Environmental Defense Fund calls on EU to create real aviation credits that advance climate progress

Lauren Eldershaw
By Lauren Eldershaw March 1, 2019 13:32

Environmental Defense Fund calls on EU to create real aviation credits that advance climate progress

Members of the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation, including Environmental Defense Fund, issued a letter to members of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s powerful Council – including France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden and Ireland – urging them to avoid what they call “bad aviation” rules that will worsen climate change.
The fund says that CORSIA – the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, that will launch in 2020 – has the potential to prevent 2.5 to three billion tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere over the first 15 years of the program. However, it adds that it’s potential will only be realised if countries can guarantee a transparent process and strong measures to reduce aviation emissions.

In its letter, ICSA urges ICAO Council members not to destroy CORSIA’s potential effectiveness and worsen the threat of global climate change.

Annie Petsonk, EDF International Counsel, explains: “Dumping double-counted carbon credits into CORSIA would punch a big hole in the climate benefit of the aviation agreement – and a big hole in the climate credibility of ICAO and the airlines. It would also undercut the Paris Agreement Parties’ efforts to limit the global temperature increase to well below two degrees.”

The letter also stresses that decisions taken in the coming weeks have the potential to help international aviation offset its emissions above 2020 levels and unleash a global market that drives investment in low-carbon economic development. This will only happen if countries on the ICAO council approve strong criteria for the eligibility of carbon offset programs, to ensure that emission reductions are not double-counted, and establish a technical advisory board, to evaluate programs and units for eligibility, that is free of conflicts of interest and operates transparently.

“The urgency of climate action cannot be overstated, and our call to action is particularly directed at EU leaders,” said EDF’s Petsonk. “Europe has led the world on fighting climate change – EU leaders must now drive a hard bargain at ICAO to make CORSIA a success. Without high transparency standards, ICAO could become the ‘FIFA’ of the carbon markets, with environmentally dubious credits issued to airlines not actually interested in cutting emissions.”

Lauren Eldershaw
By Lauren Eldershaw March 1, 2019 13:32