The European Union (EU) is urging ICAO to establish the most robust Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) system possible, so the global airline industry can stabilize CO2 emissions at 2020 levels.

The ICAO Council is preparing to meet in Montreal to decide on key parameters for CORSIA, including finalizing regulations for the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of emissions.

CORSIA is scheduled to start in 2021, but airlines will have to begin tracking and reporting CO2 emissions from Jan. 1, 2019.

EU transport commissioner Violeta Bulc will travel to Montreal next week to pass on the bloc’s message. She and Miguel Arias Canete, the EU’s commissioner for climate action and energy, have written a letter to European transport ministers explaining their stance.

“Any attempt to weaken key elements of the overall CORSIA package, notably on the emissions unit eligibility criteria, transparency, [and] sustainability criteria for alternative fuels, all of them critical to CORSIA’s environmental effectiveness and uniform application, should be strongly opposed,” the commissioners wrote in the Jun. 13 letter. “If the package currently on the table were to be weakened in the ongoing negotiations [over MRV and other final details], the EU should bring back the substantial concerns it had raised previously, relating to key elements of the scheme’s integrity.”

A number of European countries have already written to ICAO expressing concerns about CORSIA. France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Finland and Norway have all expressed concerns over the quality of the “emission units,” or credits airlines can buy from environmental projects to offset their CO2 emissions, as well as the sustainability of the aviation biofuels set to be recognized by the scheme.

The commissioners stressed in their letter that “the EU should lead by example.”

Helen Massy-Beresford, helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk