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User charges in the field of air traffic


User charges in the field of air traffic

30 May 2005

During a workshop conducted by Ecologic Institute and the German Federal Environmental Agency on the matter of user charges on global environmental goods Nils Meyer-Ohlendorf gave two speeches on the legal parameters of the introduction of a levy on air plane tickets as well as on emissions. Participants of the workshop were representatives of the German Government, of the EU-Commission as well as representatives of academia, industry and NGOs.

International airspace and the high seas are global environmental goods with traditionally unrestricted access. This free access regime results in severe environmental impacts. Global public goods are characteristic in that everyone has nearly unrestricted access (so-called "open access goods"). Since these goods are not subject to any form of governmental control, the rights to access and usage are insufficiently regulated. This regulatory gap contributes to an excessive use of such areas. As two principal forms of use of these public goods, increasing air and sea traffic are responsible for a substantial part of the current environmental impact. With a view to these growing environmental impacts of air and sea traffic, different instruments of financial policy have been discussed as a means of reducing such impacts and achieving a more effective protection of global environmental goods, among those are user charges.

The presentation given by Nils Meyer-Ohlendorf concerns two different types of user charges in air traffic: a levy on emissions and the an Air Ticket Tax.

In the context of user charges a levy on emissions is assessed in accordance to the amounts of greenhousegases or other pollutants emitted by the aircraft. The presentation analyses the different ways of implementing such levy with respect to the German financial laws as well as European and International law.

Implementing an Air Ticket Tax (ATT) is another possibility of designing a user charge. In this area different approaches are also possible: The tax could be levied as a flat rate or as a proportional increase, moreover the tax could be assessed according to travel-distance, emitted pollutants or capacity of the aircraft. The speech illuminates the different possibilities of implementing a ATT according to German, European and International law.

30 May 2005
Berlin, Germany
traffic, climate, energy, air, pollution, taxes, charges