GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 2 OCTOBER 2017
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Phase out of noisiest Chapter 3 aircraft at Heathrow continues with growing use of the Dreamliner
Mon 2 Oct 2017 – The move towards using quieter aircraft by airlines at London Heathrow is gathering pace and August marked the first month without Chapter 3 aircraft, the oldest and noisiest classification. This year, the airport increased the charges to land the noisiest aircraft and operators pay on average ten times more to fly Chapter 3 planes than for the quietest aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Heathrow has promised that by 2020 no Chapter 3 aircraft should be operating at the airport. Dreamliners are now the fastest growing aircraft types at the airport, it reports, with more than 700 additional flights in June compared to last year. Heathrow’s latest ‘Fly Quiet and Clean’ top 50 league table for the period April to June shows Air India rose 37 places to 5th as a result of switching to the Dreamliner and better track keeping.
Also as a result of better track keeping – the ability to adhere to government-set noise preferential routes around Heathrow – Singapore Airlines climbed 21 places to 12th, with Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and SN Brussels all improving by more than 10 places compared to last quarter. A previous laggard in the league table, El Al is expected to move up from its 48th place as a result of starting to operate the Dreamliner from last month to March 2018. Regional airline FlyBe features in the table for the first time in 29th position.
The table uses seven metrics to assess scores: noise quota/seat, chapter number, NOx emissions/seat, CAEP engine emissions certification, continuous descent approach violations, track keeping violations and early or late movements between 23:30 and 04:30.
Heathrow said it continues to work with all airlines, particularly those at the bottom of the table to improve their scores.
“Heathrow airlines continue to bring the best of their fleet to our airport – a trend which not only delivers benefits for our passengers, but also makes our skies quieter and cleaner,” said Matt Gorman, Head of Sustainability.
“Upgrading aircraft is the single best way to cut emissions, and to continue to shrink our noise footprint. We are pleased to see our efforts, including increasing our charges for noisier aircraft this year, are yielding results and we hope to continue the trend so our passengers and local communities benefit from Heathrow’s newer, cleaner fleets.”
All-electric passenger aircraft could be flying on its short-haul routes within a decade, claims easyJet
Sun 1 Oct 2017 – European low-cost carrier easyJet believes commercial flights using all-electric aircraft could be possible within the next decade, with a further ambitious goal that every short-haul flight is zero-emissions within 20 years. At its Innovation Day last week, easyJet outlined its collaboration with US electric aircraft manufacturer Wright Electric, which it has been working with over the course of this year to provide an airline’s perspective on a future electric-powered passenger aircraft. A prototype aircraft was unveiled with a range of 335 miles (540km), which would cover 20% of passenger journeys flown by easyJet. The airline also announced it is to introduce new electric towbarless aircraft tugs for its operations at London Gatwick and is partnering with Safran to start trials shortly on hydrogen fuel cell technology to enable zero-emissions e-taxiing of its aircraft.
Set up just 18 months ago, Wright Electric includes a team of aerospace engineers, powertrain experts and battery chemists previously funded by NASA to investigate the potential for electric aircraft. It has already demonstrated a two-seater plane with a battery weighing around 600 pounds (270kg). The company expects in time a scaled-up passenger aircraft, capable of carrying up to 150 passengers, will utilise new energy storage chemistries that are substantially lighter than today’s commercial batteries. The prototype shown last week includes a distributed electric propulsion system, swappable battery packs and high aspect ratio wings for energy efficient flight.
Jeffrey Engler, CEO and founder of Wright Electric, said using electricity is less expensive and more stable than liquid fuel, and solar electricity had seen massive reductions in price over the past 30 years, with the promise of more to come in the future. He said his plane would have 50-75% lower emissions than current fossil-fuelled aircraft and 10% lower cost of ownership overall.
“Working with easyJet to develop the next generation of air travel is a powerful validation of our technology approach, and their insights have been invaluable as we look to commercialise our electric aircraft for the large and growing short-haul flight markets,” commented Engler.
“EasyJet’s impressive team has provided deep insights to our engineers about the critical aspects required to run a successful airline, from maintenance to revenue management, and we look forward to working with them in the years ahead.”
The aircraft would be designed to cover routes such as London to Paris, Amsterdam or Belfast, and its 335-mile range would cover a high volume of easyJet routes.
“If we’re going to take that next step in environmental responsibility in reducing carbon emissions beyond the incremental changes we can make with existing technology, then we have to get behind exciting ventures like this,” said Peter Duffy, easyJet’s Chief Commercial Officer.
The airline is introducing Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft into its fleet that it says will reduce CO2 emissions by 15% and noise by 50%. Since 2000, it reports, emissions have reduced by 31% from 116.2 grams to 79.98 grams per passenger kilometre in 2016. EasyJet has a target of 72 grams by 2022, which would be a 10% reduction on current performance and a 38% improvement since 2000.
“For the first time, our industry can envisage a future which isn’t wholly reliant on jet fuel and its harmful CO2 and NOx emissions, and where our noise footprint is significantly reduced for all flights and completely eliminated for many,” said CEO Carolyn McCall. “The decarbonisation of other forms of transport like road and rail is advancing quickly and could now be matched by aviation.”
Wright Electric is not the only US start-up looking to enter this market. Backed by carrier JetBlue and Boeing, Zunum Aero is developing a small capacity hybrid-electric aircraft for the regional airline market with a range of up to 700 miles (1,100km). By 2030 it expects to be producing aircraft capable of carrying up to 50 passengers on routes over 1,000 miles (see article). Airbus and Siemens signed a collaboration agreement in April 2016 to demonstrate the feasibility of hybrid-electric propulsion by 2020, with their sights set on developing a commercial aircraft with less than 100 seats that could enter service by 2030.
During its Innovation Day, easyJet announced it would be replacing its diesel aircraft tug vehicles at London Gatwick with new electric towbarless versions manufactured by TLD that are capable of performing up to 20 aircraft push backs per single charge (see photo below).
The airline also confirmed a partnership with French aerospace manufacturer Safran to trial hydrogen fuel cell technology for use as a zero emissions taxiing system. If applied across its fleet of 279 aircraft, the system could save around 55,000 tonnes of fuel and associated CO2 emissions, and as it would enable silent operations, significantly reduce noise associated with taxiing. First trials are expected to take place next year at Toulouse Airport.
“Safran is both delighted and proud to be teaming up with easyJet on this programme, which marks a vital step forward in the use of hydrogen on airplanes,” said Didier Godart, the company’s VP Innovation.
With its high frequency and short sector lengths, easyJet says around 4% of total annual fuel consumption is used by its aircraft when taxiing.
“These innovations will not only reduce our impact on the environment but will also provide respite for communities living near airports,” said McCall.
Neste to supply its renewable jet fuel to airlines at Geneva Airport later next year
Thu 21 Sept 2017 – Renewable fuel producer Neste is to collaborate with Geneva Airport to supply its MY Renewable Jet Fuel product for aircraft operations as of late 2018. The target is for at least 1% of the annual jet fuel consumption at the airport to be composed of the renewable fuel, with the annual volume expected to reach “thousands of tonnes”, says Finland-headquartered Neste. The fuel will be produced at Neste’s European refineries using 100% waste and residue based renewable raw materials. Along with logistics stakeholders, both partners are looking at the most viable form of transporting the fuel to the airport. Neste supplied its fuel to Lufthansa for the first-ever series of regular flights between Frankfurt and Hamburg in 2011 and is involved in other Scandinavian and Dutch sustainable jet fuel initiatives.
Claiming to be the world’s leading renewable diesel producer from waste and residues, Neste has been developing its MY Renewable Jet Fuel product for several years, building proof of concept through to ensuring quality and performance to meet commercial aviation fuel requirements. The fuel was tested on 1,187 scheduled Lufthansa flights and Neste says results showed an overall saving of 1,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions and fuel consumption was 1% lower overall compared to fossil jet fuel. Neste adds its winter-grade fuel has been successfully tested by Boeing on a 787 Dreamliner.
Now, says the company, its renewable jet fuel is ready for commercialisation.
“We are very excited to collaborate with Geneva Airport and their airline partners to show the way to the aviation sector,” commented Neste’s Kaisa Hietala, EVP Renewable Products. “This is an important step for Neste in implementing our growth strategy for renewables in applications outside road traffic fuels.”
Geneva Airport CEO André Schneider said that with aviation growing, airports had a crucial role in taking the initiative to reduce the sector’s environmental impact. “The airport is particularly pleased to work on this very ambitious project together with Neste, the Swiss authorities, airlines operating from Geneva and locally established fuel companies.”
Geneva joins other airports, including Seattle-Tacoma and Avinor-owned airports in Norway, in launching recent initiatives to supply sustainable jet fuel to airlines while seeking a solution to the price premium challenge.
Meanwhile, Stuttgart Airport has started using Neste’s MY Renewable Diesel under the brand name C.A.R.E. Diesel in its diesel-powered ground fleet, such as the trucks of the airport fire department and winter service equipment.
“Our goal of running the entire airport climate-neutrally by 2050 is a very ambitious task,” said Walter Schoefer, the airport’s Managing Director. “The use of C.A.R.E. Diesel complements our climate protection efforts and its use benefits our apron staff as well.
New government-backed initiative launched to create a world-leading UK sustainable aviation fuel industry
Wed 20 Sept 2017 – Following a decision by the UK government to support the development of sustainable fuels for the aviation sector, a new initiative has been formed that will bring supply chain partners together with the aim of building a world-leading sustainable aviation fuel industry in the UK. Sponsored by the Department for Transport and industry coalition group Sustainable Aviation, the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Special Interest Group (SAF SIG) will be run by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), a government-backed programme to link business with R&D and investors. A third sponsor and network partner is Innovate UK, a government agency tasked with finding and driving science and technology innovations that will grow the national economy.
Sustainable aviation fuel has become one of 10 current time-bound Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that cover areas such as graphene, robotics and artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and synthetic biology. The SAF SIG team at KTN will aim to accelerate the development of a sustainable aviation fuel sector that could contribute £265 million ($360m) to the UK economy and generate 4,400 jobs by 2030. The team says it will bring the necessary supply chain together by brokering collaborations and supporting businesses to find the resources required to grow and innovate.
KTN says the formation of the group follows the ICAO decision last year to implement a global market-based measure for carbon-neutral growth from 2020. “Development of sustainable aviation fuels will be one of the measures to drive the UK forward and position itself as a world-leader in this field,” it added in a statement.
Leading the SAF SIG is Michelle Carter, Knowledge Transfer Manager for Aerospace and Aviation at KTN. “The launch of the SAF SIG is timely,” she said. “The transport fuel landscape in the UK is changing, with the focus now on decarbonising the aviation sector. KTN will play a crucial role in bringing together the components of the fuels supply chain by virtue of our broad sector knowledge. We are keen to expand our understanding of who the main stakeholders are in the UK and how they can contribute to the development of sustainable aviation fuels.”
The SAF SIG is the latest in a flurry of recent announcements over the development of sustainable aviation fuels in the UK. Late last month, the government confirmed it would provide funding for projects to develop low-carbon, waste-based advanced fuels for planes and heavy goods vehicles (see article). This week, it announced supplies of waste-based renewable jet fuels would qualify for incentives under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) scheme (see article). This was swiftly followed by British Airways and renewable fuel technology company Velocys stating they were to partner on a project to determine the case for a series of waste-to-jet fuel plants in the UK.
Ian Jopson, Chair of Sustainable Aviation, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the SAF SIG. Sustainable Aviation has been working with government for a while now to ensure a level framework with automotive fuels and welcomes aviation’s inclusion in the RTFO. It presents an exciting opportunity for aviation, and the industry is now ready to capitalise on the opportunity.”
The SAF SIG team is keen for businesses and researchers to engage as early as possible in the two-year initiative and invites interested parties to join the group here.
British Airways embarks on new sustainable jet fuel project as UK government announces RTFO incentive
Tue 19 Sept 2017 – Following a UK government announcement on Friday that it will include sustainable jet fuel under its Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) incentive scheme, British Airways and renewable fuels technology company Velocys have confirmed they are to partner on a project to make a business case for a series of waste-to-jet fuel commercial scale plants in the UK. Velocys will lead an initial feasibility study and, subject to its findings and successful completion of the development stages, an investment decision could be made in 2019. The company believes a plant could be up and running two to three years after this. After the failed project with Solena for a facility near London that was going to produce renewable jet fuel for the airline through an offtake purchase agreement, British Airways won’t comment yet on investment issues or quantify the amount of fuel involved but the first plant could produce in the region of 30,000 tonnes a year, equivalent to around 9 million US gallons.
The UK sends more than 15 million tonnes of waste to landfill sites that could be significantly reduced through converting it into jet fuel, says British Airways, and also deliver reductions of more than 60% in greenhouse gas emissions and 90% in particulates compared with conventional fossil fuel. The planned plant would take “hundreds of thousands of tonnes” of household waste and deliver 60,000 tonnes of CO2 savings annually. The resulting fuel would be enough to power all BA’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights from London to San Jose, California and New Orleans, Louisiana for a whole year, says the airline.
“Sustainable fuels will play an increasingly critical role in global aviation, and we are preparing for that future,” commented Willie Walsh, CEO of BA’s parent company IAG. “Turning household waste into jet fuel is an amazing innovation that produces clean fuel while reducing landfill.”
The partnership will also include recycling and waste management specialist Suez, which will provide technical and operational expertise and manage the supply of feedstock to the project, and Ervington Investments affiliate Norma, a potential investor in the project. Ervington and Norma are investment arms of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and with a 29% stake, Ervington is Velocys’ largest investor.
Velocys says its Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) technology is, as of June, in commercial operation at ENVIA Energy’s gas-to-liquid plant in Oklahoma City.
“Our strategy remains highly focused on exploiting the large US market for cellulosic renewable fuels,” said Velocys CEO David Pummell. “Alongside the excellent progress we are making there, we believe that the recently announced RTFO changes will allow the UK to become a world leader in sustainable jet fuel. We are very pleased to be working with world-class partners to help execute the vision of a repeatable series of plants, offering a commercially attractive route to a highly desirable product for an industry that now demands significant greenhouse gas reduction solutions.
“This opportunity leverages further our technology, integrated plant design and skills base, and is consistent with our renewable fuels strategy of delivering integrated plant solutions, in collaboration with partners, to fulfil a real market need.”
Velocys was to supply its F-T technology for the ill-fated Solena GreenSky project that was planned to process around 575,000 tonnes of waste annually destined for landfill or incineration for conversion into 120,000 tonnes of clean-burning liquid fuels, including 50,000 tonnes of renewable jet fuel.
Dr Neville Hargreaves, VP Capital Projects UK and leader of the new project, told GreenAir that Velocys was now taking responsibility for the whole development and the outlook for such a venture was much improved since the Solena failure, especially with the RTFO change that could provide significant revenues.
“We have some very strong partners on board who are prepared to invest in the project,” he said. “The technology has also moved on. We didn’t have a commercial plant in place when the Solena project was announced in 2012 and now we do, which makes it far easier to finance a project of this nature.
“The technology is our own and we work with other companies who also own theirs to assemble the complete package. Our F-T technology, relative to others, is very suitable for this scale.”
The GreenSky plant was to be situated to the east of London on the site of an old oil refinery by the Thames Estuary in Thurrock, Essex, and was expected to supply renewable jet fuel for BA aircraft at London City Airport. Velocys and British Airways say the site of the proposed first plant has not been decided and will be considered as part of the feasibility study.
Hargreaves said it was not vital to have the plant near the airport where the fuel is to be used. “What’s critical is building it near where the waste comes from since the issue of waste transport is more important than transporting the fuel,” he said. “Obviously the fuel logistics have to make sense but ultimately it’s driven much more by availability of feedstock.”
IAG’s Walsh has previously criticised UK government policy for failing to support the development of commercial-scale sustainable aviation fuel production, citing it as a principal cause for the shelving of GreenSky and the demise of Solena.
Now, though, the government has pledged its backing for renewable jet fuels produced from sustainable eligible waste feedstocks. Three weeks ago, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced it would be providing up to £22 million ($28m) of funding towards projects to develop renewable fuels for planes and heavy goods vehicles (see article). The fund, to be matched equally by industry, is expected to help deliver up to five new plants in the UK by 2021.
The decision, which requires parliamentary approval, over the new eligibility of waste-derived renewable jet fuels is carried in a document published by the DfT on wider changes to RTFO. Previously limited to road transport, the RTFO places a requirement on transport fuel suppliers to ensure a percentage of all road vehicle fuel is supplied from sustainable sources. Any company that supplies sustainable renewable fuel can claim Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFCs) that can be traded or sold to companies that need them to meet their RTFO obligations.
Unlike road transport, fuel suppliers would not be mandated to supply renewable jet fuel but would be able to claim RTFCs for eligible fuels that meet the sustainability criteria. The intention is to use the point at which the renewable fuel is blended with fossil fuel and certified as the point at which owners of the fuel can claim reward.
Justifying the extension, the UK government says that while supporting the ICAO agreement for a global market-based measure as “the most cost-effective way of addressing aviation emissions”, other measures, including the use of renewable fuels, were required to address long-term carbon reduction. The inclusion of renewable jet fuels under the RTFO, it says, is an opportunity of reduce emissions in a sector that is hard to decarbonise, would help bridge the gap in cost between fossil and renewable fuel and would aid investment and development of UK industry in this area.
UK industry coalition group Sustainable Aviation believes such an industry could provide between five and 12 sustainable fuel plants throughout the UK by 2030, generating £265 million for the economy and support up to 4,400 jobs. The RTFO would provide a higher level of incentive, it said, and will extend policy certainty to 2032, which should further help attract investment into the UK.
“We welcome the publication of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation and the incentive it provides for the development of advanced, low carbon, sustainable aviation fuels in the UK,” commented Ian Jopson, Chair of Sustainable Aviation.
While the RTFO support for renewable jet fuel produced from waste feedstocks clearly applies to the project being pursued by British Airways and Velocys, this is not the case for the LanzaTech pathway supported by Virgin Atlantic that is developing technology to produce jet fuel from industrial waste gases, which the government argues is not renewable fuel but low carbon fossil fuel under its current definition.
However, Virgin Atlantic welcomed the RTFO breakthrough. “We are delighted the DfT is supporting inclusion of aviation in the RTFO – a critical step for the commercialisation of advanced, waste-based technologies, like the one we’re working on with our cleantech partner LanzaTech,” said Emma Harvey, the airline’s Head of Sustainability. “Due to another policy hurdle, this RTFO change doesn’t yet include LanzaTech’s advanced carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) approach, but we’re encouraged by the positive steps the DfT and other government departments are now taking to work with us on LanzaTech’s important breakthrough technology.
“We are also encouraged by the worldwide and UK progress towards developing commercial, sustainable jet fuels. We fully recognise the need for as many low carbon solutions we can get and are excited by the fact that it looks like we are now on the verge of a number of critical breakthroughs in this area.”
Sustainable Aviation added: “There are still some hurdles to overcome, especially in relation to new technologies that recycle carbon from waste industrial gases, and we urge the DfT to ensure the new legislation does not present a barrier to these and other emerging, ground-breaking technologies.”
Responding to the government’s RTFO policy document, WWF-UK welcomed the move away from crop-based biofuels through a 4% cap that is well below the EU limit but said the future for road transport was in electrification rather than biofuels.
“But with electric planes still some way off, it makes sense to shift truly sustainable waste-based fuels away from cars and on to planes,” said James Beard, WWF-UK specialist on biofuels and energy. “Nevertheless, this is just a sticking plaster on our soaring aviation emissions.”
Clash looms between EU institutions on how long to stop the clock on scope of the Aviation EU ETS
Wed 13 Sept 2017 – The European Parliament voted by a clear majority today to back proposals from the European Commission to extend the derogation that restricts the scope of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to covering flights within the European Economic Area (EEA). Agreed to enable ICAO to reach an agreement on a global carbon scheme, the derogation – known as ‘Stop the Clock’ – ended in 2016 and the EU institutions must reach a consensus by early next year. However, the vote signals a split between the Parliament and the Commission about how much longer the clock should be stopped. The Parliament voted to end the derogation by the end of 2020 in order to keep pressure on ICAO to finalise details on its CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme. In contrast, the Commission has proposed an open-ended derogation subject to a future review, in the belief that setting a time limit would create difficulties with the ongoing ICAO negotiating process. The Parliament also voted to further toughen EU ETS rules in the post-2020 period.
In a plenary debate in the Parliament on Monday, the rapporteur on the Aviation EU ETS file, Julie Girling, said the time limit on the derogation aligned with ICAO’s own decision-making deadlines but also reflected concerns over CORSIA and whether it would deliver on its commitment to deliver carbon-neutral growth from 2020.
“At present, based on the current negotiations within ICAO, progress on the offsetting provisions has been painfully slow, with some parties, notably China, now objecting to ICAO’s role in setting the rules,” she told MEPs. “I believe it would be remiss to make a decision on the future of the EU ETS when the global market-based measure [CORSIA] is, for the time being, vague and imprecise in its framework.
“It is vital that Parliament pursues the time limit. Details on the scheme from ICAO are not well enough advanced to be able to say with any certainty that they will be exactly as we currently see them.”
Urging MEPs to back the proposals supported by her colleagues on the environment committee in July (see article), she added: “I do not believe Parliament should be complicit in undermining our own negotiating position and recommend we vote accordingly.”
Responding on behalf of the Commission in the debate, Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete warned against the threat of an automatic return to the full scope of the EU ETS, which would also cover all flights to and from third countries, after 2020.
“In our view, the extension of the intra-EEA scope combined with a review will allow the EU to deal with the situation in the coming years,” he told MEPs. “We need to facilitate international developments and get ready for CORSIA and we will have to discuss the future role of the EU ETS in a context when CORSIA becomes a reality.”
The threat of a return to full scope after 2020 would create difficulties with third countries, he warned, “which are now positively involved in the ICAO negotiations and are committed to CORSIA implementation.”
He said it would take time before a clear picture emerged of how CORSIA performs and delivers. “We also have to bear in mind, in the context of the future review, we can go back to the wider scope or to cover routes with third countries in the light of the international situation at that moment and once we know when and how CORSIA is being implemented.”
Cañete said the EU would keep an ambitious position at ICAO and was working hard to find robust criteria for emission units so that CORSIA delivered real and additional reductions in carbon emissions.
“We need to know the final rules of the scheme first and then see when and how it is implemented by third countries before carrying out our final assessment,” he concluded.
Responding to remarks from an MEP calling for aviation’s non-CO2 climate impacts to be taken into account through the EU ETS, Cañete said more research was needed as it was difficult to quantify and how to address them through market measures. “We remain committed to continue studying them and assess measures in the most effective manner.”
Concluding the debate, Girling said ICAO had known since 2008 that the EU wanted to take action on fast-growing emissions from the aviation sector.
“Do not underestimate ICAO’s ability to procrastinate,” she told the plenary. “Please do not throw away our leverage – we have to hold on to it. It would be an act of self-harm to do so. We must be firm.”
MEPs duly supported Girling’s proposals, voting 601 in favour with 69 against and 26 abstentions. Trilogue discussions involving the Parliament, the Commission and EU member states (through the Council) are due to start a few weeks’ time.
“The Commission will do its best to facilitate an agreement before the end of the year,” Cañete advised MEPs.
The Parliament also voted on a slew of amendments to proposals from the Commission on changes to the Aviation EU ETS in the next phase of the scheme that starts in 2021. MEPs supported a Commission proposal to introduce a declining cap for aviation emissions in line with other industrial sectors and also backed a proposal from the environment committee to increase the share of auctioning of allowances from the present 15% to 50%.
Controversially, MEPs also backed calls for auction revenues to be ring-fenced for spending in such areas as climate finance and developing more fuel-efficient aircraft technologies. This is likely to be rejected by member states.
Although the proposed measures are seen as inadequate in reining in the sector’s emissions, the vote was welcomed by environmental NGOs.
“So far, aviation has been given special treatment, and its pollution is increasing at an alarming rate,” commented Kelsey Perlman, Aviation Policy Officer at Carbon Market Watch. “Today, EU lawmakers took a welcome step towards levelling the playing field with other modes of transport and signalled that an ineffective international deal will not replace European climate action.”
Andrew Murphy, Aviation Manager at Transport & Environment (T&E), said: “Today’s ETS vote is a strong signal that aviation emissions need to decline and ultimately go down to zero. This is very important since the question now shifts from ‘if’ to ‘how’ aviation decarbonises. The ETS is one part of the puzzle, but it cannot be the sole instrument. Just like for other sectors of the economy, we’ll need other regulations to encourage efficient aircraft, cleaner fuels and measures to reverse the sector’s sky-high emissions growth.”
T&E also supported the Girling proposal for a time-limited extension to the ‘Stop the Clock’ derogation. “An indefinite exemption would have been a blank cheque to ICAO and a reckless move given how little we know about how the global measure will operate, and how reliant it might be on the questionable practice of offsetting,” said Murphy.
Although supporting the extension, European airlines reiterated their call for the EU ETS to cease to apply to the sector after CORSIA starts in 2021.
“The European Commission’s proposal to continue the application of the aviation ETS only to flights within the European Economic Area is the right step for a transition to a global offsetting scheme to address aviation carbon emissions,” said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director of trade association Airlines for Europe (A4E). “Member States have voted in favour of a single global scheme to address climate change – the European Parliament can’t ignore this without risking Europe’s credibility. It is now crucial that the Council comes to a swift conclusion; there can be no double burden for European airlines which puts them in a competitive disadvantage. During the upcoming trilogue meetings there needs to be certainty for European operators enabling them to focus their efforts on the implementation of the global deal to effectively tackle climate change.”
European Parliament – “Intercontinental flights to stay exempt from paying for CO2 emissions until 2020”