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Government statistics highlight air travel climate threat

May 27, 2005

The Guardian has reported “Air travel mars UK’s green strategy” 20th May 2005). It says that greenhouse gas emissions from UK air travel have doubled in 13 years, damaging the government’s claims to be a world leader in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.  

Here are extracts from the article:  Greenhouse gas emissions from UK air travel has doubled in 13 years, damaging the government’s claims to be a world leader in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics published yesterday [19 May 2005] show that total UK greenhouse gas emissions fell by 8.1% between 1990 and 2003, considerably less than the 13.4% fall claimed by the Department of the Environment. Nearly all the gains come from the closing of the coal mines under the Conservative government, and the switch from coal to gas for electricity generation …

The Department of Environment counts only emissions that come under the Kyoto protocol, the international agreement to reduce global warming. This treaty excludes air and marine transport emissions …

Emissions from aviation rose from 20.1m tonnes in 1990 to 39.5m last year. During the same period, emissions from private cars rose from 59.6m tonnes to 67.8m, figures that are included in the Kyoto calculations.
Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, said: “These figures show once again that the government’s plans for dealing with climate change are failing miserably. Ministers must get a grip on emissions and put new laws in place which force reductions year on year.” The plans “are clearly incompatible with airport expansion“.