Britain Mulls Ways to Limit Impact of Aviation Industry

With the holidays looming, the airports and skies are fuller than ever — unfortunately for the environment. Air travel is the most environmentally damaging way to get around, with planes using vast quantities of fossil fuels and emitting toxic byproducts and greenhouse gases. The issue is looming large on the radar screen in Britain, where the government just released a white paper on the future of aviation. Environmentalists were disappointed by the contents of the paper, which they say failed to adequately address the problems of pollution, airport expansion, and greenhouse gas emissions. With air travel growing at 3 to 5 percent per year, the impact of aviation on the U.K.’s carbon dioxide emissions will double — or more — by 2020, according to Friends of the Earth. FOE and others want Britain to tax the aviation industry for its fuel use to encourage the development of more efficient planes.