Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Climate Camp Rocks Aviation Industry

Kent Green Party officers Hazel and Steve Dawe, and Hazel’s daughter Stella Peyerl, (1) visited the Heathrow Camp for Climate Action on Tuesday. The Camp is on the proposed site of a third runway for Heathrow: its construction would involve demolishing housing in two villages and re-housing about 1000 people.

The week long camp, now well-established with its own water supply, electricity from wind turbines and solar panels, several kitchens, childrens play area and a variety of site offices and meeting spaces in marquees, has already achieved its main objective(2). News media from five continents have covered the Camp, emphasizing the link between aviation and climate change as never before. Attempts to smear these efforts by some elements in the media have been rebutted(3).

Steve Dawe comments: “The Government spends about £9 billion a year subsidizing air travel and is committed to airport expansion despite noise and pollution. Aviation is the fastest growing source of emissions: if divided out between households, aviation emissions are now about one third of each household’s emissions on average(4). This means more holidays in the UK and by rail to Europe are essential.”

Hazel Dawe says: “We are concerned about increasing pressures to expand Manston and Lydd in Kent if uncontrolled expansion continues to be Government policy. Recent Government policy changes suggest a general move away from rational environmental policies(5).”

Stella Peyerl (21) said:“It was brilliant. It had all the organization and atmosphere of the best festivals I’ve been to, but none of the mess.”

1. Respectively, Chair and Press Officer, Kent Green Party.

2. The Camp is organised by the Campaign Against Climate Change a variety of other groups and individuals. See:

3. The Camp is taking the Evening Standard to the Press Complaints Commission over false allegations.

4. See: Hillman, Fawcett, Rajan The Suicidal Planet: how to prevent global climate catastrophe, 2007, for ideas on immediate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; See: Cairns and Newson (Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University) Predict and Decide: aviation, climate change and UK policy, September 2006, for a comprehensive critique of the Government’s aviation policies and assumptions; See: European Federation for Transport and Environment Clearing the Air: the myth and reality of aviation and climate change, 2006, for a considered rejection of arguments offered by the aviation industry in its own defence.

5. The Cabinet Committee on Climate Change has been downgraded; civil servants are looking for ways to avoid the EU’s renewable energy targets; comprehensive advice on urban policies by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (March 2007) has been significantly ignored in the Government’s subsequent Housing Green Paper and Planning Green Paper. A recent review on Government policies on biodiversity suggested they need a complete overhaul and new funding.

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