Tony Blair Under Attack Over Aviation


Things have been difficult for the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on the green front recently. On the one hand he has made a point of forceful rhetoric regarding climate change, and funding some very real and important research such as the Stern Report. He has also introduced some impressive initiatives, such as the zero carbon homes commitment. On the other hand he is finding himself attacked for lack of progress on the ground in cutting emissions, and for not doing enough to lead by example. The latest of these attacks came from Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth UK, after the Prime Minister signalled his continued commitment to a massive increase in aviation, and apparently suggested that personal sacrifices to save the planet, such as flying less, were 'impractical'. The critics argue that Tony Blair's message seems to be in sharp contrast to another statement made recently by one of his environment ministers, Ian Pearson, who warned that airlines were not doing enough to tackle climate change, and branded low-cost airline Ryanair as "the irresponsible face of capitalism" (Ryan Air responded by claiming it was the cleanest, greenest airline - and celebrated by giving away free flights).

In an effort to sure up his eco credentials, Blair did later make a statement that he would be offsetting his personal travel. However, this may not be enough to satisfy critics, particularly as parliament is set to investigate offsetting amid fears of abuse.

Note to non-UK residents - the cartoon above is from Steve Bell, the Guardian's famously vicious cartoonist, and depicts Blair alongside his likely successor, Chancellor Gordon Brown whose eco-credentials are also questioned by many. And if you don't know what the "b-word" means, you'd best ask someone else.

[Written by: Sami Grover]

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