The following article is part of an Eco-Perspective special in which the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law is collaborating with the VLS COP22 Observer Delegation
By Miranda Jensen
International aviation emissions are not explicitly addressed under the Paris Agreement, but their successful regulation nevertheless relies on the same elements of transparency and global stocktake as in Articles 13 and 14 of the Agreement.
Earlier this fall, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) passed the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) as one of the tools in its “basket of measures” to obtain carbon neutral growth by 2020. While there are many tools in this basket that are designed to work together to achieve ICAO’s carbon neutral goal, CORSIA, the final tool, strives to fill gaps with offsets. However, several details surrounding these offsets remain unclear.
Regardless of the specific details on CORSIA’s offsets, one thing is clear: transparency will be essential to its success. Like Article 13 of the Paris Agreement, transparency will help build trust among the parties. It will deter cheating and allow other countries to hold each other accountable. ICAO will provide transparency through a registry, which is currently under development.
In addition, CORSIA contains a counterpart to the global stocktake in Paris Agreement Article 14. Beginning in 2022, the CORSIA offset scheme will be reviewed every three years. At today’s panel on ICAO’s offsetting scheme, Jos Delbeke, Director General, DG CLIMA, European Commission recommended that ICAO use this review to vamp up the ambition of the scheme. He suggested that these reviews take into account scientific evidence to be sure the scheme is in line with the global goal of keeping the earth’s temperature increase below 2˚C (with efforts to stay below 1.5˚C). In this way, ICAO could bolster NDCs from the parties to the Paris Agreement.
The enormous momentum behind the Paris Agreement has spurred climate action among various entities, like ICAO, who do not fall directly under the treaty. However, in addition to momentum, the Paris Agreement has also provided a model for transparency and global stocktake that these entities can use when creating their own climate actions. Together, these elements will be essential to keeping temperature rises below 2˚ or 1.5˚C in the coming years