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Aeroplanes Threaten World's Climate Say Top Govt Scientists

Originally posted in IGC member conference:

Date: June 4, 1999

Posted by: <>

/* Written 2:30 AM Jun 4, 1999 by <> in */

/* ---------- "Aeroplanes threaten the world's cli" ------- --- */


A United Nations' Panel of the world's top climate scientists say aeroplanes are a serious threat to the world's climate, in a report published today [1]

The Special Report 'Aviation and the Global Atmosphere' , published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is the first by the Panel on a specific industrial sector. It confirms that the world's 16,000 airliners are a major source of the gases that are causing global warming.

The IPCC Special Report says: Planes are responsible for 3.5 per cent of man- made global warming today; They could account for up to 15 per cent of global warming by 2050; More efficient engines, better air traffic control and other operational improvements will not stop emissions rising, as the number of people flying grows.

It suggests new taxes on flying and policies to substitute trains for short distance flights should be considered by Governments to cut aircraft emissions.

Simon McRae, Aviation Campaigner at Friends of the Earth said: This report proves aeroplanes are a significant threat to the world's climate. If current trends continue, greenhouse gas emissions from planes will rise, potentially undermining international treaties to protect the world's climate. Only a cut in the forecast use of planes will reduce overall aviation greenhouse gas emissions ."

Governments meeting in Bonn, Germany, this week, under the aegis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, will be the first to consider the report. They are expected to recommend ways in which emissions from international flights could be allocated to different countries, pending debate on an international aviation fuel tax [2].

Simon McRae continued; "Airlines pay no duty on the fuel they use and therefore have little incentive to conserve fuel or control their emissions. It's time for the UK Government to show its commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by pressing the Americans to agree to an international aviation fuel tax". [3]


[1] The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC's) 'Special Report on Aviation and the Global Atmosphere' was approved by Government representatives at the 15th Plenary Session of the IPCC in Costa Rica from April 15th-18th 1999. It is published today (See to download a copy).

[2] The 10th session of the Scientific Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is meeting from 31 May until 11 June in Bonn, Germany.

It will discuss how emissions from international flights can be allocated to individual countries.

[3] Friends of the Earth (Europe) and other NGOs are pressing Governments to end the exemption on fuel duty currently enjoyed by airlines. The UK Government and many European countries support this move, provided it is agreed internationally. However, the United States and some other countries are opposed. If no agreement can be reached on an international aviation fuel tax, FOE (Europe) will press for a Europe-only agreement.

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