The Final Report on the Future Environmental Constraints on
Aviation prepared as Work Package 4.2 of the CARING project has now
A soft copy of the full report is available on
request from Icon-Reports@icon-consulting.com
Abstract: This study considers how measures
to control aviations gaseous emissions may evolve by 2025.
It considers measures addressing both climate change and local air
quality. These include standards, market-based and operational
measures, as well as the potential contribution of alternative
fuels. At the same time the aviation industry is seeking to
reconcile forecast growth with the increasing pressure to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. In the wider context these developments
are taking place whilst there is considerable uncertainty about
what will happen beyond the Kyoto Protocol.
The report explores the bounds of the situation through the
use of four scenarios based on two key dimensions: the commitment
and determination of Administration's to mitigate the impact of
aviation emissions and the feasibility of the individual actions.
Based on the extensive discussions held for this work, a "most
likely" scenario is also postulated.
International Action on Greenhouse Gases
- A global aviation based scheme of Market Based Measures (MBMs)
looks unlikely by 2025.
- Instead there will be further high level goals for aviation to
cut emissions MBMs will go forward where States are willing to act,
either individually or in concert. The EU ETS is the most advanced
in preparation and is geographically wide ranging.
- The global effectiveness of MBMs may well depend on having mature
and transparent carbon markets that enable individual MBM schemes to
grant reciprocal rights to each other.
Manufacturers' Current Plans
- Aircraft manufacturers are expected to introduce product upgrades
within the timeframe and that will have an effect on the operating
efficiency of future fleets.
- More radical new technology in engines and airframes may be
unlikely to appear until the end of the period.
- Overall, capacity growth is expected to far outstrip performance
improvement and the purchase of new aircraft and engines is seen as
one of the less cost effective ways to achieve the levels of carbon
Traffic and Fleet Growth
- The predictions for traffic indicate a growth of total passenger
traffic from 4.7 to 11.7 trillion RPKs from 2009 to 2028.
- Aircraft predictions indicate that at least 4,400 to 6,600 of the
current fleet will survive to 2028 and that there will be some
28-29,000 new deliveries, large proportions of which will be to
accommodate projected traffic growth.
- In this context the EU will review scheme parameters for its ETS
in the period 2014 to 2021, including the level of the cap and the
emission reduction target where change from 20% to 30% has already
- The use of "drop-in" alternative fuels is a key part of
the overall strategy and an essential element in reducing the cost
- There is a huge economic incentive to produce alternative fuels
that are ring fenced for aviation.
- IATA has indicated a target of 10% biofuel by 2017 but there is
no indication about how far levels above 10% can be pushed in the
timeframe of CARING.
Climate Change Science
- The contribution of aviation's small proportion of CO2 is clearly
- There are greater uncertainties about the impact of other
aircraft emissions particularly NOx and water vapour at altitude
which are unlikely to be resolved so that mitigating measures can be
implemented within the timeframe.
- Any decision to include additional GHGs, such as NOx, within ETSs
in advance of the science is likely to be a political action and
will probably be justified on the basis of the precautionary
Local Air Quality:
- Pressure for further measures to control local air quality will
be determined largely by the extent to which the benefits of
cleaner, newer aircraft are outweighed by traffic growth at
- Airlines' choices of equipment are more likely to be driven by
market-based measures such as the EU ETS.
- This may mean there is greater unity of purpose between airlines
and airports over policies to reduce taxiing under own power, or
refining landing charges to reduce APU usage.
Market Based Measures:
- Unless legal challenges prove successful, the EC will extend its
ETS to aviation from 2012.
- Responses from States outside the EU, individually or in regional
partnerships are likely to be varied and piecemeal. Some may, over
time, establish their own MBMs seeking reciprocal arrangements, so
that the EU scheme deals only with flights from the EU and the third
parties cover flights to the EU. Others may take more limited action
to recover costs.
- Participation and or reciprocal rights are likely to build up
gradually with particular clusters having major traffic to and from
the EU. It is probable that regional action will also give rise to
more significant shifts in traffic patterns as global airlines (and
passengers) look to make economically efficient decisions.
- A further issue is whether taxes (such as Air Passenger Duty in
the UK and the new German passenger tax) will be withdrawn on the
advent of the EU ETS.
We are indebted to all those who patiently have
discussed with us the challenges of aviation and the environment and
have given freely of their time. A report that attempts to give a view
of the future can only be based on the evidence available at present
and the informed views of those who will be a part of shaping the
future. Evidence of the present is documented and readers may form
their own conclusions as to its completeness and accuracy. We have
endeavoured to provide an unbiased interpretation of the views of the
future that have been expressed to us. The resulting scenarios do not
necessarily represent the views of any one of our contributors.
A soft copy of the full report is available on request from
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