The aviation industry is engaged in a concerted global greenwashing campaign to divert attention from the immense climate impact of air travel. More worryingly still, UN body for civil aviation has developed a worldwide climate mitigation plan which does not cut emissions from airplanes at all. Instead it relies on asking other people, mainly in the Global South, to plant trees and cut their emissions.
On the weekend of our Fall 2020 Network Meeting we held a workshop with fantastic speakers and an engaged group of attendees to discuss the various elaborate ways in which the aviation industry is seeking to talk about ‘green aviation’. These include the far-off techno fixes like hydrogen or electric fueled aircraft or synthetic ‘power-to-liquid’ or waste-derived fuels, palm-oil and soy based biofuels, as well as carbon offsets.
All of these suggested solutions seek to avoid discussing any reduction in the growth rate of air travel, let alone reduction from current (pre-Covid) levels. However, biofuels and carbon offsetting also bring far more environmentally destructive and socially exploitative consequences. We learned about the evidence for these ‘solutions’, talked about how realistic they were and explored their ecological and human impacts.