While we believe that improvements in technology, operational efficiency and infrastructure will help the aviation industry to cut emissions in the long-term, we also need to keep net emissions from rising against current levels. That’s why we’ve adopted a global market-based measure that we call the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation – or simply, CORSIA.
WHAT IS CORSIA?
CORSIA is a global scheme in which airlines offset any growth in CO2 emissions above 2020 levels. This means that our net CO2 emissions will be stabilised while we try other ways to become carbon-neutral, such as technology, sustainable aviation fuel, operations and infrastructure options.
We think that CORSIA will mitigate around 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 between 2021 and 2035 – equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions generated by the whole of the Netherlands.
BUT WHAT IS OFFSETTING AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Offsetting – or becoming carbon-neutral – enables an organisation or individual to compensate for its emissions by financing a reduction in emissions elsewhere, generally through the purchase of carbon credits. In other words, if the aviation industry generates a tonne of CO2 emissions, it can buy a credit equivalent to mitigate one tonne of CO2. There are lots of offsetting schemes available – ranging from funding reforestation efforts, to investing in renewable energy projects like wind turbines or solar panels.
By combining offsetting with ongoing technology, operations and infrastructure improvements, the aviation industry is able to balance its carbon footprint and ensure any growth from 2020 is carbon-neutral.
The offsetting scheme adopted by the United Nations and governments – CORSIA – will be implemented in stages over the next few years. From 2021 until 2026, only flights between “volunteering” states will be subject to offsetting requirements. From 2027, all flights will be subject to offsetting, with a few exceptions for developing nations and small aviation markets (unless they volunteer to participate).
It is predicted that the scheme will mitigate a whopping 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 between 2021 and 2035, and generate billions of dollars to use in tackling climate change. Combine this with all the work being done to make planes and fuels cleaner and greener, and we’re set to make a serious difference to how the industry tackles climate change.