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Mitigating international air transport emissions through a global measure: Time for some lateral thinking | Chris Lyle
Mitigating international air transport emissions through a global measure: Time for some lateral thinking
Thu, 6 Feb 2014 - The ICAO Assembly last October reached what was hailed as a "historic agreement" on market-based measures (MBMs) to fill the 'wedge gap' between the continuing growth of CO2 emissions from international air transport and their mitigation from technological and operational improvements and the use of alternative fuels. This accord was essentially a decision for ICAO to develop a global MBM scheme for consideration by the next Assembly in 2016 and intended implementation from 2020. However, the relevant climate change resolution couched this in terms that offer several loopholes, with continuing fundamental differences on both the goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and guiding principles. The resolution was also subject to numerous 'reservations', a provision whereby individual States indicate they will not commit to a clause or clauses. Chris Lyle (above) takes a 'big picture' look at the agreement in the context of the geopolitical influences at work, and suggests ways of resolving key differences as well as a modified approach to the global ambition. Read more ...

An NGO message for the ICAO Assembly: Introduce a global market-based measure now | ICSA,T&E,AEF,ICAO 38th Assembly
An NGO message for the ICAO Assembly: Introduce a global market-based measure now
Tue 17 Sept 2013 - In his groundbreaking speech on climate change this June, Barack Obama asked "whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late". His own administration answered the question with a resounding "no" when they pushed to delay decisions on the regulation of the aviation industry's ballooning CO2 emissions, argue James Lees and Bill Hemmings. President Obama spoke of the need for the United States of America to maintain its role as a global leader on climate change. At ICAO's special Council meeting in Montreal earlier this month, his administration ensured that the international community continued to avoid acting on aviation’s contribution to global warming - currently at 5 per cent and rapidly growing. The time has now come for the White House to lead the international community into taking action at the forthcoming ICAO Assembly, they say. Read more ...

Will ICAO States at last deliver a meaningful global agreement on mitigating international aviation emissions? | Chris Lyle
Will ICAO States at last deliver a meaningful global agreement on mitigating international aviation emissions?
Mon 2 Sept 2013 - Later this month the triennial ICAO Assembly will address mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international air transport for the sixth time since the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, the fifth time since the publication of the IPCC Special Report on Aviation and the Global Atmosphere, and the third time since the Kyoto Protocol came into force. The not inconsiderable technological and operational improvements over the past 16 years since its adoption have proved nowhere near sufficient to reduce aviation emissions in absolute terms - or even to maintain them at current levels - but ICAO States have been unable to achieve consensus on the additional mitigation measures necessary. Can we finally expect a comprehensive global agreement to realise Kyoto's "through ICAO" mandate? Chris Lyle (right) outlines the context, the key issues, and the prospects for an end game. Read more ...

How silos can be bridged to achieve a global accord on market-based measures for mitigating aviation carbon emissions
How silos can be bridged to achieve a global accord on market-based measures for mitigating aviation carbon emissions
Mon 10 June 2013 - In October 2012, WWF (the World Wide Fund for Nature), concerned with the contribution of aviation emissions to climate change, convened a high-level aviation stakeholders group to "generate new perspectives, identify policy options and trade-offs, and find areas of consensus" in addressing air transport carbon emissions. The exercise was designed to provide helpful input to ICAO and its member States in their ongoing negotiations towards a global accord on mitigation of international aviation emissions. Participants included government ministers and officials from developed and developing countries with responsibilities for aviation, transportation, tourism and the environment; global, regional and national aviation industry representatives; the tourism sector; and NGOs. Chris Lyle, an invited stakeholder straddling air transport and tourism, gives his individual take on the exercise so far and the next steps. Read more ...

Aviation in a carbon-constrained world: 2050 scenarios for long-haul tourism | Shaun Vorster
Aviation in a carbon-constrained world: 2050 scenarios for long-haul tourism
Tue 16 Apr 2013 - Tourism and its 'midwife', aviation, are exposed to various global uncertainties. The basic dilemma is that unconstrained growth in aviation emissions will not be compatible with 2050 climate stabilisation goals, and that the stringency and timing of public policy interventions to control aviation emissions could have far-reaching consequences - either on the market for future growth or the natural ecosystem on which tourism depends. With a 2050 horizon, Shaun Vorster considers the impact of the evolving global climate change regime on long-haul tourism (LHT) in a scenario-building exercise informed by the principal driving forces of carbon constraints and the long-term decarbonisation of aviation. He identifies three possible outcomes over the next 40 years, from an optimistic 'green lantern' scenario to a devastating 'grim reaper' worst case. Read more ...

Allocating international aviation CO2 emissions: the airspace-based approach and its alternatives
Allocating international aviation CO2 emissions: the airspace-based approach and its alternatives
Mon 21 Jan 2013 - The ICAO Council established a High-level Group (HLG) last November to consider political questions relating to a global market-based measure (MBM) for international aviation and a Framework for MBMs. The Framework basis should harmonise state/regional MBM schemes that could build over time into a global scheme. Provisions for geographic scope in the Framework and global architecture should be consistent in order to avoid duplication. The Framework should presumably contribute towards a workable resolution of the dispute over the EU ETS. However, some states see the Framework as merely intended to 'contain' the EU ETS, in which case the two architectures - Framework and global - might not be compatible. So a key question for ICAO is how geographic scope is to be treated in the national/regional MBM Framework. However, argues Bill Hemmings (right), basing it on airspace - as becoming increasingly favoured by some major states - is unrealistic. Read more ...

Forces for good but aviation and tourism share a responsibility to address their growing carbon footprint
Forces for good but aviation and tourism share a responsibility to address their growing carbon footprint
Mon 22 Oct 2012 - Not only is tourism a significant contributor to gross domestic product and job creation, it adds to the quality of life and promotes social inclusion at a global level. However, the rapid expansion in travel and tourism goes hand in hand with increased greenhouse gas emissions and other sustainability problems. For historical reasons, the aviation and tourism sectors have been institutionalised and regulated in silos. Yet they both face many cross-cutting policy challenges, which require coordinated action between different government line functions, United Nations agencies and industry bodies, writes Marthinus van Schalkwyk (right), South Africa's Minister of Tourism. He argues that once the near-term carbon abatement opportunities for aviation have been optimised, only two long-term options remain, namely drop-in, sustainable second-generation biofuels and a global cap-and-trade scheme. Read more ...

Climate change and bold action on green policies can drive a third golden age of aviation | McManners
Climate change and bold action on green policies can drive a third golden age of aviation
Fri 31 Aug 2012 - Policy-makers face a dilemma, torn between supporting continued expansion of aviation and the need to address the sector's environmental impact. Social and economic benefits accrue from flying but the associated emissions are causing damage to the atmosphere. The looming dangers of climate change mean that this dilemma must be resolved. Looking through the lens of sustainability, there appears to be a policy stalemate that is preventing substantive progress. Dislodging the twentieth-century model of aviation, to launch twenty-first century green aviation, will require breaking this stalemate, writes author and academic Peter McMannersRead more ...

Rio, Kyoto, Brussels and Chicago: Reconciling principles related to international air transport emissions | Chris Lyle
Rio, Kyoto, Brussels and Chicago: Reconciling principles related to international air transport emissions
Fri 27 July 2012 – Last month’s Rio+20 summit was notable for its lack of ambition and goals although it did reaffirm the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ (CBDR), despite recorded objections from Japan and the United States. The principle evolved under the Kyoto Protocol into responsibility for pursuing limitation or reduction of GHGs falling on the industrialised States, not the developing world. Reconciling this with the ICAO non-discrimination principle has proved extremely difficult in moves towards a global agreement through the UN agency on mitigating international aviation emissions. However, as an ICAO Ad hoc Working Group makes progress on an all-important market-based mechanism to limit the growth of net emissions, consensus needs to be found on a global model that reflects the differing circumstances of States. The concept of differentiation by route grouping has come under consideration at ICAO. Chris Lyle (right) explains how this might work in practice, and also looks at the formidable challenges that still lie ahead. Read more ...

Dropping the application of CBDR to international aviation could unlock significant financing for developing countries | The Climate Group,AGD,
Dropping the application of CBDR to international aviation could unlock significant financing for developing countries
Thu 8 Dec 2012 - The issue of how to address emissions from international aviation and maritime transport has been a perennial issue within climate change negotiations. Despite years of discussions both within the UNFCCC and its sister UN organizations - the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) - countries have been unable to agree any firm measures. However, pragmatic and fair solutions for addressing emissions from international aviation and maritime transport exist and that the keying to unlock action lies to a large extent in the hands of developing countries, reports Damian Ryan, right, Senior Policy Manager, The Climate Group from the COP 17 climate talks in Durban. Read more ...

EU airlines could be ETS victims over definition of 'equivalence' as non-EU states seek exemption from scheme
EU airlines could be ETS victims over definition of 'equivalence' as non-EU states seek exemption from scheme
Wed 2 Nov 2011 - The initial Opinion delivered by Advocate General Kokott to the European Court of Justice in October states that the EU emissions trading legislation does not infringe the sovereignty of other states and confirms that the EU ETS is compatible with relevant international agreements. However, with a growing number of states challenging the scheme, including some within the EU itself, it seems likely that the Advocate General's Opinion is likely to increase legal wrangling rather than resolve the issue, writes Mike Ambrose of the European Regions Airline Association. The EU ETS directive provides for exemption on incoming flights from the scheme for non-EU states that implement "equivalent measures" of their own to reduce aviation emissions, but there is no definition on equivalence and this could have unintended consequences for EU carriers. Read more ...
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Aviation and climate change: what now for a global approach? | Chris Lyle
Aviation and climate change: what now for a global approach?
Mon 24 Jan 2011 - The outcomes of the ICAO Assembly in Montreal last October and the UNFCCC's COP 16 in Cancun in December were greeted with cautious optimism. Agreements were reached in both forums, specific to international aviation in the case of ICAO and looking at the totality of GHG emissions by COP 16. Both ICAO's Assembly Resolution and the Cancun Agreements were, though, incomplete and fragmented. Nevertheless, the results provide building blocks for progress and, as far as international aviation is concerned, ICAO is now firmly in the pilot's seat. Chris Lyle provides a timely strategic overview of the status of efforts towards a global approach to regulating greenhouse gas emissions from aviation. Read more ...

China's actions and stand on greenhouse gas emissions from international civil aviation
China's actions and stand on greenhouse gas emissions from international civil aviation
Tue 1 June 2010 - Innovation and advances in engine technology, biofuels and air traffic management are the best choices in making substantial reductions in aviation greenhouse gas emissions whilst still guaranteeing the sustainable development of the industry, writes Dr Ma Xiangshan of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). However, developed countries should assume their responsibility and take the lead in reducing emissions. Full consideration should be given to the fact that developing countries are in their own growth stage and are facing a considerable shortage in terms of finance, technology and capability. In view of this, the fuel efficiency goal agreed at ICAO will be the most appropriate measure since it focuses on both development and emissions control, and some other goals are in fact neither practical nor reasonable if they pose a hindrance to development. Read more ...

Aviation after Copenhagen: ICAO must now develop a bold strategic vision | Chris Lyle
Aviation after Copenhagen: ICAO must now develop a bold strategic vision
Fri 5 Feb 2010 - With the dust now settling on the UNFCCC COP 15 meeting in Copenhagen, Chris Lyle takes a strategic look at the implications for aviation. Whilst the aviation industry has tried to put a positive spin on the result, it did not achieve some of the key goals it set for a post-Kyoto framework, notably treatment of aviation as a sector. ICAO's aims for Copenhagen were less defined but there was a lack of progress towards reconciliation of the divergence between the UNFCCC principle of CBDR amongst countries and principles in aviation's Chicago Convention of non-discrimination amongst operators. To sustain credibility, ICAO must now be bold and wrest back leadership by developing workable economic instruments and specific targets within an unambiguous framework. Read more ...

ICAO's flawed carbon calculator is symptomatic of a lack of industry transparency on aircraft performance | Lissys
ICAO's flawed carbon calculator is symptomatic of a lack of industry transparency on aircraft performance
Mon 1 Feb 2010 - The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is increasingly promoting its online carbon calculator, which was launched in 2008, as an official tool of the United Nations. However, the validity of the carbon calculator is open to question and the policy of adopting a fundamentally unsound instrument risks damaging the credibility of international efforts at creating meaningful CO2 standards, argues Dimitri Simos of Lissys, creator of the Piano commercial aircraft performance analysis tool. A more open, honest and scientifically correct process of aircraft assessment must instead be developed, he says, and airframers, engine makers, airlines and other institutions should consider the long-term strategic benefits of increased transparency.  Read more ...

Bunker fuels and Copenhagen - the disappointing outcome that leaves the aviation industry adrift on GHG emissions
Bunker fuels and Copenhagen - the disappointing outcome that leaves the aviation industry adrift on GHG emissions
Tue 19 Jan 2010 - The outcome of the Copenhagen climate change summit proved extremely disappointing as regards international aviation and shipping fuels (bunkers), writes Bill Hemmings of environmental NGO Transport & Environment, who helped drive an international coalition of transport NGOs at COP 15. Although more discussion amongst countries on bunker fuels at the UNFCCC occurred in the past three months than during the last ten years, it proved impossible to bridge the continuing differences. The Chairman's final draft text of the AWG-LCA secured no consensus and no mention whatsoever was subsequently made concerning bunkers in the non-binding Copenhagen Accord - save a single reference to innovative sources of finance, which could be construed as including bunkers. Read more ...

Airlines in the United States are avoiding their role in climate change by postponing meaningful action | Virgin America,Ceres
Airlines in the United States are avoiding their role in climate change by postponing meaningful action
Fri 20 Nov 2009 - As Congress considers historic climate change legislation and diplomats prepare for December's UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, it is time that the US domestic airline industry stops trying to fly above the debate over how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While air travel only contributes 2 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, the US aviation sector emitted 124 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2003 alone - equal to a year's worth of driving by 23 million cars. While other sectors have acknowledged their impact on the climate and revised their business plans accordingly, the domestic airline sector has in large part sought to postpone meaningful action, write Virgin America CEO David Cush (left) and Mindy Lubber of Ceres. Read more ...
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EU emissions trading funds from airlines' hard-earned revenues should be used wisely and not squandered | ERA
EU emissions trading funds from airlines' hard-earned revenues should be used wisely and not squandered
Wed 18 Nov 2009 - Environmental experts and politicians from nations worldwide will meet next month in Copenhagen. Their task is to try to reach agreement on a new treaty, to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, and to set new limits on gaseous emissions to help protect against climate change. As this deadline approaches, the position of the EU and the European Commission has become increasingly clear. Europe is to stay in the vanguard of international action and associate legislation. However, asks Mike Ambrose of the European Regions Airline Association, is this quite as well-meaning as it first appears and where are the economic evaluations of such policies? Read more ...

The EU ETS is not that big a deal – and it even has some ingenuity | SustainAvia
The EU ETS is not that big a deal – and it even has some ingenuity
Tue 20 Oct 2009 - Understanding the EU ETS Directive and the monitoring and reporting requirements indeed requires several readings, extensive research and a lot of patience, even for the brightest brains. At the end of the day, though, the ETS is not that complicated and is simply about data collection, transfer, storage and reporting. What kind of data? Flights, payload, fuel in tanks and fuel uplift. In most cases, flights and payload are already properly monitored by airlines. Similarly, fuel data is already available in most cases since it is included in the flight log, and flight logs are always a requirement. In other words, the EU ETS should be no big deal for most aircraft operators, argue Julien Dufour and Gary ClevenRead more ...
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The control of aviation emissions reaches a critical juncture | Chris Lyle, ICAO, UNFCCC, AGD Group, AEA, AGD, Aviation Global Deal
The control of aviation emissions reaches a critical juncture
Fri 24 July 2009 - With less than six months to the crucial UNFCCC summit in Copenhagen and calls by world leaders for international aviation to be included in a post-Kyoto Agreement, there is a need to distill the number of proposals that have been put forward and gauge their potential to offer a satisfactory outcome to the challenge that has so far proved elusive. Chris Lyle provides a comparative analysis of evolving positions in ICAO, IATA and other groupings in the context of the December meeting, along with a review of the draft negotiating texts for Copenhagen related to international aviation, and outlines some next steps. Read more ...

Taxing international aviation to pay for adaptation to climate change in developing countries is only a partial answer | Aviation Environment Federation
Taxing international aviation to pay for adaptation to climate change in developing countries is only a partial answer
Mon 13 July 2009 - As the Copenhagen climate negotiations in December draw ever closer, we are increasingly surrounded by proposals on how to structure a new international deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol in 2013. Amongst these, and thrown all too briefly into the media spotlight, was a proposal from the Maldives to impose a levy on all international flights. Tabled on behalf of the fifty least developed countries, the aviation levy is intended to create revenues to fund climate change adaptation measures in developing countries. However, writes Tim Johnson, Director, Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), without an emissions target for the aviation sector, a levy appears, at best, to be only a partial answer. Read more ...

Kyoto v. Chicago: ICAO debates how to apply the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities to aviation | Chris Lyle, ICAO, GIACC, UNFCCC, UNWTO
Kyoto v. Chicago: ICAO debates how to apply the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities to aviation
Mon 18 May 2009 - The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) set up the Group on International Aviation and Climate Change (GIACC) in 2007 to consider all options available to address aviation's contribution to climate change. It was tasked to develop and recommend to the ICAO Council "an aggressive Programme of Action based upon consensus". The 15 members of GIACC convene at the end of this month for a fourth and final meeting but one issue in particular has proved a stubborn obstacle so far in reaching an accord. Chris Lyle examines the underlying conflict between the basic principles that underpin ICAO and its sister UN agency UNFCCC and suggests a way forward. Read more ...

A global scheme for aviation emissions provides a better deal than US and EU cap-and-trade systems | ICF, SH&E, Waxman-Markey
A global scheme for aviation emissions provides a better deal than US and EU cap-and-trade systems
Wed 19 Aug 2009 - Airlines around the globe are scrambling to put together monitoring plans in preparation for the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) starting in 2012. The good news is that under the US cap-and-trade Waxman-Markey bill, which would set up a national market for pollution permits in 2012, carriers flying to, from and within the United States will not need to bother with monitoring plans. In fact, under the draft American Clean Energy and Security Act, aviation is not directly included in the cap-and-trade scheme. The bad news, according to Etienne Gabel of ICF International/SH&E, is the cost of the scheme to the aviation industry is not likely to be any cheaper than the EU ETS. Read more ...

FAA lays out a plan by which it hopes to achieve carbon neutral growth in aviation emissions through increased operational efficiency and technology | Daniel Elwell, FAA
FAA lays out a plan by which it hopes to achieve carbon neutral growth in aviation emissions through increased operational efficiency and technology
Fri 25 Jan 2008 - The US Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Assistant Administrator, Daniel Elwell, outlines a five-point plan to tackle aviation greenhouse gas emissions through operational and technological environmental performance improvements, coupled with market measures where necessary. This approach, he says, can form the basis of achieving an effective framework to address international concerns. Read more ...
by Daniel Elwell, FAA

The search for alternative aviation fuels: understanding the challenge | Jeff Gazzard, Aviation Environment Federation, AEF, alternative fuels, CAAFI, Richard Altman, biofuels
The search for alternative aviation fuels: understanding the challenge
Mon 10 Nov 2008 - Against a background of increasing pressure on the industry to do more to control and reduce its carbon emissions, alternative fuels have moved firmly onto and up the agenda as one way in which some or all of aviation's greenhouse gas emissions might be further controlled and reduced. Jeff Gazzard of the Aviation Environment Federation outlines the issues from the perspective of an environmental NGO.  Read more ...
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California and its allies join forces with Europe to break the Bush administration's intransigence on aviation emissions | Professor Dan Hamilton, San Francisco Chronicle
California and its allies join forces with Europe to break the Bush administration's intransigence on aviation emissions
Wed 16 Jan 2008 - The European Union is pressing ahead with proposals to bring aviation into a cap-and-trade emissions scheme and have found American allies - not in Washington but in California and a host of other states. The states have petitioned the US Environmental Protection Agency to impose a similar scheme on domestic and foreign aircraft departing or landing at American airports. This European-Californian pincer movement has raised the stakes in the battle both parties have been having with the Bush administration over global environmental regulation. Read more ...
by Prof. Dan Hamilton

Disagreement on environmental impacts of air transport is seriously undermining UK government policy | Hugh Raven, Sustainable Development Commission
Disagreement on environmental impacts of air transport is seriously undermining UK government policy
Thu 28 Aug 2008 - Air travel has been heralded as one of the great successes of the modern world, creating wealth and employment, enabling worldwide economic and cultural interaction, and enriching our lives, writes Hugh Raven, Commissioner at the UK's Sustainable Development Commission. We know there are environmental concerns, which may or may not be answered by future technological breakthroughs. But the economic imperative to expand is surely overwhelming. Or is it? Read more ...

A way forward in achieving an acceptable global aviation emissions mitigation framework | Chris Lyle, ICAO, Air Transport Economics, UNFCCC
A way forward in achieving an acceptable global aviation emissions mitigation framework
Wed 16 July 2008 - The search for an international consensus to tackle the problem of aviation greenhouse gas emissions has so far proved elusive. The UN agency charged with developing a global framework of mitigation measures and targets, ICAO, is attempting to reach an accord to put before the UNFCCC Copenhagen conference in December 2009. Chris Lyle analyses the issues and offers some thoughts on a way forward. Read more ...

Why aviation must be included in the European Emissions Trading Scheme
Mon 26 Nov 2007 - It was high time that the European Commission presented a legislative proposal to address the greenhouse gas emissions of aviation, which have doubled since 1990, but it is no breakthrough. According to a lot of studies, it will not really limit emissions and - what is more regrettable - it will not significantly promote innovation in the airline industry. That is why the European Parliament voted for a lot of amendments to make the proposal much more ambitious. Read more ...
by Dr. Peter Liese, MEP