ICCT examine urges taxing frequent fliers to decarbonize aviation pretty


A tax on frequent flying may generate revenues wanted to deeply decarbonize aviation by way of midcentury whereas concentrating the fee burden on those that fly probably the most, in line with a brand new examine from the Worldwide Council on Clear Transportation. (ICCT)

The examine comes as policymakers collect in Montreal this week to finalize a net-zero emission objective for worldwide aviation. The Worldwide Civil Aviation Group (ICAO) estimates that $4 trillion in know-how funding could also be wanted by way of 2050 to realize emissions reductions appropriate with a 1.75 diploma C cap on international temperature. This interprets to an annual funding of $121 billion.

The report explores two strategies for elevating this quantity of annual income: a flat, per-flight air passenger responsibility (APD) at $25, and a frequent flying levy (FFL) that will increase with every flight taken in a yr (from $9 to $177). The FFL is designed to position an escalating tax burden on individuals who fly often.

The examine discovered that, in comparison with the flat APD, an FFL would shift the tax burden from occasional fliers towards wealthier frequent fliers. Particularly, the examine estimates {that a} international FFL would generate 81% of its income from frequent fliers (those that take greater than six flights a yr, or about 2% of worldwide inhabitants) and 90% of its income from the world’s richest 10%.

If all FFL revenues have been used to help know-how growth, the levy may additionally tackle nation disparities in entry to capital for clear aviation. Beneath an FFL, 67% of the income collected would come from developed international locations, in comparison with 51% beneath a flat APD. This shift in price from lower-income to high-income international locations would help ICAO’s objective of offering monetary help for net-zero aviation within the International South.

An FFL would additionally carefully monitor every nation’s historic emissions, since high-income international locations emitted about 70% of aviation CO2 between 1980 and 2019.


Share distinction in whole APD collected and whole FFL collected for every nation. Nations shaded in orange and pink would pay extra beneath an FFL, whereas these shaded in inexperienced and blue would pay much less, in comparison with an APD. Supply: The ICCT

Taxing frequent fliers no matter their passport would align the prices of decarbonization with historic accountability for emissions. And it may very well be finished with out distorting competitors throughout international locations or carriers.

—Dan Rutherford, co-author

The APD and FFL analyzed on this examine would each cut back demand for flying by about 7%, however in several methods. Beneath an FFL, the inhabitants with the highest 5% of earnings would cut back flying by 12%, whereas the impression on the underside 80% could be negligible.

Implementing a world FFL would require important efforts, similar to creating an correct and privacy-protected flying frequency database and establishing a governance framework for income utilization. No matter whether or not an FFL is applied, this examine offers proof that funds for aviation decarbonization may very well be raised in an equitable method.


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