It’s true to say, as Grist.org’s Ben Adler does, that fuel taxes play a critical role in cleaning up road transport but we’re not in agreement that this necessarily makes road pricing a bad idea. From our perspective, we’d rather see it as a complementary measure.
Ending the generous tax exemptions aviation enjoys would create a level playing field between all transport modes, help meet our 2030 climate targets, and answer the EU’s call for a shift away from labour taxation.
In the final years of negotiations for the new climate agreement, it’s still not clear if it will include the fastest growing emissions sources — international aviation and shipping, also known as bunker fuels.
The latest round of climate talks concluded in Lima last month with a sense that some of the basics have been agreed to set the foundations of a global agreement in Paris next year. While the final outcome fell short of expectations, all parties seem to have accepted in principal the need to curb their emissions to keep an increase in global temperature below 2C. However, the two international sectors, aviation and shipping - the emissions of which have not been allocated to parties - seem to be the exception.
The rapid slide in oil prices, down 41% since June, has left the aviation industry struggling to defend its continuing high fuel surcharges and continuing reports of record profit. Here is IATA's director general, Tony Tyler, updating his stance on oil prices in light of recent developments.
It now seems that the revision of the Energy Tax Directive (ETD) is dead. Given how negotiations have been dragging on for three and a half years while only eating away at everything the Commission proposal sought to achieve, it is probably good to call it a day and start afresh.
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.
International aviation is on course for a rough landing in our warming world. Air travel is growing rapidly -- and so are aviation emissions, which are already responsible for 5 percent of the warming effect of global greenhouse gas emissions.
In this blog post, T&E director, Jos Dings, explains why raising fuel taxes does make sense even in times of economic crisis and dispels the myth according to which a lower taxation on fuel would benefit society at large.