Climate levy on air tickets proposed

Negotiators at United Nations climate talks in Bonn heard two proposals this week for addressing the impact of flying on the earth’s climate, the Guardian reported. Poor countries suggested a modest climate levy on all airline tickets, while a group of airlines recommended a global trading system for aircraft emissions.


The world’s poorest 49 countries – classified as the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) – said a charge of about US$6 per flight, paid by 760 million international air passengers annually, would help them adapt to climate change. The LDCs, most of which are in Africa, said the tax could raise up to US$10 billion a year to help them deal with droughts, intense floods, sea-level rises and crop failures brought about by global warming.


Benito Müller, environment director of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and author of the proposal for the LDCs, said the levy is based on the principle of individual responsibility and capability to deal with climate change. The levy idea is modeled on France’s one-euro (US$1.30) “solidarity contribution”, charged to all passengers leaving France and used to help fight major world diseases.


The airline industry said its emissions-trading proposal would ensure equal treatment for all carriers and open the way to global emissions trading within the sector. Air France/KLM, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, airport operator BAA and the international NGO the Climate Group suggest that individual airlines should obtain pollution permits in proportion to the carbon content of their annual fuel purchases.


Proceeds from auctions of the permits would be divided between the United Nations adaptation fund for developing nations and an initiative that aims to save forests in poorer nations in return for tradable carbon credits.


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