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Depending on whom you listen to, the carbon offsetting deal struck at the 39th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in October was either an “historic” act of environmental altruism by the aviation industry, or a shameful attempt to “evade responsibility” for the damage caused by flying.
Dubbed the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), the accord will see countries responsible for the majority of cross-border emissions offsetting their pollution above a predetermined level. States will achieve this by investing in United Nations-approved projects that remove greenhouse gases from the environment, or otherwise mitigate global warming. If fully enacted alongside the Paris Agreement – another UN-brokered deal that covers domestic flying – CORSIA should deliver the industry’s all-important goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 onwards.
The need for airlines to play their part in tackling climate change is disputed by almost no-one...