The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is taking responsibility for their growth and addressing climate change. The aviation industry has committed to capping emissions at 2020 levels, despite expected growth in flights. This will be met through using fuel alternatives, efficiency measures, and technology developments to reduce the emissions growth with the remaining emissions required to be offset.
To meet these targets, on October 6, 2016, ICAO approved the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which is the first global offsetting scheme to cover an entire industry. CORSIA will be implemented in phases, starting with voluntary participation in 2020. So far, 66 of the 191 countries that make up ICAO have agreed to join the voluntary cycle, representing 86% of aviation emissions.
Airlines around the world must now prepare for this scheme and the projected demand from airlines for carbon offsets is huge: 142–174 Mt by 2025, increasing to 443–596 Mt by 2035.
As the figure below shows, offset demand could be up to 7.8 billion tonnes cumulatively from 2020 to 2040.
Airlines can start buying carbon credits now to lock in low prices for high quality supply. The ICAO resolution allows for offsets from the Clean Development Mechanism and Paris mechanisms, including REDD+, subject to offset criteria. While policies have yet to be decided on offset criteria, airlines can hedge price risks by using market tools such as options where they can buy offsets at a given price in the future.
At Ecosphere+, we believe that forests have a critical role to play in helping the aviation industry meet its climate change targets. High value, cost efficient forest carbon assets are available now, and in quantities that can help to meet the significant demand from the industry.
But not only would forest carbon assets help the airline industry take responsibility for its carbon impact, but they would funnel investment into securing vast tracts of threatened forest and the communities and wildlife that depend on them. Through their compliance with the CORSIA scheme, airlines and their passengers could also help to deliver on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Unlike investing in other types of carbon credits such as from landfill sites, buying forest carbon assets has benefits beyond just carbon savings:
Ecosphere+ has become an official partner of airlines through the International Airlines Transport Association (IATA) to help them to navigate the new emissions regulations. For example, Ecosphere+ spoke as a carbon expert at IATA’s workshop series to help guide the industry and will continue to support building the airlines capacity to prepare for CORSIA. Part of the aviation industry and want to know more about buying offsets under CORSIA?