Airlines urge UN aviation body to rethink climate measures


By Chloé Farand | Climate Home News

 Apr 7, 2020 (updated:  Apr 7, 2020)

Airlines are putting pressure on the UN to make it easier for them to curb emissions in the 2020s, as the industry reels from the collapse of air travel because of the coronavirus. EURACTIV’s partner Climate Home News reports.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents the world’s airlines, said it wanted to change the baselines from which traffic growth will be judged in coming years to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

It said it wanted  to “avoid an inappropriate economic burden on the sector” by dropping a planned baseline of average emissions in 2019-2020 that is likely to be much lower than 2019 since many flights are now grounded.

As part of efforts to curb the aviation sector’s growing emissions, countries that are members to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) – the UN body responsible for aviation – have agreed an “aspirational goal” to make all growth in international flights carbon neutral after 2020, compared to both 2019 and 2020.

Under the existing plan, countries have agreed to use a market-based offset mechanism known as CORSIA. But the public health crisis and collapse of air travel means emissions from aviation are anticipated to fall this year.

Global airlines are scrambling to find parking spots as the coronavirus outbreak slashes demand for air travel. More than 10,000 aircraft have been mothballed since the start of the crisis, according to data published on Monday (30 March).

A lower 2019-2020 baseline than initially expected would toughen airlines’ goals for curbing emissions growth and force companies to buy a lot more offsets to meet the sector’s climate target when traffic rebounds.

In a position paper, IATA said use of the two-year average could result in “significantly higher offsetting requirements and costs for operators further down the line”.

IATA called on the ICAO’s council, the organisation’s governing body, to adjust CORSIA’s baseline to 2019.

The trade group said using only 2019 would “preserve the environmental benefits” of CORSIA as it “would remain more stringent” than the anticipated baseline, had the coronavirus crisis not happened and airlines’ emissions continued to grow in 2020.

It urged the council to make a decision on the issue before the end of June. CORSIA was agreed in 2016 and a review of the scheme was not expected before 2022.

The trade group’s call for ICAO to review CORSIA’s implementation comes after China – which has one of the world’s fastest growing air passenger markets – also called for the baseline to be adjusted during a meeting of ICAO’s council last month.

The move also comes as the aviation industry is urging governments to provide it with economic relief as the pandemic stalled global travel. The US approved a near $60 billion bailout package for the industry last month.

However, adjusting the baseline would require political approval by other ICAO members.

Bas Eickhout, a Green MEP and vice-chair of the European Parliament’s environment committee, told Climate Home News CORSIA was already “extremely weak” and “won’t bring the aviation sector anywhere near to what is needed to tackle climate change”.

He added that while a lower baseline will force airlines to buy more credits, the credits were “very cheap” at a “couple of euros per tonne of CO2”.

Under CORSIA’s first pilot phase to 2023, airlines will be able to offset their emissions using cheap Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) units.

Full article here.

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Joel O'Bryan
April 12, 2020 10:54 pm

In other news, the UN bureaucrats decide to adopt witchcraft and voodoo magic to assist in the climate fight to save humanity.

Ours is an Age of Critical Thinking Sickness. I know we’ll survive any virus pandemic and climate change, but I’m not sure we’ll survive the stupidity pandemic.

Eric Vieira
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 13, 2020 1:16 am

As you said: stupidity is something that can’t be fixed…

Reply to  Eric Vieira
April 13, 2020 2:46 am

Efforts by these unelected bureaucrats to fight a fake “crisis” against a life giving molecule are one of the factors behind the 737 MAX fiasco. While not detracting from the corruption and failure of FAA to do its most basic job, the mindless race to “carbon neutrality” at all costs is what is forcing manufacturers to make stupid ill-balanced design choices.

FAKE “climate deaths” in 100y are being traded against REAL air safety here and now.

Skewed priorities lead to inappropriate choices.

Reply to  Greg
April 13, 2020 6:19 am

They’re saving on fuel costs now.

Reply to  Scissor
April 13, 2020 1:16 pm

. . . and as companies all over the world discover they can save all that money they were spending on flying staff around the world for senseless “meetings” you can have online, we may see a lot fewer planes in the sky.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 13, 2020 5:35 am

Ours is an Age of Critical Thinking Sickness.

Engineered by design by most western education systems.

It’s no accident.

Charles Higley
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 13, 2020 7:07 am

In fact, the UN has no real power to demand anything of the airline industry, which should thus ignore them altogether.

Reply to  Charles Higley
April 13, 2020 7:32 am

Oh yeah?

Excuse me, but what about Chemtrails?

Ignore that! /s

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
April 13, 2020 1:27 am

This is an interesting test of the UN. Will they show they want to help the world recover from the many real harms that COVID has done or are they so deranged in their determination to impose their “solution ” to a non-existent problem adding immeasurably to the damage tand show hat they don’t care to help anyone except their own elitist cabal?
My betting is on the latter. Airlines are their enemy until there are only a few planes with only first class comfort flying free of the deplorable passengers.

Flight Level
April 13, 2020 2:00 am

If you ever wonder why IATA is also privately referred to as “Soft Air”, there you go.

This could have been “the truckers syndicate” of the sky, instead of begging for climate mercy, defend it’s members by stepping out in front of the ONU to state “now look what happens when we make a few phone calls”.

The only thing that the ONU understands is “no soup for you !”.

Greg Goodman
Reply to  Flight Level
April 13, 2020 3:07 am

409 Conflict

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Stephen Skinner
April 13, 2020 3:31 am

Aviation is a big fat NON threat to the environment. It is infantile to think that it is, simply because it is very audible (close up) and very visible in the sky. If you were to flip round air and surface transport so that all airliners moved across the surface and all surface transport was in the sky, then the sky would grow dark with the huge unending strings of traffic meters (or less) apart. With airliners on the ground unless, you were in the vacinity of a route, their prevelance would be almost non existant as they are miles apart.

Flight Level
Reply to  Stephen Skinner
April 13, 2020 4:39 am

Another factor of our tremendous efficiency is that we haul passengers and things around at speeds way above any other commercially available means. Commercial Aviation is also the safest way to travel.

Then, I can’t really remember when I’ve seen road works or maintenance signs on clouds. We need no highways, tunnels, bridges and roads. Just a very minimalist ground infrastructure and, often, that’s where bottlenecks occur.

And given whatever is hauled and / or wet-leased around, the very existence of the ONU is not to take for granted should we put it’s personnel and operations on “no-flight” lists.

Reply to  Flight Level
April 13, 2020 5:31 am

It’s true.

Ships, trains, and trucks are amazingly efficient at transporting cargo. On the other hand, ships, trains, and buses aren’t much more efficient at transporting people than are passenger cars. link

When you take into account the lost productivity when workers have to spend days in transit, airplanes are, hands down, a better deal.

Flight Level
Reply to  commieBob
April 13, 2020 11:33 am

Including the top-most bio fresh fruits and vegetables for the typical vegan aviation haters as well as sea food, milk products, fresh ingredients, tractors, humanitarian aid, there’s an airway for about anything, safe and fast.

As well as medevacs and more routinely, HR (human remains).

Only idiots with deeply rooted hypocrisy disorders would attempt to knock-down aviation to improve quality of life.

Just ask yourself why, despite of a general planet wise lockdown, you can still order medical supplies, food, shoes, clothes, essential spares.

What you get travels now more than ever in freighters and even hastily re-purposed passenger liners, such is the demand.

You can’t imagine the catastrophe if, as green commies pretend, all planes were really on the ground.

Those who can afford the high demand driven costs have already saturated the bizjet and private charter market.

The rest of us depend on how many red-eyed freight-dogs go “sun down, gear up, sun up, gear down”, every night, night after night.

April 13, 2020 4:10 am

With the strong reduction in air travel, we will see temperatures continue to drop (mainly in the NH). This again will be an undeniable sign that contrails, not CO2 cause some AGW.

Even though that means aviation alone is to blame, it will still be good news for the industry. First of all contrails are obviously not a lasting “problem” (like CO2 is neither), as they disappear within hours to days. Secondly if people considered this troublesome, flying at lower altitudes could bring a simple refief with only minor increases in fuel consumption.

Reply to  Leitwolf
April 13, 2020 4:58 am

This virus spread quickly thanks to global air travel. That can’t happen again. Even if a vaccine becomes available, other pathogens will arise. There is no cost benefit analysis which can be used to justify international air travel.

Flight Level
Reply to  Adam
April 13, 2020 6:22 am

I don’t think this is the key factor.

Lack of elementary hygiene and civic education are more to blame in the process.

How many passengers wash their hands before boarding? Hardly any. They perfectly know that they will touch handrails, belts, trays, just anything their hands can reach.

Leaving behind their contribution of whatever they touched and handled before.

Recirculated air saves a few pounds of fuel. And almost everything released in a liner’s cabin atmosphere will stay there hopefully trapped in the HEPA filters. I say hopefully because those are expensive to replace and there’s a full blown market of re-conditioned ones certified and imported from you wouldn’t like to know where.

Remember the days one could choose a smoking ticket, usually the aft rows?

There was no perceivable tobacco smell in the front as the entire atmosphere was continuously discharged by a pressure valve located on the aft bulkhead.

Try (ask me how do I know) to have a smoke on a ferry flight sitting in the aft-most seat or galley of a modern liner. The entire cabin starts to smell like an ashtray and you have to play dirty tricks with the APU to cover it once on ground.

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  Adam
April 13, 2020 6:31 am

Adam April 13, 2020 at 4:58 am
So how did the Plague or Spanish Flu get round the world then? The logic of what you say is that no one must move by air, but we can all move by any other means. So one of the most amazing outputs of human imagination should stop dead. That discounts any strategy that we can come up with to solve the problems of desease trasmission.

William Astley
Reply to  Adam
April 13, 2020 11:45 am


Let’s fly, have fun, and make the fear go away.

We are so stupid and corrupt, that there is a medical ‘breakthrough’ that solves are our current problem and ‘cures’ cancer. And I am not ‘joking’. This is a fact.

And the ‘cure’ is correcting a microbiological deficiency in ever citizen’s body.

So rather than ‘correct’ those two deficiencies … we spend trillions of dollars, medically working on those ‘sick’ people.

This change will eliminate roughly 70% of our health care ‘industry’.

It is for the above reason that we have not implemented it yet.

We (all citizens of the developed world) are not easily defeating this virus, all other natural viruses….

And 77% percent of all cancers….

Because we are all (entire population) deficient in ‘Vitamin’ D and Zinc.

Vitamin D is not a vitamin. It is a prohormone that is required by 200 microbiological processes in the body.

So, after 20 years of research, there is absolutely no doubt,

…. that increasing our blood vitamin D concentration from current 26 mg/ml to 60 mg/ml

… and some calcium for those who are deficient, will reduce all cancer occurrence by 77%.

Looking at this one chart. This is a summary of twenty years of research. This cures 77% of all cancers and eliminates a few ‘diseases’

April 13, 2020 5:54 am

There is a pretty basic it’s an aspirational goal ignore it and get politicians in the home country to do their job and help.

Reply to  LdB
April 13, 2020 7:25 am

Well yeah, that’s easy for you to say…..

April 13, 2020 6:10 am

On what basis does the UN aviation body have legal authority to interfere with aviation? These are unelected, unaccountable, undisciplined bureaucrats with no legal authority. Way past time for us to re-think this bureaucratic monster that has grown out of a plan to prevent a repeat of WW2.

Stephen Skinner
April 13, 2020 6:37 am

Leitwolf April 13, 2020 at 4:10 am
“With the strong reduction in air travel, we will see temperatures continue to drop (mainly in the NH).”
This is an assertion built on the incesent assertion that aviation is damaging/warming the planet. By this constant assertion that aviation is a problem means that all discussions on aviation have to be framed around this assertion, therefore you have airlines having to say how they will ‘save the planet’ because they think most of their passengers hold such views.

John K. Sutherland.
April 13, 2020 6:48 am

Prohibit all UN members from flying or driving. That will cut beck emissions significantly.

April 13, 2020 9:00 am

Looks like New York City has plenty of hospital space and the USS Comfort may be sent on its way to other missions.

Buy the Big Apple does have a housing problem for the street people, addicts, and others.

How about that big building right on the East River that currently is mostly vacant. Yeah, let’s turn the UN Building into a shelter and let the kleptocrats conduct their business by tele-conference – using someone else’s money for a change.

Two problems solved at once. Just do it!

Tom Abbott
April 13, 2020 11:46 am

How are the airlines going to be Carbon [Dioxide} neutral by 2020? Are they going to quit using jet fuel? If they don’t, how are they going to offset their carbon dioxide emssions? Through accounting tricks? Are they going to plant a lot of trees? What’s the mechanism?

David Blenkinsop
Reply to  Tom Abbott
April 13, 2020 8:09 pm

How about putting window box planters between the outer seats and the windows on every flight, maybe even have a special section for the seating to allow skinny passengers only, if that’s what it takes to make room for this. Then grow lots and lots of hemp on every flight. That ought to make it carbon neutral ..

(well, hey, it’s no worse a scheme than running lots of windmills for energy)

David Stone
April 16, 2020 3:12 am

John K. Sutherland – exactly. The airlines should refuse to carry anyone affiliated with the UN or IPCC, green politicians who have been vocal critics of the industry should be banned. It’s unreasonable to expect airlines to transport the very people who are working at eliminating air travel, their aim is to put them out of business. Bureaucrats and politicians need to experience the world they’re creating for us. They’ll be more than happy to take in the scenery as they walk or row to their next 5 star hotel.

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