The government keeps aviation under control

The government keeps aviation under control



full screen Flight accounts for a large part of man’s climate impact. But the state continues to subsidize our flying. Archive image. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

The fact that the government pushes more than a billion to the aviation industry leads Sweden even further away from the goals of the Paris Agreement, researchers believe. Now further reductions in the aviation tax are proposed for the autumn budget.

– It is very unfortunate, says Jonas Åkerman at KTH.

Floods, fires and heat records on an assembly line. At the same time that the effects of climate change are becoming more noticeable, the government has received increasingly sharp criticism for its climate policy, including from its own expert body.

But it is not surprising that the government invests more than a billion in the spring amendment budget to support the aviation industry, says Thomas Sterner, professor of environmental economics at the University of Gothenburg.

– It is typical of this government that does not try to reach any climate goals but prioritizes other goals. But there is no basis for aviation to be subsidized in this way, he says.

Increases will to fly

Aviation’s impact on the climate has increased sharply in recent decades. The new billion leads away from a change to traveling with more climate-friendly means of transport, believes Jonas Åkerman, research leader for strategic sustainability studies at KTH, focused on traffic research.

– It is clear that it increases our inclination to fly instead of choosing other modes of transport, he says.

The government points out in its budget that Swedes’ flying decreased significantly during the pandemic, and that the new money is needed to alleviate the deficit.

In addition to the aviation initiatives that were presented last week, the Ministry of Finance has also proposed a reduction in aviation tax ahead of next year’s budget. The proposal entails a halving of the tax amounts that would otherwise have applied for 2025.

Keeps flight under arms

Jonas Åkerman believes that the government keeps aviation under control, especially in light of the fact that the industry already receives exemptions when it comes to taxes for emissions.

– It is remarkable that you give a billion to a sector that is one of those that has the greatest climate impact – and that already has tax exemptions in the billions range. International air travel, for example, is completely exempt from VAT, he says.

Thomas Sterner also believes that tax breaks and other supplements mean that aviation is treated differently compared to other forms of transport.

– I see no arguments in favor of aviation, but it should be handled in the same way as the railway or other infrastructure. Market forces should apply here too – that you have to pay what it costs, he says.

FACT The criticism of the government’s climate policy

The government’s climate policy has been criticized from several quarters. In March, the Climate Policy Council came up with a report with the conclusion that the government’s climate action plan, among other things, ignores the milestones until 2030 and does not meet the requirements of the Climate Act.

“The government’s climate action plan is leading Sweden down an unnecessarily risky path. It does not show how we will achieve the goals, neither in the short nor the long term”, was one of the conclusions from the Climate Policy Council.

The Social Democrats, the Center Party, the Environmental Party and the Left Party have all criticized the government’s climate policy.

As for aviation, it goes under the radar for Sweden’s national climate goals. Only domestic aviation, which accounts for seven percent of aviation emissions, is included in the 2045 target.

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