In Future, UK's Environmental Authority Can Seize CO2-Spewing Planes

Aviation Under Protest in UK photo

Photo of a recent protest at Aberdeen airport by anti-aviation group Plane Stupid.

Aviation, especially in the UK, is having a tough year. A tanking economy curtails profits. Lots of protest over plans for a new third runway at Heathrow. And now, the news that the country's Environment Agency will actually have the authority in future to seize planes if airlines aren't complying with emissions reductions quotas that begin to take effect when the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme includes aviation in 2012. ETS too little, too late?
Aviation have been as slow as the car industry to grasp that if we were to actually try to avert climate change massive efforts would be required in transport's CO2 levels. Last year a little piece of news happened that will begin to force attempts to get airlines to green: the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme decided to include aviation from 2012. Airlines don't like it and would prefer a global trading scheme, but it is already beginning to have an effect as planning for some moderate restrictions of CO2 emissions begins.

The UK is announcing that its Environment Agency will be the official policing body as far as aviation is concerned, and will have the authority to monitor airlines emissions, look over their purchases emissions credits, impose fines, and even impound planes. One of the reasons the EA is being given this much authority, the Guardian says, is because policing airlines, which keep their assets spread around the globe, will be particularly challenging. On the down side, many environmentalists, especially Plane Stupid, say the ETS doesn't go far enough fast enough in getting airlines to reduce carbon emissions.

Thus far, airlines have promoted customers' purchases of carbon offsets and touted efforts to shave small amount off their CO2 totals with things like SAS' gradual gliding landings to cut fuel use. Boeing has tested a similar program called "Tailored Landings" at San Francisco International Airport. In a Reuters story, 1,000 test flights with the system cut emissions by 1,600 tons (or approximately 1.5 tons per flight).

And then there's that tricky problem of rising consumption offsetting any attempts to reduce emissions - in the UK alone, aviation demand is set to rise from 180 million passengers a year in 2000 to 500 million in 2030! Via: Guardian
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