Letter to the Austrian government on airport expansion

Dear Government of Austria, Government of Lower Austria and City of Vienna,

The international climate community applauds the recent decision by the Federal administrative court in Vienna to block the expansion of Vienna airport as incompatible with Austria’s climate obligations. Aviation remains the most carbon intensive mode of transport, currently responsible for 2.6% of Austria’s emissions and have grown 123% from 1990 when it represented 1.8% of Austrian emissions. Globally its emissions are, unchecked, expected to grow by up to 300% in 2050 and consume one-quarter of the remaining carbon budget to stay within the 1.5°C limit in the Paris Agreement which Austria has ratified.

The Court’s ruling is a recognition of the inability of the aviation sector to expand in a manner which takes into account the public interest of climate mitigation, and which is consistent with Austria’s domestic, constitutional and international legal responsibilities. No effective measures currently exist to mitigate the sector’s substantial and growing climate impact. Aviation remains uniquely exempt from fuel taxation and VAT, artificially inflating its growth and undermining the incentive to improve efficiencies or strengthen alternatives to aviation, such as rail.

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