Ditching planes for green travel could create 300,000 more jobs than would be lost, report says

Exclusive: Study suggests reducing the number of flights for the climate would have positive impact on job market

Zoe Tidman
Friday 18 February 2022 15:54 GMT
A new report has looked at how choosing train travel over planes could impact jobs
A new report has looked at how choosing train travel over planes could impact jobs (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Travellers choosing green modes of transport over airplanes could result in hundreds and thousands of more jobs than would be lost, according to a new report.

It would give a boost to other industries - such as domestic tourism - that would mean job losses in the aviation sector would be far outweighed by those created elsewhere, the research - shared with The Independent - said.

It comes months after the UK government’s climate advisers said more needed to be done to reduce demand for flying to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Low-carbon alternatives are not available at scale in the aviation sector and may not be for several decades, according to the new report by climate change charity Possible and think-tank Autonomy said.

It said reducing demand was therefore crucial to keeping emissions down in line with climate committments - but this strategy must also ensure it creates green jobs at the same time.

The study looked the impact of two scenarios on the job market. Both kept overall travel the same, but slashed the number of flights by a half or by two thirds. In both cases, the number of jobs created “can more than compensate for the jobs lost from aviation as a result of reducing demand”.

This was due to the boost a shift towards greener travel would give to rail, low-emisison ferries and domestic tourism, among other sectors.

In the scenario where the number of flights are cut in half, tt was estimated 140,000 jobs but 420,000 jobs would be greated. When slashed by two thirds, the difference was even greater: 185,000 jobs lost compared to 525,000 created.

Kyle Lewis from the Autonomy think-tank said: “The science on climate change makes it very clear that we have to reduce the number of flights we take in the UK.”

He added: “This study shows that reining in the aviation industry would actually have a positive impact on jobs and would help with the transition to a low-carbon economy. “

The UK was among a number of countries to commit to working to reduce aviation’s carbon dioxide emissions in line with a global target to limit temperature increase to 1.5C.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The government has long been committed to going further and faster to tackle climate change and creating thousands of green jobs across the country. Before COP26 we had already published, the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, the Net Zero Strategy and our Jet Zero Consultation.”

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