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43 Upham Cs Co2

43 Upham Cs Co2



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Published by W.J. Zondag

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Published by: W.J. Zondag on Mar 02, 2009
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el    i     ne s 
Aviation Policy Options for NotExceeding the EU +2 C Threshold
This essay discusses the disjuncture between EUaviation emissions growth in recent decades and the EU climate change commitment to not excee-ding a 2
C rise in global mean surface tempera- ture above the pre-industrial level (EC, 2007a). Weparticularly discuss the roles of the EU EmissionsTrading Scheme (EU ETS) and the Clean Develop-ment Mechanism (CDM). We also comment onhow the current downturn in air passenger num-bers in the EU compares to the reduced level ofpassenger demand in the EU that would be com-patible with ‘safe’ climate targets.
 This essay discusses the disjuncture between EU aviationemissions growth in recent decades and the EU climate changecommitment to not exceeding a 2 °C rise in global mean sur-face temperature above the pre-industrial level (EC, 2007a).We particularly discuss the roles of the EU Emissions TradingScheme (EU ETS) and the Clean Development Mechanism(CDM). We also comment on how the current downturn in air  passenger numbers in the EU compares to the reduced levelof passenger demand in the EU that would be compatible with‘safe’ climate targets.Our view is that reconciling growth in European aviation
emissions with EU ETS will require that Certied Emissions
Reductions from the CDM (or Emissions Reductions Unitsfrom Joint Implementation) form a substantial proportion of EU ETS trade. We consider this strategy to be politically dis-ingenuous and likely to fail to stimulate the necessary domes-tic technological and systems innovations, not to mention the behavioural changes, which are needed throughout industrialeconomies to avoid ‘dangerous climate change’. We arguethat there should be a more honest debate of the trade-offs
necessary to meet the 2°C commitment. Specically, we take
the view that emissions reductions should occur wholly or  primarily within the EU; that there should be an acceleratedresearch, development and deployment programmes for avia-tion; that supplementary instruments are necessary to addressthe non-CO2 impacts of aviation emissions; and that for thenext several decades, aviation growth rates will need to reducesubstantially. This said, the level of demand reduction associ-ated with the current economic down-turn (a 0.2% reduction
in total passenger trafc at European airports in 2008 com
- pared with 2007) (ACI, 2009), is greater than that requiredto avoid +2 °C climate warming in our scenario modelling(see below). The downturn illustrates the type of unmanagedeconomic contraction that climate policy analysts are tryingto avoid by arguing for early action towards smooth emis-
sions contraction proles. The longer these calls are ignored,
however, the more likely are radical economic and climatediscontinuities in coming decades, with associated adversesocial consequences. 
Climate Science and Policy Context
The EC Directive that includes aviation within EU ETS (EC,
2008) is to be welcomed, but its benets will be largely condi
-tional on the ways in which the wider EU ETS develops, par-ticularly the level of the cap. Taken as an initial step to build political consensus and to achieve commercial buy-in, the Di-rective is likely to prove successful. However, if that successis not rapidly followed by a tightly contracting EU ETS cap asdescribed below, the EU will fail to honour its commitment tonot exceeding the +2 °C threshold. In short, the Directive does
not reect the urgency of the climate problem.
Although the Commission has proposed that the EU pursues- in the context of international negotiations - the objectiveof a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) bydeveloped countries by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels), italso sees an expanded role for the CDM in this process (EC,
e-zine edition 43
by: Dr. Paul Upham, Dr. Alice Bows, Prof. KevinAnderson and Mr. John Broderick 
2007a:11). It is not difcult to see why the CDM is viewed
 by policymakers as critical to EU climate policy. To stand amodest chance of not exceeding the +2 °C threshold, the EUnow has a window of less than ten years in which to beginsubstantial, year-on-year reductions in greenhouse gas emis-sions (Bows et al., 2006a). Avoiding exceedance of +2 °C re-quires a maximum global atmospheric CO2 concentration of 450ppmv (parts per million by volume), preferably 400ppmvCO2. Avoiding a breach of 450ppmv CO2 in turn requiresaround 3% - 6% annual reductions in total EU CO2 emissionsover the period 2012-2030 (Bows et al, 2007). Note that anatmospheric concentration of 450ppmv CO2 would not guar-antee that we would avoid overshooting the 2 °C target. To be sure of not exceeding this level of temperature increase,atmospheric concentrations need to be below current levels(Meinshausen, 2006).The EC +2 °C threshold allows industrialised nations very littlegrowth in carbon emissions prior to barely feasible contraction
rates (Anderson and Bows, 2008). Whilst signicant global
aviation growth is possible in this context, it would seem un-likely that citizens would choose to prioritise the sector if theywere faced with starker choices, as would be necessary with-out the CDM or adequately early action within industrialisednations. Exploring 450ppmv CO2 scenarios for the UK, Bowset al (2006) found it necessary to allocate the contracting car- bon budget to those sectors with the fewest options for change, particularly aviation. Although they found that both static andhigh mobility scenarios are possible, (the latter assuming thatUK individuals travel twice as many passenger kilometres byroad and railin 2050, andthree timesmore passen-ger kilome-tres by air by2050, relativeto 2004), bothscenarios re-quire rapid de-carbonisation by every other sector. More-over, air pas-senger growthrates wouldneed to fallfrom the re-cent UK levelof 7% per an-num to a maxi-mum annualaverage of justover 2%, and not exceed this. In addition, the aviation indus-
try would need to improve fuel efciency above current rates,signicantly increase its load factor and would need to have
switched to 50% biofuel by 2050 (ibid: 56).
CDM Sleight of Hand?
Rather than deal with the domestic political difculties of taking full responsibility for our emissions, difculties com
- pounded through years of ignoring the problem, there is agrowing likelihood that Commissioners will opt to make sig-
nicant use of the CDM. This will enable the EU to simul
-taneously retain a stringent climate target and industrial and political support. In other words, with the current weak levelof support for meaningful action to reduce carbon emissions(rhetoric and good intentions aside), trade-out of EU ETS will be critical to the economic, commercial and hence politicalacceptability of the proposed Directive to bring aviation intoEU ETS.The key question this begs is whether extensive use of JointImplementation and CDM will undermine a genuine globaltransition to a low carbon future. This could happen in twomain ways. First, unless trade-out is accompanied by a real
commitment to strong and mandatory fuel efciency and re
-newable/low carbon energy targets, the pressure for a shift
to low carbon supply, more efcient technologies and behav
-ioural changes will be limited. Phase 2 of the EU ETS allowsfor 13% of total emissions to be met from the CDM, morethan double the 6% reduction in the cap from 2005 emissions.
EU Directive 2008/101/EC limits the use of Certied Emis
-sions Reductions (CERs, i.e. the tradable emissions creditsgenerated via CDM projects) to 15% of the emissions liabilityof each aircraft operator. However, this does not alone restrict
the total inux of CERs, as other industries may use their 
maximum CER limit whilst selling on surplus EUAs (EU Al-lowances, the tradable credits allocated by governments under EU ETS) to airlines.
A large inux of external credits will likely weaken the carbon
 price and hence impact of the EU ETS (already, for different
reasons, the price has fallen to a very low level, currently 8
euros/tonne).Second, evenassuming thatmost CDM/JI projects areof high envi-ronmental andsocial qual-ity (which hasnot always been the casefor the CDM),there will beeconomicmultiplier ef-fects in thehost countriesthat reduce,and may eveneliminate, thedirect equiva-lence with EUemissions.That is to say, investments overseas will – hopefully – raisestandards of living. Yet this will also stimulate demand for consumer goods and lifestyles and it is inevitable that thesewill be fuelled in part by carbon-based energy sources. Devel-
opment benets could be real but climate policy benets less
than expected, or even negative (i.e. the volume of CO2 offsetcould be wholly negated, or worse, via economic multiplier effects, even if there is improvement relative to the baselinewithin a single project). Low carbon technology transfer iscertainly desirable, but only if accompanied by similar do-mestic change, not if used as a substitute for that change.
Photo 1:
 A NASA satellite image showing a stream of aircraft contrails between the United Kingdom and  France in Europe. Source: NASA Earth Observatory at http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov
Given a great deal of optimism, it remains politically pos-sible that EU citizens will, during the next decade, come torealise that we need to quickly and substantially reduce emis-sions domestically. Every severe weather event (and coura-geous politician or innovative business leader) will add to thechances of this realisation. Currently the aviation industry is presuming that EU ETS will remain weak (i.e. open to CDMand with a lax cap) for the foreseeable future. This is not a
safe or sustainable presumption. Our rst recommendation
is that the sector is obliged to pursue the technological and
systems options for fuel efciency in a much more pro-active
way. Of all the technological possibilities, in the long term,fuel-switching is the most important, as even modest growth
(of over 2%) will outstrip efciencies. In the short term, re
-duced passenger growth, probably best incentivised by arise in ticket prices, is necessary to avoid over-consumptionof the contracting carbon budget. Of course, before any of this can happen, the industry (including its customers)needs to fully appreciate the problem that climatechange poses. We suspect that thisrequires a change in wider social attitudes. The problem is that thislooks likely to come too late: insteadof a managed contractionto stable, lower emitting industries,we risk having to either adopt draconianmeasures for emissions reductions, or, more like-ly, having to adapt to substantially changing coastlines andweather patterns, with lower consumer surpluses available for travel and other productive and enjoyable economic activity.
We have shown elsewhere (e.g. Bows et al, 2008) that al
-though emissions from air travel are modest relative to thoseof other sectors (though higher in the UK), passenger growthrates in the order of 3% per year, even assuming optimis-
tic annual fuel efciency increases, will quickly compound
to consume a large fraction of the necessary UK or EU car- bon budgets. Moreover this ignores the additional, non-CO2warming caused by aviation emissions. The EU ETS is notgoing to solve this without a tight cap, by which we meansubstantially tighter than at present. Considering the implica-tions for carbon prices and hence air ticket prices of a tighter 
cap, Bows and Anderson (2008) show that even an order of 
magnitude increase in EU ETS carbon prices (i.e. more thanten times higher than now) would add relatively little to air ticket prices.Given the shortcomings of EU ETS as currently instituted,how do we reduce demand and encourage a shift to lower GHG fuel for aviation? An explicit process of acceleratedresearch, development and deployment (RD&D) in the avia-tion sector should be strongly encouraged, as the EU ETS inits current form, will not provide the necessary price incen-tive. The means by which RD&D is incentivised could, for example, consist of en-route emissions charges for CO2 and NOx (but presumably requiring renegotiation of the ChicagoConvention if extended beyond the EU), with revenue hy- pothecated to a fund to which the industry may bid for re-search and demonstration projects. Secondly, it may be thatEU policy should prioritise biofuel supply for aviation use,given that alternatives (notably renewable electricity) aremore readily available for surface transport and that it is notat all a straightforward matter to ensure that biofuel is pro-duced in an environmentally and socially benign manner, and
this will restrict the available supply (e.g. Upham et al, 2008).
Thirdly, and least palatably for the sector, in the absence of  personal carbon quotas or a tight EU ETS cap, we will need toraise ticket prices through some other means, to suppress ‘ex-cess’ demand. The simplest, environmentally-related way of aligning this with environmental objectives is via emissionscharges, given that policy-makers seem minded to allow aninternationally open EU ETS (note that this would not mat-ter if we had a globally closed emissions trading system thatitself had a tight cap). As mentioned, the revenues from thiscould be hypothecated back to the industry to provide capitalfor RD&D.
In this short essay we have argued that EU ETS, as it is cur-rently developing, will not adequately manage the high levelsof growth in aviation emissions. There are indications that EUETS will become an increasingly open system, dilutingan already weak cap that does not remotelyre-
ect the requirements of the
EU’s own and repeated commit-ment to not exceeding the +2 °Cthreshold. We have arguedthat, in relation to avia-tion, EU ETS should be supple-mented by an acceler-ated RD&D programme,funded from emissions charges, to assist long termchange. The uncomfortable message, however, is that almostregardless of future low-carbon technologies and fuel, pas-senger growth levels also need to be reduced to a maximumof 2% p.a. (in the UK or EU) if we are to stand any chance of meeting the +2 °C threshold. It may be some consolation thatthis is substantially higher than the slightly negative growth(-0.2%) in the EU that is now a consequence of a (presumablytemporary) economic downturn.
 About the Authors
The authors are researchers with aviation interests at TyndallCentre Manchester, the University of Manchester. Collective-
ly they have afliations to Manchester Business School; the
University of Manchester’s Sustainable Consumption Instituteand School of Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Engineering;and the UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.Dr Paul Upham is corresponding authour for this essay. Heis a Research Fellow in the Tyndall Centre Manchester andManchester Business School. He has a research background

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