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News
ICTA-UAB and the network Stay Grounded to organize the Conference “Degrowth of Aviation” in Barcelona

Date: 2019-07-11

Conference will tackle how to reduce aviation on 12-14th of July in Barcelona and recent research on aviation conflicts by ICTA-UAB will be presented.


The conference “Degrowth of Aviation” will gather on 12th of July in Barcelona hundred activists, scientists, groups and members of NGOs based from Europe and all over the world will discuss strategies to degrow aviation. The conference is organized by the network Stay Grounded in coordinarion with the Institut of Environmental Science Technology of the Universitat Autònoma deBarcelona (ICTA-UAB). As a no flight conference, participants will travel to the conference over land, whilst those from far away will participate online.

Problems of turistification in Barcelona could worsen: planned airport expansion
The conference will open the space to reflect and connect the problems of mass tourism in hot spots like Barcelona with the demands for reducing flights. Barcelona is the fourth most-visited European city, the first destination of Mediterranean cruise ships and the seventh largest European airport. This tourism industry and its production model leads to very serious impacts and conflicts for the local society and the environment, among them: poor work conditions, the expulsion of residents for the transformation of their houses into tourist accommodations, the increase of rental prices; the collapse of mobility and accessibility; high levels of noise and air pollution; and generation of waste and abuse of natural resources compromising the health of people and the environment.

In this context, Spain’s national Ministry of Development and AENA, a state-owned company that manages the general interest in airports, plan the expansion of Barcelona’s airport in order to meet a demand of 25 million passengers more (the existing capacity is 70 million passengers) - an operation which will include the Girona-Costa Brava airport. 

 

 

Environmental conflicts and environmental justice movements related to aviation around the world
The EnvJustice project (http://www.envjustice.org) of the Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) and the Stay Grounded Network show on this map 50 socio-environmental conflicts related to the expansion or creation of new airports or aerotropolis (airports surrounded by industrial and commercial zones) https://stay-grounded.org/map/.

Researchers consider that most of these conflicts are caused by the infrastructure extension for aviation, "justified" through discourses of development, tourist and economic growth or improvement of security (eg, new military airports). As a consequence: forced eviction, land dispossession, destruction of ecosystems, serious damage to the health of people and nature caused by pollution and noise. However, these injustices are being reported and protested by environmental justice movements. Diverse mobilization strategies have conducted to big and small victories/sucesses: canceled, suspend or re-locate these infrastructure projects, increase compensations or reduce the negative impacts on the most affected communities. The results of this research will be presented on Friday 12 at the conference.

Strategies to degrow aviation
Regarding public policies, the damaging impacts of aviation on our climate is starting to be discussed more and more. The problem, however, is that none of the strategies in place that supposedly target aviation’s climate impact actually challenge the constant growth of the aviation sector. Instead, they pretend that flying could, in the future, become „climate neutral“ through technical improvements, biofuels and offsetting. The Stay Grounded Network, in its position paper, makes clear that those are false solutions. "The Illusion of Green Flying“ study points out the different short-falls and problems of the aviation sector‘s greenwashing strategy. 

The conference “Degrowth of Aviation” will discuss the feasibility and benefits of several concrete measures to reduce aviation, among them: limits on domestic or short-haul flights; institutional changes of travel policies; reducing airport infrastructure; fostering alternatives; touristic degrowth; and taxes on tickets and on kerosene.

European Civil Initiative to tax kerosene
A leaked European Commission report revealed that taxing aviation kerosene sold in Europe would cut aviation emissions by 11% (16.4 million tonnes of CO2) and would have no net impact on jobs or the economy while raising almost €27 billion in revenue every year. A new European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) was recently launched which needs to collect 1 million signatures in one year. The initiative that has been started by a group of students is supported by Stay Grounded. Representatives will also be present at the conference. Find the initiative here: https://www.endingaviationfueltaxexemption.eu/ 

Stay Grounded Network
Stay Grounded is a global network to counter aviation and strives for a sustainable and just transport system. It consists of more than 120 organisations and groups around the world. 

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