The Aviation Industry Plans to Cheat the Climate with Offsets

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Originally published by Redd-Monitor.org:

Today, in Montreal, the 39th meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation starts. One of the agenda items is ICAO’s response to climate change. The industry’s preferred option is to continue expanding, to continue polluting, and to offset its emissions.

ICAO is proposing a massive new carbon trading mechanism that will leave us no chance of meeting the Paris Agreement’s target of 2°C.

FERN has put out a short video highlighting what’s wrong with ICAO’s proposals:

4.5 billion carbon credits

In 2013, according to a June 2016 report from the Stockholm Environment Institute, the aviation industry emitted 490.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. By 2020, the figure is likely to be between 682 and 755 million tonnes.

But, also in June 2016, the International Air Transport Association, announced that emissions from aviation in 2015 had already reached 781 million tonnes of CO2.

By 2035, SEI predicts that flying will be responsible for somewhere between 1.2 and 1.4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

ICAO’s proposed carbon trading mechanism is called CORSIA – the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. The proposal, going into the ICAO meeting, is available here. If ICAO signs off on the carbon trading mechanism, the details will be thrashed out before 2021, when the pilot phase starts.

SEI estimates that the aviation industry will need somewhere between 3.3 and 4.5 billion carbon credits in the fifteen years after 2020. That’s an awful lot of carbon credits.

In the ten years up to 2013, the Clean Development Mechanism issued 1.3 billion carbon credits. The CDM totally failed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because every time someone buys a carbon credit they use it to continue polluting. (Unless of course the buyer was unfortunate enough to have been persuaded to buy carbon credits as investments, in which case they have been scammed.)

In addition to the video, FERN has produced a series of graphics:

We need to fly less, not more

A declaration, signed by 90 organisations, including Greenpeace international, Friends of the Earth international and Bread for the World, calls for more action on aviation, and rejects offsets:

As the ICAO Assembly gathers to consider the proposal, the undersigned organisations stand together to denounce the plans in their current form as they undermine our ability to limit warming to the agreed UN aim of well below 2° Celsius, aiming for 1.5° Celsius. We call on ICAO to reduce emissions now and to exclude forest and soil carbon offsets as a first step.

A series of protests are planned during the ICAO meeting against airport expansion projects in Austria, UK, Mexico, Canada, France and Turkey.

Full Disclosure: REDD-Monitor has in the past received funding from FERN. Click here for all of REDD-Monitor’s funding sources.

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