IBAC Requests Removal Of 2020 Data From Emissions Baseline

An international business aviation trade group is asking the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to adjust an emissions baseline that includes 2020 data to assess offsetting obligations in light of the COVID-19 impact on global air travel. 

The International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) is requesting that the ICAO use only 2019 emission figures and remove 2020 figures. The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is an offsetting scheme developed by ICAO as part of a variety of measures to reduce carbon emissions from international civil aviation in a goal to achieve carbon-neutral growth by 2020. 

Business operators that emit more than 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually in international flying are included in the scheme. 

The baseline for CORSIA, from which annual growth and future offsetting requirements will be calculated, were to include the average level of emissions between 2019 and 2020. That would be the basis for the analysis of overall costs to operators over the planned phases of the project from 2021 to 2035. The reduced level of emissions in 2020 because of the dramatic decline in aviation activity during the novel coronavirus pandemic will raise costs to operators, IBAC says. The costs will compound recovery for the business aviation sector and act as an undeserved penalty, the association said. 

“IBAC has always advocated a fair and equitable market-based measure that complements the overall set of emissions reduction measures available,” said Kurt Edwards, IBAC director general. “However, given the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, IBAC is concerned that a baseline average taken from 2019 and 2020 will reflect a highly anomalous circumstance inflicted on international aviation.” 

Using only 2019 emission levels as the baseline is a simple solution to the problem, Edwards said. “Penalizing operators by including exceptionally low 2020 emissions levels in the baseline will only divert resources from operators’ ability to take climate action and to contribute to the economic and sustainable development of regional and national economies around the world.” 

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.