Make them pay



Flying is the fastest way to fry the planet: it’s the quickest way to burn fossil fuel and produce greenhouse gas emissions. Aviation is the pinnacle of climate, social and economic injustice. Private aviation is the peak of these injustices. Private jets are 10 times more carbon intensive than airliners, and 50 times more polluting than trains. A four-hour private flight emits as much as the average person does in a year.

Despite the cost-of-living crisis affecting millions around the world, there are more billionaires than ever who have profited through recent health and economic crises and sales of private jets are sky-high. Excessive private jet use is entirely inappropriate during a climate emergency – many Citizens’ Assemblies have recommended that they should be banned.


Various Citizen Assemblies e.g. in the UKScotland, and France, have recommended that frequent flyers and those who fly further should pay more

For example, Scotland’s Climate Assembly recommended the government to:

  • Eliminate frequent flyer and air mile bonuses – 92% agreed
  • Discourage air travel by introducing a frequent flyer tax or levy – 76% agreed
  • Tax high carbon aviation fuels – 72% agreed

They believe this would “address issues of tax fairness, as currently those who don’t fly are subsidising those who do” and that “this would deliver significant behaviour changes across society and have a positive impact on reducing overall carbon emissions caused by flying.”It’s important to note that the primary objective here is to reduce excessive flying from a minority of the population, in order to bring emissions down and prevent climate heating. If air traffic and aviation emissions do not reduce, – we will also need other policies, such as limiting the capacity of airports/airlines, particularly in countries with high levels of flying.

Taxes on air travel would be a socially progressive way of raising climate funds and have been proposed by the group representing the most vulnerable countries at COP27 as an effective way to raise climate finance and pay for loss and damage, and cancel debt.


It is only fair that the wealthiest in society and the highest-income, highest-emitters pay for their climate damage, and pay the most into climate loss and damage funds for the most affected peoples and areas to mitigate and adapt to the worst impacts of climate change. These ‘equity’ principles have also been agreed to and established under the international Paris Agreement, signed by all countries in 2015.

The top 1% of the global population by income are responsible for more emissions than the bottom 50% combined. So not only is it a question of morality that the wealthiest in society pay the most, and commit to the most rapid emissions reductions – it’s also a mathematical necessity and a question of practicality and science.

We support the demands coming from the most vulnerable countries to establish a system of global taxation of funding payments on high polluters. The revenues will be used for: climate action, climate finance, climate loss & damage, climate adaptation. Furthermore the cancellation of debt, which shackles developing countries and can prevent them from investing in the transition to low-carbon energy.