Of airline emissions & the European Union

A dispute between Chinese and Indian airlines and Europe over greenhouse gas rules could be a precursor to broader international resistance to the European system at a global conference later this year in Montreal.

Starting in late September, the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency, will supervise discussions in the Canadian city, during which the European system is expected to meet severe criticism from many other nations.

Without an agreement on a global system, the European Union may have to drop the airline component from one of its signature projects: its effort to lead the world in controlling the emission of greenhouse gases, which are linked to global warming. To head off that humiliating prospect, senior European officials have already been courting support from the United States. In April, Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, told Secretary of State John Kerry in Brussels that creating an effective global system for airline emissions would represent a unique opportunity to break the stranglehold that emerging nations like China and India have long exercised over international climate negotiations. Those nations have refused to submit their industries to the same environmental strictures as those faced by companies in developed nations. The standoff has bedeviled climate negotiations since the 1990s, when expectations that industrialised nations should bear the burden of emission cuts began colliding with the realisation that some developing nations were rapidly becoming the world’s biggest polluters. Last year, President Barack Obama signed the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act, an American law forbidding US airlines from participating in the EU system.

James Kanter
New York Times News Service

NY’s vulnerability to climate change

New warnings about New York City’s vulnerability to climate change have been issued, offering updated data to encourage businesses, residents and perhaps even future mayors to better prepare against hotter weather, fiercer storms and increased rainfall.

Administration officials estimated that more than 8,00,000 city residents will live in the 100-year flood plain by the 2050s.

That figure is more than double the 398,000 currently estimated to be at risk, based on new maps released recently.  The data was released a day before Mayor Michael R Bloomberg was to issue a report on how the city can better prepare for major weather events like Hurricane Sandy.

Administration officials said that between 1971 and 2000, New Yorkers had an average of 18 days a year with temperatures at or above 90 degrees.

By the 2020s, that figure could be as high as 33 days, and by the 2050s, it could reach 57, according to data collected by the New York City Panel on Climate Change.

Jenny Anderson
New York Times News Service