ICAO said it has made “another set of important decisions” toward implementation of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) at its latest Council meeting.

The ICAO Council reached an agreement for putting into operation the Technical Advisory Body (TAB), a group of experts nominated by states with a mandate to make recommendations to the Council, regarding eligible emissions units for use by airlines in CORSIA, the scheme designed to address the increase in total CO2 emissions from international aviation above 2020 levels, ICAO said.

The group added that it had also approved terms of reference for the advisory body, including tasks and working methods.

The Council also approved the Emissions Units Criteria (EUC) that the advisory body will use to assess which emissions unit programs are eligible under the scheme.

ICAO said it would issue an open invitation on the ICAO CORSIA website, by which emissions unit programs that wish to be considered by TAB for eligibility in CORSIA can apply.

ICAO Council president Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said: “These decisions related to TAB are critical to the Council’s adoption of eligible units for CORSIA, representing another milestone in fulfilling the requests made by the 2016 Assembly.”

Geneva-based Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), which represents the commercial aviation sector on sustainable growth issues, welcomed what it described as “another significant milestone” in the development of CORSIA.

ATAG executive director Michael Gill said: “Today’s decision by the ICAO Council is fundamental in providing certainty to carbon markets as they develop projects ready to be supported by airlines ahead of the pilot phase of CORSIA in 2021. 
“It is important for the industry that strong sustainability standards are applied for the types of eligible offsets. This will ensure that CORSIA is an effective climate measure, which has always been a key priority for the industry.”

Airlines are keen to have clarification about which types of units they will be allowed to buy to offset their excess emissions as part of the CORSIA scheme.

The ICAO announcements came just a few days after EU officials urged ICAO to agree at its assembly, in September, on a “long-term goal” to address the aviation industry’s rising CO2 emissions beyond the shorter-term scope of CORSIA, an objective that industry representatives including ATAG believe may be difficult to achieve. ATAG believes it could take another three years for ICAO to negotiate such a deal.

Helen Massy-Beresford, helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk