International airlines are relying on a global carbon offsetting plan to decrease CO2 emissions from air travel at 2020 levels, controlling the environmental impact of flying even as passenger traffic is forecast to grow.
The plan, known as the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, is one of its kind for a single industry in response to climate change. Aviation leaders will discuss the program at the International Civil Aviation Organization triennial assembly which begins on Tuesday in Montreal amid rising pressure from climate activists led by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg.CORSIA was established by ICAO, the U.N. body that decides parameters for international air travel, in 2016 and is due to start in 2021. To achieve carbon-neutral growth after 2020, in spite of rising traffic, participating commercial airlines aim to use more fuel-efficient aircraft, find more precise. flight paths by improved air traffic control and secondary conventional fuel with more sustainable biofuels. Some environmentalists say they would support CORSIA as long as it includes safeguards to ensure, for example, that airlines can only buy emission credits from credible projects. But most are calling for ICAO to set separate long-term targets for reducing emissions, which are not specified in CORSIA.
But since biofuels are costly in comparison with jet kerosene and in restricted supply, airlines are expected to largely offset their rising emissions by purchasing carbon credits from renowned environmental projects around the world. The medium-term deal is expected to produce more than $40 billion in funding for climate projects, and generate 2.6 billion tonnes of C02 emissions between 2021 and 2035. The United States has voluntarily joined CORSIA, in spite of withdrawing from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. In 2018, China was no longer listed as a participant in the first phase, increasing concern that the world’s fastest-growing aviation country isn’t part of the deal.