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World’s Largest Airlines Yet To Work on Their “Emissions Intensity” Goals

The airline industry more broadly has set goals that include capping aviation's net emissions at 2020 levels, and halving net emissions by 2050 from 2005 levels, Dietz said.

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The plane was new. The weather was clear. Yet something was wrong, and the pilots tried to return to the airport. They never made it. Pixabay

Some of the world’s largest airlines have yet to set long-term targets to reduce their climate-changing emissions, climate and economic researchers warned Tuesday.

Top publicly listed airlines have cut their “emissions intensity” — how much pollution they produce for the same amount of activity — significantly in recent years, said researchers from the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute.

But they are not making clear plans for the much larger emissions reductions needed to meet internationally agreed climate goals, the researchers said.

Beyond 2020 and particularly in the long-term “the targets these airlines have set to reduce their emissions are not clearly consistent with the Paris Agreement goals,” said Simon Dietz, co-author of a study released Tuesday.

The Paris goals, agreed by world governments in 2015, call for keeping global temperature rise to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius and ideally to 1.5C above pre-industrial times.

The study, which looked at 20 of the world’s largest publicly listed airlines, noted that air travel currently accounts for about 2 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, and 12 percent of transport-related emissions.

Airlines
The airline between 2016 and 2020 also is replacing 30 percent of its main fleet with aircraft 15 to 25 percent more fuel-efficient, Simmons said, and its fleet has seen a 9 percent increase in fuel efficiency since 2009. VOA

Cutting those emissions — and emissions from shipping — is particularly challenging because their mobile nature makes it harder for companies to use clean energy sources such as solar or wind power.

Alternative fuels, such as hydrogen, may offer long-term solutions but are still being developed.

The study, backed by investor groups, analyzed the public disclosures of airlines as a way of assessing their performance on combatting climate change, Dietz said.

The airlines were evaluated based on their carbon management practices and emissions performance. Airlines with lower emissions often had younger fleets, more passengers per flight and a focus on longer versus shorter flights, Dietz said.

Helen Vines Fiestas, the deputy global head of sustainability at BNP Paribas Asset Management, said the report raises key questions about what the aviation industry is prepared to do to contribute to climate change action in the long run.

Airlines, she said, should join forces and look at airline-related emissions as a joint problem, “asking how are we going to go about it” in making emissions reductions, she said.

But “this is just not what we are seeing, and this is what really worries us,” she said.

Carbon offsets

Many airlines have adopted industry targets to reduce net emissions, usually through “carbon offsetting,” which can include things like paying to plant carbon-absorbing forests or build clean energy systems elsewhere to compensate for airline emissions, Dietz said.

FILE - Delta Air Lines planes are parked at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, in Washington, Aug. 8, 2016.
Delta Air Lines planes are parked at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, in Washington, Aug. 8, 2016. VOA

Delta Airlines, for instance — rated in the study as one of the most active airlines on addressing climate issues — has committed to capping carbon emissions at 2012 levels, in part by purchasing offsets, according to Catherine Simmons, a spokeswoman for Delta.

Its website lets customers estimate their emissions and contribute to a range of carbon offset programs to compensate for them.

The airline between 2016 and 2020 also is replacing 30 percent of its main fleet with aircraft 15 to 25 percent more fuel-efficient, Simmons said, and its fleet has seen a 9 percent increase in fuel efficiency since 2009.

The airline industry more broadly has set goals that include capping aviation’s net emissions at 2020 levels, and halving net emissions by 2050 from 2005 levels, Dietz said.

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But that approach is not necessarily the most effective, he said, because reducing “net emissions” can be done through offsets rather than actual aviation emissions reductions.

“If you look at modeling by organizations like the International Energy Agency, it clearly shows that in the long run, the airline sector needs to reduce its own emissions,” he said. “We’re calling on airlines to make commitments that clearly show what they are going to achieve.” (VOA)

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IIT And IIS Collaborate To Develop Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment For The Indian Himalayan Region

"Being situated in the Himalayan region, IIT-Mandi is proud to be a part of this vulnerability assessment exercise and a leader in technology in this region."

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The 12 states are Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, hilly districts of West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir. Pixabay

The Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati, Indian Institute of Technology-Mandi and Indian Institute of Science Bengaluru have collaborated to develop a climate change vulnerability assessment for the Indian Himalayan region using a common framework, it was announced on Thursday.

The assessment exercise is unique because for the first time all 12 Himalayan states have used a common framework resulting in the production of comparable state-level and within state, district-level vulnerability maps.

Such comparable vulnerability assessments are useful for the governments, implementers, decision makers, funding agencies and development experts to gain a common understanding on vulnerability, enabling them to assess which state is more vulnerable, what has made them vulnerable and how they might address these vulnerabilities.

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“The adaptation to climate change is a collaborative effort between appropriate use of technology, a vision that produces policies, a change at ground level and engaging the local communities.” Pixabay

The framework and the results were presented here at a national workshop on ‘Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for States and the Union Territories Using a Common Framework’ organised by IIT-Guwahati and IIT-Mandi with support from IISc Bengaluru, the Department of Science and Technology and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The 12 states are Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, hilly districts of West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir.

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Such comparable vulnerability assessments are useful for the governments, implementers, decision makers, funding agencies and development experts to gain a common understanding on vulnerability, enabling them to assess which state is more vulnerable, what has made them vulnerable and how they might address these vulnerabilities. Pixabay

Highlighting impact of the project, Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, said: “The adaptation to climate change is a collaborative effort between appropriate use of technology, a vision that produces policies, a change at ground level and engaging the local communities.”

“These vulnerability maps will play a crucial role in this effort.”

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Timothy A. Gonsalves, Director IIT-Mandi, said: “Being situated in the Himalayan region, IIT-Mandi is proud to be a part of this vulnerability assessment exercise and a leader in technology in this region.”

Deputy Head of Mission of the Swiss Embassy Tamara Mona said: “Switzerland, like India, has a long experience in facing the potential opportunities and risks. Swiss national policy for climate change adaptation has been complemented by local government strategies, based on detailed and locally anchored risks assessment, maps and preparedness, plans and actions.” (IANS)