UK Targets Airplane Emissions

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Carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft in the United Kingdom rose 85 percent between 1990 and 2000, according to a government report quoted Monday in the Financial Times. Another 30-percent increase is expected in this decade. The latest figures, coming on the heels of a recent report that showed air travel to cause more pollution than trains, sparked calls for more study and new taxes. "We have to start linking taxation with environmental damage in public transport," Liberal Democrat spokesman Norman Baker told the Times. The aim of taxation would be to make trains more competitive and, presumably, to discourage growth in the aviation sector. Carbon dioxide is generally cited as the main culprit likely to cause global warming. A 1999 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said subsonic aircraft account for about 3.5 percent of the global warming caused by human activities. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol (which the U.S. has so far declined to ratify) calls for worldwide reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases, but aviation is not specifically targeted. Canada formally ratified the Kyoto agreement this week.