EU Report Suggests Global Airline Emissions Plan Ineffective

A European Union report found that an aviation industry agreement to tackle global carbon-dioxide emissions may not have a materially positive impact on the environment.

The findings were made in September by the Directorate-General for Climate Action and published by non-profit Transport & Environment, which obtained the report. It said the Corsia system is less effective than existing EU regulation and has a number of features that are weaker than required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, the report said.

While Corsia allows airlines and others to buy carbon offsets to make up for emissions, the system is too cheap to deter carriers, according to the report. It’s also unlikely to achieve a target of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 due to the limited ability of International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN agency, to enforce compliance.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic upended global aviation with lockdowns and travel restrictions limiting flights, the industry was under pressure to slash emissions by governments and environmental activists. The EU Emissions Trading System is the world’s biggest carbon market, and carbon offsets are much more expensive than those under Corsia, T&E said.

“We have wasted almost a decade coming up with an airline CO2 scheme which is actually bad for the climate,” said Jo Dardenne, aviation manager at Transport & Environment. “Airlines will pay less than a Euro to buy carbon offsets that won’t work. The study is a warning to the EU to take back responsibility for addressing pollution on European flights.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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