Originally published on Transport and environment.
Europe’s five largest airports combine polluted more CO2 than the entire Swedish economy with emissions that are almost completely untaxed, a new airport tracker shows.
The online airport tracker created by ODI, Transport and Environment (T&E) and the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) reveals for the first time exactly how much CO2 is emitted from aircraft leaving airports.
Passenger flights departing from London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt, Amsterdam Schiphol and Madrid Barajas emit 53 million tonnes of carbon tax-exempt carbon dioxide, less than 15% of which are priced in EU and UK roofing and trading systems. These systems only include domestic flights and EU flights, which means that flights leaving Europe are not covered.
Jo Dardenne, Head of Aviation at T&E, said: “Unlike cars or power stations, most air emissions are released outside Europe’s borders, which means that large parts of the emissions from European airports are scandalously overlooked. All flights should be part of the emissions trading system, not just those in Europe. ”
80% of Paris Charles de Gaulle’s emissions come, for example, from long-haul flights, while the majority departing from smaller airports, such as Krakow, are short. Pollutants from smaller airports are therefore taxed more than those from larger ones that cater for longer, higher emissions.
These undocumented and untaxed carbon dioxide emissions are important when considering airport expansions, says the coalition of NGOs. Emissions from the aviation sector increased by 5% per year from 2013 to 2018 to 2.5% of global carbon dioxide emissions – the seventh largest emitter globally if it were a country.
Jo Dardenne concluded: “We can now see the alarming extent of airport emissions and it is clear that the aviation sector is not doing enough to reduce pollution. We can not justify the expansion of airports during this climate crisis. ”
All the major airports mentioned have plans for expansion, especially Heathrow. Heathrow Airport – whose planned expansion has recently been delayed due to Covid – is responsible for the second largest airport emissions in the world. Its 16.2 million tonnes of CO2 each year is equivalent to 8.1 million cars.
Excluding cargo flights and emissions attributable to belly freight.
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