IATA AGM Urges Governments to Adopt a Global Carbon Offset Scheme

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) 72nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) overwhelmingly approved a resolution urging governments to adopt a single global carbon offset mechanism to address carbon emissions from international aviation at the 39th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) later this year.

“Airlines are committed to sustainability. With improvements to technology, operations and infrastructure and the deployment of sustainable alternative fuels, we are delivering results against our climate change commitments. However, to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020, we also need a mandatory global carbon offset scheme,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

In encouraging the adoption of a global carbon offset mechanism, the resolution endorses current aviation industry measures to manage its carbon footprint as part of global efforts to address climate change and safeguard sustainable development and calls on governments to:

Consider 11 recommended design elements for the mechanism that would ensure environmental integrity and simplify implementation while avoiding market distortions
Ensure that existing economic measures (including taxes) on a national and regional basis to manage the industry’s climate change impact become redundant and that no new measures are introduced
Under the leadership of ICAO, governments are considering a proposal for a Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) in preparation for the ICAO Assembly.

“The details of CORSIA are still being worked out. But as an industry we have a clear focus on what is needed. We want a cost-effective measure that leads to real and permanent carbon reductions. That mechanism should be simple, mandatory and applied on a global basis, avoiding the cost and complexity that a patchwork of uncoordinated measures would create. It must not lead to competitive or market distortions. And we can accept some flexibility in implementation, including the potential for a phasing-in of countries over time, if that is needed by governments to recognize the different levels of maturity of aviation markets,” said Tyler.

Aviation was the first industry sector to set carbon-reduction targets at the global level. These are: improving fuel efficiency by 1.5% annually to 2020, capping net emissions with carbon- neutral growth by 2020, and cutting emissions in half by 2050 compared to 2005. The industry was also the first to agree on a global four-pillar strategy to reduce carbon emissions. Pillars one, two and three focus on new technology (especially new fuel-efficient aircraft and sustainable alternative fuels), operational efficiency improvements to cut emissions, and investment in better infrastructure, particularly reformed and modernized air traffic management. The fourth pillar—implementation of a global market-based measure—would be covered by the CORSIA.

This resolution follows an historic resolution of the 69th IATA Annual General Meeting in 2013 in which the industry strategy to achieve Carbon-Neutral Growth was agreed.