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EU Fit for 55 Aviation Rules: Too Many Loopholes and Too Slow
EU’s Proposed End of Kerosene Tax Exemption Welcomed, but Lacks Ambition
Vienna/Brussels, July 14 2021 – Today, the EU Commission published its Fit for 55 climate package, which includes some changes for aviation. The Stay Grounded network welcomes the plan to end the tax exemption for jet fuel, but condemns its slow introduction, the problematic exemption for cargo flights and the limitation to intra-EU flights. It also criticizes the unambitious changes in the EU emissions trading scheme and the adoption of CORSIA for extra-EU flights.
“This package will not make Europe’s aviation sector fit for 55% emissions reductions by 2030! It’s important to finally get rid of the kerosene tax exemption, but the plan is not strong enough. The rollout over 10 years is way too slow! To stop flying straight into climate breakdown we have to fully tax aviation immediately,“ says Magdalena Heuwieser, spokesperson of Stay Grounded.
The network of 170 organisations says it is disappointing that flights to non-EU destinations would not be included in the kerosene tax. Stay Grounded especially criticizes that cargo-only flights are to be exempted from the kerosene tax. “However, member states can and should decide to tax cargo-only and extra-EU flights, too”, demands Heuwieser.
Cargo-only flights currently have an above-average market share of 10-11%. “This exemption is unacceptable. Freight companies like DHL, FedEx and UPS have lobbied strongly against a revised energy tax and a reduction of free allowances in the ETS”, adds Heuwieser. The aviation industry and freight lobby groups have been trying to divert attention from necessary climate measures by putting their communication focus on unlikely future technological fixes, as a newly published report shows. Resistance is rising against aviation’s climate impact. Just recently, last weekend, a climate action took place in Leipzig, Germany, against one of the biggest freight airports.
The EU proposal also includes a “tighter cap” on the number of free allowances European airlines get within the EU Emissions Trading System, and integrates the UN Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). “Free allowances for airlines must be eliminated immediately, we cannot wait until 2026. It is crazy to continue giving airlines free permits to pollute. Also, leaving extra-EU flights to the offsetting mechanism of CORSIA is a bad idea”, says Heuwieser.
“CORSIA does more harm than good to the climate. It is too broken to fix, and no more than greenwashing, designed to allow business as usual for decades to come. Scientific analyses show that emissions trading and offsetting will fail to effectively reduce aviation emissions. Instead of offering polluters the option to buy themselves out of the commitment to cut emissions, we need clear limits and to stop subsidies”, adds Heuwieser.
Stay Grounded also points out that the goal of only 5% alternative aviation fuels by 2030 is ridiculous, and rejects the use of biofuels which can lead to deforestation, human rights violations and even more emissions. Even by 2050, the current EU plan will allow the EU’s airlines to use one third conventional kerosene. “If we drastically reduce flights, it could be possible to achieve 100% renewable e-fuels sooner than 2050”, concludes Heuwieser.
Stay Grounded is a global network representing 170 member organisations, campaigning for a reduction of air traffic and a climate-just mobility system.
Magdalena Heuwieser, Stay Grounded
Phone: +43 650 3773 102