Schiphol airport: measures to reduce emissions

Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport published new research findings, which demonstrate the need to reduce air traffic significantly in order to bring Schiphol's CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. To achieve this target, the Dutch airport needs to reduce its CO2 emissions by at least 30 percent. The Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) and the CE Delft research institute were commissioned by Schiphol airport to analyse how Schiphol’s emissions can be in line with the Paris Agreement. Both research institutes emphasize the need for demand management as well as the polluter-pays principle.

Based on the research findings, Schiphol Airport highlights the need for strengthened national and international policies to meet the Paris Climate Agreement. Thus, the Dutch airport proposes the following measures: Firstly, to convert the Dutch aviation tax into a distance-based tax, given the fact 20 percent of flights cause 80 percent of emissions. Secondly, the airport suggests an additional tax for business class and private flights. Thirdly, Schiphol proposes to redistribute the revenues from the aviation tax as a means to accelerate the Dutch aviation sector’s transition away from fossil fuels. A further recommendation is to adopt the European emissions trading to intercontinental flights. Currently, emissions trading is solely applied to inner-European flights. Lastly, Schiphol Airport suggests the introduction of a global kerosene tax as well as a blending obligation by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The global network Stay Grounded, which fosters alternatives to aviation, welcomes the publication of the research findings: “It is rare that the industry, in this case one of the five biggest European airports, actually acknowledges the need for degrowth. We hope this opens the eyes of further airports and policy makers to the urgency of implementing the proposed measures”, says Magdalena Heuwieser from the global network. Nonetheless, Stay Grounded emphasizes the need for more drastic measures than the ones proposed by the Dutch airport: “instead of a tax on private flights, we need a ban on private flights as well as short-haul flights, a frequent flying levy and clear caps on flights at airports”, concludes Heuwieser from the global network.