A group of MPs and their little advisor friends are pushing the government to consider applying harder taxes and levies to air travel, because otherwise hitting any sort of net-zero carbon ambition in the future is going to be impossible.
The Committee on Climate Change has been investigating the effects of shipping and air travel on the nation's carbon output, and has warned that even with increasing efficiency and new types of eco fuels coming online the aviation industry is unlikely to ever shave more than 20 per cent off the emissions generated by flights by the year 2050. Given the non-stop growth of air travel for business and leisure, something clearly needs to be done, and a frequent flier tax look like the easiest option.
And worryingly for the backers of the Heathrow expansion, the CCC also warns that the government might need to rethink its entire aviation strategy as well, because building new runways is not massively conducive to reducing airline CO2 output. Restricting national flight capacity could be a useful, but extreme, strand of attack; and abandoning Heathrow's third runway plan would leave more room for air traffic growth in the rest of the country while still allowing the UK to hit climate targets. [CCC via BBC]