The EU will miss its 2030 aviation emissions target by almost 100m tonnes if it adopts a new industry-backed standard being rolled out next year, a transport campaigning group has claimed. The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (Corsia) would allow airlines to offset emissions growth, rather than necessarily reduce it, according to a report prepared for Transport & Environment, a Brussels-based group for non-governmental organisations.

T&E said Corsia had “substantial and ongoing failings” and only offered “cheap and ineffective” remedies for emissions, which contribute towards climate change. It also said Corsia would represent a “financial windfall for airlines”, saving them more than €3bn a year compared with expanding an existing scheme. The International Civil Aviation Organization, the UN agency that developed Corsia, said the scheme was one part of “ICAO’s basket of measures designed to reduce carbon emissions from international aviation” and that improvements in aircraft technology, operations and sustainable aviation fuels would “achieve the international aviation sector’s global goal of carbon neutral growth from 2020”.

The aviation industry supports Corsia. In December 2017, Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways owner IAG, called Corsia “an excellent first step”, while low-cost European carrier Ryanair has said it is a “historic breakthrough in global carbon emission regulation”. Paul Steele, senior vice-president at the International Air Transport Association, which represents almost 300 airlines, said: “The agreement of Corsia by ICAO states was hugely significant as it offers the most effective and efficient means of offsetting the emissions that cannot be cut through technological and operational improvements in the short term.”