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Air passengers could be paying a new 'green aviation' tax starting in 2025: 'We want to create that change'

The move is expected to generate revenues around $175 million annually.

The move is expected to generate revenues around $175 million annually.

Photo Credit: iStock

In order to help fund its aviation industry's transition to 100% sustainable fuel for domestic flights, Denmark has decided to impose a new tax on plane passengers.

The tax will go into effect in 2025, charging air passengers an average of 100 Danish crowns ($14.56, as of the writing of this article). The tax will then rise on average over the following five years, eventually reaching 50 Danish crowns ($7.28) for intra-European flights, 310 crowns ($45.12) for medium-distance flights, and 410 ($59.68) for long-distance flights, Reuters reported.

"The aviation sector in Denmark must — just like all other industries — reduce its climate footprint and move toward a green future," Denmark's Climate, Energy, and Supply Minister Lars Aagaard said in a statement. "We want to create that change so that the green planes also become a reality."

🗣️ Which of the following sustainable changes would make you most likely to choose a particular airline?

🔘 Using cleaner fuel ⛽

🔘 Reducing in-flight waste 🗑️

🔘 Making it easy to choose low-emissions itineraries 📋

🔘 I don't pay attention to sustainability when I fly ✈️

🗳️ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

The move is expected to generate revenues of 1.2 billion Danish crowns (around $175 million) annually, per the Washington Post, roughly half of which will be invested into "green aviation" (with other revenue expected to go to state pensions for the elderly, per the European Travel Information and Authorisation System).

However, the concept of "sustainable aviation fuel" is still relatively new and has not been fully substantiated. Critics of the idea have derided it as greenwashing and warned that it will lead to the continued expansion of air travel, resulting in more pollution. Even though sustainable aviation fuel is generally produced from plants or waste rather than coal and oil, its impacts are difficult to assess, and it may not yet be any more sustainable or cause any less damage to the environment than the fuel that is currently used, as the World Resources Institute and others have noted.

According to one Seattle Times op-ed, "The aviation industry is hoping that we won't notice that its current unconstrained growth accounts for a larger and larger proportion of global warming. Don't let them get away with it — demand real solutions! In the meantime, we can respond by flying less, just as they feared."

Currently, almost no flights in the world operate with sustainable aviation fuel due to its high cost and lack of availability.

The best way to reduce pollution from aviation is to decrease the total number of flights by investing more in public transit options such as high-speed rail. Denmark, a country that is around double the size of Massachusetts, is fortunately doing that as well.

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