Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Airport runway extension a bad idea for Wellington

On 10 May 2016, my OraTaiao www.orataiao.org.nz/ ( NZ Climate & Health Council) colleague Liz Springford and I presented on the annual plan for Wellington City Council. We had the chance speak on behalf  of our group of 500 NZ health professionals  opposing the runway extension proposal on climate and health grounds. Here is the letter to the DomPost published recently from our executive board--

Dear Editor,

 An independent emissions assessment of Wellington Airport’s runway proposals is urgently needed. At the moment Wellington is flying blind as neither the airport nor the Council know how much the extension will increase emissions. And they are predicting passenger numbers to double by 2030.

What we do know is that that climate change is the greatest threat to global health and our economy. Also known is that aviation is a significant source of climate-damaging emissions: of the average Wellingtonian's footprint of 5.3 CO2eq tonnes annually almost 20% is from domestic flights. Overseas travel contributes much more. For example, one person flying return to Hong Kong adds 4.0 tonnes, and London return 7.9 tonnes.

The world has agreed on a pathway towards zero net global emissions this century. Successful, thriving cities will act accordingly, but the runway extension takes Wellington in exactly the wrong direction - for our economy and for our health.

The airport runway extension plans need to pass an emissions climate health check right now.

Dr Russell Tregonning, for the  Executive Board OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council

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