The EU has changed its baseline for monitoring emissions from aviation, due to what is being described as an ‘unprecedented’ drop in air traffic this year due to Covid-19.

Originally, as established in 2018, the baseline for monitoring aviation emissions was calculated as the average international aviation carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2019 and 2020.

However, under this new decision, adopted today, Tuesday, June 9, by the Council of the EU, this baseline will refer to 2019 emission levels only.

The reference period which is used in arriving at the baseline determines the objectives for the stabilisation of emissions to be achieved by international aviation under the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

CORSIA was agreed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in 2016. The new CORSIA baseline will be discussed by the ICAO council this month.

CORSIA is to be reviewed every three years. The first review is scheduled for 2022. The CORSIA pilot phase is due to start in 2021.

Department considering carbon sequestration payments

In other news related to carbon emissions, the means to pay farmers for sequestering carbon are being considered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for a “strategic CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] plan” for Ireland.

Minister Michael Creed pointed out that provision for such methods is made in the EU’s recently published Farm to Fork Strategy.

Responding to a written parliamentary question from Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy, Minister Creed said: “The EU Farm to Fork Strategy…includes reference to a new EU model of financially supporting farmers for sequestering carbon on their farms.”