Scottish Climate Assembly – many recommendations to cut aviation carbon emissions
The Scottish Climate Assembly reported its recommendations for action on 23rd June. The Assembly included over 100 ordinary members of society, and met from November 2020 to March 2021, online for 7 weekends. Their recommendations relating to aviation include that Scotland should: “Lead the way in minimising the carbon emissions caused by necessary travel and transport by investing in the exploration and early adoption of alternative fuel sources across all travel modes.” 93% agreed. And “Commit to working to decarbonise all internal flights within Scotland by 2025.” 87% agreed. And “…requiring transport providers to declare the carbon impact of flights and train journeys in a clear and meaningful way at the time of booking.” 94% agreed. And “Reduce the incentives to fly by introducing tax on high carbon aviation fuels and making it mandatory that this cost is passed on to the customer in their ticket price.” And “Discourage air travel by introducing a frequent flyer tax or levy.” 78% agreed. And “Eliminate frequent flyer and air mile bonuses to reduce the number of flights taken for business, encouraging the use of alternatives like video conferencing for meetings.” 92% agreed.
Goals and recommendations:
Lead the way in minimising the carbon emissions caused by necessary travel and transport by investing in the exploration and early adoption of alternative fuel sources across all
travel modes. 93%
Commit to working to decarbonise all internal flights within Scotland by 2025. 87%
Declare Travel Carbon Impact
Immediately make it easier for people to make informed choices about how they travel, taking carbon emissions into consideration, by requiring transport providers to declare the carbon impact of flights and train journeys in a clear and meaningful way at the time of booking. 94%
Tax High Carbon Aviation Fuels
Reduce the incentives to fly by introducing tax on high carbon aviation fuels and making it mandatory that this cost is passed on to the customer in their ticket price. 72%
We believe that this would deliver significant behaviour changes across society and have
a positive impact on reducing overall carbon emissions caused by flying. It will address issues of tax fairness, as currently those who don’t fly are subsidising those who do fly
Frequent Flyer Tax or Levy
Discourage air travel by introducing a frequent flyer tax or levy. 78%
Eliminate frequent flyer and air mile bonuses to reduce the number of flights taken for business, encouraging the use of alternatives like video conferencing for meetings. 92%
This recommendation aims to address the unfairness of frequent flyers causing disproportionate emissions.
One way we think it could work would be, for example, allowing people one return journey untaxed per year anywhere in the world, and then any additional flights would incur a frequent flyers tax.
We recognise that there may be legitimate reasons for making exceptions to the tax, like necessary flights for medical treatment or in urgent personal circumstances, and that that would be fair.
Overall however we believe it would be quite simple to introduce and likely to be effective in reducing the number of flights.
“I was shocked to learn about the amount of people that are flying, that so many flights are taken by a small percentage of the population. I think the frequent flyer levy, if it’s implemented in the right way, is very important. It’s irresponsible of that small minority of people to damage the planet so much. We also learnt at the same time that aeroplanes, because they’re burning their fuel at altitude, are probably much more damaging to the atmosphere. So I thought it was really important to reduce the amount of flights in the air.”
Beverley, Assembly Member
Leeds Citizens’ Jury on climate change recommends NOT expanding Leeds Bradford airport
Leeds recently held a “Climate Change Citizens’ Jury” on climate change, with 21 “jurors”. It was put together by the Leeds Climate Commission, with jurors selected through a process to make it representative of a “mini-public” of Leeds, with varying different views. The Jury was tasked with examining the Leeds’ response to the emergency of climate change and with producing recommendations that will be used to guide the future work of the Commission and a range of organisations across Leeds. The jury started in September, and ran for a total of 30 hours over 9 sessions, ending in early November. The findings, in the form of recommendations written by the jurors, have been presented at a launch event on 25 November 2019 and will be presented formally to Leeds City Council’s Climate Emergency Advisory Committee in January 2019, which can make formal recommendations to Leeds City Council’s executive board. One of the recommendations was that Leeds Bradford Airport should not be expanded, with a vote for that by 86% of the jury. They said residents should be informed about the impact of expansion on carbon emissions, and flying should be discouraged, for example by higher taxation through the Frequent Flyer tax.