Blogs

"Cut your carbon emissions with one weird tip": the aviation diet

When international aviation and shipping were left out of the 2008 UK Climate Change Act, this caused concern. Would cuts elsewhere be cancelled out by increasing emissions from these sectors - the equivalent of our carbon bloated economy going on a diet, but one in which all calories are counted (except those from chocolate and cake)?

The Committee on Climate Change, set up under the Act, had a solution. They set a 'planning assumption' - a limit they recommended the government keep aviation emissions below - of 37.5Mt carbon a year. The committee sets gradually shrinking carbon budgets for other sectors of the economy to allow for this level of emissions from aviation. So the overall aim of the Act - to reduce UK emissions by 80% by 2050 - can be achieved in a meaningful way.

It is difficult to reduce emissions from flying, since it's inherently energy intensive. Recognising this, aviation was therefore given a generous allowance, limiting emissions at 2005 levels, rather than the dramatic cuts expected from other sectors.

But from the government's support for a third runway at Heathrow airport, and their current consultation on aviation strategy which focuses on growth, it appears they have no intention of keeping to these limits. The idea is that increasing emissions from a growing aviation industry can be dealt with internationally, freeing us from any obligation to attempt to limit emissions here. Unfortunately these solutions have about as much credibility as the click-bait diet ideas that pop up on the internet: "This one weird tip" which produces amazing weight loss. They seem too good to be true - and they are.

A climate of crisis - floods, drought and wildfires around the world

Houses submerged as water level rises in the Ganges

Just a few years ago, the impacts of climate change had to be looked for: now, as extreme weather events come frequently and ever more destructive, they are hard to keep up with. However, beyond Harvey, many have not made the headlines. This is a brief summary of some of the extraordinary weather impacts across four continents in the last couple of months, as we continue to 'load the dice' for catastrophe by altering our climate.

For ongoing updates, follow the Campaign against Climate Change on Twitter. We also recommend the monthly bulletins from The World at 1C.

Floods cause devastation in India, Nepal and Bangladesh

Seasonal monsoon rains regularly cause floods and loss of life in South Asia, but the floods that have swept north western India, Nepal and Bangladesh this year are exceptionally devastating. At the time of writing the UN OCHA are reporting that 41 million have been affected by the floods, with over 900 killed. Other reports from officials are that the death toll is already over a thousand. This could increase as rains continue in some flood-affected areas and flood waters move south.

Villagers are taken to a relief camp in Assam, India

The scale is vast: in Bangladesh alone, a third of the land has been inundated in the worst floods for 100 years. The loss of crops as well as homes threatens longer term food supplies.

Tens of thousands of houses, as well as schools and hospitals, have been destroyed and displaced people in all the nations affected are in urgent need of life-saving support. Governments and aid agencies are struggling to provide shelter, food and clean water, while fearing outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and dysentery which frequently follow floods. Contaminated water and limited shelter and facilities put young children particularly at risk.

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