You’ve heard of “super spreaders” but what about “super emitters”?
According to the woke vernacular, that a term reserved for those frequent-flyers who a recent study found represent just 1% of the world’s population yet who have caused half of aviation’s carbon emissions in 2018. This excludes the “wokest” of virtue-signalling super emitters – those who fly around the globe in ultra-emitting private jets, lecturing the rest of the world about the dangers of global warming. We can only imagine that if those were also included, then the number would be revised from 1% to 0.01%.
According to a study by Stefan Gössling at Linnaeus University in Sweden, only 11% of the world’s population took a flight in 2018 and 4% flew abroad, and predictably US air passengers have by far the biggest carbon footprint among rich countries. Its aviation emissions are bigger than the next 10 countries combined, including the UK, Japan, Germany and Australia, the study reports (it wasn’t clear if China was excluded because of a far backroom exchanges of yuan/bitcoin).
The research, published in the journal Global Environmental Change, collated a range of data and found large proportions of people in every country did not fly at all each year – 53% in the US, 65% in Germany and 66% in Taiwan. In the UK, separate data shows 48% of people did not fly abroad in 2018. Yet it is these people who will be hit just as hard by whatever “green” tax is coming by our new socialist overlords.
On average, North Americans flew 50 times more than Africans in 2018, 10 times more than those in the Asia-Pacific region and 7.5 times more than Latin Americans. Europeans and those in the Middle East flew 25 times further than Africans and five times more than Asians.
Of course, the real culprit is not the US but China, although this woke study conveniently ignored the footprint of Beijing (which may or may not have funded the study): while the analysis showed the US produced the most emissions among rich nations, China does not make data available.
What was most interesting, however, is that the study showed that an elite group enjoying frequent flights had a big impact on CO2 emissions, and yet according to conventional wisdom everyone should be punished in the form of higher taxes, prices, etc when the transgressions of a handful of woke virtue-signalers are most responsible for rise in airplane-linked emissions.
Naturally, since this was a study on climate change, socialism wasn’t far behind: Dan Rutherford, at the International Council on Clean Transportation and not part of the research team, said the analysis raised the question of “equality.”
“The benefits of aviation are more inequitably shared across the world than probably any other major emission source,” he said. “So there’s a clear risk that the special treatment enjoyed by airlines just protects the economic interests of the globally wealthy.”
The frequent flyers identified in the study travelled about 35,000 miles (56,000km) a year, Gössling said, equivalent to three long-haul flights a year, one short-haul flight per month, or some combination of the two.
Things got really silly when the researchers somehow estimated the “cost of the climate damage” whatever that means, caused by aviation’s emissions at $100BN in 2018. The absence of payments to cover this damage “represents a major subsidy to the most affluent”, the researchers said. “This highlights the need to scrutinise the sector, and in particular the super emitters.”
So what do the socialists researchers suggest? Why taxes of course.
A levy on frequent fliers is one proposal to discourage flights. “Somebody will need to pay to decarbonise flight – why shouldn’t it be frequent flyers?” Rutherford said. But Gössling was less enthusiastic, pointing out that frequent flyers were usually very wealthy, meaning higher ticket prices may not deter them.
“Perhaps a more productive way is to ask airlines to increase the share of [low carbon] synthetic fuels mix every year up to 100% by 2050,” Gössling said. A mandate for sustainable aviation fuel starting in 2025 is backed by some in the industry.
Yup: at this point the “scientists” were reduced to bickering over who should be taxed more to solve the world’s problems. What neither of them appears to realize is that whatever the so-called “cost of climate change”, the Fed will meet all of it by printing an even greater amount and then depositing it into the digital dollar accounts of those deemed “virtuous” enough by the world’s socialist overlords.
Finally, do the wealth-redistributionist “researchers” do as they preach and stop flying themselves? Apparently not: “I’m not saying I’ll never fly again. But if I can avoid it, I really, really try,” Gössling said whimsically.