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ICAO adopts Global Market-Based Measure to address international aviation CO2


On 6 October 2016, government, industry and civil society representatives agreed on a new global Market-Based Measure (GMBM) to control CO2 emissions from international aviation. The historic move came as the Plenary Session of the UN aviation agency's 39th Assembly agreed to recommend adoption of a final Resolution text for the GMBM.

UNFCCC and Paris agreement only covers stationary emitters and domestic aviation, international aviation is under ICAO's responsibility. International aviation accounts for about 1.3% of global emissions. In 2010 ICAO adopted two sectoral aspirational goals, 2% annual fuel efficiency improvement and carbon neutral growth from 2020. It also adopted basket of measures to help with these goals, but technological and operational improvements alone are not enough to match the growth of the air traffic. To fill the emissions gap the 39th ICAO assembly agreed on global (MBM).

The agreed GMBM is called CORSIA – Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. Offsetting means reducing emissions in another sector or location, rather than reducing an emitters own emissions. In CORSIA's case the offsetting will be done through purchasing carbon units from global carbon markets.

ICAO has decided on phase-in implementation in order to ease contracting states in this scheme. Pilot and first phase (2021-2016) will be voluntary. However as of October 2016, 66 states, representing more than 86.5% of international aviation activity, intend to voluntarily participate in the global MBM scheme from its beginning. Second phase of CORSIA (2027-2035) would be mandatory for all States that have an individual share of international aviation activities in RTKs in year 2018 above 0.5% of total RTKs or whose cumulative share in the list of States from the highest to the lowest amount of RTKs reaches 90% of total RTKs, except Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) unless they volunteer to participate in this phase. CORSIA uses route-based approach. Route is considered covered by CORSIA if both departure and arrival airports are in the country participating in CORSIA.

Once the air routes covered by CORSIA are known, the offsetting requirements are calculated for each aircraft operator every year. This calculation will gradually move from 100% sectoral rate (0% individual rate) to a higher individual rate for each aircraft operator. The operator then purchases a number of carbon unites equivalent to its offsetting requirements from the carbon markets. The first year of emissions monitoring will be 2021.

ICAO is currently developing rules and procedures for Monitoring, Reporting and Verification system (MRV), criteria for carbon units to be purchased by emitters and registries. ICAO will assist all states to put in place the necessary infrastructure, where priority will be given to the states who volunteered in the scheme. The agreement includes a review clause that will ensure updating on the GMBM and make it more robust and more ambitious if possible.

Verifavia is a leading provider of independent verification services of GHG emissions for aviation under the EU ETS directive. Between 2010 and 2015, Verifavia conducted EU ETS verification of nearly 800 different aircraft operators - including 110+ commercial airlines - from 70 countries and reporting to 25 different EU Competent Authorities. Verifavia is closely following the evolution of the ICAO's offsetting scheme in order to provide its current and future clients the best services possible.

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