World moves to offset airplane emissions in landmark deal

The aviation industry, long known for eluding emissions standards, will for the first time offset its pollution through carbon credits or funding green projects, the result of a United Nations-sponsored deal approved this week.

Delegates at the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal sealed the historic plan that some environmental advocates have deemed weak, but the industry and countries overwhelmingly favor.

Under CORSIA — short for Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation — the industry will voluntarily (at first) offset its emissions through the purchase of credits, or the funding of still unspecified projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere.

CORSIA applies only to international flights, which make up about 60 percent of aviation-related emissions, according to the Associated Press. Domestic flight emissions fall under the Paris Accord, a global agreement that just passed the threshold to enter into force in early November.

Important airport hubs will fall under the plan, as some 65 countries — including the United States, Mexico, the European Union, the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore — agreed to participate.

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