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Last updated at 12:26 BST, Friday, 11 September 2009

Planes cause rise in CO2 targets


11 September 2009

The UK's official climate change advisers have warned that households and businesses will have to cut even more emissions than previously planned - up to 90% by 2050 - so the aviation sector can continue to grow.

Roger Harrabin

On a plane

On a plane


Click to hear the report:


Aviation is perpetually contentious in debates on climate change. The government says it wants people to be able to fly on holiday. But there's currently no technology that can radically cut emissions from planes.

The Climate Change Committee spells out the implications of that tension. The rest of the economy, it says, may have to cut its emissions 90% by 2050, so people can carry on flying in the meantime. The current target for the whole economy is 80%.

Green groups immediately demanded that the government should scrap its plans to expand Heathrow and other airports.

The Committee says aviation is a global problem, so it needs to be included in any deal in the coming climate change talks at the UN. Emissions from aviation in rich countries should be capped, then forced to return to 2005 levels, it says. Flying in poor countries should be allowed to grow for a while.

The government says it already supports the target of getting aviation emissions down to 2005 levels. But critics doubt ministers' plans for emissions to fall whilst aviation grows.

Roger Harrabin, BBC News


Click to hear the vocabulary:


is perpetually contentious

constantly causes disagreement


serious discussions involving many people

radically cut emissions

significantly reduce the amounts of harmful gases

spells out the implications

clearly explains what the consequences/results might be


here, an uneasy situation


here, certain results that must be achieved


cancel, abandon, abolish, stop


here, official agreement between many countries

should be capped

should be limited, must not be allowed to grow any further

critics doubt ministers' plans

people who disapprove of ministers' plans say they are not sure they will work

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