Thursday, December 22, 2011

Climate change: Europe acts on air travel

The European Union has defeated a legal challenge to its plans to include airlines in the European ETS - meaning that from January 1, any plane travelling to or from Europe will have to start paying the cost of their pollution. Good. Air travel is estimated by the IPCC to be responsible for 3.5% of overall climate change, and is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Its exclusion from the EU-ETS was an anomaly which should have been corrected long ago. And now that they're in, they'll have a direct economic incentive to clean up their act, use more fuel efficient aircraft and flight plans to minimise their environmental impact.

Meanwhile, the US, whose airlines challenged the law, is refusing to accept it, and has passed a law making it illegal to pay European carbon charges. Which means their airlines will either have their planes seized on the tarmac for non-payment, or will no longer be able to fly to Europe.

(Meanwhile, I'm waiting for John Key to again whine that it is "unfair" for air passengers to pay for their pollution. No, its not. What's "unfair" is them not paying for it. Why should the rest of us environmentally subsidise rich jet-setters?)