Friday, October 7, 2016
The International Civil Aviation Organization concluded it's 39th Assembly by recommending adoption of a final resolution text authorizing the organization's long-awaited scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). The details mostly conform to those that had leaked out over the past month. The scheme will begin with a voluntary phase from 2021-2026, with mandatory participation required thereafter. Participating airlines will be required to purchase carbon offsets for emissions beyond a given cap, benchmarked against 2020 emissions levels. Language has been included stressing the need for meaningful carbon offsets and avoidance of double-counting. Exceptions have been made for certain classes of developing countries and de minimis emitters. The plan will be reviewed, and subject to adjustment every three years. Most environmental advocates have recognized the importance of aviation taking the historic step of producing the first global, sector-specific agreement, while expressing hopes that the caps may be tightened during future reviews. IATA has also endorsed the plan, signifying industry acceptance. A more thorough review of the resolution text is forthcoming.