What is CORSIA - Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation


CORSIA is an international regulation as it comprises all 192 member states of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). CORSIA was adopted during the 39th Assembly session in Autumn 2016. Its main purpose is to offset increases in CO2 emissions from international civil aviation compared to average emissions produced in the baseline years 2019 and 2020.

CORSIA was conceived as a response to the aviation industry’s growing impact on global climate change. With air travel emissions projected to soar, there was an urgent need for a unified, sector-wide approach to cap the carbon footprint of international flights. CORSIA’s objective is clear: to stabilize CO2 emissions at 2020 levels by requiring airlines to offset any growth in their emissions through investments in environmental projects.

CORSIA’s Mechanism: Offsetting Emissions

Offsetting under CORSIA involves several key steps. Operators must first monitor and report their CO2 emissions on international flights. When emissions exceed the baseline set by the 2020 levels, airlines are then required to purchase offsets. These offsets come from a variety of projects, including renewable energy, forest conservation, and more, which compensate for the emitted CO2. Offsetting requirement is based on the sector growth factor (SGF), which is determined for every year separately as published by ICAO. It is communicated to participating aircraft operators by 30 November of the following year.

Regardless, the information which is currently already known are the eligible CORSIA emission units. As is the case for EU ETS, their price varies and depends on the market. Currently, the prices are still quite low; varying from 2 EUR to 30+ EUR per emission unit, but this will definitely change in the future when CORSIA will gain momentum, when more member states join and inevitably when CORSIA scheme grows past voluntary and becomes mandatory to all (except exempt states).

The Impact on Commercial and Private Aviation

CORSIA primarily targets larger commercial carriers, but also extends to private aviation as well. Operators of private jets, especially those with significant international operations, must also adapt to CORSIA’s regulations. This includes the same rigorous monitoring, reporting, and offsetting requirements, pushing the entire industry towards more sustainable practices.

Navigating Challenges and Seizing Opportunities

Adapting to CORSIA presents a range of challenges for airlines and aviation service providers. These include integrating new reporting systems, understanding the market for carbon credits, and making strategic investments in offsetting projects. However, these challenges also open doors to innovation and leadership in sustainability. By embracing CORSIA, the aviation sector can lead by example, demonstrating a commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable development.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Aviation and Sustainability

CORSIA is just the beginning of a long journey towards sustainability in aviation. As the scheme matures and evolves, it will likely become a catalyst for broader changes in the industry, driving innovation in aircraft technology, fuel efficiency, and alternative fuels. The ultimate goal is a future where the global emissions of air travel is further reduced, aligning with the broader objectives of combating climate change and preserving our planet for future generations.

The adoption and implementation of CORSIA underscore a crucial message: sustainability is no longer optional in aviation. It’s a shared responsibility that requires commitment, innovation, and cooperation from all stakeholders. By working together under initiatives like CORSIA, the aviation industry can soar towards a more sustainable horizon, ensuring that it continues to connect the world in an environmentally responsible manner.

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Nick Houseman
+1 514 449-0877
1375 Trans Canada, Suite 601
Dorval, QC
H9P 2W8
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