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Commission defends €3bn annual subsidies for low-cost airlines

The European Commission today published new draft guidelines [1] that will allow regional airports and EU carriers serving them to keep receiving subsidies worth €3bn a year. In a good number of cases [2] these rules prop up unprofitable regional airports and low-cost carriers, allowing them to continue to operate in an unsustainable way which distorts competition between budget and national carriers.  The proposed guidelines also permit the bail out of financially unviable operations for a decade and allow infrastructure aid for building new airports to continue in aeternum.

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.

Airlines add pressure on governments to reach global aviation deal

The world’s leading airlines have indicated the need to accept a global market-based measure to reduce aviation’s contribution to climate change. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) agreed at its annual meeting earlier this month that a global carbon-offsetting measure after 2020 would be acceptable to its airline members. T&E has recognised the shift in air industry thinking compared with earlier statements, but says the IATA position is ‘not convincing’.

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.

Having your cake and trying to eat it too - international aviation emissions and historical responsibility

Developing countries argue that action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions should start with developed countries because they have the greatest historical responsibility for generating CO2 emissions and thus causing the bulk of global warming. At the recent abortive round of deliberations of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) High Level Group, these arguments came to the fore again. During the discussions to find consensus around global action to address aviation’s contribution to climate change, China, India and Brazil revived old arguments that they have no responsibility to act, not even at differentiated levels, because of these historical issues enshrined in the global climate negotiations.

Airlines' call for global emissions deal not convincing

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade body comprising 240 airlines worldwide, today finally acknowledged the need for a global market–based measure to reduce aviation's contribution to climate change. IATA called on their airline members to encourage their governments to agree at this year’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly on a global carbon offsetting measure to take effect in 2020.

NGOs open letter to IATA demanding a global aviation emissions deal

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A coalition of 11 environmental, development and science groups wrote to Tony Tyler, the head of international aviation trade body, IATA, calling for a global sectoral approach that covers the environmental cost of airlines' emissions. The letter was sent days before 240 airlines gathered in Cape Town, South Africa at IATA's Annual General Meeting to discuss the industry issues including the sector's contribution to climate change. The full letter is reproduced in the downloadable link below.

Is China dictating Europe’s climate policy?

The EU’s decision to ‘stop the clock’ on including emissions from intercontinental flights in its Emissions Trading Scheme appears to have been influenced by Chinese threats to cancel orders for new planes from Airbus. A letter from the president of the French aircraft maker to China’s leading aviation official – seen by Reuters – says Airbus played an influential role in persuading the EU to give the world’s governments another year to reach agreement on how to tackle carbon emissions from air transport. T&E says European governments have effectively given China ‘a veto over European policy’.

America must lead global fight against aviation carbon pollution

International aviation is on course for a rough landing in our warming world. Air travel is growing rapidly -- and so are aviation emissions, which are already responsible for 5 percent of the warming effect of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The clock has stopped: where is ICAO now?

Following the European Parliament’s vote approving the Commission’s proposal to “Stop the Clock”, Conservative MEP Peter Liese, aviation EU ETS and “Stop the Clock” Rapporteur, hosted a public briefing for MEPs in Brussels on Wednesday 24th April to review progress of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) High Level Group on Climate Change (HGCC) formation, of which had prompted Europe’s stop the clock decision. The conference was attended by Jos Delbeke, Director–General DG Clima, Prof David Lee of Manchester University, IATA’s Paul Steele and Green MEP Satu Hassi. The derogation became European law on 25 April. Here’s our report of what was said there.

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