Proposed climate change tax on travel under fire from ATA

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US airline lobbying group the Air Transport Association of America (ATA) is urging climate negotiators not to green-light a new global levy on international airline tickets that would be used to help fight global warming, saying the proposed tax is "exorbitant".

The so-called "International Air Passenger Adaption Levy" would single out aviation to raise $10 billion per year for climate-change projects to be built in developing countries, says the ATA.

The organization has written to the US Special Envoy for Climate Change, Todd Stern, urging the USA not to adopt the tax on international air travel.

"The proposed tax would unfairly and unreasonably target one industrial sector, a sector that has a tremendous fuel and greenhouse gas efficiency record, to the detriment of the economy," says ATA president and CEO James May.

"Even though the US airlines account for less than 2% of the US greenhouse gas inventory, we are committed to doing more. However, this hefty new tax would be counterproductive, siphoning away to the developing countries the very funds that the US airlines need to continue to invest in new aircraft, retrofits, alternative fuel and other upgrades critical to the airlines' environmental performance and the US economy. We should not be considered a piggy bank for developing countries."

President Barack Obama's administration has advocated for a domestic cap and trade scheme before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) sets general greenhouse gas emissions targets this December that will take effect after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.