Qantas has been accused of having one stance on climate change in public and another in private.

In a grand announcement last year, Qantas claimed to be “the only airline group to commit to cap its net emissions at 2020 levels, and the second to commit to net zero emissions by 2050”.

But in following months, reports say Qantas lobbied the Federal Government to push for weaker global rules on carbon offsets for airlines.

Leading independent news outlet Michael West Media is reporting that the lobbying was conducted largely by phone, leaving only remnants behind in documents obtained by a Freedom of Information (FoI) request.

It appears that Qantas was interested in having the government push for a weaker start to the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s “Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation” (CORSIA).

The 15-year CORSIA plan (which is due to start in 2021) requires participating airlines offset their carbon emissions above a baseline. Originally the baseline was an average of the airline’s emissions in 2019 and 2020. However, with the collapse of international travel in early 2020, this two-year average would have been much lower than airlines expected.

Emails obtained from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development referred to “Qantas’s suggestion that 2019 only be used as the baseline year”.

Conservationists say that by pushing for the 2019 baseline only, airlines have “undermined their own case for international action”.

More details are available here.