The World Meteorological Organization's findings that concentrations of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere surged to a record high in 2016 must rule out any airport expansion, according to Keith Taylor, Green MEP and a member of the European Parliament's Environment and Transport Committees.
Responding to the news that last year's increase in CO2 emissions was 50% higher than the average of the past 10 years, Mr Taylor, the European Chair of the Climate Parliament, said, in light of the Government's relaunched Heathrow expansion consultation:
"The Government's analysis on air pollution alone must rule out a third runway at Heathrow. But before the Gatwick airport PR machine leaps into action, today's shocking news about the levels of CO2 pollution in our atmosphere is a timely reminder that the only climate-viable option is no new runways.""Aviation is a top ten global polluter and emissions from the heavily subsidised industry are set to balloon by 300% if action is not taken sooner rather than later. Not accounting for any airport expansion, emissions from aviation are already expected to use up more than two-thirds of the UK's carbon budget by 2050. At the same time, the Government's so-called 'Clean' Growth Strategy just this month revealed that the UK is already set to miss its legally-binding carbon targets under the Climate Change Act. Again, without building any new runways.""Despite what the exceedingly what well-funded PR machines of Heathrow and Gatwick airports would have politicians believe, the UK doesn't have an airport capacity crisis. Britain is already amongst the most frequent flyers in the world, in fact, more passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world. Every airport but one is operating under capacity. And the cases put forward by Gatwick and Heathrow to solve the manufactured 'crisis' rely on vastly inflated job creation predictions and hinge on a dubious demand assumptions.""Nine of the ten most popular destinations from Heathrow involve short-haul flights. In fact, almost half of all flights in Europe are 300 miles or less. Existing rail services could offer genuinely workable alternatives on most of these routes. As trains are less polluting than planes, by a factor ten, this would help reduce aviation emissions, and free up landing slots for longer haul flights.""Three-quarters of international passengers are disproportionately wealthy and travel for leisure. The vast majority of the UK’s airport capacity, 70% of flights, is used by a minority of frequent flyers, 15% of passengers. The current taxation system means those who don’t fly and those who fly even just once a year are subsidising the jet-setting lifestyles of a privileged few. We must, instead, reject the ‘crisis’ myth, and work to reduce demand while making the industry fairer.""Airport expansion remains a climate-wrecking decision that is bad for the British people and the planet. By continuing to back a new runway, the Government is displaying a shocking disregard for the UK’s legal and moral obligation to tackle the very worst effects of climate change. Expansion will breach Britain’s carbon budgets and make a mockery of Theresa May’s legal-binding commitments under the Paris Agreement.”"As Greens, we support a fairer frequent flyer levy that would help reduce demand driven by the privileged few and reduce costs for the average UK holidaymaker."