Public support for Quality of Life commission

A report by pollsters Ipsos-Mori confirms what environmentalists have been saying all along: high levels of popular support for the green agenda.

The report, Public finds much to support in Conservative's new Green Agenda, explored a number of potential Tory policies, and found widespread support for green taxation: 62% of people support the 'polluter pays' principle, while only 10% oppose it.

Ruth Kelly acts decisively...

STOP PRESS: Ruth Kelly has today announced that the UK "acted decisively today to safeguard the proposed European aviation emissions trading scheme".

Sounds great - but what did they actually do? "At the ICAO Assembly, delegates from other countries expressed their wish to move forward on the basis of an international consensus, but insisted on an approach that would have effectively prevented the EU from introducing an emissions trading scheme for non-EU flights."

DfT / aviation industry meetings

A Freedom of Information request published in July 2007 reveals just how close BAA and the DfT have become over the years.

Between July 2002 and April 2007, BAA met with the DfT no less than 117 times, including 24 meetings with the Secretary of State and at least 33 meetings with the Head of Airports Policy, Jonathan Sharrock.

All in all, the DfT met with airlines and airport operators 342 times between 2002 and April 2007. Unfortunately the FOI request doesn't tell us how many times the environment came up - but I'm willing to bet it wasn't a top priority.

Greens and aviation industry clash at Labour Party conference

Earlier this week I spoke at the Climate Clinic. This report is from DeHavilland:

Representatives of environmental groups and the aviation industry have clashed over the need to restrict access to air travel.

Speaking at the Labour conference at a fringe event 'Does business need bigger airports?' were Brian Wilson, chairman of flying matters, Richard Brown, chief executive of Eurostar, Roger Wiltshire, director general of the British Air Transport Association, Dr Doug Parr of Greenpeace, Joss Garman of Plane Stupid and Charles Secrett of the Mayor of London's Office.

Ex-aviation minister slams industry

Ex-aviation minister Gillian Merron, now at the Cabinet Office, spent last week chatting with her European peers in Lisbon.

In an unexpected development she waded into the climate change debate, denouncing an industry that "is responsible for about 1 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions each year - that's between 2 and 4% of global energy."

Clearly something must be done! Thanks, Gillian, for recognising that despite only emitting a fraction globally, this industry must still be tackled. It's what Plane Stupid has been saying all along!

[Edit: turns out the industry in question is IT...]

easyJet in self-serving 'campaign'

Hot on the heels of their dodgy dossier, easyJet have launched a campaign to save the planet by encouraging more of us to piss off to Barcelona for a night on the town.

According to easyJet's national advertising campaign, flying could reduce its emissions by 50% in just 10 years - but the Government and 'greedy Gordon' are conspiring to ensure this doesn't happen. Only scrapping APD will save us all from climatalogical oblivion.

Activists still have a vital role to play in tackling aviation growth

The relationship between Labour and industry means that parliament won't do enough.

I was pleased that your leader (A different kind of turbulence, August 20) recognised the climate campers' scientific argument that inaction on climate change now will cost lives later. As the leading climate researcher Dr Kevin Anderson said last week, "the government cannot reconcile current aviation growth with its stated position on climate change. Even with the latest more efficient aircraft, the climate-change imperative demands that air-travel growth be severely curtailed." However, I was stunned by the Guardian's notion that because nowadays "nearly all politicians will at least pay lip service to green issues", the merits of "Swampy-style activism" have been undermined. Equally, the idea that there has been a "big political shift ... since 1996" is not reflected by the facts.

Flying too close

The government has formed a cosy relationship with the aviation industry. No wonder environmentalists are preparing for direct action.

The aviation industry used to lobby government. Now it seems they practically are the government. If anyone's still in any doubt of Brown's plans to trample over popular opposition to airport expansion, his most recent appointments give a glimpse of Labour's cosy relationship with the airline industry and lay out the battle lines the green movement will have to face in coming months.

Industry fight back begins

Spokespersons for airline companies have been hard at work, trying to allay public concerns by quoting a 2-3% contribution to global CO2 emissions. As we've come to expect from the aviation industry, this is misleading: the figure corresponds to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report of 1990. Aviation emissions more than doubled during decade which followed.

These figures also ignore per capita rates: British citizens fly more than those of any other nation except the United States. If everyone flew as much as people in the UK, the figure would be about ten times higher.

Earth to Ming

Do the Liberal Democrats' beloved green principles really hold up to scrutiny, or are they increasingly threadbare?

While they're often painted as the greenest of the major political parties, up and down the country the Liberal Democrats have been supporting climate-wrecking projects and opposing climate-friendly ones. So it was pretty ironic when Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem environment spokesman, this week lamented "Labour's rotten record on climate change". It's about time he took a look at his own party's record.