International aviation representatives are calling on global governments to help the industry improve its environmental credentials and also announced new decisions on the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) that is designed to help cut CO2 emissions.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) issued a recent call for governments to support the development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) as a critical step to achieving its target to cut net emissions to half 2005 levels by 2050. This target was reinforced by a resolution at IATA’s 76th Annual General Meeting recently that also commits the industry to exploring pathways to net zero emissions.
Download IATA’s Environmental Presentation here.
“We have long known that an energy transition to SAF is the game-changer. But energy transitions need government support. The cost of SAF is too high and supplies too limited. This crisis is the opportunity to change that. Putting economic stimulus funds behind the development of a large-scale, competitive SAF market would be a triple win—creating jobs, fighting climate change and sustainably connecting the world,” said Alexandre de Juniac, the outgoing director general and CEO of IATA.
Government stimulus packages could help promote SAF through direct investment, loan guarantees and incentives for the private sector, as well as regulations that channel feedstock towards hard-to-abate sectors such as aviation rather than to other low-carbon transport industries. The aim of stimulus funds would be to create a competitive market. Currently SAF is on average between 2-4 times more expensive than fossil fuels with current global production of about 100 million litres a year which is just 0.1% of the total amount of aviation fuel consumed by the industry. IATA estimates that stimulus investments could help boost SAF production to the 2 percent (6-7 billion litres) needed to trigger a potential tipping point to bring SAF to competitive price levels against fossil fuels.
“As the world looks to re-boot the economy, let’s not waste this opportunity to create jobs and an industry that will yield huge dividends for the public good. If we can drive SAF prices down as we drive production volumes up, we will be able to sustainably connect the post-COVID-19 world,” said de Juniac.
CORSIA offsetting kept on track for 2021 pilot phase
Meanwhile, efforts to offset emissions from international flights have been kept on track by the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) with new decisions being adopted by the 36-country body on eligibility units and sustainability certification schemes supporting CORSIA. The latest council endorsements mean that all implementation elements for CORSIA are now complete, and that everything is prepared for the start of its pilot phase in 2021. Details around these latest decisions are available here.
ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano remarked on the welcomed developments that “ICAO set out a vision for carbon-neutral growth in international aviation, and this week we have seen that vision bear fruit. The council’s decisions on eligible emissions units and sustainability certification schemes are the final steps necessary for CORSIA’s timely implementation.”
Pursuant to recommendations from its CORSIA Technical Advisory Body (TAB), the council decided on a second set of eligible emissions units for use with offsetting requirements in the 2021-2023 pilot phase of CORSIA. The units were issued to activities under approved programmes, subject to their respective scope of eligibility and eligibility dates.
Based on the recommendations of the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP), the Council also approved the organisations which are now eligible to certify the sustainability and life-cycle emissions values of CORSIA eligible fuels.
Since the adoption of the CORSIA-related Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) in 2018, ICAO has developed the remaining elements needed for the programme’s implementation. This includes the ICAO CORSIA CO2 Estimation and Reporting Tool (CERT), harmonised methodologies to account for life-cycle CO2 reductions from sustainable aviation fuels, and the CORSIA Central Registry (CCR) to facilitate the CO2 reporting from States to ICAO. The final building blocks for completing the CORSIA implementation package were set in place this week, with the agreement on the second round of eligible emissions units and the sustainability certification schemes.