The plane against the planet? The topic is fascinating, at the intersection of desires, needs and economic realities. Unlike the carwhere the path to electricity is well marked, or Red meatwhere everyone can adjust their consumption without major sacrifices or losses, the right to travel far away raises all kinds of questions.
Let’s first eliminate the radical solution by Jean-Marc Jancovici – the choice of the ardent promoter of Project Shift who imposed a quota of four flights for life: even though 31% of French people say they already do it or intend to do it, the measure is impractical, starting with all those who, like the author of these lines, they have a family spread across the seas.
So what can we do when planes pollute and devices powered by electricity or hydrogen will never be able to replace the twin jet, which still emits greenhouse gases even though it emits much less today? The solution is obviously sustainable fuel (known as SAF, for Sustainable Aviation Fuel). But, unfortunately, it is produced in very small quantities – Air France, a good citizen, alone consumes 17% of the SAF available in the world – and costs five times more than kerosene.
A redistribution mechanism
Even though several SAF projects are being developed everywhere, one of which is driven by TotalEnergies in its Grandpuits Refinery, this green fuel will continue to be much more expensive. Just like the electric car or the heat pump…
This is where an interesting simulation made by Augustine of Romanet, who lives this dilemma from his position at the head of ADP. It currently delivers fuel to Le Bourget at 30% SAF, which doubles the bill for private jets. Applied to large companies, this measure would represent an additional cost of 30% of the ticket price. Over fifteen years, as the supply of SAF increases, this seems reasonable – only 10% of French people fly regularly and they are generally among the richest.
Aid could even be reserved for the most modest, those for whom traveling is almost an imperative at regular intervals, such as certain families of foreign origin. After all, the State will not cover part of the price of the electric car to allow for rent at 100 euros low income?
In fact, it’s always the same thing with the transition: as it will cost more, we must at the same time provide a redistribution mechanism, without feeling guilty. In this sense, taxing planes to finance the train was a bad idea. If taxes are necessary, it is so that those who want to steal can continue to do so, but in a green way.