Over a hundred climate activists stormed Europe’s biggest private jet sales fair on Tuesday to demand a ban on “toxic” private jets.
Campaigning groups from 17 countries, including Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion and Stay Grounded, are supporting the annual European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) at Geneva airport, some of which confined themselves to aircraft gangways and exhibition entrances Is.
Protesters also pasted tobacco-style health warning labels on planes being displayed at the fair, with giant stickers warning onlookers that private jets “burn our future,” “kill our planet” and “fuel inequality.”
Clara Maria Schenk, transport campaigner for Greenpeace’s Mobility for All campaign, told Luck said in a phone call on Tuesday that activists participating in Tuesday’s demonstration believe in private aviation – which they labeled “extremely unequal” [method] of transportation” – was harming climate and social equality. He called on MPs to rein in emissions from private flights.
“For more than 20 years, Europe’s super-rich have popped champagne behind closed doors at EBACE while shopping for the latest toxic private jet,” she said. “Sales of private jets are skyrocketing, and with them the hugely unfair contribution of the one percent to the climate crisis – while the most vulnerable deal with the loss.”
talking to Luck From EBACE in Geneva, Cordula Markt, a spokeswoman for Scientists Rebellion Germany, explained why her campaign group – which includes scientists fighting to mitigate the effects of climate change – was participating in Tuesday’s protest.
“As scientists, we like to look at complex systems like climate and find viable solutions,” she said. “Private jets are like low-hanging fruit – only 1% of the world’s people are responsible for 50% of emissions From aviation, and we want to target this 1%.
She argued that it “can no longer be tolerated that the super-wealthy continue to buy and fly private jets for their own benefit,” [knowing] that it fans the flames of climate destruction.”
Meanwhile, Mira Kapfinger, a campaigner with the organization Stay Grounded, said in a statement that politicians needed to implement a “fair climate solution” that included cracking down on frequent fliers.
“While many people can no longer afford food and rent, the super-rich continue to wreck our planet, unless we put an end to it,” he added. “In addition to banning private jets, it is also time to end air miles schemes, which reward frequent fliers, and instead tax frequent travelers.”
Event organizers responded
Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the US-based National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), and Juergen Wiese, president of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), which co-organise EBACE 2023, said in a statement that the demonstration was “a whole wave of protest”. unacceptable form.
“We condemn the action, and the threat it poses to the safety and security of the companies demonstrating at Geneva airport and to EBACE attendees and others,” he added.
He added that the private aviation sector is “deeply committed to climate action.”
“This is an industry that has cut its carbon emissions by 40% over the past 40 years, is continuing to reduce emissions today, and is collectively focused on achieving net-zero emissions by 2050,” he said . “We as an industry are open to constructive dialogue about sustainability leadership of the industry, and we regret the protesters’ unfortunate decision to disregard the opportunity for that dialogue.”
Schenk of Greenpeace told Luck that EBACE ground workers were careful not to disrupt any security at the airport, and were in contact with security personnel to discuss their intentions.
Geneva airport representatives did not respond LuckRequest for comment.
EBACE 2023, which began on Tuesday and will run through Thursday, will involve more than 10,500 people – about half of whom own or operate aircraft.
The conference is the premier annual event for Europe’s business jet sector is trying This year to focus on sustainability, with discussions on topics such as electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and green aviation fuels.
Tuesday’s protests followed a series of previous demonstrations against private jets in Europe, including a rally at Amsterdam Schiphol airport in November which saw private planes stand still for more than six hours.
private jet emissions
The use of private jets has come under scrutiny in recent years. politicians And celebrities People are increasingly coming under fire for taking highly polluting private flights.
a report Earlier this month, Patriot Millionaire and the Institute for Policy Studies said private jet sales are likely to reach their highest ever level this year, with the global fleet more than doubling over the past two decades.
In one hour, a private jet can emit two tons of carbon dioxide, according to the Clean Transport Campaign group’s findings. Transport and Environment, Meanwhile, the average person in the European Union emits 8.2 tonnes of CO2 over a year.
This means private jet passengers emit 14 times more carbon than commercial airline passengers, while private planes pollute 50 times more than trains.
earlier this yearA study by Greenpeace found that the number of private jet flights in Europe was set to increase by 64% in 2022.
Research also found That carbon emitted by private jets last year surpassed the amount emitted by Uganda, a country with a population of about 46 million.