Protests against International Aviation Emissions Strategy

New briefing exposes plans for palm oil in the airplane tank & aviation emissions scheme (CORSIA) as set to fail to reduce aviation emissions

Planned protests in Montreal at International Aviation Assembly (24th of September to 4th of October) // New briefing exposes plans for palm oil in the airplane tank & aviation emissions scheme (CORSIA) as set to fail to reduce aviation emissions

In the upcoming days, major decisions will be taken in Montreal concerning the future of aviation and climate heating. A large civil society Coalition has formed in Montreal in response to the upcoming UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly, demanding to radically cut air traffic. Several actions are planned, including a mass demonstration with Greta Thunberg passing by the ICAO headquarters on Friday, 27th of September – the international Climate Strike day.

The ICAO proposes to achieve “carbon neutral growth” for international aviation using “alternative” fuels and carbon offsets, under a scheme called CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation). “CORSIA is a dangerous, deeply flawed distraction that will result in more, not less emissions”, warns Magdalena Heuwieser from Stay Grounded, an international network for reducing air traffic, combining 138 member organisations.

“Offsets will not save us. A huge new demand for forest carbon offsets won’t replace cutting greenhouse gas emissions, but is expected to cause more land grabbing and human rights violations”, explains Magdalena Heuwieser. “The new Scheme is not only ineffective, it is also dangerous”, she adds.

Biofuels from Palm oil

“Corsia promotes large-scale aviation biofuels, likely from palm oil, which will cause more deforestation and make climate change even worse”, explains Rachel Smolker from Biofuelwatch. ICAO’s goal is to increase so-called “alternative aviation fuels.” A new briefing by Biofuelwatch explains that aviation biofuels are most likely to be produced from palm oil, a leading cause of deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions and human rights abuses. The company Neste, with a facility in Singapore, the heart of palm oil growing region, has already announced its intention to become the world leader in aviation biofuel production. Introducing huge new demand for palm oil will only exacerbate the existing problems with palm oil, and do nothing to reduce emissions from aviation.

CORSIA – a threat to effective regulations

The scheme aims to undermine other regional measures to effectively reduce aviation’s climate impact: A specific motion will be discussed during the ICAO Assembly, aiming to make CORSIA the only allowed market based measure for international aviation. “CORSIA wants to maintain never-ending aviation growth and to undermine measures which would restrict aviation. States should take care that the flawed offset mechanism does not hinder more effective measures to come into effect”, Magdalena Heuwieser points out. “Instead of CORSIA and the myth of carbon neutral growth, we call for rapidly reducing air traffic”, demand Stay Grounded and the Montreal coalition. They propose several regulations: “The privileges of the aviation industry need to be stopped. We need to impose a kerosene tax, ticket taxes and a frequent flyer levy. Short haul flights must be limited, while fostering alternatives like trains and passenger ships. Also, a moratorium on airport projects is necessary.”


Biofuelwatch, press release, 2019-09-23.


ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization


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