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25 May 2021, 13:18
Edgar Meza

Germany should increase taxes in aviation sector to cut emissions - report

Clean Energy Wire

The Berlin-based Climate Neutrality Foundation is calling for the elimination of government-subsidised advantages that give the aviation industry a competitive edge over other modes of transport. No other mode of transport causes more greenhouse gas emissions per person and kilometre than air travel, it points out, adding: “While greenhouse gas emissions in Germany fell by 35 percent overall between 1990 and 2019, those from air travel rose by 150 percent.” A new study conducted by the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) in Freiburg on behalf of the foundation highlights the taxation and carbon pricing of air transport in comparison with other modes of transport and identifies political and legal options for action at the national, European and global levels to reduce those advantages and increase incentives to cut CO2 emissions. It recommends that Germany push for higher taxes on aviation fuel, the addition of value added tax (VAT) on international air travel, and a complete overhaul of aviation tax that would, among other things, make short-haul flights more expensive. A tax on incoming flights should also be considered. In addition, it recommends that the EU Emissions Trading System for aviation be strengthened by auctioning certificates rather than freely allocating them, and that Germany also seek to strengthen the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) programme to make it more effective.

Germany currently levies 19 percent VAT on domestic flights but none at all on cross-border flights, which are responsible for around 94 percent of CO2 emissions from air traffic in Germany, according to the foundation. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air traffic caused around 905 million tonnes of CO2 in 2018, corresponding to approximately 2.4 percent of all human-made CO2 emissions. “If air traffic were a state, it would be sixth in the list of the largest emitters in the world,” the Öko-Institut states.

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