‘Build Back Better’. And that applies to aviation too!

There has been a lot of discussion about how we will and should come out of the pandemic. Many people have come to realise that there are more important things than growing the economy and competing with each other. There has also been a realisation of how essential governments are in protecting lives and livelihoods. And how drastic action is possible, if there is the political will.

Now many people are seeing that a better world is possible. They do not want to return to a world of massive inequality and catastrophic climate change – the direction of travel that the current economic model of the UK and other countries was taking us. That is why there are now worldwide campaigns such ‘Build Back Better’ and ‘Just Recovery’.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in civil aviation, the great majority of which is leisure travel for affluent people.

Aviation is becoming the biggest threat to our climate and our future. All around the world de-carbonisation is being undertaken, with solar power, wind power, electric cars and so on. Meanwhile, the aviation industry is doing virtually nothing to help the cause. By itself, aviation is set to wreck the worlds ‘Zero Carbon‘ target.

Instead of working with society, the aviation industry has mounted a campaign of ‘greenwash’ – stories about how electric planes, biofuels and ‘offsets’ (planting trees, restoring a peat bog, etc) will somehow overcome the problem of aircraft emissions. Backed up, as always, by misleading claims about the economic benefits of air travel in order to justify evermore growth.

As if this were not bad enough, the aviation industry is calling for taxpayer bailouts without any conditions requiring it to act responsibly and to protect people and the environment. It is taking legal action to prevent the Paris Accord on climate change being applied and to stop quarantining of people coming into the UK. (See previous blogs.)

Friends of the Earth and other environmental campaign groups have written a briefing: Building back better for aviation. We hope you agree with what it says and will add your support.