The British government has launched an outspoken attack on major airlines for refusing to take climate change seriously, targeting Ryanair “the irresponsible face of capitalism” and describing the attitude of major American airlines “a disgrace”.

In surprisingly tough language, Environment Minister Ian Pearson described Mr O’Leary’s attitude as “just completely off the wall. When it comes to climate change, Ryanair are not just the unacceptable face of capitalism, they are the irresponsible face of capitalism. O’Leary just seems to take pride in refusing to recognise that climate change is a genuine problem”.

He also said the attitude of the American airline industry was disgraceful and needed to change: “They just seem to be saying they don’t want anything to do with the trading scheme, and that they will take the EU to court if transatlantic flights are included. It is completely irresponsible.

Pearson also warned that British Airways was “only just about playing ball” in the fight to reduce carbon emissions. His language is strikingly tougher on some in the cheap flights industry than the prime minister’s: Tony Blair has appeared extremely reluctant to be seen to be curtailing their growth.

Last year, O’Leary dismissed the report by the Treasury’s chief economist, Sir Nicholas Stern, as “a lot of lies and misinformation has been put about by eco nuts on the back of a report by an idiot economist.”

Guess who is the real idiot O’Leary?

One Comment

  • One additional element about the airlines is that international flights, as well as international waterborne transit, generally pay no tax at all on their fuel.

    Legally, this is an issue of political jurisdictions. However, even collecting a surcharge on fuels that is then redistributed within the industry based on the efficiency of the equipment, or to fund efficiency or pollution control upgrades, would have quite substantial long-term energy and environmental benefits.

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