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.
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.
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.
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
Plane Stupid posters mocking Gatwick's new "obviously" advertising campaign (see below) have started appearing on the tube network across London this morning.
Plane Stupid members were out from the early hours of this morning placing at least 300 posters across the London Underground train network.
The poster reads:
"I used to be an aviation advert. But that was Plane Stupid. Obviously".
This mornings subvertising effort was done in opposition to a recent Gatwick advertising campaign called "Gatwick Obviously" which is desperately trying to make the case for expansion of Gatwick Airport instead of at Heathrow or the Thames Estuary.
Barry Jones, 27, a Plane Stupid activist who took part in the protest said:
"Airport expansion is not the right answer in a time of climate crisis; at Gatwick, Heathrow or anywhere else. What the aviation industry has managed to do, partly through it's excessive spending on advertising, is to hijack the debate to make it appear that the only thing up for debate is where a new runway will go.
"When actually, the facts show that we cannot have any airport expansion if we want to meet our climate change reduction targets at the same time. When you add in the noise problems, air pollution and community blight caused by airport expansion then the case for expansion falls apart as it did before in 2010".
If you spot any of the posters on the tube please take a picture and email them to email@example.com or you could tweet it to @planestupid
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.
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.
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."
“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.”