GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 21 DECEMBER 2020
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ZeroAvia to partner with British Airways on hydrogen power and secures UK funding towards HyFlyer project
Fri 18 Dec 2020 – British Airways (BA) is to partner with ZeroAvia on an initiative to explore how hydrogen-powered aircraft can play a role in the future of sustainable flight. Following its world-first hydrogen fuel cell powered flight of a commercial-size aircraft in September, ZeroAvia is planning the commercialisation of hydrogen-electric power for aircraft as early as 2023 with flights of up to 500 miles (800 km) in a 19-seater aircraft under its HyFlyer II project. Based in London and California, ZeroAvia has just secured a £12.3 million ($16.3m) grant towards the project from the UK government through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). The company has also raised a further $21.4 million in Series A venture funding. The BA partnership will be part of parent company IAG’s Hangar 51 accelerator programme.
ZeroAvia’s September flight of a six-seat Piper Malibu M350 utilised a smaller version of the hydrogen fuel cell powertrain it developed for the first HyFlyer project, which was also supported with a grant from the government-industry ATI programme. HyFlyer II is aimed at bringing to market the first hydrogen-electric powertrain suitable for commercial aircraft by 2023. Typically, up to 19-seat aircraft, such as the Cessna 208 Caravan and the Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otter, are used in regional aviation and cargo transport worldwide. ZeroAvia says it 600kW hydrogen-electric powertrain is platform-agnostic and will have lower operating costs and less air pollution than its jet-fuelled competition.
It is planning to perform initial test flights in 2021 and culminate in a 350-mile demonstration flight. By 2027, it expects to have powerplants in service capable of powering commercial flights of over 500 miles in aircraft with up to 100 seats and by 2030 more than 1,000 miles in aircraft with over 100 seats.
For the HyFlyer II project, ZeroAvia is working again with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) to deliver the green hydrogen fuelling systems required to power the aircraft for flight tests, including through mobile fuelling platforms suited to airport environments. For the first time, it is partnering with Aeristech to utilise the company’s advanced air compressor system as part of the 19-seat powertrain.
The $21.4 million Series A funding was led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and the Ecosystem Integrity Fund, with follow-on investors Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, Horizons Ventures, Shell Ventures and Summa Equity. Total funding since inception stands at $49.7 million.
“We see tremendous potential for hydrogen to decarbonise transportation, a core focus of our investment strategy,” said Devin Whatley, Managing Partner at the Ecosystem Integrity Fund. “With aviation being such a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, and also one of the trickiest areas to decarbonise, we believe ZeroAvia offers the only near-term solution to sustainable aviation and has already made significant progress toward achieving this goal.”
Added Kara Hurst, Amazon’s VP Worldwide Sustainability: “Amazon created The Climate Pledge Fund to support the development of technologies and services that will enable Amazon and other companies to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement ten years early – achieving net zero carbon by 2040. ZeroAvia’s zero-emission aviation powertrain has real potential to help decarbonise the aviation sector, and we hope this investment will further accelerate the pace of innovation to enable zero-emission air transport at scale.”
The £12.3 million UK grant, which is being matched by funding from the project’s partners, is being made through the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Innovate UK and ATI.
“Next year, as the UK assumes the Chair of the G7 nations and hosts COP26, we have an exciting opportunity to lead through example on climate change as we power towards net zero with our new ambitious plan to put the UK at the forefront of the green industrial revolution and a green jobs boom,” said Energy Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng.
“ZeroAvia’s HyFlyer II project will bring yet another first for zero-emission flight to British skies, boosting our work through the Jet Zero Council, as well as positioning the country as a leader in green aviation technology and ensuring the UK builds back greener after the pandemic.”
Launched in June, the Jet Zero Council is an initiative between industry and government to focus on delivering net zero emissions commercial flight, whose members include ZeroAvia and British Airways.
IAG’s Hangar 51 accelerator programme works with start-ups and scale-ups from around the world to provide an opportunity to develop and test their products on “real world business challenges,” explains British Airways. On completion of the project, the airline says research and learnings from the process will be shared and the ZeroAvia and Hangar 51 teams will consider how the partnership will progress longer term.
“We are very excited to partner with ZeroAvia and get a glimpse of a zero-emissions future using hydrogen-powered aircraft,” said Louise Evans, British Airways’ Director of External Communications & Sustainability. “During the partnership, as well as assessing the environmental advantages of the technology, we will also be exploring the operational, commercial and customer experience improvements that can be achieved.”
Responded Sergey Kiselev, Head of Europe for ZeroAvia: “Our mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to truly zero emissions flight and we believe hydrogen is the best way to quickly and practically achieve this. Earlier this year, we proved that passengers will soon be able to board an emissions-free, hydrogen-powered aircraft for commercial services. In the years to come, we will scale that technology up to power larger aircraft over longer distances.
“We have found that in addition to improving the sustainability of flight, which is vital, hydrogen-electric technology has the potential to lower operating costs and improve the in-flight passenger experience. We are delighted to be working with British Airways, one of the world’s iconic airlines, and the Hangar 51 programme to explore how hydrogen-electric aircraft can power the fleet of the future. That promising future is closer than ever.”
British Airways CEO Sean Doyle said the airline was committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. “In the short term this means improving our operational efficiency and introducing carbon offset and removal projects, while in the medium to longer term we’re investing in the development of sustainable aviation fuel and looking at how we can help accelerate the growth of new technologies, such as zero emissions hydrogen-powered aircraft.”
Four years earlier than planned, BA has now retired the last of its Boeing 747 fleet, to be replaced by more fuel-efficient Boeing 787s and Airbus A350s. It is expecting sustainable aviation fuel supplies from the planned Velocys Altalto waste-to-jet fuel plant, in which it is co-partner with Shell, located in north-east England to start arriving in 2025. Slated to produce around 20 million gallons a year, the airline estimates this would be enough to power more than 1,000 flights from London to New York each year in an A350.
In 2019, parent company IAG became the first airline group worldwide to commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (see article).
IAG CEO Luis Gallego told the Climate Ambition Summit 2020, convened on December 12 by the United Nations, the UK and France ahead of next year’s COP26: “Despite the current crisis, we believe it is absolutely critical that our industry plays its full part in addressing climate change. Our actions show how seriously we are taking the commitment. We will not back down from our ambition and efforts to reduce aviation carbon emissions.”
Public contributions to Fly Green Fund allows delivery of sustainable aviation fuel to three Swedish airports
Thu 17 Dec 2020 – The Fly Green Fund, a non-profit Swedish initiative offering businesses, public organisations and private travellers a means to reduce the climate impact of their flights through the purchase of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), has delivered nearly 46 tons of SAF to three airports in Sweden. The fuel was purchased from Air BP and produced from 100 per cent renewable waste and residue raw materials by Neste in Finland. With a lifecycle emissions reduction of 80 per cent compared with the conventional jet fuel it replaces, the fuel is certified by ISCC, which guarantees it meets the criteria of the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive. The Fly Green Fund was founded in 2015 by Karlstad Airport, SkyNRG and NISA (Nordic Initiative for Sustainable Aviation), and with this year’s delivery it has so far imported over 1,400 tons of SAF to Sweden since 2016.
Although Covid-19 has drastically reduced travel, it is too early to say whether there will be a change in the way we travel in the future but the current situation is an opportunity for a fresh start, one that is greener and sustainable, believes David Hild, CEO of the Fly Green Fund.
“Travelling not only enables trade and the spread of new technologies, but it also broadens perspectives and our understanding for other cultures. I am convinced that travel makes the world a safer and a more open place,” he said. “Still, we need to recognise the impact travelling has on our climate and take action to mitigate it. An easy way to reduce emissions from flying is to buy sustainable aviation fuel.”
The scheme uses a carbon calculator on its website to work out the emissions on a particular flight and a cost to offset them using SAF. The traveller can adjust a slider up or down to choose the amount he or she wishes to pay. Three-quarters of the money paid to the Fund is used to buy SAF for delivery at Swedish airports, the remainder to develop the market and support initiatives to help increase demand and local production of SAF in Scandinavia. Payments from the travelling public go through a Swedish mobile payments system in local currency but Hild says the Fund will soon be accepting payments in euros to broaden its market.
The SAF deliveries this year have gone to Sundsvall-Timrå, Helsingborg Ängelholm and Kalmar Öland airports, and marked the first-ever use of SAF at the first two airports. The SAF supplied by truck to the airports was blended 34/66 with conventional fuel before entering the airports’ fuelling systems.
“We are replacing fossil fuel with SAF, thus reducing the impact of our customers’ flights. At the same time, we are increasing the demand for SAF and spreading knowledge about its importance to get aviation on track to meet its climate goals,” said Hild.
“The challenge is increasing the supply. Limited production means the price of SAF is about three to four times higher than conventional fuel, which in turn limits the demand. However, the higher focus on climate change has meant more airlines are interested in investing in SAF.”
Major European air cargo carriers launch SAF initiatives for shippers and forwarders to offset their emissions
Thu 17 Dec 2020 – Air France KLM Martinair Cargo has launched what it claims is the world’s first sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) programme for the airfreight industry that will enable freight forwarders and shippers to participate in reducing aviation CO2 emissions. Based on a ‘book and claim’ system, forwarders and shippers contribute to offsetting emissions from flights through the use of SAF. Customers determine their own level of engagement with the programme and their entire investment is used for sourcing SAF. Lufthansa Cargo has launched a similar initiative in which customers can have the CO2 emissions of their shipments calculated during the booking process, which they can then offset through Lufthansa Group’s Compensaid platform and the funds used to purchase SAF. As a result of a collaboration with DB Schenker, the first flights to be covered by the use of SAF took place in late November on a return Lufthansa Cargo flight between Frankfurt and Shanghai.
With a fleet of six freighter aircraft and 172 long-haul passenger aircraft and hubs at Paris Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam Schiphol, Air France KLM Martinair Cargo flies around 1.2 million tons of cargo a year. Customers will not only help pioneer the use of SAF in the aviation industry but will also scale up the SAF market by investing in the Cargo SAF Programme, says the group. When contributing, customers receive a third-party audited report, justifying the purchased volume of SAF in relation to traffic and indicating the reduction in CO2 emissions achieved.
“Our commitment to reducing CO2 emissions is one of the cornerstones of our cargo strategy,” said Adriaan den Heijer, EVP of Air France-KLM Cargo and Managing Director of Martinair. “The launch of a SAF programme for airfreight is an important step in our ambitious sustainability roadmap for the coming years. I invite all our customers to join us in creating a more sustainable cargo future.”
KLM already operates the Corporate BioFuel Programme that enables businesses with a corporate contract with the airline to offset the CO2 emissions from business passenger travel using SAF. Partners in the programme pay a surcharge that covers the difference in cost between biofuel and traditional fossil-based kerosene.
Lufthansa’s ‘Miles & More’ passenger customers can now compensate for their CO2 emissions as the app has integrated the Group’s Compensaid compensation platform, which was launched in 2019. Customers can see the CO2 emissions of their flight in the Miles & More app and offset them directly using their airmiles or with a charge in euros. The customer can decide whether to offset through the use by the airline of SAF or through certified reforestation projects of the myclimate foundation. The enabling application is called ‘mindfulflyer’ and was developed jointly by Miles & More and the Lufthansa Innovation Hub. With the mindfulflyer function, participants can be reminded regularly to compensate their flights.
Similarly, Lufthansa Cargo customers from next summer’s flight schedule are to be offered CO2-neutral airfreight on a regular basis by offsetting emissions through either myclimate’s reforestation projects or SAF. If SAF is used, Compensaid ensures the sustainable fuel is purchased to compensate for the resulting emissions, which is undertaken in conjunction with Lufthansa Group Fuel Management and SAF manufacturers. Compensaid’s digital technology makes the process from calculation to fuelling both transparent and efficient, reports Lufthansa, which guarantees purchased SAF is put into circulation within six months.
“CO2 compensation in the business customer sector is an important and effective step towards CO2-neutral aviation,” said Gleb Tritus, Managing Director, Lufthansa Innovation Hub. “Through the larger B2B volumes, we are increasing demand and thus promoting awareness, availability and cost-effectiveness of alternative fuels.”
Lufthansa Cargo has aligned its corporate responsibility commitment with five of the 17 UN sustainability development goals (SDGs) and has committed itself to anchoring the selected sustainability goals in its corporate activities and to making a substantial contribution to achieving them by 2030.
“Lufthansa Cargo supplies people and markets with urgent goods and raw materials. We are part and driver of globalisation, which stands for economic progress and opens up new opportunities for every individual. And that does not exclude sustainability,” said Peter Gerber, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo. “We will focus more strongly on it, both in an economic and social sense. In addition to investments in a modern freighter fleet, our commitment to alternative fuels also contributes to the UN’s ‘Climate Action’ sustainability goal. Through the possibility of using SAF, we are actively driving forward research in this area and can thus relieve the environment in the long term.”
Etihad Airways first Gulf airline to commit to 2050 net zero target and launch carbon offset programme
Tue 15 Dec 2020 – UAE national airline Etihad Airways has pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions to 50% of 2019 levels by 2035 and achieve full net zero emissions by 2050, which it claims is a first for a Gulf airline and the first in the industry to set a mid-point target towards carbon neutrality. In initial steps towards the goal, Etihad has committed to neutralise the CO2 emissions of its flagship ‘Greenliner’ 787-10 aircraft for a full year of operations in 2021. Separately, the airline will implement an additional voluntary offset programme for passengers via its website booking platform in 2021. Etihad recently launched the first ever aviation ‘transition sukuk’, a form of Islamic sustainability-linked finance, raising $600 million that will support investment in next-generation aircraft and tied to performance in reaching the airline’s carbon reduction targets. In other Gulf news, Emirates has used sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for the first time to power an A380 delivery flight.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad has partnered with Respira for its Greenliner carbon offset programme and will initially purchase 80,000 tonnes of CO2 offsets in a Tanzanian forestry project. The Makame Savannah REDD project, developed by Carbon Tanzania, employs a community-based model to curb deforestation and promote better management of local natural resources across over 100,000 hectares in the southern extension of the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem.
The scheme is verified and certified by Verra under its Verified Carbon Standard to ensure the carbon offsets are quantifiable, additional and fully sustainable. The scheme’s first offset vintages were certified in early November 2020. The Tanzanian project also conforms to Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards, which protect endangered species and local communities.
“Respira offers a fresh approach to the carbon market by aligning the interests of project developers, buyers and capital providers,” said Ana Haurie, CEO of Respira. “In this way, we create win-win outcomes for all stakeholders. It is a privilege to work with Etihad, which has shown real commitment to its sustainability goals through what is a challenging period for the airline industry.”
To support Etihad and Abu Dhabi’s long-term sustainability objectives, Respira will establish operations at the Abu Dhabi Global Market, the emirate’s international financial centre, in order to bring its offset expertise to the Middle East, said the company.
Commented Tony Douglas, Etihad Aviation Group CEO: “It’s encouraging to end a difficult year with such a positive move for the sustainable future of aviation. While the year brought many challenges, sustainability has remained at the top of our agenda, and the work hasn’t stopped. Expect to see more ground-breaking initiatives in 2021.”
Added Dr Alejandro Rios-Galvan, Chairman of the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC) at Khalifa University of Science and Technology, who advises the airline on a range of sustainability issues: “This is a great start for Etihad’s zero-carbon journey using a well-respected offset standard that is fully compliant with the best sustainability practices out there. We look forward to continue supporting Etihad on their long-term sustainability strategy.”
The airline said the Greenliner offset programme would complement its ongoing work to develop and test SAFs, with a goal of making them commercially viable for widespread adoption by the industry.
Etihad recently raised $600 million in the world’s first ‘transition sukuk’, a financial instrument enabling organisations to raise funds from investors in accordance with Islamic finance principles. Transition finance supports companies to make progress towards commitments to cut carbon in line with the goals of the Paris climate agreement. The proceeds will be used by the airline for energy-efficient aircraft and research and development into SAF.
According to HSBC, which acted with Standard Chartered Bank as joint global coordinators and joint sustainability structuring agents on the deal, the sukuk also includes a commitment from the airline to pay a penalty in the form of carbon offsets if it fails to meet its short-term target to reduce the carbon intensity of its passenger fleet. Etihad has pledged to reduce its passenger fleet’s emissions intensity by 20% by 2025 from a 2017 baseline.
“Many industries, including airlines, need to undertake complex and gradual transformations to reduce their carbon emissions – and the financial sector has a responsibility to help them,” explained Ali Taufeeq, Director, Middle East Debt Capital Markets, HSBC. “The transition sukuk issuance by Etihad was a natural step in this direction and we are pleased to assist them in accelerating investment in more environmentally-friendly solutions.”
The bank said it is expecting the sustainable finance market to gain further traction over the next few years as more issuers look to source capital more sustainably. It has set up a dedicated environmental, social and governance (ESG) Solutions Unit with an ambition to provide between $750 billion and $1 trillion in sustainable financing and investment by 2030. Transition finance is any form of financial support that helps high-carbon companies start to implement long-term changes to become greener, says HSBC, and bridges the gap between traditional and sustainable financing as businesses begin the journey to net zero.
The Etihad transition sukuk follows the first aviation financing linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals it raised in December 2019.
“By issuing a sustainability-linked sukuk, Etihad is voluntarily adding to its existing commitments under CORSIA and also committing to reduce its carbon intensity,” said Adam Boukadida, Chief Financial Officer, Etihad Aviation Group.
Meanwhile, Sir Tim Clark, President of rival Emirates, said his airline remained dedicated to sustainability and reducing its environmental impact.
“We are watching developments in sustainable aviation fuel very closely and we look forward to a time when it can be produced at scale and in a cost competitive manner. Our latest A380 delivery flight was partially powered by SAF and this is a positive step towards reducing our overall emissions,” he commented.
The SAF for the delivery flight was produced in Finland by Neste from used cooking oil. Emirates said it continued to support a number of SAF initiatives and is part of the Steering Committee of the Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition, established by the World Economic Forum to promote the development of SAF. Along with Etihad, it recently supported a series of webinars (Sustainable Aviation Fuels Initiative for the United Arab Emirates) on the future of SAF in the UAE hosted by Khalifa University. A third of Emirates’ crew transportation buses in Dubai currently are powered by biofuels, with one of its contractors, Al Wegdaniyah, adopting biofuel supplied by Neutral Fuels.
ICAO completes final building blocks for implementing CORSIA carbon scheme ahead of pilot phase start
Mon 14 Dec 2020 – ICAO’s governing Council has adopted decisions on eligible carbon emissions units and sustainability certification schemes for eligible fuels that the UN agency says are the final building blocks for the CORSIA carbon offsetting mechanism for international aviation, which formally starts next month. At its 221st session, the Council accepted recommendations from its Technical Advisory Body (TAB) on a second set of eligible emissions units (EEUs) for use with offsetting requirements in the initial 2021-2023 pilot phase of CORSIA. This includes the approval of the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) to supply airlines with national and subnational (jurisdictional) forestry protection carbon credits. ART was the only new second-round applicant to be recommended for immediate eligibility to supply CORSIA EEUs. RSB and ISCC have been approved as sustainability certification schemes for CORSIA eligible fuels.
Commenting on the outcome of the session, Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano said: “ICAO set out a vision for carbon-neutral growth in international aviation and we have now seen that vision bear fruit. The Council’s decisions on eligible emissions units and sustainability certification schemes are the final steps necessary for CORSIA’s timely implementation.”
The approval of EEUs applies for use with offsetting requirements in the pilot phase and are subject to their respective scope of eligibility and eligibility dates. Issued units must be in respect of activities that started their first crediting period from 1 January 2016 and in respect of emissions reductions through 31 December 2020. It requires TAB recommendation and Council approval for an extension to the eligibility timeframes beyond the pilot phase.
TAB has now recommended and the Council approved seven emissions units programmes for eligibility across the two assessment cycles: American Carbon Registry (ACR), Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART), China GHG Voluntary Emission Reduction Program, the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Climate Action Reserve (CAR), Gold Standard and Verified Carbon Standard (Verra).
The approval by ICAO of Winrock’s ART and Verra’s Jurisdictional Nested REDD+ (JNR) represents the first acceptance of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) standards in a compliance market and is an important moment in the development of REDD+, said the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA).
A paper published by IETA calls for increased investment to prevent deforestation and for carbon markets to channel finance to all pathways that protect, restore and enhance the ecosystems that draw down and store carbon from the atmosphere.
“We need to scale up finance to avoid deforestation – especially tropical deforestation – in a way that contributes to sustainable development goals in forested regions,” said IETA CEO Dirk Forrister.
The paper points out that many countries have included REDD+ activities as part of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement and that scenario modelling indicates dramatic reductions in deforestation are necessary to help achieve the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C temperature goal.
“Reducing deforestation and the conversion of natural habitats must be prioritised and recognised for its significant climate change mitigation potential in the short-to-medium term,” said Ellen Lourie, Senior Policy Associate at IETA. “If forests are allowed to be destroyed, it won’t be possible to recapture and store the lost carbon in new forests quickly enough to meet the Paris goals.”
Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) is becoming an increasingly large component of the voluntary market, says IETA, and in 2019 forestry and land use represented over 50% of the market by value. The private sector-led Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets is looking to increase the voluntary market by at least 15-fold by 2030, which, says IETA, represents an opportunity to direct significant new finance into forest protection.
Commenting on the ICAO outcome, Frances Seymour, Chair of the ART board, said: “We applaud the ICAO Council’s decision to approve jurisdictional REDD+ credits from ART. Protecting and restoring tropical forests can contribute up to one-third of the climate results the world needs over the next two decades, representing a massive mitigation opportunity that needs access to private sector capital at scale. ART was designed as a Paris Agreement-aligned, fit-for-purpose crediting programme that provides the assurance of integrity and safeguards that markets need.”
ART, which uses The REDD+ Environmental Excellency Standard (TREES), said its crediting ensures that jurisdictions meet standard market requirements for robust accounting, independent third-party verification and issuance of serialised units on a transparent registry. Despite the impact of the Covid pandemic and the subsequent adjustment to the CORSIA baseline that would delay the need for the airline industry to purchase offsets for compliance with the scheme, the ICAO approval had been interpreted as a ‘seal of quality’ by market participants, said ART. It stated that since the first crediting programmes were approved in March 2020, interest in purchasing CORSIA-eligible credits was increasing from outside the airline industry as a way to ensure they were investing in credible emission reductions.
“ART was established in anticipation of catalytic private sector interest in REDD+, especially in industries with hard-to-abate emissions,” said Mary Grady, Director of the ART Secretariat. “We hope ICAO’s approval provides the needed quality imprimatur for voluntary investments in REDD+ that extends beyond the global aviation sector.”
Mario Boccucci, Head of the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat, commended ICAO’s approval of jurisdictional and national REDD+ crediting programmes, adding: “The UN-REDD Programme is ready to continue to support REDD countries ensure high-quality and environmental integrity, and provide technical assistance to meet NDCs and raise ambition.”
NGO Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has helped to establish the Emergent Forest Finance Accelerator, a non-profit finance intermediary supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Norwegian government’s International Climate and Forest Initiative, to facilitate large-scale REDD+ transactions using the ART framework. It is collaborating with ART, Emergent, the UN REDD Programme and Forest Trends on the ‘Green Gigaton Challenge: Bringing REDD+ to Scale’ that seeks to set a demand signal that can scale up to at least a billion tons per year in emissions reductions transacted from high-integrity jurisdictional REDD+ by 2025.
“ICAO’s decision connects limits on aviation carbon pollution with investments in tropical forest protection and restoration, and is a win for nature, countries, companies and communities,” said Ruben Lubowski, Associate VP for Climate and Forests and Chief Natural Resource Economist at EDF. “After more than a decade of work on REDD+ frameworks under the UNFCCC and other fora, this marks the first time that REDD+ credits have been approved for use within a global compliance carbon market system.
“ICAO’s decision to include large, jurisdictional-scale REDD+ programmes in CORSIA sends a critical signal to companies and policymakers about the value of tropical forest protection to meet climate goals. It shows forest countries that there is a tangible demand for emissions reductions of the highest environmental and social integrity. Approval of these programmes will drive progress in reducing emissions at the scale needed to achieve the climate goals set by the aviation industry and in the Paris Agreement.”
The focus of the TAB and ICAO Council on ensuring programmes obtain from host countries written attestations that they will properly account for the transferred reductions should add to the efforts of Parties in ongoing climate talks to finalise clear guidance to ensure environmental integrity and prevent double-counting of emission reductions, said EDF. The NGO has produced analysis to show global climate cooperation through carbon markets can enable double the emissions reductions under current Paris pledges for the same cost as countries acting alone.
At its November meeting, the ICAO Council also approved two Sustainability Certification Schemes, the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) and the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), as eligible to certify CORSIA Eligible Fuels, based on recommendations by ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP). The use of such fuels enables aeroplane operators to reduce their CORSIA offsetting requirements from the use of low-carbon and sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) that must be certified by one of the two organisations, although there is a degree of mutual recognition between them. Such fuels must meet the CORSIA Sustainability Criteria, including to achieve net GHG emission reductions of at least 10% compared to the baseline lifecycle emission values for conventional aviation fuel and not be made from biomass obtained from land with high carbon stock.
RSB has developed its own CORSIA Standard which it said goes above and beyond the ICAO scheme’s requirements to ensure that SAF achieves at least 50% GHG reductions on its core lifecycle analysis and a minimum 10% when including CORSIA’s Induced Land Use Change values (ILUC). In addition, it adds, RSB-certified SAF enables further claims around zero deforestation, environmental protection, food security and human rights, as specified in the RSB Principles and Criteria.
RSB is supported and endorsed by many in the aviation industry and also by environmental NGO coalition group ICSA. Airline members of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG), representing around a third of global commercial aviation fuel consumption, have committed to developing and using fuels consistent with RSB’s sustainability requirements. A third of RSB’s members are from the aviation sector. RSB certificate holders include Gevo, Nuseed, SkyNRG and World Energy, with further commitments to RSB certification from Velocys, LanzaTech and LanzaJet. KLM has committed to sourcing RSB-certified SAF.
Renewable jet producer Neste is also supporting RSB certification standards. “We cordially congratulate RSB for receiving ICAO recognition for its standard and we look forward to continuing the close collaboration,” said the Finnish company’s VP Business Development, Renewable Aviation, Sami Jauhiainen.
“A clear pathway is now available for industry leaders to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability goes above and beyond the legal requirements of CORSIA to also include a full range of social and environmental impacts as well,” commented Rolf Hogan, RSB’s Executive Director, on the ICAO approval. “We look forward to working with these pioneers to implement this new RSB CORSIA Standard to help transform the industry, and the world.”
Added Pedro Piris-Cabezas, Director of Sustainable International Transport and Lead Senior Economist at EDF: “ICAO Council’s approval of RSB is both an outstanding achievement for RSB and a major milestone for CORSIA, which completes CORSIA’s SAF framework. RSB’s CORSIA standard also represents a paradigm shift, moving from RSB’s original focus on sustainable biofuel volumes to a new focus on emissions reductions from the use of SAF for carbon markets.”
ISCC has also expanded the sustainability requirements for CORSIA eligible fuels with additional criteria that aims to protect water, soil, air, biodiversity and workers’ and land rights. “ISCC covers the complete set of CORSIA requirements, allowing economic operators at every point in a fuel’s supply chain to show their compliance with the CORSIA scheme by becoming ISCC CORSIA certified,” said the Germany-based certification body.
Commenting on the Council outcome on eligible units and sustainability certification schemes, ICAO Secretary General Dr Fang Liu said: “The steps that ICAO has taken to address climate change go hand-in-hand with our efforts to promote the sustainable growth and long-term prosperity of international aviation. CORSIA’s implementation elements are ready, and States and airlines are ready to make us of them.”
ICAO has launched a series of videos on ‘Navigating CORSIA’, which are guides to the scheme’s design and implementation.