Share

CLIMATE ACTION PROGRAMME


15 July 2014

UK cannot go ahead with airport expansion plans and meet climate targets

The UK cannot expand its airport capacity with a planned new runway if the government’s climate change targets are to be met, according to two new reports from environmental groups.

The government has controversial plans in place to build a new runway either at Heathrow or Gatwick or a new airport in the Thames Estuary.

A report released last year from the Airports Commission claimed that the expansions are necessary and will not infringe on carbon reduction targets of 80 per cent by 2050.

However, two reports published on Monday by the conservation charities Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) have said these claims are “not rooted in the real world”.

The RSPB’s Aviation, climate change and sharing the load has queried whether regulatory measures will be enough to limit the aviation sector’s growing emissions.

In the absence of an effective carbon pricing mechanism or a legally binding international agreement to curb emissions from the aviation industry, the report suggests that limiting airport capacity is the only way to meet emissions reduction targets.

The report goes on to outline how more severe emission cuts would need to be required in other industries as part of the governments attempts to meet targets.

Adam Dutton, RSPB economist and author of their report said: “The rest of the economy will be heavily penalised if emissions from aviation are not constrained. We estimate the cost could rise to as much as £8 billion per year and maybe more. When the rest of society is already being asked to decarbonise by at least 80 per cent this is neither fair nor efficient.”

The second report, Implications of South East expansion for regional airports, is authored by the AEF and commissioned by WWF-UK.

It explores how building the new runway would mean that airport capacity would need to be cut in other areas of the UK to keep emissions in check.

Cait Hewitt, deputy director of the AEF, said: “The Airports Commission and future governments have a choice to make. Either allow aviation expansion in the South East and heavily constrain regional airports or let regional airports grow within the capacity they already have but don’t build any new runways. But climate change limits mean that you can’t do both.”

The two reports were launched today in a meeting at the House of Commons, chaired by Joan Walley, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee.

These latest findings are a blow to the government after a separate report warned that the third option that was being considered – a new airport in the Thames Estuary – would have a devastating environmental impact.

The Airports Commission concluded that key ecological sites would be destroyed and the project would have left the government with a £2 billion bill to relocate wildlife.

Related Articles

blog comments powered by Disqus

ADVERTISE IN THE CLIMATE ACTION UNEP 10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Climate Action & UNEP are now working towards the 10th anniversary edition of the official Climate Action official report for COP22 – Get involved and align your brand with our world-class thought-leadership

Find Out More View 2015's Issue Here

NEWSLETTER

TWITTER

CLIMATE NEWS
  • From chemical pollution to submerged explosives - major threats to European whales and dolphins...

    [No supplied article summary]

    UN Environment Head Visits Ethiopia...

    [No supplied article summary]

    Incoming President of UN General Assembly puts financing for sustainable development center stage...

    - US$5-7 trillion a year needed to implement the Sustainable Development Goals...

    Remarks by Ibrahim Thiaw, UNEP Deputy Executive Director at Luc Hoffman's Memorial...

    [No supplied article summary]

    Clean air takes centre stage at Sarajevo Film Festival...

    - Festival's Enviro Day to showcase UN Environment initiatives boosting air quality and protecting human health
    - 44,000 years of life, one-fifth of GDP are lost in Bosnia and Herzegovina annually...

  • Once upon a time in the future of food and agriculture

    The World Food Day poster and video contest aims to give children an opportunity to explore this theme and express their ideas about the relationship between climate change, the food we eat, and the causes of hunger - and share them with others.

    Sizing up livestock farming’s carbon footprint

    A new and interactive tool released by FAO allows farmers, policy makers and scientists to calculate meat, milk and eggs production as well as greenhouse-gas emissions from livestock to make the sector more productive and more climate-friendly.

    When it comes to its humanitarian work, FAO is in it for the long haul

    On World Humanitarian Day 2016, we reflect on FAO's activities in humanitarian situations and profile some of our team who are working in the field to build a world free from hunger.

    A floating threat: sea containers spread pests and diseases

    Globally, around 527 million sea container trips are made each year - China alone deals with over 133 million sea containers annually. It is not only their cargo, but the steel contraptions themselves, that can serve as vectors for the spread of exotic species capable of wreaking ecological and agricultural havoc.

    Ethiopia has staved off worst of El Niño, but possible impacts of La Niña looming large

    The newly released Mid-Year Review of the Ethiopia Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) indicates that 900 000 additional households need urgent agricultural support bringing the total number to 2.9 million in August. Meeting additional agricultural sector needs will require $45 million bringing the total requirement for the agriculture sector to $91.3 million for 2016.

  • Lima Call for Climate Action Puts World on Track to Paris 2015

    A new 2015 agreement on climate change, that will harness action by all nations, took a further important step forward in Lima following two weeks of negotiations by over 190 countries.

    New Portal Highlights City and Private Sector Climate Action

    A way to increase the visibility of the wealth of climate action by cities, regions, companies and investors was launched today by the government of Peru.

    New Documentary Raises Awareness for Adaptation Needs

    A new documentary released on 11 December 2014 highlights the growing recognition of the need for adaptation to climate change around the world, as recognized by governments at this week’s UN Climate Change Conference in Lima.

    Winners of United Nations Climate Change Awards Honoured in Lima

    Delegates at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, were treated to an evening of hope and optimism as the winners of the 2014 Momentum for Change Awards were feted tonight at a gala event.

    Forest Announcements Pave Way for Climate Action

    At the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, a group of five countries has taken steps towards improved national and global forest action.

  • TICAD side event stresses integration

    Nairobi, 27 August 2016—A side event at the ongoing TICAD VI meeting saw the importance of integration getting top priority. Officials from Japan’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Lands and Tourism- the organizers of the side event said the integration of land planning and infrastructure especially with transport system, was the way to go if optimum results […]

    TICAD VI opens in Nairobi with heightened optimism for African continent

    Nairobi 27 August 2016 —The 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) opened in Nairobi on Saturday with heightened optimism that it will help unlock Africa’s full development potential. This optimism was not misplaced considering that the government of Japan pledged to give some USD 10 billion towards infrastructure development in the African […]

    UN-Habitat and partners in urban regeneration in Mexico City

    Mexico City, 25 August 2016—Studies have showed that complex urban dynamics that respond to high land prices and lack of affordable housing in the center of the cities are forcing residents of large metropolis to relocate sometimes even 2 hours away from their jobs. According to the same studies, this state of affairs is having […]

    Call for expression of interest to host the UN-Habitat Urban Center of Excellence

    The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), is seeking development partners and a host city to become the home of UN-Habitat Urban Center of Excellence and be the seat of an international knowledge, practice and innovation center with the mission to enhance global capacity to design, plan and manage sustainable cities, promote urban prosperity and […]

    Land Management and Informal Settlement Regularisation

    UN-Habitat collaborates with the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies-IHS and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in the international training program focusing on slums, informal settlements and policies and approaches to upgrade existing settlements and prevent informal urbanization in cities in the Developing World. The course takes place from 10 to 28 July […]

  • Helping farmers reach Zero Hunger in Sierra Leone

    Usman Kanu is a rice farmer from the Masimera chiefdom in Sierra Leone. Thanks to his participation in WFP's rice farming project he has doubled his yields in the last two harvests and has been able to build himself a house from the profits. The project - funded by the Government of Japan - provides rural families with the tools and techniques to better cultivate the land around their villages. Rice production in the whole area has shot up by 186 percent, making Usman's experience just one of many success stories. As harvest season approaches this year, farmers are hoping for even better results. 

    Sharing Humanity: Abeer’s Story

    As a programme associate  in Yemen for the World Food Programme, Abeer Noman has survived airstrikes, evacuated staff and made sure her own family is safe. In the lead up to this year’s World Humanitarian Day, we’re sharing stories that celebrate the spirit of humanitarianism. This is Abeer’s story.

    10 Facts About Food and Nutrition in Brazil

    Over the past decades, Brazil has made sustained efforts to reduce malnutrition, and its commitment has paid off. While all eyes are on the country for the Rio 2016 Summer Games, we look at ten things to know about food and nutrition. 

    Sharing Humanity: Besher’s Story

    Besher, a driver for the World Food Programme in Syria, shares his story of working behind the wheel. It’s part of a series of local staff stories to mark World Humanitarian Day 2016.

    Sharing Humanity: Hafiza’s Story

    Hafiza Khan knows first-hand what it’s like to experience the aftermath of a super cyclone. To mark World Humanitarian Day on 19 August, Hafiza and other World Food Programme team members are sharing their stories about working in their own countries to help end hunger.