Green Mobility Policy Briefing June 17, 2022

Covered in this week’s Green Mobility Policy Briefing: MEPs vote on revising the EU Emissions Trading Scheme: the European airline industry raise concerns over calls for EU action on aviation emissions; the US Federal Aviation Administration propose fuel efficiency requirements for new planes; and Voi Technology outlines its vision for future shared mobility in European cities. 

MEPs indicate that urgent action is required to reduce aviation emissions. Aviation accounts for 3.7% of CO2 emissions in the EU, with projections suggesting further growth to this figure. To mitigate this, MEPs voted in favour of revising the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) for aviation on June 8th. Following the amendments, the EU ETS will apply to all flights departing from an airport within the European Economic Area, whilst the phase-out of free emission allowance allocations will be accelerated, targeting a complete phase-out by 2025. Additionally, MEPs stipulated that 75% of the revenues accrued from the aviation sector’s auctioning of allowances should be directed towards supporting innovation and new technologies. Regarding this, rapporteur Sunčana Glavak commented “we are all aware that we have to focus on our climate goals, but we also cannot allow the industry to bear the whole burden. We must preserve our mobility and industry”. MEPs also voted on the Commission proposal to amend aviation rules regarding the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), requiring that member states notify EU-based airlines of their offsetting in respect of 2021 emissions by 30 November 2022. – By Georgia King

Emissions by sector under the EU ETS. Source: EAA (Click on image to explore data)

The centre-left calls for stronger EU action on aviation emissions; the airline industry raises concerns and calls for cautious approach. Following the European Parliament’s adoption of climate measures as outlined in the ‘Fit for 55’ package, the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), which holds a strong minority position in the European Parliament (145 out of 705 seats), has criticised the ‘regrettable’ watering down of core proposals by ‘the right wing forces jeopardizing the EU’s climate ambitions’. Speaking on the subject, S&D MEP and rapporteur Milan Brglez welcomed the Parliament’s plenary vote to revise the European Trading System for aviation, including an extension of its geographical scope, and expedited phase out of free emissions allowances but claimed that it was “high time for the Union to act upon non-CO2 aviation emissions with concrete policy measures”. Brglez and the S&D are calling for the creation of a monitoring, reporting, and verification system for non-CO2 aviation emissions, which would later become part of the EU ETS system. The aviation industry, however, has called for a more cautious approach to the implementation of non-CO2 emissions measures, and has criticised the prospective pace of the emissions allowance phase-out. In a statement, Airlines for Europe (A4E) said that it was “extremely concerned about the Parliament’s decision to prematurely phase-out freely allocated allowances for the sector as early as 2025” and called for “the phase-out to better align with the emergence of decarbonisation solutions”. Moreover, the industry association warned against regulatory overlap between EU and international regulations on aviation emissions and stated that the Parliament’s decision to impose obligations on aircraft operators for non-CO2 emissions within the scope of the ETS was “premature”. – By Thomas Hayden-Lefebvre 

The FAA seeks to introduce fuel efficiency requirements for new planes. The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tabled a proposal requiring new fuel efficiency standards for subsonic jet aircraft and large turboprop aircraft which are yet to be certified or will be built after January 1st, 2028. According to a press release, the requirements will not apply to aircraft already in service but will apply to Boeing’s upcoming 777-X and future versions of the Airbus A330-neo and Boeing 787. Smaller aircraft, such as the ATR 72, and business jets will also be affected. Speaking on the matter, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said “Today is an important step forward in reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released by our nation’s airplanes and ultimately reaching President Biden’s ambitious goal of net-zero emissions by 2050,” The move follows the American government’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge scheme which was launched in 2021, and aims to reduce the aviation sector’s environmental impacts, whilst increasing energy independence and creating jobs in agriculture, forestry, and infrastructure. – By Thomas Hayden-Lefebvre

Voi Technology outlines its vision for a future of shared mobility in European cities. Following calls from the IPCC earlier this year that transformative changes to the transport sector are required to limit global warming to 1.5°C, Voi Technology, in partnership with Danish-based JAJA Architects, published their Cities Made for Living vision statement. The research-based approach reveals how micro-mobility can be utilised to re-imagine shared mobility and help European cities overcome entrenched planning bias towards private cars. Despite accounting for less than 2% of the Earth’s surface, UN Habitat attributes more than 60% of greenhouse gas emissions to cities; according to Fredrik Hjelm, CEO of Voi, this is evidence of the “systematic shift” required in cities. Cities need to be adapted for more walking, cycling and public transport, with Hjelm viewing this as synonymous with the introduction of “new modes that make public transport networks more flexible”. However, Voi Technology acknowledges that simply providing the impetus for greener urban mobility is meaningless should the opportunity not be seized upon by bold political decision-making, highlighting the strides made by Parisian Mayor Anne Hidalgo. As such, the vision statement aims to “open people’s eyes to what’s possible for our future”. Alongside its vision statement, Voi Technology are now certified in Spain, Italy, Norway, Denmark, and the UK, whilst being in the process of certification in all other markets, meaning their vision statement provides a universally applicable and viable shared mobility solution for urban areas. – By Sam Phelps