Airline industry waves red flag on Sweden’s move to impose tax to offset climate impact

International aviation industry group IATA has urged Sweden’s policy makers to back efforts by international governments and the global air transport industry to achieve carbon-neutral aviation growth.

In 2009, the aviation industry agreed targets for its carbon emissions, including carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and a cut in carbon dioxide of 50% by 2050. Achievement of these targets is on course, but to deliver carbon-neutral growth the world’s governments at ICAO need to agree to implement a global market-based measure (MBM).

“Sustainable air transport growth is a big prize for Sweden. IATA data reveals air passenger growth in Sweden is set to grow by 2% per year over the next two decades. Passenger numbers will reach 43 million in 2034, as demand to fly in an increasingly globalised world is met by wider and more affordable air links. This will be a boost to the economic and social development of the nation,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s European regional vice president.

Air transport is at present responsible for supporting 83,000 jobs and 53 billion Swedish Krona in gross domestic product. The Swedish economy thrives on trade links which can only be boosted by increasing air connectivity.

The government is considering an air passenger tax, ostensibly to help combat aviation’s climate impacts. Evidence from elsewhere in Europe is that such taxes damage air transport connectivity, employment growth, and trade, whilst having a negligible impact on the environment.

Meanwhile ICAO meets in September to agree a global MBM. The preferred option is a carbon-offsetting scheme which will ensure emissions from aviation growth is balanced by verified emissions reductions in other sectors.

Posted in Airlines, Environment, News

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