Airlines lobby group, IATA, claims that aviation produces only 2% of global man-made CO2 emissions. While this is true, they are telling barely half the story. According to Professor Dr Volker Grewe, researcher at DLR and chair for climate effects of aviation at Technical University Delft, air transport’s contribution to climate change is roughly 5%. This is because in addition to emitting CO2, aircraft flying at altitude impact the atmosphere in various ways which have a large, albeit transient, additional warming effect.
There are growing calls for a green tax shift to the transport sector, which would help fill a gap in the EU’s budget after the UK leaves. A T&E analysis has found new measures such as a carbon tax on motor fuels, aviation kerosene duty, and ending the VAT exemption for flights within and from Europe would raise more than €50 billion annually. And last week, as EU leaders discussed the looming gap, 17 eminent economists rowed in behind the idea, calling it a ‘once in a decade opportunity’ to create a fossil-fuel contribution to the EU budget.
T&E convened a workshop to discuss emissions reduction pathways and measures for aviation in light of the Paris requirement for all sectors to cut emissions and to decarbonise by the second half of this century.
The UK cannot enjoy its current access to the EU air transport market after it leaves the EU unless it also commits to respecting EU aviation rules, a new report by T&E says. The report examines how to safeguard efforts to reduce the environmental impact of aviation after ‘Brexit’, and concludes that everyone stands to benefit if the British government adheres to EU rules on emissions trading and state aid.
The Dutch government’s refusal to publish documents about a controversial CO2 standard for aircraft, among other issues, is being challenged in court by T&E member Natuur & Milieu. It’s alleged that, by continuing to withhold decisions and research about the CO2 standard, emission trends, biofuels and offset rules – all of which were drafted or developed behind closed doors at UN aviation agency ICAO – the Netherlands is in breach of EU law.
Just released emails between Airbus and the European Commission expose the extent of the company’s hold on EU aviation policy. The aeronautics giant was given special privileges in determining essential aspects of the EU’s position when drafting climate rules for new aircraft at the UN aviation body, ICAO.
Efforts to position electrofuels as the great hope to decarbonise road transport received a blow with findings that the synthetic fuel is neither an efficient or a cost-effective solution for cars and trucks.
Carbon offsets excluded under EU climate laws are being purchased by airports to help them achieve a voluntary target of ‘carbon neutrality’, it has emerged. Research conducted by T&E found that the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) programme has only vague guidelines on what types of offsets may be used and airports are not required to publicly disclose which offsets they purchase.
A push by ICAO and some of its members to set quantity and reduction targets for alternative aviation fuels such as biofuels, was rejected at a major conference convened by ICAO in Mexico City in October. 25 countries, many from Europe, refused to back the UN agency’s originally proposed ‘2050 Vision on Sustainable Aviation Fuels’ that included volume-based targets for 2025, 2040 and 2050. The International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation, of which T&E is a member, said the targets were selected based on poor analysis, and grossly overestimated the environmental benefits and potential emissions reductions.