To help map a new and exciting future for international flights, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) focuses on building and strengthening partnerships among major UN stakeholders to deliver actionable solutions.
Among the top goals at the 41st session of the Council meeting was the achievement of net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. This is an important step forward, in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the resolutions of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)
The Assembly reinforced its commitment to the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) and acknowledged the substantial progress made by the organization since the 40th session. This is primarily due to the following advancements:
- Implementation of CORSIA and its CO2 emissions Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) requirements by states and airplane operators, which took effect from 1 January 2019, concurrent with the start of Annex 16, Vol IV applicability.
- The completion of the first edition of the Environmental Technical Manual (ETM). The ETM is a guideline for implementing one of the essential elements in the CORSIA implementation package, The Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs).
Voluntary participation of states for the pilot phase of CORSIA is 88, 107 and 115 for year 1 to 3 respectively. The council was motivated to urge hesitant states to enlist in this first phase of the CORSIA initiative as it would be a step towards meeting ICAO’s worldwide target.
The other CORSIA Implementation element is the ICAO CORSIA CO2 Estimation and Reporting Tool (CERT), which has been duly updated for 2019 to 2021 according to the annual requirement established during its first publication in July 2018.
CORSIA Eligible Fuels forms the third Implementation Element in the five-part package. The documents include Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), and Lower Carbon Aviation Fuel (LCAF).
The constituents of these documents are:
- The Default Life-cycle Emissions Values,
- Methodologies for Calculating Actual Life-cycle Emissions Values, and
- Sustainability Certification Schemes Requirements (SCS).
The launching of CORSIA Central Registry (CCR) is the fifth Implementation Element among the milestones that have happened between the 40th and the 41st ICAO council sessions. The CCR already combines more than 97% of total emissions for 2019 and 2020. The reported data represents a springboard for ICAO. It includes the regularly updated lists of airplane operators and accredited verification bodies within each member states, to produce CO2 emissions aggregated for 2019 and 2020 for all airplane operators in every State pair route. This data is relevant because it enables computation of CORSIA’s yearly Sector Growth Factor.
ICAO evaluated, deliberated, and reached several decisions with the support of technical inputs from the Climate and Environment Committee (CAEP) on the impact of COVID-19 to the average CO2 emissions for 2019/2020. These include using 2019 instead of 2020 as the CORSIA baseline, the reference year for calculating offsetting requirements, and the new entrant threshold for the pilot period 2021-2023.
These decisions and deliberations were prompted by the need to safeguard against the inappropriate economic burden on airplane operators. Urgent actions must be taken to address climate change, which partly accounts for the need to change the baseline post-pilot phase.
Concerning CORSIA Periodic Reviews, the council set a process to develop the 2022 Periodic Review. This would involve the input of States through the state Letter consultation process and the updated information of CAEP on further assessment regarding the impact of COVID-19 to CORSIA and its baseline. In addition, it will also evaluate the costs of CORSIA implementation on States and airplane operators and the analysis of possible market distortion in the context of CORSIA design elements.
After consideration of the updated CAEP inputs, the council further decided that the CORSIA baseline post-pilot period would be 85% of 2019 emissions. Regarding the calculation of CORSIA offsetting requirements, there were the following changes:
- From 2030 to 2032: 100% sectoral and 0% individual
- From 2033 through 2035: 85% sectoral and 15% individual