Joe's blog

Climate protest is big again

 

Climate protest is big again. Last week hundreds of thousands of people across the world took to the streets in a call for serious action to be taken to combat climate change (map above shows where marches took place). Truly, climate change has become a global movement.

UK politicians won’t be able to ignore climate change when they take the decision on airport expansion, expected about this time next year. It will come just before the COP in Paris where world leaders will gather to look at ways to cut CO2.

It will mean that any decision to build a new runway will be met by huge climate protests. Although the Government of the day will argue that the Committee on Climate Change, the Government’s official advisers, have said that one new runway would be compatible with the country’s CO2 targets, airport expansion on this scale will feel all wrong to climate campaigners. It will jar. It will anger.

And that anger will spill out on to the streets in demonstrations and direct action. If that activity is complemented by anger of local residents at what a new runway will do to their quality of life, the Government could find itself in the same trouble as when the last Labour Government tried to go for expansion: http://hacan.org.uk/victory-against-all-the-odds-2/

In recent years the aviation industry has not denied climate change. It has tried to sideline it by saying that technology will deal with it. Technology will improve but to allow the rest of the world at fly as much as the rich world does today. I don’t think so. Remember only 5% of the world’s population has ever flown. For the rest of the planet, our binge flying has to stop. I feel a slogan coming on….ready for the next climate march……..

Expanding airports can only be based on a "wing and a prayer"

Two new reports done by the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) & WWF and another one by The RSPB have shown that hopes of expanding airport capacity while meeting UK climate change targets can only be based on a wing and a prayer, requiring either implausible increases in carbon prices or constraints on regional airports to below current traffic levels.

Here's a summary of the new report ‘The Implications of South East Expansion for Regional Airports‘ by AEF & WWF:

The UK, like all G8 countries, is committed to cutting emissions by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. But there are particular reasons why the challenge of ensuring that airports policy is compatible with climate policy has come to the fore in the UK. The number of flights taken per person in the UK is higher than in any other developed nation, London Heathrow is responsible for significantly more CO2 emissions than any other airport globally, and the Climate Change Act 2008 has made it a legislative requirement that the UK meets its political commitments on emissions.

In order for the UK economy as a whole to meet the requirement of the Act, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has recommended that aviation emissions should be no higher than 37.5 Mt CO2 by 2050 – reducing emissions back to 2005 levels. This, according to the Airports Commission, need not preclude a new runway. But the Commission has yet to spell out the policy steps that would be needed to reduce aviation emissions if a new runway were to be built.

The CCC has advised that since technology take-up, more efficient operations, or increased biofuel use can only do so much to reduce UK aviation emissions, limiting aviation CO2 requires limits on demand. Our analysis shows that the future Government would have two equally unpalatable options for constraining aviation emissions if approval was given for a new runway:

(i) Take unilateral action to tackle aviation emissions through taxes or other market based measures even though the Commission’s findings suggest that the cost would have to rise from around £3 per tonne of CO2 today to around £600 per tonne by 2050 which would have significant consequences for businesses. This option reflects Sir Howard Davies’ recent comments on the need for a higher carbon price.

(ii) Introduce very significant constraints on other airports, such as closure or restrictions to below current traffic levels at regional airports, to compensate for a new South East runway.

AEF are asking for people to:

1. Contact your MP to make them aware that airport expansion is an issue that will affect the whole of the UK, with significant implications for meeting our climate targets, the future of regional airports and the cost for the rest of the economy. It would be helpful if you could provide links to the report (AEF/WWF report: http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/wwf_regional_airports_report1.pdf, RSPB report: http://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/aviationclimatechange_tcm9-372504.pdf). You could request that your MP makes a pledge to demand that the Airports Commission’s final recommendations are fully debated by elected members of parliament and not quietly given the go ahead.

2. Share the two reports with your contacts who you feel could be drawn into the airports expansion debate by the contents of the report, particularly members of the climate change community, leaders of other industries or regional airports.

3. Contact the Department for Transport to request that they produce a scenario of future passenger demand and resulting CO2 emissions based on the world as it is today without strong regulatory measures, not a scenario where such measures exist.

'No Ifs; No Buts' Video Competition Winner

Last night celebrity judges including actor Hugh Grant, TV presenter Holly Willoughby, journalist Rachel Johnson and TV personality Gyles Brandreth picked this winning video with the videomakers taking home a prize of £10,000

The other 14 videos who made the final shortlist can be seen on www.no-ifs-no-buts.com

Shutting down London City Airport good for economy

Shutting down an airport.  Officially.  Legally.  For good.  It sounds like the impossible dream.  Wild.  Impracticable.  Impossible in this day and age.  It sounds even more ridiculous to claim that it will benefit the economy.

Yet that is exactly what a new report published today by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) claims will happen if London City Airport closes.  Royal Docks Revival: Replacing City Airport, commissioned by the campaign group HACAN East, shows that, if City Airport were shut down, the land freed up would be able to cater for businesses which produced many more jobs and created a lot more income than the airport does.

The stats are convincing.  City Airport contributes £750 million each year to the UK economy.  The nearby Excel Centre, which occupies roughly the same amount of space as the airport, contributes £1.3 billion. City Airport employs the equivalent of 1,900 full-time jobs.  The proposed Silvertown Quays development, just along the road, estimates it will employ 9,000.  Even if that turns out to be an overestimate, the difference remains huge.  But the report’s emphasis is more about replacing the airport with community-run businesses rather than with more big corporations.

The closure of London City would not add to the pressure to expand Heathrow or any other London Airport.  City only accounts for 2.4% of the traffic at the London airports, easily absorbed by the other airports.

Currently the airport messes up the local community with noise and air pollution. The local choir who sang at the launch said they couldn’t perform outside because of the noise of the planes.  The airport also contributes to CO2 emissions.  What could be cooler than closing it down.  This report shows that would also benefit the economy.

Resistance to airport expansion spreads to Toronto

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2c/Toronto_City_Centre_Airport.jpg

From England to France to Germany resistance right now to airport expansion across the world is rife. The wave of reistance appears to of now made it way now to Toronto.

This week, Toronto council voted unanimously, 44 - 0, to accept the city manager's report calling for way more study on the proposed addition of jets to the inner harbour airport.

This is a resounding victory as Porter Airlines was looking for a conditional approval. No dice! Now, they must fund many, many studies on its potential impact.

The City made it clear it won't spend a nickel on infrastructure. This saddles the Port Authority (a federal patronage trough of an agency), which operates the airport, to come up with $300 million - and that's just for groundside infrastructure improvements, let alone all the necessary additions to the airport, including the 400 metre runway extension.

No one wants to fund this. Passenger levies wouldn't work (unless they saddle them with $100 building fees, or something that would turn customers away). What's even better, the council won't consider this again until next year after the next municipal election when we're hoping the left wing Olivia Chow gets in; the only mayoral candidate dead set against jets downtown. We can take a well-earned break for a bit.

This blog was first written by an aviation campaigner from Toronto but has been edited by Plane Stupid.

No third runway video competition announced

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HACAN (Heathrow Association for Control of Aircraft Noise) and Zac Goldsmith MP have announced today a new video competition against expansion of Heathrow Airport.

The project is called 'No Ifs, No Buts' in reference to David Cameron's promise before the last election to rule out expansion at Heathrow. "Yet within 30 months of taking power he set up a commission to look again at the question of a new runway" the website says. 

We like video competitions and this one has a first prize of £10,000 and celebrity judges including actor Hugh Grant. Tempted? To find out more details and to enter the competition see http://www.no-ifs-no-buts.com/ and follow @videoheathrow

Zac Goldsmith MP said:

“The competition is open to absolutely everyone, and will be judged on the night by a high profile panel, as well as the audience itself. Among the submissions, I’m looking for some really powerful messages that will be taken up on social and conventional media, and ram home the message that Heathrow expansion is not only the wrong solution for our economy, it is politically undeliverable."

He added:

“A green light for Heathrow expansion is effectively a green light for a vast, foreign-owned and taxpayer-subsidised monopoly on one edge of our great city. The Chancellor needs to stop being led by the lobby groups and think the issue through himself.”

HACAN Chair John Stewart said:

“Many people are hugely disappointed that David Cameron has gone back on his promise not to build a new runway at Heathrow. This ‘No ifs; no buts’ competition can highlight that.”

Plane Stupid to run direct action training in Frankfurt

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Angry at Frankfurt Airport expansion plans? For years at Frankfurt, campaigners against the expansion of Frankfurt airport have been squatting the forest of Kelsterbach, where the airport's bosses plan to clearcut 100,000 trees to build a new runway. The new runway would double the number of flights, destroying any last remnant of peace and quiet for local residents.

On February 22nd, Plane Stupid's Dan Glass will join a UK delegation which includes John Stewart from HACAN to run a direct action training in Frankfurt. Germany, here we come again!

Rumours Plane Stupid are coming back to London

That lot at HACAN (Heathrow Assoication for Control of Aircraft Noise) are suggesting a Plane Stupid revival in London is on the cards.

Is it true or not? Only time will tell.