Aviation emissions: EU confirms its participation in the CORSIA voluntary phase from 2021 and chooses more ambitious option to calculate its offsetting requirements

The EU will take part in the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) from the start of its voluntary phase on 1 January 2021. Today, the Council adopted a decision sealing this EU position, which member states will have to notify to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) by 30 June 2020.

Today’s decision also lays down the EU position on the method to be used for calculating aeroplane operators’ offsetting requirements during the CORSIA pilot phase 2021‑2023. According to the EU position, the calculations should be based on the emissions during each of those years (2021, 2022 and 2023). This option is likely to lead to higher offsetting requirements and therefore be better for the environment than the other option available, which is to base the calculations on the 2020 emissions. Here again, ICAO members must notify the option chosen by the end of June 2020.

Today’s decision confirms the EU’s unwavering support for CORSIA as the worldwide scheme to curb aviation emissions and help address climate change. The environmental ambition of the Green Deal will not be achieved by Europe acting alone. Because the drivers of climate change are not limited by national borders, the EU will continue to lead by example in the ICAO in order to tackle this global challenge.

Oleg Butković, Croatian Minister for the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, President of the Council

The Council adopted the decision by written procedure.

CORSIA – background

CORSIA was agreed on by the ICAO in 2016 with the aim of limiting greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation at their 2020 levels. It complements a broader set of measures, including aircraft technology improvements, operational improvements and sustainable aviation fuels.

The CORSIA obligations have already started. The monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) requirements relating to CO2 emissions from international flights apply as of 1 January 2019. These obligations have been implemented in EU law by means of secondary legislation.

The CORSIA offsetting requirements will apply from 1 January 2021. The CORSIA pilot phase (2021‑2023) and first phase (2024-2026) are voluntary.

During these voluntary phases, ICAO member states that decide to participate in CORSIA may join the scheme from the start of a given year. They should notify the ICAO of their decision to join by 30 June in the preceding year.

A link to the Council decision will be added to this press release on our website.