Letter: Out of the air

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The Independent Online
Air travel has more significance for climate change than even Geoffrey Lean allows (8 June). He correctly notes that a round flight to Florida produces carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to 10 weeks worth of each British person's average emissions from using fossil fuels (for heating, power, lighting, commerce and industry, as well as transport). However, not only is the UK per capita contribution three times the world average, but the IPCC has indicated the need to cut emissions globally by at least 60 per cent in order to stabilise the climate.

If we are to deliver our fair share of this reduction, that round trip accounts for double the UK per capita annual emissions that could be allowed. If we continue to exceed our share there can only be two outcomes, both of which are politically and morally unacceptable. Either those who do not yet use their share, mainly people living in developing countries, must be prevented from doing so, or we must witness and bear the costs, together with future generations, of escalating damage from climate change.

Dr Mayer Hillman

Policy Studies Institute

London NW1

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