On January 1, business aircraft operators around the world are set to start participating in a new carbon offsetting scheme designed by ICAO. The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is expected to see a smooth introduction, contrasting markedly with the controversy that beset the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) when it started to apply to aviation.
ETS will still run, while the EU satisfies itself that CORSIA is a viable replacement, but the so-called “stop the clock” period, whereby only domestic European operations are affected, has been extended.
According to Bruce Parry, environment director for the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), ICAO has provided a range of CORSIA templates to address concerns that small operators—often with a single aircraft—simply do not have the resources to administer complex schemes. An example is the CORSIA Emissions Reporting Tool (CERT).
Also to reduce the administrative impact on the industry, IBAC and its member business aviation associations have ensured operators are made aware of emissions and exemptions and provided an online “ready reckoner” so operators can quickly assess whether they are likely to ultimately need to take part and pay for offsets.
“If you’re in the exemption zone, you don’t need to do any reporting,” said Parry, the small operator threshold being 10,000 metric tons of CO2 per year and aircraft with less than a 5,700-kg/12,566-pound mtow. NBAA says current-generation business jet fleets need to fly a combined 2,000 hours or more annually in international operations to reach the CO2 threshold.
“If you use more than one million U.S. gallons of fuel a year, you are likely to be in the scheme," according to Parry. "We’re saying that if you’re within 10 percent of the threshold, you need to engage with your national administering authority,” such as the FAA in the U.S. and the Environment Agency in the UK.
With 2019 and 2020 being “benchmarking” years, 2021 will mark the start of the first three-year offsetting period. After that, operators will be required to buy carbon offsets on the international market. The scheme becomes mandatory Jan. 1, 2027. Parry advised that operators concern themselves with monitoring now and leave offsetting until later.
Juan Muniz, manager of global regulatory services for Universal Weather and Aviation, told AIN, “Everyone needs to monitor and track [their emissions] even though it will only be applicable to larger operators.”