The real question is whether we should build a new runway—not whereby James Beard / October 26, 2016 / Leave a comment
WWF has nothing against trade or travel. Both are crucial for growing our economies and broadening our horizons. But we do have a problem with aviation. A problem we all share. Climate change.
If environmental issues are raised at all in the airports debate, it tends to be noise and air quality that get the headlines. This is understandable. We generally see climate change as a terrible thing, but somehow remote from us. A problem for other parts of the world and future generations. Noise and air quality have much more tangible impacts on people’s lives today—people who vote for current politicians, in this country.
The media have simply framed the issue as a contest: Heathrow vs Gatwick. But the real question is whether, not where, to build a new runway. And the real answer is that it’s hard to see how a new runway can be compatible with our commitment to preserving a stable climate that supports sustained peace and prosperity.
The Climate Change Act—a wonderful piece of domestic (not EU) legislation—requires an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050. The Government’s expert advisers at the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) say that in order to meet this target, we need to hold annual aviation emissions to 37.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (Mt CO2) in 2050.