In the span of a week the world will learn a lot from the UN about the future of its climate policy, but unfortunately, in very contradictory ways.
What it IS about: The Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) sets a 6% reduction target in the carbon intensity of transport fuels to be met by 2020. This is a technology-neutral target that leaves to the industry a range of options to meet it in the most cost-effective way. What it's NOT about: The Commission proposal to implement the FQD assigns carbon intensity to all fossil fuel feedstocks, namely: tar sands, coal-to-liquid, oil shale, gas-to-liquid and conventional oil. It does NOT discriminate between sources on the basis of geographical locations; it’s all about the carbon intensity of each fuel source.
This article was first published as a blog post on the Huffington Post UKIt is deal time in Montreal. Over the next two weeks 191 countries will decide what to do about climate-warming emissions. If aviation were a country, it would be the 7th largest emitter in the world, based on CO2 alone. And aviation emissions are set to triple by 2050, so this is no small task.
Germany’s luxury carmakers are raising the stakes in their battle to weaken EU legislation that will set fuel consumption limits for new cars made after 2020. The German chancellor Angela Merkel used a speech at this month’s Frankfurt motor show to say that strict limits would damage European carmakers’ competitiveness in global markets. Yet T&E’s eighth annual Cars & CO2 report shows that EU legislation is speeding up improvements to fuel efficiency, which in turn leads to drivers saving money at the fuel pump.
The EU has proposed a compromise on applying its Emissions Trading System to all international flights involving EU airports. The compromise has been offered in the hope that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will take more ambitious action to decide to develop and implement a global market-based measure to reduce emissions from international aviation. Environmental organisations criticised the move as conceding too much in return for no guarantee of a meaningful outcome at ICAO’s triennial assembly, which runs until 4 October.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation's 38th triennial Assembly meets in Montreal from 24 September to 4 October 2013. The Organisation is facing its biggest test so far to fulfil a 16-year old obligation under the Kyoto Protocol to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation. Having turned down the option of implementing a global emissions trading system in 2004, this Assembly is being asked nearly a decade later to commit to a process towards an as yet vaguely defined global measure with unclear environmental impacts which would not take effect until 2020. This guide explains the history of ICAO's inaction, the current state of play, and what environmental NGOs believe the Organisation should to do address rising emissions from international aviation.
ICSA, the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation, has observer status at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), where it represents environmental NGOs and civil society. T&E is a founding member. ICSA has submitted several working papers to the Organisation in order to help convince states and industry at the 38th ICAO triennial Assembly of the urgent need for action to develop and implement by 2016 a market based measure that will be effective in reducing international aviation emissions.
The vote in the European Parliament’s plenary session in September put EU biofuels policy a step closer to being environmentally useful, but it will likely lead to delays in final agreement, which creates further uncertainty for the industry. MEPs voted to limit the use of land-based biofuels and to recognise the problem of indirect land-use change (ILUC) in future biofuels laws. But they failed to give a negotiating mandate, which would enable all institutions to conclude the agreement before the next year’s elections.
This letter was sent to Mr Barroso, Mr Kallas and Ms Hedegaard by leading NGOs working on reducing the climate impact of international aviation. In it they express the grave concerns of NGOs at developments in the run-up to the ICAO Assembly, and suggest possible ways forward.
Two new reports have highlighted the dangers of governments delaying action to limit transport emissions. A study from Germany says economic growth will be much harder to achieve if international action to cut climate-changing emissions is not achieved by 2015. And a study from the UK on how carbon emissions from aircraft contribute to global warming has also stressed the importance of acting now, not in several years.