featured work: advisory

Carbon Offset & Reduction Scheme for International Aviation: Global Markets-Based Measure Technical Task Force (GMTF)

Client: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
– US Government

Engagement - advisory

Between 2017 to 2019, Anthropocene was engaged as a sub-contractor to the Federal Aviation Administration (US Government), to support the development of the CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting & Reduction Scheme for International Aviation).

Administered and run by the UN-International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the specific rule-sets for CORSIA are contained within the SARP’s package (Standards & Recommended Practices), which are in turn implemented by all member states through domestic legislation. I was nominated by the FAA as a member of the Global Markets-Based Measure Technical Task Force (GMTF), a group convened by ICAO, tasked with the development of the SARPs. GMTF is a sub-activity under ICAO’s Committee on Environmental Protection (CAEP).


Working alongside experts from other ICAO member states, airline industry and NGO observers, I contributed to the drafting, development and agreement of various  technical recommendations made by GMTF to the ICAO Council, for ultimate inclusion in the CORSIA SARP’s package.


In June 2018 the ICAO Council adopted a set of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARP’s) for the implementation of CORSIA. 

Global civil aviation contributes

~ 0 %
Global CO2 emissions per year

Expected demand for offsets under CORSIA

0 Bn
metric tonnes CO2 between 2021-2035

Expected cost to supply CORSIA

$ 0 Bn
in 2035

Aviation and climate change

Reducing global transport greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will be challenging since the continuing growth in passenger and freight activity could outweigh all mitigation measures unless transport emissions can be strongly decoupled from GDP growth (high confidence).

If the global aviation industry were a country it would rank 20th in terms of GDP, generating $704.4 Billion in GDP/yr and estimated to reach $1.5 Trillion by 2035, according to IATA. The global economy is indeed dependent upon air travel, with some 4.4 Billion passenger journeys alone completed in 2018. The environmental impact of air travel is perhaps unsurprisingly equally significant, and growing.

In 2018 CO2 emissions from global air travel amounted to 895 million metric tonnes. To put this into context, in 2017 the CO2 emissions of Germany were 799 million metric tonnes, the 6th highest by country worldwide. While not the single largest source of transport emissions,  air travel contributes approximately 2% of all man-made CO2 emissions on an annual basis, and are growing.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) estimates that by 2050 CO2 emissions from air travel could double or even triple. Such growth would result in the sector emitting ~40+ Gigatonnes by 2040, equivalent to approximately ~4% of the remaining global carbon budget.

In addition to CO2 emissions, combustion jet-engines also emit NOx (nitrogen oxide), H20 (water vapour) and particulate matter (also known as black carbon). Each a greenhouse gas, contribute to the sectors overall climate impact.

This context of correlated growth in air travel and emissions, have been further compounded by the lack of near-term alternative technologies and in the case of international emissions in particular, who is responsible for managing them. 

The Paris Climate Agreement, administered by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), encompasses all sources of domestic GHG emissions, not international emissions from air travel and maritime. These are dealt with by ICAO and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) respectively. 


UN - International civil aviation organisation (ICAO)

Aspirational Goals for International Aviation Emissions:


Basket of Measures

  • 2012 ICAO sets aspirational goals

    37th Session of ICAO Assembly adopts  aspirational goals for international aviation emissions, including the improvement of fuel efficiency by 2% each year and Carbon Neutral growth in emissions from 2020.

  • 2013 - Basket of Measures adopted

    38th Session of ICAO Assembly adopts basket of measures including Operational Improvements, Advances in Aircraft Technology, Sustainable Alternative Aviation Fuels and Market-Based Measures ("MBM").

  • 2016 - CORSIA adopted

    38th Session of ICAO Assembly 

  • 2018 - CORSIA SARPs adopted

    38th Session of ICAO Assembly 

  • 2019 - CORSIA SARPs approved by the CORSIA Council

  • 2020 - Emission Unit Programs approved by the ICAO Council

    Item content. Click the edit button to change this text.

corsia- Carbon Offsetting & Reduction Scheme for International Aviation

What is CORSIA?

Standing alongside the basket of measures introduced by ICAO, CORSIA provides the market-based measure component. It allows airlines to make use of carbon offsets to reduce growth in emissions above the baseline, otherwise not reduced through efficiency improvements and sustainable alternative aviation fuels.

How does it work?

CORSIA is a type of ‘cap-and-offset’ mechanism, whereby emissions which occur above the baseline in a given year, must be offset by airlines. It differs from that of the emissions trading schemes in the EU and California, in that there are no allowances or permits issued. It is the first and to date, only such market-based measure to be implemented at sector level globally. 

Sectoral Baseline

The baseline against which growth is measured is based on the global average of emissions from international air travel in 2019 and 2020.  From 2021 onward, any years in which emissions for are higher than the baseline year will determine the quantity of offsets which airlines will need to purchase and cancel to meet their requirements. This process of data monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) is already underway and is making use of rule-sets and guidance developed by GMTF in the SARP’s package. 


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