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Friday, August 17, 2007

Letter the the Gloucester Echo on why we need debate on climate change

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my concern to you about the bias that your paper seems to be displaying towards the proposed expansion at Gloucestershire Airport.

As you are aware you have published various articles and letters in support of the airports expansion. Most recently, you published the letter from Darren Lewington (Operations Director of the Airport) and a follow up supporting letter from Peter Jacques. I have sent a letter to rebut Darren Lewington’s points and used your on line facilities to comment on Peter Jacques letter. Neither of these has been published. This is not the first time that my comments have not been published and I am aware that other people who oppose the airports expansion have also not had their letters and comments published.

The aviation industry regularly claims to be concerned about global warming and wants to enter into debate about it. It is therefore important that papers such as yours engage with this most important debate in a fair and rational position. It is especially important for local papers to engage in the debate because if action is to be taken to tackle climate change, it must start at the local grass roots level. This government has peddled the idea that there can be a painless solution found in grandiose schemes such as carbon trading and Kyoto protocols, this however has failed from all angles of analysis.Our only solution is grass roots change.

Gloucestershire Airport claims to be serious about global warming and the wider industry regularly says it want to debate the issue with climate campaigners. Please have the courage to use your privileged position so Gloucestershire Airport can in fact demonstate in public how serious they are about global warming by allowing debate and do not allow yoursevels to become simply a mouth piece of big business and vested interests.

If however, you are genuinely in favour of the airport, then again you should be clear on your case and say so, rather than trying an underhand campaign of selective publication. You should also explain in this argument how you would justify supporting the airport in the light of the evidence on climate change.

In case my on-line comments to Peter Jacques letter are not simply not being published due to some technical issue, and I am simply misinterpreting events then I enclose a copy below.

Yours sincerely,
Kevin Lister

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Peter's letter is an extremely poor interpretation of events.

Gloucestershire Airports own business plan shows that the business case is virtually none existent. At present rates of interest it will take 25 years to break even. If the interest rates increases further, this will extend to 45 years. Expansion of the airport therefore represents an extremely poor investment for the council tax payers of Gloucester and Cheltenham, especially in a time of economic uncertainty.

If flood response is the issue, the £2.5 million pounds to be invested in this scheme could be much better spent directly on flood prevention and appropriate emergency equipment.

Furthermore, the statement "Of course aircraft pollute, but so do most things in modern-day life," is not an argument to build the airport, in fact it is the strongest argument of all not to build the airport. We now inhabit a planet which is saturated with excess CO2 because so many things are polluting. The position is clear; we can not put any more CO2 into the atmosphere.

Peter should also realise that a key business sector for the airport’s expansion is “business jets.” He should also realise that European air traffic data shows recreational destinations such as Nice, Cannes and Mallorca to be among the top 20 destinations for "business aviation.” Thus business jets would be more appropriately named “recreational jets.” Thus, the most elite people of society are sticking two fingers up to climate change which is galling to those of us making sacrifices to cut our emissions. However, it might be that Peter already owns a “business jet.” He may wish to confirm this or if he has any other vested interests in the airport.
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