Archive for the ‘Express 217’ Category

Global Aviation Emissions Plan Takeoff?

Posted by Ken on September 30, 2016
Posted under Express 217

Global Aviation Emissions Plan Takeoff?

30 September 2016: After years of delays and failures, the airline industry – and member nations of ICAO – began complex negotiations to implement a scheme to reduce its carbon footprint. But as we went to press the final approval to the global plan was still awaited.
+ The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed optimism for an agreement on a Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) when governments meet for the 39th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization later this month.

+ Even though it’s included in the global plan, the EU declares that it plans to implement its own system between 2018 and 2020 to meet with its overall greenhouse gas emissions mitigation target.
+ Meanwhile Taiwan is angry that it doesn’t have a seat at the ICAO table for such an important decision, even though it is very active in international aviation, with its airlines Eva Air and China Airlines, members of IATA.
+ Besides the market mechanism, some
airlines are still actively working on jet bio fuels as a means to cut emissions. US carrier Jet Blue announces its plans to green its flights, while Virgin Atlantic comes up with an even more promising “fuel from waste” partnership.

From IATA:

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed optimism for an agreement on a Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) when governments meet for the 39th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization later this month. Even though its included in the global plan, the EU declares it plans to implement its own system between 2018 and 2020 to meet with its overall greenhouse gas emissions mitigation target. Meanwhile Taiwan is angry that it doesn’t have a seat at the ICAO table for such an important decision, even though it is very active in international aviation, with its airlines Eva Air and China Airlines, members of IATA. Besides the market mechanism, some airlines are still actively working on jet bio fuels as a means to cut emissions. US carrier Jet Blue announces its plans to green its flights, while Virgin Atlantic comes up with an even more promising “fuel from waste” partnership. Read More
IATA Urges States to Sign-up for Voluntary Implementation
Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed optimism for an agreement on a Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) when governments meet for the 39th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization later this month.
The draft negotiating text for CORSIA, published on 2 September 2016, broadly aligns with the aviation industry’s call for a mandatory global carbon offset scheme as a tool to help manage the industry’s emissions as it pursues its goal of carbon-neutral growth. Instead of being mandatory from the start, however, the draft text defines a voluntary “pilot and implementation” period (2021-2026) after which participation would be mandatory for all eligible States (2027 onwards).
“I am optimistic that we are on the brink of a historic agreement—a first for an industry sector at the global level. The aviation industry would have preferred a more ambitious timeline than is currently outlined in the draft text. However, what is most important is that the substance of the negotiating text will allow for meaningful management of aviation’s carbon footprint. Airlines support it and urge governments to agree when they meet at ICAO,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
IATA encourages governments to commit to their voluntary participation as soon as possible. “Last year’s much lauded Paris climate change agreement was a combination of voluntary measures to which the vast majority of countries have already committed themselves. We expect no less of an outcome from the ICAO Assembly. The industry is ready. There is really no reason for governments not to volunteer. Indeed, the United States, China, Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, the Marshall Islands, and 44 European countries have already indicated their willingness to participate. Now is the time for other states to match their political leadership, by coming to the Assembly already committed to participate, even if the scheme is voluntary at the initial stage,” said de Juniac.
“Airlines are committed to environmental responsibility. But achieving it requires a partnership with governments. That is clear in the development of a global market-based measure such as CORSIA. And it is the same for day-to-day operations. Airlines are investing heavily in new technology, the development of sustainable alternative fuels and operational efficiency. Our message to the states attending the ICAO Assembly is that they must match our efforts. This is particularly the case with investments to modernize air navigation infrastructure which will bring cost-efficiency benefits along with improved environmental performance. Similarly, government incentives to commercialize sustainable alternative fuels are critical to unlocking their environmental benefits with increased production capacity and lower costs,” said de Juniac.
ICAO is the United Nations body charged with managing aviation’s climate change impact because of the complexity of emissions from any one flight which might occur over several countries and the high seas. As such, international aviation is not included in the agreement reached by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2015.
ICAO was mandated by its 191 contracting states at its 38th Assembly (2013) to present a proposal for a global market based measure to manage aviation’s carbon footprint at its 39th Assembly. That proposal is the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).
In June 2016, an overwhelming majority of IATA member airlines reiterated their desire to see a single, global and mandatory carbon offset scheme be implemented from 2020. This would fulfill one pillar of the industry’s four-pillar strategy on climate change which consists of:
1. Improvements in technology and the deployment of sustainable alternative fuels
2. Operational efficiency
3. Infrastructure optimization
4. A global market based measure
IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 265 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic

13 September 2016 – European Union wants its own aviation emissions system for 2018/2020
Ahead of the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) global meeting at the end of September 2016, where China, the USA, the European Union (EU) and another 16 countries must agree on a cap emissions of all international flights at 2020 levels, the EU declares it plans to implement its own system between 2018 and 2020 to meet with its overall greenhouse gas emissions mitigation target.
Since 2012 emissions from all flights from, to and within the European Economic Area (EEA) (28 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) are included in the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS). The ICAO agreed in 2013 to develop a global market-based mechanism to address international aviation emissions by 2016 and apply it by 2020. To allow time for the international negotiations, the EU ETS scheme was suspended to flights to and from non-European countries and for operators with low emissions for the 2013-2016.
The new ICAO global deal, which is to be concluded at the end of the month, would be voluntary between 2021 and 2026 and only become mandatory from 2027 for the world’s largest CO2 emitters. Aviation was excluded from COP21 agreement in December 2015.
U.N. agency snubs Taiwan, recognizing Beijing’s ‘one China’
MONTREAL/TAIPEI – A U.N. aviation agency has snubbed Taiwan by not inviting it to its assembly in Canada, the latest sign of pressure China is bringing to bear on the new independence-leaning government of an island it views as a renegade province.
Diplomatically isolated Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations, which recognizes “one China” centered on Beijing. China, in turn, sees self-ruled Taiwan as fit to be taken back by force if necessary, particularly if it makes moves toward independence.
Since May, when President Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party, which traditionally favors independence from the mainland, took power in Taiwan, China has suspended official communication channels.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said arrangements for the assembly, scheduled for Sept. 27 to Oct. 7 in Montreal, did not follow the pattern ahead of a meeting in 2013, when China had asked for Taiwan to be invited.
“ICAO follows the United Nations’ ‘One China’ policy,” the agency’s communications chief, Anthony Philbin, told Reuters in an email.
“While arrangements had been made for their attendance at the last (38th) session of the assembly, there are no such arrangements for this one.”
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said it had approached China about the issue in early August with a “pragmatic and positive” attitude, but was “flatly rejected”.
“We solemnly call on China to open its heart and think seriously as it may face serious consequences for its one-sided actions,” it said in a statement.
Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lee told reporters diplomacy had never been an easy task for Taiwan, formally known as the “Republic of China”.
“In the foreseeable future, I am not expecting this to change substantially,” he said.

China’s refusal to let Taiwan attend the meeting comes as China pressures Tsai to concede to Beijing’s interpretation of the one China principle, which includes Taiwan as part of China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that as an “inseparable part of China” Taiwan had no right to participate in the assembly, and that Taipei’s attendance in the past was based on “temporary arrangements”.
“At present, our position is extremely clear. The prerequisite for Taiwan to participate in any international activity is for it to agree to the ‘One China’ policy and for this to be resolved through consultation,” Lu told a regular press briefing.
China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s Communist forces won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists fled to the island.

Business Wire 19 September 2016
JetBlue today announced a ten-year renewable jet fuel purchase agreement with SG Preston, a bioenergy company. The airline is partnering with SG Preston to purchase renewable jet fuel made from rapidly renewable, bio-based feedstocks that do not compete with food production. This marks one of the largest renewable jet fuel purchase agreements in aviation history, and the largest, long-term, binding commitment by any airline globally for HEFA (hydro-processed esters and fatty acids) based renewable jet fuel.
For nearly 100 years, planes have run on fossil fuels. Investments in renewable energy sources are key to a lower carbon future. Renewable jet fuel is produced from biological resources, like plant matter, which can be replenished rapidly and without impacting food supply. With SG Preston, JetBlue is creating renewable jet fuel that has the ability to benefit the airline’s bottom line while also lowering its net CO2 emissions.
Compared to traditional petroleum-based Jet-A fuel, renewable options can significantly reduce emissions, including pollutants related to air quality as well as net greenhouse gases. Renewable jet fuel is chemically equivalent to conventional Jet-A fuel, and poses no discernable difference in performance or safety.
“The future of aviation relies in part on renewable energy sources. We’re taking a leadership role in technology and other advancements including renewable jet fuels,” said Robin Hayes, president and chief executive officer, JetBlue. “JetBlue is preparing for a world where we must reduce our production of greenhouse gases. With this in mind, we have executed one of the largest renewable jet fuel purchase agreements. This is just one step of many in our work towards a lower carbon future.”
JetBlue is taking a long-term approach, evaluating various technologies, materials and feedstocks. To launch the strategic relationship with SG Preston, JetBlue plans to purchase more than 33 million gallons of blended jet fuel per year for at least 10 years. The fuel will consist of 30 percent renewable jet fuel blended with 70 percent traditional Jet-A fuel. The renewable jet fuel portion produced from select plant oils is targeted to achieve a 50% or higher reduction in greenhouse gases emissions per gallon based on a life-cycle analysis. The fuel is expected to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) qualification for renewable fuel standards, as well as the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials certification standard for sustainable production of biofuels.
JetBlue is currently progressing forward and working through the process with the intent of supplying New York-metropolitan area airports with renewable jet fuel. In its blended form, the total amount of renewable jet fuel JetBlue will purchase equals approximately 20 percent of its annual fuel consumption at New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).
“This strategic relationship with JetBlue is a continuation of SG Preston’s commitment to develop reliable products from renewable resources at commercial scale and volume for stakeholders who recognize renewable has transcended buzzword status and is a critical component of responsible growth,” said Randy Delbert LeTang, SG Preston founder, chief executive officer and president. “Our strategy is to address the demand versus supply gaps in the industry and align development and delivery mechanisms to meet our customers’ demand in the least disruptive way.”
With an aviation industry-wide goal to cap net greenhouse gas growth from 2020 onward, renewable jet fuel is a key aspect of JetBlue’s emissions reduction strategy. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved renewable jet fuel safe for use. JetBlue business partners have tested the type of renewable jet fuel associated with this deal and qualified it for use in 2011 via industry evaluations that took place as part of the alternative fuels approval process of ASTM International, the standard-setting body for fuels used by the aviation enterprise. To date, more than 2,200 commercial, revenue flights by 22 airlines have flown on different types of renewable jet fuel, with many of those flights being flown with the HEFA-SPK type fuel to be produced by SG Preston.
“This is a first of many steps towards a slowly evolving change. With our partner, SG Preston, we are pursuing renewable jet fuel production from feedstock systems with the ability to lower CO2 emissions by 50 percent or more per gallon before blending. This is a proactive step to address customer demand and protect our business and the future of our industry,” said Hayes.
In 2016, JetBlue began actively exploring the ability to purchase renewable jet fuel for commercial use. In 2015, JetBlue was the only airline to sign the White House’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge, highlighting its support for an international climate agreement toward a low-carbon future. JetBlue pledged to reduce global emissions from commercial air travel in partnership with aircraft and engine manufacturers, the FAA, and others.

Low carbon fuel project achieves breakthrough as LanzaTech produces jet fuel from waste gases for Virgin Atlantic
14 September 2016
• For the first time ever, 1,500 US gallons of jet fuel has been produced from ‘Lanzanol’ – LanzaTech’s low carbon ethanol
• Producing the world’s first jet fuel derived from waste industrial gases from steel mills, via fermentation process
• The alcohol-to-jet (AtJ) fuel has passed all its initial performance tests with flying colours.
• Initial analyses suggest the new fuel will result in carbon savings of 65% compared to conventional jet fuel
An innovative low carbon fuel project has taken a significant step forward after successfully producing 1,500 US gallons of jet fuel.
The breakthrough towards developing commercially viable low carbon fuel is the result of a partnership between Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech. Since 2011 they have been committed to producing the world’s first jet fuel derived from waste industrial gases from steel mills via a fermentation process.
The Lanzanol was produced in China at the RSB (Roundtable of Sustainable Biomaterials) certified Shougang demonstration facility. The innovative alcohol-to-jet (AtJ) process was developed in collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) with support from the US Department of Energy (DOE) and with the help of funding from HSBC.
LanzaTech and Virgin Atlantic are now set to continue to work with Boeing and a host of industry colleagues to complete the additional testing aircraft and engine manufacturers require before approving the fuel for first use in a commercial aircraft. Assuming all initial approvals are achieved, the innovative LanzaTech jet fuel could be used in a first of its kind proving flight in 2017.
Following a successful ‘proving flight’ the data collected will enable the partnership to seek approval to use the fuel on routine commercial flights. This would also help pave the way for LanzaTech to fund and build their first commercial jet fuel plant to supply fuel to Virgin Atlantic and other airlines. As a UK based partnership it is hoped the first LanzaTech jet fuel plant would be based in the UK.
Sir Richard Branson said:
“This is a real game changer for aviation and could significantly reduce the industry’s reliance on oil within our lifetime. Virgin Atlantic was the first commercial airline to test a bio-fuel flight and continues to be a leader in sustainable aviation.
“We chose to partner with LanzaTech because of its impressive sustainability profile and the commercial potential of the jet fuel. Our understanding of low carbon fuels has developed rapidly over the last decade, and we are closer than ever before to bringing a sustainable product to the market for commercial use by Virgin Atlantic and other global airlines.”
Dr Jennifer Holmgren, Chief Executive of LanzaTech, said:
“We can now truly imagine a world where a steel mill can not only produce the steel for the components of the plane but also recycle its gases to produce the fuel that powers the aircraft. This program illustrates that such breakthroughs are only possible through collaboration. In this case, it is governments (US DOE, FAA, DARPA), laboratories (PNNL, AFRL, SWRI, MTU, UDRI), NGOs (RSB) and industry (Virgin, HSBC, Boeing, Shougang, Airlines for America) coming together to disrupt our current global carbon trajectory.
“We look forward to working with colleagues past, present and future to make this pioneering new fuel a commercial reality.”
Statements of support
Antonio Simoes, CEO of HSBC Bank plc, said:
“We are proud to have provided support and funding to allow production of this innovative new fuel to move from sample size to small demo scale. This breakthrough is testament to what can be achieved when different industries work together to address climate change and support the shift to a low-carbon economy.”
Mr. Wang Tao, Chairman of the Beijing Shougang LanzaTech New Energy Technology Co. Ltd. said:
“Our partnership with LanzaTech symbolizes Shougang’s desire to create a sustainable future for China where industrial growth and environmental benefits go hand in hand,” “Ethanol made from recycled carbon in China can now be used to fuel a plane in the United Kingdom, using technology from the United States! We are honoured to be part of this truly global partnership to provide new sustainable pathways for low carbon fuels that do not impact the food chain or land use.”
Julie-Ann Felgar, Managing Director of Environmental Strategy at Boeing Commercial Airplanes said:
“Boeing is proud to work with Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech to further expand the use of sustainable alternative aviation fuel. Our work with Virgin Atlantic over many years to move the needle on identifying technologies and partnerships, such as this effort with LanzaTech, reflects the innovative spirit and deep commitment of our industry to reduce our CO2 footprint.”
The LanzaTech production process explained:
Steel production produces waste carbon monoxide (CO) gas, which is frequently flared (burnt off) to the atmosphere as greenhouse gas CO2 (or sometimes used less efficiently for other purposes).
The LanzaTech process involves capturing carbon from the waste gas via fermentation to ethanol, which is recovered to produce ethanol feedstock for a variety of products, including aviation fuel.
Each gallon of ethanol is converted to produce 1/2 gallon of aviation fuel.
The process could be used to capture and recycle around 1/3 of the carbon that steel facilities would otherwise release into the atmosphere.
Future potential of this technology
Ground energy can be sourced carbon free – think solar or wind – but to make liquid fuels as per those needed for aviation you need a carbon source. Where this carbon comes from is up to us – new fossil resources, or recycled carbon.
Recycling waste carbon streams is an effective way to keep fossil resources in the ground. Worldwide, around 1.7 billion metric tonnes of steel is produced every year and waste gases are produced through the chemistry of steel making.
LanzaTech estimates that its process could be retrofitted to 65% of the world’s steel mills.
This offers the potential to produce 30 billion gallons of ethanol worldwide, for around 15 billion gallons of jet fuel p.a.
This would represent just under 19% of all aviation fuel currently used worldwide p.a. (80 billion gallon total world aviation fuel use).
About Virgin Atlantic: Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson over 30 years ago after he decided the UK aviation industry needed shaking up and style injected back into it. On 22nd June 1984, Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural flight to Newark took place, on an aircraft filled with personal friends, celebrities and the media. Today, Virgin Atlantic flies to over 30 destinations worldwide, including locations across the United States, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Virgin Atlantic has been active in the sustainable aviation space for many years. Its Change is in the Air sustainability programme was established in 2007. Sustainable jet fuels are a key part of that programme’s carbon reduction focus. For full information about Change is in the Air visit:
Virgin Atlantic formally partnered with LanzaTech on its low carbon jet fuel in 2011. The two companies have been working hard behind the scenes to progress the programme since then. HSBC joined the partnership in 2014.
About HSBC: HSBC has been involved in the LanzaTech partnership since 2014. HSBC has shown commitment to projects that accelerate the shift to a low-carbon economy, reflecting its commitment to work with suppliers and customers alike to help address climate change.
Barbara Bramble, Vice President for International Conservation and Corporate Strategies, at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) said:
“Safeguarding wildlife and habitat in the face of climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. Technologies that reduce carbon emissions in transportation while meeting broader sustainability objectives can help to avoid the worst impacts of climate change on our wildlife and the habitats they call home. The progress announced today on a new pathway to sustainable aviation fuel is tremendously exciting, and National Wildlife Federation congratulates the global team, led by Virgin Atlantic, who has worked to make this a reality.”
Rolf Hogan, Executive Director of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) said:
“RSB provides sustainability solutions for any biomaterial anywhere in the world and is the highest rated global system for biofuels. Congratulations to Virgin Atlantic for being a true leader and innovator in this space, and for keeping sustainability at the forefront of their business. It is exciting to be part of the process that delivered sustainable and RSB certified ethanol for conversion to aviation fuel for Virgin Atlantic. We look forward to seeing many more examples like this across the world so that aviation can become a more sustainable form of transportation.”
Peter Bakker, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development said:
“LanzaTech and Virgin Atlantic are demonstrating exactly the kind of innovative business leadership that the post-Paris world urgently needs. Congratulations to both companies for their ongoing commitment to developing this breakthrough product. Under the below50 initiative we look forward to more ground-breaking collaborations between investors, producers and consumers that will help to scale-up solutions to decarbonize the transport sector.”
John Holladay, Manager, Transportation Sector at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory said:
“What this team is doing, capturing industrial waste gas- which can contain high levels of carbon monoxide gas- and turning it into jet fuel is almost magical. Our long term dream is making fuels and chemicals through recycling carbon. PNNL is proud to be involved with the project through bringing catalyst technology that builds on LanzaTech’s fermentation technology and we look forward to seeing the technology powering jets in the near future.”


World’s Most Ambitious Agreement Ever?

Posted by Ken on September 30, 2016
Posted under Express 217

World’s Most Ambitious Agreement Ever?

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, predicts global climate deal will be fully ratified by the end of the year after 31 nations officially signed up in New York to the most ambitious global agreement the world has ever seen.
+ Singapore was among those large and small nations who are providing leadership and a nudge to others. Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan was there to do this important job.
+ Missing in action/inaction was Australia. Giles Parkinson in RenewEconomy says the country will now be locked into significantly more ambitious climate policies by the end of the year.
+ Fearing what might happen if Donald Trump gets elected as US President, 375 members of the National Academy of Sciences published an open letter drawing attention to the serious risks of climate change.

Paris climate agreement poised to come into force
UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, predicts global climate deal will be fully ratified by the end of the year after 31 nations officially sign up in New York
Oliver Milman in New York for The Gaurdian
21 September 2016
The Paris climate agreement is on the brink of coming into force after 31 nations officially joined the landmark accord, with the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, predicting it will be fully ratified by the end of the year.
On Wednesday, 31 countries formally signed up to the Paris deal at the UN general assembly in New York. They include Brazil, the world’s seventh largest emitter of greenhouse gases, Mexico, Argentina and Sri Lanka. Oil-rich United Arab Emirates also ratified the deal, as did nations considered particularly vulnerable to sea level rise, such as Kiribati and Bangladesh.
The pledges mean that a total of 60 countries, representing 47.7% of global emissions, have now formally joined the Paris agreement. The deal aims to limit the global temperature rise to 2C above pre-industrial levels, with an aspiration of keeping it to 1.5C.
A total of 55 nations representing at least 55% of global emissions need to sign up for the deal to come into force. The first of these thresholds has now been reached, with Ban and the US secretary of state, John Kerry, both predicting that the agreement will be fully implemented within months.
“I’m ever more confident that the Paris agreement will enter into force this year,” Ban said. “I appeal to all leaders to accelerate domestic arrangements to join this year.
“What once seemed impossible now seems inevitable. When this year ends, I hope we can all look back with pride knowing that we seized the opportunity to protect our common home.”
Video messages from Germany, France, the EU, Canada, Australia and South Korea among others all promised to ratify the Paris accord in the coming months. Should these promises be fulfilled, the agreement will pass the second threshold and come into force.
Australia, one of the largest per capita emitters, will make its “best endeavours to ratify” in 2016, said the country’s prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull. Barbara Hendricks, the German environment minister, said her country planned to ratify the deal “well ahead” of the next UN climate meeting in Marrakesh in November. The UK has made a similar commitment.
Kerry said it was an “exciting moment” but warned that the threat posed by climate change grows every day.
“The problem we continue to confront is growing,” he said. “Each day the planet is on this course, it becomes more dangerous.
“If anyone doubted the science, all they have to do is watch, sense, feel what is happening in the world today. High temperatures are already having consequences, people are dying in the heat, people lack water, we already have climate refugees.”
Kerry added that international climate negotiations have been a “long and frustrating path” since 1992 but that the Paris deal means that they are “finally becoming a story that we are proud to tell our grandchildren and future generations”.
The UN climate change chief, Patricia Espinosa, said: “This is an extraordinary momentum by nations and a clear signal of their determination to implement Paris now and raise ambition over the decades to come.”
A total of 195 nations put their name to the Paris deal and submitted promises to curb their greenhouse gas emissions. Several analyses have cast doubt over whether the pledged emissions cuts will be sufficient to prevent a 2C temperature increase, with concerns exacerbated by record-breaking heat experienced over the course of 2016
The warmest August on record was recorded last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed on Tuesday. The US government agency said last month was the 16th month in a row where temperature records were broken, with July being the single warmest month since modern record keeping began in 1880.
The soaring heat, which has retained much of its intensity despite the end of the El Niño climatic event, is unprecedented in at least 1,000 years and probably much longer, scientists have said.
But climate campaigners have said that the speed of the Paris deal ratification raises hopes that the world is finally swinging behind efforts to reduce emissions and prevent the worst ravages of a warming planet.
“The global community is rallying behind swift and ambitious action to combat climate change,” said Paula Caballero, global director of the World Resources Institute’s climate program.
“The fact that the Paris agreement will likely enter into force this year took everyone by surprise. This rapid pace reflects a spirit of cooperation rarely seen on a global scale.
“Today we pause and celebrate the important progress towards bringing the Paris agreement into force. Then we again pick up our shovels and continue the hard work of creating a safer and more prosperous planet.”
Singapore ratifies Paris climate agreement at UN
Channel News Asia 21 September 2016
The Republic on Wednesday formalised its pledge to fight climate change, with Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan depositing Singapore’s instrument of ratification of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
The Paris accord, sealed late last year in the French capital, commits countries to make plans to keep global warming at no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels to try to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Dr Balakrishnan signed the Paris Agreement on Apr 22 together with representatives of 174 other countries. According to a joint media statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) on Wednesday, the ratification is a “further affirmation of our support and commitment for climate action”.
By ratifying the agreement, Singapore formalises its pledge to reduce its emission intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 and stabilise emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030. MFA said this “pledge builds on our existing commitment to reduce, by 2020, greenhouse gas emissions by 16 per cent from the business-as-usual level, which Singapore is on track to meet”.
In July, Singapore released its Climate Action Plan, outlining the various measures to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience to climate change.
The Paris agreement received a major boost earlier this month when China and the United States, the two largest emitters, jointly acceded to the deal during a summit between Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping.
For the deal to take effect, 55 parties responsible for at least 55 per cent of global emissions of greenhouse gases must join the accord.
As of Tuesday, 29 parties behind 40 per cent of emissions have given their consent, according to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Singapore is among at least 30 countries submitting their ratification at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday. The global body said other states include Latin American heavyweights Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, as well as Thailand, Bangladesh and major fossil fuel power the United Arab Emirates.

Australia locked in for more ambitious climate, renewable policies
By Giles Parkinson in Reneweconomy on 22 September 2016
Australia will be locked into significantly more ambitious climate policies by the end of the year, as one of the key conditions of the far-reaching Paris climate deal was met overnight and the remaining condition appears merely a formality.
The Paris climate deal, which aims to cap average global warming at “well below” 2°C and as low as 1.5°C, will come into force within 30 days of it being ratified by at least 55 countries representing at least 55 per cent of total emissions.
On Wednesday, the first threshold was reached when another 31 countries, including major emitters Mexico and Brazil, and many of Australia’s vulnerable Pacific island neighbours, signed the deal. That took the running total to 60, and 48 per cent of emissions, including the two biggest emitters China and the US.
Another 14 countries, including the UK, France, Germany, and Australia, then promised to ratify the deal by the end of the year. This will ensure that the second condition will also be reached and that the pact will be in place before end of 2016, just a year after the agreement was reached in Paris and then signed in April.
This is virtually unprecedented in international agreements. “This momentum is remarkable,” UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said. “It can sometimes take years or even decades for a treaty to enter into force. It is just nine months since the Paris climate conference. This is testament to the urgency of the crisis we all face.”
Ban said that the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement would trigger the operational provisions of the agreement and accelerate efforts to limit the global temperature rise to well below 2°C, and to build climate resilience.
This is where it impacts Australia. In excerpts of a speech he is due to make in New York (Friday morning Australia time) Turnbull said all the right things.

“We all understand what is at stake – the future of generations around the globe and the wellbeing of our planet.”
And then: “We also know that our commitment to action creates new opportunities for innovation and growth, which means more jobs. Over the past decade or so Australia has reduced emissions and grown the economy by nearly 50%.”
Turnbull says that the significant and complex threat of climate change “demands every one of us to act together towards a better world”.
“We all understand what is at stake – the future of generations around the globe and the wellbeing of our planet.” Australia will play its part, he says, describing the Paris conference of last year as “a shining example of global co-operation for the common good”.
But it is one thing to make pleasing remarks on the international stage and quite another to implement those promises and engagements at home. He has been prime minister for more than 12 months but has yet to move beyond the policies of his climate sceptic predecessor, Tony Abbott.
Even the one initiative he has made, the $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund, is to be stripped of nearly all its funds because of a compromise the government agreed to make on Australian Renewable Energy Agency funding.
But the task for the Turnbull government is monumental. As Reputex pointed out in a report on Wednesday, its current policies will likely leave Australia one billion tonnes of greenhouse gas abatement short of its own modest target of a 26-28 per cent cut in emissions by 2030.
The individual targets committed in Paris still fall well short of the 2°C mark, and a long way from 1.5°C. According to some estimates, it will leave the world facing a warming scenario of 3°C or more. Australia, according to its own Climate Change Authority, will likely need to find another billion tonnes of abatement to meet the fair share promised by Turnbull.
We may have to wait another year to learn what it might be that Turnbull will do, or feel he can do with a one seat majority in parliament, and a large climate science denying conservative rump within his own party.
A review in 2017 could be a launch-pad for tightening baselines, shifting to some sort of trading scheme – as suggested by the CCA and Labour – and expanding and lifting renewable energy targets, or imposing tight emission regulations for vehicles, buildings or coal fired generators.
So far, though, the minister for the environment and energy, Josh Frydenberg, has committed to nothing more than a “sit-rep”, a term so oblique we had to ask what it meant. “A situation report,” we were told. In other words, an assessment of where the country is, not of what it might or should be able to do.
Yet, the case for urgent action is clear, as even Turnbull recognises. The activist group, which wants warming limited to 1.5°C, says there remains a massive gap between what the agreement calls for and what world governments are actually doing to meet these targets.
“Each of the last 16 consecutive months have been the hottest in history, with 2016 shaping up to be the hottest year on record — a title that we’re getting far too accustomed to applying year after year,” said executive director May Boeve.
The Paris accord, which Australia will ratify and be beholden to, commits the world, Australia included, to zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century. Even the latest CCA report indicates that coal generation will have to disappear by around 2035.
The fact remains that Australia, without strong and clear action, will blow its “climate budget” by 2030 on its current course, and will miss out on the huge economic opportunities that could have been offered a global renewable energy superpower and technology leader.
And the uncomfortable truth for Turnbull and the conservative rump he is forced to deal with is that climate change is inextricably linked with all the major issues facing the country – security, immigration and trade.
US president Barack Obama on Wednesday directed his National Security Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy to systematically include “climate change assessments” in all national security decisions.
“Climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water,” the White House said in an accompanying fact sheet.
“It is well-established that climate change is a threat multiplier that catalyzes conflict and creates instability,” said Andrew Light, a senior fellow at the World Resources Institute.
“Climate change is a underlying driver of natural disasters and extreme weather events, increases human migration, and contributes to conflicts around resources, such as food and water. Without action, these threats will surely increase.”
In Australia, something has to change, and it has to change soon. But how?

BY Paul Huttner in Climate Cast
20 September 2016
Top Scientists: Don’t Abandon Paris Climate Agreement
Today, 375 members of the National Academy of Sciences published an open letter that draws attention to the serious risks of climate change. The letter also highlights the urgent need to reduce heat-trapping emissions as part of the Paris Agreement. The scientists warn that a U.S. withdrawal from this agreement would diminish U.S. credibility internationally, hobble U.S. economic competitiveness in developing and marketing clean energy sources, and undermine the world’s ability to deal with climate change. The Republican nominee for President has advocated withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, as documented here and here.
The National Academy of Sciences was formed under President Abraham Lincoln to provide independent scientific advice to policymakers. Academy membership is considered one of the highest honors in science. Among the 375 signers are noted physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking and biologist Dr. E.O. Wilson, and 30 Nobel Prize winners. The signers are acting in their capacity as citizens and scientists. The letter is not an official communication from the Academy or from other institutions with which the scientists are associated.
Climate scientist Dr. Benjamin Santer, who helped to organize the letter, said he felt it was important to speak out. “Human-caused climate change is real, is serious, and is happening now. The United States has to be a leader in international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and solve this global problem.”
Dr. Kerry Emanuel, another climate scientist and letter organizer, stated, “we are in real danger of rolling back what progress we have made, exposing our descendants to unacceptable levels of risk.”
Dr. Akin Mabogunje, a renowned geographer from Nigeria and the first African to be elected a Foreign Associate of the Academy, said, “I feel privileged to join the voices of scientists internationally in calling attention to the catastrophe that could follow indifference to this challenge by a leader country such as the United States.”
Dr. Lonnie Thompson, a signer and world-famous glaciologist, just returned from a six-week trip studying glaciers in Peru – a vital source of water for that region. “What I observed was by far the largest ice loss that I have seen on these glaciers in the 42 years I’ve been doing this.”
Astrophysicist Dr. George B. Field, another organizer, stressed “the role that scientific expertise must play in informing policy decisions, whether in climate change, genetics, medicine, and other scientific fields that impact society.” Astrophysicist Dr. Ray Weymann, the fourth organizer, said, “the response of so many NAS members shows that this isn’t just of concern to climate scientists – it demonstrates the strong consensus of the broader scientific community on the urgency of this issue.”
Commenting on the letter, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, a recipient of the Academy’s Public Welfare Medal, said, “For lawmakers to not heed the advice of esteemed scientists on matters of science, in this the 21st century, signals the beginning of the end of an informed democracy.”