The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said it welcomes the July 1 decision by the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to use 2019 as a baseline for the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). The scheme is designed to enable carbon-neutral growth that will stabilise net emissions from international aviation at 2019 levels (580 million tonnes of carbon).
The ICAO Council decision means that in 2022, the ICAO Assembly will consider if further amendments are necessary to address the impacts of COVID-19 to ensure the successful implementation of the scheme.
An IATA statement said that its members are still committed to reducing net emissions to half 2005 levels by 2050 and that CORSIA is a vital step towards achieving that.
Originally, the CORSIA baseline calculation was agreed to be an average of 2019 and 2020 emissions. However, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has seen a massive drop in the number of commercial flights which would have severely skewed the CORSIA baseline has 2020 emissions remained part of the calculation.
IATA believes that the new calculation method does not weaken the impact of CORSIA, saying: By excluding the extraordinary COVID-19 events of 2020, airlines will stabilise their emissions at levels anticipated when CORSIA was agreed by ICAO’s 193 member states in 2016 and said the Council’s decision “provides immediate certainty and a clear path forward for the successful implementation of CORSIA.”
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, commented: “Airlines are committed to carbon neutral growth through CORSIA. The decision to remove 2020 from the baseline calculation marks a pragmatic way forward that maintains the intent, spirit, and impact of the CORSIA agreement. And it gives all stakeholders the confidence to focus on successfully delivering CORSIA and achieving our long-term emissions reduction goals, even in this time of crisis.”
He concluded: “Aviation was the first industry sector in the world for which governments agreed a global carbon offsetting measure. Airlines know that sustainability is their license to grow. They fully support CORSIA as the single global mechanism for offsetting aviation’s international emissions. Even with the financial hardship facing the industry as a result of COVID-19, the world’s airlines have not lost sight of their emission reduction goals.”