Despite the aviation industry's current crisis, the climate-wrecking ambition of long-term expansion at regional airports across the UK has not gone away. The latest is Leeds Bradford Airport which wants to increase passenger numbers from 4 million per year now to 7.1 million by 2030 – not far short of doubling the passengers, and with a similar impact on carbon emissions.
Campaign against Climate Change supports the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice and has signed up to the following statement and demands:
A New Normal
The COVID-19 pandemic exposes an economic system unable to meet the needs of people and planet. Our only solution to address this global crisis, occurring amid a devastating climate crisis, is to join together and build a more just, resilient, and sustainable world. As members and allies of the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice we are making an initial set of demands of governments as they respond to the pandemic.
The word apocalypse comes from the word for revelation. The COVID-19 pandemic is revealing what the global majority has known all along: that the dominant economic system prioritises profits over people and planet.
With each new day of infections, deaths and destroyed livelihoods, the pandemic is exposing the gross injustices of our existing systems. Years of neoliberalism, ‘structural adjustment’ and austerity have dismantled the social welfare state, specifically underfunding and hollowing out health systems across the globe. We are left with deficits of life-saving equipment, and surpluses of polluting industries.
The dimensions of the collective suffering and individual trauma unfolding are too vast to contemplate. Families confronting loss or lockdown in abusive relationships; bodies facing devastating illness; communities facing hunger and isolation.
But the pandemic has also shown our enormous collective strength, and the possibilities that emerge when a crisis is taken seriously, and people join together.
For those of us in the global climate justice movement, the unravelling of the pandemic comes as no surprise. For decades, as movements we have denounced the violent impacts of an unequal global economic system, the devastation of an accelerating climate crisis, and the shockingly cruel ways in which those least responsible bear its heaviest burdens. For decades, we have demanded an end to a status quo that was and continues to be a death sentence for the world’s poorest. The coronavirus crisis is a stark reminder of a prolonged past, and our response to it a dress rehearsal for the present and future.
Campaign against Climate Change is among over 250 organisations supporting the following open letter to national governments.
You can support as an individual by signing the petition
In the middle of the ongoing Corona crisis, while the world struggles against the virus and countless workers are losing their incomes, the aviation industry is demanding huge and unconditional taxpayer-backed bailouts. Yet, in recent years, the industry strongly opposed any attempts to end its unfair tax exemptions and refused to contribute meaningfully to global emission reduction goals – which would require measures to significantly reduce the scale of aviation.
Not only is aviation already responsible for 5-8% of global climate impact, mostly caused by a wealthy minority of frequent flyers, but the sector also assumes that it can continue growing. Enormous profits were made in the last decades, off the backs of low-paid workers and to the detriment of the climate.
Workers affected by the current crisis need support, but we shouldn’t let the aviation industry get away with privatising profit while the public pays for its losses. Without addressing the structural problems that have left our societies and economies so vulnerable to crises like this one, we will be even more vulnerable to the next ones as inequalities between and within countries continue to grow and the ecological and climate emergencies worsen.
Bailouts must not allow the aviation sector to return to business as usual after Covid-19 has been defeated: any public money has to ensure that workers and the climate are put first.