With increasing evidence that aviation is a significant contributor to global warming the government today announced that all commercial aircraft entering or leaving UK airspace will be required to carry warnings about the damage that their carbon emissions are doing to the environment.
Initially, the warnings will spell out, in stark language, the effect that flying has on the world’s flora and fauna, hint at the destruction of habitats, and will be regularly updated with the current cost of oil, per barrel, measured in koala bears. If the warnings fail to have the desired effect, there are plans to show more graphic images of floods, dying whales and toothless, grinning Eskimos wearing shorts and flip-flops.
In-flight procedures will also be affected with cabin crew being retrained to roll their eyes, shake their heads and ‘tut’ loudly as each person boards the plane. After the safety briefing they will encourage everyone to look out at the engines during the flight and have a long, hard think about the real cost of their exciting little trip. All in-flight movies will be interrupted every twenty minutes with a brief infomercial suggesting that earth is doomed unless we change our ways. To further emphasise the unnecessary waste caused by flying, the plastic trays from all the onboard ready meals will be stacked at the exits at the end of the flight with a large sign saying ‘You really should be ashamed of yourselves’.
Some airline passengers felt that the move was a little oppressive, with one saying, ‘Of course carbon emissions are an issue, but I really don’t want to start my dream trip to Thailand by being made to feel guilty all the way there.’ But one minister who followed Gordon Brown’s example of holidaying in the UK said, ‘But, you just don’t need sun, beaches and exotic cuisine to have a good time. It’s great to holiday in your own constituency let me tell you, and the kids really enjoyed the mining museum both times this week.’
Speaking at the launch of a guide aimed at reducing business travel through better use of IT, government Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly was adamant that the message had to get across, saying, ‘We’ve tried switching from Celsius to Fahrenheit and back again but it’s not working, it’s still getting warmer. We have to really start doing more about it and business must be at the forefront of that.’ However, her campaign may have been set back by the release of figures which show an enormous increase in the carbon footprint of millions of electrically powered items such as computers, fax machines and mobile phones compared to 25 years ago, when there weren’t any.