Frequent Flyers Should Pay More Taxes To Decrease Planes’ Carbon Footprint???

Airlines are doing everything they can to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. They have commercial planes fly at the “sweet spot” of energy efficiency. They’ve come up with all sorts of crazy ways to decrease weight so they don’t use up as much fuel. In fact, Frontier even put a spin on it to say that checked baggage fees are good for the environment.

In October 2016, governments from over 190 countries pledged to take major steps to improve fuel economy.  Each country (except those that have pulled out or refused to participate. For example, Brazil, India, China and Russia) is looking at ways it can help make its carbon footprint smaller. Here are a few examples, some of which are a little more far-reaching than others.

Germany

The Green Party has suggested banning domestic air travel, with the suggestion that if you’re traveling within the borders of Germany, to do it by train, which pollutes less.

United States

In May 2019, Scientific American reported that, in a rare move under the current administration, the EPA planned to issue its first-ever greenhouse gas emissions standards for aircraft. No word on what the standards will be (it’s supposed to be released sometime this fall), but lest you think the current administration has suddenly gotten a warm heart about the environment, they haven’t – quite the opposite, actually.

Norway & Japan

Both of these countries have imposed a tax on jet fuel.

Distance-Based Air Passenger Tax

Several countries, including Sweden, France, Norway, Austria and South Africa have a tax on passenger tickets. For both domestic and international air travel, the tax is prorated based on distance.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is considering a measure that would tax frequent flyers. Data shows that 70% of UK flights are made by 15% of the population, with 57% not flying abroad at all. Chris Stark, the chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, suggests that flying within the U.K. is “very skewed” towards a small number of people and “If this [tax] is represented in the right way, it should not be unpopular and the vast majority of people need not be very affected.”

Tell that to the frequent flyers…

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

9 thoughts on “Frequent Flyers Should Pay More Taxes To Decrease Planes’ Carbon Footprint???”

  1. Yes it makes sense and is a good idea. Frequent flyers are generally more affluent who can afford this, so the tax won’t hard leisure/family folks, plus it will hopefully discourage the most egregious flyers who fly in business class on the company dime for meetings that could be video conferenced

  2. If there was a direct correlation between a tax and less carbon, this article doesn’t show it at all. Unless I am missing something, simply adding a fee on to a flight will not decrease the frequency of flights, nothing in any of these plans shown here says that potential taxation would be earmarked for any meaningful change such as reforestation or other ideas that would actually do something useful in the real world. It is easy to make people feel good but that isn’t the point. Taxing without the requisite action in the real world to help solve the problem is useless as is the idea. These types of ideas seem to be in response to ideologues that do not live in the real world – their goal is laudable but their actions should be resisted until real solutions are found and this solution isn’t it.

    1. I am 100% in agreement with you – just paying more money doesn’t lower a carbon footprint or decrease greenhouse emissions. However I suspect that writing what each country is doing with these funds would be long enough to each be their own articles. So to avoid “TL/DR,” I kept this post very simple. But again, yes, I absolutely hear you!

    2. I agree. If the tax actually equated to commensurate reductions in greenhouse gases, it might make sense. Unless there are restrictions, governments will use the money for other purposes – maybe even building a wall.

  3. The top 1% cause 20% of all airline pollution. Make them pay. Take away some of their miles and give it to the poor and middle class. Elizabeth Warren 2020.

  4. Flights are so cheap now so it would have to be a substantial tax to deter flying. Adding a tax that directly goes to emissions reductions could work. The British system fails because the money just go into central funds. The tax would have to be directed to green energy offsets or environmental offsets that are validated for emissions reductions.

  5. Honestly I have no words…travel bloggers telling us we are killing the planet by traveling, and then advocating for ways to travel more.

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