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Thirteen steps to a just transport system

Issue 318

1. A just transition We must end over-reliance on the most polluting, climate-harming forms of transport driven by a globalised corporate economy. This requires negotiations and collaborative planning for a transition that will not be made at the expense of workers in the relevant sectors.

need binding targets, transparency and meaningful democratic participation.

8. A moratorium on new airports and airport expansion This includes airport-centric commercial and industrial developments serving aviation growth, as well as aerotropolises (airport cities) and special economic zone developments. Communities that would be isolated without access to air travel must be considered, and ecological ways of connecting them should be sought.

2. A shift to other modes of transport We must shift from harmful modes of transport to more environ­mentally sound ones. Short-haul and some medium-distance flights can be shifted to trains in regions where relevant railway infrastructure exists, or otherwise onto buses or coaches.

9. Cessation of privileges for the aviation industry Aviation should no longer receive special advantages over other transport sectors. Airlines, airports and aircraft manufacturers get huge subsidies and tax breaks – the main reason why many flights are so cheap.

3. An economy of short distances Freight transport ac­counts for a significant share of carbon emissi­ons. Instead of aiming to triple the volume of trans­port by 2050, we need to reduce the demand for goods from far away and develop localised economies.

4. Enabling changing habits and modes of living We must challenge social and workplace norms that encourage excessive air travel. Leisure trips can generally be in-region or slow-travel. Online confe­rences can replace many working trips.

5. Land rights and human rights In order to stop the ongoing dispossession, pollution, destruction and ecocide caused by the aviation industry and connec­ted activities, the rights of Indigenous peoples, local communities and peasants regarding the governance and tenure of their lands and territories should be fully recognised and respected.

6. Climate justice Achieving climate justice is more than a legal process. It requires societies to prioritise a good life for all above profits for the few. This includes justice for all, now and for future generations. It also implies the struggle against all forms of discri­mination based on gender, origin, race, class, religion or sexual orientation. It means that the global north and the global wealthy are responsible for a larger share of the effort to combat the climate crisis and mitigate the consequences, including financial payments for liability and redress.

10. A ban on air-travel industry marketing Systemic incentives for air travel should end. These include flight-related ads or other marketing by the travel, airline and aircraft-manufacturing industries. Frequent flyer programmes should end, as they strongly reinforce flying as a status symbol.

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11. Addressing the problems of offsetting Carbon offsets do not deliver real emissions reductions, and biodiversity losses cannot in reality be compensated. Offset projects often lead to local conflicts or land grabbing. Offsetting is unjust and distracts from the urgent need to reduce, not shift, destruction.

12. Eschewing biofuels Substantial use of biofuels in aircraft would (both directly and indirectly) drive a massive increase in deforestation and peat drainage and thereby cause vast carbon emissions. It would also lead to land grabbing and human rights violations, including forced eviction and loss of food sovereignty.

13. Recognition of the illusion of technological fixes Step-changes in aviation technology are uncertain and will not come into effect until decades from now. Given the urgency of emissions reductions, relying on questionable scenarios like a sector-wide introduction of electric planes is too risky and diverts focus away from the immediate emission cuts needed. Even future electrofuel-propelled aircraft would be harmful without strong sustainability criteria and a reduction in aviation.

7. Strong political commitments To limit global heating to 1.5 °C, and to leave fossil fuels in the ground, we cannot rely on voluntary promises. At all levels – local, national, and regional – we

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