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We must act to curb the CO2

In the light of Laurie Price's comments, I think it's worth exploring whether aviation represents not just good value for money as a form of economic development, but good value for carbon.
If we aim to make cuts in line with the UK government's targets then we need reduce emissions by 60% by 2050. Currently the emissions from commerce and industry divided by the UK working population represent around 6t CO2 per job.

Adding all transport emissions – accepting that much of this isn't commerce related, and excluding aviation and shipping, this adds another 3t CO2 per job. We need to get this down to around 4t per job by 2050.

We can also see from the Government's Aviation White Paper, that the CO2 associated with aviation represents 46t CO2 per job. Little wonder that the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change reports that by 2050, aviation is likely to use up 49% of the UK's entire CO2 budget.

However, these figures need to be multiplied by a factor of around 2.7 to allow for "radiative forcing" – the global warming effect of emitting CO2 and other aviation gasses into the upper atmosphere. So the real cost is in the region of at least 100t CO2 per job.

Hence, when the aviation industry asserts that constraining growth to limit emissions would be a major setback to the economy and jobs, efforts to cut emissions by constraining growth in other sectors could cost dozens of times more jobs.


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