The media have massively replicated recently the news about the introduction of an eco-tax on flights in Europe. The need for such a measure was announced for the first time in 1973 in the first Programme of the European Union’s actions to protect the environment. Substantiation of the idea was that air travel affects climate change, therefore those who “pollute” the atmosphere have to pay.
So, the issue of introducing restrictions was raised again in 2019. Resource 34travel stated (in Russian) that travel within Europe for € 10 in 2020 will not work, as airlines will be banned from selling tickets at prices below the amount of applicable taxes.
The main goal of such an initiative is to encourage airlines to take care of the environment. In 2018, the environmental tax was introduced in Sweden, in 2020 a similar destiny awaits Germany and France, and in 2021 the Netherlands will join them.
However, is this the way out in a really critical current situation? Transport was originally conceived as a means of moving from point A to point B. And now the trend is that restrictions associated with movement are being imposed everywhere on Earth. For example, some prohibit the entry of personal vehicles into the center. Others are insisting on higher fuel taxes and speed limits in cities. It turns out that experts actually tie up people’s hands, sacrificing their mobility, just to stabilize the crisis and reduce the harmful impact on the environment. But all this is an extremely one-sided view of the problem associated with the environment.
To find new solutions, it is necessary to take a global look at transport. And then it will become clear that it is all outdated and can be acceptable only at the local level, on a small scale. Like, one car is good, 3 billion of them is bad. One plane is good, 30 thousand of them is bad. But, unfortunately, the size of cities does not allow to think so mundane. Therefore, the best minds of mankind are working out new solutions. For example, Anatoli Unitsky has created a string transport, which is capable to meet the needs of mankind in the volumes and range of transportation without harm to the environment. However, the General designer of Unitsky String Technologies Co. believes that this is not a sufficient scale to save the planet. It is necessary not only to get rid of harmful transport, but also to transfer industrial production from the Globe over into space. However, according to Anatoli Unitsky, the use of rockets for such transportation will not be reasonable:
“The total economic damage caused to the planetary ecosystem by rocket launches is difficult to determine, but a particular assessment of the damage only from the destruction of the planet’s ozone layer can be done if the cost of ozone recovery is estimated not by natural, allegedly “free” and “gratuitous” methods, but by anthropogenic ones. It is known that ozone is obtained by passing air through an ozonator. The main factor determining the cost of ozone production is the consumption of electricity. The best industrial ozonators use about 10 thousand kWh of energy to produce 1 ton of ozone. With an average global electricity cost of about 10 cents per kWh, only the cost of electricity consumed to produce one ton of ozone will be approximately 1,000 USD.
Thus, in order to restore the ozone destroyed during each launch of a heavy rocket, in the amount of more than 10 million tons, it is necessary to spend only electric energy for 10 billion USD. Even if each rocket delivers into orbit 100 tons of cargo, one ton of payload will have a planetary environmental damage for at least 100 million USD. Therefore, the minimum environmental tax on the exploration of near-earth space with the help of carrier-rockets (no matter who launches them) should be at least 100 million USD for each ton of cargo delivered into space. And no prospective reduction in the cost of rocket launching will be able to reduce the cost of delivering a ton of cargo into orbit below the level of 100 million USD – the damage, even more substantial in the future, which is caused by rockets to our common home – the planet’s biosphere.”
Of course, these ideas seem difficult to implement and even utopian to some people. But the question of whether we will travel less in the future due to restrictions is still open. After all, in the age of widespread promotion of tourism, it is so hard to give up surfing in Bali in winter, a European tour in spring and trekking around Kamchatka in summer. Therefore, one still wants to believe that thanks to Unitsky’s technologies, we will not have to choose between ecology and travel in the future.
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