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

November 13, 2017
Jutta Kill

Unlike other sectors, international aviation is not included in 2015’s Paris Agreement. This has allowed aviation to lag behind other sectors when it comes to reducing emissions. In the face of mounting criticism, the international aviation sector – via its specialised UN agency, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) – has come up with a plan which it says will reduce its climate impact.

A large part of this plan is offsetting.

Fern's new research shows that forest carbon offsets fail to meet ICAO's proposed criteria for accepting offests. It also details two forest carbon offset projects that have been used by major international airlines to compensate for flight emissions – despite failing to meet nearly all of ICAO's proposed criteria.

If ICAO is at all serious about ensuring its own criteria are met, it must exclude forest offsets from its offsetting mechanism.

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