Global aviation CO2 scheme proposal is a pragmatic compromise that must be implemented, says IATA chief
Wed 28 Sept 2016 – As government representatives start their deliberations today on finalising consensus on the CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme to cap net emissions from international aviation from 2020, the industry has urged them to agree on what would be the world’s first sectoral mechanism for tackling climate change. While the industry would have preferred a mandatory rather than initial voluntary approach covering all ICAO States, IATA’s new Director General, Alexandre de Juniac, said the current proposal was a pragmatic compromise. IATA says the scheme “must focus on real emissions reductions”, take into consideration differing circumstances of airlines based on maturity of markets and not distort competition. To coincide with the Assembly and to encourage governments to support CORSIA, cross-industry group ATAG has put together a series of videos featuring young aviation professionals calling for early environmental action.
As of today, 62 countries have now indicated they are prepared to participate in CORSIA from the start of the six-year voluntary phase in 2021 – Australia, Thailand, Israel and Costa Rica have signed up since the Assembly began yesterday. “Momentum is building,” observed de Juniac.
Added Michael Gill, Executive Director of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG): “We are heartened to see these States now demonstrate their willingness to join the offset scheme voluntarily from the beginning. We encourage all other States meeting over the next two weeks of the Assembly to show the same leadership and sign up. Now is the time to follow the successful Paris Agreement with an aviation plan of action which will secure the sustainable future of the air transport sector.”
IATA Senior Vice President Paul Steele, who has represented the industry at ICAO on the MBM issue over many years, said the participation of some less-developed States was important. “They didn’t need to volunteer but they have shown great leadership based on the spirit of the Paris Agreement,” he told journalists yesterday in Montreal. “This growing momentum is something we should embrace and celebrate.”
IATA describes the global market-based measure (GMBM) as a “critical gap-filler” until improvements in technology, operations and infrastructure could fully realise the sector’s sustainability goals that move from a 1.5% annual fuel efficiency improvement until 2020 to carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and then to reduce net emissions to half 2005 levels by 2050.
Compared to the possibility of a patchwork of national and regional measures in not having a global agreement, CORSIA represented the most cost-effective way for the industry to address its climate impact, using high quality offsets that benefit developing countries, said Steele.
He is confident a successful outcome can be achieved. “We are now much, much further down the road than we were at the last Assembly in 2013,” he said. “We should not pretend it’s easy but we’ve made a huge amount of progress.”
With negotiations still to take place over certain elements of the scheme, he wouldn’t predict when a result might be reached at the Assembly. “If it gets done early, so much the better but if it takes until the final Friday next week, then so be it. What’s important is that we come out with a deal.
“There is a confidence among States that this is the right way to go. If they succeed, it will be historic – it has never been done before for an industry sector.”