Is air travel the next point of focus in our collective emissions battle?
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The world has begun to take a hard look at the things scientists deem harmful to the environment in recent years as climate change hits closer to home. Across Europe, lawmakers have worked to enact more stringent fuel economy and emissions regulations, but the UK’s Labour Party has set its sights on the skies.
The left-leaning political party wants to look at banning private jets from UK airports as early as 2025, The Guardian reported this week. The plan is contingent upon what happens in the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections. Brits will head to the polls on Dec. 12, where the fate of the Conservative Party and current Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government will be decided.
Should the Labour Party take control, Jeremy Corbyn could lead parliament and efforts to enact some sort of ban on private jets could become a reality.
The push to tackle air travel and its associated pollution comes after a recent study from Common Wealth, a British think tank, found the emissions spewed into the air from private jets operating in the UK each year is the same as 450,000 cars driving on British roads. That’s about the equivalent of 1.1 million tons of CO2 each year, and a flight from London to New York is about the same as a vehicle driving nonstop for four and half years.
By and large, commercial airliners emit far less emissions per passenger, largely because they carry many more passengers; the average private jet will take as little as five passengers on a flight.
The aviation industry has already pushed back on the idea, saying it won’t have the impact Labour believes it will. The European Business Aviation Association said a ban wouldn’t make sense in today’s international market and promises the industry is working to slash emissions by 50% relative to 2005 levels.
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