New report by the Green Party shows UK will not meet climate change targets with new runways
The Green Party has published a new report entitled: “Airport Expansion Doesn’t Make Climate Sense.” The report reveals that the UK will not meet its climate change targets if David Cameron goes ahead with a new runway at Heathrow, Gatwick or anywhere in the South-East of England. It offers a fresh perspective on the airport expansion debate by offering alternatives to new runways that a climate-sensitive government would pursue; including moving many short-haul flight passengers onto existing rail services and taxing very frequent flyers. The report’s key messages are that adding a SE runway does not fit into UK carbon targets. The current expansion debate offers a false choice, of merely whether a runway should be put at Heathrow or at Gatwick. This masks the reality that the UK has to reduce air passenger numbers, not increase them, to keep within the carbon limits in the Climate Change Act. The Government and the London Mayoral candidates must explain how it’s possible to build any new UK runway while meeting the UK’s targets for cutting emissions. The new report shows it just isn’t.
Report reveals UK will not meet climate change targets with new runways
8.10.2015 (Economic Voice)
By Economic Voice Staff
“Airport Expansion Doesn’t Make Climate Sense” published by the Green Party
A Green Party report to be published on Friday (9 October) will reveal that the UK will not meet its climate change targets if David Cameron goes ahead with a new runway at Heathrow, Gatwick or anywhere in the South-East of England.
Airport Expansion Doesn’t Make Climate Sense will provide a fresh perspective on the airport expansion debate by offering alternatives to new runways that a climate-sensitive government would pursue; including moving many short-haul flight passengers onto existing rail services and taxing very frequent flyers.
The report’s key messages are that airport expansion does not make climate sense, the current expansion debate offers a false choice and that the UK cannot make its contribution to cutting carbon emissions whilst expanding its airports and increasing emissions from aviation.
Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett said:
“Airport Expansion Doesn’t Make Climate Sense demonstrates how the current expansion argument is offering a false choice. Debating between Gatwick or Heathrow masks the reality that the UK has to reduce air passenger numbers, not increase them.
“The report highlights a number of ways to halt the apparent need for airport expansion, including the introduction of a frequent flyer tax which would tax aviation much more fairly.”
“David Cameron and the London Mayoral candidates must explain how it’s possible to build a new runway while meeting the UK’s targets for cutting emissions. This report shows it isn’t.”
Sian Berry, the Green Party’s candidate for the 2016 London Mayoral election, who is speaking at an anti-Heathrow expansion rally at Trafalgar Square on Saturday said:
“Bigger airports make no climate sense. We cannot increase our emissions from aviation while making a fair contribution to keeping global warming within safe limits. How can the Prime Minister convince delegates at the Paris climate talks he’s serious if he goes there while wanting a new runway?
“The Greens are the only party with the clear message that we need no new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick or anywhere in the South-East of England. It’s our job to convince the government to end this false choice debate, trying to pit communities against each other over which airport to expand and who should suffer the increased pollution and noise that would result.”
The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) says – August 2015:
Conclusion – the carbon gap looks increasingly hard to close
AEF has consistently pushed the Airports Commission for answers in terms of the climate change impacts of a new runway, and its final report does come clean on some of these. But the headline messages handed to politicians ignore this new analysis and instead glide over the massive climate challenge that a new runway would pose.
Big issues, meanwhile, remain unresolved. Whose forecasts of future air traffic mix are right – the Commission’s or the Governments? Are the measures that would be needed to reduce emissions to the level of the carbon cap actually deliverable? And is there actually a robust economic case for expansion once environmental and other costs are factored in?
Despite its reforecasting of aviation emissions, the Commission has failed to present a credible case for how, in the real world, emissions from aviation can be limited to a level consistent with UK climate policy if a new runway is built.
It’s now for the Government to admit that building a new runway makes neither economic nor environmental sense.
Did you know that aviation CO2 is set to exceed climate targets even without a new runway?
Short briefing from AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) and AirportWatch
Despite new technology, carbon trading, and biofuels, carbon emissions are predicted to overshoot the maximum level compatible with climate legislation and would be even higher with a new runway.
A clear plan for limiting aviation emissions in line with the Climate Change Act is essential before a decision on a new runway.
Explanation, comment and references from AEF:
• Infographic: Why airport expansion risks the UK’s climate change commitments (March 2015) http://www.aef.org.uk/2015/03/16/infographic-why-airport-expansion-risks-the-uksclimate-change-commitments/
• All set for take off? Aviation emissions to soar under Airports Commission proposals ((June 2015) http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/All-set-for-take-off-AEF-report.pdf
• The Airports Commission’s final report: has it closed the carbon gap? (August 2015) http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/The-Airports-Commission%E2%80%99s-final-report-%E2%80%93-has-it-closed-the-carbon-gapFINAL.pdf
Explanation, comment and references from Airportwatch:
• Carbon emissions and a new runway – short version (July 2015) http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Climate-briefing.-June-2015-Short.pdf
• Carbon emissions and a new runway – longer version with references (July 2015) http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Climate-briefing.-June-2015-Long.pdf