Flying is becoming more and more popular these days thanks to the declining prices of plane tickets, particularly in Europe, where low-cost airlines make from country-to-country hops an inexpensive endeavor. Paying a hefty price for all this air travel – the environment. With an eye on the welfare of the planet, last week France instituted a 2020 eco-tax targeting international airlines flying from its airports.
How Aviation Contributes to Global Warming
Less than 20 percent of the global population has ever set foot in an airplane, yet aviation’s share of global CO2 emissions is estimated above two percent. The aviation industry also produces emissions such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), water vapor, particulates, contrails, and cirrus changes, which could bring the contribution up to five percent of the global warming effect. This proportion could rise to 22 percent by 2050 due to the rise in number of travelers, particularly in Asia, and the declining share of industries opting for cleaner alternatives.
In recent years, travelers looking to offset the impact of air travel have chosen to find more climate-friendly modes of transportation, while others have opted to pay fees (when available) targeted towards offsetting their flight’s emissions.
The Airline Industry Takes Climate Action
In 2021, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) will find international airlines paying to offset extra emissions. The European Union has set a course for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions drastically by 2030. And then there’s France’s forthcoming 2020 eco-tax.
These kinds of measures have a precedent among European countries. Sweden was the first to instate a similar policy in 2018. The Netherlands attempted to introduce similar measures, but had to backtrack due to political pressure.
What the Eco-Tax Means for Ticket Prices
The Swedish eco-tax ranges from six to 39 euros per ticket, depending on whether the flight is domestic or long haul. The French tax will be significantly lower. The announced increase on ticket price will vary depending on the destination and the class: 1.5 euros for flights within France or the European Union (excluding domestic flights towards Corsica and the overseas departments and territories), three euros for economy flights out of the EU, nine euros for intra-EU business class and up to 18 euros for business class tickets out of the EU. Flights connecting through France will not be taxed.
These numbers are relatively low and are not expected to have a significant impact on consumer’s behavior. However, the tax is expected to raise €180 million a year from 2020 according to French transport minister Elisabeth Borne.
The eco-tax comes as a goodwill gesture toward the “yellow jackets” movement, which has been campaigning since last year for a more democratic and eco-centered tax than the original proposed fee on the prices of diesel fuel. The proceeds will be used to finance daily transport in France, particularly local trains, as an alternative to flying.
Friendly Air Travel
Fast Company: France is Adding an Eco-Tax to 2020 Flights
EuroNews: France Introduces Eco-Tax
The Conversation: It’s Time to Wake Up to the Devastating Impact Flying Has on the Environment