Azara Blog: Yet another anti-aviation report from the middle class

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Date published: 2006/10/17

The BBC says:

Britain will not be able to meet its goals on climate change without curbing the demand for air travel, according to an Oxford University report.

The government is targeting a 60% cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

But the report authors say the UK is becoming "air dependent" and government policies on increasing air travel contradict that stated aim.

The government said it wanted aviation included in the next round of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

Carbon dioxide emissions from aviation doubled during the 1990s while those from the rest of the economy fell.

Currently, aircraft produce about 5.5% of UK emissions.

The report says that without new policies, they will account for about a quarter of the national total in 2050.
...
The Oxford team notes that airport expansion was backed in the recent Aviation White Paper, which aims to increase the number of passenger movements in UK airports from about 200m per year now to about 470m by 2030.

Nothing new here, and it's hard to believe that this "research" was funded. It's just the usual academic middle class diatribe against flying, although of course the academic middle class fly much more than the average UK citizen. The long-term projections of air travel are almost certainly bogus, but even if they were true, and assuming there are no vast improvements in aviation technology, it should be up to the citizens of the UK whether or not they spend their carbon allowance on air travel or on other things, it should not be up to a bunch of middle class academics to decide this. The entire emphasis of the report is on demand reduction, because heaven forbid that the government do what the people want. The authors complain that air travel has gotten cheaper over the past twenty years. But that is because it has become more efficient, which is a good thing, not a bad thing. If only rail travel had similarly become more efficient. The authors pull out the usual triviality that of course richer people (e.g. academics) travel by air more often than poor people (what a surprise) and use that as a justification for making air travel more expensive. But of course it will be the poorer people who thus lose out completely from air travel. The authors complain that more and more air travel is for leisure. How dreadful. The peasants should not be allowed any holidays abroad, only the academic middle class. This whole report is just a crass political statement, it is not a serious look at aviation.

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