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IATA Calls for Adjustment of CORSIA Baseline and Extension of Deadline for Submission of Verification Reports08/04/2020

On March 30, 2020, due to the significant impact on the global air transport industry by COVID-19 pandemic, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council to adjust carbon emissions baseline specified in the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) in a timely way to avoid inappropriate economic burden on international aviation, thereby ensuring the sustainable development of the sector.

CORSIA will start in 2021, with the period of 2021-2023 being the pilot phase, 2024-2026 the first phase and 2027-2035 the second phase, and the whole duration is 15 years. The carbon emissions baseline for international air transport of airlines is set at the average emissions for the years 2019 and 2020. From 2021 onwards, airlines are required to purchase offsets to cover any annual growth in emissions above the baseline. The pilot and first phases apply to countries that volunteer to participate while participation in the second phase is mandatory.

IATA said the COVID-19 crisis has led to a serious decline in demand in the air transport market, and even in countries that have not yet had a large-scale outbreak of COVID-19, air transport has nearly collapsed. It argued that in accordance with the current CORSIA baseline calculation method, the sharp reduction in air traffic will significantly lower the baseline, resulting in significantly higher offsetting requirements costs for carriers in future, and that if the cost impacts of CORSIA are higher than forecast, volunteers for the pilot and first phases may reconsider their earlier decisions. IATA thus recommended that the carbon emissions baseline of CORSIA be adjusted in time to maintain the connectivity of international air transport system and contain further impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on air carriers.

IATA called on the ICAO Council to exercise the authority received under Assembly Resolution A40-19 (paragraph 16) to reach a decision on change in CORSIA baseline no later than June 30, 2020. It recommended that 2019 emissions instead of the average emissions for the years 2019 and 2020 be used to determine the CORSIA baseline, so as to preserve the environmental benefits that were forecast to be achieved through CORSIA.

IATA also pointed out that COVID-19 travel restrictions and confinement measures imposed in many countries have made it impossible for verification bodies to conduct verification of the emissions by airlines. It called on the ICAO Council to urge States to extend the May 31, 2020 deadline for the submission of the verified emissions reports and associated verification reports for 2019 until October 31, 2020.