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$400/ton carbon tax needed to curb aviation emissions

$400/ton carbon tax needed to curb aviation emissions

$400/ton carbon tax needed to curb aviation emissions
September 4, 2007

European Union proposals to reduce the climate impact of aviation will fail unless there is a substantial rise in carbon prices, concludes analysis by the Tyndall Centre, a UK-based climate research body. Friends of the Earth (FoE), an environmental lobby group, funded the study.

The EU plans to add aviation to its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) starting in 2011 for intra-EU flights and 2012 for all flights departing from or arriving in the EU.

“We delude ourselves if we believe the proposed framing of the EU ETS is in keeping with the EU’s own and repeated commitment to limit climate change to a two degrees Celsius rise,” said Dr. Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre’s Energy Programme. “The current aviation ETS proposal must be significantly strengthened so as to both drive down emission growth rates and force the adoption of more efficient aircraft technologies and operation.”

The study says the ETS plan begins too late and that the current price of carbon ($27 per metric ton) is too low to have any impact on flying. It warns that “even a much higher carbon price of €300 ($410) per tonne would only result in a moderate increase in ticket prices, and therefore only a moderate reduction in demand and emissions growth.”

FoE says that the EU needs to strengthen the ETS proposal considerably to have an effect. The group recommends mandatory efficiency goals for aircraft, taxes on aviation fuel and restrictions on airport expansion.

“Current proposals to include aviation within the EU Emissions Trading Scheme are a totally inadequate response to the threat that the growth in aviation emissions poses to efforts to tackle climate change,” said Richard Dyer, Friend of the Earth’s aviation campaigner. “MEPs and EU Council Ministers must show vision and leadership and substantially strengthen the aviation ETS during the legislative process this autumn.”

“Other political measures are also needed to tackle the growing climate impact of flying. This should include VAT on air tickets, a tax on aviation fuel and opposition to new runways,” added Chris Davies, a member of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee. “The UK Government must also strengthen its plans for a new climate change law to include Britain’s share of international aviation emissions.”

Aviation in a Low-Carbon EU

Virgin’s Branson commits $3 billion to fight global warming. According to BBC News, Sir Richard Branson will commit all profits from his travel firms, including airline Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains, over the next tend years to fight global warming. The pledge, worth some $3 billion, was made at the on the second day of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York.

$25 million prize to fight global warming. Friday Sir Richard Branson and Al Gore announced the establishment of a $25 million prize for the development of a technology that fights global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The prize follows in the footsteps of the X Prize, a contest that was won by the SpaceShipOne rocket plane as the first privately developed craft to reach the boundary of outer space.

This article is based on “Aviation in a Low-Carbon EU” and a news release from FoE.

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