Environmental and development organisations from five continents have today written to the UN’s aviation agency (ICAO) condemning a proposal for large-scale use of biofuels in planes. The letter signed by 96 NGOs states that using biofuels on a vast scale will inevitably lead to further palm oil expansion , which will cause more deforestation, increasing climate-changing emissions, and more landgrabbing and land and human rights abuses. The proposals will be discussed this week (October 11-13) by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) at its Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels in Mexico City.
MEPs voted today to limit the exemption from the EU ETS of flights to and from Europe until 2021, pending further information regarding the UN aviation body ICAO’s global offsetting measure known as ‘CORSIA’. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes this vote as essential to safeguarding European climate goals. MEPs also endorsed a number of reforms to aviation’s inclusion in Europe’s emissions trading scheme which will start to cut back on the sector’s special treatment on climate policy.
Last week’s deal reached at ICAO, the UN agency, to establish a global offsetting programme for aviation received a mixed response, yet it was heralded by industry and some policymakers as the dawn of sustainable aviation.
Today, 25 countries convened by the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rightly rejected the 2050 Vision on Sustainable Aviation Fuels that included volume-based targets as originally proposed by the ICAO Secretariat. Brad Schallert, Deputy Director at World Wildlife Fund and a spokesperson for the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation, a network of nonprofit organizations representing millions of members, released the following statement in response.
Several environmental groups today handed over a citizens’ petition to the United Nations’ aviation body, ICAO, urging the agency to scrap its plan for the vast use of biofuels in planes. The petition, signed by 172,000 citizens across the globe and coordinated by the conservation group Rainforest Rescue, states that using biofuels on a large scale will inevitably accelerate palm oil expansion, triggering massive deforestation and a surge on greenhouse gas emissions. The International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) will discuss the biofuels plan today at its Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels in Mexico City.
While fuel and ticket taxes, an effective emissions trading system, aircraft standards and other policies (discussed in our decarbonisation of aviation briefing) are essential to lower aviation emissions, sustainable, advanced low-carbon fuels will likely have to contribute too. This paper outlines how supply of sustainable fuels could be encouraged through the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII) in the period 2020-30.
Non-CO2 effects of aviation have been acknowledged by scientists but ignored by policymakers. It is estimated that gases other than CO2 have at least as large a climate impact as CO2. The European Commission has so far failed to address aviation’s non-CO2 effects despite undertaking to do so in 2008. This risks undermining the EU’s climate policy. In this briefing T&E recommends that the Commission now acts on its 2008 promise and proposes a charge on NOx emissions and earmarks funds for research into other non-CO2 effects such as contrail and cirrus formation and their avoidance.
30 NGOs, from Austria and beyond, call on the Austrian authorities to respect a court ruling which blocked the planned expansion of Vienna Airport on the basis that it would violate Austria's domestic and international climate commitments. Aviation is the most carbon intensive modes of transport, and its continued growth undermines efforts to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement
The European Commission published a damning study of carbon offsets, finding that 85% of the offset projects under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to date failed in the objective of reducing emissions. Transport & Environment (T&E) said the aviation sector runs the risk of repeating these mistakes in the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) global scheme to offset aircraft emissions. The sustainable transport NGO called for strict rules to be put in place, and for the EU not to rely exclusively on this offsetting deal to address aircraft emissions.