by Donald Wood
Last updated: 2:07 PM ET, Mon March 20, 2023
Data from an airline industry trade group suggests increasing international flight demand will result in emissions-related limitations proposed by the United Nations being reached by 2024.
According to Reuters.com, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said current air traffic recovery suggests the industry will exceed an emissions limit established by the U.N. under the first phase of its Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) by the end of next year.
The CORSIA plan would cap emissions from international flights at 85 percent of 2019 levels, a mark the IATA believes will be reached next year. As part of the first phase, airlines will be permitted to purchase offsets to meet industry standards.
While the first phase is voluntary, CORSIA becomes mandatory in 2027, meaning carriers from more than 100 participating countries would be forced to offset the rising emissions. As a result, airlines have already started purchasing carbon credits.
In response, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said offsetting amounts associated with CORSIA's first phase requirements would be calculated in 2026.
United Airlines is one of the many carriers worldwide arguing that offsetting does not fix the issue, instead pushing for the industry to focus on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), electric aircraft and carbon sequestration.
As of December, Reuters reported the "total volume of SAF used in its operations remained less than 0.1 percent of its total aviation fuel usage," a major hurdle for the industry to overcome.
Sustainability remains a hot topic, as an increasing number of tourists want travel companies to focus on sustainable operations. A recent survey found that more than half of consumers consider sustainable tourism options important when purchasing travel. Around 60 percent said they would prefer to spend their money at businesses that follow best practices for sustainability.
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