Flight International coverage of GreenSkies at ECAC/EU Dialogue in Edinburgh

From Flight International, 3 May 2005

By David Learmount

Influential group to target company travel budgets

An environmental group with influence in the European Commission and the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) is planning to launch a campaign in the third quarter of this year to persuade major companies to scale back air travel by their employees.

The two-pronged attack by the organisation, the GreenSkies Alliance, revealed at the ECAC/European Union Dialogue seminar last week in Edinburgh, UK, will encourage the EC to strengthen its plans to implement a "polluter pays" charges scheme aimed at the air transport industry.

Meanwhile, the head of the EC's clean air and transport unit, Peter Gammeltoft, also speaking in Edinburgh, warned that a general campaign to improve air quality would directly affect air transport as well as other sources of air pollution. Although aviation is not the only source of NOx, said Gammeltoft, in 2010 the agreed limits for this pollutant become binding in European law, which he said will be a serious issue for major airports unless they take measures in advance.

Responding to charges that it will be pointless for Europe alone to take measures aimed at curbing air pollution and global warming, Gammeltoft said Europe has to "show the way" internationally.

In 2003 it was agreed in principle that fuel for aviation and for the generation of electricity should be taxed. The European Council's January 2005 agreement to a fixed installations emissions trading scheme is, meanwhile, being studied for extension to the aviation industry. Progress will be considered at a meeting in June, with a consultation paper expected in July.

GreenSkies Alliance campaigner Jeff Gazzard told the ECAC/EU seminar that the organisation plans to lobby major multinational companies on their staff air travel policies. He did not expect to see air travel severely curtailed, but said that GreenSkies intends to harness increasing public concern about global warming to force companies to be overtly more proactive about travel policies.

UK Department for Transport scientist Dr Robert Sullivan said the potential causal factor most difficult to quantify is the high level cirrus cloud and humidity increase caused by aircraft exhausts and contrails.









(c) GreenSkies, 2004.     Sir John Lyon House, 5 High Timber Street, London EC4V 3NS