Manchester groups urge Gordon Brown and Tony Lloyd MP to stop ignoring aviation

1st April 2008
news
release

Photo Opportunity:On Thursday 3rd April at 1.30pm and Saturday 5th April at 2pm in Cathedral Gardens outside Urbis, there will be a street theatre performance with songs and sketches featuring airline crew and a bemused ‘Gordon Brown’ being joined in song and taught to dance the ‘Eco-Motion’.

Manchester Friends of the Earth [3], Christian Aid [4] and Manchester Oxfam Group [5] will this week urge Prime Minister Gordon Brown and local MP Tony Lloyd to stop ignoring aviation. The groups want the Government’s new Climate Change Law to cover all sources of carbon dioxide emissions, including the UK’s share of emissions from international aviation and shipping. Tony Lloyd, MP for Manchester Central, will have the opportunity to vote on the law when it is debated in Parliament later this month.

Manchester Friends of the Earth is taking action as part of a national day of action in support of The Big Ask, Friends of the Earth’s campaign for a strong Climate Change law. The group is joining forces with campaigners from Christian Aid and Manchester Oxfam Group to put on an aviation-themed street theatre performance with songs and sketches featuring an airline crew and a bemused Gordon Brown.

Friends of the Earth has led the campaign for a strong Climate Change law through The Big Ask. The law, which is set to be introduced this summer, is groundbreaking but needs strengthening if the UK is to play its part in tackling climate change.

The Government’s proposed law does not count the UK’s share of emissions from international aviation and shipping. Friends of the Earth believes that it is ludicrous to pretend these emissions don’t exist, and unfair to treat aviation & shipping any differently to other sectors of the economy. The Government already publishes figures on aviation emissions and there are no practical reasons why these emissions cannot be covered by the Law from the outset. Likewise shipping emissions should also be included as a matter of urgency.

Aviation is a fast growing source of carbon dioxide emissions. Government figures published in January 2008 showed aviation accounts for 6.4 per cent of UK carbon emissions [1]. The impact of aviation emissions is double that of carbon dioxide alone because of other gases that planes pump out at altitude [2].

Friends of the Earth is calling on Tony Lloyd MP to vote for a strong climate change law that:

• Includes the UK’s share of emissions from international shipping and aviation;
• Commits the UK to cutting its emissions by 80 per cent;
• Ensures steady progress by cutting emissions by at least 3 per cent a year.

Ali Abbas, Manchester Friends of the Earth supporter and local resident said:

“It’s crazy for Gordon Brown to leave out climate changing emissions from planes and ships from the new Climate Change Law but that’s what he is doing. Why should our local industry and businesses be held to account for their carbon emissions but not the aviation industry? We hope our MP, Tony Lloyd, will use his vote to call for a strong Climate Change law that covers all emissions.”

Friends of the Earth’s Day of Action on Saturday 5 April will be one of many inspiring events taking place during the Climate Change Bill Week of Action coordinated by Stop Climate Chaos / I Count from 30 March to 5 April demanding a tough Climate Change law.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] Government figures published in January 2008 showed aviation accounts for 6.4 per cent of UK carbon emissions. www.defra.gov.uk/environment/statistics

[2] Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (2002). The Environmental Effects of Civil Aircraft in Flight (see www.rcep.org.uk/aviation.html).

[3] Manchester Friends of the Earth is an award-winning environmental campaign group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on the group’s website: www.manchesterfoe.org.uk. Manchester Friends of the Earth is a Licensed Local Group of Friends of the Earth, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

[4] Christian Aid works in some of the world’s poorest communities in more than 50 countries. It acts where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.
Contact: Sarah Corbett, 01925 241222

[5] Manchester Oxfam Campaigns Group (www.manchester-oxfam-group.org) is made up of local volunteers who canvas on a variety of different campaigns in collusion with Oxfam’s main organisation.
Contact: Serena Tramonti, 0161 234 2793

[6] The Climate Change Bill was announced in the Queen’s speech and is currently in progress. Following a final reading in the House of Lords, it is set to go to the Commons in April 2008. For further information please follow the link: http://www.commonsleader.gov.uk/output/page2153.asp

[7] By 31/03/2008, 29 of the North West’s 61 Labour MPs, along with all 6 of the region’s Liberal Democrat MPs, had signed a parliamentary petition – Early Day Motion 736 – calling for more ambitious targets and to include international aviation emissions in the Climate Change Bill.

[8] A 2006 report by the respected Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research warned that aviation could account for all of the UK’s budgeted carbon emissions within 30 years. The Future Starts Here – the route to a low carbon economy (Research for The Co-operative Bank and Friends of the Earth by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change) http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/reports/aviation_tyndall_
research_summary.pdf