Patrick Gandil, Vice President and Focal Point for for Environmental Matters of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) answers some questions on the environmental challenges facing the European aviation industry.
Why did ECAC decide to endorse Airport Carbon Accreditation?
Airport Carbon Accreditation provides a very useful tool to measure CO2 emissions, and it allows for a common method to be used across Europe. Airport Carbon Accreditation paved the road to carbon footprint calculators that the European White Paper on transport clearly urges.
ACI EUROPE made a bold move and set up a standard at a time of uncertainty. Thus, in retrospect, I consider that ECAC support was very positive.
What responsibility does the European transport industry have with regard to CO2 emissions, and how can this responsibility be reconciled with its responsibility to facilitate mobility for European citizens?
I am not sure that climate responsibility of transport industry has to be reconciled with mobility facilitation responsibility. Indeed, both objectives, in my opinion, have never been in opposition. Moreover, energy efficiency has ever been a top priority for aviation industry. Thus, addressing climate change responsibility is, especially for aviation operators, an additional incentive to get things moving.
In my opinion, carbon accreditation is an excellent way to mobilise the airport community to the importance of mitigating carbon emissions.
Finally, I am sure that the incentive role of ETS system for float modernization must be pointed out. For an airline, every carbon ton saved through using a new aircraft or a new procedure will correspond to one carbon ton less to purchase. The ICAO resolution adopted last November about market-based measures is a first step of generalization of carbon mitigation approach similar to ETS in other countries.
Speaking of balancing responsibilities, European airports have existing environmental obligations under European law - Where should their priorities lie between sometimes competing environmental demands?
The amount of emissions taking place during the LTO cycle makes up only a minority of the total CO2 emissions. The bulk of the CO2 gains must be made through technological improvements and better air traffic management.
A major difference between noise and climate issues is that demand may drive the aviation industry to lower fuel consumption aircrafts (and so to carbon mitigation) whereas noise reduction may be set apart.
Airport Carbon Accreditation is an example of the industry freely and proactively tackling a key social issue in the absence of any regulation - other than airport carbon emissions, is there scope for similar such programmes in the wider aviation industry, which could address issues beyond the environment ?
If the idea is to consider industry voluntary commitment in the wider aviation industry, let me please mention the Agreement of Voluntary Commitments signed by the main aviation stakeholders in France (airlines, manufacturers, airports and French Government) on January 2008 in order to limit the environmental nuisances (noise, greenhouse gases and local atmospheric pollution).
About the process of voluntary accreditation of the aviation sector about other issues, in my opinion, the industry of aircraft demolition and aviation material recycling could be a good candidate.