Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The United Nations has brokered a new international agreement which forces airlines to pay for “green” projects. By 2035, the UN expects the deal will siphon $24 billion / annum from the pockets of air travellers.
Aviation pact on global warming wins go-ahead
Airlines back UN accord to offset emissions growth by funding green projects.
Delegates from nearly 200 nations approved the accord at the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation in Montreal in a step the agency’s head, Fang Liu, described as a “historic first”.
One of the countries that helped push the Paris deal over the line was Canada, where the centre-left government of prime minister Justin Trudeau announced a carbon-pricing plan on Monday that could lead to a tax of C$50 a tonne by 2022.
Instead of facing a patchwork of measures worldwide, airlines have backed a plan that will see them offset their emissions growth by funding projects that cut carbon pollution, such as wind farms or solar-power plants.
The scheme will be phased in over several years from the early 2020s and cost the aviation industry as much as $24bn by 2035, according to estimates from the UN agency.
The FT article makes a big deal of how airlines supported the new scheme. It might seem counterintuitive that airlines would support a new tax on their operations, but in the wake of the botched European attempt in 2012 to unilaterally introduce an aviation carbon trading scheme, the mishandling of which saw some airlines operating at a cost disadvantage against their competitors, it is understandable that airlines would support a level playing field, and a measure of protection against some of the more unpredictable green world leaders.
In any case, airlines won’t lose much if any money because of this new tax – they will simply pass the extra cost on to their customers.