PORT VILA, Vanuatu: A partnership between the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is delivering practical capacity building for Pacific aviation agencies on international carbon offsets and reduction initiatives to address climate change.
The PASO and EASA information webinars are tackling aviation sector linkages to environmental protection and climate change and addressing the main features of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) State Action Plan for the reduction of international emissions from international aviation and the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme on International Aviation (CORSIA).
Civil aviation authority representatives from the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu participated in the PASO and EASA information webinars which started on Thursday, 30 September.
Mr. Luc Tytgat, EASA’s Strategy and Safety Management Director opened the first webinar and emphasised the EASA’s full readiness to support Pacific States to achieve carbon neutral growth.
“EASA believes supporting Small Island Developing States, and in particular Pacific Island countries, with climate change expertise is a step forward to a greener and more sustainable aviation sector in keeping with the international long-term aspirational goal of carbon neutral growth,” said Mr. Tytgat.
Mr. Andrew Valentine, PASO’s General Manager said that the partnership between PASO and EASA provides useful technical and targeted capacity building to support PASO’s Members as they start to offset and reduce their CO2 emissions from international aviation.
“We welcome our practical partnership with EASA to deliver expert awareness and thank EASA for funding this webinar program. This initiative will lead to an enhanced understanding by our membership of ICAO’s environmental protection requirements and enable us to consider how the Pacific region best contributes to the global efforts of reducing carbon emission in aviation,” said Mr. Valentine.
Adopted in August 2016, CORSIA is a global aviation offsetting scheme, whereby States, airlines and other aircraft operators offset growth in CO2 emissions above the baseline. Seven PASO Members, the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, are set to voluntarily participate in the CORSIA from 1 January 2022.
PASO’s and EASA’s cooperation started in 2020 with capacity building activities to scale up the CORSIA scheme awareness amongst PASO’s membership and develop State action plans for the reduction of CO2 emissions. PASO and EASA are continuing to develop future cooperative projects on a more formalised basis.
This week’s webinar provided an overview of the linkages between the region’s environmental initiatives and the aviation sector. This included the Pacific’s long-term “Strategy 2030”, which provides a blueprint for Pacific Island country actions to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Domestic and international climate change activities to reduce CO2 international aviation emissions to achieve ICAO’s long-term aspirational goal through different tools and measures were also explored.
The second regional webinar on 5 October 2021 will focus on developing a comprehensive understanding of ICAO’s CORSIA to enable effective offsetting schemes for participating Pacific countries.
The two webinar events start a program of tailored PASO and EASA facilitated one-on-one sessions with the civil aviation authorities of Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands to understand the features of ICAO’s State Action Plan for the reduction of CO2 emissions from international aviation and CORSIA requirements.
The Pacific is considered one of the most vulnerable regions to the impacts of climate change and rising sea levels.
Through the Pacific Islands Forum initiatives, all Forum Member States are participating and contributing to addressing the negative effects of climate change. The Pacific’s environmental integrity is a key focus of the “2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent” to protect and secure the Pacific people, place, and prospects.
Although civil aviation contributes to less than 2% of the world carbon footprint, the ICAO is further encouraging and soliciting support of all its 193 Member States to participate and further reduce aviation carbon emissions.
Ongoing efforts include using technology to reduce aircraft engine noise and carbon emissions. The development of alternative or “clean” fuels with the aim to reduce or eliminate the use of fossil fuels for aircraft completely in the future is also continuing.