Ryanair became the first and only airline to join Europe’s list of top 10 polluters

The European Union should abandon the U.N.’s emission offsetting scheme for airlines and instead should tax aviation like other means of transportation, according to analysis from Brussels-based Transport & Environment research group.

Earlier in April, Ryanair became the first and only airline to join Europe’s list of top 10 polluters, according to EU data. The league was made up exclusively of coal-fired power plant until then.  Ryanair joined seven plants in Germany, one in Bulgaria and one in Poland.

 “When it comes to climate, Ryanair is the new coal. This trend will only continue until Europe realises that this undertaxed and under-regulated sector needs to be brought into line, starting with a tax on kerosene and the introduction of mandates that force airlines to switch to zero-emission jet fuel,” Andrew Murphy, aviation manager at T&E said in a statement.

Ryanair may be Europe’s most polluting airline, but it is far from being the fastest-growing emitter of greenhouse gases, according to T&E latest figures, which cites Britain’s Jet2.com, Portugal’s TAP or Finland’s Finnair with rates of 20%, 12.6% and 11.2% respectively. Overall, emissions from the aviation sector rose 4.9% last year, compared to a 3.9% fall for other emission-trading sectors.

T&E says the problem of “aviation’s runaway emissions” are the results of governments that left the sector “untaxed and under-regulated compared to other transport.”

“National carriers and low-cost airlines all benefit from paying no fuel tax and VAT while the rest of us must pay our way. Governments and the EU need to wake up, starting with a tax on kerosene and clean fuel mandates that force airlines to switch to zero-emission jet fuel,” Murphy said.

The debate on how to put a price on emissions from the aviation sector is a heated one; which has landed on the discussion table on the bloc’s finance ministers back in February. At the initiative of the Dutch finance minister, European member states were invited to consider the implementation of a European carbon tax for aviation, which would require unanimity, to bridge the gap between emissions forecasts and the Paris Agreement targets.

Cover pic Shutterstock.com