Global warming emissions from private jet flights have skyrocketed in Europe since 2005, according to a report. He calls on wealthy aviators to pay ticket taxes of 325 million euros per year to finance the acceleration of zero-carbon aviation technology.
Carbon emissions from private flights increased 31% between 2005 and 19, according to the report, and private aviation had rebounded to pre-pandemic levels in August 2020, when 60% of public flights were grounded .
Traveling by private jet is the most polluting activity an individual can undertake, according to the report, with four hours of flight equivalent to the total annual emissions of the average European citizen.
The study, carried out by the Transport & Environment campaign group, found that private jets were five to 14 times more polluting per passenger than commercial aircraft, depending on the jet used.
It also found that nearly half of private jet flights in Europe were short – less than 500 km – compared to a quarter of commercial flights that cover that distance.
The T&E report argues that with the average private jet owner being a billionaire and flights being low taxed today, these travelers can afford to pay to finance the development of electric or hydrogen planes and fuels. low carbon aviation aircraft. The first zero-emission aircraft will carry only a small number of passengers over short distances, perfect for the world of private jets, the report adds.
Andrew Murphy, director of aviation at T&E, said: “The super-rich super-polluters are flying like there is no climate crisis. The sector is outside the regulatory scope of many governments, despite the enormous climate impact these flights have and despite the growth in their use.
“But the upside is that the private jet market is perfectly suited to help create the Tesla moment of aviation, making hydrogen and electric planes a reality.”
In January, the Guardian reported that wealthy British aviators were opting for private jets to escape Covid-19 and avoid lockdowns. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was recently criticized for taking short private jet and helicopter flights, and his predecessor, David Cameron, used a private jet to tour his vacation home in Cornwall.
The report says the UK and France dominate private flights in Europe, responsible for nearly 40% of all emissions. The seaside resort of Nice on the French Riviera is one of the most popular destinations, which T&E says has shown that many private flights are reserved for vacation and business.
The report recommends that by 2030, regulators only allow the use of hydrogen-powered or green airplanes for private jet flights of less than 1,000 km in Europe. Until 2030, taxes on flights and fuel should be imposed on fossil-fueled private jets, he said, to account for their disproportionate climate impact.
The report calculates that a tax on tickets on private flights would increase by 325 million euros per year if it were based on a system already approved in Switzerland, where short flights are charged € 360 and long ones € 1,200. The Swiss government will use these revenues to finance the development of sustainable aviation fuels, invest in the country’s rail network and pay a carbon dividend to every Swiss citizen. Unlike vehicle fuels, there is little or no tax on jet fuel, but if implemented it could generate millions in additional revenue, the report adds.
Market studies estimate that the private jet market will increase by 50% between 2020 and 2030, “the increase in the number of high net worth individuals being one of the important factors”. Private jet operator GlobeAir reported an 11% increase in sales in July 2020 compared to 2019, with fear of Covid-19 contagion and lack of available commercial flights likely reasons.
“Everything is set for it to grow,” Murphy said, noting struggling commercial airlines may offer flights to fewer destinations in the future and fewer business class seats, while working from home continues.
Athar Husain Khan, Secretary General of the European Business Aviation Association, which represents the private jet sector, said: “Our track record shows that we welcome a greater push towards a sustainable business aviation, but it is important not to distort the real economy. value, business advantage and societal impact of the sector.
“We appreciate that our sector has a different emissions profile [but we are] actively working to decouple its CO2 emissions from the growth of the sector. Over the past 15 years, emissions per hour, per flight and per business aircraft have decreased by 36%. The industry is not, in principle, against environmentally motivated taxation as long as these funds are used directly to finance the research and development needed to help meet emissions targets. “