EU Puts A Carbon Tax on Flights
The European Union is, in my opinion, the part of the world that has done the most to address climate change. And, once again, the have demonstrated their ability to pass tough, but necessary, legislation to reduce carbon emissions.
On January 1st, 2012, the EU put in place a program called the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) which requires any airline flying in or out of the EU to obtain certificates for their carbon emissions. Most certificates will be free for the first year of the program, but as of 2013, airlines will have to either purchase or trade for the certificates. The cost of those certificates will proportional to the distance of the flights.
EU officials have stated two reasons for implementing the ETS. First, the EU has seen its aviation-related carbon emissions double from 1990 to 2006 and wishes to address the problem. Second, the EU has felt compelled to act as national governments have been unable (or unwilling) to deal with carbon emissions in any meaningful way. Here is a quote from Matthew Baldwin, director of aviation and international transport affairs for the European Commission: “ETS will be implemented. We recognize just how strong the opposition is. If there is a global deal [on carbon emissions], we can amend the ETS.”
And there certainly is opposition, most of which has come from the US and many Asia countries. There are complaints that the “scheme was ill-founded” and that it amounts to “bludgeoning”. The CEO of the International Air Transport Association went as far as calling it an “attack on their sovereignty”, referring to the countries that will have to pay the fees. China has actually barred its airlines from paying the fee.
Me, I call it a step in the right direction. As a concerned citizen, I am tired of politicians and people with vested interests using every possible excuse to block concrete actions that would reduce carbon emissions. As a society, we have to realize that “business as usual” is unacceptable and sacrifices must be made. That includes paying the true cost of services such as air travel, the most carbon intensive form of transportation.
Source: ABC News