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Air Travel 'Of Enormous Concern' for Global Warming

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    Tue 30 Mar 2004 The Scotsman Air Travel Of Enormous Concern for Global Warming By Amanda Brown, Environment Correspondent, PA News The growth of air travel
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 30, 2004
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      Tue 30 Mar 2004
      The Scotsman
      Air Travel 'Of Enormous Concern' for Global Warming
      By Amanda Brown, Environment Correspondent, PA News

      The growth of air travel and its impact on global warming
      is "an issue of enormous concern", the Government's chief
      scientific adviser warned today.

      Sir David King, who earlier this year sparked controversy
      when he said climate change was a more serious threat
      to the planet than terrorism, told an all-party committee of MPs:
      "It is not perhaps unusual that the (aviation) industry would
      like to continue in a relatively unregulated fashion."

      He added that he believed this was "an issue of enormous
      concern in terms of climate change".

      Sir David also highlighted difficulties with aviation tax.

      Aircraft fumes containing carbon dioxide are a major
      contributor to atmospheric pollution and a worsening of the
      greenhouse effect with extreme weather conditions such
      as storms, drought and flooding.

      Sir David said mankind has the power to tackle the problem,
      but politics is a problem as far as air travel is concerned.

      He told the Commons Environmental Audit Committee:
      "The issue of aviation is very important.

      "Of course it is complicated but I don't think because an
      issue is complicated, we should avoid the consequences.

      "Aviation around the world is a continually growing industry
      and it depends critically on fossil fuel burning.

      "So without going into the details, we can see that there
      is a net negative effect in terms of global warming.

      "There are complex factors arising from water vapour
      production at different levels. But if we just look at carbon
      dioxide emissions, that in itself is a major contributory
      factor to our net emissions problem.

      "No single country can resolve this problem. If aviation
      fuel tax were introduced in one country, planes would
      simply fly off to another to fill up.

      "So it is another complex international issue and I'm
      afraid that as soon as I see a complex international
      issue, we are up against buffers and longer timescales."

      Sir David said climate change was already "irreversible",
      but the Antarctic ice sheet could take about 1,000 years
      to melt.

      He added that while the Greenland ice sheet could melt
      in between 50 and 200 years, sea levels could rise by
      six or seven metres, causing flooding over London.

      "It is all happening now and it is a process that has
      already begun. The best way to deal with it is not to
      test it out. Don't go there, keep CO2 levels down,"
      added Sir David.

      He said that Europe is "absolutely on target" with its
      carbon dioxide reductions and should hold on to it
      without any "weakening of the knees".

      But simply "preaching" to the developing world about
      the need to cut back on emissions "won't work," he said.

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