IATE Term of the Week: Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)

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Climate change and global warming are two extremely important issues the whole world is concerned about. In the last years, the European Union and other international institutions and organisations have put many efforts in trying to find practical and immediate solutions for those challenges. In its resolution of 28 November 2019 on the climate and environment emergency, European Parliament urged the Commission to take immediate and ambitious action to limit global warming to 1,5°C.

Later on, during the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, UK (COP26), the European Parliament expressed concerns at the slow progress achieved in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in reducing emissions from international aviation. In this context, the European Parliament also reiterated the need to regulate the sector under the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS), which could also serve as a role model for the parallel work, supporting the higher global ambition at international level, including in the ICAO. Furthermore, the European Parliament called on the Commission and the Member States to do their utmost to strengthen the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) and to support the adoption by the ICAO of a long-term goal to reduce in-sector emissions while safeguarding the Union’s legislative autonomy in implementing the EU ETS Directive.


The International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) mission is to serve as the global forum of States for international civil aviation. ICAO develops policies and standards, undertakes compliance audits, performs studies and analyses, provides assistance and builds aviation capacity through many other activities and the cooperation of its Member States and stakeholders.

The ICAO’s strategic objectives are:

  • Aviation Safety
  • Air Navigation Capacity and Efficiency
  • Aviation Security and Facilitation
  • Economic Development of Air Transport
  • Environmental Protection

CORSIA is the first global market-based measure for any sector and represents a cooperative approach that moves away from a “patchwork” of national and/or regional regulatory initiatives. It offers a way to reduce emissions from international aviation, 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 using technological improvements, operational improvements, and sustainable aviation fuels with emissions units from the carbon market.

CORSIA is implemented in three phases: a pilot phase (2021-2023), a first phase (2024-2026), and a second phase (2027-2035). For the first two phases (2021-2026), participation is voluntary. From 2027 onwards, participation will be determined based on 2018 Revenue Tonne-Kilometres (RTK) data. 

As of 1 January 2022, 107 States had announced their intention to participate in CORSIA and 8 more States (Cambodia, Cuba, Federated States of Micronesia, Iraq, Maldives, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Timor-Leste, and Zimbabwe), announced their intention to participate in CORSIA from 1 January 2023, bringing the total number of participating States to 115.  


Vision and Mission. [online] ICAO Council. Available from: https://www.icao.int/about-icao/Council/Pages/vision-and-mission.aspx [Accessed 7 Dec. 2022].

Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). [online] ICAO. Available from: https://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/CORSIA/Pages/default.aspx [Accessed 7 Dec. 2022].

Environmental Protection, Volume IV — Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). [online] ICAO Council. Available from: https://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/CORSIA/pages/default.aspx [Accessed 7 Dec. 2022].

WRITTEN BY: Giudi Aligi

Born in Italy in 1992, Giudi Aligi holds a Master’s degree in Interpreting and Translation at the University Of International Studies Of Rome. After her studies, she joined the European Solidarity Corps in Jordan, working for an organisation for sustainable development. At the moment, she is a Schumann trainee at the European Parliament, working in the My House of European History Unit.