reduce aircraft weight, optimising the efficiency of flight routes and reviewing the use of energy while taxiing to and from the runway.
The airline reports that optimising the quantity of the safe level of contingency fuel needed for each flight saved 3,637 tonnes of fuel during the year and maintaining the old Doha International Airport as an alternative aerodrome for diversions also saved a further 4,576 tonnes in contingency fuel. Other measures to reduce weight and so save fuel included procedures to calculate the optimal quantity of potable water to be uploaded based on aircraft type and destination. Reducing the number of in-flight magazines on board saved 237 tonnes of fuel over the course of the year.
This year, Qatar Airways tested retrofitted Sharklet wing-tips to one of its Airbus fleet that saved 4.6 tonnes of fuel and 14 tonnes of CO2 during the first week of operation. Reduced engine taxiing – shutting down at least one engine after landing – saved 2,100 tonnes of fuel during 2015/16 and reduced use of auxiliary power units saved a further 12,513 tonnes of fuel.
With the rapid growth of Qatar Airways, operations have similarly expanded at Hamad International, which opened in 2014 and handled over 30 million passengers, nearly 250,000 aircraft movements and 1.5 million tonnes of cargo in 2015/16. The Doha hub improved the average efficiency of CO2 per arriving, departing and transit passenger by 4.0% and per aircraft movement by 1.2% during 2015 compared to 2014.
With the region having one of the lowest levels of rainfall in the world, the conservation of natural resources has been made a key pillar in the Group’s sustainability programme. Over half of the water used in Qatar comes from seawater that has been desalinated through a costly and energy-intensive thermal process. Across the Group, new initiatives are being established to reduce water consumption and make water conservation a central part of daily activities. The airport’s waste water treatment plant, which has a capacity to treat over 28,000 cubic metres of waste water per day, allows 95% of captured water to be re-used in irrigation and facilities for activities such as aircraft and vehicle washing incorporate water recycling systems.
Qatar Airways is a member of the industry-led Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group and is partnering and investing in an algae biofuel project with Qatar University and Qatar Science and Technology Park. The research is led by the university’s Centre for Sustainable Development and has so far identified and mapped 98 local strains of algae and is classifying the productivity of each for biomass growth potential, resilience to local climatic conditions and potential as a biofuel feedstock. Stage 1 of the project was completed in June 2015 and involved establishing indoor laboratories and an outdoor demonstration facility. The development of a second stage is now under review.
The airline has adopted a formal environmental management system and introduced a group-wide governance framework to review progress on delivering objectives and support the continued improvement of environmental performance. Under the framework, the Group Environment Committee oversees a number of working groups: the Aviation Fuel and Carbon Committee, Cabin Waste Steering Group, Transportation of Wildlife and Animal Welfare Steering Group, Corporate Services Environmental Action Group and Hamad International Airport Environmental Action Group.
A programme to attain full certification of IATA’s Environmental Assessment scheme (IEnvA) was launched by Qatar Airways in December 2015 and this is expected by December 2017. It will cover all aspects of the airline’s operations, including aircraft during flight, catering and cabin services, ground operations and corporate activities. In November 2015, Hamad International attained ‘Mapping’ level of ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.
Qatar Airways has joined the fight against the illegal trafficking of wildlife and in March this year signed the United for Wildlife Transport Industry Declaration at Buckingham Palace in London. The airline says it has a zero tolerance policy towards the illegal transportation of endangered species and is establishing systems to measure the quantity, type, origin and destination of legally transported endangered species passing through its global network.
“At Qatar Airways we take our role in the international aviation community very seriously,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker. “We lead by example in sustainability matters such as the management of our greenhouse gas emissions, through to the protection of wildlife and endangered species. As a global airline serving more than 150 destinations on five continents, every corner of the globe is important to us. We will continue our progress and help lead our industry to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020.”
Qatar Airways – Environment , Qatar Airways Group Sustainability Report 2015-2016 (pdf)
Sea-Tac financing initiative aims to provide routine airport-wide sustainable aviation biofuel supply
Mon 31 Oct 2016 – The Port of Seattle has joined with Carbon War Room and SkyNRG to investigate long-term financing mechanisms that could provide a supply of cost-effective sustainable aviation fuels to all airlines serving Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac). At present, point out the partners, supply agreements in the United States are being made through individual, expensive offtake contracts between biofuel producers and airlines. This new initiative aims to accelerate the transition of sustainable aviation fuel from an alternative product used by a few select airlines to a standard product available to all airlines at an airport, they say. Carbon War Room (CWR), founded by Richard Branson in 2009 and now a business unit of the Rocky Mountain Institute, and SkyNRG see airports as acting as a key orchestrator in the procurement and delivery process. Sea-Tac is currently assessing costs and infrastructure necessary to deliver sustainable aviation fuels to aircraft at the airport.
“The demand for sustainable aviation fuel is there, but right now it is more expensive and complicated to source,” said Port of Seattle Commission President John Creighton. “We want to make it simple and cost-effective for all airlines to access sustainable aviation fuels and ideally create a model that can work for airports around the United States.”
Sea-Tac says it is the first in the world to initiate this step to provide an airport-wide sustainable aviation fuel supply for all routine airline operations. Its operating authority, the Port of Seattle, initiated a $250,000 Biofuel Infrastructure Feasibility Study late last year in partnership with Alaska Airlines and Boeing that is expected to be released in early 2017.
By integrating the fuel directly into the on-airport refuelling infrastructure at an airport-wide blend ratio, CWR and SkyNRG say this standardisation will send a strong and consistent demand signal to the sustainable aviation fuel industry, boost investor confidence and catalyse industry growth.
The two will work with Sea-Tac to evaluate specific funding mechanisms to cover the cost differential between sustainable and conventional fossil aviation fuels. The long-term ambition, they say, includes working strategically with decision-makers regarding locally-sourced fuel and future regional economic investments, identifying supply routes and ensuring any alternative fuels used at the airport are truly sustainable and avoid habitat impact and competition with food.
“The UNFCCC Paris Agreement’s ambition of well-below 2 degrees temperature rise cannot be achieved without the participation of the aviation industry, with its emissions projected to consume approximately a quarter of the world’s remaining carbon budget by 2050,” said Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of Rocky Mountain Institute-Carbon War Room. “The emissions trajectory provides a huge opportunity for market actors to accelerate aviation’s decarbonisation, and in the process, enhance their energy supply chains. These kinds of efforts, alongside ICAO’s global market-based measure, can help the industry reach the goals defined by the Paris Agreement.”
Theye Veen, CFO of SkyNRG added: “Airports are in a unique position, operating at the intersection between airlines, fuel suppliers, governments, passengers and local communities. They are perfectly positioned to support sustainable aviation fuels’ transition from isolated transactions to regular operations.”
Amsterdam-based SkyNRG was formed in late 2009 following a biofuel test flight by KLM, with the airline a founding partner and current shareholder. A corporate biofuel programme was formed to help fund the development of cost-competitive sustainable aviation fuels by enrolling corporations into a scheme which enables employees to partly fly on sustainable biofuel and thereby reduce their CO2 emissions from air travel. Participants pay a fee to bridge the price difference between traditional fuel and purchased RSB-certified sustainable biofuel, which SkyNRG and KLM hope will in turn stimulate production and so lead to eventual cost reductions of sustainable fuels.
Last week, they announced the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment had become the first government office to join the programme.
“We hope that the Ministry’s participation in the programme sends a signal to other parties that the use of biofuel truly does contribute to added sustainability in the airline industry. That might well help to get biofuel production for civil aviation off the ground in the Netherlands,” said KLM CEO Pieter Elbers.
New ASPIRE routes by Singapore Airlines and Hawaiian expected to save over 5,200 tonnes of CO2 annually
Thu 27 Oct 2016 – Two new routes involving fuel and emission reduction strategies have been opened up as a result of the Asia South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE) programme. Since its establishment in 2008, the initiative’s partner airlines and air navigation agencies have implemented 30 ASPIRE Daily City Pairs across the region and the latest additions involve Singapore Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines. The Singapore Airlines’ service, dubbed the Capital Express, is a new multi-sector route inaugurated last month between Singapore, Canberra and Wellington. Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAAS), Airservices Australia and Airways New Zealand say all flights on the route will make use of ASPIRE practices that should save around 1,500 tonnes of fuel and 4,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions over the course of a year. Hawaiian’s three weekly flights using an Airbus A330 aircraft between Honolulu and Brisbane are expected to realise potential annual savings of 670 tonnes of emissions.
ASPIRE was initially formed by Airways New Zealand, Airservices Australia and the US Federal Aviation Administration, and has now been extended to include six air navigation services and 10 partner airlines. After early one-off demonstration flights, in February 2011 the first Daily City Pair flight was launched between Auckland and San Francisco. The flights operate under optimal flight plan conditions, utilising a range of practices such as making use of favourable winds, user-preferred routes, reduced airborne holding, continuous descent arrivals and reduced taxi times.
Each Daily City Pair is certified with a star rating system based on the number of best-practice procedures available, with a maximum of five stars awarded. To qualify as a Daily City Pair route, aircraft must be equipped with advanced avionics, including satellite-based Required Navigation Performance avionics and the Future Air Navigation System. Airlines track and report usage of their nominated ASPIRE practices through IATA.
The results from the inaugural Capital Express flights were achieved by using 25 of a possible 32 efficient flight operations and air traffic management practices on all four sectors, so achieving a four-plus star rating.
In 2010, Singapore Airlines was the first to fly a multi-sector demonstration flight when it saved 10,686kg of fuel and 33,769 kg of carbon emissions on its Singapore to Los Angeles via Tokyo route.
“We are pleased to have added our new Singapore–Canberra–Wellington flights to the successful ASPIRE programme and thank our partners for helping make it possible,” said the airline’s SVP Flight Operations, Captain CE Quay.
Added Airservices’ Executive General Manager Air Navigation Services, Stephen Angus: “The new route is another excellent example of airlines, airports and air navigation agencies working together to reduce aviation greenhouse gas emissions globally.”
The ASPIRE flights, which will also benefit from a further saving of five minutes per flight as a result of introducing new direct route segments across the Tasman, could reduce the airline’s fuel costs by over a million dollars a year, said Paul Zissermann, Aviation Emissions Manager at Canberra-based Airservices.
The nine-and-a-half-hour Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu to Brisbane implemented seven ASPIRE practices, covering taxiing, in-flight and landing procedures. These included User Preferred Routes, which allow airlines to customise a more efficient flight path based on factors such as fuel optimisation and forecasted winds; Dynamic Airborne Reroute Procedures, or the ability to conduct multiple in-flight route adjustments in response to updated atmospheric conditions; and Optimised Descent Profile, which permits an aircraft to approach and land with minimal changes in engine thrust. Other strategies include 30/30 Reduced Oceanic Separation, which reduces safe separation of aircraft between aircraft from 100 nautical miles to 30; Time-based Arrivals Management; Arrivals Optimisation; Departures Optimisation; and Surface Movement Optimisation.
“As a Hawaii-based airline in the centre of the Pacific Ocean, we are particularly mindful of the importance of minimising our impact on the environment and our island home,” said Captain Ken Rewick, the airline’s VP Flight Operations. “It was an honour for our employees in Honolulu and Brisbane to collaborate with our Australian partners and the FAA to achieve remarkable operational efficiencies.”
The Brisbane route becomes the airline’s second City Pair, following an inaugural ASPIRE flight from Auckland to Honolulu in April.
Airservices is hosting the next ASPIRE annual meeting in Melbourne on the sidelines of the Avalon Airshow in late February.
ICAO GMBM agreement a hard-fought compromise and a first step, say NGOs, but falls short of temperature goals
Tue 25 Oct 2016 – While welcoming the adoption of a global market-based measure (GMBM) by ICAO member nations to address fast-growing international aviation carbon emissions, environmental NGOs say its coverage falls short of the UN agency’s own target of capping the sector’s net emissions from 2020 and is not aligned with the temperature goals of the Paris climate agreement. They call on ICAO States to use a three-year review provision to ratchet up ambition of the new carbon offsetting scheme. Speaking at an aviation industry conference in London last week, the NGOs’ lead representative at ICAO, Tim Johnson, said the ICAO Assembly outcome had been a hard-fought political compromise but was just a first step and critical work remained to ensure the environmental integrity of the scheme. Coverage had to be expanded in the initial six-year voluntary phase beyond the current 66 countries so far agreeing to participate, he added.
The ability of technology and operational measures to fill the emissions gap was limited, said Johnson, Director of the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), which is one of six members of the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA), the only NGO accredited as an observer at ICAO. To rely on sustainable alternative fuels alone would require around 170 new biorefineries at a total capital cost of $15-16 billion every year, according to ICAO’s own estimates, he said.
Although it would play an important role in minimising the sizeable gap, the GMBM should be seen though as an interim solution rather than an open-ended means to meeting the industry’s climate goals and no longer having to focus on in-sector reductions, he told delegates at the Royal Aeronautical Society’s annual Greener by Design conference.
“A market-based measure wouldn’t be our first choice – we would prefer the aviation industry to reduce its own CO2 emissions,” he said. “Every tonne you save as an industry is preferable to a tonne another industry saves elsewhere. However, we are pleased that the GMBM starts to put a price on carbon.”
How well MBMs make a contribution to climate goals depended on their design, he said. “If you can get scarcity value through only using high-quality offsets, prices increase and it then makes more sense over time for the industry to reduce its own emissions. It must also have a cap stringency, ambition and coverage,” he explained.
Now the green light has been given to implement the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), as outlined in ICAO A39 Resolution 22/2, the next two or three years will be spent in deciding key details and making sure it is implemented on time, along with the challenge for States to transpose it into national legislation.
“By 2018-19, airlines will be required to record and submit their relevant data so here we are in late 2016 with still a lot to work out, and we probably only have little over 15-18 months before some of this scheme becomes operational,” said Johnson. “It has to be full steam ahead to get this work completed.”
A big issue will be over the type of offsets to be used, which Johnson said had to be real, additional, permanent and verifiable. “We have to look at the carbon markets and ask which of these deliver against these aims. It’s not true to say that every tonne of carbon reduced is the same. Some of them have much better governance and some deal with this criteria better than others.”
Johnson, who is a member of the ICAO technical task force (GMTF) sub-committee focusing on offsets, reported the group was currently building on the actual criteria and developing the methodology to be used in defining which offsets would be permitted under the scheme. He said a technical advisory board made up of State nominations would then be set up to make recommendations to ICAO’s governing Council, with a decision likely in 2018. Johnson said it was possible that the aviation industry may be allowed to also purchase allowances from existing emissions trading schemes such as, but not only, the EU ETS.
“The question is whether there is enough ‘good stuff’ around,” he said. “We think there will be enough initially but get more demanding as time goes on, although carbon market people tell us that if the demand exists, there will be supply. The message is that if we set the bar high, the industry will not be left with a deficit in the future.”
He said it was important the GMBM resolution states that offset criteria and emissions monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) are developed as ICAO standards (SARPs) and so harmonised between States. This was particularly so in the case of offsets as States may well have different ideas on what they wish to see on the approved list. “We want to see decisions over offset use be centralised and taken by ICAO, not by States.”
ICSA member Carbon Market Watch said UNFCCC credits would be eligible under CORSIA provided they met additional quality criteria that is currently under debate by the GMTF. “This will be essential for avoiding poor CDM and JI credits that have been proven to not represent real emission reductions,” it said in a policy brief. “An even bigger potential risk would be to allow credits from the voluntary market that have varying standards and limited transparency.”
One of the positive elements of the resolution as far as NGOs are concerned is explicit text on the importance – although not mandated as they had wanted – of avoiding double-counting of UNFCCC emission reductions. “This doesn’t get mentioned very often but to us it is part and parcel of the ICAO scheme,” said Johnson. “There will be States reporting their emission reductions under the Paris Agreement that are potentially going to be selling units to aviation and we want to ensure those emissions don’t get counted twice.”
The use of high-quality offsets, says ICSA, is fundamental to the environmental integrity of the scheme but, points out Johnson: “We all say we want environmental integrity but we haven’t yet defined what that is.”
A major disappointment of the Assembly outcome to the NGOs is that the GMBM fall short of delivering carbon-neutral growth (CNG) from 2020, with the measure only covering an estimated 75-80% of international aviation emissions growth during the 15-year lifetime of CORSIA (2021-2035) as a result of the voluntary phase and other exemptions for the least developed countries.
“We accept the voluntary phase has some form of political necessity about it and has actually provided a wider coverage than under the previous mandatory proposal,” said Johnson. “But we do need to think how the overall CNG goal is going to be delivered.”
The agreed three-year review process – the first is to be held in 2022 – was therefore a highly important element of the scheme, he said. “We see CNG as a starting point and clearly not the end point in respect of Paris ambitions. We want to ensure the GMBM is not frozen in time for 15 years but is an opportunity for us to revisit and potentially to increase the stringency of the cap to bring it into line with what needs to happen. We also managed to link some of the language in the text to the temperature goals.”
However, although mentioned in the preambular text of the Assembly resolution (22/1), that link is not as strong as NGOs had anticipated as text was removed very late from an operative paragraph (9) of the resolution at the request of some unrevealed countries. The paragraph in question refers to exploring the feasibility by ICAO of long-term aspirational goals and had previously linked them to the 2⁰C and 1.5⁰C temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.
“This deal was the world’s first opportunity to test whether the Paris Agreement would change the way we do business and rally the world towards its new goals. Yet just hours after celebrating the Paris Agreement’s early entry into force, countries at ICAO are sending mixed signals about their ambition to reduce emissions by weakening the link between the aviation mechanism and the long-term goals set in Paris,” said Lou Leonard, SVP Climate & Energy for ICSA member WWF.
“Going forward, countries need to build on this ICAO deal and create new policies to ensure global aviation does its fair share and doesn’t undermine our ability to deliver on Paris’ global temperature goals.”
Brussels-based Transport & Environment, another ICSA NGO, said further measures over and above CORSIA would be required “if we are to have any hope of limiting global warming to 1.5⁰C.” With only 20% of total aircraft CO2 emissions between 2021 and 2035 likely to be offset, the burden would be shifted to other sectors to do more, it warned.
“It is not mission accomplished for ICAO, Europe or industry,” said T&E Aviation Director, Bill Hemmings. “The world needs more than voluntary agreements. Without robust environmental safeguards the offsets won’t cut emissions, leaving us with a deal that amounts to little more than adding the price of a cup of coffee to a ticket.”
However, fellow ICSA member Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) said the ICAO agreement sent a powerful signal to the world on the urgency of climate action.
“Achieving CNG2020 is a significant step in its own right,” said Nathaniel Keohane, VP Global Climate. “And with robust implementation, the MBM can serve as a springboard to greater ambition, not only for the aviation sector, but – through market linkages worldwide – also for emitting sectors more broadly.
“The agreement is not perfect – few are – but it does provide a vital basis for moving forward. The first key step will be developing strong standards to ensure transparency, environmental integrity and even broader participation.”
He said the participation could be broadened through immediate capacity building to help implement the scheme in developing countries and the scheme could also spur finance for low-carbon development.
AEF’s Tim Johnson said he hoped that having heard and considered the ICAO outcome, countries attending the forthcoming UNFCCC COP22 in Marrakech that had not already signed up may announce their participation. “We will keep the pressure on them to do so,” he promised.
Industry welcomes ICAO adoption of global carbon offsetting scheme and looks ahead to next phase
Fri 14 Oct 2016 – Seven years after first proposing a global market-based measure as part of a strategy to address its impact on climate change, last week’s agreement by countries at the ICAO Assembly to start the CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme from 2021 is a landmark moment for the aviation industry. The carbon-neutral growth from 2020 (CNG2020) mid-term target set by industry – it has a long-term ambition to cut net emissions in half by 2050 – went too far for some important aviation countries to sign up to, and the permitted exemptions and voluntary nature of the early stages of the scheme means CNG2020 will likely be unreachable. But the international agreement is welcome relief for an industry left out of the wider climate negotiations at the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris last December and enduring criticism from some quarters for failing to adequately address its fast-growing carbon emissions.
“Negotiators in Paris had faith in ICAO to deliver an agreement for international air transport emissions tailored to the unique circumstances of our sector. That faith has truly paid off and governments have approved a scheme that will fill one of the remaining pieces of the climate change challenge,” said Michael Gill, Executive Director of the cross-industry Air Transport Action Group (ATAG).
“The historic significance of this agreement cannot be overestimated,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s new Director General, who took up his post last month. “The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is the first global scheme covering an entire industrial sector. The agreement has turned years of preparation into an effective solution for airlines to manage their carbon footprint. It ensures that the aviation industry’s economic and social contributions are matched with cutting-edge efforts on sustainability. The aviation industry understands that sustainability is critical.”
However, he acknowledged CORSIA would not be enough by itself to achieve a sustainable future and the take-up of new technology, including sustainable alternative fuels, would be required to improve the sector’s environmental performance. “We must not lose sight of the fact that the adoption of CORSIA is not aviation’s only solution,” de Juniac told a press conference after the Assembly. “The industry has a four-pillar strategy to manage carbon emissions, which includes a global market-based measure (MBM) as one of those pillars, and complemented by improvements in technology, operations and infrastructure.
“This strategy is delivering results – for example airlines are investing billions in more fuel-efficient, less noisy aircraft. We will continue to remind our partners in government of their responsibility as well in improving infrastructure, supporting the adoption of new technologies and aligning their policies with CORSIA to avoid any proliferation of aviation environmental charges and taxes.”
The agreement marked the end of the political process to implement a global MBM for aviation, he said, but added: “There is still a lot of technical work to ensure effective and efficient implementation, and to ensure the environmental integrity and administrative simplicity of the scheme.”
Now CORSIA had been agreed, the process will shift into the implementation phase, with a lot of work required on setting up a global monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of emissions system, the establishment of registries and a decision on the eligibility criteria for carbon offsets under the scheme. The technical groups under ICAO’s Committee on Environmental Protection (CAEP) will be resuming their work on these issues in a week’s time.
“MRV won’t be a problem as a lot of the work has already been done, as it has on emissions unit criteria (EUC),” said IATA Senior Vice President, Paul Steele. “We are though going to be pushing hard to get these agreed as quickly as possible because for us, 2020 is tomorrow and we need to know what will be required of us. We welcome the fact that ICAO is now moving this into the CAEP process so that we can get the ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) for both MRV and EUC moving forward and implemented relatively efficiently.
“Where there is more of a challenge is on the States’ side and getting registries in place, and this is where ICAO and industry can work closely together as well to make sure those things match together.”
Added Gill: “The requirements for MRV don’t cause great alarm because it’s work that is already taking place to comply with other regulatory regimes around the world. There is fine tuning to be done but the timetables are reasonable and the momentum that has been created at this Assembly as a result of work between industry, governments and the ICAO Secretariat will drive us ahead for successful outcomes on these issues.”
On offsets, Steele said the industry would be looking for a broad market of availability and eligibility. “We also have to be cautious and this is where we can share views with the NGOs on choosing the right type of credits,” he said. “There are credits out there that are not particularly robust, so we are happy to work with civil society within ICAO to come up with criteria which everybody can accept that will provide the airlines with a sufficient market at affordable prices and also deliver on environmental integrity. I don’t think there is much argument around that objective.”
Using ICAO estimates, de Juniac said the cost to industry of purchasing offsets during the lifetime of the scheme (2021-2035) would be between $6 billion to $22 billion, roughly up to 1% of global revenues, depending on the price of carbon. “Even though it’s a cost – and industry doesn’t like costs – it is manageable for a unique global scheme,” added Steele.
Industry expects to play a major role in building capacity amongst less developed countries and their airlines during the next phase. “We will support ICAO’s efforts to ensure the successful implementation of this scheme,” said Gill. “Collaboration by industry with ICAO and governments helped to reach the CORSIA agreement and that same spirit of collaboration is going to help in the capacity-building process.”
Steele said IATA had already made sure all its member airlines had been informed over the past few years on progress of the scheme’s design. “Now that it’s become clear and as we get details through of the MRV requirements, we will be working closely with them to make sure they know what’s expected and we will support them in doing that. We also have a lot of experience of working with our members on their voluntary carbon offsetting schemes. If ICAO needs assistance in working with governments in the way we did with the Global Aviation Dialogues, we would be happy to support ICAO in that process as well.”
On airline passenger voluntary offset programmes, de Juniac said it was too early to predict what would happen to them once the CORSIA scheme started but he thought they would “fade away” over time.
In the shorter term, he said IATA would be encouraging more States to join the voluntary phases of the scheme. The 65 countries that had volunteered by the end of the Assembly, which IATA estimates will be enough to cover over 80% of the total growth in international aviation emissions after 2020, has grown to 66 with the addition to the list of Zambia, a landlocked developing country that would be entitled to a permanent exemption from participating under CORSIA.
“Despite some reservations over the scheme being voluntary in its initial years, the support of all these States – large, small, developed and developing – shows the commitment of the international community working through ICAO to deliver a robust measure,” said de Juniac.
More industry reaction to the A39 resolution and the CORSIA approval (click on links for full statements):
Airlines for America (A4A): “We thank the United States government for its steadfast commitment to building global consensus for this groundbreaking agreement and we remain committed to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to further build on our already strong environmental record,” said A4A CEO Nicholas Calio. A4A VP Environmental Affairs Nancy Young said the importance of achieving a single, global market-based measure prevented countries from imposing unilateral measures on international aviation, such as the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). “We applaud ICAO and its member nations from around the world for reaching a global agreement to address climate change in support of our commitment to achieving carbon neutral growth in international aviation from 2020,” she said. “Having a single, globally agreed market-based measure for international aviation ensures its role as a complement to our considerable technology, sustainable alternative aviation fuels, operations and infrastructure initiatives, sending a clear message that airlines will remain a green engine of economic growth into the future.”
Airlines for Europe (A4E): “European airlines, the aviation industry, other stakeholders as well as European institutions have been consistently advocating a global solution for many years. Following the ICAO agreement, there is now an opportunity to have a fresh look at environmental regulation in the European context and to review existing measures addressing CO2 emissions from aviation,” said A4E Managing Director Thomas Reynaert. “A4E supports that the global system will apply equally to operators and that a majority of routes will be included from the start. This will reduce any potential competitive distortion which is important in order to preserve the competitiveness of European carriers and to avoid adverse financial and political implications. We are ready to assist the EU in preparing an effective transition mechanism to ensure that airlines can comply with the global scheme and that they will be better aligned with other international airlines in their efforts to address carbon emissions.”
Airports Council International (ACI) World: “This historic climate agreement follows last week’s ACI Resolution supporting CORSIA as the global market-based measure for international aviation; and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between ACI and ICAO for enhanced cooperation on environmental related initiatives,” said Director General Angela Gittens. “With these commitments, the priority now is collaboration to provide capacity building, and coordination, so that we can work together to deliver the right assistance in the right place and at the right time.”
Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA): “We commend the States who have demonstrated leadership by their commitment to be a part of the voluntary stage of CORSIA when it plans to start in 2020. We look to other States to follow this lead and declare their voluntary participation,” said Director General Andrew Herdman, who was a member of the cross-industry delegation at the Assembly. “Although a great deal of work has gone into achieving this outcome, further challenges lie ahead in ensuring the scheme is implemented effectively by governments around the world. Industry is committed to supporting ICAO in completing the technical work ahead which will provide the metrics, methodology and guidance needed to ensure a robust implementation framework. Implementation of CORSIA will be critically important in reaching the more ambitious goal of carbon neutral growth from 2020. In the Asia Pacific region, which is already the world’s largest aviation market, airlines have made significant fleet investments in the latest technology that will offer CO2 emission reductions. Governments in the region also have an important role to play in ensuring the necessary aviation infrastructure keeps pace with the expected growth in demand, whilst improving operational efficiencies and reducing environmental impacts.”
British Airways: “Industry cannot possibly make a worldwide impact on CO2 emissions without international political support, so I was delighted the ICAO meeting approved the global carbon offsetting programme,” said CEO Alex Cruz at the British Air Transport Association’s annual lecture yesterday. “This is really a historic decision in aviation, the first time countries from around the world have agreed a common approach for dealing with emissions for a specific industrial sector. It is a great step and reflects the great deal of patient work behind the scenes that included a number of European aviation players, including BA and IAG over the last six years.”
Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO): “CANSO and its members across the air traffic management industry welcome the decision by States to put in place a carbon offsetting scheme for global aviation,” said Director General Jeff Poole. “This marks a major milestone towards the fulfilment of the fourth pillar of aviation’s four-pillar strategy to reduce its emissions. CANSO and its Members will continue to focus on pillar two – improving the efficiency of aircraft operations – and pillar three – improving aviation infrastructure. The air traffic management industry is helping to implement pillar two through procedures that enable aircraft to fly shorter, optimum routes and take-off and land with smoother trajectories, thus reducing emissions. For pillar three, we are working with States to modernise and upgrade the air traffic management system to increase capacity and reduce delays, thus ensuring a smoother experience for passengers, increasing efficiency and enabling greater connectivity and access to markets to boost GDP growth for States.”
European Regions Airline Association (ERA): “After several years of hard work, ICAO Member States have agreed a landmark agreement on international aviation emissions and they are to be congratulated on that,” said Director General Simon McNamara. “It is something that the industry, including ERA, has been supporting. We are now looking at the detail of the agreement to understand its implications on the future of the EU ETS for aviation, and will be discussing the matter with our members at our AGM on 13 October, where we will be releasing a detailed position with our views on the future of the EU ETS for aviation.”
International Air Carrier Association (IACA): “IACA underlines that this agreed global framework offers a better alternative compared to a potentially complex patchwork of regional and national systems,” it said. “IACA is confident the European Commission will recognise the high level ambition of CORSIA, and will propose that it replaces the EU ETS.”
International Business Aviation Council (IBAC): “The framework agreed at ICAO will help us meet our collective industry commitments while also taking into account the needs of small operators,” said Director General Kurt Edwards. “Importantly, the global framework means we will avoid a patchwork of multiple measures around the world.” IBAC said its experts would continue to represent the interests of business aircraft operators in the technical work to establish SARPs under CORSIA, “with a view to ensuring administrative simplicity for those operators that participate in the scheme.” It pointed out the ICAO resolution provides for exemptions for operators that emit annually fewer than 10,000 tonnes of CO2 in international flights and for aircraft under 5,700kg MTOW.
International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations (ICCAIA): “This is a significant year for the global aviation community. The agreement on CO2 standards for aircraft, coupled with the international carbon offset plan illustrates we take our environmental responsibility seriously,” said Chairman David Melcher, who is also CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association. “While CORSIA and the CO2 emissions standards are important milestones, we must not forget the importance of continuing to reduce our impact on the environment in other areas which support these goals.”
Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA): “This is another key step as part of an overall comprehensive plan in addressing the industry’s contribution to the environment and climate change that should be celebrated,” said Executive Director Eduardo Iglesias. “Airlines in the Latin America and Caribbean region have made great strides on the technological front, including renewing their fleet. CORSIA supplements the industry’s full-spectrum of initiatives and measures to reduce CO2 emissions, which also includes technological, operational, infrastructure, as well as sustainable alternative fuels. As we focus on the next step of effectively implementing CORSIA, we call on governments to join us in a united effort and to do their part investing in the necessary infrastructure and setting the right framework to develop sustainable alternative fuels in the region. ALTA and our members remain readily available to collaborate with governments in the implementation of all measures to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint in the region, including CORSIA.”
Sustainable Aviation: The UK industry coalition group congratulated “the leading role its members and the UK Government have played in the negotiations, helping to secure international agreement to the principles of a scheme and to shape its design.” It added: “Work to prepare for the scheme’s implementation is already underway. SA members will continue to work with the UK Government and ICAO on the detailed design elements to ensure the environmental integrity of chosen emissions units and develop robust rules for monitoring, reporting and verification. SA will review the impact of this new scheme on its forecasts published in the Sustainable Aviation Carbon Roadmap. The Roadmap shows that UK aviation can decouple growth in travel from growth in emissions to keep absolute emissions at around 2005 levels by 2050. This ICAO scheme will allow the UK industry to go further, meeting the industry goal of halving net emissions in 2050 compared to 2005 levels. SA fully welcomes this landmark agreement as a major milestone, putting the industry firmly on course to meet its ambitious climate goals.”
Virgin Atlantic: “The successful outcome at the ICAO Assembly is great news,” said Meigan Terry, SVP External Affairs. “It’s a significant step forwards in enabling the global aviation industry to deliver on the challenging targets it has already committed to meeting. Virgin Atlantic has long supported a global carbon deal for aviation, as one of the 2008 founding member airlines of a small industry group called Aviation Global Deal.”