By Bill Hemmings, aviation and shipping directorWHAT WE LEARNED IN 2016: 2015 ended with big promises from the UN aviation and shipping bodies, ICAO and the IMO, that they’d finally act to rein in their sectors’ substantial and growing climate impact. It has been almost 20 years since they were first tasked with doing so by the Kyoto Protocol, and 2016 would be their last chance.
More than 65 countries have signed up to offset, but not reduce, aircraft emissions from international flights, starting in 2021. However, participation in the scheme until 2027 is voluntary and its coverage of emissions falls well short of the ‘carbon neutral growth in 2020’ target promised by UN aviation body ICAO and industry. The European Commission will now examine the agreement and decide what action to recommend be taken in light of the current suspension of the emissions trading system’s (ETS) coverage of flights into and out of Europe.
The Paris Agreement’s objectives cannot be achieved without action to address rapidly growing emissions from international aviation and shipping, however these emissions sit outside of national targets. At the conclusion of COP21, the two UN agencies which regulate these sectors (ICAO for aviation and IMO for shipping) promised big action in 2016. Did they deliver? The event will consider what progress, if any, was made this year, what impact it may have on these sectors and what needs to happen now.
Sales of asbestos, airplane engines, petrol and other environmentally harmful goods will be boosted by lower tariffs from the EU and 16 other WTO countries under a draft trade deal that is actually supposed to improve access to technologies that protect the environment, it has been revealed.
The world’s largest marine Emissions Control Area (ECA) has been approved by the International Maritime Organisation. Ships operating in waters off the North American coasts will be forced to use dramatically cleaner fuel and technology. The move is likely to make it easier for the EU to designate ECAs in European waters.
A new report suggests airlines could make large windfall profits from aviation joining the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in 2012, if airlines charge customers for emission allowances they are given free-of-charge.
Editorial by Bill Hemmings, T&E Policy Officer
It's a sad reflection of how little we have now come to expect from EU attempts to tackle the environmental impact of aviation that we are this month celebrating the miniscule victory of having got the Commission to publish a report.
Proceedings from the April 2004 seminar on economic instruments, hosted in Brussels by T&E.
The environmental NGOs respond to the points raised by industry on the European Parliament draft report into air transport and the environment.