EU: Proposed Legislation Asks Airlines to Pay More to Pollute

    EU: Proposed Legislation Asks Airlines to Pay More to Pollute
    Last updated Dec 09, 2022
    Image credit: euractiv


    • On Wednesday, the European Union reached an agreement over a law that will see the price paid by airlines for emitting polluting CO2 emissions increase. The legislation is intended to pressure the sector towards more sustainable reforms.[1]
    • Currently, airlines that run flights inside Europe are compelled to submit permits for carbon dioxide emissions, but most of those are being granted for free by the EU. The European Parliament would reportedly phase out those free licenses by 2026.[2]
    • Brussels is set, in 2026, to assess if these processes — which govern flights within the EU — are effectively keeping air travel on track to reach zero emissions by 2050. If not, the standards may apply to all outbound flights from the EU.[3]
    • Fares for air travel consumers jumped in the last 12 months due to increasing fuel prices. The director general of the International Air Transport Association has called for a more rapid move toward sustainable aviation fuel.[4]
    • According to Jo Dardenne of the nonprofit organization Transport and Environment: "Average European families will continue to pay much more for their CO2 emissions than frequent long-distance travelers. We are about to lose another decade of climate inaction."[3]
    • The new law — if formally implemented by the EU — will allow airlines to deduct 100% of the cost of e-fuels and 70% of advanced biofuels, but it has yet to go to the European Parliament and Council for final approval. The law would also, in an unprecedented move, require airlines to report the release of harmful gasses including nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and soot particles.[5]


    Right narrative

    This kind of "big state intervention" is not the way to tackle climate change. Many Europeans are facing a cost of living crisis, and "net zero" agendas across Europe have resulted in politicians unwilling to make the trade-offs required between supply, affordability, and decarbonization to meet abstract — but public-relations-friendly — sustainability goals. The private sector can help solve this issue if given the chance with better deregulation.

    Left narrative

    Private finance won't make the planet greener — only better regulation can. With the use of massive public investment — and a shift away from the chronically-entrenched strategies of government "greenwashing" — we can hold politicians more directly accountable and address the climate crisis.

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