More expensive air travel is the fairest way to tax carbon, says University of Leeds professor

Carbon taxes on heating and driving affect the poor more – but charges on flights could offer a fair way to tax carbon.

In an article for The Conversation, Professor Milena Buchs, from the School of Earth and Environment, and Giulio Mattioli, research fellow at the Department of Transport Planning, Technical University of Dormund, say their study has revealed a type of carbon tax that could prove popular. 

They argue that carbon taxes on energy people use in their homes – for heating and cooking, for example – see poorer people using a much higher share of their income to pay for essential energy, compared to richer people. 

However, carbon taxes on ‘luxury emmissions’, such as air travel, nearly always affect the rich more as people on higher incomes are more likely to fly, and fly often. 

Overall, taxes on air travel are far more socially just than taxes on necessities such as home energy use and could curb luxury emissions in a way that nurtures broad support for more sweeping decarbonisation measures such as those designed to limit car travel, like expanding bus and cycling lanes. 

Read the full story on the Conversation website

Image via Unsplash/Ross Parmly