File this one under 'irony'.
Heathrow Airport has outlined how it will adapt its controversial third runway to the affects of climate change.
In a consultation document, the airport said that climate change will mean more heatwaves, droughts, storms and floods and that it was factoring this into its expansion.
In the document, the airport said:
“The assessment has considered a range of different climate changes; higher average temperatures and more heatwave events, reduced summer rainfall, more frequent intense rainfall events; potentially increased extreme wind and storm events; and fewer extreme cold events.”
“If the airport design did not consider climate change there would be a greater chance of effects such as rainfall filling drainage, increased flooding, overheating in buildings and public spaces, failure of equipment in extreme temperatures, water shortages, operational disruption from storm events, and alterations to affected or new landscapes.”
The airport is expanding in order to allow more planes to fly to and from it.
Environmental group Friends of the Earth has challenged the expansion in the courts, claiming the government did not adequately take account of its climate change affects when they approved it.
Commenting on Heathrow’s plans to adapt to climate change, Friends of the Earth executive director Craig Bennett said:
“Expanding Heathrow will bring more misery to local communities, and pump more climate-wrecking emissions into our atmosphere.
“In the UK, 15% of people take over 70% of flights – so it’s a small minority of people causing most of the problem. Heathrow expansion represents wealthy frequent flier convenience and corporate enrichment at the expense of us all.
“With Parliament declaring a climate emergency, and the UK government committed to net zero carbon emissions, it’s time to change direction on transport policy and pull the brake on airport expansion.”
By 2050, when the airport’s expansion will be in its fourth phase, aviation is expected to be the single greatest contributor to climate change.
Aviation contributes to climate change by burning fuel and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Aviation also produces contrails, the white lines which follow planes. These can turn into artificial clouds which trap heat into the earth’s atmosphere and contribute to global warming.
In June 2018, parliament overwhelmingly approved the expansion after the Labour Party allowed a free vote on the issue and the Scottish National Party abstained.
Although Jeremy Corbyn and 96 of his MPs voted against the expansion, 119 Labour MPs including Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner supported it.
Labour’s 2017 manifesto said it “recognises the need for additional airport capacity in the South-East” but will gurantee that any expansion meets the UK’s climate change obligations.
Most Conservatives voted in favour of expansion but eight rebelled and some, including Boris Johnson, missed the vote.
Johnson has previously said he would lie in front of the bulldozers to oppose the expansion but has recently dropped his opposition.
The Liberal Democrats and Green MP Caroline Lucas voted against the expansion.
Joe Lo is a reporter for Left Foot Forward and a freelance journalist
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