Aircraft and engine manufacturers participating in the Aviation and Environment Summit held in Geneva this spring pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. The 200-plus signatories of the protocol aim to preempt emission control regulation planned by governments and supranational organizations, which could encumber aircraft operators in the near future.
Anyone in the air transport sector who remains unconvinced by the clarion calls for aviation to be held accountable for its impact on the environment will surely accept that sustained increases in the cost of jet fuel have removed any remaining doubt about the imperative for the industry to make more efficient use of this life-blood commodity.
EBAA here on Tuesday outlined its proposal for carbon offset pooling as an alternative means of compliance for the European Union emission trading scheme (ETS), in an effort to keep the administrative burden acceptable for small business aircraft operators.
Embraer (Booth No. 7441) announced Monday a plan to offer its executive jet customers a carbon offset module for the Embraer Executive Care (EEC) maintenance program.
Executive charter operator FlyingGroup (Booth No. 439), which has bases at Paris Le Bourget, Cannes and Antwerp, has launched a CO2 emission offset program and has thus become a “CO2-neutral” company, according to Belgian organization CO2logic’s standards. FlyingGroup has promised to cut its emissions and educate customers. Customers are not required to sign up, however.
The 2008 EBACE show will be the biggest yet, but it isn’t size that sets the event apart, according to Eric Mandemaker, new chief executive of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA). “This is such a focused show, focused on exactly that side of aviation that interests us. It’s accessible,” he added.
According to the European Union’s CO2 emission trading scheme (ETS), each affected facility is allotted a certain number of CO2 emission permits, based on its past emissions. For example, if a facility emitted an average of 100,000 tons per year during a given period, it will be allotted (on a free basis) 90,000 tons per year for the next four years.
The need to demonstrate environmental responsibility while remaining operationally viable has been identified as the biggest single challenge facing business aviation. This has prompted the business aviation industry to offer self-governing carbon-offset-based alternatives to the European Union’s CO2 emission trading scheme (ETS).
Embraer is launching a voluntary carbon offset program for its Embraer Executive Care (EEC) customers later this year, according to director of environmental strategies and technologies Graciliano Campos. The EEC program allows customers to purchase coverage for maintenance and parts, and an additional option will allow them to purchase carbon credits from an accredited source to offset aircraft emissions.
When Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, suggested that the FAA’s efforts to reduce so-called greenhouse-gas emissions were “tangential” to other agency objectives, Daniel Elwell, assistant administrator for the FAA office of aviation policy, planning and development, begged to differ.