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This emissions deal could change aviation as we know it

Aviation accounts for some two percent of the world's CO2 emissions.

A much-anticipated deal that will take on carbon emissions from the aviation sector was agreed upon at this week’s 9th annual International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) summit in Montreal. Some 191 nations have agreed to implement a Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which will mandate that airlines buy ‘offset credits’ in order to cap aviation emissions at 2020 levels.

The deal will apply to international cargo and passenger flights, as well as business jets that generate over 10,000 tonnes of emissions per year. CORSIA will commence with an opt-in period of voluntary participation from 2021 to 2026. All participating states will be required to join from 2027.

Some 65 states have said they will begin adhering to the agreement in 2021, including the US and China. However, CORSIA deal does not align with the primary goal of the Paris Climate Agreement — to keep warming “well below” 2C.

Regardless, many in the aviation industry praised the agreement as a crucial step in tackling CO2 emissions from aircraft. It’s believed that domestic and international flights account for two percent of CO2 emissions globally.

“Today’s agreement shows what can be accomplished when we work together. The aviation industry understands that sustainability is critical. Airlines will continue to invest in new technology—particularly new aircraft and sustainable alternative fuels —to improve their environmental performance,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

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