The planet is warming, the quality of the air is getting worse, in Europe alone there are hundreds of thousands of premature deaths every year because of air pollution. The states are trying to promote the use of non-polluting means of transportation and renewable energy to produce electricity. By mid-century, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation will need to be at least 60% lower than in 1990 and remain firmly on the zero track. Emissions of air pollutants from transport that harm our health must be radically reduced without delay. To do this, industry investment and the use of clean technologies by consumers must be encouraged through subsidies of all kinds. To finance its subsidies, the states are resorting to increase taxes on fossil fuels.
It is against this backdrop that more and more voices are being heard to introduce fuel taxation for aircraft, the most common of which is jet fuel, kerosene. In particular, those who complain about a fuel taxation of cars that they consider too high, deplore the absence of taxation on kerosene.
Why taxing the fuel of aircraft, kerosene, would not solve much
- In the first place, planes pollute the air at altitudes very far from our lungs. Fine particles, PM 2.5 and PM 10, can mix with atmospheric moisture and fall to the ground with rain. On the other hand, the particles emitted by cars can be easily inhaled, being very close to our nostrils.
- Second, pollutant emissions from aircraft represent only a small fraction of global CO2 emissions. According to the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, transport accounts for 14% of global emissions. According to the European Commission, air transport accounts for 12.6% of transport emissions. This means that air transport accounts for only 1.8% of global CO2 emissions, see images here on the right, sources: EPA for the first, European Commission for the second.
- Thirdly, air transport is a great tool for people, businesses and states to get to know each other, to exchange, to promote the formation of a global community that is indispensable for solving problems such as global warming, pollution of all kinds, disease control, etc.
- I already wrote here about electric planes. Despite the progress made, there is no viable short-term alternative to kerosene aircrafts, while electric cars are already an economically viable alternative to combustion cars. Same for fossil fuel heatings, and thermal power plants. In the first case, introducing a tax could accelerate only marginally the ecological transition, while in other cases, high taxation promotes the adoption of greener technologies.
- Finally, air transport is already expensive enough without the addition of taxes that would penalize the faster and more efficient form of transportation.CO2 emissions of transport
So let’s think twice before claiming the taxation of kerosene.
What do you think? Thank you for expressing your opinions in the comments.