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Extinction Rebellion barricades Europe's premier private jet facility near London.

PRESS RELEASE    21 May 2022

STRICTLY EMBARGOED FOR PRIOR RELEASE

Link to images below, available from 7.30am Saturday 21st May 2022 and throughout the day
https://show.pics.io/xr-global-media-breaking-news/search?tagId=6287a77655c6330012b0e1c7

Videos and Livestreams taking place from around 8.30am. Available to view afterwards.
https://www.facebook.com/XRSouthEastUK/​​​​​​

Press contacts:

XR South East Media Team : [email protected]


Social Media : #FlyingToExtinction  : #PrivateFlightsCostTheEarth : #StopPrivateFlightsNow

Updates on social media
https://twitter.com/XrSouthEastUK  :  https://www.instagram.com/xrsoutheastuk/


Extinction Rebellion blockades Europe's premier private jet facility near London.

Eco-activists barricade Farnborough airport to demand end to private flights and tax-free fuel for the rich

Protest comes as world’s political and business elite prepare to fly by private jet to the Davos World Economic Forum

Extinction Rebellion is blockading the key entrances to Farnborough Airport today (21 May)  to demand the UK government stops private flights now, because the rich and powerful are flying us all to extinction.

The protest comes as world leaders, influential business executives and selected billionaires prepare to fly out by private jet to meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where climate action is supposedly at the top of the agenda.

Yet Davos is reknowned as the world's largest annual gathering of private jets, highlighting the sheer hypocrisy of the political and business elites attending this annual event.

Flying is the fastest way to burn fossil fuels and aviation fuel is exempt from any taxes almost everywhere on the planet, in stark contrast to the price paid for fuel at UK pumps.

In protest against this gross abuse of privilege by private flyers,  Extinction Rebellion is blockading key airport entrances at Farnborough Airport today with activists locked on to an extraordinary "Tableaux of Extravagance",  numerous jet fuel barrels and atop a huge tripod.

Other protesters, from across the South East of England and further afield, are at the iconic Whittle Gate with flags and banners proclaiming Flying To Extinction; Private Flights Cost The Earth; Stop Private Flights Now.   

The 30,000 private flights to and from Farnborough Airport each year carry an average of just 2.3 passengers with each passenger being responsible for the emission of nine times as much carbon as an economy flight to the US and 20 times that to Spain.

Despite a key recommendation of the Climate Assembly UK to ban polluting private jets and helicopters, Farnborough Airport has been given permission to increase flight movements to 50,000 a year and has set it's goals on unsustainable expansion.

A £35 million ($47 million) hanger is scheduled to open in 2024 doubling the available temperature controlled hangar space plus a new partnership with UK-based Vertical Aerospace aims to offer a luxury four-passenger eVTOL aircraft service.


All this, as private jet use overall has seen growth rates of up to 25% whilst ordinary UK citizens are having to choose between heating and eating.

Finlay Asher, 31, aircraft engineer from Glasgow said:  "Aviation is the pinnacle of climate injustice and emissions inequality...  and private aviation is the absolute peak of those injustices"

Danielle McHallam, age 33, a protester from Farnborough added: “I cannot continue to sit by and watch the rich and powerful benefit from untaxed aviation fuel whilst those on low incomes are struggling to pay their energy bills or fill up their cars; 57% of the cost to fill up a car is paid in fuel duty whilst aviation fuel is not taxed at all! 

“The continued overuse of private jets just underpins the breakdown of the social contract in today’s society, where the ‘elite’ can continue to operate ‘business as usual’ without any regard for the environmental or social damage they are causing."

Mike Grant, 61, a former serviceman, from Rosewell near Edinburgh said: "Davos brings together the world’s largest annual gathering of private jets, a hypocrisy of the worst order from so-called business and societal leaders when climate action is supposedly at the top of their agenda"​​​​​​

Dr. Ines Smyth, 72, a development and humanitarian worker from Oxford explained:
"Because of my work I travelled frequently by plane. I used to think this was justified by the nature of my job but then I started to question that. I flew on regular flights, but the justifications for private jet use are very few indeed given they're 10 times more carbon intensive than airliners.

“Many people, like myself, have stopped or limited their flying already but the recent warning from the UK Met Office that we have a mere 50 per cent chance to stay within 1.5 warming in the next 5 years makes it obvious that much more must be done about aviation. Let's start by imposing a fuel tax for private jets and then ban them all together."


Teresa, 59, a charity worker, from Oxford said
“Now is the time that every single one of us has to step up and demand the changes that are needed if we, and future generations, are to have a future”

One of the key recommendations made to the government by the Climate Assembly UK in its report The Path to Net Zero is to ban polluting private jets and helicopters. They also called for frequent fliers and those that fly further to be made to pay more. The government has shown no sign of acting on either demand.  Now, a damning report commissioned by the AEF published on 16th May condemns the UK Government’s ‘Jet Zero’ plans as "techno-optimism" putting emissions targets at risk by reliance on uncertain solutions.  COP26 President Alok Sharma MP acknowledged earlier this week that failure to act on the promises made at the Glasgow COP26 climate summit last year would be “an act of monstrous self-harm”

Aviation has contributed more to global heating than entire continents and the need for climate justice must be recognised. Overall 80% of the world's population have never flown, and it is the uber-rich of the wealthiest countries that cause the most harm as the people of the majority world suffer the most from the climate crisis. The UK Government holds the presidency of COP26 and has the responsibility to show leadership, the Prime Minister must act immediately to stop the harm and start by taking the first step:
Stop private flights now, they are costing us the Earth.


Notes for Editors:

Link to images below, available from 7.30am Saturday 21st May 2022 and throughout the day
https://show.pics.io/xr-global-media-breaking-news/search?tagId=6287a77655c6330012b0e1c7

Videos and Livestreams taking place from around 8.30am. Available to view afterwards.
https://www.facebook.com/XRSouthEastUK/​​​​​​

Press contacts:

XR South East Media Team : [email protected]


Social Media : #FlyingToExtinction  : #PrivateFlightsCostTheEarth : #StopPrivateFlightsNow

Updates on social media
https://twitter.com/XrSouthEastUK  :  https://www.instagram.com/xrsoutheastuk/


Key facts about private flights


World Economic Forum - Davos


Farnborough Airport - Hampshire,, South East UK

Countering Farnborough Airport’s greenwash on Sustainable Aviation Fuels SAF 

  • Farnborough Airport's recent moves to offer “Sustainable” Aviation Fuels (SAF) to aircraft is condemned as utter greenwash, since the sheer amount of SAF needed to fuel the aviation industry would result in the mass destruction of forests and biodiversity.
  • The only type of non-fossil aviation fuels that have been proven at commercial scale are biofuels made from Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA) made from 'waste oils'. However, the feedstock for this process are already fully utilised by the road transport sector to make biodiesel and virgin vegetable oil (palm and soy oil is the cheapest) is still being used e.g. by Neste who supply 'SAF' to Farnborough. The global supply of genuine wastes and residues available for biofuels is miniscule in comparison with the requirement and it simply cannot be scaled sustainably.
  • Converting all used cooking oil (UCO) that can be realistically collected in the EU would meet just 0.26% of the EU’s aviation fuel requirement. Moreover, the available supply of UCO is already fully utilised for powering land vehicles. Diverting it to private jet use will mean taking it away from existing customers who will then be required to rely on biofuels made from virgin vegetable oil including palm oil
    https://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2019/worldenergy-report-pr/).
  • As so little is produced globally, all SAF is heavily blended with conventional Jet-A fuel (kerosene).
  • FACC reported in October 2021: "Since the introduction of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), take-up has been quite slow. Whilst FAL has supply limitations, there is also general hesitancy around the new fuel technology itself and there is also a cost differential. Another consideration is that larger users already have their own offset programmes." Since then, FAL has not disclosed SAF sales. . In 2019, it sold £30m of conventional Jet A kerosene, the airport’s largest single revenue stream.
  • There is no truly sustainable aviation fuel. A theoretical 'green' alternative to aviation fuel (kerosene) can be produced by combining green hydrogen (from electrolysis of water using 'spare' renewable electricity) with carbon captured directly from the air. In practice this is such an inefficient process in that the resulting fuel would cost at least three times as much kerosene (according to the most optimistic long term forecasts.) Resulting in massive strain on the electricity supply, which will need to supply power for electric vehicles and heat pumps
  • Useful video brief on SAF from Green Sky Thinking Channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNgmKyw4qfo
  • Climate charity Possible recently described the private jet as representing the most extreme end of the climate injustice that characterises air travel. It is calling for the banning of fossil-fuelled private jets at UK airports within the next five years. They "looked at 20 years of aviation industry targets on sustainable fuel use and not a single target has ever been met" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-vW1nQREeI


Other references and resources:


About Extinction Rebellion
Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken. Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
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Press resources

Extinction Rebellion (AKA XR) is a non-violent direct action protest group with the goal of preventing further mass extinction and damage to the climate. The group has three main demands.

1. Tell the truth - Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.

2. Act Now - Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

3. Go Beyond Politics - Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

More information

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