Adopting new, important international aviation environmental protection standards


In 2016, ICAO adopted the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) to address CO2 emissions from international aviation. CORSIA is the first global market-based measure for any sector and represents a cooperative approach that moves away from a “patchwork” of national or regional regulatory initiatives. It offers a harmonized way to reduce emissions from international aviation, minimizing market distortion while respecting the special circumstances and respective capabilities of ICAO Member States.

CORSIA complements the other elements of the basket of measures by offsetting the amount of CO2 emissions that cannot be reduced through the use of technological improvements, operational improvements, and sustainable aviation fuels with emissions units from the carbon market.  

ICAO’s Council has updated a range of international aviation environmental standards as it continues to make progress during its 228th session. A new amendment to Annex 16 of the Chicago Convention helps to importantly clarify the monitoring, reporting, and verification requirements relating to CORSIA.

The same amendment defines a new CORSIA offsetting threshold for smaller airlines, confirms the offsetting calculation to be applied by new operators that don’t qualify as ‘new entrants’, and formalizes alignment adjustments relevant to related and recently updated ISO Standards, and the outcomes of the 41st ICAO Assembly last October.

Additional progress was made by the Council on new Annex 16 amendments to address aircraft noise and aircraft engine emissions, relating mainly to their conformity and applicability requirements.

“The progress achieved this week in this area re-affirms States’ commitment to their Strategic Objective on Environmental Protection, including by addressing the climate crisis and the aviation sector’s readiness to address challenges relating to local air quality and aircraft noise,” ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano underscored.

ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar noted in turn that “The effective cooperation among the government and NGO experts in ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP), in addition to the tremendous support it has received from the Air Navigation Commission, were critical to the successful adoption of this important set of amendments.”

The new Annex 16 amendments were adopted by Council with an effective date of 31 July 2023, and an applicability date of 1 January 2024.