Beyond the icao’s corsia: Towards a More Climatically Effective Strategy for Mitigation of Civil-Aviation Emissions

In: Climate Law
Author: Chris Lyle 1
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  • 1 Air Transport Economics clyle@airtransporteconomics.ca

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Pursuant to a referral by the unfccc through the Kyoto Protocol, the International Civil Aviation Organization (icao) has developed a ‘basket’ of emission-mitigation measures for international aviation. Technical and operational measures proved inadequate to counter traffic growth, and finally, in October 2016, the icao adopted a framework for a market-based measure. The Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (corsia) is the primary emission-mitigation tool for international aviation. It aims at ‘carbon-neutral growth’ (cng) from 2020 onward. Yet, even with an increased use of alternative fuels and comprehensive implementation of corsia, the icao’s basket of measures will not produce a reduction in global aviation emissions. This article describes the legal and governance framework and the implementation process of corsia, assesses the scheme’s potential contribution to climate-change mitigation, and proposes a derivative but more ambitious strategy. This would include incorporation of international aviation emissions in the ndcs of parties to the Paris Agreement and a more direct role for the unfccc in determining eligibility of emission units and alternative fuels, with the icao remaining accountable for monitoring, reporting and verification.

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