Wednesday, July 05, 2006

EU calls for taxes on air travel between the states.

Bidness: As the move from being competitive in a global market continues. This is a great time to impost a jet fuel tax and raise the costs to the people.

AIR passengers will be charged up to £40 extra for a return ticket within Europe to pay for the environmental impact of their journeys, under plans approved by the European Parliament yesterday. MEPs voted in favour of the “immediate introduction” of a tax on jet fuel for flights within the 25 member states of the EU. The charge would double the cost of millions of budget airline flights. They also accepted a recommendation for a special emissions trading scheme for the aviation industry, which would see airlines buying permits to cover their output of carbon dioxide. Aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases, and flights within Europe are on course to double by 2020 and triple by 2030. British Airways and other European airlines have been lobbying for a more lenient scheme that would compensate for only a small portion of their emissions and cost the average passenger less than £1.50 per flight. But the parliament rejected BA’s argument that the impact of aviation on the environment was not sufficiently understood and, therefore, the scheme should be limited. MEPs voted by 439 to 74 to adopt proposals drafted by Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MEP for southeast England. There were 102 abstentions. The main proposal was for airlines to be forced to buy emissions permits within a separate trading scheme dedicated to aviation, with a specific cap on the amount of CO2. BA had wanted to be allowed virtually unlimited growth by being able to buy cheap surplus permits from other industries. The parliament also dismissed BA’s proposal for airlines to be allocated free permits to cover their existing level of emissions. BA wanted the scheme to focus on additional flights. The MEPs said that the scheme should cover all flights arriving at or departing from EU airports rather than just intra-EU flights, as had been proposed by BA. But the scheme is likely to be limited to flights within Europe in the early years to avoid legal challenges from the United States and other countries. MEPs also accepted the proposal for a separate environmental tax to cover the impact of nitrogen oxides and condensation trails emitted by aircraft.
Not surprising the group that came up with this scheme hates the fact people can move about willy nilly.
The GreenSkies Alliance, a coalition of environmental groups that opposes the growth of aviation, said passengers would have to pay up to £20 per flight, or £40 return, to cover the cost of purchasing just the CO2 permits for flights within Europe. A jet fuel tax and an environmental tax would push ticket prices up even further but the costs are harder to quantify. Jeff Gazzard, of the alliance, said: “The huge European Parliament majority shows that MEPs overwhelmingly recognise that air transport’s greenhouse gas emissions are out of control and urgent action to control them is long overdue.” The parliament’s vote will strongly influence legislation being drafted by the European Commission and due to be debated later this year. The emissions trading scheme is due to be introduced in 2008 but commission officials admit it could be delayed until 2010.
In 5-10 years some fool will come up with a plan that limits the days aircraft can fly in Europe say only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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