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human activity and the destruction of the planet


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Appeal Court rules that Heathrow airport expansion is now illegal

27th February 2020: an historic day!

This morning the Court of Appeal judged the government’s plans for Heathrow expansion to be illegal on climate change grounds. Heathrow is one of the biggest single sources of greenhouse gases in the UK. And airport expansion – at Heathrow or any other airport – simply cannot go ahead if we’re to prevent further climate breakdown.

The appeal court appreciated this and ruled that ignoring the Paris Agreement is illegal. Building a third runway does not comply with or support the UK’s targets to reduce emissions and move towards a sustainable future. The government will accept the court’s decision.

Today, this landmark victory confirms that ordinary people have the power to bring about change. The carbon economy’s days are numbered.

heathrowairport



7th May 2020:

A statement from Friends of the Earth states:

“Heathrow Airport Limited and developers Arora Holdings have just been given permission to appeal against the decision to stop them building a climate-wrecking third runway. Sadly this story isn’t over.

When we won our historic legal case in February we knew this might happen. Both companies quickly applied to appeal so we didn’t take anything for granted.

Our legal team has therefore been busy preparing for this moment. And the good news is that we’re confident that the Supreme Court will agree with us that it was illegal for the government to support a third runway without considering what this meant for meeting the Paris Agreement and the total climate impacts the development could have.”

So, it’s not over yet!



 


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UK Committee on Climate Change says we need to curb airline emissions

There has been much concern over the Government’s plans to expand Heathrow airport, by adding another runway.  The concern is not just being expressed by people living locally to the airport but also those who want the UK to reduce its carbon emissions.

heathrow

British Airways plane coming in to land over houses near Heathrow Airport

A piece in this week’s New Scientist” by Adam Vaughan sets out some of the actions the UK needs to take if it is to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. A bar chart in his article shows that aviation in the UK emits more greenhouse gases than any other sector (31.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent), with agriculture coming second.

See: New Scientist No. 3229, 11th May 2019.

The advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recommendations have also been commented on by the BBC on their website.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48233548

They also focus on aviation and the planned Heathrow airport expansion. A senior civil servant has said that ministers may have to review their aviation strategy.  And other environmental groups have said that the decision on Heathrow expansion should be brought back to Parliament.

It is a crucial time for flying, with policy on aviation right up to 2050 currently out for consultation.

When the government first laid out proposals for increasing aviation, the UK had an overall target of cutting CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050. But the CCC recently raised the bar of ambition in recommending that Britain should adopt a target of net zero emissions by 2050. That will mean compensating for any greenhouse gases by either capturing the CO2 and storing it, or planting more trees.

Under the previous 80% scenario, aviation had a privileged position. Its expansion would be counter-balanced by additional CO2 cuts in other sectors, like industry.

The CCC makes it clear this is not an option any more in a zero-carbon Britain.