How airplanes damage the environment

Tax on aviation fuel urgently required

NABU warns of increasing environmental pollution from air traffic

Flying is a particularly heavy burden on the environment with pollutants and noise. A vacation flight to Tenerife damages the climate just as much as driving a car for a year. That is why NABU is calling for a tax on kerosene.

Photo: Helge May

In view of the steadily increasing number of air passengers, NABU criticizes the climate and noise pollution caused by aviation and calls for the taxation of kerosene in order to counteract the trend towards cheap domestic flights through rising ticket prices. Flying is a particularly heavy burden on the environment with pollutants and noise. A vacation flight to Tenerife damages the climate just as much as driving a car for a year. The unequal treatment of air and rail transport also distorts competition to the detriment of environmentally friendly modes of transport. Air traffic currently contributes around twelve percent to traffic-related carbon dioxide emissions, but is exempt from any energy tax.


In the opinion of the NABU, the introduction of a kerosene tax, the calculation of the ecological tax and the abolition of the VAT exemption in cross-border air traffic are necessary to protect the climate. An eco-tax could, for example, increase the pressure on aircraft manufacturers and airlines to build and use more economical models. There is also enormous potential for increasing efficiency in the air. However, there needs to be an incentive to retire obsolete jets that emit excessive exhaust fumes and noise.


In addition, according to the NABU, the pollution of the population by air traffic should be reduced by a new Aircraft Noise Act with stricter limit values ​​and the enforcement of effective night flight bans. Around 30 million people in Germany are affected by aircraft noise. According to the Institute for Economic Policy and Economic Research at the University of Karlsruhe, noise and exhaust gases from air traffic cause damage to the economy running into billions every year. The Federal Minister of Finance alone loses income of over five billion euros annually because of the exemption from mineral oil tax, eco tax and VAT on international flight tickets.


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