Global Economy

published : 2023-11-19

European Country Considers 'Green Tax' on Flights to Fund Pensions and Sustainable Energy Transition

Denmark explores a new law to tax flights, raising concerns and hope for a greener future

Aerial view of Copenhagen, Denmark taken with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro.

Denmark is contemplating the implementation of a revolutionary law that would introduce a 'green tax' on all flights, aiming to support the country's sustainable energy goals and pension system, according to a report from the Washington Post.

The proposed tax is set to levy passengers approximately $9 for intra-European flights, $25 for medium-distance flights, and $56 for long-distance flights.

With the expectation of raising 1.2 billion krones, approximately $176 million, the funds would be allocated towards two key objectives: transitioning all Danish domestic flights to sustainable fuels by 2030 and increasing pension benefits for elderly citizens.

Airplane taking off from a green runway, symbolizing the transition to sustainable fuels, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

"Flying takes a toll on the climate, which is why we need to equip our flight sector with green wings," declared Denmark's Minister for Climate, Energy, and Utilities, Lars Aagaard, emphasizing the pressing need for change in the aviation industry.

The policy would be implemented gradually, commencing in 2025 and aiming for a complete transition to green flights by 2030. Denmark further plans to power its domestic flight route solely with sustainable fuels by 2025.

However, not all experts are convinced that the proposed 'green tax' will have a significant impact. Some critics argue that it merely serves as 'greenwash,' allowing airlines to misrepresent their commitment to sustainable energy practices.

Elderly Danish citizens enjoying their pension benefits on a park bench, representing the positive impact of the 'green tax', taken with a Nikon D850.

Magdalena Heuwieser, co-founder of the Stay Grounded network, expressed skepticism, stating, "This proposal is little more than greenwash that will ultimately fuel the industry's growth. The tax is too insignificant to drive demand reduction and will mostly be absorbed by the industry."

Instead, Heuwieser advocates for a complete ban on domestic flights in Denmark, focusing on promoting the country's rail system as a more sustainable alternative to air travel.

As the discussions continue, Denmark's potential 'green tax' on flights presents both hope for a greener aviation industry and concerns about its effectiveness in curbing environmental impact. The decision will likely shape Denmark's path towards a more sustainable future.