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Monday, January 7, 2008

Eco Watch

Europe Backs Down on International Eco Regs Slightly
European governments delayed their imposition of environmental proposals for international aviation and may wait for international agreements to be in place before imposing European standards on international flights. Europeans set 2012 for imposition of rules on international aviation flying into Europe, then advanced it to 2011 and now has moved it back to 2012.
U.S. airlines charge that unilaterally imposed regulations would violate international law otherwise. The New York Times reported João Vieira of Transport and Environment, an advocacy group based in Brussels that focuses on sustainable transportation, the aviation rules as revised would let the airlines pollute 90 percent more than in 1990, even as other European industries are making progress toward lowering their emissions from 1990 levels. But aviation interests would argue that is only fair since aviation has cut green house gas emissions by 70 percent over the last three decades, while other industries have largely stood still. European airlines also argue that failure to modernize air traffic control systems increases emissions as airlines are forced into circuitous routings and holding patterns. Airlines say they should not be responsible for such excess emissions and any regulations should come under rules set by the International Civil Aviation Organization rather than as a piecemeal regional approach. The Times reported that European Union ministers proposed airlines buy 10 percent of permits via an auction rather than the 25 percent proposed by the European Parliament. The rest would be distributed free. European governments have set a final agreement for publication at the end of the year.

Air Force to Kick Start SynFuels Market
A C-17 Globemaster brought the use of synthetic fuel one step closer this week when it used synthetic, coal-derived fuel to fly from McCord Air Force Base in Washington state to McGuire Air Force base in New Jersey. Full certification for using the new fuel is expected shortly, the second aircraft to be so certified after the B-52. The goal is to get the entire air force on the fuel by 2011, cutting reliance on foreign oil completely. An ancillary goal is to kick start similar efforts in the civilian sector, according to Assistant Secretary William Anderson with the Air Force’s Installations, Environment and Logistics who briefed reporters recently, the Air Force Times reported. The Air Force includes several initiatives in its self reliance, alternative energy projects. As the government largest oil consumer, he told the Air Force Times, the Air Force, must use its buying power to kick-start the private sector’s fledgling alternative fuels market. The Air Force wants to build the market to provide 400 million gallons of synthetic fuel by 2016 in addition to bringing allies on board. It is also heavily researching biofuels.
Boeing which, with Air New Zealand, which is testing jet fuel derived from algae and other biomass, says biofuels could become a feasible alternative within five years.
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