The US aviation sector is the world’s largest single air transportation system. Modelling shows that fuel burn strategies could reduce emissions from narrow-body passenger aircraft by 2% per kilometre travelled, at zero marginal cost.Nature Climate Change doi: 10.1038/nclimate2865
By David Morgan, Reuters The biggest transatlantic airlines are up to 51 percent less fuel-efficient than their smaller lower-cost rivals, which offer fewer first-class seats and maintain newer fleets of aircraft, according to a new report. A plane coming into Murcia San Javier airport in Spain. Credit: xlibber A 43-page study by the International Council on Clean Transportation found that Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, German-based Air Berlin and Ireland’s national flag carrier Aer Lingus had the smallest carbon footprints among 20 transatlantic carriers in 2014. British Airways, Scandinavian airline SAS and Deutsche Lufthansa AG had the worst CO2 performance, as measured by passenger mile per quart of fuel. The report by ICCT, the same independent group that uncovered the Volkswagen AG diesel emissions scandal, comes two weeks before world leaders are scheduled to meet in Paris to try to nail down binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Commercial aviation each year transports more than three billion passengers and 52 million tons of freight, while generating more than $600 billion of economic activity. But aircraft also produce about 770 million tons of CO2 annually. The ICCT’s study of nonstop transatlantic flights between Europe and North America found that the average round trip produces 1.1 ton of CO2 emissions per passenger, equal to the emissions of a Toyota Prius driven on a 22-mile commute each day for an entire work year. Researchers were surprised by the 51 percent gap between top-rated Norwegian Air Shuttle and last-place British Airways, which is more than double that among U.S. airlines. They said the difference meant great potential for emissions reduction as the International Civil Aviation Organization works to finalize a fuel-efficiency standard for new aircraft in 2016. Seating configuration and fuel burn were the most important factors by far, accounting for about 80 percent of the variation in fuel efficiency. First-class and business seats accounted for 14 percent of available seat miles but one-third of overall emissions. Carriers with the worst fuel-efficiency performance also tended to maintain older fleets that included twin-aisle Boeing 747 aircraft. Low fuel prices may be providing airlines with an incentive to keep older aircraft in service to lower capital costs, researchers said. “The fact that market forces and fuel efficiency aren’t well-aligned on these routes highlights the need for policies to reduce emissions,” said co-author Daniel Rutherford. Editing by Bernadette Baum
Victoria Bryan, Reuters A deal on limiting carbon dioxide emissions from aviation will likely be reached next year, no matter the outcome of climate change talks in Paris, a senior official from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said. A plane flies in the polluted air above the airport fences in Beijing Feb. 22, 2012. Credit: Reuters The aviation industry is not covered by the United Nations climate talks in Paris because it is organized under a separate U.N. body, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). A Wednesday draft of the climate change pact dropped any mention of aviation or shipping, although officials from Europe said they were working hard for a paragraph encouraging nations to curb the carbon output of these two industries to be put back in. ICAO is working on options for a market-based system to enable airlines to reduce emissions by buying carbon offsets or allowances, plus a global CO2 emissions standard for aircraft. The organization hopes to unveil the market-based system at a meeting next September. “There is genuine momentum building behind the ICAO process and we’re confident there will be a successful outcome at ICAO Assembly,” Michael Gill, Director Aviation Environment at IATA, told journalists in Geneva. Gill said among the main sticking points were how airlines would measure and report their emissions, and how the scheme would take into account the different rates of economic development both of countries and their airlines. Gill, who had flown to Geneva for an IATA briefing to journalists from Paris and was returning to the talks, said there was a general sense in Paris that things were “in good shape” for a global agreement on climate change. IATA expects an agreement on the stringency and the applicability of the CO2 standard to be reached by governments in February, Gill added. Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky
Climate Central The aviation industry, not covered by the United Nations climate talks, will likely reach a deal to limit their carbon dioxide emissions in 2016, according to an official from the International Air Transport Association. Read original story read more
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