UN panel proposes emissions rules for planes

WASHINGTON -- A UN panel on Monday proposed long-sought greenhouse gas emissions standards for airliners and cargo planes, drawing praise from the White House and criticism from environmentalists who said they would be too weak to actually slow global warming.

See Full Article

The International Civil Aviation Organization said the agreement reached by the agency's environmental panel requires that new aircraft designs meet the standards beginning in 2020, and that designs already in production comply by 2023. There is also a cutoff date of 2028 for the manufacture of planes that don't comply with the standards. The standard must still be adopted by the agency's 36-nation governing council, but substantive changes aren't expected.

The standards would be the first ever to impose binding energy efficiency and carbon dioxide reduction targets for the aviation sector. When fully implemented, the standards are expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 650 million tons between 2020 and 2040, equivalent to removing over 140 million cars from the road for a year, according to the White House.

The standards would require an average 4 per cent reduction in fuel consumption during the cruise phase of flight starting in 2028 when compared with planes delivered in 2015. However, planes burn the most fuel during takeoffs and landings, while cruising at high altitudes is already the most fuel-efficient period.

The agreement is the first of two important opportunities this year to reduce carbon emissions from aviation. The second opportunity will come later this year when ICAO tries to reach an agreement on a "market-based approach" that would use economic incentives to further reduce aviation carbon emissions.

"Today's agreement is an important signal that the international community is well-positioned to rise to the challenge of implementing a global market-based approach to reduce aviation emissions," the White House said in a statement.

The standards announced Monday don't set the bar high enough, said Dan Rutherford, aviation direction of the International Council on Clean Transportation, since they require reductions of only about a third of what is expected to be technically possible with the more fuel-efficient planes that will be in production when the standard takes effect.

The newest Boeing and Airbus designs already meet the proposed efficiency standards, due to demands for fuel savings from the airlines, environmentalists said. In the meantime, the manufacturers get to continue selling older, less efficient designs for years to come. Airliners in use now are exempt from the new standards altogether, meaning even dirtier planes can continue to fly.

Boeing called the agreement "real progress" beyond industry steps already taken to reduce aviation emissions.

ICAO council president Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said the agency's goal "is ultimately to ensure that when the next generation of aircraft types enters service, there will be guaranteed reductions in international carbon emissions."

Environmentalists also complained that ICAO has been working on international standards for 18 years and is now proposing to give aircraft manufacturers another dozen years to comply.

"These dangerously weak recommendations put the Obama administration under enormous pressure" to take greater action, said Vera Pardee, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney who has sued the U.S. government over aviation emissions.

Last June, the Obama administration proposed regulating aircraft emissions, saying they are a threat to human health because they contain pollutants that help cause global warming. But a final U.S. decision on adoption of international standards is likely to be left to the next presidential administration. EPA officials said at the time that the earliest the agency is likely to propose adoption of ICAO standards would be in 2017.

Boeing is the United States' largest exporter as measured in dollar value. The company vies with Airbus for the title of world's largest aircraft maker.

Aviation accounts for about 5 per cent of global greenhouse emissions, according to environmentalists. ICAO says it's actually less than 2 per cent.

But that share is expected to grow as aviation grows. "We also recognize that the projected doubling of global passengers and flights by 2030 must be managed responsibly and sustainably," said Aliu.

The action comes two months after UN climate negotiators in Paris left the aviation industry out of their landmark global agreement to combat global warming.

The proposed standard covers the full range of sizes and types of aircraft used in international aviation today, but reserves the strictest standards for planes weighing over 60 tons, ICAO said. The larger planes are responsible for about 90 per cent of international aviation emissions.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • U.S. authorities warn virtual kidnapping scams are on the rise

    Tech & Science CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- The caller who rang Valerie Sobel's cellphone had a horrifying message: "We have Simone's finger. Do you want to see the rest of her in a body bag?" Then came the sound of her daughter, screaming in terror. Source
  • Google Street View goes where no Google Street View has gone before

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Google has taken its cameras where few cameras have gone before, capturing images aboard the International Space Station. It's a first for Street View Imagery. With the help of French astronaut and aerospace engineer Thomas Pesquet, who returned to earth last month after a six-month mission, Google has charted life beyond the blue planet, collecting images of life aboard the space station. Source
  • Earth's 2017 resource 'budget' will be spent by next week: report

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Humanity will have used up its allowance of planetary resources such as water, soil, and clean air for all of 2017 by next week, said a report Tuesday. Earth Overshoot Day will arrive on August 2 this year, according to environmental groups WWF and Global Footprint Network. Source
  • 'MS Paint is here to stay': Microsoft says app will be available for free

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Fans of MS Paint will be tickled pink to find out that Microsoft is not getting rid of the program just yet. "MS Paint is here to stay," Microsoft said in a statement Monday evening following an "incredible outpouring of support and nostalgia" for the app. Source
  • Beekeepers on alert after hive-destroying beetle invades N.B.

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Beekeepers in the Maritimes are on alert after the discovery of an invasive species that can destroy beehives. The Small Hive Beetle, which is native to Sub-Saharan Africa, has been spreading in North America and was recently discovered in northern New Brunswick near the border with Nova Scotia. Source
  • Concerns raised over secretive spyware company's rumoured sale

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A prominent digital rights group is sounding the alarm after reports that a controversial developer of government-grade spy software may be up for sale. The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, whose researchers have authored multiple reports on the the misuse of spyware developed by a company called NSO Group, sent a letter to the company's rumoured buyer on Tuesday with a list of questions and concerns. Source
  • NAFTA talks: U.S. proposal for cross-border data storage at odds with B.C., N.S. law

    Tech & Science CBC News
    One of the American targets in the upcoming renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement appears on a collision course with privacy laws in British Columbia and Nova Scotia. In negotiating objectives published last week, the Office of the United States Trade Representative said it wanted to "establish rules to ensure that NAFTA countries do not impose measures that restrict cross-border data flows and do not require the use of installation of local computing facilities. Source
  • Cyber staff: Wisconsin company offers to microchip employees

    Tech & Science CTV News
    A Wisconsin company is offering to microchip its employees, enabling them to open doors, log onto their computers and purchase break room snacks with a simple swipe of the hand. Three Square Market, also known as 32M, said more than 50 employees are voluntarily getting implants Aug. Source
  • Health officials warn of toxic blue-green algae in a New Brunswick lake

    Tech & Science CTV News
    FREDERICTON - Health officials in New Brunswick are warning of a blue-green algae on Nashwaak Lake in the western part of the province. Dr. Na-Koshie Lamptey, the regional medical officer of health, says water from the lake should not be used for drinking or cooking, since boiling it will not remove the toxins. Source
  • Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk clash over artificial intelligence

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Billionaire CEOs Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk are trading jabs online over the future of artificial intelligence. In a Facebook Live broadcast from his backyard on Sunday, Zuckerberg, the social media network’s CEO, suggested that Musk is “irresponsible” for highlighting the dangers of AI. Source