This article was first published by the Huffington Post. Flying is often the cheapest, quickest and most convenient way to get to that beach, city break or weekend away. Unfortunately it's also the cheapest and quickest way to heat the planet!
A new scientific report released today highlights the critical importance of taking early action when implementing measures to reduce the climate impact of rapidly increasing emissions from aviation. With a decision expected shortly on how and when to tackle international aviation emissions, this new report increases the pressure on the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) not to defer a decision on the adoption of a market-based measure (MBM).
On 3 July, the Commission released draft new guidelines on State aid to the aviation industry. Citizens have until 25 September to comment. T&E estimate that about €3bn a year goes to the aviation industry across the EU and the Airports Council International (ACI) have estimated that airports under-recover about €4bn in airport costs a year.
This article was first published, in abridged form, by Ethical Consumer. If global aviation emissions were a country, it would be ranked 7th in the list of global emitters, between Germany and South Korea. Yet aviation is the only means of transportation that doesn't pay a penny of tax on the fuel it burns. This is an unfair advantage that airlines have over trains, coaches and cars, making it the fastest growing form of transport while also being the most carbon intensive. All of this is to the benefit of rich chaps, as, contrary to common public myth about low cost flights, air travel is one of the least democratic forms of moving from A to B.
The one year pause for aviation in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) has intensified international debate on finding a global emissions deal for aviation. This pause will finish at the end of the year and aviation in the ETS will revert to full enforcement next January. Some countries, led by the US, are pressing for any future scope to be limited to “EU airspace”, which would be environmentally ineffective and unacceptable. If the ETS is to be amended, it should be on the basis of maximum coverage of emissions generated by international flights. The most promising option to keep an environmentally sound ETS while addressing the concerns of other countries is for the EU to regulate extra-European flights on a 50/50 basis: the first 50% of any departing flight and the last 50% of any arriving flight. This, and the other options on the table, are fully explained in the briefing below.The various options available to the EU will be debated at a roundtable event in the European Parliament on September 4th. For more information about the event, see here: http://www.transportenvironment.org/events/greener-flights-grounded
Debt-ridden EU countries miss out on up to €39bn every year, a sum rivalling that of Spain’s drastic budget cut in 2013, representing fuel and value-added taxes (VAT) that air carriers don’t pay, a new study shows.
In these times of austerity, deficit budgets of European governments are missing out on almost €40bn a year due to a lack of basic taxes on aviation. This briefing explains a new study that looks at revenue that EU Member States could receive if fuel tax and VAT were imposed on aviation, as on road transport.
The European Commission today published new draft guidelines  that will allow regional airports and EU carriers serving them to keep receiving subsidies worth €3bn a year. In a good number of cases  these rules prop up unprofitable regional airports and low-cost carriers, allowing them to continue to operate in an unsustainable way which distorts competition between budget and national carriers. The proposed guidelines also permit the bail out of financially unviable operations for a decade and allow infrastructure aid for building new airports to continue in aeternum.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade body comprising 240 airlines worldwide, today finally acknowledged the need for a global market–based measure to reduce aviation's contribution to climate change. IATA called on their airline members to encourage their governments to agree at this year’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly on a global carbon offsetting measure to take effect in 2020.
A coalition of 11 environmental, development and science groups wrote to Tony Tyler, the head of international aviation trade body, IATA, calling for a global sectoral approach that covers the environmental cost of airlines' emissions. The letter was sent days before 240 airlines gathered in Cape Town, South Africa at IATA's Annual General Meeting to discuss the industry issues including the sector's contribution to climate change. The full letter is reproduced in the downloadable link below.