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IPPR wants health warnings for planes

'Flying causes climate change'

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The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has called for tobacco style health warnings to be displayed on advertising for flights, warning people about the possible damage their chosen method of travel will do to the environment.

IPPR head of climate change Simon Retallack told Reuters: "The evidence that aviation damages the atmosphere is just as clear as the evidence that smoking kills. We know that smokers notice health warnings on cigarettes, and we have to tackle our addiction to flying in the same way," he added, calling for clearly visible warnings such as "flying causes climate change."

The think-tank says it hopes the warnings would make people consider the environmental impact of choosing to fly.

However, the IPPR acknowledged that useful as the warnings could be, they would be no good without other changes.

Retallack said: "If we are to change people's behaviour, warnings must be accompanied by offering people alternatives to short-haul flights and by steps to make the cost of flying better reflect its impact on the environment."

Carbon emissions from planes, although a relatively small part of the UK's total emissions right now, are the fastest growing portion of the total. Campaigners argue that more should be done to force the aviation industry to be greener, such as tax being levied on fuel.

One of the major problems with carbon emissions from planes is that they happen so far up in the atmosphere. Scientists think that greenhouse gases are even more damaging at higher altitude.

The IPPR also called for carbon offsetting to become an automatic part of buying a plane ticket. ®

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