Aviation climate targets may drive 3 million hectares of deforestation

Aviation climate targets may drive 3 million hectares of deforestation

SOURCE: Rainforest Foundation Norway DATE: October 1, 2019 SNIP: As the general assembly meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) got underway in Montreal, Rainforest Foundation Norway’s new report ‘Destination deforestation‘ goes into the heated debate about “flight shame” and the role of the aviation sector in contributing to the climate crisis. The report reviews the status of the targets the aviation industry has set for alternative fuels and shows how high the risk is that expanding biofuel use in aviation will cause the last thing the world wants or needs right now: increased deforestation. The aviation industry has set an aspirational goal to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50 percent in 2050 (compared to 2005), without limiting growth. Central to this vision is a near complete shift from conventional jet fuel to alternative aviation fuels. Near total replacement of fossil fuel would be needed to meet this target. A number of technologies are available to produce aviation biofuels, or even to produce aviation fuels from electricity, but the only one of these technologies currently operating at a commercial scale is the ‘HEFA’ (Hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids) process to produce jet fuel from vegetable oils and animal fats. The cheapest and most readily available feedstocks for HEFA jet fuel are palm oil and soy oil, which are closely linked to tropical deforestation. Unless alternative aviation fuel policies actively support more sustainable options, it is likely that meeting the aviation industry’s aspirations to reduce emissions would lead to a sharp increase in demand for soy and palm oils. The report estimates that meeting the aspirational targets outlined by...
‘Worse Than Anyone Expected’: Air Travel Emissions Vastly Outpace Predictions

‘Worse Than Anyone Expected’: Air Travel Emissions Vastly Outpace Predictions

SOURCE: New York Times DATE: September 19, 2019 SNIP: Greenhouse gas emissions from commercial air travel are growing at a faster clip than predicted in previous, already dire, projections, according to new research — putting pressure on airline regulators to take stronger action as they prepare for a summit next week. The United Nations aviation body forecasts that airplane emissions of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, will reach just over 900 million metric tons in 2018, and then triple by 2050. But the new research, from the International Council on Clean Transportation, found that emissions from global air travel may be increasing more than 1.5 times as fast as the U.N. estimate. The researchers analyzed nearly 40 million flights around the world last year. “Airlines, for all intents and purposes, are becoming more fuel efficient. But we’re seeing demand outstrip any of that,” said Brandon Graver, who led the new study. “The climate challenge for aviation is worse than anyone expected.” Underlying the growth in aviation emissions is the rapid expansion of air travel worldwide, propelled by a proliferation of low-cost airlines and a booming tourism industry catering to a growing middle class. A separate study released this week by the industry group Airports Council International found that the world’s fastest-growing airports were in emerging economies; 12 of the top 30 were in either China or India. The study underscored the heavy carbon-dioxide footprint of domestic flights, often left out of negotiations over global emissions-reduction...
Airlines Were Supposed to Fix Their Pollution Problem. It’s Just Getting Worse

Airlines Were Supposed to Fix Their Pollution Problem. It’s Just Getting Worse

SOURCE: Bloomberg DATE: March 10, 2019 SNIP: Environmental activists recoil for a reason when the super-rich fly private jets to forums that preach carbon neutrality. Airplane pollution levels really are going through the stratosphere and nobody seems to have a viable plan to rein them in. While energy generation and agriculture currently dwarf aviation’s 1.3 percent share of all human-caused greenhouse gases, emissions from air travel are accelerating many times faster. Airplane pollution, which has risen by about two-thirds since 2005, is forecast to jump as much as sevenfold by 2050 as incomes in developing economies advance, making flying more affordable for hundreds of millions if not billions of people, according to the Montreal-based ICAO. The International Air Transport Association, or IATA, the industry’s biggest trade group, expects the number of airline passengers to double by 2037, to more than 8 billion a year. The surge in demand is swelling the global fleet of commercial passenger craft, which Boeing Co. sees doubling to 40,000 in the same period. The pool of private jets is increasing at a similar pace, with JetCraft, a market-intelligence firm, predicting a 50 percent gain within a decade, to 30,000 from 20,000. Add cargo and military craft into the mix and total air traffic will probably grow 4.4 percent a year on average over the next two decades, requiring the overall addition of 37,000 new planes with a combined value of $5.8 trillion, according to Airbus SE, Boeing’s main competitor. All of these forecasts are terrifying climate scientists and activists who say increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases are leading to rising temperatures, more extreme weather...