Aviation excluded from climate change agreement in Paris

The climate change agreement signed by the world’s leaders in Paris late last year did not include emissions from international aviation and shipping.  The responsibility for regulating aviation emissions was given to United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).  ICAO proposes carbon offsetting as the main mechanism through which aviation emissions should be regulated.  This proposal has been widely criticized because off-setting means aviation does not need to cut its emissions.  At present aviation produces between 3% and 8% of the world’s total emissions (more than the whole of South Korea), and air travel is growing at 4-5% per year.

A more effective way to cut emissions (and noise) is to ensure that the tax-breaks aviation enjoys are abolished.  At present aviation pays no tax on its fuel and there is no VAT on tickets.  If it is too hard to get international agreement to tax fuel, a carbon tax could be imposed instead.  Or a frequent flyers levy could be charged.  We outlined this in the last edition of Exchange.  Details can be found at http://afreeride.org/

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 On Thursday, 12 November 2015, the Taming Aviation Petition calling for an end to tax-breaks for aviation and a ban on night flights was presented to and discussed in the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament. The Petitions Committee decided to refer the Petition to the Transport Committee and to the Environment Committee.  Link to 5-minute statement by Susanne Heger on behalf of Taming Aviation.

Gatwick Aiport agrees to share flight paths

There were big protests when Gatwick Airport introduced new flight paths concentrating the noise on particular communities.  The airport has now agreed to find ways of sharing the noise through the use of many routes: http://kapitel43.shop-asp.de/shop/action/productDetails/28987555/zeitdokument_1965_2015_394412488X.html?aUrl=90009225&searchId=0 .  We will keep you informed about whether the airport is able to do this in practice.  

Frankfurt:  campaigners unimpressed by periods of relief from the noise

Campaigners at Frankfurt Airport are not impressed by the periods of relief from aircraft noise that the airport introduced a year ago.  The airport has experimented with switching the flight paths so that sometimes flights finish one hour earlier in the evening and start one hour later in the morning (6am instead of 5am).  The campaigners say that these very small periods of relief make very little difference in comparison with the noise created by the 4th runway.  Weekly protests continue against the 4th runway.

Geneva: call for action to limit the impact of flights

Rebellions don’t often happen in Switzerland but there is big concern about the expected increase in the number of aircraft using Geneva airport.  The number of flights is predicted to rise from 187,000 to 235,000 in 2030.  It has prompted forty-four mayors to send a letter to the State Council and the federal airport authority.  One of the mayor’s said: “We are proud to have brought together such a broad coalition representing more than 170,000 inhabitants.“

Dirty Tricks in Rome

The Italian newspapers reported that residents at Rome’s Ciampino Airport had scored a big victory when the airport was asked to cut flights by 40% by 2021: http://www.corriere.it/extra-per-voi/2016/03/21/ciampino-vince-contro-rumore-15-anni-lotte-l-aeroporto-dovra-ridurre-numero-voli-44d60334-ef6d-11e5-9957-88f22239b898.shtml.

But, as campaigner Ivana Baia explains, the authorities have cheated.  They just looked at the number of flights during the busiest three weeks of the year and ordered there to be a reduction in 40% from that high number of flights.  They did not look at the number of flights over the entire year.  The result is that in 2012 there will be an increase in one flight over the year rather than a reduction. For 15 years the residents, some of whom live less than 100 metres from the airport boundary, have fought the growth in traffic, mainly caused by Ryanair.

26th June: Referendum on Notre-Dames-des-Landes Airport

French President Francois Hollande has announced that he will hold a referendum on the controversial plan to build a new airport at Notre-Dames-des-Landes outside Nantes.  It will take place on 26th June.

However, local campaigners have criticised the referendum because only people living in the Loire-Atlantique area will be allowed to take part.  The campaigners argue that because the airport is a national project many more people should be allowed to take part.

Campaigners also want the referendum to include a question on whether the existing airport in Nantes, Nantes Atlantique, should be modernised instead of building the new airport at Notre-Dames-des-Landes.  But, if people vote non, the French Government will be under a lot of pressure to abandon the project.

  • The annual protest weekend against the Notre-Dames-des-Landes Airport will take place on 9th and 10th July. More details at: https://www.acipa-ndl.fr/.