Governments face big decisions over airline bailouts with opposition from activists
by Alexandra Genova
What's Going On Here?
The Covid-19 crisis has cost the aviation industry $880 billion worldwide. But as governments scramble to bailout airlines, environmental campaigners are asking for strict conditions on the industry’s future climate impact before taxpayer’s money is handed out.
What Does This Mean?
The letter, sent to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, also calls for workers’ rights to be enforced and in the longer term, asks for support for a “just transition” for workers to move to jobs in lower carbon industries. At the moment, Sunak has said that the industry will not receive any special measures beyond what is being offered across all sectors. But the UK government will likely come under increasing pressure from airline companies’ bosses and shareholders, as other countries bail out their airlines.
Why Should We Care?
Because the airline industry is a HUGE polluter and it’s only getting worse. Carbon dioxide emitted by commercial flights rose by 32% from 2013 to 2018, according to a recent study, and they are rising up to 70% faster than predicted by the UN.
Miguel Arias Cañete, the EU climate commissioner who led the bloc to the Paris agreement, agreed that any bailouts “must be conditional, otherwise when we recover we will see the same or higher levels of carbon dioxide from flying.”
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