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Fossil Fuel based industries, such as airlines, should bear the brunt of emerging from Covid-19 pandemic

May 14, 2020 12:00 PM
By Keith Melton and Steve Mason

Small logo - Green Liberal Democrats (Green Liberal Democrats) PRESS RELEASE ….



"Fossil Fuel based industries, such as airlines, should bear the brunt of emerging from Covid-19 pandemic", says Lib Dem Environmental Think Tank

"The Government must prioritise lower carbon footprint industries as we emerge from the Coronavirus Pandemic" urged former North West Lib Dem MEP, Jane Brophy, a leading light of the Green Liberal Democrats, the Party`s environmental `think tank".

This means that industries doing the most damage to the environment, such as airlines, will have to bear the brunt of the economic downturn as the country recovers from the lockdown. We are prepared to offer them support, like we would offer other industries, but only if they start getting serious about climate change .There is a huge opportunity for re-skilling and transfer of skills of those who work in the current industry and that workforce needs to be supported as the transition occurs. It also means that we all need to use our community`s huge store of ingenuity to devise ways of reducing our impact on the natural world.

"The time is now, we must use a collective `hive-mind` from all sections of society to reset priorities and rebalance the economy towards low-carbon outcomes away from oil-exhausting businesses, flying environmentally unfriendly planes. The last thing we need is to stumble from the coronavirus emergency into the climate change emergency."

GLD Chair, Keith Melton added, "If there is a silver lining of the awful coronavirus cloud, it has been the huge reduction in air pollution worldwide. We really must not go back to the `old normal`. In the `new normal` we should see climate change and biodiversity losses as a slower moving human-caused `pandemic` with the capacity to kill us all off in a slow-motion extinction event."

The Green Liberal Democrat think tank, meeting last night, urged the Chancellor to convert the Government`s huge financial initiatives from `furloughing employees`, towards direct support of all workers through UBI (Universal Basic Income). This way, the financial safety net catches everybody, including gig economy workers, self-employed micro businesses and casual workers, instead of protecting the profits of many large, planet-damaging businesses, such as the aviation industry.


The Green Liberal Democrat group (GLD) was formed at the same time as the Liberal Democrat merger occurred in 1988, taking in the Liberal Ecology Group, whose roots go back a further ten years, and the SDP`s `Green Group`. GLD was instrumental in placing a key sentence into the Preamble of the Liberal Democrat constitution:-

"We believe that each generation is responsible for the fate of our planet and, by safeguarding the balance of nature and the environment, for the long-term continuity of life in all its forms."

GLD now acts as an environmental think tank for the party - the "environmental conscience" of the Liberal Democrats.

Website - www.greenlibdems.org.uk

Background to the Issue

Some countries have already given illegal, anti-competitive grants and tax holidays to their Flag Airlines and we think these financial incentives are seriously misplaced when considering the dangers of Global Heating and the huge negative impact airlines have for both climate change and air quality.

This also applies to the support for national and regional airports. If, as strategic industries, they need to be supported, such support should only come after huge environmental improvements are made. Attached is the media release from Oldham Liberal Democrats, 12th May, about the support package relating to Greater Manchester airports businesses* which appear to have lost up to 90% of their overall income through the economic crash due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Carbon offsetting, by itself, is nowhere near enough - it is essentially "greenwash"

There are articles explaining aspects of UBI - Universal (or Unconditional) Basic Income on the GLD website www.greenlibdems.org.uk

*NB Includes East Midlands & Stansted Airport

Keith Melton

Chair Green Liberal Democrats