Last year was the one in which it became plain for everyone to see that transport had turned from being the grey sheep to the black sheep in Europe and the world’s efforts to improve the environment.
While the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) continued its essential work to develop a global market-based mechanism to cut the sector’s emissions, by far the biggest highlight of 2015 was the Paris COP21 summit.
The Paris ‘Conference of the Parties’ 21, the most important climate conference since the failed Copenhagen one of six years ago, is nearing an outcome. The dramatic 13 November events in the city has surely added grit to France’s determination to succeed, and has forged some unusual alliances. There is some hope that the spirit of togetherness – not just against terrorism but also to tackle that other global threat which the COP is about – will help in forging a transformative deal.
Aviation emissions are responsible for 5% of global warming and shipping makes up almost 3% of global CO2. These sectors have a CO2 impact equal to the UK and Germany and are continuing to grow rapidly – by up to 270% in 2050, by which time they could account for almost 40% of all emissions. Such emission growth will undermine reductions efforts by all countries and other sectors, effectively making the 1.5/2°C objective impossible to achieve.
Some of the world’s largest airlines, including British Airways, Lufthansa and United Airlines, are among the least fuel-efficient carriers on transatlantic routes, according to a new study. The failure of highly profitable carriers to invest in more fuel-efficient planes on one of the most lucrative routes in the world is a clear sign that efficiency standards and carbon pricing are needed, sustainable transport group Transport & Environment said.
EU approval of Ireland’s €42.5 million in state aid to small regional airports has been criticised for allowing public money to prop up underutilised infrastructure with questionable social and economic benefits. Four airports will receive the grants over the next four years – while the Irish government faces calls to address ‘chronic’ underinvestment in low-carbon public transport.
Since 2010 the average fuel burn of new aircraft has improved by 1.1% per year, which suggests that aircraft manufacturers may miss UN aviation body ICAO’s 2020 fuel efficiency goals by 12 years, a new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) reveals.
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.
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.