Two airlines that despise each other, British Airways and easyJet, and Airbus that sells jets to both, have somehow buried the hatchet long enough to fund an independent study into the economic value of aviation.

Sounds implausible for sure. But the report, paid for by the warring carriers and the world’s largest airliner manufacturer was conducted by Oxford Economics and seems fairly straight when read in full aided by very strong coffee to last the distance.

SIN is a Singapore Airlines A380 looking at its own reflection in Toulouse©Ben Sandilands
SIN is a Singapore Airlines A380 looking at its own reflection in Toulouse©Ben Sandilands

The report’s sponsors were clearly aiming at countering the EU policy dictum that aviation growth should be limited to 1% below its current trend rate (not the free fall collapse of activity since late last year) to combat climate change.

There is more to that objective than meets the eye. At least until the recent EU elections, the view in Brussels was that science and technology had no answers to aviation emissions, and it needed to be shut down or discouraged as much as possible, rather than relied upon to reduce greenhouse gas by-products through improved engines, lighter airframes and alternative non fossil carbon releasing fuels.

Brussels declared the future lies in strangulation rather than innovation, devised, interpreted and enforced by an enormously expanded bureaucratic application of ideology rather than innovation, which it distrusts.

A similarly minded view of air transport was advanced by the Australia Institute several years ago, based on the extrapolation of rates of growth to air travel in a linear manner which essentially turned the skies black with Jetrosexuals as squadrons of multi thousand passenger jets blotted out the sun with a large part of the population trapped, no doubt in exquisite Jetstar style agony, between cities because somehow this was ‘fun’.

That way it concluded that more than 50% of Australian greenhouse gas emissions would come from aviation, using technologies unchanged since about 2005.

Such sarcasm is not found in the Oxford Economics report, but keep it in mind if you dive in. This report is the latest counter attack from air transport against the contra-carbonistas.

It says ‘aviation currently contributes 2% of worldwide man-made CO2 emissions and will be no more than 3% by 2050. Journeys of over 1,500 kilometres, for which no practical alternatives exist, account for 80% of aviation’s green house gas emissions.

‘While reduced growth in aviation would have considerably impacts on global employment, economic output and social development, it would not necessarily imply lower emissions when the impact of replacement activities and alternative transport are taken into account’.

Without resorting to satire, the emissions claims of 50% from aviation by 2050 were a clumsy lie given populist deification by a lazy intellectually comatose media.

New energy technologies including the initiatives being pursued for profit above anything else by the airlines and aerospace enterprises are one way of dealing with the serious issues caused by the excessive release of fossilised carbon.

So is shutting down or proscribing economic activity or inventions that might undermine the new power structure that would accompany the bureaucratic and ideological solutions.


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