Should the price of international flights be hiked to offset emissions?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 9 Mar 2021, 3:31PM
(Photo / File)
(Photo / File)

Should the price of international flights be hiked to offset emissions?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 9 Mar 2021, 3:31PM

A tourism expert has suggested that airlines should increase their prices to reduce carbon emissions reduced by jet engines.

These comments follow the same suggestion from Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton and Air New Zealand's chief environmental advisor Sir Jonathon Porritt.

Otago University Professor of Tourism James Higham told Simon Barnett and Phil Gifford that jet engines contribute to three percent of the world’s carbon emissions, which if viewed as a country, would rank in the top 10 emitting countries.

The carbon emissions from flying come from tiny fractions of the world’s population, as around 95 percent of the world’s population hasn’t been in a plane, Higham says.

“A tiny fraction of those, and those are the people who tend to fly as tourists and fly long haul a lot, are actually flying more and more than ever before. So not only is it a significant amount of carbon, but it’s being produced by a very tiny proportion of very privileged people.”

The technological advancements made in air travel have led to an increased growth and demand for air travel, which has done nothing to reduce emissions.

“The jet engine has essentially reached its point of evolutionary sophistication and there are very fractional further efficiency gains available but nothing to offset the fast growth and demand for air travel that is driving up those emissions,” Higham says.

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