‘Flight shame’ takes hold in Europe, China, US, says new study

(EurActiv, 14 Jan 2020) Most Chinese, Europeans and US citizens plan to fly less for holidays this year to limit aircraft CO2 emissions and help prevent catastrophic climate change, a survey by the European Investment Bank (EIB) showed on Tuesday (14 January).

The EIB Climate Survey was based on 30,000 respondents from 27 September to 21 October in the 28 EU member states, the United States and China.

In the poll, 36% of Europeans said they already flew less for holidays to help prevent climate change and 75% intended to do so in 2020. In China the number of people planning less air travel for holidays this year was 94%, and 69% in the U.S.

The aviation industry accounts for over 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and if left unchecked emissions are expected to rise as passenger and flight numbers increase.

In the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson’s government announced this week that it would bail out regional airline Flybe, by deferring more than €100 million in tax and looking into reducing air passenger tax on all domestic flights.

The move was denounced as a “blatant misuse of public funds” by the head of airline group IAG, Willie Walsh, while environmental groups criticised any government action that will reduce the cost of air travel.

Curbing aviation emissions is set to be part of the new European Commission’s climate policymaking, which will include looking into updating the bloc’s energy taxation rules. A levy on jet fuel, which is currently tax-exempt, is also on the cards.

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EurActiv, 14 Jan 2020: ‘Flight shame’ takes hold in Europe, China, US, says new study