Search This Blog

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Where have the Airports photovoltaic lights gone?

Where have the Airports photovoltaic lights gone? We have them!!

It is hard not to be cynical when airports attempt to demonstrate environmental credentials by using low energy light bulbs and solar power. The carbon savings from Gloucester Airport’s photovoltaic lighting for their welcome sign will not even register when compared with the emissions from just one scheduled flight.

At the last two council meetings, I have asked what happens if the ceilings for CO2 emissions of 4,000 tonnes per annum and plane movements of 95,000 per year are breached. I have been told that good management will ensure that this does not happen.

This answer does not inspire confidence that these limits are serious attempts to constrain and eventually reduce emissions. Unless there is a serious restriction on operations if these limits are breached, the Green Management plan is an irrelevance. And if good management does not work to keep the emissions below target, what is to stop creative accounting ensuring that they do?

The “Green Management Plan” has no specific year-on-year CO2 reductions, other than the vague statement “Ensuring that climate change issues are addressed in future plans for the airport.”

At Cheltenham we were told that the targets would be assessed in light of any new evidence. However, they had totally ignored Copenhagen Climate change conference, which was only 1 month ago. This heard evidence from the Hadely Centre that a business as usual approach would lead to a 7 deg C temperate rise by the end of century. The conference concluded, “Inaction is inexcusable.” If a world event of this magnitude has been ignored in the preparation of the document, what type earth-shattering event does it take to make the vested interests realise that we must stop talking about CO2 emissions and start acting.

So, we look forward to handing the lights and photovoltaic equipment back to the airport management when:

  • The council confirms that if the ceilings are breached then operations at the airport will be discontinued for the measurement period.

  • When the council confirms a reduction target for the total CO2 emissions that reflects the latest scientific evidence presented at the Copenhagen Conference.