In October last year, governments meeting at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreed the world’s first global market mechanism to deal with a single industry’s carbon emissions growth. The scheme, known as the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), was strongly pushed for by the aviation industry and comes into effect after 2020.
Speaking at the gathering of transport ministers and experts, Michael Gill, Executive Director of the cross-industry Air Transport Action Group said that governments have a key role to play in achieving aviation’s climate goals: “Agreeing the CORSIA was the first – very important – step, but its smooth implementation is absolutely crucial to the success of this world-first measure.”
“First, we need more States to join up for the initial, voluntary phases of the CORSIA. We applaud the 69 governments that have demonstrated strong climate leadership already and urge all remaining states to join in this action from the start of the scheme. Currently, over 80% of the growth in international aviation CO2 after 2020 will be covered, but a more complete coverage will only serve to increase the effectiveness of CORSIA.”
“Capacity building is our major priority over the coming years, as both governments and airlines prepare for the start of the CORSIA. Within the industry, we are launching a major push to make sure airlines and other aircraft operators are ready to comply with CORSIA from day one. ICAO is doing the same with governments and we urge all officials to find out what they need to do. Whilst the scheme begins formally at the end of 2020, there are a number of actions that already need to be completed next year.”
The CORSIA is just one part of the aviation sector’s climate action framework, which also includes a longer-term goal to halve aviation’s CO2 emissions by 2050. Gill told the International Transport Forum that this would take a collaborative, ambitious effort by industry and governments working together. “We have a proud track record within the industry of continuous efficiency improvements and this will endure long into the future. But, to meet our long-term goal, we will need a step-change in a couple of key areas: radical new technologies and the shifting of aviation’s energy source away from fossil-based fuels.”
“Already there have been many thousands of commercial flights on sustainable aviation fuel and we have seen regular supply to all routes out of three hub airports, with more to follow. We need this trend to continue and we need governments to support that process by adopting the right policy incentives. Sustainable aviation fuels have the opportunity to cut CO2 from aviation – by as much as 80% with some feedstocks – whilst diversifying air transport’s energy supply, re-using waste and generating new economic opportunities. This can be done in a truly sustainable manner and the industry is eager to get these fuels flowing in significant quantities.”