France announces 'eco-tax' of up to €18 on tickets for all flights leaving country

Move comes amid escalating planetary climate emergency

Tom Embury-Dennis
Tuesday 09 July 2019 13:02
France announces 'eco-tax' of up to 18 euros on tickets for all flights leaving country

France will introduce an “eco-tax” of up to €18 (£16.19) on tickets for all flights leaving the country, the government has announced.

Transport minister Elisabeth Borne told a news conference that the €180m (£162m) it is expected to raise annually from 2020 would help finance daily transport, notably rail, in the country.

The new tax will range from €1.50 for short-haul flights and up to €18 for long-haul journeys in business class.

The move comes amid an escalating planetary climate emergency which is disproportionally being caused by the tiny percentage of people who use planes for transport.

Only around five per cent of the world's population takes flights, but air travel contributes an estimated two per cent of the globe's total carbon emissions. Mile-for-mile it is the most polluting form of transportation.

But a new study suggests the overall effects of flying could be far more damaging to the climate than first thought.

Scientists identified trails left by planes in the sky as a far more damaging effect on the climate than all the carbon dioxide ever emitted from their engines.

The tracks – called contrails – linger in the sky as ice clouds and trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere.

This is an unaccounted source of climate warming from air travel, and researchers from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) in Germany said the problem is set to triple by 2050.

In the UK, the growth of the sector is already a significant threat to the country's hopes of hitting its stated climate goals.

UK airports are set to increase capacity by 59 per cent by 2050 – more than double the increase accounted for in a report outlining the net-zero target by the Committee on Climate Change, according to new research.

Friends of the Earth has taken legal action against the expansion of Heathrow Airport's third runway, claiming government approval for it did not take into account the impact it would have on climate change.

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