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Monday, December 21, 2009

email to inspector chester - justify why you will no pursue fraud over airport lies to justify expansion

Dear Inspector Chester,

I refer you to your letter of the 26th Oct 2009, which was in response to my request to have charges of fraud brought against Gloucestershire Airport’s directors under the Fraud Act 2006.

As you are no doubt aware, the charge of fraud is serious, but the evidence of fraud, as defined by Fraud Act 2006, against the airport is overwhelming. It is clear that this development will result in severe environmental damage due to increased greenhouse gas emissions despite the airport claiming this will not happen. The alternative is that the airport sticks to its greenhouse gas commitments and there will be no return on investment. This will result in the taxpayers of Gloucestershire being forced to pay the £2.3 million pounds loan. Either way the taxpayers are being defrauded.

This absurd position comes about because the council’s of Gloucester and Cheltenham being owners of the airport have a conflict of interest. This forces them to maximise the profits of the airport rather than represent the views and long term interests of their constituents.

Further to the initial dossier I submitted to PC Dill in September, I have also prepared a report at the request of the Gloucestershire Echo to quantify the CO2 emissions. This has been circulated around all of Cheltenham’s councillors.

A copy of the report is attached to this email. It adds further evidence to the case that the airport’s directors and their supporters within Gloucester and Cheltenham falsely represented the case for the airport and did so knowingly.

The report categorically demonstrates the Green Management plan cannot be complied with whilst simultaneously meeting the flight programme necessary to make an appropriate return on investment. The Green Management plan stated that the current CO2 emissions from the airport are 3,700 tonnes per annum and will be capped at 4,000 tonnes, thus allowing for a maximum increase in CO2 emissions of 300 tonnes per year.

The simple analysis in the report shows 8,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions are likely to be produced to meet the flight programme necessary for the predicted return on investment. This far exceeds the permissible 300 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions that are allowed under the green management plan.

It is also important to note that Councillor Les Godwin omitted to include the CO2 targets in the business plan that he submitted to Cheltenham and Gloucester councils, yet he included the other less onerous commitments in the Green Management plan. This selective quoting of the Green Management Plan points to a deliberate attempt to mislead the councillors into supporting the proposals for the airport. It is in violation of section 3.a of the Fraud Act, which states “A person is in breach of this section if he — dishonestly fails to disclose to another person information which he is under a legal duty to disclose.” As the planning application was granted on agreement that the Green Management plan would be implemented, then there was a legal duty to fully disclose the full implications of the CO2 targets.

Following this latest manoeuvring of the airport and its supporters, the case for a fraud investigation is mounting. If this mounting evidence of fraud is still not adequate for you to start proceeding, then you need to justify to us why you are not prepared to instigate proceedings.

We look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Kevin Lister

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about Express

This complaint relates to the front-page report of the Daily Express that headlined “CLIMATE NUT BROWN WILL RUIN BRITAIN.”

The complaint is being made under Article 1 of the editors code of the practise – “The press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information.”

The article claims that the Gordon Brown’s proposed cut of CO2 emissions “was made despite a continuing debate about whether mankind is to blame for climate change.”

This is incorrect. There is no debate about whether mankind is to blame for climate change. It is a fact that since the industrial revolution, CO2 emissions have increased by 40% from 280 parts per million to 390 parts per millions and given the current trajectory they will soon rise to well beyond 450 parts per millions. It is a fact that basic science shows a CO2 rich atmosphere warms more quickly. It is a fact that all temperature trends over any statistically significant period show warming has happened and is continuing to happen.

No scientist has yet been able to provide any suitable alternative hypothesis to explain the observed warming trends. No peer-reviewed work has been produced to disprove mankind’s influence in climate change.

The only debate about whether mankind is to blame is fuelled on by those with either no scientific understanding or with vested interests in maintaining the status quo.

The article goes on to quote the taxpayers alliance claiming that the cuts would “require the economy to be slashed by 30 per cent from expected levels.” However there is no counter balancing view to argue that if we do not make deep and urgent cuts in our CO2 emissions the consequences of climate change will result in a far more serious societal collapse.

The article closes with the statistic that, “Daily Express readers showed their distrust of Mr Brown’s sweeping plans this week, with an overwhelming 98 per cent of those taking part in a phone vote agreeing that the nation was being conned over global warming.”

This quote is aimed at demonstrating that the public does not believe in climate change, and therefore by implication that climate change either does not exist or is not a serious issue. Without knowing exactly what questions were asked or who the questions were asked to, this is a misleading and inaccurate reflection of public opinion. As a group, Express readers are more likely than most others to be dismissive of climate change. Finally, there is no reference to the size of the sample taken.

It is clear that this article does not provide any accurate and factual report of the debate on the climate change. It merely perpetuates the arguments of the climate change deniers using half-truths and biased arguments.

As such the article is inaccurate, misleading and presents distorted information.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Parlimentary action needed on lying aviation adverts (Email to David Drew MP)

Dear David,

Good to meet up again this morning.

As discussed, I am now getting no response from the Advertising Standards Agency following my complaints against the misleading adverts of the aviation industry. All the adverts that I have complained about erroneously claim that flying can be made environmentally friendly. Claims of this nature are becoming increasingly common.

I have pointed out to the ASA that the marketing strategy of the aviation industry is the same as that employed by the cigarette industry in the late 1940s when they claimed smoking filtered cigarettes was safe. We know that it is preposterous to think cigarettes can be safe, in the same way that we know aviations claim of environmentally friendly flying is also preposterous. However, we also know that the cigarette advertising strategy was overwhelmingly successful, making Marlboro the most highly valued brand in history. By employing the same methods, the aviation industry is being equally successful in getting people to ignore the clear and present dangers of climate change and to continue flying regardless.

As I am unable to make any further progress with the ASA in having adverts that are making deliberately misleading environmental claims banned, I would therefore ask that you raise this critical issue in parliament with other like-minded MPs.

I would further appreciate that you question in parliament the merit of having a self-regulating body policing the critical issue of advertisers consistently flouting the science on climate change. Page 3 of ASA code of practise states, “The Committee of Advertising Practice members include organisations that represent the advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing and media businesses.” The lack of action on the aviation adverts demonstrates a clear and dangerous conflict of interest as advertising for business expansion is given preference over truthful statements on climate change impacts.

The adverts that I have recently complained about and the ASA responses that I have received follow below. In each case the advert is in clear breach of sections 49.1 and 49.2 of ASA code of conduct.  

  • Finnair claimed on London Underground bill boards that flying with them is “Eco-smart.” I complained, but did not even receive an acknowledgement.
  • Airbus  claimed in a National Geographic advert they “see the bigger picture, and work to minimize environmental impact by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”  This is unequivocal rubbish. Airbus will never work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and every efficiency improvement the aviation industry has introduced since the Wright brothers has never reduced CO2 emissions. Despite this plain logic, the ASA rejected my complaint. I then had the matter referred to the Independent Reviewer of ASA Adjudications. However he backed the council’s initial decision, which raises serious questions about his independence. Amongst the bizarre justifications he made was National Geographic readers would understand it to be false, irrespective of the advert being targeted towards children. Again, targeting adverts at children is a case of the aviation industry borrowing another tactic from the cigarette industry. It is outrageous that the ASA are still allowing this tactic.

  • Easyjet claimed that we should demand a “more intelligent approach to aviation,” with the suggestion that flying EasyJet was environmentally intelligent. Easyjet’s advert also suggested that we pressurise airlines to fly the most fuel-efficient planes. My complaint to the ASA was again rejected, despite having no response from my letter to Easyjet suggesting that they change their fleet to fuel-efficient turboprops.

I have complained about three other adverts were aviation companies made erroneous claims about being environmentally friendly. In each case the ASA has upheld the advert and rejected my complaint.

In light of the events at Copenhagen this week, it is vital as a society we demand major companies and CO2 emitters are truthful with their adverts and are not allowed to maximise profits by subverting the science.

Regards and best wishes,
Kevin Lister