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IATA says taxes and levies no quick-fix for climate change

by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) Oct 6, 2009
The aviation industry on Tuesday urged governments against using taxes and levies on airlines as a quick-fix solution to cutting harmful gas emissions.

Tony Tyler, chairman of the International Air Transport Association (IATA)'s board of governors, said the industry was wrongly charged by environmentalists as the "bogeyman of climate change" and viewed by policymakers as a "cash-cow for much-needed revenue" to cope with the economic downturn.

"We have determined, ideologically-driven detractors in the environmental lobby who actively support aviation being subject to further charges, perhaps in the form of a global levy on air passengers," he told the region's airline chiefs in an annual conference on the industry's response to climate change.

"Frankly, such a levy would simply make us a sitting duck for governments looking to raise revenue. And show me a government that isn't."

Tyler, also chief executive of Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific, said there had been a "proliferation of national taxes" which did not benefit the environment directly.

He named the UK's Air Passenger Duty, an excise duty charged on aircraft flying from a United Kingdom airport, as the worst example.

"It will generate 3.1 billion Pounds (4.94 US dollars) of additional tax revenue when it is increased next month, with not a penny of it going directly to the environment," he said.

IATA has urged world leaders to consider a global approach in cutting aviation emissions when they meet at the UN summit on climate change in Copenhagen in December.

It said the industry has reached a consensus to improve fuel efficiency by an average 1.5 percent annually up to 2020, achieve "carbon-neutral growth" from then on and slash its overall emissions by half by 2050 compared to 2005.

IATA said the industry contributes two percent of global man-made carbon dioxide emissions and accounts for three percent of the total man-made contribution to climate change.

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