Airlines could get free pass on climate for five years under industry proposal
Airlines could defer paying for their climate impact by up to five years, according to researchers, under an industry proposal to soften the impact of coronavirus lockdowns.
The International Air Transport Association (Iata), which represents the world’s airlines, has called on the UN body responsible for aviation to rewrite the rules for offsetting the sector’s emissions growth.
To curb the aviation sector’s growing emissions, member states of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) have agreed to make all growth in international flights carbon neutral after 2020.
With limited technical solutions available to make planes less polluting, airlines will rely on a carbon market known as Corsia. The scheme allows them to offset their emissions growth by funding carbon-cutting projects in other sectors.
The agreed baseline for measuring emissions was to be the two-year average across 2019 and 2020. However 2020 is turning into a year of anomalously low air travel, with planes grounded by travel restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19. That means airlines would have a bigger offsetting obligation than they anticipated if traffic rebounds quickly.
Iata is urging Icao to change the baseline to pre-pandemic levels in 2019 – a move it says could save airlines an estimated $15 billion in carbon offsetting costs. [...]
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