12 Questions & Answers and 10 Demands


Frans C. Verhagen, M. Div., M.I.A., Ph.D., sustainability sociologist,
President,  metro New York coalition of sustainable aviation groups and of its national organization Citizen Aviation Watch, USA, Inc.; Sustainability Fellow, Green Institute, Washington, D.C. ; Adjunct Associate Professor of Sustainable Aviation at; Director, Sustainability Research and Education at 
November, 2007


On the National Day of Climate Action of April 14, organized by Bill  McKibben and students with the title “Stepitnow 2007”,  a mass rally took place in New York City’s Battery Park. At one corner of the park an Aviation and the Climate Crisis  (AVIACC) event that took place, that  was organized by the author’s coalition of some two dozen  metro New York sustainable aviation groups and his Sustainability Task Force at the Community Church of New York UU.  The purpose of the AVIACC event was to highlight in a playful but forceful way the climate impact of the aviation industry. A dozen inflatable 747s and a dozen Blackbird inflatables together with colorful boards and banners were the setting in which some street theater took place, flyers on sustainable aviation were handed out, the StepitUP tune by Gallerists was played etc.

Discussions with visitors about sustainable aviation and questions on one or more of the TEN SUSTAINABLE AVIATION DEMANDS led to earlier draft of this article that was submitted to E-Magazine. Before raising the questions and providing some short answers, let me preface them with a brief description of the perspective I bring to the issue of sustainable aviation.

It is my experience both inside the citizen sustainable aviation movement and outside it that disagreements are often not a question of technical facts, but a question of different value systems, the content of which often consists of implicit, naturalized beliefs. Therefore, it behooves me to make my value base explicit: this not only leads to good science, but also to greater understanding and, in last instance, a shared vision to combat the global climate crisis emergency, particularly at it pertains to air and surface transportation industries.

 The value system that underlies not only the selection of the 12 questions below, but also their answers, is based upon a central value, called contextual sustainability, i.e. ecological sustainability placed in the context of social and economic justice, nonviolence and participatory decision-making. This value system is described at and published in Wenden 2004 “Educating for A Culture of Social and Ecological Peace.”

My overall impression of the aviation industry’s participation in dealing with the climate crisis, expressed in the following questions and answers, is that the industry is not taking the climate crisis and therefore, sustainability and sustainable aviation seriously. Except for the Airport Council International’s policy statement on the climate crisis the industry as a whole maintains a minimalist attitude towards reducing its Green House Gases (GHG) emissions and towards finding short, medium and long term solutions to the crisis.

Generally, aviation is not explicitly included in Climate Change reduction strategies, both in the literature and legislative efforts. An exception is the work of British journalist George Monbiot ( who recently published Heat. How to Stop the Planet from Burning in which two chapters deal with air transportation.

His archives on climate change contains several provocative articles dealing with aviation such as “space tourism will kill our planet”, “flying kills people”, “people not grasping  the reality of climate change  are ‘sleepwalking into extinction’ or ‘are living in the shadow of extinction.”  Provocative titles like that can be used to make people think about aviation and can be used as discussion starters. Using  calculations of various sectors he believes that the 90% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 is  not only necessary, but possible. Note that the UK government has set a target of 90% reduction by 2050, while the Sanders/Boxer Senate bill (S309) sets a target of 80% by 2050.

For readers that want to delve into the aviation and global warming issue in greater depth, the special report by the IPCC on the topic is recommended. It was requested by the UN Affiliated organization ICAO or the International Civil Aviation Organization.  To be fully up to date about the present ecological situation and its projections the standard is the recently published GEO 4 of the United Nations Environmental Program or UNEP, available at “The fourth report in the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) series from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) provides a comprehensive, scientifically credible, policy-relevant and up-to-date assessment of, and outlook for, the state of the global environment. GEO-4 is published 20 years after the landmark World Commission on Sustainable Development report - Our Common Future - which was published in 1987.”

Below are 12 questions & answers and 10 sustainable aviation demands, the latter of which presents an integrated vision of an alternative aviation industry that would be a positive player in our carbon-constrained globalizing world. 

1.  Is the climate ‘problem’ a matter of climate change and variability or are we facing a climate crisis or even a global climate crisis emergency ?

A change becomes a crisis when its direct or indirect consequences can reasonably be considered to cause major social or ecological adverse impacts.  The change becomes an emergency, when its impacts are  or considered to be catastrophic in the short, medium and long run. I consider the global climate crisis emergency to be a medium to long term emergency, but an emergency it is.

Climate change has such dire consequences on people, ecosystems, and the planet herself that it is to be treated as a climate crisis of catastrophic proportions.

 Elizabeth Kolbert’s 2006 “Field Notes from a Catastrophe. Man, Nature and Climate Change” provides some of the evidence in a very readable form. Outstanding observers such as Mr. Gore in his movie “An Inconvenient Truth” has characterized climate change as a climate crisis, while the 2000 scientists from over 100 countries assembled in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are still, because of the usual scientific understatement, characterizing the crisis as climate change. Note that by reframing climate change as a climate crisis the problem becomes social rather than environmental and one is less tempted to look foremost for technical solutions – a techno-fix

2. How are people responding to the climate crisis?

There is a groundswell of great concern about the climate crisis all over the world. Many people in the industrialized nations of the North, for instance, are paying carbon offsets to one of the four dozen retail carbon offsets companies for their air travel. (See Tufts Climate Initiative). In dealing with the climate crisis many people are beginning to consider the taking of drastic action to reduce GHG emissions a moral decision, not foremost an economic one.

Unfortunately, however, the mainstream media are still not reporting that groundswell of concern: they, erroneously, adhere to the balance argument in which they give almost equal time to the 3% holdouts among scientists over against the 97% of scientists. The latter hold with 90% certainty that since the inception of the Industrial Revolution humans have created the excessive (GHG) emissions.  It was after World War II when exact CO2 measurements started to be made by Keeling in Hawaii that the evidence of these  anthropogenic emissions led to an ever increasing certainty of the human role in the heating of the planet, Monbiot calls these “journalistic nincompoops”, who dismiss the reality of climate change,  “fossil fools”. 

3. How does aviation affect the climate?

Like all fossil-fuel based transportation, aviation is responsible for the emissions of GHGs, particularly CO2 which has a residency time of a hundred years in the atmosphere. Like every gallon burned in an automobile, every gallon of kerosene burned in a jet engine puts 22 lbs of CO2 in the air. (A gallon of  kerosene weighs about 6.5 lbs, but the escaping carbon chemically combines with the weight of the two oxygen atoms and thus exceeds the weight of the carbon in the kerosene almost by a factor of 4.)

Because its GHG emissions are emitted in the upper part of the troposphere and sometimes in the stratosphere, aviation causes a multiplier effect called RADIATIVE FORCING, expressed as CO2e(quivalent).  Radiative forcing is the process in which  CO2, nitrogen and sulfur oxides and water vapor in the upper atmosphere force the radiation of the Earth’s surface to increase.  This makes the aviation’s contribution to the climate crisis much greater than surface modes of transportation.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has determined it to be of a magnitude of 2.7, while others estimate it to be a factor from 2-5.

In the late 90’s, the total CO2  impact of the civil aviation industry—not counting military aviation—was considered to be about 3%. Given the expansion of the industry with their fleets of often older planes the present impact may be around 4-5%. Multiplied by a radiative force of 3 the commercial aviation industry may be responsible for about 15% of total GHG emissions in 2007.

It is to be noted that emissions of international flights (and international shipping) are not counted in the carbon accounting of nations from which they either depart or travel to. Thus, targets set by countries are not reflective of these transoceanic emissions—they are excluded under the guidelines of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Raising this question to the German minister of the environment and the new executive director of  UNEP, Achim Steiner,  during a side event of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) in May, I learned that no mechanism is negotiated yet. If these emissions are not allocated to the country of origin or destination in one way of another, these emissions are not acted upon. My intervention of having them included in the Chairman’s Draft of CSD 15 did not meet with success. Perhaps the Bali meeting in December of the Conference of Parties (COP) and, particularly the Members of the Kyoto Protocol (MOP) may be able to negotiate an allocation mechanism.

Military aviation emits about 10% of the emissions of commercial aviation which has to be added to the total CO2 or CO2e emitted by the military aviation industry.   A standardized way of calculating total emissions of all aviation sources does not seem to exist yet. Emissions of US airports are not specified in the US EPA’s Inventory of Greenhouse Gases Emissions and Sinks. “In developing the national inventory report, EPA works with FAA's Office of Environment and Energy (AEE).  This office in FAA has developed a model which calculates world-wide estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from all flights.  It can be found at:” (Personal correspondence with EPA official in charge of aviation emissions) To what extent is the model biased in favor of the industry and what are its major assumptions are questions to be raised. Given the overbearing influence of the FAA, even in environmental matters,  at the International Civil Aviation Organization these statistics have to be subjected to international scrutiny, both in terms of its data-reporting format and methodology.

The impact of the aviation industry is growing given its expansionistic character. This growth syndrome is fostered in complex ways by aircraft manufacturers and competitive international economic processes that “envisage”, project and predict growth. Based upon these projections  governments start providing capacity in this cycle of predict and provide. On the other hand, citizens can demand that their governments should be engaged in long-term transportation planning and, given the troubling times of the climate crisis, start considering doing more with less, particularly in the highly energy intensive aviation industry. They should start concentrating on ways to curb demand by halting and reducing capacity through educational outreach and fiscal measures.

It is also on account of this reason that the National Airspace Redesign (NAR) program can be considered to be a step in the wrong direction. Though improvements in airspace and navigational systems are needed, the present program is mostly oriented towards expanding capacity instead of doing more with less.

4. How do passenger, cargo, private and military planes and the industries affiliated with them affect the climate?

According to US EPA Inventory of Greenhouse Gases and Sinks (2000-2007), aviation emitted 200 billion tons of CO2 in 2005. This amounts to about 3% of total US emissions, which were 6100 billion or 6.1 trillion tons that same year. It is not clear whether this figure includes  military emissions by either fighter planes or cargo transports inside the US and its bases in 153 countries.

5. What are the major options for the industry?

There are many MINOR ways for the industry to reduce its emissions, particularly from its operations on the ground, i.e. at airports. This means not only using alternative fuels for its vehicles, doing better recycling, improving building efficiency but also by using improved navigational systems, such as GPS,  The Clean Airport Partnership, Inc. (CAP) with its organizational tool of the Green Airport Initiative (GAI) is definitely a step in the right direction.

The industry has made great strides in improving engine design, accomplishing some 60% increase in efficiency in the last forty years. Also airframe design has greatly improved during this period. The new GEnx engine with the new Boeing 787 is projected to produce approximately a 20% increase in efficiency if combined together with the lighter composite materials of its airframe. It will take decades, however, for these more efficient planes to start flying in great numbers and replace old planes, mostly for economic reasons.

Monbiot argues that industry, government and civil society have to acknowledge the basic incompatibility of an expansionistic industry with the need to reduce its GHG emissions. Having demonstrated that his target of 90% reduction by 2030 is possible by showing actual numbers and measures in housing, shopping, the cement industry, he (Monbiot) comes to the conclusion that there is no techno-fix for a 90% reduction of GHGs by the aviation industry. He systematically reviews the possible rate of engine improvement, the use of alternative fuels—hydrogen fuelled airplanes would have 10 times the impact on climate that kerosene-fuelled planes do —improvements in airframe manufacture, etc. He finally comes to the colossal conclusion that:  “The growth in aviation and the need to address climate change cannot be reconciled. Given that the likely possible efficiencies are small and tend to counteract another or to be unacceptable for other reasons, a 90 per cent cut in emissions requires not only that growth stops, but that most of the planes which are flying today are grounded. I recognize that this will be not a popular message. But it is hard to see how a different conclusion could be extracted from the available evidence.”(p. 182)

6. How does the air passenger industry contribute to the climate crisis?  What should it do to reduce its emissions of GHGs?

Air passenger travel amounts to some 75% of the air transportation industry’s volume of operations, the other 25% being the air cargo’s contribution. This statistic is somewhat fluid because mail and packages and even sometimes freight are shipped in the hulls of passenger planes.

The International Air Transportation Association (IATA), which represents some 250 airlines, does not have an emissions policy like the earlier mentioned Airports Council International. Its president recently challenged the G8 countries in Europe to unify their air traffic control systems rather than consider introducing a carbon tax or putting other GHG reduction strategies on the airlines such as a cap-and-trade system. The Aviation Transportation Action Group (ATAG) which is geared towards organizing unified actions by the civil aviation industry uses sustainability terminology without seriously being engaged in sustainable aviation. The US citizen sustainable aviation movement has defined sustainable aviation in its TEN SUSTAINABLE AVIATION DEMANDS. These demands, that are appended below, are made to the US Congress and function as an organizing tool for having presidential candidates address the social and ecological responsibilities of the aviation industry. They also function as a platform from which the citizen sustainable aviation movement invites ATAG and other aviation associations to start a conversation on these demands.

7. How does the air cargo industry contribute to the climate crisis?  What should it do to reduce its emissions of GHGs?

Air cargo is the fastest growing segment in the air transportation industry. The income of almost fifty percent of all its revenue  goes to US Airlines’ domestic and overseas operations, i.e. $12.4 billion. UPS, with its fleet of 284 jets and 10 747-400s on order, and FedEx are the major carriers of air cargo. Their planes are fully integrated into their surface networks of trucks and rail freight.

The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) has set itself three priority areas: safety, security and energy efficiency. Like the air passenger industry it thinks of expansion and cutting costs rather than pursuing a sustainability policy that gives priority to reducing projected catastrophic climate changes.

The phenomenon of expansionism in the air transportation industry –both cargo and passenger–is not only due to their constituent companies, it is also a function of government which, as mentioned earlier, often “predicts and provides”. It is also a function of the demands of the market, i.e. you, me, businesses, governments that want speed and reliability. It is also a function of the international economic system in our carbon-constrained globalizing world that is based upon theories of growth, often within the context of an  irrational supply side economics,  rather than the principles of ecological economics. The outcome of the latter system for which every one is responsible in different ways, leads, unfortunately, to a global social system that enriches the few, impoverishes the many and endangers the planet

8. How does military air transportation contribute to the climate crisis?  What should it do to reduce its emissions of GHGs?

The organization that buys and consumes most of the oil in the world is the US Air Force. It is experimenting with natural gas to reduce its multibillion oil bill. Aggregate statistics of the military’s emissions of carbon dioxide [CO2e] are hard to come by and its methodology may not be clear. Are all helicopters in Iraq included? at the 300 plus bases overseas?  How is the CO2e footprint of the international military-industrial complex calculated?

9. What should environmentalists and the citizen’s sustainable aviation movement do to reduce the air industry’s CO2 emissions?

Persons who are aware of the climate crisis can change their lifestyles and thus reduce the demand for both passenger and cargo air transportation. Living bioregionally—becoming a locavore--- would reduce the importation of food and flowers that are often flown in. Taking vacations locally or combining them with other familial, academic or business travel would also reduce the air transportation industry’ impact on the climate.

Concomitantly they can pressure the industry not to be laggard while other industries, even the oil industry, are very gradually changing their attitudes and policies. They can pressure them to positively participate in working out the mechanisms to get to the 90% reduction by 2030, be they carbon taxes, regulations, carbon sequestration, and, perhaps, cap-and-trade if they involve serious cuts by auctioning off rather than allocating the permits free of charge. They can also pressure the industry to use its own resources rather than mainly pushing for tax dollars. This can be done by shareholder resolutions, particularly by using the services of various socially responsible investment companies and pension funds.

They can also pressure governments to include the industry on an equal basis in any cap-and-trade system or other mechanisms, though fully aware of the basic incompatibility of an expansionistic industry and its need to reduce GHG emissions. They can push the government to develop a transportation policy which is integrated with an efficient intermodal surface transportation system. Surface transportation is 4-10 less energy intensive than air transportation.  On the above listed sustainable aviation websites the IITS Initiative is presented which calls for an integrated intermodal transportation system (IITS). It would integrate air transportation into an intermodal surface transportation. Instead of the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) the new act would be called the Intermodal  Surface and Air Transportation  Efficiency Act (ISATEA). The IITS Initiative requires $300 billion supplemental funding for a program that would extend over a period of 15 years.

10. How should Congress address the impact of the aviation industry on the climate crisis?

In the short term Congress should include the air transportation industry into any carbon reduction legislation on the same footing as any other industry—no preferential treatment notwithstanding its difficult predicament. In the medium term it should develop disaggregated statistics to measure CO2 emissions of military aviation’s and of the military-industrial complex and mechanisms, “wedges”, to reduce their carbon impact. In the long term Congress should revamp the air transportation system and center it on an efficient intermodal surface transportation system, such as proposed in the above mentioned IITS Initiative. What sustainable aviation means and how the IITS Initiative can be implemented in a particular region is shown at This reportage describes how aviation can become sustainable within a generation in the Sustainable Cascadia Bioregion.

11. How effective are carbon offsets for aviation?

Persons aware of the climate impact of their air travel have started to offset their emissions by paying a certain amount of money to retail carbon offsetting companies. In that way they consider themselves to be flying in a carbon neutral way.  There are about five dozens of those companies that are vying for the carbon neutral dollar, euro or yen.  Though offsetting has advantages, it cannot compete with reducing one’s carbon emissions by life style changes in both travel and eating. Monbiot calls carbon offsetting  “complacency buying” and “selling indulgences” in order to continue business as usual. He also speaks of “mortal injustice” where countries least responsible for global warming will be hit hardest. In his writings, he shows the connection between aviation and the drowning of a Bangladeshi or the starvation of an Ethiopian farmer.

Though more efficiency and transparency is taking place in these companies, particularly after the excellent report by the Tufts Climate Initiative, the advantages of tree planting seems to have been exaggerated given the absorption rate of various trees at various stages in their life cycle. More bang for the carbon reduction dollar can be gotten by having them invested in renewable energy technologies such as wind and photovoltaics, particularly in countries in the South. My two favorite organizations for receiving my carbon offsets for plane and car travel is which provides PV for rural areas in Africa and in Sierra Leone which combines sustainable development in rural areas with conflict resolution in the training of community leaders.

Strictly speaking, people in both North and South should start considering themselves, respectively, as carbon debtors and carbon creditors. Applying the contraction and convergence approach as explained in  which is the basis for Monbiot’s 90% reduction by 2030 strategy of CO2e reduction, every person on the planet is to be allocated 1.2. tons of CO2e.  An Ethiopian farmer and a Bangladeshi fisherman are high carbon creditors, while an European and an American are high carbon debtors. The gap between them is about 1 to 200.  An American with his 19.9 tons of  CO2 emissions would need to develop a payment schedule over 15 years or so to reach his/her allocated target of 1.2 tonnes of CO2. The practical and monetary implications of this CAP-AND-DONATE approach will be further elaborated on the above listed websites.

It is also worth mentioning that the UN has developed the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) where governments can transfer their carbon dollars to the South. Again, strictly speaking, this CDM with all its imperfections is a far fairer way than the usual cap-and-trade system where the trading is taking place between countries in the North rather than having carbon dollars go to carbon creditor nations in the South.


•    Become aware of the important connection between aviation and the climate crisis.
•    Engage in advocacy for a sustainable aviation industry by supporting the appended TEN SUSTAINABLE AVIATION DEMANDS of the citizen sustainable aviation movement and perhaps joining its Yahoo group at This group was started for activities in New York City for April 14, 07 National Day of Climate Action and is to become permanent for anyone concerned about the minimalist contribution by the aviation industry to reducing its GHG emissions.
•    Consider how to drastically reduce air travel by adhering to a self-imposed carbon budget that, like a mortgage payment, reduces a person’s carbon footprint  over a period of some 15 years.
•    Consider how to live and eat bioregionally, i.e. enjoy the limits and opportunities of the local biological region, particularly its local and seasonal fruits and vegetables; giving a second thought to the many imported products that is used every day.
•    Include in one’s view of trade, not only free and fair trade, but also frugal trade, i.e. trade that does not import frivolous goods.
•    Consider how to develop a low mobility, but high communicative life style and how to implement the many energy efficiency activities a concerned citizen can engage in. Cf. David Gershon’s Low Carbon Diet, A 30 day Program to Loose 5000 pounds. (Reducing one international return trip, e.g. from NY to London would save 1.3 tonnes or about 3000 pounds in a couple of days! Taking one would basically wipe out one’s annual allocation of 1.2 tons based upon Monbiot’s 90% by 2030 target)
•    Join the many groups that are active in climate crisis activities or at least subscribe to their email lists. Consider participating in or even organizing an action on aviation and the climate crisis during activities proposed by McKibben and friends in
•    Join the action campaign of Public Citizen to have Congress not allocate for free, but auction off pollution permits. Include in your letters to your Congressional representatives that no preferential treatment is to be given to the aviation industry notwithstanding their precarious predicament. All polluters pay is the principle.
•    Have your local airports consider hiring the consulting services of SAVIA Associates International which is being formed from among professional members in the citizen sustainable aviation movement. SAVIA stands for S(ustianable) AVIA(tion).
•    Many other ways.


We live in a complex, carbon-constrained globalizing world. We, in the USA, live in pluralistic society with a capitalist economy. Notwithstanding racism, sexism and other –isms the potential of the diverse US society for playing a leading positive role is high.

However, its capitalist system based upon growthism and the pursuit of a worldwide market fundamentalism is to be questioned. It runs counter to the challenge of coming to grips with the climate crisis and, perhaps more importantly, it promotes an international system that enriches the few, impoverishes the many and endangers the planet. Perhaps, the climate crisis may become a blessing in disguise for the U.S. and other industrialized countries for they will be  forced to engage in real soul searching, so that the catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis can be avoided and a world can be created that is built on justice and sustainability.

The climate crisis is pushing humanity to probe its role on the planet and using scientific and religious achievements to pursue a sustainability revolution that will be able to avoid the unmanageable and manage the avoidable in this climate emergency. William Ruckelshaus, first administrator of the US EPA, asked the right question in 1970 and places the sustainability revolution in the right perspective.
Can we move nations and people in the direction of sustainability? Such a move would be a modification of society comparable in scale to only two other changes: the Agricultural Revolution of the late Neolithic, and the Industrial Revolution of the past two centuries. These revolutions were gradual, spontaneous, and largely unconscious. This one will have to be a fully conscious operation, guided by the foresight that science can provide. (and by the vision that humanity’s ethical system can provide, such as the present Earth Charter. FV) If we actually do it, the undertaking will be absolutely unique in humanity’s stay on Earth.”

APPENDIX A: DRAFT OF THE TEN US SUSTAINABLE AVIATION DEMANDS as presented by SAFE, Inc. during Spring 2007, inspired by a similar set of demands by the UK citizen sustainable aviation movement.

We, citizens of the USA, demand that the following ten requests be seriously considered by the three branches of the US federal government and by our state and local governments. As citizens of this great country we demand that our chosen leaders provide a healthy environment that is both socially and ecologically robust. This means that US aviation policies, programs and projects are to be based upon the principles of ecological sustainability, equity and accountability.

The following ten demands were inspired by the citizen sustainable aviation movement in Britain in their response to the Government’s 2003 White Paper on Aviation of December 2003:
 Rein back the unsustainable expansion of the National Airspace Redesign (NAR) Program
Being sold as an efficiency and safety program, the NAR program is expansionistic and will reinforce the unbalanced US transportation system in favor of the premium, i.e. expensive mode of air travel. Citizens have to push for the Fifth Alternative, i.e. Doing More with Less, for demand is often a function of capacity. Like the rationing of the limited capacity of the radio spectrum, rationing can be suggested as an approach to limited and reduced air space and airport capacity.

Plan for a US  integrated intermodal transportation system (IITS) where preference is given to the less energy intensive and less polluting surface modes of transportation Citizen Aviation Watch, USA, Inc. is proposing the IITS Initiative, a supplemental $300 billion, 15 year program that would integrate air transportation with an efficient intermodal surface transportation system that includes an expanded and efficient rail system (mostly for freight), a national modern coach network, Maglev, etc. Short-haul air flights would be replaced by fast, not necessarily, high speed trains or maglev.

Include air transportation emissions into any global warming legislation, programs and projects on an equal basis with other industries
No serious headway in reducing global warming gases can be made without reducing the aviation industry’s emissions as is made clear in George Monbiot’s recent book Heat. How to Stop the Planet From Burning.

Recognize the limits rising oil prices will put on demand for air travel as we head towards $100 per barrel in a world where oil production has peaked or will peak soon
Given that air transportation is 4-10 times more energy intensive, high oil prices will inordinately affect the aviation industry

Remove the tax give-aways  the aviation industry enjoys
A complete overhaul of subsidies in all forms will push transportation planners towards integrating the premium mode of air travel with the less energy intensive and therefore less polluting modes of surface transportation, which may not be necessarily less expensive.

Reassess air freight which currently pays no special tax as passengers do
Consider not only taxing air freight, but also reducing the amount of air                                                                                                   freight by creating opportunities for people and industries to primarily use local resources.

Reduce both the day and night time noise suffered by local  communities, as well  as the numbers of people affected
Though technically and operationally aircraft noise can be somewhat more reduced, the greatest reduction will come from a reduced number of planes in an integrated intermodal transportation system
Respect the country's biodiversity and heritage, including ancient
woodlands and listed buildings,  if airports have to be expanded l
Healthy ecological and social systems are the foundation of quality of human life and of the larger community of life or Earth Community

Revise the economic assessment of the aviation industry
In the interest of well-being of people and planet all industries are to be reassessed by the principles of ecological economics, so that they internalize both social and ecological costs of their operations.

Rethink the "predict & provide" approach put forward by governments and the airframe manufacturers such as Boeing, Airbus, and Bombardier.
Influenced by the military-industrial complex’ s predict and provide modus operandi, the civil aviation industry is to reassess its link to the military and militarism.