EU supports request from aviation to UN to relax emissions regulations

09/06/2020

EU supports request from aviation to UN to relax emissions regulations

The European Union (EU) supports a request from the aviation industry to relax rules on CO2 emissions laid down in the United Nations’ CORSIA system. This would allow airlines that have joined CORSIA to emit more CO2 next year than previously thought.

CORSIA, which stands for Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, will commence on January 1, 2021 and states that airlines’ CO2 emissions should not exceed the average levels of 2019 and 2020. Any emissions above that level, must be purchased through emissions trading. The scheme is still voluntary until 2027, after which it will become mandatory.

The EU now wants CORSIA to be adjusted due to the corona crisis. This will mean that the average CO2 emissions will be considerably lower this year, so that airlines will be able to emit considerably less in 2021 than previously thought. This would hit aviation again, while the sector is already in the corner where the blows fall.

Brussels therefore proposes not to take the average emissions of 2019 and 2020 for CORSIA, but only those of 2019. Aviation industry organization IATA expects this step to save the sector nearly 17 billion in costs. The UN Aviation Agency will meet in the next three weeks and will then address the issue.

NGOs and environmental groups are not happy with the EU’s move. The German environmental think tank Öko-Institut says in a response that a change in CORSIA “will postpone the greening of aviation by several years”.

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