Monday, June 29, 2009

Clearing the Air: The Myth and Reality of Climate Change and Aviation

You may wish to read the excellent report by the European Federation for Transport and Environment...point 3 blows away Peter Simpson's, of British Airways Cityflier, unsubstantiated claims about the 'better for the community' Embraers he is introducing to London City Airport (of course if Peter would like to pass the data over, along with the methodology he used to make such claims, then he knows our email address). In fact the whole report puts into question most of what the aviation lobby uses as it's 'formula' to justify the threat of continued greed not need expansion:

Executive summary:
  • in 2000, aviation was responsible for 4 to 9 per cent of
    the climate change impact of global human activity – the
    range reflecting uncertainty surrounding the effect of cirrus
    ◗ aviation has by far the greatest climate impact of any transport
    mode, whether measured per passenger kilometre, per
    tonne kilometre, per € spent, or per hour spent
    ◗ today’s passenger aircraft are no more fuel-efficient than
    those that flew half a century ago
    ◗ the importance of aviation for the economy and employment
    is far less than its importance for climate change
    ◗ every segment of the aviation industry including manufacturers,
    airlines and airports is subsidised and enjoys major tax

Section 2 examines some of the policy options under consideration
to combat the climate impact of aviation
The main conclusions of this section of the report are:

  • ◗ regional initiatives, such as those under discussion at EU
    level, provide the best hope for a multi-lateral solution to
    international aviation emissions for the foreseeable future

  • ◗ EU-level action does not affect the competitive position
    of EU airlines compared with their non-EU competitors,
    provided that policies do not discriminate between EU and
    non EU carriers flying the same routes (which is obligatory
    anyway under the Chicago Convention)

  • including aviation in the European Emissions Trading System
    (EU ETS) can be a good first step, provided the system is
    designed right
    additional measures like kerosene taxation and Nitrogen
    Oxide (NOx) emissions charges at airports are not only
    environmentally important but also justified in terms of cost

  • aviation is overwhelmingly an activity of the richest elements
    of society, measures to combat the environmental impact of
    aviation would not adversely impact the poor

  • a ‘development tax’ on tickets is a good way to make up
    for the VAT exemption of international air tickets and would
    benefit poor regions, not hurt them

And you may wish to consider the following information against the recent report that 55% of children in the London Borough of Newham live in poverty - after 20 years of the airport running, and it claiming to have brought prosperity to Newham:

More expensive air travel is bad news for the poor.

“Air transport contributes to citizens’ desire for more travel at
democratic prices.”
AEA 2006

It’s the rich that fly, even in this era of low-cost
carriers – if aviation paid its true costs we could
help the poor a lot more

All italicised extracted from:
Pictured above: Cirrus clouds