Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Flying in the face of reason

Weird, this shouldn’t happen. One of the largest adjustments in the national budget that the government just announced is removing the taxes on airplane trafik, which currently is about 10 euro pr. Flight.
In the news, this was presented as something like a christmas gift to us all; Ah, now we can go fly as we please, unburdened by crunching taxation.
But this is 2005, we’re in the age of rampant global climate change and the end of fossil fuel is near. If anything, I would have expected an attempt to finally put some taxes on jet fuel which at the moment is totally exempt.

We’ve got a fundamental clash of logics happening here:

The prevailing logic: Gotta move faster. Of course, cause everybody else does, too. I understand, I really do.

The logic of reality as I see it to the best of my knowledge:
Air traffic is the fastest growing segment in transportation. Travelling a mile in a plane uses about the same amount of fuel pr. Person as in with cars – but you rarely just get in and fly 1000 km. or more for a meeting or a weekend. Plus, the fumes are released in a more fragile part of the atmosphere making their contribution to the greenhouse effect much worse. Compared to car travel, air traffic is way cheaper because there are no taxes on the fuel.

Meanwhile, DSB – the national Danish railways – are losing thousands of passengers due to perpetual, yet un-predictable major delays because the trains can no longer drive at high speeds on rails that are poorly maintained.

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