EU backs COVID-19 changes to airline CO2 scheme, EU official says

BRUSSELS, June 9 (Reuters) - The European Union on Tuesday backed proposals to change a planned U.N scheme to tackle aviation’s carbon footprint, an EU official said, a move campaigners said could allow airlines to pollute freely for years.

With planes grounded around the world, airlines shedding jobs and aviation emissions plummeting amid the coronavirus pandemic, carriers want changes to the U.N. aviation agency’s CORSIA deal to cap emissions from international flights.

Starting in 2021, CORSIA would see airlines buy carbon offset credits to cover any emissions from international flights above a baseline of average emissions in 2019 and 2020.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) wants this baseline changed to 2019, because aviation emissions in 2020 are already lower than expected due to the pandemic.

An EU official said the EU’s 27 member states decided on Tuesday to support these changes.

Reporting by Kate Abnett, Marine Strauss; Additional reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Edmund Blair