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.
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.
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.
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