Carbon Offsetting Reduction Scheme for International Aviation - Discussion Paper

What is CORSIA?

The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is one way that Member States of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) are working to achieve carbon neutral growth for international aviation from 2020 onwards. 

Why is it needed?

Advances in aircraft technology, operational improvements and a greater use of sustainable aviation fuels will not be enough to ensure carbon neutral growth from 2020.  Since airlines fly to destinations worldwide every day, having common international rules is important. CORSIA ensures that all airlines receive equal treatment, and must meet the same requirements.

Who is implicated?

CORSIA will affect aircraft operators with international flights (flights between Canada and another State) that result in 10 0001 tonnes of CO2 emissions or more each year. It does not include:

  • Flights within Canada;
  • Aircraft with less than 5,700 kg Maximum Take Off Weight;
  • Humanitarian, medical or firefighting operations; and,
  • New air operators (exempt from offsetting for their first three years of operation)

1 The conversion factor for jet fuel to CO2 is 3.16, therefore 10,000 tonnes of CO2 represents approximately 3,200 tonnes of fuel.

How Does Offsetting Work?

Offsetting means aircraft operators must buy emission units (equivalent to 1 tonne of CO2) on the open market to offset some of their emissions. Emission units will come from eligible programs or projects. ICAO is currently working to determine eligibility criteria.

To start, and through 2027, CORSIA offsetting obligations will apply only to routes between the 73 States participating voluntarily, whose operators represent 87​.7​​​​​% of international aviation activity. Therefore, in order for a route to fall under the offsetting requirements of CORSIA, both the state that a flight departs from and the one that it arrives at must be a participant in the scheme.  Canada is participating voluntarily.

Beginning in 2027, participation in CORSIA will be mandatory for most States, so it will apply to the majority of international routes. The only routes exempted from the scheme after 2027 will be those to and from States:

  •   with low aviation activity; and

  •   classified as Least Developed, Small Island Developing, or Landlocked Developing.

To start, CORSIA will base offsetting obligations entirely on an operator’s share of total international aviation CO2 emissions on covered routes and the sector’s growth post 2020.

Over time, CORSIA will also base emission obligations on an operator’s individual growth in CO2 emissions post 2020.

Every three years starting in 2025, operators will have to acquire and retire the number of emissions units that match their offsetting obligation for the relevant compliance period.

Note: ICAO is currently developing a methodology to enable operators to reduce their offsetting obligations by using sustainable alternative fuels.


Annual Monitoring, Verification, and Reporting (MRV)

All operators with international operations will have to begin monitoring and reporting their covered CO2 emissions in 2019, and continue to do so every year. Operators will have to hire an accredited third party to verify their emission reports before submitting them to Transport Canada. The baseline information we collect in 2019 and 2020 will help determine offset requirements for 2021.

Implementation in Canada

Canada began developing its domestic CORSIA regulations in the fall of 2017, based on the draft final requirements from ICAO. We will complete regulations for the monitoring, reporting and verification portion by 2019 and for the offsetting component by 2021.