Jeremy Leggett Stirs Up the Aviation Debate

It seems we aren't the only ones to stir up vehement debate every time we mention the growth of aviation as a climate risk. The Guardian is once again covering this issue, with John Vidal, the paper's environment correspondent, attacking Ryanair's plans for cheap transatlantic flights costing as little as £7 (US$14). Vidal also criticizes the UK and EU governments for failing to address airline growth while claiming to be serious about reversing climate change. Meanwhile Jeremy Leggett (whom we interviewed here), explains why he is asking his employees to boycott Ryanair:

"If by 2010, knowing what we know now about the climate change threat, airlines are allowed to grow to the point where under the "open skies" agreement there are cheap day trips to Manhattan, we can forget about our children enjoying anything approaching civilisation. Global warming will be on course to wash across economies and ecosystems like a host of invading armies. Indeed, our species may end up deserving a very scathing headstone from any future space traveller who happens upon the rubble. Airline emissions may be small now, compared with all the other sources. But even if we succeed in cutting emissions from power, land transport and all the other big sources, projected airline growth drowns out a good deal of the benefit."

Of course it didn't take long for the comments box to start filling up. Some readers were supportive of Leggett's stance:

"An obvious example of why business, and free market economics, will be of little use in preventing climate change,"

However, others were much less sympathetic. A choice selection is included below:

"Go back to Russia."

"Another lecture from a holier-than-thou puritan. I suspect his employees aren't allowed to run a car as a condition of employment. When China starts worrying about 'Climate Change' then so will I."

"This is an incredible mixture of pomposity, self importance and hysteria. If I had any employees I would be asking them not to buy anything from solarcentury, whatever that is. I'm sure it's done much less to increase the sum total of human happiness than Ryan Air."

It seems aviation and climate change is a subject that stirs up passionate debate wherever it is covered. And we thought it was just us...

Best of TreeHugger