10 January 2007

Letter Response on Blair and Cheap Flights

The letters response in national papers on Blair telling us that, hey, it's impractical to cut down on flying, even though aviation-related emissions are projected to be 25% of Britain's carbon emissions in 2030:

The Guardian

So, science will put the global-warming problem right? How? When? Before millions die in floods in other countries? We must all make changes to our lives, whether by recycling, using less fossil fuel, buying British, or cutting down on extravagant gestures that harm the environment. Only if we pull together will we make a difference. We need a strong leader, not a head-in-the-clouds wimp trying to convince us everything will be all right and that life can go on as before.
Alison Saville
Malton, North Yorkshire

Tony Blair says he is "still waiting for the first politician who's actually running for office who's going to come out and say" that they want people to reduce air travel. What is sad is that he is no longer running for office and so is the best person to lead the debate.
Dominic Vickers
Oxford

Why is it OK to be unpopular by declaring war, but not OK to be unpopular by tackling climate change?
Dr Richard Firn
University of York
The Independent

Recent polls do not back Tony Blair's assertion that it would be political suicide to end cheap air travel. Indeed they show that a majority of people say they would be prepared to pay more to fly if it would help the environment. The suspicion must be that Tony Blair doesn't want to ban cheap flights; that he sees them as a good thing. This provides a big opportunity for other politicians, bolder and wiser than Blair, to develop a realistic programme to curb cheap flights. Cheap flights are costing the country money: last year there was a £19bn deficit in aviation tourism, the difference between what Britons spent abroad and what visitors spent in this country. If the money raised from increased tax on budget flights was ploughed back into things which the polls tell us people value - better schools, improved hospitals, cheaper public transport - then a policy Tony Blair claims would be a vote-loser could be turned into a vote-winner.
John Stewart
Chair, Airportwatch, London, SW9

Blair's failure to show leadership on the crucial issue of climate change may turn out to be an even more disastrous aspect of his "legacy" than the Iraq debacle. It's a good thing we didn't have him in 1940: "You know, all that 'blood, sweat, toil and tears' is a bit impractical actually; let's just hope new technology will defeat Hitler by itself."
Mike Wright
Nuneaton, Warwickshire

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