If our house was falling apart you wouldn’t fly around in business class, chatting about how the market will solve everything.

Greta Thunberg

2

The Climate Crisis & Aviation’s Role

The climate crisis is escalating ever faster and aviation is making a significant contribution to it, although it only benefits a few people in the world. Here are the most important facts about the climate crisis, its injustices and the role aviation plays in it.

Flying is the fastest way to heat up the planet 1 – and it has become normal for a relatively small part of the world’s population, while even fewer profit from it. The excesses of the aviation industry come at the cost of the majority, whose coastlines are disappearing, their skies filled by air traffic and pushed off their land by ever-expanding airports, oil extraction, 2 or agrofuel plantations (see story on p. 56 in PDF). Most of these communities will never benefit from this growth, which comes at the expense of the rest of the living planet.

Most of us understand that things cannot go on like this. But we can’t achieve real change if we act alone. That’s why we need to come together to make a difference and to win. This is as true for air transport and mobility, as it is for all other areas of the global economy. It takes many different acts: changing your own behaviour and talking to others about it, organising, making good political choices, co-creating alternatives and taking a risk to protect the lives and livelihoods of people today and in the future. It is not too late to act, but we must move fast.

Now is the time for action.

FACTS AND FIGURES ON AVIATION AND THE CLIMATE CRISIS

The importance of achieving climate justice and leveraging the current desire for change is brought into sharp focus when you consider the excesses of the aviation industry. Aviation’s inequality of access, the environmental damages, health risks and social consequences of its continued expansion, as well as the ownership structures that prop it up allowing a small minority to reap the profits, are all illustrative of the injustices, oppressions and wrongdoings of the global economy.

But to successfully reframe aviation, you must be able to answer the simple question “why aviation?”. To help you do this, the following section sets out the evidence of the realities of both the aviation industry and global air traffic, providing readers with the latest science, thinking and statistics to argue impactfully and proactively about why we need a safe landing for the aviation industry to stop climate catastrophe.

Relative to the size of the aviation industry and the number of people that use it, its environmental impact is enormous and its continued expansion is rapidly eating up our remaining carbon budget. In 2018, the best estimates for aviation’s overall contribution for that year to global heating was 5.9%. 3 If aviation was a country it would be between the 5th and 7th worst polluters in the world.

And to make matters worse, the pollution from aviation is accelerating. Since the 1980s, global aviation emissions have doubled. 4 Between 2013 and 2019 emissions from passenger aircraft increased by 33%, outpacing improvements in fuel efficiency by at least a factor of four. 5 Not only does this run counter to the many pledges and unfulfilled promises the aviation industry has made regarding its environmental impact, it also means other sectors of the economy that are used by a greater number of people, such as agriculture or housing, will have to decarbonise faster and deeper to allow for aviation’s excesses.

If aviation were a country

If aviation were a country, it would be one of the largest
single emitters, just behind Japan and ahead of countries like Germany and South Korea.

Sources:
Aviation emissions: Klöwer et al. (2021): bit.ly/AviaCont
Country emissions: IEA Atlas of Energy: bit.ly/IEAEnergyAtlas

Is flying compatible with a 1.5 degrees lifestyle?

Flying is one of the most polluting activities. A single flight can emit more climate-damaging emissions than the majority of people in the world cause per capita in a year, all other activities combined. Regular flying is not compatible with a low-carbon lifestyle.

A 2021 study estimates that a per capita footprint of 0.7 tonnes CO2e by 2050 is required to keep global temperature to 1.5 degrees, with intermediary targets of 2.5 tCO2e in 2030 and 1.4 tCO2e by 2040.

Sources (bar numbers from left to right):
1, 2: Emissions savings plant-based diet, recycling:
Wynes & Nicholas (2017): bit.ly/IndivAct
3: Train emissions: Ecopassenger, ecopassenger.hafas.de
4, 7: Akenji et al. (2021): 1.5-Degree Lifestyles,
bit.ly/15lifestyle
5, 8: Flight emissions: Atmosfair: atmosfair.de
6, 9, 10: Per capita CO2 emissions
(figures from 2019): bit.ly/owidCO2footp

AVIATION’S CLIMATE IMPACT IS MORE THAN JUST CARBON

For years, the aviation industry claimed that the sector was responsible for only 2% of man-made carbon emissions – a number consistently cited to downplay both the impact of aviation and the need for action. In fact, aviation’s CO2 emissions alone are significantly higher – amounting to 2.4% of all human-caused carbon emitted globally in 2018. 6 When the CO2 emissions from the production and distribution of jet fuel are included, this figure rises to 2.9%. 7

But aviation’s total climate impact is caused by more than just carbon. Burning kerosene at altitude also generates con- trails, induced cloudiness and nitrogen oxide derivatives that, although short- lived, are known to increase aviation’s contribution to global heating. When you consider these non-CO2 impacts, the aviation industry’s responsibility for global heating is approximately three times higher than CO2 emissions alone. 8

 

Adding on flying’s non-CO2 climate impacts, it has been calculated that in 2018 aviation’s contribution reached 5.9% of the heating effect of all the human-caused greenhouse gas emissions of that year. 9 Overall, aviation is responsible for 4% of global heating to date. 10 If pre-COVID aviation growth rates resume, air traffic alone would contribute a massive 0.1 ̊C to global heating by 2050 11. This is immense, especially when considering that this impact is caused by the very small portion of humanity that flies.

THE INEQUALITY OF FLYING

The global emissions share from aviation becomes even more problematic when you ask the question, ‘who flies?’. The industry’s advertisers and marketers would like you to think that the answer is ‘most people’ – but it really isn’t. Not only is flying the most energy-intensive mode of transport available to humanity, it is also the most unequal – in terms of cost, restrictive immigration policies and accessibility to air travel options. 12 The act of taking one flight can emit as much CO2 as many people do in an entire year. 13 While estimates vary, flying is accessible to only a small fraction of humanity with approximately 80% of the global population having never flown in a commercial aircraft. 14  In contrast, in 2018, just 1% of the world’s population was responsible for 50% of global aviation emissions. 15 10 countries are responsible for about 60% of total aviation CO2 emissions and 30 countries for 86%. 16

 What’s more, 19% of aviation’s emissions in 2019 came from passengers flying in business and first-class, which is more than all the emissions that came from air freight in the same year (15% of all aviation emissions). 17 And, on a yearly basis, the figures are even more stark with only 11% of the world’s population taking a flight in 2018 and only 4% flying overseas. 18

With such a small fraction of humanity flying, and aviation already taking up a significant chunk of global emissions, it’s clear that the frequency of flights taken is an important factor. In the UK, one of the nations whose citizens fly the most internationally, 19 only 1% of the population took a fifth of all the overseas flights in 2018. 20 British frequent fliers are often wealthy, with a household income of over £115,000 a year and the ownership of a second home abroad – often in a tax haven – being the strongest predictors of frequent flying. 21 A similar pattern is repeated in every major aviation market worldwide for which data is available, 22 and contrary to aviation industry narratives around the ‘democratisation’ of air travel, 23 these inequalities have grown as the industry has expanded. 24

Other characteristics that influence how often someone flies are gender and migration background. 25 To this day, freedom of movement is still determined by origin. A Japanese passport allows you to enter 192 countries without a prior visa, while a Somali passport allows you access to 34 countries and an Afghan passport allows you to enter just 26 freely. 26 Gender also determines access to flights, with men flying more frequently than women and making up the majority for business trips. 27 Gender inequality impacts airline employees too. In 2018, travel group TUI reported the largest gender pay gap of any UK company, with women earning 56.9% less than men. 28 This, combined with dress codes and other codes of conduct for staff that are often perceived as sexist, led the Guardian to ask: “is aviation the least progressive industry?” 29 Only 3% of aviation industry CEOs 30 and only 5% of commercial pilots are women. 31

Air traffic is the most
unequal mode of transport

No mode of transport is more unjust than aviation. A 2020 study estimates that only 2% to 4% of the world’s population flew internationally in 2018. It concludes that 1% of the global population, a small minority of wealthy frequent flyers, is responsible for 50% of commercial aviation emissions.

Source: Gössling, Humpe (2020): bit.ly/DistG

PRIVATE JETS AND SPACE FLIGHT

When it comes to flying, there’s nothing more unjust than private jets – perhaps with the exception of billionaires’ space flights. In 2019, there were 21,979 active private jets worldwide, with 71% of these based in North America. Europe accounted for another 13% or 2,760, of which 495 were in Germany and 341 in the UK. Africa, on the other hand, has the smallest fleet worldwide with about 2% of all private jets. 32 Emissions from private jets have recently risen faster than those from regular air traffic, a trend that the global pandemic is accelerating. This is particularly destructive for our climate, as private jets are between 5 to 14 times more polluting per passenger than scheduled flights. 33 They are also more often used for short-haul flights, which are particularly unnecessary, because there are low-carbon alternatives.

Space travel is an unnecessary step for humanity, but a decadent race for a few egotistical billionaires. This latest illustration of obscene pollution and inequality can emit 250-1000 tonnes of CO2 for an 11-minute  light. In contrast, a large part of the world’s population causes less than one tonne of CO2 per year per capita. This means that one billionaire damages the climate as much with an eleven-minute flight as several individuals from the poorer part of the world’s population do during their entire lifetime. 34

Private Jets: Destination Climate Disaster

Regular flights are bad for the climate, but private jets are much worse in terms of per capita emissions. And they are extremely unevenly distributed. In 2019 there were 21,979 active private jets worldwide. Most were registered in North America, where the US is home to roughly 89% of the total jets on the continent.

Source: Stratos (2022): 2022 Key Private Jet Industry Statistics – By Region, By Country, By Type.

AVIATION HAS CONTRIBUTED
MORE TO GLOBAL HEATING THAN ENTIRE CONTINENTS

No mode of transport is more unjust than aviation. A 2020 study estimates that only 2% to 4% of the world’s population flew internationally in 2018. It concludes that 1% of the global population, a small minority of wealthy frequent flyers, is responsible for 50% of commercial aviation emissions.

Source: Gössling, Humpe (2020): bit.ly/DistG

MILITARY AVIATION

While reliable statistics on military aviation emissions remain scarce, it is estimated to account for 8%. 35 to 15% 36 of aviation’s total climate impact. The carbon footprint of the military, and the industries that provide their equipment, has successfully eluded scrutiny for decades and continues to be excluded from virtually all international climate obligations currently in place. The US army provides an especially shocking example. In 2017, the total greenhouse gas emissions of the US military were greater than the climate emissions of entire industrialised countries, such as Portugal or Sweden, with jet fuel combustion accounting for the largest share. 37 Of course, the damage brought about from military aviation goes well beyond its climate impact, with war having devastating effects on people. 38

In 2022, Russia’s war against Ukraine showed once again how armed conflicts can affect air traffic and the fossil fuel-based energy system it relies on. During the 1997 Kyoto Protocol negotiations, intensive US government lobbying secured an exemption from any emissions-cutting obligation for its military by invoking national security concerns in order to maintain military operations. Even though the US never ratified the Kyoto Protocol, its ability to procure military exemptions left the door open for other military powers to follow suit. This automatic exemption for the military was removed under the Paris Agreement, signed in 2015. However, the treaty leaves it to the discretion of countries whether they include military emissions or not.

THE GROWTH OF THE AVIATION INDUSTRY

We need to shift towards other ways to sustain local livelihoods, not rely on tourism.

Darío Solano, Fundacion Cultural La Negreta, Dominican Republic

While aviation’s share of total global climate pollution is already vast considering the number of people that fly, the growth of the industry is cause for concern. After the pandemic-induced pause, which saw planes grounded around the world, growth is set to return to the industry once more and emissions are set to climb. Without decided action to curtail air traffic, emissions will continue to rise.

Aviation growth doesn’t just mean more climate heating and health damages – it also requires a vast expansion of airports around the world and the construction of new ones. Between 2000 and 2016, new runways were added at 55 of the 150 airports with the most flights globally. 39 By 2016 more than half of the expanded airports were below the capacity before the expansion, which casts doubt on the necessity of their expansion. 40 As of 2019, almost $1 trillion has been invested into building new airports around the globe, with 423 new airports planned or already under construction. Over half of these – 223 – are being built in the Asian Pacific region, with 58 planned for Europe. 41 China alone has announced plans to build 213 new airports by 2035. 42

All of these newly built airports will require huge amounts of concrete, steel and glass, raising their emissions impact even further. The infrastructure will also ‘lock-in’ emissions for decades to come, making urgent change even more difficult. In addition, there is the immediate danger to people and nature. Communities around the world struggle against human rights violations, eviction from their homes and farmland for aviation expansion, and to protect forests, wetlands and coastal ecosystems. 43

For about 40 years, the airlines’ frequent flyer programmes (FFPs) have been a major driver of the rapid growth in air traffic. FFPs are among the world’s most successful marketing programmes. As the programmes are coupled to credit card use, rampant card use for purchases of all sorts – in order to acquire “free” “air miles” – has raised the price of goods for everyone, frequent flyer or not. 44

Flying is the fastest way to fry the planet

Flying is the most climate-damaging means of transport per hour. Due to the speed and the long distances, flying emits many times more CO2 than other means of transport. In addition, there are the non-CO2 effects of flights. The total climate impact of a flight is about three times higher than CO2 alone due to the altitude and other pollution. Exact emissions per trip vary due to various factors. Figures here are based on French data.

Source: Bigo (2019): Emissions de CO2par mode: détail des calculs.
bit.ly/CO2permode

The Health
Impacts to
industry
workers,
passengers and communities

The public debate around the health impacts of flying is mostly centered on the risks posed to passengers. For instance, long-haul flyers often face higher exposure to issues such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or what’s more commonly known as ‘economy-class syndrome’. Scientific studies have found that the risk of developing DVT increases by 12% if just a single flight is taken each year, with risks especially high for those with pre-existing health conditions. 45 Another study looking at the health impacts of flying found that “consistent disruption of body rhythms from jet lag and travel fatigue can lead to cognitive decline and psychotic and mood disorders, sleep disorders, and possible heart disease and cancer”. 46 What’s more, the low humidity found on aircraft can reduce the effectiveness of our bodies’ natural defence mechanisms, such as drying up mucus, making us more susceptible to getting sick. Catching a cold, for example, is 100 times more likely after taking a flight. 47 In the age of Covid-19, the health risks of flying need to be brought into sharper focus – especially as air transport has been a major contributor to the rapid spread of the virus around the world. 48 What’s more, frequent flying has significant psychological effects, especially among business travellers, with studies highlighting isolation, loneliness and a reduction in flyers’ social ties. 49 There are also considerable health impacts associated with working in airports and living nearby. A 2021 study found that exposure to jet engine emissions, which contain ultrafine particles (UFP) that are prone to reach the lower airways and lungs, is reported to increase the risk of disease, hospital admissions and self-reported lung symptoms. 50 The same study found that jet engine emissions had similar organic particulate matter composition to diesel, which is linked to a myriad of adverse health impacts such as lung cancer, asthma and heart disease. 51 Medical research has also shown that ultrafine particles can lead to premature births. 52 These health impacts, however, are not equally distributed across society and disproportionately affect ethnic minorities and those living in poverty. 53 The health impacts of aviation and flying reinforce the inequalities that are pervasive throughout wider society.

Many of the public health impacts of flying have social impacts too. For instance, the noise pollution from aircrafts can cause a range of health issues, such as hearing loss, hypertension, depression, 54 stress, 55 cardiovascular disease, 56 sleep deprivation and possibly even dementia. 57 In 2017, it was estimated that 3.2 million Europeans were highly affected by aircraft noise and over 1.7 million suffered from high sleep disturbance around Europe’s 47 major airports, although these figures are likely to underestimate the true extent of noise pollution. 58 Sleep deprivation can have very real knock-on effects for the quality of life of people that live in the vicinity of airports and their opportunities in life, especially children’s educational attainment. A 2005 study discovered that children living close to airports in Britain, the Netherlands, and Spain fell behind in their reading levels by up to two months for every 5 decibel increase above the average noise level in their environment. The study concludes by linking aircraft noise to lower reading comprehension. 59

IF EVERYONE IN THE WORLD FLEW ONCE A YEAR

If every person in the world were to fly from London to New York and back once a year, the CO2 budget for stay- ing below 1.5 degrees of global heating (about 320 billion tonnes as of 2022) would be exhausted within 34 years just from flying. One such return flight emits 1.2 tonnes of CO2 per person. With a world population of almost eight billion people, that would mean close to 10 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. And this doesn’t even take into account flights’ additional climate impacts, which triple the CO2 effects. This simplified calculation shows: Fly– ing, as it has become a normality for a small part of the world’s population, cannot be universalised if we want to protect our climate.

Sources:
Carbon budget: IPCC (2021): AR6 Climate Change 2021 Flight emissions: atmosfair.de
World population: worldometers.info

Aviation’s
privileged
position

Aviation’s climate impact is poorly regulated. Particularly compared to other sectors, the aviation industry seems to enjoy a special status. In the Paris Agreement, international aviation, accounting for about 65% of civil aviation emissions, is treated as separate from countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions. 60 Most countries do not cover international aviation in their national climate plans and emissions budgets. Instead, the regulation of international departures’ climate pollution is left to the ineffective ICAO. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is a UN organisation funded and directed by 193 governments. The ICAO Secretariat is the most important institution on aviation policy internationally.

Despite the environmental impact of aviation, and the relatively few people that fly, it has enjoyed a disproportionately privileged policy environment for the last 75 years. In large parts of the world, the flight industry is practically tax-free despite its impacts on society and the environment. Most notably, an international agreement called the Chicago Convention, signed in 1944, sought to facilitate and expand aviation by prohibiting the taxing of fuel already onboard an aircraft when it lands. Over time this convention forged the common practice of exempting all aviation fuel from both taxation (excise duty) and value added tax (VAT), sometimes formalised through bilateral agreements. 61 Fuel for domestic flights can be taxed – and indeed is in countries like the USA, Japan, and Saudi Arabia 62 – 
but often economic pressure combined with corporate lobbying prevents this and instead states cling to giving priority to the ‘competitiveness’ of their airlines.

Tellingly, a VAT exemption is usually reserved for goods deemed a necessity, such as particular foods, wheelchairs and certain healthcare products. In some countries with large aviation industries and hyper-mobile frequent fliers, like the UK, this tax exemption could be worth €13bn every year. Similarly, within the EU, a tax on kerosene could raise approximately €17 billion a year, while introducing VAT on European-wide aviation would raise €30 billion. 63 This boost in public funds could be invested in expanding and improving the continent-wide rail network or funding a just transition for aviation workers (see Safe Landing narrative, p. 58 in PDF). Considering the inequality of flying, is it really fair that someone who rarely or never flies has their taxes used to effectively subsidise the profits of airline shareholders and frivolous flying?

THE GREENWASHING OF AVIATION

Many in the aviation industry, and some outside of it like politicians and corporate lobbyists, are holding out for technology fixes to drive down emissions and ensure that a global minority can continue to fly frequently. To this end, various technologies are presented by industry and politicians as climate quick fixes, but they cannot be scaled up soon enough. What’s more, all of these technologies have problems, adverse side-effects or will be constrained by the eventual limits on renewable energy, required elsewhere to serve basic needs. The most important of these false solutions are: electric flight, hydrogen, agrofuels (commonly called ‘biofuels’ 64) and e-fuels as well as carbon offsets – all of which perpetuate the unsustainable growth of aviation.

Misplaced hope in techno-fixes and false solutions is growing as the efficiency gains of aircraft engines are be- ing pushed to their absolute limit – all while the forecasted growth of the industry outrips any additional efficiency gains made. And even when efficiency has increased, history shows that this is usually accompanied with rising emissions, as cost reductions make flights cheaper so air traffic surges. 65

Source: Lamb et al. (2020):
Discourses of clima​​te delay.
Illustration idea: Léonard Chemineau,
leolinne.com

Electric aircraft can only be considered as ‘green’ as the electricity they are powered with. With the world still a long-way off decarbonising electricity generation, adding additional load from an energy-intensive activity like aviation will make it harder to move away from fossil fuels. Flying is a highly inefficient means of transport, with take-off and ascent consuming large amounts of energy. The sheer weight of batteries is therefore a big constraint for electric flight. Currently this means that electric aircraft will only be viable for short flights under 1,000 km by 2050, which accounts for just 17% of aviation emissions. Medium and long-haul flights, which now make up the greatest share of aviation’s emissions, 66 have little chance of being fully electrified.

The advent of hydrogen-power planes by 2035 is probably nothing more than industry hot air, and will come far too late to contribute to the urgent emissions reductions required. 67 For medium and long-haul journeys, hydrogen-powered planes will not be viable before the middle of this century, when emissions already need to be zero in wealthy nations. Even if hydrogen-powered planes do take off, they still wouldn’t provide clean, green flights. Hydrogen produced from renewable sources will still emit nitrogen oxide (NOx) and generate contrails, which have a significant climate impact. 68 To make matters worse, hydrogen requires huge quantities of renewable electricity to produce, pulling clean electricity away from areas that are more widely used than aviation and serve more basic needs. 69

Agrofuels (biofuels) only account for around 0.01% of all aviation fuel currently used and, in the near future, will only replace a tiny fraction of aviation fuel. 70 Even if agrofuel production were to scale up enough to make a dent on aviation’s emissions, it would create a raft of environmental and social harms. That’s especially true for ‘first generation’ agrofuel from crops like oil palm, rapeseed or soy, which have not been ruled out by the aviation industry. While palm oil is being touted as the most viable option to create agrofuels due to its energy density, palm tree plantations are one of the leading global drivers of deforestation, biodiversity loss and human rights abuses. What’s more, studies have shown that agrofuels can actually cause three-times more greenhouse gas emissions than the polluting jet fuel they replace. 71 While airlines are continuously lobbying governments for subsidies to scale up agrofuels production, these risk wasting public money on a false solution and could keep flights artificially cheap, stimulating more air traffic. 72

 

E-fuels are synthetic fuels made from hydrogen and carbon dioxide with electricity that can be used with existing aircraft in place of kerosene produced from fossil fuels. At first sight, e-fuels may seem to be the ultimate means of decarbonising aviation, but there are several problems and constraints. Above all, the production of e-fuels is extremely wasteful of energy. In a scenario where 100% of the airliner fleet would use e-fuels in 2050, the resulting electricity demand would be 20% higher than the current total worldwide electricity production and 4.7 times the production of renewable electricity in 2018. 73

Offsets are sold by airlines to individual passengers with the argument to compensate for their emissions. But they are also the foundation of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) UN-backed “climate strategy”, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). However, the problem with offsets is that they do not do what they promise: a like-for-like carbon saving for having already polluted. Leaving fossil fuels in the ground is the best way of keeping carbon out of the atmosphere. Offset schemes, on the other hand, are a huge mix of hard-to-measure, poorly monitored, short term, unreliable schemes that do little more than provide an excuse for business as usual.

The Ultra-rich Polluter Elite

To stay below 1.5 °C of global heating, we have to cut average consumption-based climate emissions down to 2.5 tonnes of CO2 equivalents by 2030. Roman Abramovich, one of the richest men on earth, consumes 3400 times this amount of emissions just with his planes, helicopters and cars. Others such as Bill Gates, Michael Dell or Jeff Bezos also emit emissions at a similar level with their jet-set lives.

Source: Wilk & Barros (2021): Private planes, mansions and superyachts: What gives billionaires like Musk and Abramovich such a massive carbon footprint. bit.ly/UltraRichFP

Worlds apart: aviation’s alternative fuel targets vs. actual use

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airline industry’s international lobbying body, regularly sets targets for jet fuel substitutes (e-fuels, agrofuels,  … ) – and the industry reliably fails to meet them. IATA’s new 2030 target for alternative jet fuel of 5% is almost as high as the missed 2020 target and is 230 times current consumption (100 million litres, about 0.01% of all jet fuel used).

Sources:
IATA (2009): bit.ly/IATASAF2009
IATA (2011): bit.ly/IATASAF2011
IATA (2021): Fly Net Zero Media Kit.
bit.ly/FlyScamZero
Idea: Dan Rutherford

The CORSIA scheme is the only international framework for regulating aviation emissions, but is fatally flawed. It is designed to keep aviation emissions at 2019 levels to allow “carbon-neutral growth”. Its baseline, originally planned to be the average of 2019-2020, was shifted due to the Covid-induced slump of flights after heavy industry lobbying, further watering down the scheme. By 2030, CORSIA will only cover 12% of emissions as it includes only international flights and has many exemptions. 74 CORSIA is set to rely heavily on offset schemes around the world.

 

 

 

The problem is that offsets don’t work. One study for the EU Commission found that 85% of the offset projects under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) failed to actually reduce emissions, and that only 2% of offset projects have a high likelihood of doing so. 75 In August 2021, the New York Times reported that 153,000 acres (61,000 hectares) of forests that were part of a carbon-offset project for the state of California burned down during a heatwave – which are becoming ever more frequent due to global heating – releasing carbon back into the atmosphere. 76 Offsets often lead to ecological and human rights issues, particularly affecting indigenous communities (see p. 56 in PDF), and may have actually increased global emissions by legitimising ongoing pollution. 77

With no technological fix on the horizon in the next decade, and offsets providing no actual emissions compensations, all these promises must be seen as greenwash from a polluting industry. This means that the importance of reframing aviation to reduce flights and systematically shift society away from frequent flying has never been more important and can deliver immediate emissions reductions. 78

Flying like the richest Europeans would blow our carbon budget

If everyone flew as much as the wealthiest 10% of Europeans do, aviation alone would emit 23 billion tonnes (gigatonnes, Gt) CO2 per year. That is two thirds of all global emissions in 2019.

Sources:
Transport & Environment (2022): Roadmap
to climate neutral aviation in Europe.
Our World in Data: ourworldindata.org/
co2-emissions

WHY NOW?

People are beginning to connect aviation, and the act of flying, with the climate crisis. 79 This presents an opportunity for all of us to place the criticism of aviation, and opposition to its continued expansion and greenwashing efforts, within a necessary wider criticism of the current economic system.

HOW IS AVIATION SEEN BY THE PUBLIC?

It’s important to remember when answering this question that flying is something only a small fraction of humanity does – or has ever done. On a historical scale, it is also a relatively new activity, the vast majority of people having never even stepped foot on a plane. 80 As such, how aviation is seen by the public will vary greatly between those that fly frequently, those who have flown before but do not fly regularly, and those who have never flown. Other factors that can influence this view are ideology and knowledge about the climate crisis. Furthermore, airline workers and people with other connections to the industry, as well as people living near airports, will have specific perspectives on aviation.

of this guide.

To add another layer of complexity to understanding how aviation is seen by the public, surveys around aviation are often done by the industry itself. Thus, in many cases, aviation surveys are framed as gauging public perception on aviation, or flying, as a good or service. These questions pertain to consumer preferences over the specific airline, the convenience of the booking experience and the overall airport experience, rather than measuring the public sentiment towards aviation and the wider mobility system.

What’s more, the public perception of aviation is shaped by the aviation industry’s advertising and marketing efforts that insistently frame aviation – and the act of flying – as something desirable, accessible and attainable for all. As part of these marketing and advertising efforts, airlines have consistently downplayed the environmental impact of aviation and embarked on greenwashing efforts, such as IATA’s Fly Aware campaign, 81 whose members include airlines, airports and aviation manufacturers. In fact, some airlines, such as Ryanair, 82 KLM, 833 and Green Airlines 84 have been penalised by advertising regulators for their greenwashing efforts that have misled consumers. In addition, we are increasingly surrounded by images of distant countries and romanticising photos of flights, which can increase the desire for long-distance travel, for example from travel magazines and content on social media from celebrities and influencers. 85

Due to these factors, creating a cohesive and representative understanding of how aviation is seen by the public is fraught with challenges – but there are also opportunities. By creating stories and messages that speak directly to certain audiences, as well as across them, there is huge potential for communications initiatives to nurture new narratives and reframe the practice of flying, which we turn to in more detail in section three (p. 40 in PDF) of this guide.

Most people believe
capitalism brings more
Harm than good

In a 2019 global survey in 28 countries with 34000 respondents, 56% of people said that capitalism brings more bad than good to the world. In many countries, the majority was even much greater. Around half of people said the system is failing them, three quarters perceive an injustice and want change.

Source: Edelman (2020): The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer.

WHAT DOES THE PUBLIC THINK ABOUT AVIATION AND CLIMATE BREAKDOWN?

There are a variety of surveys that indicate shifting public sentiments towards aviation – especially in light of the climate crisis. The European Investment Bank’s (EIB) climate survey explored what people were willing to “give up” to tackle the climate crisis. According to the survey, 72% of Europeans and US citizens, and 84% of Chinese citizens, believe that their own behaviour can make a difference in bringing down emissions. 86 According to the survey, the easiest behaviour to adjust in light of the climate crisis is to give up flying, with 40% of Europeans, 38% of US Americans and 43% of Chinese respondents agreeing. 87 These sentiments carry over to respondents’ intended behaviours too, with 37% of Chinese citizens, 22% of Europeans and 22% of US Americans saying that they will avoid flying due to concerns over the climate crisis. 88

These sentiments are also reflected on a global scale. According to global survey data from Ipsos Mori, one in seven people (14%) would use a form of transportation with a lower carbon footprint than flights even if it were less convenient or more expensive. Twice as many (29%), however, would forgo flying in favour of a low carbon mobility option if it were as convenient or no more expensive than a flight. 89 Survey findings like these show the potential for building new narratives through campaign communications and also for making the case that the appetite for better mobility systems clearly exists. Optimism, however, must be tempered by the fact that research consistently shows that within the realm of aviation, there is a disconnect between concern over the climate crisis and the use of air travel, often referred to as the ‘attitude-behaviour gap’. While the attitude-behaviour gap 90 has been shown in recent research to be sometimes overestimated, it may play a more important role in some concrete actions such as taking a flight. 91

The phenomenon of ‘flygskam’ or ‘flight shame’, a societal trend originating in Sweden that encouraged individuals to stop flying to reduce their emissions, is testament to shifting public perceptions around aviation, where the act of flying can now be used to evoke feelings of moral responsibility and consciousness over its environmental impact (often negatively labelled as guilt or even as “shaming”). 92 The impact of flygskam on aviation demand has been found in Sweden, where it first arose, to France, Germany and also New Zealand. 93 Tågskryt is the positive alternative to flygskam and literally means ‘train brag’, highlighting the pride of choosing a low carbon mobility option. It has been found to encourage people to take the train, as well as talking about it online and offline.

Despite this impact, the power and influence of societal norms and social pressures around flying, the incessant advertising and how it rewires our brains, as well as narratives that connect flying to freedom and mobility, appear to remain dominant for many people. This means that advocating for individual behaviour changes alone will not be an adequate strategy for shrinking the aviation industry over the long-term, despite its important role in reducing demand for air traffic. 94

Within particular countries, there are also signs that concerns surrounding the social and environmental impacts of global heating are shaping public sentiment towards transport policy. A recent survey conducted in the UK found 93% of respondents supporting the idea of better-integrated public transport coordinated by local government authorities. Specifically relating to aviation, 89% of respondents supported the idea of raising the costs of flights, particularly on frequent fliers. 95

While international survey data shows a clear trend around growing environmental concerns across the world, and that the public feels the aviation industry should be doing more to tackle the climate crisis, there are large swathes of humanity whose sentiments towards aviation are not adequately captured. Most of these people live in the Global South and the vast majority have never set foot on a plane. These communities are already feeling the impacts of climate breakdown today, despite contributing very little to global emissions. Where there is survey data, it is often framed around the consumer experience of flying, the aviation industry’s sentiment towards aviation growth throughout the Global South, or the potential of aviation to stimulate economic growth and development. These surveys show that often the sentiments and concerns of the communities that are directly impacted by aviation industry expansion in poorer countries are consistently ignored, underplayed and overlooked by the aviation industry.

WHAT DOES THE PUBLIC THINK OF THE CURRENT ECONOMIC SYSTEM?

The aviation industry must be placed within a wider criticism of the global economic system and issues such as uneven power relations, poverty, inequality, corruption and environmental degradation. The global Edelman Trust Barometer of 2020 found – for the first time – that the majority of people surveyed across 28 countries believe that capitalism, as it exists today, does more harm than good in the world. 96 The general distrust in capitalism was highest in Thailand (75%) and India (74%), with France following close behind on 69%. Only in Canada, Australia, the USA, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong did the majority of respondents believe that capitalism does more good than harm – and only by a narrow margin, except for Japan. 97 Surveys like this highlight a growing global discontent with the status quo and emphasise the potential for alternative ways of living and travelling to take root.

The same survey also found that 57% of global respondents believed that governments served the interests of a few, rather than everyone. 98 This is particularly relevant in light of the gigantic bailouts airlines received during the pandemic, with a Greenpeace survey finding that 93% of respondents saying that the aviation industry should not be a priority for taxpayer support. 99 Another survey, conducted in the USA, found that a relative majority of 35% of respondents said that the government should not bail out the aviation industry, with only 31% of people believing it should (34% had no opinion). 100

Added to this sentiment is the growing precariousness of the current economic system, with 83% of global respondents fearful that they will lose their job due to automation, globalisation or economic crises. 101 A survey from the World Economic Forum (WEF) of citizens from 27 countries found similar sentiments, with 54% of respondents stating that they fear losing their job in the next twelve months. Concern over job losses in the next year was highest in Russia (75%), Spain (73%) and Malaysia (71%). 102 Internationally speaking, there is clearly an audience who would respond and relate to narratives confronting and criticising reluctant politicians and corporate power, as well as building solidarity with workers.

This general sense of distrust and dissatisfaction in the current economic system has given new life to alternative visions of the future. A survey of young people’s attitudes towards capitalism conducted by the right-wing British think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), found that 67% of young Brits would like to live in a socialist economic system. 103

 

The same survey found that three-quarters of those surveyed agree with the assertion that climate breakdown is a specifically capitalist problem. 104 An Amnesty International survey amongst 18-25 year olds across 22 countries identified a similar sentiment, with 41% of respondents citing climate change as the most important issue facing the world. 105) The Peoples’ Climate Vote, the biggest-ever global climate survey conducted by the UN in 2021, showed that for 64% of people throughout all 50 countries surveyed climate change was a global emergency. 106 An Ipsos Mori survey from November 2021 found that climate change was the biggest concern for the British public with 40% of respondents saying so, ranking above the pandemic (27%) and Brexit, as well as healthcare issues (both 22%). 107

In a 2021 survey of all G20 countries conducted by Ipsos Mori for the Global Commons Alliance, 108 73% of all respondents believed the planet was close to tipping points due to human activity. This was most pronounced in Indonesia (86%), Turkey (85%), Brazil (83%) and Mexico (78%). A large majority of 83% of respondents from across the G20 want to do more to protect nature, which was more pronounced in “emerging economies” than in the richest countries. Furthermore, 74% of respondents were in favour of shifting economic priorities away from profit and growth towards well-being and environmental protection.

In the wake of Covid-19, the appetite for an alternative future – new social and economic systems – was brought to the heart of public consciousness. A survey conducted by Ipsos Mori on behalf of the WEF found a deep and popular desire for change after the pandemic, rather than a widespread return to how things were before the onset of Covid-19. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of adults, from across 27 countries, said they want their life to change significantly after the pandemic, with nearly nine in ten (86%) saying they would like to see the entire world change significantly to become more sustainable and equitable. 109  Russia and Colombia are at the top of the table of countries where the desire for change and an alternative future is the most pronounced, with 94% of respondents wanting significant change to the global system. Closely behind those nations are Peru (93%), Mexico (93%), Chile (93%), Malaysia (92%), South Africa (91%), Argentina (90%), and Saudi Arabia (89%). 110 People are also willing to embrace such changes themselves: In a Pew Research Survey in 17 countries from 2021, 80 percent said they would make at least some changes in their lives to reduce the impact of the climate crisis.

In countries like Greece (62%), Italy (54%) and Spain (49%), large parts of the respondents were also willing to make ‘a lot’ of changes. In the same survey, 72% of people said they were somewhat or very concerned that the climate crisis will harm themselves at some point in their lives. 111

%

of people want to do more to protect nature

%

of respondents want to shift economic priorities away from profit and growth towards well-being and environmental protection

Desire to shift away from profit and growth to protect nature

A 2021 survey in all G20 countries showed that a vast majority of people want put more focus on protecting our planet and to shift the economy away from its focus on growth and profit.

Source: Gaffney et al. (2021): Global Commons Survey: Attitudes to planetary stewardship and
transformation among G20 countries.

People want the world to change after the pandemic

In a 2020 international survey, 86% of people said they wanted the world to change significantly and become more sustainable and equitable after Covid.

Source: Ipsos (2020): How Much Is the World Yearning for Change After the COVID-19 Crisis.
bit.ly/IpsosChangeCovid

Most people believe capitalism brings more Harm than good

People Concerned that global climate change will harm them personally at some point in their lifetime

People Willing to make changes about how they live and work to help reduce the effects of global climate change

In a 2019 global survey in 28 countries with 34000 respondents, 56% of people said that capitalism brings more bad than good to the world. In many countries, the majority was even much greater. Around half of people said the system is failing them, three quarters perceive an injustice and want change.

Source: Edelman (2020): The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer.

How the pandemic shifted our views on aviation and mobility

There is an appetite amongst the public for a better, more equitable mobility system – an appetite which may have increased during the pandemic. One YouGov survey explored how travel behaviours would change after the pandemic and found that in Italy, Germany, India and the UK, around a third of people said they would fly less after the pandemic due to concerns over public health and the climate crisis. However, the survey also found the opposite sentiment in other nations, with 50% of Nigerians and 40% of Brazilians saying that they would fly more post-pandemic. 112  The latter, of course, has to be seen in light of how few people have flown in these countries to date. These travel preferences have obvious implications for how the public thinks about holidays, with the same survey finding that 40% of Italians would be more likely to holiday within Italy in the future. The same sentiment towards domestic holidaying was found in Germany, China, Thailand and the UK too. 113

The forced changes to working patterns also shifted sentiments towards travel. One YouGov poll found that half of business travellers state that the pause to aviation has had no impact on their working lives. 114 Over a quarter of French and Dutch business travellers reported that their work lives had actually improved during the flight pauses caused by the pandemic. 115 The same survey also found that one in two business travellers felt there was no impact to their productivity during the lockdowns. 116 Due to the significant savings and benefits made from cutting business travel, the world seems unlikely to return to pre-pandemic habits, in spite of what the industry hopes. A Bloomberg survey of 45 large corporations based in Europe, Asia and the USA found that 84% plan to spend less on travel, citing lower carbon emissions as a top reason for this shift. 117

There is a risk that the public perception of mass mobility options, such as public buses and trains, was permanently damaged by the global pandemic due to concerns over viral transmission. Yet surveys conducted during this period paint a more nuanced picture. Across the US, for instance, around half of daily commuters reported that they were using public transport services less frequently due to the pandemic. 118 But in Spain, the same survey found that nearly half (49%) of people’s use of public transport has remained the same or even increased, despite the pandemic. 119 One study conducted in Spain found that nearly 90% of respondents were willing to use public transport once lockdown measures had eased – the highest willingness towards any of the transport options. 120

One YouGov poll found that: 45% of business travellers want to fly less or not at all after Covid. The same poll showed that half of them state that the pause to aviation has had no impact on their working lives. Over a quarter of French and Dutch business travellers reported that their work lives had actually improved during the flight pauses caused by the pandemic.

Source: YouGov (2021): Changes in Business Travel. bit.ly/YouGovSurveyResults

People want the world to change after the pandemic

In a 2020 international survey, 86% of people said they wanted the world to change significantly and become more sustainable and equitable after Covid.

Source: Ipsos (2020): How Much Is the World Yearning for Change After the COVID-19 Crisis.
bit.ly/IpsosChangeCovid

Bullshit Flights

A DEBATE ON LEGITIMATE AIR TRAFFIC

We know that flying is bad for the climate. Less obvious is that a lot of it is pointless and unnecessary as well. In the same vein as the anthropologist David Graeber’s concept of ‘bullshit jobs’ 121– jobs that are meaningless and harmful for society – we can therefore talk about ‘bullshit flights’. These are flights that are unnecessary, frivolous and also, not only because of their impacts, unfair. They should be stopped immediately. 122

 

Examples for bullshit flights could be flights for weekend trips, ultra short-haul flights, very cheap flights, private jet flights, as well as billionaires’ space flights. Also, though slightly different, the ‘ghost flights’ undertaken by empty planes to protect airlines’ landing slots. In contrast, there are also legitimate flights such as ones in case of emergency and for disaster relief, visiting family members on another continent or safe escape routes for refugees. Some flights may be difficult to classify, such as those for stays abroad for an extended period of time.

Clearly the discussion surrounding flights touches other topics such as injustice which are also important to debate. Talking about them helps reveal the connections between individual flights and a system that supports bullshit flights, subsidises the aviation industry, and gives a free pass to wealthy super emitters.

Reducing air traffic in an equal and fair way means bullshit flights need to have their ‘social licence’ removed, through cultural change but also through targeted regulation and changes in corporate policy.

This planet is the only home we’ll ever have. There’s no place like it. And home is always, always, always worth it.

Mary Annaïse Heglar

© Moniruzzaman Sazal / Climate Visuals Countdown

A MATTER OF CLIMATE JUSTICE

Aviation is one of the gravest examples of climate injustice. This makes reframing – and reducing it – a matter of climate justice.

We are living in times of ecological and climate injustice. Those communities that have contributed the least to the climate crisis are already suffering the most from its consequences. Without urgent action this will only get worse in the future. Rich countries in Europe, North America and the rest of the world must be the first to stop their climate-wrecking pollution and simultaneously support low-income countries in transitioning away from fossil fuels, while adapting to the increasingly frequent and severe impacts of climate breakdown.

This is the climate justice story we often hear. And it is true – but incomplete. Climate justice must be much more than sharing efforts to reduce emissions and financing adaptation. 
Achieving climate justice requires societies to prioritise a good life for all above profits for the few. Climate justice must be planetary justice, recognising the rights of all beings and the whole living planet, as well as understanding the historic responsibility for the climate crisis and the deep inequalities of the current system. This also implies the struggle against all forms of discrimination based on gender, origin, race, class, religion, disability or sexual orientation.

To achieve climate justice, where both people and planet thrive, we cannot tinker at the edges of the existing system. We must build a new economy that reflects the needs of all of humanity and the natural world, and at its centre, a different mobility system.

Climate Debt and Global
Responsibility

Our world would be very different if we had never started burning coal, oil and gas. But who is ‘we’ in this case? It is the part of the world commonly referred to today as ‘rich countries’ or the ‘Global North’. The nations that were first to industrialise and who have amassed vast wealth through fossil-fuelled growth, imperialism and globalisation. This part of the world is also where the bulk of political and economic power is concentrated – power that is more often used to block climate action and justice, rather than accelerate it. 123

 

The countries of the Global North are responsible for 92% of climate-damaging emissions beyond the safe planetary limit of 350 ppm CO2. The Global South is responsible for just 8%. 124 Overall, the US is the largest historical polluter, responsible for 26% of all the emissions ever released into the atmosphere since 1850. 125 Almost two-thirds of climate pollution to date can be traced back to 90 major corporations, many owned by private shareholders based in the Global North, such as Chevron, Peabody and Shell. 126

Even today, many of the wealthy nations have per citizen carbon footprints that far outstrip the footprints of those living in the Global South. An average Australian citizen, for instance, has an annual carbon footprint of just over 15 tonnes of CO2. 127 In comparison, the average carbon footprint of a Bangladeshi citizen is 0.56 tonnes a year, while a Ugandan citizen has an average carbon footprint of just 0.11 tonnes a year. 128 It follows that arguably the most equitable way of reducing emissions would see the richest 10% globally take responsibility for 87% of the total emissions cuts needed, while the poorest 50% of humanity are not yet required to cut their emissions at all. 129

CARBON INEQUALITY WITHIN SOCIETIES

The divide between rich and poor, and between the powerful and disempowered, is not only geographical: there are huge disparities in carbon inequality within regions and nations. Disadvantaged and marginalised groups in these places suffer far more from the climate crisis and its consequences than the wealthy sections of society do, despite them doing the least to contribute to it. It is those who also suffer from other forms of discrimination: women, Black people, people of colour, indigenous peoples, economically deprived communities and those on the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction and climate colonialism. This is true in several ways:

→ Firstly, they are more often excluded from the benefits that come from burning oil, coal and gas and suffer more from the side effects of exploitation. In other words, wealthy men fly and drive cars the most. 130 It is also predominantly men who run oil companies and rake in their profits. 131 

→ Secondly, the groups mentioned suffer the harmful effects of the fossil fuel system. 132 Economically deprived communities, Black people and people of colour are more likely to live next to refineries, polluting airports or busy roads. Indigenous lands often become “sacrifice zones”, areas destroyed for the extraction and processing of fossil resources.

→  Thirdly, they are more affected by the long-term consequences of global heating, such as water shortages or crop failures. 133 These people do not have the means and financial resources to adapt to the increasing hostile environmental conditions.

→  Fourthly, the climate crisis is an amplifier of existing inequalities, problems and conflicts. 134 Where conflicts ignite over resources and water, the living conditions deteriorate most dramatically for vulnerable groups and communities.

→  Finally, it is marginalised people who suffer the direct impacts of false solutions to the climate crisis. For example, when indigenous communities are driven off their land for offset projects or economically deprived communities have their livelihoods threatened due to land grabs for agrofuel production. 135

How much climate pollution an individual causes depends above all on their income and wealth. 136 Between 1990 and 2015, the richest 10% of European citizens were responsible for 27% of the EU’s total emissions – the same level of emissions from the poorest half of the European population combined. 137 While the latter’s share of emissions is associated with essential needs such as food and heating, the excess emissions of the richest come from luxury consumption such as big cars and flights. And the emissions of the richest are accelerating: over the same time period emissions from the richest 10% of the European population grew by 3% and emissions from the super-rich 1% grew by 5%, while the emissions from poorer and middle income segments fell. 138

Measures to deal with the climate crisis must not ignore or reinforce these inequalities and injustices within and between nations. Climate policy and action must tackle inequalities and create opportunities for a good life for all humans and non-human beings. There is no way around this: climate justice must lead to a transformation of how we live together on this planet, how we make decisions, work, produce, consume, and how we understand our relationship to the natural world. Climate justice must be both global and local.

CLIMATE JUSTICE AND REPARATIONS

The countries, corporations and citizens in Europe, North America and other regions that have the greatest historical responsibility for the climate crisis must take the lead in rapidly reducing their emissions. But more so, existing ecological and climate debts must be repaid in order to repair the loss and damage that has already taken place. Even if no amount of money in the world can come close to truly repairing this damage, it is something we must commit to. This means, among other things, financial reparations by states and corporations in the North who have been profiting from the destruction of nature, livelihoods and futures, paid to communities in the South for whom climate break-down is now an everyday reality.

Reparations must go beyond the financial. They must also include technology transfers, patent waivers and debt cancellation for the most vulnerable countries. Philosophers Olúfẹḿ i O. Táíwò and Beba Cibralic understand reparations as “a systemic approach to redistributing resources and changing policies and institutions that have perpetuated harm – rather than a discrete exchange of money or of apologies for past wrong-doing.” This includes policies that would respond to the displacement caused by accelerated global heating and its consequences. 139

Necessary changes and steps to tackle the climate crisis and adapt to it should not be imposed from above. Genuinely inclusive and democratic processes are needed and disadvantaged groups must be at the heart of these processes in order to remedy historical power imbalances and discriminations. And this is not only about humans. All sentient and non-sentient entities are part of our planet and therefore part of us: whether animals, plants, rivers or mountains. They too have a right to exist.

The goal of all this must be planetary justice, 140 where everyone and everything on our planet has the opportunity to live a good life.

Framing Climate Justice

The UK project Framing Climate justice, hosted by PIRC, 350.org & NEON, brought together organisers from across the British climate movement to tell the stories that matter, and strengthen the fight for climate justice. The results of their research and testing suggest how we can communicate the values and content of climate justice more effectively. They recommend a narrative about solidarity as the most effective way to convey core concepts and address shared values.
The messaging they propose shows how the countries responsible for the climate crisis and most affected regions must stand shoulder to shoulder in this fight. This should be linked to the reference to corrupt elites who benefit from fuelling the climate crisis – while the consequences are borne by the poorest and most disadvantaged. Therefore, the solutions must take power and money away from the elites and transfer it to those who are excluded and most affected.

 

Key findings concerning British people’s opinions:

Many people have recognised that certain industries are harming the planet, consumerism is a problem, people are affected differently by the consequences of the climate crisis; and they agree that those most responsible must contribute most to the solution.
There are also common misconceptions, such as that we got into this crisis by accident or that the climate crisis is not related to other oppressions like sexism or racism.

Read more: framingclimatejustice.org

TENETS OF PLANETARY JUSTICE
$

Acknowledges the historical inequality of carbon emissions between the Global North and Global South, and the differentiated responsibility for addressing the climate crisis

$

Understands that the ecological crisis of our planet is rooted in centuries of injustices of colonialism, patriarchy, racism and capitalism.

$

Tackles inequalities and creates opportunities for a good life for all sentient and non-sentient beings.

$

Challenges powers that block necessary social change and equitable transformation processes.

$

Ensures the rights of future generations and those not yet born to a healthy and thriving planet.

$

Recognises that the climate crisis is not a future issue but has already been causing and is today continuing to cause damage that is particularly affecting vulnerable and marginalised groups.

$

Applies an intersectional approach to the climate crisis, because matters of gender, class, race and others can determine the frequency and severity of climate impacts experienced.

$

Understands that carbon inequality exists both between countries and within them too, with the richest citizens responsible for more emissions than the poorest.

$

Realises that a real societal transformation is needed to tackle the climate crisis and alleviate its consequences.

$

Advocates for reparations to do as much justice as possible to losses and damages caused by destruction of livelihoods; these go beyond monetary support and include the freedom of movement.

$

Distinguishes between necessary activities and luxury activities to decide which sectors of societies and economies need to reduce their emissions first and fastest.

$

Ensures that measures against the climate crisis are not dictated by geopolitical and economic power holders and do not perpetuate neo-colonial dependencies.

$

Understands that all people and all life on earth has the right to be part of the democratic processes and procedures of winding down the old economy and creating the new one.

$

Recognises that all life on earth, both human and non-human, deserves justice.

SOURCES

1 Bigo (2019): Emissions de CO2 par mode. bit.ly/CO2parmode
2 Stand Earth (2021): Linked Fates
3 Stay Grounded (2020): Fact Sheet – It’s about more than just CO2. bit.ly/MoreThanCo2
4 Lee et al. (2020): The contribution of global aviation to anthropogenic climate forcing for 2000 to 2018.
5 ICCT (2020): CO2 emissions from commercial aviation: 2013, 2018, and 2019.
6 Lee et. al. (2021): The contribution of global aviation to anthropogenic climate forcing for 2000 to 2018.
7 Ibid.
8 Stay Grounded (2020): Fact Sheet – It’s about more than just CO2. bit.ly/MoreThanCo2
9 Ibid.
10 Klöwer et al. (2021): Quantifying aviation’s contribution to global warming.
11 Ibid.
12 Gössling et al. (2019): Can we fly less? Evaluating the ‘necessity’ of air travel.
13 The Guardian (2019): How your flight emits as much CO2 as many people do in a year.
14 CNBC (2017): Boeing CEO: Over 80% of the world has never taken a flight. We’re leveraging that for growth.
15 Gössling & Humpe (2020): The global scale, distribution and growth of aviation: Implications for climate change.
16 Possible (2021): Elite Status. bit.ly/PosElite
17 ICCT (2020): CO2 emissions from commercial aviation: 2013, 2018, and 2019.
18 Gössling & Humpe (2020): The global scale, distribution and growth of aviation: Implications for climate change.
19 The Independent (2019): More British People flew abroad last year than any other nationality.
20 Guardian (2019): 1% of English residents take one-fifth of overseas flights.
21 Possible: Free Ride Project. bit.ly/FreeRidePossible
22 Possible (2021): Elite Status. bit.ly/PosElite
23 See e.g. WE Forum (2017): Low-cost airlines have democratized travel. It’s time airports did their part
24 Buchs & Mattioli (2021): Trends in air travel inequality in the UK: From the few to the many?
25 Possible (2021): Elite Status. bit.ly/PosElite
26 Henley & Partners (2022): Henley Passport Index, Q1 2022 Factsheet.
27 Johnsson-Latham (2007): A study on gender equality as a prerequisite for sustainable development.
28 The Guardian (2018): Tui’s male employees paid more than double female staff.
29 The Guardian (2018): Inequality at 30,000 feet: is aviation the least progressive industry?
30 ACI (2020): The future is female: Closing the gender gap in aviation.
31 FlightGlobal (2021): Aviation’s long route to beating gender inequality.
32 Stratos (2022): 2022 Key Private Jet Industry Statistics – By Region, By Country, By Type.
33 Transport & Environment (2021): Private jets: can the super-rich supercharge zero-emission aviation?
34 World Inequality Lab (2022): World Inequality Report 2022
35 Gössling & Humpe (2020): The global scale, distribution and growth of aviation: Implications for climate change.
36 Olsen et al. (2013): Comparison of global 3-D aviation emissions datasets.
37 Belcher et al. (2019): Hidden carbon costs of the “everywhere war”: Logistics, geopolitical ecology, and the carbon boot‐print of the US military.
38 Stay Grounded (2021): Military Aviation in Climate Policies: A Tradition of Camouflage
39 Dray (2020): An empirical analysis of airport capacity expansion.
40 Ibid.
41 Stay Grounded: Map of Planned Airport Projects. bit.ly/SGPlannedAirp
42 Airport Technology (2018): China to build 216 new airports by 2035.
43 Environmental Justice Atlas: Map of Airport-Related Injustice and Resistance. bit.ly/AirportConflictMapping
44 Stay Grounded (2021): Frequent Flyer Programmes Incentivise Climate Destruction.
45 Kelman et al. (2003): Deep vein thrombosis and air travel: record linkage study.
46 Waterhouse et al. (2007): Jet lag: trends and coping strategies.
47 Hocking & Foster (2004): Common cold transmission in commercial aircraft: Industry and passenger implications.
48 Adiga et al (2020): Evaluating the impact of international airline suspensions on the early global spread of COVID-19.
49 Cohen & Kantenbacher (2019): Flying less: personal health and environmental co-benefits.
50 Bendsten et al. (2021): A review of health effects associated with exposure to jet engine emissions in and around airports.
51 ibid.
52 Wing et al. (2020): Preterm Birth among Infants Exposed to in Utero Ultrafine Particles from Aircraft Emissions.
53 Mikati et al. (2018): Disparities in Distribution of Particulate Matter Emission Sources by Race and Poverty Status.
54 Seidler et al. (2017): Long-Term Aircraft Noise Exposure and Body Mass Index, Waist Circumference, and Type 2 Diabetes: A Prospective Study.
55 Lang (1998): Airport noise is harmful to the health and well-being of children and may cause lifelong problems, Cornell study shows.
56 Correia et al. (2013): Residential exposure to aircraft noise and hospital admissions for cardiovascular diseases: multi-airport retrospective study. Peters et al. (2018): Aviation Noise and Cardiovascular Health in the United States: a Review of the Evidence and Recommendations for Research Direction.
57 Weuve et al. (2020): Long-term community noise exposure in relation to dementia, cognition, and cognitive decline in older adults.
58 European Union Aviation Safety Agency (n.d.): Noise. bit.ly/EASA_Noise
59 Stansfeld et al. (2015): Aircraft and road traffic noise and children’s cognition and health: a cross-national study.
60 Transport & Environment (2021): Don’t Sink Paris. bit.ly/DontSinkParis
61 Stay Grounded (2019): Degrowth of Aviation
62 Hemmings et al. (2020): Taxing Aviation Fuel in Europe. Back to the Future? bit.ly/JFuelTaxCountries
63 Stay Grounded (2019): Degrowth of Aviation.
64 CBAN: bit.ly/CBANagro
65 Stay Grounded (2021): Greenwashing. bit.ly/SGGreenwashing
66 FlightGlobal (2021): At 6% of flights, long-haul services emit 51% of CO2: Eurocontrol.
67 Stay Grounded (2021): Greenwashing. bit.ly/SGGreenwashing
68 ibid.
69 ibid.
70 FlightGlobal (2020): IATA puts faith in sustainable aviation fuels. bit.ly/faith-in-SAF
71 Transport & Environment (2020): 100 times more palm oil in EU diesel than in all Oreo cookies in the world.
72 Stay Grounded (2021): Greenwashing. bit.ly/SGGreenwashing
73 CleanSky2 & FCH (2020): Hydrogen-powered aviation, p. 44; IEA (n.d.): Data and statistics. bit.ly/iea-data-statistics
74 Scheelhaase et al. (2018): EU ETS versus CORSIA: A critical assessment of two approaches to limit air transport’s CO2 emissions by market-based measures,
75 Öko-Institut for EU Commission (2016). bit.ly/cdm-study
76 NYTimes (2021): Wildfires are ravaging forests set aside to soak up greenhouse gases.
77 Calel et al. (2021): Do Carbon Offsets Offset Carbon? CESIFO Working Paper.
78 Stay Grounded (2021): Air transport can stop increasing its climate impact very quickly without waiting for a hypothetical “green” plane.
79 Ullström et al (2021): From aspirational luxury to hypermobility to staying on the ground: changing discourses of holiday air travel in Sweden.
80 Stay Grounded (2020): Fact Sheet – It’s about more than just CO2. bit.ly/MoreThanCo2
81 IATA: Fly Aware. flyaware.com
82 Transport & Environment (2020): Ryanair fake ‘green’ ad shows why lawmakers must take on its soaring emissions.
83 Badvertising (2020): ‘KLM Airlines Biofuels Ad Deemed ‘Greenwashing’ Says Dutch Advertising Authority’, 2020.
84 Luchtvaart Nieuws (2021): Green Airlines Reprimanded for ‘Green’ Claim.
85 Asdecker (2022): Travel-Related Influencer Content on Instagram: How Social Media Fuels Wanderlust and How to Mitigate the Effect.
86 European Investment Bank (2021): EIB Climate Survey 2020-2021.
87 ibid.
88 ibid.
89 Ipsos Mori (2019): One in Seven Globally Would Pay More for Travel with Lower Carbon-Footprint than Airplanes.
90 Higham et al. (2016): Australian climate concern and the attitude-behaviour gap.
91 Maio (2011): Don’t Mind the Gap Between Values and Action.
92 Ullström, Stripple & Nicholas (2021): From aspirational luxury to hypermobility to staying on the ground: changing discourses of holiday air travel in Sweden.
93 Gössling (2019): Celebrities, air travel, and social norms.
94 Söderberg & Wormbs (2019): Grounded Beyond Flygskam.
95 Demos (2021): The Climate Consensus: the public’s view on how to cut emissions: results from the climate calculator.
96 Edelman (2020): The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer.
97 ibid.
98 ibid.
99 Greenpeace (2020): If the airlines want billions of pounds of public money, we should force them to change.
100 Statista (2021): Should the U.S. government bail out the airline industry due to the coronavirus outbreak?
101 Edelman (2020): The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer.
102 World Economic Forum (2020): At least half of people who have a job fear they’ll lose it in the next 12 months.
103 Institute of Economic Affairs (2021): Left Turn Ahead? Surveying attitudes of young people towards capitalism and socialism.
104 ibid.
105 Amnesty International & Ipsos Mori (2019): Climate change ranks highest as vital issue of our time – Generation Z survey.
106 UNDP (2021): The People’s Climate Vote.
107 Ipsos (2021): Ipsos Issues Index: November 2021.
108 Gaffney et al. (2021): Global Commons Survey: Attitudes to planetary stewardship and transformation among G20 countries.
109 Ipsos Mori (2020): Around the world, people yearn for significant change rather than a return to a “pre-COVID normal’.
110 ibid.
111 Pew Research Center (2021): In Response to Climate Change, Citizens in Advanced Economies Are Willing To Alter How They Live and Work
112 The Guardian (2020): People plan to drive more post-Covid, climate poll shows.
113 ibid.
114 YouGov (2021): Changes in Business Travel. https://bit.ly/YouGovSurveyResults
115 ibid.
116 ibid.
117 Bloomberg (2021): Forever Changed: CEOs Are Dooming Business Travel — Maybe for Good.
118 Moovit (2020): Coronavirus & Your Commute: How COVID-19 is Affecting Public Transportation Around the World.
119 ibid.
120 Awad-Nuñez et al. (2021): Post-COVID-19 travel behaviour patterns: impact on the willingness to pay of users of public transport and shared mobility services in Spain.
121 Graeber (2018): Bullshit Jobs: A Theory.
122 Stay Grounded (2021): “Bullshit Flights”: A debate on legitimate air traffic.
123 Stoddard et al. (2021): Three Decades of Climate Mitigation: Why Haven’t We Bent the Global Emissions Curve?
124 Hickel (2020): Quantifying national responsibility for climate breakdown.
125 Carbon Brief (2021): Analysis: Which countries are historically responsible for climate change?
126 Climate Accountability Institute (n.d.): bit.ly/CAICarbonMajors
127 Our World In Data (2020): ourworldindata.org/co2-emissions
128 ibid
129 Civil Society Equity Review (2018): After Paris: Inequality, Fair Shares, And The Climate Emergency.
130 EIGE (2012): Gender Equality and Climate Change.
131 Catalyst (2019): Women in Energy: Gas, Mining, and Oil (Quick Take).
132 EJOLT (2013): Environmental Justice.
133 Germanwatch (2021): Global Climate Risk Index
134 ICRC (2020): Seven things you need to know about climate change and conflict.
135 Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (2021): Perspectives on a Global Green New Deal.
136 Oxfam (2020): Confronting Carbon Inequality.
137 ibid.
138 ibid.
139 Foreign Policy (2020): The Case for Climate Reparations.
140 Biermann et al. (2020): Planetary justice as a challenge for earth system governance.

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