Air Passenger Tax -
Seconds Out, Round One!

Ian Pearson, the environment minister, has criticised a number of senior figures in the aviation industry who don't agree with his views on carbon emissions, labelling them "irresponsible", "a disgrace", and "completely off the wall".

Mr Pearson says that those who don't agree with the EU's carbon-trading scheme are refusing to recognise that climate change is a genuine problem.

Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, has pointed out that the UK Government has doubled the air passenger tax from 5 to 10 without investing the monies collected in the environment. Environmentalists add that the Government has backed new runways at Heathrow and Stanstead, which will provide more growth in cheap flights.

It is difficult to see how government ministers can be concerned about climate change if they are supporting airport expansion. Or are they acknowledging that aviation is only a minor contributor to increasing carbon dioxide levels?

Sir Nicholas Stern gives the contributors to global greenhouse emissions as:

24% power stations
18% land use, principally burning down forests
14% transport, including aviation
14% agriculture
14% industry
8% fuel used in buildings
5% other sources

ND comment:
One must feel some sympathy for Mr. Pearson. No politician likes inconsistencies in Government policy to be pointed out in a high-profile slanging match, and aviation is a fast-growing source of emissions; perhaps the carbon-trading scheme would do some good.

However, the Chinese are commissioning new fossil-fuelled power stations at the rate of one every few days. Their carbon dioxide is going to swamp any reductions we make in the UK and perhaps in Europe, too.

We should not forget, either, that we cannot prove human activity to be the root cause of global warming. Even if it is, our chances of affecting the Chinese industrial revolution and its associated carbon emissions are zero.

If we're really interested in reducing carbon dioxide levels, we should be examining energy strategy.

The only technology which can give enough energy to support our needs without producing greenhouse emissions is nuclear.

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