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Eco-friendly flying

Published in The Guardian, 8th January 2007

Ian Pearson has attacked the airline industry and gone so far as to brand Ryanair as "irresponsible". Michael O'Leary is more than capable of defending himself, but the proposed inclusion of airlines in the European carbon-trading scheme looks suspiciously like a way to tax an easy target rather than something which would have any real effect.

Like all carbon-reduction initiatives it is built on the premise that human use of fossil fuels is driving an increase in average temperatures. This remains a plausible but unproven hypothesis, and the fact that 1998 remains the warmest year on record does little to strengthen it. By all means strive for energy efficiency, but don't pretend that increasing the cost of flying will make any difference to the climate.