The numbers show what the Carbon Offset Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) will achieve.
Through CORSIA, international aviation will need to mitigate, on average, 164 million tonnes of CO2 each year. This figure will continue to grow as additional countries decide to participate in ICAO’s scheme. The Philippines and Uganda are the latest countries to volunteer and the expectation is that, by 2035, CORSIA offsetting requirements will reach 336 million tonnes annually.
In total, CORSIA will mitigate around 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 between 2021 and 2035. This level of offsetting is far more than any regional scheme can achieve. In comparison, the inclusion of aviation in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme led to a total saving of 193.4 million tonnes of CO2 in eight years.
“Carbon-neutral growth is an effort by aviation to acknowledge that many countries want to continue their aviation development—to ensure trade and tourism into the future—but that we need to balance that with climate action,” informs Michael Gill, Executive Director of the cross-industry Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) and IATA’s Director Aviation Environment. “CORSIA allows us to keep feeding economic activity and also mitigate our emissions.”
The importance of addressing climate change means governments and aviation must live up to their commitment to make implementing CORSIA a success
Time to report
Though offsetting under CORSIA only starts in 2021, the mandatory monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) of emissions data from international flights began on 1 January 2019. All operators with annual emissions greater than 10,000 tonnes of CO2 must comply, effectively taking in all but the smallest international airlines.
The MRV standards were adopted in June 2018 by the ICAO Council and countries are required to bring their regulations into full compliance with these standards, as stipulated by the Chicago Convention.
The monitoring of emissions under CORSIA is based on the fuel consumption of each flight, as CO2 emissions are directly related to fuel burn. To minimize the administrative costs and burden of CORSIA, however, small operators and operators, with few operations subject to offsetting, may use the ICAO CO2 Estimation and Reporting Tool (CERT).
IATA, meanwhile, has developed the FRED+ platform to support and facilitate CO2 emissions reporting for aircraft operators and states subject to CORSIA.
FRED+ went live on 1 January 2019 and will:
- simplify CORSIA emissions reporting and reduce the administrative burden
- provide valuable insights on fuel efficiency and emissions performance, including benchmark reports, customizable dashboards, and on-demand business intelligence
- ensure confidentiality, data security, and processing integrity
- enable the application of global standards with all operators being subject to the exact same reporting requirements and processes FRED+ is available to all airlines, IATA and non-IATA members, at no cost.
However measured, all annual emissions reports need to be verified by an independent third-party, prior to submission. Verification bodies will be accredited to ISO 14065 and CORSIA-specific requirements. ICAO will publish the total verified emissions from individual airlines and total emissions by country-pairs.
Many countries have already taken measures to fully enact ICAO standards in their national regulatory framework. When CORSIA was adopted by the ICAO Assembly in 2016, states realized how important it is to have a common set of rules for a global scheme.
The monitoring of emissions under CORSIA is based on the fuel consumption of each flight, as CO2 emissions are directly related to fuel burn
336m tonnes - By 2035, CORSIA offsetting requirements will reach 336 million tonnes annually
All operators with annual emissions greater than 10,000 tonnes of CO2 must comply, effectively taking in all but the smallest international airlines
2.5bn - CORSIA will mitigate around 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 between 2021 and 2035
Unfortunately, while China and the European Union have also begun the implementation of CORSIA, they have left significant differences between their regulatory requirements and Annex 16, volume IV.
Such differences could result in market distortions and, says Gill, “IATA calls on all ICAO member states to fully implement the standards agreed in ICAO.”
From 2021, the increase in emissions on flights between volunteering states will have to be offset by operators through approved climate projects. It is expected that in 2019, ICAO will initiate the assessment of carbon offsetting programs against agreed criteria, to determine which ones can be used to comply with CORSIA’s offsetting requirements. The evaluation of the programs will be conducted by a group of experts nominated by governments.
From 2027, all international flights will be subject to offsetting requirements. The few exceptions include flights to and from Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), and those countries that represent a small share of international aviation activities. Any of these countries can participate on a voluntary basis, however.
“The importance of addressing climate change means governments and aviation must live up to their commitment to make the implementation of CORSIA a success,” concludes Gill. “Governments must take all necessary measures to implement harmonized requirements. And airlines must be in a position to comply with CORSIA’s reporting requirements. ICAO and IATA will continue to play a key role in providing support and capacity-building.”
FRED+ An explainer
FRED+ is a platform developed to support and facilitate CO2 emissions reporting for aircraft operators and states subject to CORSIA. FRED+ facilitates CORSIA emissions reporting in accordance with ICAO requirements by pairing operators directly with their state authorities for safe and secure reporting of emissions data. Users have access to analytical dashboards and reports that provide aircraft operators with insights on fuel, emissions and operational efficiency.
CORSIA: the better alternative to green taxes
Type of measure: Carbon pricing instrument
Environmental impact: Binding defined target and measurable benefits
Scope: Global (emissions from international aviation)
Transparency: Financing of GHG mitigation projects. List of projects used for CORSIA will be published
Side effects: Many of the projects will bring social, environmental or economic benefits relevant to sustainable development and support the local communities
Type of measure: Carbon pricing instrument
Environmental impact: No defined target and benefits not measurable
Scope: National or subnational
Transparency: No traceability of revenues; no guarantee they are used for environmental purposes
Side effects: Negative impacts on local economies through reduction in trade and tourism. Makes air transport less affordable