After six years of negotiations, 191 governments in Oct. 2016 agreed at the UN aviation body ICAO on the design elements of a global market-based measure for international aviation.
CORSIA – the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation – is the world’s first market mechanism for dealing with climate change from an industrial sector. It aims to help meet ICAO’s previously-enshrined goal to achieve carbon neutral growth after 2020 and it is due to apply in several phases:
- 2021 to 2023 – a ‘pilot’ voluntary phase of countries that choose to be part of the scheme. As of June 30, 2020 some 88 states representing nearly 77% of global civil air traffic will participate in the pilot phase.
- 2024 to 2026 – the first implementation phase, also on a voluntary basis.
- 2027 to 2035 – the second phase, which will include most states except the least developed, small island states and countries with a small amount of international air traffic (equivalent to less than 0.5% of global traffic).
CORSIA will compensate for the CO2 emissions generated by international aviation activities above 2019 levels in the pilot phase and above the average of 2019-20 levels in the first and second phases (subject to change due to COVID-19) by obligating airlines to buy and surrender emission units generated by carbon-cutting projects in other unrelated sectors, as well as a few initiatives in the aviation sector, for example cutting GHGs at airports or from taxiing planes.
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