Government deletes document recommending curbs on aviation industry

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Boris Johnson’s government has pulled down a document that recommended stronger “interventions” to tackle aviation emissions – including restrictions on airport expansion and subsidies for industry.

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The government was criticized for failing to outline measures to curb emissions from flights as part of its Net Zero strategy published on Tuesday ahead of next month’s Cop26 climate summit.

But a supporting document commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) – pulled from the government’s website over the past 24 hours – had urged ministers to consider a series of “interventions”.


The document states: “The government can lead by example, and recognize the highly influential signal it sends, for example, approving airport expansion, or in return for reduced demands for decarbonisation.” Also financially supports the airline industry.”

Recommendations made by the Behavioral Insights team included calls to reduce demand among frequent businessmen and encourage more domestic travel.

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“We believe that a more realistic transition to Net Zero is therefore through a combination of reduced demand in select areas (primarily those with frequent businesses, with some potential to boost domestic tourism),” recall. paper taken, entitled Net Zero: Principles of Successful Behavior Change Initiatives.

The Behavioral Insights team, also known informally as the “Nudge Unit”, is independent of the government – but partly owned by the Cabinet Office.

A government spokesman said: “This was an academic research paper, not a government policy. We have no plans to control consumer behavior in this manner. For this reason, there was no such plan in our Net Zero strategy published yesterday.”

However, Alex Chapman, a senior researcher at the New Economics Foundation, criticized the government for failing to act on recommendations to reduce demand for flights.

He denounced the government’s “refusal to accept that we cannot continue to grow the size of the aviation sector in a climate emergency” despite an analysis commissioned by the government.

“Now, with this hastily withdrawn research paper, we learn that the government is indeed well aware of this paradox,” said Chapman, who shared the document on Twitter on Wednesday.

The researcher said: “Indeed, in this BEIS-commissioned analysis, major concerns have been raised regarding the ongoing expansion of UK airports and the current tax exemptions enjoyed by the aviation sector.

“The time has come for the government to stop living in a delusion and take meaningful action to curb aviation emissions that take us off a climate cliff.”

The page showing the net zero-related research document was removed

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The page showing the net zero-related research document was removed

The government’s published net zero strategy committed to ensuring that 10 percent of the fuel used by airlines is sustainable by 2030. The Net Zero scheme also includes £180m to support the development of sustainable aviation fuel.

But the government did not set any targets for an overall reduction in rising emissions from the aviation sector in its bid to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

Last year, the government’s own advisers on the Committee on Climate Change said there should be no new net airport expansion if the country is to meet its goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

Leftist and commentator Paul Mason said the retraction of the research paper was a “mistake that shows a lack of seriousness about net zero”.


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