ICAO Council Bows to Aviation Request

ICAO Council Bows to Aviation Industry Request to Rewrite First Three Years of Climate Program Rules. 


The 36-member Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) today unilaterally changed the rules for the first three years of the agency’s flagship climate program, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).


The Council decided to change the baseline for the first phase of the scheme (2021-2023) from the average of 2019 & 2020 emissions to just 2019 levels. This means that airlines obligations to offset the portion of their carbon pollution above that baseline, that is high compared to projections of carbon emissions from the airline industry post-COVID19, will be zero unless emissions rise above that level during the first phase. 


ICAO’s Council has therefore decided to backtrack on its commitment to carbon neutral growth from 2020, so that airlines need only offset emissions above 2019 levels for the first three years of the program. If emissions do not rise above 2019 levels, airlines are wholly excused from offset obligations. 


So, with offset obligations likely suspended for the pilot phase, today’s decision leaves the field wide open for governments – at local, state and national levels – to require airlines to integrate climate action into their economic recovery. It is expected that the EU will lead that pack with several member states tieing state-aid give to the sector to emissions reductions. The aviation industry runs the risk that it is laying a foundation for a complex patchwork of climate change related environmental legislation. 


For more on CORSIA and aircraft operators obligations under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, visit: https://redshawadvisors.com/aviation/ 

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