Taxing jet fuel would cut emissions by 11% with no impact on jobs or the economy, a leaked European Commission report claims.
The report says the reduction would be equal to removing almost eight million cars from the roads. It was revealed by pressure group Transport & Environment, which aims to promote policies based on sustainable development.
Aviation fuel is not taxed, as governments regard it as difficult to enforce given that aircraft can refuel anywhere they land. There is also no domestic fuel tax in Europe, unlike within the US, Australia, Japan, Canada and Saudi Arabia.
Bill Hemmings, Transport & Environment aviation director said: “Aviation’s decades-long kerosene tax holiday needs to end now. This is essential to fight climate change and will help the millions afflicted by unbearable aircraft noise. Europe’s unique and deplorable status as a kerosene tax haven is indefensible.”
EU finance ministers will meet in The Hague on 20-21 June for a summit on aviation taxation. Aviation CO2 emissions within the EU grew almost 5% last year, while those from all other industries fell almost 4%.
News of the leak comes as the UK government has admitted that air travel growth may need to be curbed to restrict emissions. The advisory Committee on Climate Change recently said the UK’s planned increase in aviation would need to be curbed.
A senior civil servant has now repeated that message. In a letter to a pressure group, the Department for Transport aviation head Caroline Low said: “It may be necessary to consider the CCC’s recommended policy approach for aviation.”
Last week, the Scottish parliament scrapped plans to replace Air Passenger Duty with a new, lower air departure tax, citing environmental reasons.