The gripping Solar Impulse flight, and the news that Airbus has patented a plane that can fly from Paris to Tokyo in under 3 hours, shows that 100 years after the Wright Brothers, the aviation industry remains one of the few industries that can ignite our imagination with new ideas. It's essential though that this deep commitment to innovation is fully targeted at cleaning up of air travel.
NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) has criticised the decision by the Irish Government, with Brussels’ backing, to grant €42.5 million to a number of small regional airports, a decision which will see public money propping up underutilised airports with questionable socioeconomic benefits. These public resources could have been better invested in developing a sustainable transport network in Ireland, T&E argues.
The EU is facing calls to work with the US government to ensure global standards being developed to regulate aviation’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are effective – after the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) finding last month that emissions from aircraft endanger human health.
As the crowds admire all the new aircraft and high-tech displays at Paris Bourget this week, it's important to remember that the aviation sector faces a serious and growing challenge if it is to adequately rise to the climate change challenge.
T&E provided a detailed submission to the European Commission's public consultation on aviation competitiveness, which closed on 10 June 2015. T&E's response to this consultation is to call for the EU to adopt measures that create a more efficient aviation sector, making EU operators the market leaders globally. This includes adopting the most effective environmental standards possible, ending inefficient subsidies to operators and airports and adopting a common EU negotiating position for air service agreements to prevent excess capacity in the European market. With aviation emissions projected to grow considerably by 2030, such measures are necessary to meet the EU's ambitious climate objectives.
The US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has announced today that emissions from aircraft endanger human health, after being forced to issue a ruling due to a lawsuit filed by a number of US environmental groups. The EPA already found that greenhouse gases (GHGs) from cars and power plants were harmful to public health because of their climate impact.
Ahead of the crucial meetings of the UN aviation body, ICAO, in July 2015 and again in February 2016 and at its assembly in October 2016, Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) and T&E are calling on Europe to push for an environmentally effective ICAO CO2 standard. In this letter to EU climate and transport ministers and European Commissioners Miguel Arias Cañete and Violeta Bulc, the two groups say the EU and the US need to work together to ensure a standard that actually reduces emissions. Otherwise the two markets should work together on their own standard, since they are over half of the global market.
Speech at European Commission DG Trade hearing on the Environmental Goods Agreement on 9 June 2015 by T&E senior policy officer on sustainable trade, Cecile Toubeau
Environmentalists have warned Europe’s policymakers that they need to ensure the environmental integrity of the current EU ETS for aviation is not abandoned in return for nothing from the global aviation industry. The caution followed comments by the airline trade association, IATA, that a global market-based mechanism to tackle aviation’s carbon emissions won’t be ready by 2016 as agreed.