Climate activists announce international protests as UN aviation agency adopts insufficient climate target

by | 07 Oct 2022 | Press Release

© Photocredit: Julien Helaine
  • International network of climate activists announce upcoming uprisings at airports protesting the sector’s insufficient climate plans
  • Countering the ICAO assembly, Stay Grounded’s AviAction conference ends tomorrow with an action against Lille airport expansion
  • A map documenting destruction caused by growing air traffic in-depth reached over 100 cases

Lille/Vienna/Montreal, 7 October 2022 – Today marks the end of this year’s Assembly of ICAO, the UN aviation agency in Montreal. At the same time as the assembly takes place,  the global network Stay Grounded has gathered international activists in Lille, France and online for its counter conference, AviAction. Today, the climate movement has announced concerted actions at airports and related infrastructure over the next months – starting with tomorrow’s action in Lille. This is a reaction not just to imminent local destruction due to airport expansions, but also to the net-zero 2050 climate target about to be adopted by ICAO’s Assembly today. According to Stay Grounded, these plans are neither realistic nor sufficient, which makes grassroots resistance necessary to achieve a rapid and safe landing of climate-damaging air traffic.

ICAO’s net zero 2050 target is hot air
ICAO’s climate plans are a flightpath towards climate breakdown. Adopting a climate target with no binding commitments for states and no interim targets is like building an aeroplane without wings,” says Anne Kretzschmar from Stay Grounded, a network of about 190 member initiatives worldwide joining forces for a just reduction of air traffic. Essential parts are missing from ICAO’s target: non-CO2 impacts are not considered, ignoring two thirds of aviation’s climate impact. The lack of short-term targets and binding obligations for states is extremely dangerous, as it does not provide any pressure or incentive for reducing emissions quickly enough to stay within 1.5C and avoid climate breakdown.

Actions starting tomorrow
During Stay Grounded’s counter conference AviAction, which is taking place October 5th to 9th, more than 200 international participants have gathered in Lille and online in a no-fly event. The delegates from countless organisations and initiatives have been discussing strategies to counter the aviation industry’s dangerous plans for growth and methods of greenwashing. Today the network announced a wave of planned protest actions at airports, aviation-related infrastructures and events to pressure decision-makers into finally implementing effective measures for reducing air traffic and stopping new airport projects.

The first of these actions will take place tomorrow in Lille. Activists are both criticising the local airport expansion in Lille, as well as showcasing injustice and conflicts related to aviation worldwide. At the action, a group of activists consisting of 100 people will be holding an enormous map showcasing the 100 documented airport conflicts around the world.

Lille airport already handles 2 million passengers a year and plans to nearly double its capacity to 3.9 million a year by 2039. “In times of the climate crisis, expanding airports is insane and must be stopped: in Lille, in France and everywhere in the world. We demand the abandonment of the Lille airport extension project, but also of all the projects still underway or being studied on French territory,” says Capucine Saulpic from NADA Lille.

100 airport conflicts researched in-depth
Hundreds of ongoing airport projects worldwide are leading to the destruction of ecosystems and communities. More than 100 osuch conflicts are now documented in-depth on the Environmental Justice Atlas in a joint project by Stay Grounded together with the EnvJustice project. “Where air traffic grows, people and nature suffer. In 2022, we can no longer build and expand airports. Neither here nor anywhere,” says Mira Kapfinger from Stay Grounded. A newly released report identifies 50 airport construction projects in Mexico alone, many of them located in indigenous territory.

Find freely available photos from the AviAction conference and actions here.

Manuel Grebenjak
Stay Grounded Press Office
Phone: +43 699 17238755

Non à l’Agrandissement de l’Aéroport de Lille (NADA) was formed in March 2021 to fight against the expansion project of Lille-Lesquin airport. Today, the association has 158 members.

Stay Grounded is a global network representing more than 190 member organisations campaigning for a reduction of air traffic and a climate-just mobility system, including local and national airport and climate campaign groups.