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Tar sands and the Fuel Quality Directive - what is it all about?

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.

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Global deal or no deal? Your free guide to the ICAO Assembly

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 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 documents submitted to the International Civil Aviation Organisation

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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.

Aviation ETS: a meaningful future?

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The one year pause for aviation in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) has intensified international debate on finding a global emissions deal for aviation. This pause will finish at the end of the year and aviation in the ETS will revert to full enforcement next January. Some countries, led by the US, are pressing for any future scope to be limited to “EU airspace”, which would be environmentally ineffective and unacceptable. If the ETS is to be amended, it should be on the basis of maximum coverage of emissions generated by international flights. The most promising option to keep an environmentally sound ETS while addressing the concerns of other countries is for the EU to regulate extra-European flights on a 50/50 basis: the first 50% of any departing flight and the last 50% of any arriving flight. This, and the other options on the table, are fully explained in the briefing below.The various options available to the EU will be debated at a roundtable event in the European Parliament on September 4th. For more information about the event, see here:

Does aviation pay its way?

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In these times of austerity, deficit budgets of European governments are missing out on almost €40bn a year due to a lack of basic taxes on aviation. This briefing explains a new study that looks at revenue that EU Member States could receive if fuel tax and VAT were imposed on aviation, as on road transport.  

Turbulences ahead: market based measures to reduce aviation emissions

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Air travel accounts for 5-14% of global climate emissions and is growing rapidly. Nevertheless, aviation emissions remain unregulated. Pressure is mounting on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to agree to a mechanism to reduce aviation emissions during their next triennial Assembly in September 2013.

Accounting for uncertainty: precautionary principle and indirect land-use change

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This briefing paper by Tim Grabiel, senior lawyer at Defense Terre, centres on the precautionary principle and preventive action, two fundamental bedrocks of EU policy creation, and the need for them to be applied to the issue of indirect land-use change emissions from biofuels.

Mitigating emissions from international aviation: the question of historical responsibility

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One of the main arguments put forward by countries such as China, India and Brazil is that according to agreed principles under the UNFCCC 'developed' countries have the greater historical responsibility for their accumulative historical CO2 emissions. The list of top 20 historical aviation emitters, however, includes China, Singapore, the UAE and Brazil, suggesting that these countries also have a historical obligation to address aviation emissions. See below an array of data that set out the actual situation regarding historical responsibility for international aviation emissions.

Wastes, residues and co-products for biofuels and bioliquids

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The Commission's proposal on biofuels, published in October 2012, introduced additional incentives for biofuels from wastes and residues. These biofuels can count four times towards the 10% target for renewables in transport. However, the proposed framework is not in conformity with waste legislation, nor adapted to the biofuel context. It also leaves residues and co-products undefined, instead opting just to include an incomplete list of raw materials in an annex without description or clarification. This briefing note, written by Tim Grabiel of Défense Terre, examines the treatment of waste, residues and co-products for biofuels and bioliquids within the Renewable Energy Directive and Fuel Quality Directive and suggests a different classification of these materials.