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Plenty of offset supply for CORSIA despite COVID-19’s impact on emissions baseline

Published: March 23, 2020 by Editorial Team

Ever since the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) announced the development of the Carbon Offsetting Scheme for International Aviation, better known as CORSIA, the big question has been: How much demand for voluntary market carbon offsets will CORSIA generate? This week, Ecosystem Marketplace published a comprehensive supply and demand analysis for CORSIA’s three-year pilot phase, which 82 of ICAO’s 193 member countries have elected to participate in. Participation is voluntary through 2026.

The analysis revealed that for CORSIA’s pilot phase (2020-2023), the range of carbon offset supply is between 386-569 million metric tons (for vintage 2016 and later) which is two to four times higher than estimated demand. The analysis takes into account the effect that COVID-19 will have on the 2019-2020 airline industry’s emissions average, which will determine the program’s baseline. Emissions from airline industry growth above the 2019-2020 emissions baseline average will need to be offset, so if the baseline average is lower because passengers are canceling flights in 2020, more offsets will be needed once air travel rebounds.

This report should allay any concerns industry might have that a COVID-19-affected baseline will result in future CORSIA demand outstripping available supply. There shouldn’t be any need to revisit the baseline calculation, especially because countries are able to make individual adjustments during the pilot phase that could mitigate any overly burdensome impact on the baseline.