European Council meets to decide on amending aviation rules

The European Council will today decide whether to adopt changes to the UN’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International

EU BusinessInsider

Photo: Business Insider

The European Council will today decide whether to adopt changes to the UN’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which could shift the industry to carbon neutrality.

Leading members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have expressed concern about the proposed changes to CORSIA, which was established in 2016 to offset any rise in international aviation emissions above 2020 levels. In its current state, the plan would set the industry emissions benchmark at 2019-2020 levels, which have been drastically skewed by COVID-19 disruptions and are bound to constrain market recovery.

The aviation lobby, backed by the European Commission, has requested a legislative tweak that would revert the benchmark to higher 2019 levels and provide a small amount of financial leeway. Leading environmental experts and MEPs claim that such an adjustment would effectively eliminate three years of offset obligations and seriously undermine the environmental integrity of CORSIA.

Expect the decision to have major ramifications for the future of European carbon neutrality. If accepted, the proposed changes could simultaneously buttress airline recovery and compromise the bloc’s vision of complete carbon neutrality by 2050. A postponement until the scheduled 2022 review could allow the clouds of recent market collapse to dissipate, providing both environmental and commercial interests with a clearer way forward.

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