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UN Agency Makes Changes To Aviation Emissions Scheme Amid COVID-19 Crisis

The governing council of the UN agency have reached a decision to shift the baseline year to derive the emissions under the global CORSIA deal to 2019.


In the wake of an unprecedented outbreak of deadly coronavirus, a United Nations (UN) agency has agreed on July 1 to change a significant aviation emissions scheme to support the airlines that according to the organisation can bear the cost of billions of dollars under the current deal after the businesses resume. The governing council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) have reached a decision to shift the baseline year to derive the emissions under the global CORSIA deal to 2019.

The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation or the CORSIA is first of its kind global market-based measure that is currently being applied for any industry sector. Under this scheme, that starts next year, airlines would purchase carbon offsets credits to match the number of emissions released from the international flights if they are above the current baseline of average emissions in 2019 and 2020. 

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However, since the entire industry suffered a blow and hundreds of flights were grounded due to the global health crisis, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had asked the UN agency to shift the baseline exclusively to 2019 when the COVID-19 pandemic did not hit the world. 

Irrespective of the opposition received by climate activists who though the change would allow the airlines to pollute the environment for several years, ICAO declared that it “would create an inappropriate economic burden to aeroplane operators, due to the need to offset more emissions although they are flying less and generating less emissions.”

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‘Very extraordinary circumstances’

ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano said that the decision made by the member states was made after assessing the situation in hand and deemed it as “most reasonable solution” which was available amid “very extraordinary circumstances”. According to the sources of an international media agency, European Union, United States backed the request made by IATA. However, China, Russia and India reportedly asked for more time to study the changes.

“Council States today have made a measured assessment and have come to the most reasonable solution available given our current and very extraordinary circumstances,” ICAO Council President.

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