As regards international aviation, the COP/17 outcome is ambivalent.
Aviation emissions: states agreed this would be best pursued through ICAO but were unable to amalgamate seven different text proposals into a single agreed text. This means that, in the next round of UNFCCC meetings in 2012, discussions will resume with the consideration of the seven text proposals.
- New levy for climate change measures for developing countries: specific proposals, initiated by France (the current G20 Chair) were tabled for taxing international shipping and aviation to finance the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Opposition by a number of states kept these proposals from gaining critical mass in the UNFCCC process. However, we expect aviation to remain a revenue target for the foreseeable future and towards COP/18 in Doha.
- HEFA – Hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids – fuel received full ASTM certification on 1 July 2011. This was immediately followed by a series of commercial passenger flights powered with HEFA blends. To date, ten airlines have performed commercial passenger flights using ASTM-certified biojet. These flights help to gain experience about the long-term operational and logistic impact of biojet.
- ASTM is now working on the certification of further biofuel pathways, such as sugar and alcohol-to-jet and pyrolysis oil. However, without supporting policy incentives these types of biojet will find themselves in direct competition for feedstock with biodiesel and bioethanol, the use of which in many countries is currently heavily subsidized or even mandated.
- Governments have a crucial role to play in finding ways to scale up the production and commercialization of aviation biofuels. An important area requiring joint industry and governmental action is the adoption of biofuel sustainability criteria.Currently, incompatible sustainability standards are in use in different jurisdictions. IATA will be advocating for global harmonization or at least mutual recognition, of sustainability standards.
- IATA will also be working on a proposal for adopting an accounting solution for recognition of biofuel usage based on airlines’ purchase records, which is much easier to handle than the requirement for physical evidence of biofuel in aircraft tanks.
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