Crunch time for setting up governance of the global offsetting scheme for aviation, CORSIA

The Council of ICAO – the UN’s aviation body – is meeting to take decisions on critical aspects governing the global offsetting scheme for aviation, known as CORSIA. Decisions taken will largely determine whether the CORSIA will have environmental integrity in meeting its goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020, or whether a system might be created that operates in secrecy and allows bad quality, double-counted emissions credits which make climate change worse.

In advance of the meeting, environmental NGOs including T&E who observe ICAO proceedings under the ICSA umbrella, have written to the 36 member states of the ICAO Council calling on them to maintain the integrity and credibility of CORSIA and make sure it delivers its promised emissions reductions by:

a. approving the criteria that will be used to evaluate the credibility of carbon offset programs, and guarantee CORSIA delivers real emissions reductions.

b. ensuring that carbon credit programs avoid “double counting” emissions reductions - i.e. the reductions cannot be counted both toward a country’s effort under the Paris Agreement and an airline’s obligations under CORSIA. That would be cheating. 

c. ensuring that ICAO’s technical advisory body being established to review carbon credit programs against environmental criteria, is composed of individual members who are free of conflicts of interest, and that the body operates openly and doesn’t cut secret backroom deals that would undermine CORSIA’s integrity.

Decisions taken by the ICAO Council on these issues will be critical in any future assessment of European participation in the CORSIA scheme so the importance of the role of European members in the ICAO Council’s deliberations cannot be underestimated.