Monday, 19 September 2005

Aviation Letter

Friends of the Earth was criticised by the Sheffield Star recently for its view on air travel. The Star claimed, “Friends of the Earth are no fans of aviation, believing air travel is the worst culprit in the rise in pollution which accompanies transportation trends and regularly opposed airport expansions. Now they warn the proliferation of airports in regions such as ours actually saps money out of local incomes than pumps into them. However, the environmental campaign group, in attacking the symptoms of the problem rather than the cause, should be honest and tell us that we should give up short breaks in foreign countries, and spend holiday pay at home. Then we wonder, what would they say to the hundreds of thousands whose jobs rely on air travel – and how would they explain to some of the poorer countries which have embraced the concept of tourism that the British holidaymaker has become an insular isolationist group. This is just the kind of extremist clutching of straws which does little credit to an organisation which ought to be carefully, considerately and consistently earning the respect of the general public.”.

In response to this, the local Sheffield group responded with the letter below:

Friends of the Earth’s concerns about aviation are not based on belief, but established science. Aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. There is an overwhelming scientific consensus that these are responsible for climate change. We therefore have no problem in justifying our stance to smaller countries. The economic damage associated with climate change will be huge and will fall most heavily upon the developing world. Unfortunately cheap flights are costing us the earth. This may be an unpopular message, but it is true.