There is no way around the conundrum – either countries reduce aircraft travel or they will not be able to reduce their carbon emissions. There is no technical fix. That is the conclusion of an authoritative report by Oxford University that looked at the contradiction in the UK’s position on climate change.

On the one hand the government is targeting a 60% cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. But at the same time the UK is becoming “air dependent” with emissions from aircraft rapidly increasing – accounting for as much as 25 per cent by 2050, up from 5 per cent today.

“The government has to confront the contradictions in its policies,” said project leader Dr Brenda Boardman, from Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute. “Unless the rate of growth in flights is curbed, the UK cannot fulfill its commitments on climate change.”

One Comment

  • Have never flown until I was 40, but over the past 20 years have flown much because of the low fares airlines, and have also been on several long haul flights to experience different cultures. I enjoy travel immensely. In 2006 I had one long haul and 6 short flights off the island of Ireland. I do not drive, neither does my husband. What should I do to help the planet? Should I give up flying for pleasure altogether? How much carbon would I use if I go to the UK by ferry and train? Are there any guidelines as to what is a fair carbon footprint? Most of all Politicians, rich business people and film stars etc should give a good example and lose the private jets, large cars etc. We need leadership on this one. Thanks, Kate Hennessy

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