CTI Workshop 2017: Acting on a vision of sustainable aviation

On 29-30 June 2017, adelphi has organised and designed the latest Climate Technology Initiative (CTI) Workshop. More than 70 experts discussed climate action in the civil aviation sector and found that market-based measures hold a significant potential for future climate action in the sector.

03/08/2017

This year’s CTI Workshop followed up on the momentum that climate action in aviation gained through the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) adoption of Assembly Resolution A39-3 on climate action in the aviation sector in October 2016. The workshop dealt in particular with the Resolution’s provisions for a new global market-based measure. This new measure, the “Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation” (CORSIA) is expected to contribute to the organisation’s aspirational goal of achieving carbon neutral growth from 2020 onwards.

One of the event’s main insights was that CORSIA holds a significant potential for future climate action in the civil aviation sector. At the same time it became evident that the role of environmental integrity, standards and the level of ambition must not be underestimated during the phase when CORSIA will become operational.

Aviation turns the page on sustainability

Under the title of “Climate Action in International Aviation: Challenges and Opportunities for the new global market-based measure CORSIA”, policy and aviation experts, decision-makers, scientists and representatives of financial institutions met to discuss climate action in the civil aviation sector.

The workshop took a conceptual approach to ICAO's new offsetting scheme through an analysis of the general requirements for CORSIA, ranging from monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) considerations and the eligibility and environmental integrity of different offsetting standards, to the interaction between CORSIA and the Paris Agreement and the European Union’s emission trading system (EU ETS). Taking a more practical perspective, the workshop also took into consideration the view of the airline industry, the potential implications of CORSIA for the global supply and demand of carbon credits and the expected requirements of capacity building.

The two-day workshop was opened by a representative of BMUB and Ms Jane Hupe, Director of ICAO’s Environmental Programme. She explained the background of CORSIA and invited all workshop participants to jointly act on a “vision of sustainable aviation”. She was joined on stage by a senior scientist who explained that roughly 5% of anthropogenic warming is caused by aviation, including both direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and indirect climate effects.  

Throughout the first day of the workshop, participants further discussed the role of sound registry and monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) structures for CORSIA. Particular attention was paid to different types of offsets that might become eligible under ICAO’s offsetting scheme, including REDD+.

The first day closed with a session that allowed representatives of the aviation industry to express their views. It was pointed out that more than 50% of world travellers use aviation and that aviation is a prerequisite for modern global trade. At the same time, the speakers acknowledged that mitigation measures for the sector’s GHG emissions are imperative. They further argued that internationally agreed climate protection goals could not be achieved without carbon offsetting.

Linking CORSIA and the Paris Agreement

The second day of the workshop began with a session on the linkages between the UNFCCC’s climate framework, namely the Paris Agreement (PA), and CORSIA. The speakers discussed options for integrating both frameworks and took a closer look at the PA’s strong language on environmental integrity as well as its provisions for cooperative approaches under Article 6.2. They agreed that communication and cooperation between both frameworks is key – both to CORSIA’s success and to ensuring high-ambition climate action under the PA.

Getting ready for take-off

In the last session, representatives from public and private policy and financing institutions shared their view on what it takes to get ready for CORSIA’s take-off. They discussed the role of ICAO’s regional capacity building seminars for launching a successful CORSIA pilot phase and put into focus developing countries’ particular need for capacity building. The speakers and panelists agreed that the timeline for climate action in the aviation sector is very tight and that it is therefore time to grasp existing opportunities now.

As in previous years, adelphi took on the development of the workshop’s conceptual design, its conference management, the selection of participants and speakers, and conducting the 2017 CTI Workshop on behalf of BMUB.

All workshop presentations are available for download here.