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Great Travel Reset: UK Green Party pushes ‘frequent flyer levies’ to reduce your ‘aerial carbon footprint’ – ‘The freedom to fly at will is an incredible privilege’ – ‘Too much air travel is taking place’

Nick Bowett - GreenWorld.org - Jan 2023: We need to think about cutting carbon equivalent emissions in every sector, including those that are difficult to decarbonise – such as aviation – in a culturally sensitive way. Introducing a frequent flyer levy would force frequent fliers to think more about their aerial carbon footprint and give them a financial incentive to lower it. ... Instead of hiking the price of all flights a fairer way to counter the burgeoning demand for air travel is to impose a frequent flyer levy. Under well detailed Green Party proposals, this would allow people to take one return flight a year, with no extra levy, so people could go on annual holidays and visit any family they may have abroad. A frequent flyer levy will make people consider if the trip they want to make is necessary and incentivise them to consider taking less carbon intensive forms of transport. ... The freedom to fly at will to almost any country in the world – in hours – is an incredible privilege which is now largely overlooked as travelling far afield has become so commonplace, but unfortunately, aviation is notoriously difficult to decarbonise. ... Too much air travel is taking place which is warming our planet, hence damaging ecosystems which we rely on for food, and so forth. More British people travel abroad each year than any other nationality, so it is entirely fitting for the UK to show leadership on tackling this aspect of the climate emergency. 

https://greenworld.org.uk/article/frequent-flyer-levies-decarbonise-travel

Frequent flyer levies to decarbonise travel

By Nick Bowett – Green World

Excerpts:

Excess carbon equivalent emissions are making many parts of the planet effectively uninhabitable and lowering levels of biodiversity worldwide. Against this backdrop, we need to think about cutting carbon equivalent emissions in every sector, including those that are difficult to decarbonise – such as aviation – in a culturally sensitive way. Introducing a frequent flyer levy would force frequent fliers to think more about their aerial carbon footprint and give them a financial incentive to lower it.

The freedom to fly at will to almost any country in the world – in hours – is an incredible privilege which is now largely overlooked as travelling far afield has become so commonplace, but unfortunately, aviation is notoriously difficult to decarbonise. Currently, aviation contributes to about 2.5 per cent of global carbon emissions.  …

As more people reach the global middle class more people want to fly so passenger numbers are expected to increase substantially in the coming decades if nothing is done to curb sky-high growth in the sector.  …

At present, fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, are used to propel most aeroplanes. Using biofuel made from biofuel crops doesn’t solve the problem because growing them takes up vast amounts of land that could otherwise be used for carbon storage, growing food and holding biodiversity. Using waste materials, such as cooking oil or waste plastic, to make jet fuel avoids having to extract more fossil fuels from the ground or grow biofuel crops, so it is a good way to create aviation fuel until other methods of jet propulsion are shown to work at scale. Hydrogen and electric technologies have been used to propel small planes with a few seats so far and projects are afoot to make these technologies power bigger planes.  …

Too much air travel is taking place which is warming our planet, hence damaging ecosystems which we rely on for food, and so forth. More British people travel abroad each year than any other nationality, so it is entirely fitting for the UK to show leadership on tackling this aspect of the climate emergency. The Climate Change Committee has said that approximately a third of emission cuts must come from changes in behaviour in order for the presiding government to meet its 2035 interim net zero targets. …

Taking a first class seat on a long haul flight leads to the emission of about four times more greenhouse gasses than taking an economy seat, so the flying sector really is a sector where the wealthy are passing on their costs to the less well off or unprivileged members of our global community. …

Instead of hiking the price of all flights a fairer way to counter the burgeoning demand for air travel is to impose a frequent flyer levy. Under well detailed Green Party proposals, this would allow people to take one return flight a year, with no extra levy, so people could go on annual holidays and visit any family they may have abroad. A frequent flyer levy will make people consider if the trip they want to make is necessary and incentivise them to consider taking less carbon intensive forms of transport. Furthermore, the implementation of such legislation would mark a necessary change in normative values. Train can be used to get to Continental Europe instead of plane. Video conferencing can be done online. Longer stays at destinations of choice could be arranged so multiple visits aren’t necessary. I contend that, when properly explained a frequent flyer tax will be fully endorsed by the public, if set at quite a low level, because voters are keen on policies which follow the well-established climate science and still manage to preserve the liberties they are accustomed to – balance is key. …

Too many flights are taken by a small percentage of the world population. This is worsening life circumstances for others around the world, especially the unprivileged people who cannot even afford to fly. A frequent flyer levy would make people question if the trip they want to undertake is essential, incentivise frequent flyers to think of other less carbon-intensive ways to get to the place they want to go and mark a much-needed shift in normative values. …

If sectors of the economy that could have decarbonised had done so sensibly over recent years a frequent flyer levy wouldn’t be quite so necessary, but now such a levy must be imposed so that we are fair to non and moderate flyers.

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UK hints at green taxes for frequent fliers – April 2024 –

LONDON — The U.K. government has opened the door to new green taxes on airline passengers, just five months after playing down the idea.

If the aviation sector “is not meeting the emissions reductions trajectory” required to bring down pollution, ministers will “consider what further measures may be needed to ensure that the sector maximizes in-sector reductions to meet the U.K.’s overall 2050 net zero target,” the government told MPs in a letter Wednesday.

The U-turn came in response to Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) recommendations in December that the government prepares policies to bring down carbon emissions in the aviation sector, including “a frequent flyer levy.”

Transport Minister Anthony Browne told POLITICO last November that cutting flight demand is not the answer to reaching net zero. He said innovation in the aviation sector should come before behavioral change and demand reduction.

The government, he said, is “not in the business of telling people not to fly.”

“Even if people fly a bit less, the planes — if they still use normal aviation fuel — will still contribute huge amounts of carbon dioxide,” he added.

Great Travel Reset: Britons who travel abroad more than once a year would face punitive ‘frequent flyer’ levies under Green Party proposals

 

 

Green Party manifesto

‘We do have a proposal for a frequent flyer levy’

Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsey told #BBCBreakfast about their General Election manifesto plans to tax people who take ‘muliple flights’

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-politics-69111362

Posted by BBC Breakfast on Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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