Although spaceflight has not yet officially begun, one politician believes it should be taxed for carbon dioxide emissions. Just like with overseas flights.
As Sir Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos embarked on a space travel, spending millions of dollars, a politician came up with the idea of introducing a space tourism tax.
US Congressman Earl Blumenauer plans to introduce a bill with the interesting name “Providing protection against carbon emissions (SPACE) tax”, ie a tax to provide protection against carbon emissions, which would actually be a tax on space tourism.
Space exploration is not a tax-free vacation for the rich. “Just as ordinary Americans pay taxes when they buy airline tickets, so billionaires who fly into space with no scientific value should pay taxes, and a little more,” Blumenauer wrote in a press release.
“I am not against this form of space innovation, but what is done only for tourism or entertainment and has no scientific weight should fund the public good,” Blumenauer added.
He explained that he was concerned about the environmental impact of such space flights.
Namely, according to scientists, one overseas flight can produce from one to three tons of carbon dioxide per passenger. For comparison, one rocket launch produces about 200-300 tons per flight for four passengers.
The problem is that rockets, due to their trajectory, emit carbon dioxide directly into the upper atmosphere, and with them other harmful gases caused by the combustion of kerosene and methane, which directly damages the fragile ozone layer.
Space flights only benefit from their current frequency (or rarity). Namely, according to NASA, last year only 114 flights tried to reach Earth orbit.
But the number of such flights may soon increase. Virgin Galactic plans to launch a passenger flight, averaging every 32 hours, Blumenauer warns.
He added that proponents of suborbital flights point out that foreign flights have a similar carbon footprint to space flights, but they actually carry more passengers and travel much farther and longer than space flights.
After all, spaceflight will emit 60 times more carbon dioxide emissions than overseas flights per passenger. It is enough to travel around the Earth by car and twice as much as recommended by the Paris Climate Agreement, warns Blumenauer.
Branson has announced that tickets for his flight will cost between $ 200,000 and $ 250,000, and Bezos has not revealed how much he will charge his passengers. It seems that amount may be slightly higher in the future.
The exception will be NASA flights for scientific and research purposes, adds Blumenauer.
His proposal envisions two tax rates – one for orbital flights and one for suborbital. However, he did not specify what the rate would be or what the tax would be. Judging by the name of the bill, the funds can be used to fight climate change or to find “greener solutions”.
From today’s perspective, Blumenauer ‘s proposal may seem premature, as tourist space flights have not yet officially begun. However, given the government’s interest in such flights, this may not be a bad idea.