Aviation and the Climate: Penguins Join the Debate


It seems the aviation vs climate debate is hotting up once again, at least in the UK. SPURT, the spoof aviation-industry lobby group that we reported on here, is taking out a two-page advertisement in many of the national papers this Monday. On the one page is 'Sir Monty', the head of SPURT, arguing that 'climate change hits the poorest hardest, but those who fly have money. It's not our problem, it's theirs.' On the other page is a message from a spokesperson (spokesbird?) from Penguins Against Climate Change:

"As a popular, yet flightless bird, we penguins are used to disappointment. But watching you wingless humans destroy the planet takes the biscuit."

Backing up her, or his, argument, the penguin goes on to explain that while airlines currently emit 2% of the worlds' CO2 emissions, this does not take into account the fact that emissions cause 2-4 times as much damage when released at high altitudes. The penguin also points out that, while all the rest of the economy will need to be cutting their emissions, air traffic is set to double in the next 20 years, and fuel efficiency is only set to improve by 1-2% per year. And these angry birds don't seem to have much time for those who claim there is no alternative:

"Most cheap flights aren't even necessary. Almost 50% of flights in Europe and the UK are under 300 miles. Taking the train emits 10 times less CO2."

The penguins are apparently asking us to 'please, from one flightless species to another keep it on the ground.' They also call for their human friends to stand up and oppose the expansion of airport capacity in the UK by sending a protest email to the Secretary of State for Transport.

[Written by: Sami Grover]

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