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September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
A petition from the British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA), which has 85% of Britain's 10,000 airline pilots, will later today (18 June) be present to the UK Government, detailing research which "challenges the myth that air transport is the major cause of growing carbon dioxide emissions."
The report - ”Aviation and the Environment' examines the true impact of aviation and "deals with the half truths and untruths" told by those who attack air travel and make passengers feel guilty about taking a flight.
BALPA points out that road transport carbon dioxide emissions in the UK in the 15-year period 1990 to 2005 increased by 11m tonnes ” from 109m to 120m tonnes of carbon. That increase alone ” just the increase ” is more than the total carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft in the UK today (10m tonnes) says the pilots” union.
”We were determined at the outset to concern ourselves only with the facts, and what is clear is that aviation has become a scapegoat for global warming,” said BALPA chairman, Captain Mervyn Granshaw.
”BALPA accepts the world has a problem, we do not number ourselves among the sceptics. Something certainly has to be done about the rising level of carbon dioxide emissions and we will play our part,” he said. ”But we cannot accept the false accusations our study exposes.”
The report will show, for example, that while it is true that trains are less polluting than aircraft per passenger per kilometre, that is not true of long journeys of more than 800 kilometres and it is not true of the new generation of high speed trains in use on mainland Europe.
And the European Commission says that EU-flagged ships are fast becoming the biggest source of air pollution. In the year 2000, the Commission says, EU-flagged ships emitted almost 200m tonnes of carbon dioxide, significantly more than from EU aircraft.
”Yet no-one is calling for restrictions on high speed train travel or for an end to ocean cruises,” said Granshaw. ”And no-one is calling for any dramatic cutback in car travel, the biggest polluter of all transport modes. In the UK we are embarked on another major road building programme.”
”Air travel has just been an easy target. But not any more. World air travel actually accounts for only 2% to 3% of global carbon dioxide emissions according to the International Panel on Climate Change and while air travel is proving more popular, carbon dioxide emissions will not be more than 6% by 2050 ” a tiny amount compared to the big polluters.”
Granshaw added: ”Our report clearly shows that technological advances now being researched will cut aircraft emissions still further. It would be inappropriate therefore, and premature, to restrict air transport at this time. The damage that would be done not only to our industry but to tourism and to the economies of developing nations, would be enormous.
”Our message to all air passengers is to stop feeling guilty about flying. Passengers going by high speed train to the south of France would be responsible for emitting more carbon dioxide than if they had flown there.
”We are now going to debunk the myths about air travel and spell out the facts. We are presenting our report not only to Government, to scientists, politicians and European institutions, but to environmental lobbyists such as Friends of the Earth, because we want feedback, and hopefully we can move to a consensus. This is too important an issue to be reduced to the slogans that some campaigners and politicians have been using.”
BALPA points out that emissions of carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons have already been cut by 50% and 90% respectively. Smoke and particulates have been virtually eliminated from modern aircraft and nitrous oxides from aircraft engines have been cut in half during the last 15 years. More dramatic improvements are coming on-stream which will further cut fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.