Sunday, December 21, 2008

Air travel levy to adapt climate change: IIED The UK-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) has suggested an air travel levy could provide a multi-billion dollar boost to countries and communities that need to adapt to climate change now.

The authors of the paper “Fairer flying: an international air travel levy for adaptation” of IIED Muyeye Chambwera and Benito Muller, argue that an air travel levy on international air passengers could contribute significantly to existing adaptation funding without burdening national budgets. “A small per-trip payment by passengers could contribute $8 billion to $10 billion a year towards adaptation,” they said.

Similar schemes in France and elsewhere show that this kind of ethical solidarity and polluter pays approach would be simple to implement in practical and institutional terms. “Given that wealthier people travel most by air while the poor bear the brunt of the impacts, redressing the balance is key, both ethically and practically,” they said.

As aviation grows, so does its impact on climate change. As planes release carbon dioxide and other warming gases such as water vapour at high altitude, the impact of aviation emissions is amplified. Taking into account these multiplier effects, aviation will contribute about 5% of the total warming effect by 2050.

Stratocumulus clouds over the Channel Sea from a British Airways Airbus A319-200, shot by Odessa3

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