From our friends at Community AIR (Airport Impact Review):
This is a press release from January 3, 2020, also attached as a PDF
CommunityAIR: Climate Crisis Means Pickering Airport Proposal Must Finally Be Abandoned
For Immediate Release Friday, January 3, 2020
Community AIR, the citizen's group that calls for the closure of the Toronto Island Airport (one of the world’s worst airports, according to AirHelp), joins Land over Landings to call for the federal government to finally abandon plans to construct an airport in Pickering.
A report today suggests a decision is expected this year.
“Investing in a new airport that would facilitate more greenhouse gas emissions from aviation completely contradicts that government’s stated climate crisis goal. We entirely support Land Over Landings’ call for the fertile Pickering lands to be permanently committed to productive agriculture,” said Brian Iler, Chair, CommunityAIR.
To address the climate crisis, Justin Trudeau, our Prime Minister, recently committed to
joining countries around the world in reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. That means not putting any more carbon emissions into the air than we take out.
Aviation is a fast‑growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. Today air travel contributes 2.5% of our global emissions, and they are expected to triple by 2050, according to the United Nations, unless there are efforts to curtail air traffic.
Recent research, from the International Council on Clean Transportation, found that emissions from global air travel may be increasing more than 1.5 times as fast as previous estimates. Said Brandon Graver, who led the new study:
“Airlines, for all intents and purposes, are becoming more fuel-efficient. But we’re seeing demand outstrip any of that,” “The climate challenge for aviation is worse than anyone expected.”
As this chart from the Global Carbon Project shows, significant and urgent reductions in emissions are essential to avoid a serious risk of warming in excess of 2°C.:
If we continue to encourage air travel by building airports like Pickering, the Prime Minister's commitment to address the climate crisis will be impossible to meet.
Canada must instead invest in clean transportation systems to reduce demand for aviation. That means electrified high speed rail to replace short‑haul flights like those between Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal and other transportation systems that don’t emit greenhouse gases.
It also means curtailing the expansion of air travel by refusing to build airports such as Pickering.
Please consider writing to your local MP and to Transport Minister Garneau (at firstname.lastname@example.org) to let them know you're counting on them to do the right thing by our environment.
There are a number of organizations internationally that focus on the aviation industry. They include
- Stay Grounded, based in Austria, of which CommunityAIR is a member. It recently issued "13 Steps for a Just Transport System", and organized a "Degrowth of Aviation" conference in Barcelona last July.
- Transport & Environment, based in Brussels has many resources available on its website.
- Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) is the principal UK NGO campaigning exclusively on the environmental impacts of aviation and promoting a sustainable future for the sector
All three have valuable insights and immensely useful resources on the issue.
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