If it were a country, aviation would be the world’s seventh largest emitter of carbon dioxide. The challenge to reduce its emissions is therefore urgent, but when the United Nation's International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) released its sustainable aviation plan in September 2016, it was met with shock and horror. Despite small positive steps such as introducing more fuel-efficiency, the main thrust was to use the widely discredited tools of offsetting and biofuels.

This can never be considered “green”.

ICAO claims it will “offset” its increased emissions through a Global Market Based Mechanism. Given the huge number of credits airlines would need to purchase, many presume that the industry will focus on trees, which have long been seen as a source of cheap offsets.

But there is one problem: forest offsets don’t work…
… and with less than five years left until global emissions put the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature aspiration out of reach, we do not have the luxury of choosing between reducing emissions and protecting forests. We need to do both.

Fern critiques forest carbon offsets and works with other NGOs to campaign for the aviation industry to come up with a plan to reduce emissions, rather than relying on the false solutions of forest offsets and biofuels.

Key publications

To find out more about the dangers of ICAO’s climate plan, read our study of airlines’ failed forest offset projects: 

Unearned credit: Why aviation industry forest offsets are doomed to fail.

Read this statement, signed by 100 NGOs, which exposes how the aviation industry is dodging the Paris Agreement and failing to take accountability for its emissions: 

International declaration denounces ICAO offset plan.

Also watch our short film: How UN aviation deal is cheating the climate.
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