A tax was introduced on flights across European airspace in the hope of cutting carbon emissions, in a bid at tackling climate change at the beginning of the year, which amounts to an extra 2-10 Euros on a flight. The tax applies to the whole flight, not just the portion that operates within European airspace, although only 15% of the carbon emitted is charged. Environmentalists rejoice, however a spanner has been thrown in the works. USA, Russia and China are leading the way in claiming that this tax goes against previous laws and treaties, with China in particular declaring the scheme illegal and refusing to follow it, which they claim will cost them $130 million in revenue.
The US seems sure to follow China’s actions. 26 countries called “the coalition of the unwilling” in will be meeting in Moscow last week, to share their outrage at the EU taxing carriers from outside the EU and discuss how they could protect their national interests. The EU currently stands firm, with an ECJ ruling in its favour and may go as far as banning airlines from landing at it’s airports of they do not comply.
The levy is a small price for Europeans to pay as long as the airlines do not hike their fees way above the 15% charge. It would be ideal if a global solution could be found for cutting carbon emissions in air travel, as there could be tit for tat retaliation from some very powerful opponents of the scheme, which could mean that European carriers face extra charges.
How far the EU will go in tackling the political issues that have arisen with the introduction this tax remains to be seen, although it will inevitably have a negative impact on air travel. As monies for the tax do not need to be paid until June 2013, there is still time to come up with an amicable solution. We need to start thinking about how use the resources in this planet, sensibly and responsibly, so that future generations will have an earth to enjoy.