Aviation is the next target in Europe

by William Yeatman on April 13, 2004

in Kyoto Negotiations, Politics

Aviation demanded and received a separate, special deal in the Kyoto Protocol, but several governments and the European Union are now actively exploring ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes.  The goal is to reduce airline passenger demand, and the methods being considered are additional taxes on air travel or including airlines in a cap-and-trade system. 

Emissions from aviation are substantial.  For example, in the United Kingdom aviation accounts for 15 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions, and this is estimated to grow by two thirds by 2050.  Cheaper flights and more passengers account for most of the projected increase.

The German Environment Ministry is arguing that government regulation is a necessity and has suggested that aviation be included in the EUs proposed carbon cap-and-trade system. On the other hand, the British Airports Authority has reacted to speculation by insisting that it would only enter an emissions trading system if it were on a global scale.  Caroline Corfield, head of media relations for BAA, has stated, If you put prices up, it will have an impact on demand.

 Trucost, a group which advises investors on corporate environmental and social risk, estimates the average price increase for airline tickets will be 2 per cent and will continue to increase as the cost of reducing emissions rises.  This will most affect low-income passengers, who tend to be more price sensitive.  (The Observer, Mar. 24, Edie, Mar. 24.)

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