Advice on global warming policy to the EU: airline taxes for all.
The European Commission has turned its attention to the substantial greenhouse gas emissions produced by air travel. They want to tax all commercial airline flights in the EU and all coming from and going to the EU. The size of tax being talked about is quite large, but probably not large enough to cut airline travel substantially. That means it would raise lots of revenue for the EU. The national flag carriers are not totally opposed, since as a percentage of the cost of a plane ticket it would raise costs much more for travelers on low-fare carriers such as Ryan Air.
What I have seen no mention of in the press is all the emissions from private air travel. Apparently, the new proposals would exempt the small jets favored by corporate CEOs, Hollywood stars, and former Vice President Gore. But emissions from private jets are substantial and going up rapidly as more and more CEOs, Hollywood stars, and wealthy environmental activists can afford them and develop a taste for flying in high style. Since the per capita emissions from private air travel are many times higher than for commercial, it seems to me that the European Commission should want to go after private jets first. And since the rich are less sensitive to paying higher prices than working and middle class holiday travelers on tight budgets, they should be able to put really high taxes on private jet passengers and raise lots of revenue without forcing too many of them back onto commercial flights. That should be just fine with the European Commission because the purpose of playing the global warming game is first and foremost about increasing tax revenues rather than cutting emissions–just as it is for most European governments. That is one of the reasons why EU emissions have outpaced U. S. emissions since Kyoto was negotiated in 1997.