National governments meeting in Montreal are nearing a deal to offset but not reduce carbon emissions from aircraft on a voluntary basis. Agreement at the UN’s aviation body ICAO is likely to be met with scepticism in Europe where in 2013 the EU agreed to roll back coverage of its emissions trading system from flights into and out of Europe. Ostensibly this was to give ICAO time to come up with something better.
The aviation sector could be doing twice as much to reduce the fuel consumption of planes than is currently expected. That’s the finding of a new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) which says new aircraft could be consuming 25% less than they do now within eight years and 40% less in 18 years.
A mobile app that allows travellers to compare journey times between plane, train, bus or car has released a list of 14 major European inter-city routes that are faster by rail than by plane. Train routes between Brussels-Paris and Brussels-London offer the biggest time savings – of more than three hours, according to GoEuro, a two-year-old website.
A Portuguese regional airport that was expanded with large amounts of EU funding has announced plans to turn itself into an aircraft parking facility because demand for the airport has fallen badly short of predictions. The case highlights T&E’s call for greater scrutiny of public money being used to prop up carbon-intensive, underutilised infrastructure with questionable social and economic benefits.
European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is undermining attempts to agree an environmentally effective fuel efficiency standard that would apply to new planes worldwide. The warning, from a group of 17 European environmental NGOs, came after it emerged that the EU is pushing for a significantly less ambitious carbon emissions standard for airplanes than the US.