Emissions scheme timetable in doubt

[Ref Flight International Magazine 31 Mar – 6 Apr 2020]

Announced on 6 October 2016, ICAO’s CORSIA initiative created a target for the airline ­industry to achieve carbon-­neutral growth in international flights from 2020 onwards. It is due to be implemented in three phases, beginning with the pilot phase (2021-2023), then the first phase (2024-2026). Participation in those first two stages is voluntary. In the third phase (2027-2035), participation is obligatory for states with a significant share of global traffic.

Implementation of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) involves using ­airlines’ carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions data from 2020, in combination with that from 2019, to create a baseline ­average on which future offsetting would be based.

The use of two years’ data was meant to ensure unexpected disruption did not skew the figures.

“However, any mod­elling done today will be out of date in a week. It is very clear that 2020 is a completely abnormal situation,” says the executive director of the cross-­industry Air Transport Action Group, Michael Gill.

Gill’s comments came after ICAO agreed a set of eligible emissions units for the pilot phase of CORSIA on 13 March. They are: the American Carbon Registry; the China GHG ­Voluntary Emission Reduction Program; the Clean Development Mechanism; Climate Action ­Reserve; The Gold Standard; and the Verified Carbon Standard.

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