Emails between Airbus and the European Commission show that, when drafting climate rules for new aircraft, Airbus was given special privileges in determining essential aspects of the EU’s position at the United Nations’ aviation body (ICAO). The result is a global aircraft standard which will do nothing to cut the sector’s soaring emissions and a regulatory process steeped in secrecy and corporate interests, entirely removed from the normal European democratic process. NGO Transport & Environment obtained the emails via an access to documents request, after Airbus and ICAO opposed the public disclosure of the emails. The correspondence was finally released after an 18-month appeal process.
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.
Flights to and from Europe are set to be excluded from the EU emissions trading system (ETS) until the end of 2023 after a provisional agreement was reached between MEPs, governments and the European Commission. Meanwhile, for the first time there will be a cap on European aviation emissions, which would be progressively reduced from 2021. T&E said that this is very important since the question now shifts from ‘if’ to ‘how’ aviation decarbonises.
Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) is a CO2 emissions reduction programme for airports managed by industry association Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe). It encourages airports to monitor and either reduce or offset their emissions. Our analysis finds that, while encouraging emission reductions and aiming towards carbon neutrality at airports in Europe is important and welcome, the ACA lacks transparency and the strict rules that are required to ensure offsets credits used actually deliver emission reductions. In many cases, airports are using offset credits which are ineligible under EU climate laws due to concerns as to their environmental integrity.
In this letter, T&E, France Nature Environnement and the UECNA (Union Européenne Contre les Nuisances Aériennes) write to France's Minister for Transport, Élisabeth Borne, about the ongoing trilogue negotiations on revisions to the basic regulation of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The agreement reached last night between EU institutions regarding aviation’s inclusion in Europe’s emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) introduces some welcome improvements to the original proposal but much more is needed, sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) has said.
Flights to and from Europe are set to lose an indefinite exemption from the EU emissions trading system (ETS) after MEPs voted to limit the arrangement until 2021. The European Parliament made its decision pending further information about the UN aviation body ICAO’s own global offsetting measure known as ‘CORSIA’.
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.
The rising scepticism about a global measure to partially offset aviation emissions was underscored this month with MEPs demanding a review in 2019 of the UN’s voluntary scheme, known as CORSIA. The European Parliament environment committee’s call for the review highlights Europe’s need to maintain an environmentally meaningful and strengthened regional measure, T&E said. The committee also voted to strengthen the EU emissions trading system’s (ETS) provisions on aviation.