Friday, May 18, 2007

It is not a "simple fact" at all

Apparently, says the Government, it is a "simple fact" that raising the air passenger duty to a tenner from a fiver will "produce more carbon savings in a month than the Conservative proposals [of VAT on domestic flight] will in a year". This is because it will "save 2.75 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by 2010-11".

Now, I think I was pretty clear myself at the time that I thought the idea of VAT on domestic flights was loopy, however, how on earth can such authoritative statements be made by the Government about the reduction in carbon as a result of an increase of a fiver on the cost of flying? How can one state that as a "simple fact"?

Seriously, putting aside all the climate change arguments, the implication here is that the fiver increase will stop people flying. And what's more, the Government claims that it can know how many people will stop flying as a result of it over the next three years. It's total extrapolated bollocks based on assumptions of pure conjecture.

The bizarre thing is that Ian Pearson, the Minister for Climate Change (surely that should be Minister against Climate Change?), who said the above nonsense preceded his authoritative "simple fact" by saying he accepted that APD was not the "most effective policy instrument when it comes to influencing environmental behaviour".


kinglear said...

Saving the CO2 relies on fewer aircraft flying. There is no guarantee that this will happen - if anything, even with the extra £5, the numbers of flights are expected to grow.

Anonymous said...

The only part of goverment I believe these days is the weathermen ,we know they get it wrong ,the civil service lie a much a the the politicians ,air travel is growing even the rest of the world say that,

Anonymous said...

Reducing CO2 does not just depend on fewer people flying. People don't pollute - flights do. So the APD increase would have to reduce the growth in flight numbers, and there is no evidence from anywhere in the world that even the massive cost increases of recent years (eg a near doubling of fuel prices) has made the slightest difference.

The Treasury was asked to publish its methodology for calculating that the APD rise would save 0.3-0.7m tonnes of carbon, but it has not done so. Its assessment was probably purely academic, and in the interests of the trust that Gordon Brown is so keen on, perhaps he will put the maths out into the open so we can all see how his officials justified his tax rise change?

Anonymous said...

"Government claims that it can know how many people will stop flying as a result of it over the next three years. It's total extrapolated bollocks based on assumptions of pure conjecture."
I think this sentence sums up government forcasts on anything just change flying to any other word and presto.

Richard Havers said...

Airlines don't really understand the elasticity of demand for travel in either the leisure or business market (clearly the two respond very differently). The fact is it used to be simpler than it is today but there's no way anyone in government can begin to be that simplistic.

Of course in Scotland the Executive are giving airlines money to start up new routes, which kind of runs contrary to the APD

Scott Freeman said...

Minister For Climate Change??? WHat does his job entail exactly? I can just see him in his suit and tie standing and looking out some porthole in Westminster and saying "Nothing yet.... still nothing....stiiill nothing...."

Anonymous said...

Ha! Fail to see why I should have to pay. My estate in Ireland sucks in enough carbon for hundreds of people a year. the government should be paying me!