Although the intentions were good, in reality rolling out the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS)–considered a cornerstone of the European Union’s policy to combat climate change and the key tool for reducing industrial greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective manner–to international aviation has backfired spectacularly.
All aviation eyes were turned toward Montreal early this month as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) tries to get its arms around a worldwide plan to control jet aircraft emissions.
The big question is whether ICAO’s 191 member states can agree on a plan to curb emissions to the satisfaction of the European Union (EU), which has unilaterally crafted its own emissions trading scheme (ETS) that would capture not only EU aircraft, but also airplanes flying into, out of and through the 28 EU member states.
President Barack Obama closed the legislative loop on U.S. refusal to comply with the European Union’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) on November 27, when he signed S.1956, legislation that orders the Secretary of Transportation to prohibit U.S. aircraft operators from participating in the carbon tax plan. The legislation also calls for the government “to conduct international negotiations to pursue a worldwide approach to address aircraft emissions.”
At the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change last month the international aviation industry was recognized for its efforts to address climate change. “Few state delegations at last year’s climate talks in Copenhagen were aware of aviation’s outstanding track record on fuel efficiency or the global industry’s dramatic commitments to reduce our carbon footprint. This year
Conklin & de Decker developed a new carbon dioxide calculator for business aircraft. The Microsoft Excel-based calculator provides estimated carbon offset costs by aircraft make and model. Conklin’s CO2 Calculator allows the user to select the aircraft type, make and model and hours flown per year and then predicts fuel consumption while providing CO2 emissions and offset costs per year.
Standard Aero will eliminate tons of waste and reduce energy use and noise as part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s top “green leadership” program. The company earned a spot in the EPA’s prestigious National Environmental Performance Track program by maintaining a sustained environmental compliance record and making new commitments to reduce and recycle at its San Antonio facility.
Business and general aviation will likely be “slow adopters” of alternative fuel unless they have significant incentive, such as price, according to Frost & Sullivan research analysts.
Europe’s primary weapon against global warming is the Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), a program rooted in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The EU-ETS encourages the use of climate-friendly technologies by rewarding businesses that invest in green technologies, thus turning their investments into quick, short-term profits.
Skyrocketing jet fuel prices did almost nothing to slow down high-flying business jet travelers, who collectively took to the skies in record numbers this year, according to industry statistics. Now that crude oil prices are falling, analysts predict economic growth will further boost the use of business jets by corporations and the well-to-do.
European regional airlines don’t need to be told that fuel prices could stunt their growth. But one industry official believes that operators must start to view high fuel costs in the broader context of all expenses, and resist the temptation to blame them for all losses. Speaking at the ERA gathering, Professor Judith Patterson reminded operators of commercial aviation’s fundamental dependence on petroleum, “unlike other transport modes.”
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