EU should scrap airline emissions tax: IATA

Jul 25, 2012
The European Union should scrap a controversial carbon tax on air travel and seek a global solution to the emissions problem, the global aviation industry's chief Tony Tyler, pictured in March 2012, said.

The European Union should scrap a controversial carbon tax on air travel and seek a global solution to the emissions problem, the global aviation industry's chief said on Wednesday.

The EU imposed the (ETS) on January 1, but over two dozen countries, including India, Russia, China and the United States, have opposed the move, saying it violates international law.

"Nobody can deny Europe the credit for moving (environmental) sustainability up the global agenda. States are focused on the issue as never before," said Tony Tyler, director general of the .

But "the onus now is on Europe to seize the moment, take credible action to defuse the situation and get on with finding the global solution," Tyler told a business audience in New Delhi.

The EU should "forego its unilateral and extra-territorial inclusion of international aviation" in its carbon scheme, Tyler said, warning it could start a "trade war that nobody can afford".

The EU has said the scheme is designed to reduce blamed for , and will help the 27-nation bloc achieve its goal of cutting 20 percent by 2020.

But airlines have denounced the system, saying it would cost the industry 17.5 billion euros ($21.2 billion) over eight years.

India and China have been at the forefront in opposing the scheme. India in April barred its airlines from complying with the EU carbon fee, joining China in resistance.

"The rest of the world is objecting so what the Europeans fondly believe is a stepping stone to a global system is in fact a roadblock," Tyler said.

"The problem with the EU-ETS is that it is a regional, not a global scheme that everybody agrees to," said Tyler, warning the EU won't get a "global scheme unless it takes the gun away from the heads of other countries".

The EU argues the cost for airlines is manageable, estimating the scheme could prompt carriers to add between four and 24 euros to the price of a round-trip long-haul flight.

Tyler urged countries to come together to set global standards.

"We are counting on India to play an active role in these discussions," he said.

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Lurker2358
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 25, 2012
Taxing the pollution is not the solution.

The tax will have the negative effect of removing funds from R&D and other aspects of business, which might otherwise develop cleaner technologies.

What should be done is to produce a clean energy standard, such as an efficiency standard (not emissions directly) for coal and natural gas power plants, and give so many years grace period and then fine them based on the percentile of deviation from the standard. This way the company is not hurt unless they fail, while taxation wrongfully punishes everyone, whether or not they are trying to make improvements.

Additionally, you could require that they spend a certain percentage of their revenues on R&D for cleaner alternatives, and then fine them after 5 or 10 years if they do not meet some reasonable benchmark for new material and intellectual clean energy assets.

Again, encourage positive behavior, punish negative behavior or failure only, and only by the degree of such failure.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Jul 25, 2012
At some point it's not about "what all agree upon". If the human species is to survive then we have to take measures. Since people aren't smart enough to invest in fuel efficient technologies of their own they have to be grabbed by what they imagine to be important: money.

It's really sad that pressure to survive in reality has to come through a shared delusion rather than by simply saying: "we are in danger of killing ourselves off - how about we stop doing what is killing us?" and everyone saying "that might not be a bad idea"

Instead it's like:
"we are in danger of killing ourselves off - how about we stop doing what is killing us?"
and the answer is "but we don't wanna because it means we can buy less ice cream!"
Lurker2358
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 25, 2012
Also, I sort of deviated from the exact topic, but you know what I mean, since it applies to all forms of combustion engines, not just airplanes and power plants.

Why not use parabolic solar thermal as a pre-heater for the water, which would cut down on fossil fuel usage during peak solar hours.

I still think air travel will eventually return to some sort of blimp-like machine, powered by solar electric and inflatable wind sails, since it is brutally efficient with zero net fuel cost, and the winds at flight level of a blimp can greatly exceed surface trade winds, so you could plan routes which abuse this. Combine the wind by day and night, and solar by day, for a "net zero fuel" trans-oceanic flight. Thinking "flying fish" here.

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Jul 25, 2012
I still think air travel will eventually return to some sort of blimp-like machine, powered by solar electric and inflatable wind sails, since it is brutally efficient with zero net fuel cost,

But since you'll be in the air for a few days to get anywhere you'll have to carry all the amenities that are needed for a a few days (sleeping quarters, restaurants, all the food and water for that time and whatnot), which will make this rather costly. Blimps are efficient - but they are also slooooow (The Hindeburg took 3-4 days for an Atlantic crossing).

For leisure travel that would be great. But in business it's all about getting there - fast (and for those few days a year that you have off it's pretty much the same. You don't want to waste half the time getting there and back)
Vendicar_Decarian
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 25, 2012
Don't tax me. Tax someone else, the airline industry said.
Howhot
3 / 5 (2) Jul 25, 2012
I see what your saying Lurker, Taxing is not the solution, and I agree with your argument. Taxation though is probably far easier to implement and administrate than creating standard emissions protocol and checking for compliance.