Airlines favour industrial gas projects to offset emissions

June 8th, 20134:58 am @

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New data shows airlines favour industrial gas projects to
offset emissions

Bonn, 7 June 2013 – Last week, the
International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the
International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly to
agree on a global carbon offsetting scheme to take effect in
2020. Recent data by the European Commission reveals for the
first time the choice of offsets used by airlines during the
first compliance period in the European Emissions Trading
Scheme (EU ETS). The data shows that in 2012 airlines
favoured using offset credits from HFC-23 and N2O industrial
gas destruction projects, credits meanwhile banned in the EU
ETS. NGOs demand a limited access and strict quality
restrictions for any future global offsetting mechanism
under ICAO.

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In May 2013, the European
Commission released for the first time data on carbon
offsets used by 1188 airline operators covered by the EU’s
Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) in 2012. From the 12.5
million offsets allowed to use for compliance, airlines used
almost 11 million offsets, 5.6 million and 5.3 million
coming from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint
Implementation (JI) respectively.

The ten largest emitters
amongst the aircraft operators in the EU, including
Lufthansa, Ryanair and Easyjet, were responsible for 5.12
million offsets – almost half of all offsets
used.

Although more than 6.000 CDM projects and more than
600 JI projects are currently approved under the UN’s
mechanisms, the offsets originate from only 45 CDM and 16 JI
projects. One third of all CDM offset credits used by the
largest ten operators, come from 9 offset projects that
destroy the waste gas HFC-23. HFC-23 projects were the
largest originators of CDM offset credits: 400.000 and
380.000 offset credits originating from Chinese HFC-23
projects were sold to Easyjet and British Airways
respectively. Easyjet, Lufthansa and Air France also bought
420.000 credits from three N2O adipic acid projects in China
and South Korea. Credits from HFC-23 and N20 (adipic acid)
projects have been banned from the EU ETS because of their
lack of environmental integrity effective May 2013, a
decision which was well known to airlines as early as
2010.

“Even though offsets with environmental and
social benefits are readily available at cheap prices, the
new data shows that airlines chose offsets from industrial
gas projects even though they were to be banned for their
lack of environmental integrity simply because they were the
cheapest” said Eva Filzmoser, Director of Carbon Market
Watch. “This shows that we cannot trust airlines to have
regard for environmental integrity when choosing offsets. It
is therefore essential that limited access and stringent
quality restrictions for offsets will be required in any
future ICAO scheme to filter out substandard offset credits
that harm the climate”.

The biggest emitters amongst
airline operators in 2012 were Lufthansa and Ryanair.
Lufthansa bought 650.000 offset credits from a project that
claims to have reduced fugitive associated petroleum gas
between 2007 and 2011 at the Priobskoe oil field in Russia,
one of the largest oil fields in the world. This project
which is registered under the Joint Implementation’s so
called “track 1”, which is heavily and widely criticized
for its lack of international oversight, sold the largest
chunk of credits from one single project. Other projects
that sold credits to Lufthansa include a JI project that
destroys HFC-23 and a CDM project that destroys N2O from
adipic acid production in China, both project types now
banned from the EU ETS.

“It is hypocritical that
Lufthansa encourages their clients to offset their emissions
with sustainable projects while behind the backdoor it is
using the cheapest offsets that clearly lack environmental
integrity” commented Sabine Minninger, Senior Policy
Advisor on climate and energy for Bread for the World. “To
live up to their claims to be sustainable, airlines must
invest in credits with high environmental and social
integrity themselves”.

“Experience so far from airline
behaviour in the EU ETS clearly demonstrates that offsets
cannot be the complete solution in any market-based measure
to reduce aviation emissions” said Bill Hemmings aviation
manager at Transport and Environment. “IATA needs to
seriously rethink its
position”.

ENDS.

© Scoop Media

Article source: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1306/S00180/airlines-favour-industrial-gas-projects-to-offset-emissions.htm