Letter: Battle of Terminal 5

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Sir: Polly Toynbee was only able to draw on some of my research on the future of air travel and on its conclusions that only a system of rationing per capita is likely to achieve the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions required to prevent ecological disasters in the next century. The populations of the developing world cannot be expected to make the same reduction that we do in the affluent West.

Air travel is cheap because no account is taken either by government or the airlines of the ecological damage that it is causing. On current forecasts, UK emissions from air travel will exceed those from all other forms of travel by 2025.

Polly Toynbee states that "the demand for more and more air travel is never-ending ... we all want to fly". That may be true. But how are we to face our grandchildren if we do not make sufficiently drastic reductions in our fossil fuel-based activities to pass over the planet to them in at least as wholesome a state as we had it passed on to us?


Senior Fellow Emeritus

Policy Studies Institute

London NW1