FAA launches voluntary MRV Program for US aircraft operators participating in CORSIA
Tue 12 Mar 2019 – The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched the CORSIA MRV Program for US airplane operators with international flights participating in the ICAO carbon offsetting scheme. According to ICAO, it is mandatory for all operators, regardless of the country they are based in, to report verified CO2 emissions above a certain threshold from 1 January 2019. However, the FAA says the Program is completely voluntary and participants may request to be removed from it at any time although, it adds, it will only be effective if a critical mass of operators volunteer to participate. The reported emissions for 2019/2020 will be submitted by the FAA to ICAO to enable the setting of CORSIA’s global 2020 baseline and the agency says that in the event it does not receive data from an operator it will include an estimate in the aggregate data. In the notice, the FAA reiterates continued US support for CORSIA is conditional on a number of external factors.
“The United States supported the decision to adopt the CORSIA SARPs based on the understanding that CORSIA is the exclusive market-based measure applying to international aviation, and that CORSIA will ensure fair and reciprocal competition by avoiding a patchwork of country- or regionally-based regulatory measures that are inconsistently applied, bureaucratically costly, and economically damaging,” says the Notice in a thinly disguised reference to Europe’s emissions trading system.
And in response to fast-growing aviation countries that have yet to commit to joining the initial voluntary phases of CORSIA starting in 2021, it adds: “Furthermore, continued US support for CORSIA assumes a high level of participation by other countries, particularly by countries with significant aviation activity, as well as a final CORSIA package that is acceptable to, and implementable by, the United States.”
The Program enables the United States to establish uniformity with the CORSIA standards and recommended practices (SARPs) adopted by ICAO in June 2018, says the FAA. The SARPs apply to all operators that produce annual CO2 emissions greater than 10,000 tonnes from the use of an airplane with a maximum certificated take-off mass greater than 5,700kg conducting international flights, with the exception of humanitarian, medical and firefighting flights.
The decision by the FAA to make its MRV Program voluntary instead of mandatory is due to the lack of adequate time to undertake rulemaking to have the programme in place for the 2019/2020 period, the agency told GreenAir.
The FAA defines a “critical mass” of participation in its Program as operators representing 90% of total international fuel consumption in 2017, as derived from the US DoT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Once the critical mass of voluntary operators has been achieved, the FAA will notify all participants. If the number of participants subsequently falls below critical mass, the FAA says it will inform participants directly or through a public notice.
However, an FAA spokesman said: “The FAA anticipates a high level of participation by US aircraft operators based on public statements and information received to date. In addition, as described in the Program notice, the FAA will post a listing of participants on the Program website, including the status of each participant’s submissions, which will provide transparency on the level of compliance by US operators.”
Although the FAA may report aggregate operator emissions data, it says it will not report individual operator data to ICAO for the reporting years 2019 and 2020. It also makes clear that if the Program is extended to cover reporting for 2021 and beyond, much of the operator information and aggregate data to be transmitted to ICAO will eventually be made publicly available through the CORSIA Central Registry.
“Participants should understand that the fact of their participation in the Program will not be confidential,” it adds. “The FAA intends to make a listing of Program Participants available to the public and ICAO, as appropriate.”
The FAA says it anticipates that if appropriate it will conduct rulemaking or take other action to implement the offsetting and other mandatory provisions of CORSIA.
Meanwhile, on the same day the FAA launched its CORSIA MRV Program, the European Commission published its delegated regulation on implementing ICAO CORSIA SARPs for aviation emissions monitoring, reporting and verification. The Commission says it is among the first jurisdictions to adopt legally binding legislative provisions for the purposes of implementing CORSIA.
The delegated act has already undergone stakeholder consultations prior to adoption and will now be subject to scrutiny from the European Parliament and the Council of EU member states for a period of two months. A Commission official said he did not anticipate further changes to the regulation.