An Aviation Tax Could Be The Answer To Climate Change Worries

Could an aviation tax be the answer to the European Union’s carbon emissions worries? A group of European MPs think so, as they met in the Netherlands for a two-day conference on the matter.

EU Aviation Tax Carbon European Union
Could an aviation tax be the key to cutting carbon emissions? Photo: Bilal EL-Daou via Pixabay

Climate change is currently a huge concern, both for the aviation industry and in everyday life. We’re seeing companies like Eviation launch all-electric aircraft, and Ryanair has begun to publish monthly CO2 statistics. Occasionally we see an airline run a plastic-free flight or try a new cleaner fuel. However, despite this apparent openness to reducing carbon emissions, not much actually seems to be happening in the day to day running of the aviation industry.

The argument for

The European Union has a fairly robust rail network, with a wide range of high-speed services. Quite often on the shorter flight connections, there is an alternative and quick rail connection. In some cases, such as Paris to Lyon, this can actually be quicker than flying. Indeed, I recently took the Eurostar from London to Paris and back, and would have to say that the experience was so enjoyable, I would always pick it given the choice.

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Carbon Emissions Aviation Tax European Union
Eviation is currently developing a fully electric aircraft in response to growing climate concerns. Photo: Eviation

Having an additional aviation tax would potentially make passengers think twice when booking short flights. Do they really need to take that flight, or would they be better off taking the train? In fact, this would be better than outright banning short domestic flights, as passengers would still be able to travel via air if it was essential.

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The money raised from such a tax could then be spent on sustainability projects that work to offset the carbon footprints of flights. This would be almost like the optional carbon offset fee, often available when booking flights.

The argument against

Airlines appear to be set against the tax. According to Runway Girl, the airline industry says that a tax is not the answer. Why? Because it will push flight costs up even more. Airlines don’t want air travel to become more expensive for travellers. Especially at a time when a €50 ticket is a €1 fare, and almost €49 of taxes and fees. However, without an aviation tax, I struggle to see how the issue will be addressed.

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Carbon Emissions Aviation Tax European Union
Some are trying to encourage travel by train on shorter journeys. Photo: holzijue via Pixabay

All is not lost

According to Runway Girl, six countries within the European Union currently charge some sort of aviation tax. These are:

  • Austria;
  • France;
  • Germany;
  • Italy;
  • Sweden;
  • and the UK.

It seems like the Netherlands are not far behind. While they don’t currently have such a tax, they are spearheading the movement for a standardised aviation tax in the European Union. This is not particularly surprising, as they were trying to ban flights from Amsterdam to Brussels. However, if they fail with their EU mission, they will introduce a country-specific tax.

What do you think the solution to the issue is? Let us know in the comments!

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Nigel

Any European tax collected in this manner will most likely end up funding lavish social welfare schemes: it’s very unlikely that it will be used to do anything to improve the environment. That’s the situation with current duties/levies of an “environmental nature”, and there’s little reason to think that this will change. This is actually an “affluence tax”: left-wing, tree-hugging, environmental hipsters consider flying to be something that’s predominantly the domain of above-average-income snobs from leafy neighborhoods, and they thus see an opportunity to milk a “shame you” levy from flyers. It’s the same reason why lefties in Amsterdam want… Read more »

Jones

To be honest, airtravel is to cheap. You can fly to everywhere in EU for €100. Which is crazy if you see how much time you save. And kerosine is also not so heavily taxed as car fuels.

Just tax the kerosine more and use those funds to give incentives to use synthetic fuels or build/develop electric planes.

Joanna Bailey

I agree on that – incentivising sustainable jet fuels from airline taxes could be a winner. And yes, traveling by air is really very cheap these days.

Doron Kabilio

Getting kind of kooky here. You want to make airfares higher?
Take a train in US, it likely runs on diesel or electricity generated from a coal fired plant..
Unless in France, where nuclear power rules….Ask American politicians to deregulate energy and allow more clean, nuclear plants, if the environmentalists will allow that? See the problem?

All they want are solar and wind, neither of which can fulfill our needs in an economically feasible manner.

Joanna Bailey

It’s not a case of ‘wanting’ to make airfares higher, it’s about encouraging more sustainable means of getting around. And yes, trains do run on diesel, but have the potential to carry way more passengers for much less input energy than a jet.

Launch Director

It is the biggest scam in the history of mankind. It has nothing to do with science, it has everything to do with Gov’t controlling our lives. I could list 100 articles written by real scientists with no political agenda, but I’ll Just post the latest one:
https://notrickszone.com/2019/06/21/mit-doctorate-climate-scientist-slams-gw-claims-based-on-untrustworthy-falsified-data-no-scientific-value/

Joanna Bailey

Really? You’re debating climate change is real? I suppose you think the earth is flat too…

Nigel

Not everyone who is against this tax idea is suffering from climate change denial. There is such a thing as climate change hysteria, and also climate change faschism. If humanity wants to do something real for the environment, it needs to stop breeding like rabbits! A tax on aviation is just leftist symbolism.

Joanna Bailey

I’m happy to debate the pros and cons of taxation, particularly in terms of aviation, but that specific link shared by Launch Director was anti climate change nonsense.

Nigel

Agreed 😏

Launch Director

Did you actually read the article I posted, or are you regurgitating what you’ve been told to think. Here is a PhD MIT true Climate Researcher detailing why so much data used to draw specific conclusions is simply wrong, based on hopelessly flawed, inaccurate data. Read it, you might learn something. There’s been many articles like it, ignored by a media that’s sunk so low it’s worthless. I believe in science, not political scientific. What’s to deny? There’s scientific fact, which can be proven in every attempt imaginable, and scientific theory, which is guessing. Post industrial revolution-based climate change is… Read more »

Nigel

Yes, I read the link…which is in pigeon English. I also note that there is a difference between thin data and wrong data. I particularly note that 10.000 km2 corresponds to 100km x 100km, and I find that to be a very acceptable cell size for temperature sampling on the earth (420 cells around any meridian…not bad at all). I conclude (for many reasons) that the author is either a disgruntled crank or has a screw loose 😏

Joanna Bailey

At the end of the day, if you wanted to prove anything you could Google it up and find a ‘credible’ source. Possibly one with a stronger command of the English language might be more convincing, but I just don’t buy it. I’ve worked in sustainability for two decades, and have attended lectures and seminars with some of the leading climate scientists in the UK. I’ve seen first hand the disappearing coral reefs in the tropics and the creeping deserts in Africa. Climate change is real, but you go on telling yourself it’s all brainwashing nonsense if it makes YOU… Read more »

Nigel

Indeed. Just looking at temperature data from your own country’s meterological service for the last 50 years will show a clear trend!

Matt

The EU is trying to turn Europe into a third world hellhole. As many above have said, it’s all about diverting money. As for the biofuels? There are very few that result in net positive energy output. It usually takes more energy to produce them then can be extracted from the finished fuel. Brazilian sugar cane based ethanol is one of the few ones that’s net positive, but it requires destroying the rainforest to produce. I’m sure that’s a good trade-off for the average eco-fascist.