Azara Blog: EU brings airlines into emissions trading scheme

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Date published: 2006/12/20

The BBC says:

Airlines operating in the EU should pay for any increase in carbon emissions above current levels, the European Commission has proposed.

Commissioners called on the industry to make a "fair contribution" to the fight against climate change.

They proposed bringing internal EU flights inside the bloc's emissions trading scheme from 2011, with all other flights following in 2012.

Environmental groups said the proposals did not go far enough.

"Aviation emissions need to be brought under control, because they are rising very fast," said Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.

"Since 1990, they have gone up about 90% and, by 2020, they are going to be doubled, if business continues as usual."

He added that the rapid growth of aviation emissions threatened to undermine progress in cutting emissions in other sectors.

The commission says that someone flying from London to New York and back makes a bigger contribution to global warming than heating an average European home for a year.
The Commission said it expected short-haul air tickets to rise by 1.8 euros (£1.20) to 9 euros each by 2020.

It added that the scheme would prevent aviation emissions rising by 100% and limit the growth to 54%. However, part of this reduction would be achieved by other participants in the ETS, which would sell permits to the airlines.

The European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E) estimated the scheme would cut aviation emissions themselves by only 3%.

So far the EU carbon trading scheme has been a bit of a disaster, providing billions of euros of unearned profits for power companies. Presumably the same will not be allowed to happen now that the airlines have joined the scheme. The EU could, and should, have instead opted for a tax on airplane fuel, which is simpler and makes more sense.

Of course, we will find that airline passengers, like car drivers, are more than willing to pay a fair carbon tax. And the EU ruling elite will then decide to keep raising the (de facto) airplane tax to a level above any reasonably fair value, as has already happened with the car petrol tax.

It is all the other producers of carbon (e.g. domestic heating) that are not paying any carbon tax, and the ruling elite, including most of the so-called environmentalists, have shown no interest in promoting this obvious, and fair, idea. All carbon emissions should be taxed, not just ones the ruling elite happen not to like.

(Well, the ruling elite only do not like car and airplane usage by ordinary people, they themselves will continue to heavily use these methods of transport. They are paid out of public money for much of their transport use, so will suffer not at all, and besides, restrictions on mobility are obviously only for the little people.)

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