1 June 2020
Today’s decision by the Federal Government to spend $5.25 billion on a rail line to a proposed new Western Sydney airport flies in the face of danger says aviation emissions campaign group Flight Free Australia.
Such allocations will not help build a viable post-pandemic economy, they say.
“Economic recovery packages need to be allocating funds to urgent and drastic emissions reductions projects, whereas building infrastructure that boosts aviation only boosts fossil fuel emissions”, says Mark Carter from Flight Free Australia. “With businesses turning to virtual meetings and a Covid-19 vaccine by no means guaranteed, who — even ignoring the climate crisis — can be sure flight demand in 2026 will necessitate a second airport?”
Aviation’s total contribution to global heating, according to the IPCC, is around 2 to 5 times that from just its CO2 emissions, and even greater when the effects of contrails and cirrus cloudiness are included.
Bill Hemmings from European NGO Transport & Environment points out that “Taking a plane is the fastest and cheapest way to fry the planet”.
“We are in a climate emergency and emissions free flight will not be possible within the 10 years we have to urgently reduce emissions massively”, said Carter.
Just last week Christina Figueres, head of the UN climate change response that led to the Paris Agreement in 2015, said the world was now at an “irreversible T junction” and if nations tried to return to the old normal they would lock in rising emission levels.
“Resuscitating emissions intensive industries such as aviation is one such attempt to return to the old normal”, Carter said. “We’d all be much safer down the track if the $5.25 billion was allocated to improving the fast rail services from Sydney to Melbourne and to Brisbane, two of the busiest flight paths in the world”.