ICAO Council to take critical decisions on environmental integrity of 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, 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 who observe ICAO proceedings under the ICSA umbrella have written to the 36 member states of the ICAO Council. Read the letter here. Main points:

1. CORSIA is at a critical juncture this week: Countries can create a system with integrity that will allow international aviation to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020, or they can create a system that allows bad quality, double-counted emissions credits, operates in secrecy, and makes climate change worse.

2. Countries must maintain the integrity and credibility of CORSIA and make sure it delivers its promised emissions reductions. For the rules being written now:

a. Countries must approve the criteria that will be used to evaluate the credibility of carbon offset programs, and guarantee CORSIA delivers real emissions reductions, generated by new projects.

b. Countries must ensure 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. Countries must ensure that the technical advisory body ICAO establishes to review carbon credit programs against the eligibility criteria is composed of members who are free of conflicts of interest, and ensure that the body operates in the sunshine and doesn’t cut secret backroom deals that undermine CORSIA’s integrity.

3) If countries ensure transparency and strong measures to address aviation emissions, CORSIA has the potential to compensate 1.6 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions over the 15 years of the program – more than the total annual emissions of Spain – and even more if CORSIA’s targets are tightened and extended.

Letter from the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation to the ICAO Council on the adoption of the Emissions Unit Criteria EUCs in order to address double counting and increase CORSIA’s transparency