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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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ethiopia, plane crash
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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Venice Presents Plan to Tackle Effects of Climate Change

The ones who hurt it those who spend only one day," Luigi Brugnaro, Venice's Mayor told Efe in an interview

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Venice, Plan, Climate
Anyone has to visit Venice with respect. You have to go for a few days, to be impregnated with it. Pixabay

In a bid to save its heritage, the Italian city of Venice has presented a plan to tackle the effects of climate change, calling for responsible tourism at this years C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen.

For years, Venice has been facing its toughest challenge ever: the risk of flooding due to rising sea levels, Efe news reported on Saturday.

However, authorities warn that mass tourism and its environmental impact have also become a challenge for the city, a cradle of history dating back more 1,500 years.

“Anyone has to visit Venice with respect. You have to go for a few days, to be impregnated with it. The ones who hurt it those who spend only one day,” Luigi Brugnaro, Venice’s Mayor told Efe in an interview.

Venice, Plan, Climate
For years, Venice has been facing its toughest challenge ever: the risk of flooding due to rising sea levels, Efe news reported on Saturday. Pixabay

The conservative politician took part in the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen, where he unveiled his plan to protect the Italian city from the effects of global warming.

His medium and long-term roadmap includes policies affecting not only the huge cruise ships that enter Venice daily but also the 25 million people that visit the city every year.

“No one should have negative thoughts about tourists. They are curious people who want to see a place like Venice and it is fair that they can do it. We only have to establish simple rules,” Brugnaro said.

From January 2020, visitors who spend less than 24 hours in Venice will have to pay a tourist tax of 10 euros to offset cleaning and maintenance costs.

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Brugnaro also plans to regulate tourist rentals through platforms such as Airbnb.

In Venice, door-to-door garbage collecting has increased recycling. However, many visitors were not aware of the existence of this service.

Venice and its lagoon were declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1987, but two years ago the UN organization warned the Italian city that it should take steps before 2021 to avoid being included in his “blacklist”.

The next meeting of the UN committee to monitor the progress will be held in China in 2020.

Venice, Plan, Climate
However, authorities warn that mass tourism and its environmental impact have also become a challenge for the city, a cradle of history dating back more 1,500 years. Pixabay

Venice goes on alert when a high tide reaches 80 cm. If sea-levels were to rise by 110 cm, more than 10 per cent of the pedestrian area of the historic centre would be flooded.

If the worst predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are fulfilled, according to which the sea level could rise 110 cm in 2100, the situation could become critical.

“It is not inevitable that it will end up being destroyed. Venice is much more alive than some say. It is a resilient city that adapts,” the Mayor told Efe news.

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The city is “a symbol for the world, one of its greatest symbols. We must set aside our selfishness and interests. If Venice is saved, the world is saved”, he added. (IANS)