The National Aviation Policy commits Ireland to the development of a sustainable, resource-efficient aviation sector. The Policy recognises and supports actions relating to emissions and noise to mitigate the negative external impacts of aviation while facilitating the sustainable growth of the sector in support of business, tourism and air travel consumers.
In line with Resolutions of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on climate change, Ireland continues to coordinate an Action Plan for Aviation Emissions Reduction. An updated Action Plan has been completed and submitted to ICAO on May 10 and is now published on my Department's website.
The measures outlined in the Action Plan 2019-2023 at national level include ongoing programmes of fleet renewal by Irish registered airlines, moving to better fuel efficient engines and a range of air traffic management and airport operational improvements.
The Action Plan is the result of consultation across the range of aviation stakeholders and details actions by them, both at supra-national and national level, designed to mitigate the impact of aviation on climate.
Carbon (CO2) emissions from aviation have been included in the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) since 2012. Directive 2003/87/EC as amended, requires all airlines operating in Europe, to record emissions (calculated on the basis of measuring fuel consumed), report and verify their emissions, and to surrender allowances against those emissions. The number of allowances is capped requiring airlines to either reduce emissions or purchase emissions credits. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is designated the competent authority for administering the EU ETS scheme in respect of aircraft operators in Ireland.
At its 39th Assembly in 2016 ICAO agreed to implement a Global Market Based Measure in the form of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) to address any annual increase in total CO2 emissions from international civil aviation above the 2020 levels. It is the first such scheme agreed at international level for any industrial sector.
The scheme is designed to allow aircraft operators offset emissions through the purchase of credits from verified environmental projects in areas outside of aviation. The scheme will be implemented in pilot, voluntary and mandatory phases to 2035 – Ireland is taking part in the voluntary pilot phase from 2021 alongside the other 43 members of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC). The EU Commission is in the process of adopting various provisions for the appropriate monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions for the purpose of implementing CORSIA.
My Department is working closely with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the EPA on the implementation of CORSIA at national level. The EPA is actively engaging with airlines on the reporting requirements for both EU-ETS and CORSIA.