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Network to Counter Aviation – For a Just Transport System
Updated: 5 days 20 hours ago

Who Greases the Wheels of Deportation Flights?

Thu, 02/16/2023 - 05:12

Here we present a summary of Corporate Watch’s original post from 06 Jan 2023:

Air Partner and Carlson Wagonlit are the grease spinning the wheels of the UK deportation machine through the Home Office and have been organising logistics for mass-deportation flights for years. The Home Office is the UK’s “lead government department for immigration and passports, drugs policy, crime, fire, counter-terrorism and police.” International travel megacorp Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) holds a £5.7 million, seven-year contract with the Home Office for the “provision of travel services for immigration purposes”, as it has done for nearly two decades. A key part of its work – the chartering of aircraft and crew to carry out the deportations – has been subcontracted to a little-known aviation charter outfit called Air Partner.

Air Partner: Home office deportation broker

When the UK’s Home Office wants to carry out a mass deportation flight, the task of finding the airline is delegated to Air Partner. Meanwhile, Carlson Wagonlit books the tickets, oversees the overall operation, arranges deportations on scheduled flights, and liaises with the guards who physically enforce the expulsions.

Flying for Frontex

Yet Air Partner isn’t just the UK government’s deportation dealer. Its Austrian branch is currently one of four companies which organise mass expulsions for the European Coast Guard and Border Agency, Frontex, in a €15 million framework contract that was renewed in August 2022.

Frontex organises deportation charter flights – either for multiple EU states at a time (where the plane stops to pick up deportees from several countries) – or for a single state. The Agency also arranges for individuals to be deported on regular commercial flights.

Air Partner’s work for Frontex is very similar to its work for the Home Office. It sources willing aircraft and crew, obtains flight and landing permits, and organises hotels – presumably for personnel – “in case of delays”.

Air Partner has been hired by dozens of governments and royal families worldwide and has done considerable work for Ireland, Austria, Germany, France and the United States. For example, between August 2021 and February 2022, the Austrian government awarded the company six Frontex-funded deportation contracts, worth an estimated average of €33,796.

In the first half of 2021, 22 of the EU’s 27 member states participated in Frontex flights, with Germany making far greater use of the ‘service’ than any other country. Air Partner enjoys its status as a privileged gatekeeper to Europe’s lucrative ‘deportation market’, and ultimately, the golden land of government contracts more generally.

In cahoots with the military & the wealthy

Air Partner was founded in 1961 with its origins in military work. Up until 2010, military contracts represented over 60% of pre-tax profits. It has also cashed in off of one crisis after the next from the War on Terror, to the Arab Spring and most recently from Covid-19. The company is also complicit in the creation of refugees, large numbers of whom Air Partner would later deport back to those war zones. It feeds war with invading armies, then feasts on its casualties.

The company reportedly carried at least 4,000t of military supplies during the first Gulf War. The chairman at the time, Tony Mack, said:

The Gulf War was a windfall for us. We’d hate to say ‘yippee, we’re going to war’, but I guess the net effect would be positive.6

9/11 and the subsequent War on Terror was a game changer for the company, marking a departure from reliance on corporate customers and a shift to more secure government work. First – as with the pandemic – there was a boom in private jet hire due to “the number of rich clients who are reluctant to travel on scheduled services”.7

It obtained significant the military contracts during the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. During the occupation of Afghanistan, it “did a lot of freighting for the military”,8 while later benefiting from emergency evacuation work when coalition foreign policy came to its inevitably grim conclusion in 2021.

Another financial highlight for the company was the 2011 Arab Spring, which contributed to a 93% increase in pre-tax profits. As people in Libya, Egypt, Bahrain and Tunisia took to the streets against their dictators, the company carried out emergency evacuations, including for “some of the largest oil companies”. A year later, it described a “new revenue stream from the oil & gas industry”, perhaps a bonus product of the evacuation work.

Finally, its largest jump in profits was seen in 2021, as it reaped the benefits of converging crises: the pandemic, the evacuation of Afghanistan, and the supply chain crisis caused by Brexit and the severe congestion of global sea-shipping routes.

Besides governments and wealthy individuals, its current client base includes “corporates, sports and entertainment teams, industrial and manufacturing customers, and tour operators”. Air Partner regularly serves the Wales football team, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid. It also flew teams and fans to the controversial 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.5


What is really the difference between the people smugglers vilified daily by right-wing rags, and deportation merchants like Air Partner? True, Air Partner helps cast humans away in the opposite direction, often to places of danger rather than potential safety. And true, smugglers’ journeys are generally more consensual, with migrants themselves often hiring their fixers. But for a huge fee, people smugglers and deportation profiteers alike ignore the risks and indignities involved, as human cargo is shunted around in the perverse market of immigration controls. Instead of becoming accustomed to a dystopian reality, let’s be spurred on by the campaign’s success to put an end to this cruel industry in its entirety.

Photos: 1: 2021 deportation on a Privilege Style flight from Germany, Michael Trammer 2: Corporate Watch


1 Aldrick, Philip. “Worth teaming up with Air Partner”. The Daily Telegraph, October 07, 2004.

2 “Air Partner makes progress in the face of some strong headwinds”. Proactive Investors UK, August 27, 2021.

3 Aldrick, Philip. “Worth teaming up with Air Partner”. The Daily Telegraph, October 07, 2004.

4 Lea, Robert. “Mark Briffa has a new partner in aircraft chartering and isn’t about to fly away”. The Times, April 29, 2022

5 Ibid.

6 “AirPartner predicts rise in demand if Gulf war begins”. Flight International, January 14 2003.

7 “Celebrity status boosts Air Partner”. Yorkshire Post, October 10, 2002.

8 Baker, Martin. “The coy royal pilot”. The Sunday Telegraph, April 11, 2004.

9 Hancock, Ciaran. “Air Partner”. Sunday Times, April 10, 2005.

10 Saker-Clark, Henry. “Repatriation and PPE flights boost Air Partner”. The Herald, May 6, 2020.

Der Beitrag Who Greases the Wheels of Deportation Flights? erschien zuerst auf Stay Grounded.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

20+ Actions against Private Jets

Tue, 02/14/2023 - 11:22
Love in Action: Climate Activists and Scientists Target Private Jets on Valentine’s Day

Today, several blockades of private jet terminals took place around the globe.
Protestors call for a ban on private jets, the taxation of frequent flyers and that polluters pay for the loss and damage they cause.

February 14th, 2023 – Today, at least 16 actions targeting private jet airports took place in 11 countries. Three more actions against private jets happened the days before. The protests are part of the ongoing Make Them Pay campaign [1] to confront the climate injustice of aviation and call out the rich and powerful for their luxury emissions.

Targets included the Air Ops luxury aviation conference in Brussels [2], along with private jet terminals in Los Angeles (US, Feb 11), Brussels (BE, Feb 13), Sevilla (ES, Feb 13), London Luton (UK), Christchurch (NZ), two in Stockholm, Malmö, Lund, Gothenburg (SW), Milan (IT), Amsterdam (NL), Værnes and Trondheim (NO), Cascais (PT), Melbourne and Victoria (AU), Madrid, Palma de Mallorca and Ibiza (ES). More actions are happening right now in the US – in total 23 actions are expected.

It is time to ban private jets and tax frequent flyers to the ground”, states NASA climate scientist Dr. Peter Kalmus from Scientist Rebellion, emphasizing that “we cannot allow the rich to sacrifice our present and future in the pursuit of their luxury lifestyles“.

The campaign is supported by Scientist Rebellion, Extinction Rebellion and Stay Grounded, and unites citizens and scientists from around the globe behind three demands:


At least 200 people took part in the protests, 50+ of them scientists from a variety of disciplines. Disruption was caused by protesters using an array of tactics, from symbolic actions to blockading airport entrances and runways or stopping trains loaded with airplane fuel. Some protestors were arrested and later released, while several more were identified by the police. This wave of protest follows similar actions against private jets in November and January.

The campaign highlights that the jet-setting life-styles of the richest 1% are causing devastating climate impacts, yet private jet use is massively subsidised and untaxed. [3] “With no useful policies in place to tackle this climate injustice, we need to use our bodies to stop the private jets”, explains Marion Malcher from Extinction Rebellion UK.

Burning tons of fuel for luxury flights is incredibly unfair during a cost-of-living crisis, and criminal within the context of an intensifying climate crisis”, says Inês Teles from the global Stay Grounded network. Aviation represents the pinnacle of emissions inequality and needs to be drastically reduced in order to halt the climate crisis. “We should start by cutting out the most carbon-intensive and useless flights – and private jets are the most striking example of those“, proposes Inês [4].

In fact, private jets are mostly used for recreation and for very short trips (< 500 km), where alternatives like trains exist. A private jet is 10 times more energy-intensive compared to a commercial airliner, and 50 times more energy-intensive compared to train travel. A four-hour flight in a private jet emits as much carbon as the average person does in an entire year [5]. Furthermore, 1% of the global population produces over a half of total aviation emissions [6], while 80% of the global population have never even set foot on a plane [7].

Citizens’ Assemblies in multiple countries have shown that people are in favor of banning private jets. They also concluded that wealthy polluters should pay for their higher emissions, and that there should be an increasing tax applied to those who fly further and more frequently than others [8]. This is known as a frequent flyer levy [9].

Sara Campbell from Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa / New Zealand makes it clear: “aviation fuel and frequent flyers should be taxed and the proceeds from this tax should be used to finance affordable public transport for all and climate reparations to those most affected by the climate crisis, who are also the least responsible.” The Least Developed Countries (LDC) group, representing the most climate-vulnerable countries at COP27, also proposed a global aviation tax in order to pay for climate ‘loss & damage’ funds for their countries [10]. Studies show that we could raise in excess of $100 billion a year this way [11]. For countries most affected by climate change, it is also key to have debts cancelled, so that they can afford to transition to low-carbon economies [12]. In addition, recent studies show that the failure to address the power and privilege of the polluter elite is a core driver of climate breakdown. This is a precondition for tackling global poverty, since reducing carbon consumption at the top can free up carbon space to lift people out of poverty [13].

This campaign is a call to action, with follow-up protests to be expected in the upcoming months. “We must apply pressure to political leaders, particularly within wealthy countries with the most air traffic, to address these inequalities once and for all – and to introduce progressive policies to crack down on excessive flying, and raise the climate finance that has been so long promised, yet never delivered”, concludes Dr. Rose Abramoff, earth scientist and member of Scientist Rebellion [14].

Photos for free use 



“It is obscene that Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates can fly their private jets tax free, while the average person is struggling to pay for energy and make ends meet. It’s only fair that wealthy polluters pay for their sky-high emissions and help fund measures for those who most need it.”
– Inês Teles, Stay Grounded spokesperson

“To put it bluntly: The rich are destroying the planet, the damage is irreversible, and we have to stop them. Banning private jets, taxing frequent flyers, and making the polluters pay are sensible first steps.”
– Dr. Darci Rush, senior marine researcher who works on paleoclimate reconstructions at a Dutch research institute

“To avoid climate catastrophe, we must shift into emergency mode. This includes reducing the luxury emissions of a wealthy elite, whose carbon footprint is orders of magnitude larger than that of the rest of us. It is unacceptable that the super-rich continue criss-crossing around the world while millions are suffering from disastrous climate impacts.”
– Dr. Marthe Wens, Assistant Professor in drought risk, water security, and societal impacts at a Dutch university

“Extinction Rebellion and other climate activist groups are often criticised for disrupting the lives of ‘normal working people’ – well it should be clear that owning a private jet isn’t normal. This is a targeted action – we’re disrupting only the top 1%: the highest-income, highest emitters who are most responsible for pollution and have the most power to affect changes.”
– Dr. Rose Abramoff, earth scientist and member of Scientist Rebellion

“Our campaign demands come from listening to the most climate-vulnerable communities and democratic Citizens’ Assembly recommendations, which have been largely ignored by our politicians.”
– Dr. Björn Paxling, Scientist Rebellion Sweden

“Rapid climate action will involve some changes for all of us. But the largest changes are required from the top 10% of incomes, who are also those who have a bigger responsibility in the climate crisis. For most people relatively little change is required and those changes that do happen can have positive benefits to health and wellbeing. A more equal, healthier, safer and cleaner planet is possible – but we need to pressure those in power to deliver it.”
– Matthew Wheeler, Biohealth scientist, wildland firefighter, co-founder of Guardian Rebellion, board member of the Second Rainbow Coalition and member of Scientist Rebellion.

“I’m an aviation worker – but feel that I can’t stand-by watching the emissions from my industry continue to grow and contribute so heavily to the climate carnage wreaking havoc around the world. These impacts are mostly felt by the poorest communities, so it’s sickening to also realise that an elite minority of super-rich mega polluters are responsible for the majority of global emissions from air travel. ”
– Finlay Asher, aerospace engineer, and co-founder of Safe Landing [15]


[1] “Make Them Pay” campaign website:

[2] AIR OPS is Europe’s biggest event organized by the European lobby of private jets (EBAA). It hosts 400 industry professionals like leasing corporations, brokers, tax consultants, fuel suppliers etc. It takes place 13-15 February in Event Lounge in Brussels. In their agenda are talks about taxes, labor market and their greenwashed climate targets.






[8] Multiple national Citizens’ Assemblies have produced such recommendations for the aviation sector, including:

  • The UK Climate Assembly recommendations:
    • “Ban polluting private jets and helicopters, moving to electric technology as it becomes available”
    • “80% of assembly members ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’ that taxes that increase as people fly more often and as they fly further should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. Assembly members saw these taxes as fairer than alternative policy options.”
  • Scotland’s Climate Assembly recommendations:
    • “Eliminate frequent flyer and air mile bonuses to reduce the number of flights taken for business, encouraging the use of alternatives like video conferencing for meetings.” – 92% agree
    • “Discourage air travel by introducing a frequent flyer tax or levy.” – 78% agree
  • French Citizens’ Convention on Climate:
    • Limiting the adverse effects of air travel: “Adopt an enhanced eco-contribution per kilometre”, “Increasing fuel taxes for recreational aviation”, and “Promoting the idea of a European eco-contribution” – 88.1% agree.

[9] Explanation of Frequent Flyer Levy policy:







Der Beitrag 20+ Actions against Private Jets erschien zuerst auf Stay Grounded.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Stay Grounded in review: 2022 – A year of actions for reducing aviation

Thu, 01/26/2023 - 22:42

It is hard to put the many things that happened in our growing network in 2022 in a nutshell! But that being said, here comes our (surely incomplete) best attempt to give an overview over the activities and achievements of the past year. By our activities, we mean the activities of our global network of over 200 member initiatives and our individual members, especially those active in our regional networks or regional groups as well as content working groups and those who contributed to our countless discussions, the volunteers who gave their time and skills, our “Turtles” coordination group and our team of campaigners.

Stay Grounded in review: 2022 – A year of actions for reducing aviation

…a given social movement isn’t a list of organizations, or campaigns, or even individuals; it’s the set of relationships between organizations, campaigns, individuals etc. – Farhad Imbrahimi*

In 2022, the aviation industry pushed hard to return to its destructive pre-pandemic business as usual and greenwash its growth plans. Our focus as a network therefore, was to delegitimize the industry’s greenwashing, grow our movement and mutual solidarity, and improve our framing and communication. Alongside this we developed strategies and powerful actions together with our network to build political pressure for change. Last year we also experienced how the broader climate-justice movement (re)developed an appetite for taking action on aviation.

Reframing aviation as an issue of justice

An important step in shifting the discourse on aviation was the publication of our communication guide “Common Destination: Reframing aviation to ensure a safe landing and lay the tracks towards a fair planet” (in English, Spanish, French and German – online and print) which was distributed to more than 800 organisations. Our network has been able to use the narratives, facts, infographics and tools for supporting and shaping their communication and actions on aviation!

In June, we also launched our multiplier trainings which garnered 133 participants from all over Europe and beyond. Out of that we’ve started building up a growing force of trainers to communicate on the injustices of aviation who can be booked for workshops or events. We also have a network of consultants ready to help organizations implement changes in travel policies we recommend.

Expect. More. Action!

© Marten van Dijl / Greenpeace Nederland

In 2021 our global network urged us to return to being more action oriented to increase political pressure and spread the facts and positions we had elaborated in the past years. Following suit, in October, together with our local member N.A.D.A., we organised an action conference in Lille, France with 150 plus participants from all over Europe and beyond who joined in person and online. As part of the conference, we took our message to the streets, with an action against the planned expansion at Lille airport and the media paid attention!

Last year Stay Grounded and the Environmental Justice team collaborated once again for updating the map of airport conflicts and injustices in the Environmental Justice Atlas (English/Spanish). There are now more than 100 detailed case studies, and through our collaboration, we also put efforts into focusing on the role of women in airport conflicts.

With our flexible action pot, we supported our members in Paraguay, Mexico, France, Germany and UK in taking action and bolstering their mobilisation efforts. The different actions and activities included a climate camp, demonstrations, a blockade, creative actions, a community event as well as information distribution.

We shared and celebrated countless other actions initiated by our members such as the rally for night trains in Portugal, Spain and France. Most recently, we also joined the Make them Pay campaign, which incentivised blockades at 11 international airports with the help of hundreds of activists and 129 scientists to push private airports to ban private jets and tax frequent flyers. Revenues from such taxes could fund climate adaptation measures and compensate countries which are vulnerable to climate change.

Countering green lies

To counter the greenwashing of aviation and create pressure to implement measures for aviation reduction, we also developed a new fact sheet in our series for revealing what lies behind “net zero” targets that industries and governments are using in nearly every climate strategy. We also challenged misleading aviation advertisements by joining Brandalism and the Subvertisers International’s week of action with activists hacking 500 advertising sites in 15 European cities. In addition, we supported a major success against misleading airline ads, busting Austrian Airlines’ claims about CO₂-neutral flying.

Finally, with the support of our network, we reacted to political developments concerning the aviation industry such as an open letter to the Council of the European Union to Stop Ignoring Two-Thirds of Aviation’s Climate Impact; an analysis of ICCT’s study on a global frequent flyer levy; and published an official reaction to ICAO’s insufficient climate target. 

Strengthening the network

In 2022, we welcomed 22 new member initiatives. Our network now represents over 200 initiatives on all continents collaborating for a degrowth of aviation and for a just mobility system! Further, our thematic working groups, informed by the expert opinions from network members, co-created a number of our publications such as the “Guide to engaging aviation workers and trade unions”. At the initiative of members from the Dominican Republic, Nepal and Mexico in particular, a new working group on tourism and aviation was set up to analyse the role we can usefully play in this major issue. The new working group already contributed to the Climate Justice Week for Latin America and the Caribbean – Peoples’ Voices.

Throughout 2022, we continued the process of increasing the ownership of Global South Stay Grounded members in an attempt to begin decolonising the structures of our network. We have done this through trying to reduce the presence of European-centric topics in the general emails lists. We also do this by focusing our activities and fundraising efforts on the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region. In line with this, we also organised a webinar on airport resistance in Peru, launched a report on a agrofuel refinery in Paraguay and a report on airport-related conflicts in Mexico together with our regional members. In 2022 we also worked to strengthen and expand the regional networks of South- / East(ern) Asia (SEA). We put together two workshops designed for the specific regions on the mapping of Airport-related Resistance and Injustices. While recognizing that decolonising our structures is a long and challenging process, we thank all our members who supported our shared learning with critical and constructive feedback!

Looking to 2023, we plan to build on the results of our action conference and join the Make them Pay campaign with even more capacities, we will need to strengthen and expand our movement to take meaningful actions and increase the pressure!

Thank you for your support! The path ahead is not easy. Let’s continue to support each other and work together in solidarity! Let’s be careful with each other so we can be dangerous together!

*found in “Emergent Strategy” by adrienne maree brown

Der Beitrag Stay Grounded in review: 2022 – A year of actions for reducing aviation erschien zuerst auf Stay Grounded.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Ryanair used misleading sustainability claims, says ACM NL

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 23:00
  • Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets requested Ryanair to change potentially false claims on sustainable flying, related to offsetting
  • Important step in countering the aviation industry’s greenwashing attempts

Vienna/Amsterdam, 25 January 2023 – After conducting an investigation into CO2 compensation claims in the airline industry, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) accused Ryanair of using misleading sustainability claims. Statements such as ‘Fly greener to […]’ might give the wrong impression that consumers can fly ‘green’ with Ryanair. Also, claims suggested that offsetting emissions would lead to sustainable flights. “Telling consumers and politicians that flying is green is simply a lie. We therefore welcome this initiative to restrict aviation’s greenwashing”, declares Magdalena Heuwieser, spokesperson of the Stay Grounded network.

Edwin van Houten, Director of ACM’s Consumer Department, explains: “Businesses must be honest and clear about the sustainability claims they make. Even with CO2-compensation schemes, flying remains a highly polluting way of travelling. Airlines may offer CO2 compensation schemes, but they cannot give the impression that CO2 compensation will make flying sustainable.” Ryanair has since implemented three changes to its website.

Eric Stam, a lecturer at the Rotterdam Airport College and Dutch member of Stay Grounded says: “ACM’s announcement is quite significant. If more national consumer authorities scrutinize sustainability claims of airlines and coordinate with each other to denounce them, airlines and airports have to be more cautious in what they promise their customers and politicians.” Eric Stam had asked the ACM two years ago to intervene in the aviation industry’s carbon offsetting claims.

However, Ryanair still calls itself the “greenest and cleanest airline in Europe“. This claim remains questionable, since it is premised on future plans, like reaching “net-zero carbon emissions by 2050” or using “12,5% sustainable aviation fuel by 2030”. “For decades, the aviation industry has missed its proclaimed green targets. Why would promises now be any different?“, asks Magdalena Heuwieser. In 2020, Ryanair already had an advert banned by the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for using outdated information claiming it was the UK’s lowest emission airline.

Aviation’s climate plans are a flightpath towards climate breakdown. Adopting climate targets with no binding commitments is like building an aeroplane without wings. Reducing flights wherever possible is the easiest solution. The industry wants to avoid effective demand control which is why it is very creative in its communication about how sustainable it could be,” explains Magdalena Heuwieser.

A 2016 study reported that technology myths represent barriers to implementing effective climate policy for aviation. Following this report, a 2021 study investigated how 37 airlines communicate about carbon offsetting, finding that over 44% of these airlines’ green claims indeed mislead consumers—while for some airlines, such as Air Canada and Swiss Airlines, the number goes up to 100%. Equally troubling, a 2022 report from the UK charity Possible described that the aviation industry missed all but one of the climate and emissions targets it set for itself between 2000 and 2021.

For Stay Grounded and other environmental organisations, several of the technologies, fuel subsidies and offsets proposed by the aviation industry are false solutions. “Many of them don’t only distract from real solutions, but actually create new problems,” explains Magdalena Heuwieser, pointing to several fact sheets that investigate aviation’s so-called green efforts. A new joint investigation by The Guardian, Die Zeit and SourceMaterial, likewise revealed that the forest carbon offsets approved by the world’s leading provider Verra and used by big corporations including United Airlines and Air France are largely worthless and could make global heating worse.

Ryanair‘s long-term climate strategy hinges on carbon offsetting, which is supposed to reduce overall emissions by 24%. Their offsetting programmes include the distribution of energy-efficient cookstoves in Uganda by First Climate or Improved Kitchen Regimes in Malawi. “It would be necessary to investigate each of these offset projects, which would most likely unveil how most of them do not really lead to emissions reductions. On top of that, it is hypocritical to pay people in Uganda to use energy efficient cooking stoves so that we can continue flying with a good conscience and airlines can continue to profit,” concludes Magdalena Heuwieser.

Ryanair is not the only airline the ACM wants to tackle over greenwashing, as several further investigations into airlines are currently ongoing. Similarly, the Dutch organisation Fossielvrij NL is taking action against KLM airlines. The climate activists have started a lawsuit because of KLM’s misleading advertisements suggesting that we are “already well on our way towards sustainable aviation”.


Stay Grounded is a global network representing more than 200 member organisations campaigning for a reduction of air traffic and a climate-just mobility system, including local and national airport and climate campaign groups.


Eric Stam
+31 628 42 13 71

Stay Grounded
Magdalena Heuwieser
+43 670 353 43 11

Der Beitrag Ryanair used misleading sustainability claims, says ACM NL erschien zuerst auf Stay Grounded.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Climate activists block private jet airport used by WEF guests

Fri, 01/20/2023 - 07:16

The access to the private jet airport in Altenrhein Switzerland was blocked by Debt for Climate activists, preventing the transfer of attendees arriving in Davos for the World Economic Forum. Their demands: cancellation of all foreign debt of countries in the Global South and that those who pollute the most should pay for the loss and damage they have caused.

It was the first hours of Monday 16th of January, and World Economic Forum (WEF) attendees were arriving at the private jet airport in Altenrhein Switzerland to travel from there to Davos for the WEF. But guests were greeted with a surprise: 15 Debt for Climate Switzerland activists had just blocked the airport with massive structures interrupting their transfer to Davos. The blockade lasted for 4 hours, with signs posted everywhere with messages like “we can no longer afford the 1%” and “Davos: stop funding climate chaos”.

Their aim was to hold the richest 1% accountable for the climate breakdown and ecological destruction caused by extreme emissions, lax policies and climate-damaging investments, along with highlighting struggles of working people and those most affected by the climate crisis around the world, who are  not represented in Davos.

This act happened as part the international Make Them Pay campaign – the same campaign that this past November blocked 11 international private airports, demanding a ban on private jets. Debt for Climate activists are demanding the rich pay their climate debt through:

  • The unconditional cancellation of all foreign debt of countries in the Global South to enable a just transition
  • That polluters pay for the loss and damage they have caused in the countries most affected by the climate crisis
Cancel Global South debt

To accelerate the global energy transition, Debt for Climate calls for the unconditional cancellation of all Global South foreign debt. This demand constitutes a first step towards structural reparations to the countries most affected by the climate crisis and who have contributed the least to it. Debt is the primary form of neo-colonialism today, forcing poor countries to keep expanding their fossil fuel industry, further fuelling the climate collapse. These debts are often illegitimate and taken out against the interests of local populations.

“Our world shouldn’t be fragmented between North and South; the real divide is between the 1% who profit from this exploitative economic system, and the rest of us who suffer its consequences. Above all, extreme accumulation and resulting inequality are driving our planet to climate breakdown” – Esteban Servat, activist from Argentina.

Make Polluters Pay

The richest 1% of the global population are responsible for more than twice the overall emissions of the poorest half of humanity. Through summits like the WEF, they have been protecting their profits, by blocking meaningful responses to climate breakdown and by continuing to fuel exploitation and ecological crises. It is only fair that the wealthiest in society, who are the most responsible for the climate crisis, pay for the necessary transition. The wealthiest should also be responsible for paying for losses and damages, as well as funding mitigation and adaptation measures, for the populations most affected by the harshest impacts of the current climate breakdown.

“We must end the triple injustice: combating environmental breakdown cannot be paid for by those who have done least to contribute to it, who have the least resources to pay for it, and whose populations would suffer the most from diverting finances towards it. For this reason, the complete and unconditional cancellation of the debts of the economically impoverished countries of the Global South is unavoidable. These debts have been incurred mainly through the vandalism of the environment and the exploitation of people. Added to this is the promotion of corruption and despots in these countries by such creditors as Switzerland, which is known worldwide as a secret bunker for stolen state money, especially from Africa.” – Peter Emorinken-Donatus, activist from Nigeria.

World Economic Failure

Every year, thousands of guests representing the wealthiest sectors of society fly to Davos for the WEF, where they debate topics ranging from climate and nature to fairer economies and global cooperation. This year they proposed to “gain fresh perspectives, and build problem-solving communities and initiatives” towards an era of “global responsibility and cooperation”.

But the hypocrisy of such statements and agendas is flagrant, starting with travelling there by private jet. A new report by Greenpeace International revealed WEF participants travelling to Davos last year were responsible for doubling the number of private jet flights during the week of the event, causing emissions from private jets four times higher than an average week. There were 1,040 private jet flights in the airports serving Davos in the week of the WEF with 53% of them being short-haul flights (under 750 km), and the shortest flight recorded was only 21 km – all these flights could have easily been replaced with train journeys. Meanwhile, 80% of the world’s population has never even flown but they are battling more frequent and dangerous incidences of extreme heat, flooding and drought.

This action was designed to draw attention to this farce: it is the elites represented in the WEF, including development banks, northern States and corporations, who are responsible for debt in the Global South and the intensifying climate breakdown and environmental devastation experienced disproportionately by populations living there. The solutions for the climate crisis have existed for decades, but just don’t expect to hear about them from Davos where the hypocrisy and failure of the world economic elites continues to be on full display.

Find more photos of the action here – Photo credits: Debt for Climate


Der Beitrag Climate activists block private jet airport used by WEF guests erschien zuerst auf Stay Grounded.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Luxury Emissions – Why We Need to Cut Them

Fri, 01/13/2023 - 04:40

We know that not all forms of energy use and emissions are created equal. We also know that some of both are unavoidable for human subsistence. Yet, there’s a current paradox around what counts as wasteful uses of energy and what doesn’t. How is it possible that people are freezing in their homes this winter or paying astronomical amounts for heating whilst luxuries like flying, eating meat and driving SUV’s largely continue without scrutiny amidst an energy crisis? Moreover, these luxuries cost us dearly in climate-heating emissions despite the current context of our current climate changed world – so what gives?

The future is now:

To glean insight into these question, Stay Grounded has been engaging with the Make Them Pay campaign, supporting their actions to ban private jets. We also held a discussion this year with climate scientist and global climate justice activist Payal Parekh, alongside Andrew Simms from the New Weather Institute who’s worked on the green new deal and car-free cities and our own Manuel Grebenjak – an activist for Austria’s  System Change Not Climate Change. Here’s what we found out…

Let them eat cake?

We need to start thinking about luxury activities as waste and make the effects this lifestyle has on the subsistence of many communities around the globe more obvious.

It is fundamentally about basic needs versus the unnecessary which has nothing to do with survival – Payal Parekh

To highlight this point, we also need to consider the great crisis of inequality that is upon us. The great crisis of inequality is exacerbating all the social, environmental and climate problems that frontline communities have already been exposed to for some time. These impacts are taking place now and not in some imagined distant future. One example is Cancer Alley in the US or as Parekh pointed to, the burning of coal to the demise of local indigenous populations. In fact the list of examples grows longer by the day. To be sure, the privileged are also beginning to face the everyday effects from the climate crisis but can still more or less maintain their current lifestyles. Yet, given the effects of the climate and energy crisis on frontline communities, Manuel Grebenjak asks how:

We still talk about flying less as a sacrifice but we don’t talk about the sacrifices we make for the aviation industry?

The blue pill or the red pill?

All this said, it’s unavoidably clear we need to seriously (keep) asking ourselves which sectors of the economy, and which energy intensive activities serve all of us or mainly benefit the richest.

Andrew Simms of New Weather Institute reminds us not to get sucked into the false dichotomy of individual versus systemic change. Yes, and resoundingly so, we need systemic change, but this doesn’t mean individual changes have no value. As Simms says, “there’s something to be said for the social contagion effect”. This effect comes as individual behaviourial change gains momentum and leads to a collective shift in norms1. Such an effect could give the initial impetus for spurring needed changes amongst the privileged, with the best outcome being people coming together to create new social norms around behaviours – like flying – while collectively pushing for systemic change. This effect can make it easier to build forces pushing for systemic changes to take hold when the political climate is ripe for it. Simms continues:

Look at moments of upheaval when there’s dramatic change – like the pandemic. Or when municipalities boldly push for change, and then residents don’t want to go back to the old way – like with removing half of parking spaces. When it comes to mega-cities, we can promote a race to the top. Take lessons of health and social issues that have helped push to reconfigure urban environments. We can also take lessons from the tobacco industry. We have to hold onto the ability to change.

In terms of luxury emissions and energy use, we need to collectively push for a stop to using precious energy resources and what’s left of our carbon budget for hard to decarbonize sectors – like aviation, like the meat industry, like the automobile industry – which benefit society’s wealthiest. These sectors all require massive and disproportionate amounts of resources and energy (and/or renewable energy) to decarbonize – so let’s just collectively choose not to.

Other ways we can address wasteful emissions and energy demands are through carefully crafted taxes or even an entire package of just tax measures – but ensuring that these taxes hit the pockets of the rich. For the aviation industry specifically, we can look at frequent flyer levies, banning regional and local flights until this becomes the new normal and most certainly banning private jets and other bullshit flights.

Yet, the most basic issue we need to take up in the discussion about wasteful emissions and energy demands is the critical need to address inequalities and close wealth gaps. Manuel Grebenjak states:

Like emissions, the bigger the wealth gap, the worse it gets, we need to look at how to close the inequality gap to reduce energy use and emissions…We need a green populism in an honest way – that makes transparent wealth gaps – that goes into conflicts and speaks about these issues sufficiently. Until now politics has been relatively tame here.

Fundamentally, we need to show the hypocrisy of downright excessive wealth and the waste of luxury in the face of needs for subsistence. This, plus we must carve out a pathway towards just transitions that includes the recognition of climate injustices on frontline communities and reparations for these groups with bold moves towards debt cancellation and no strings attached funds for such a transition. And as importantly, we simply need to care for one another and for the planet.

Listen to the recording of the Twitter Space here

1 – IPCC, 2022: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [H.-O. Pörtner, D.C. Roberts, M. Tignor, E.S. Poloczanska, K. Mintenbeck, A. Alegría, M. Craig, S. Langsdorf, S. Löschke, V. Möller, A. Okem, B. Rama (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA, 3056 pp., doi:10.1017/9781009325844.

Der Beitrag Luxury Emissions – Why We Need to Cut Them erschien zuerst auf Stay Grounded.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

European Airlines Must Remove Qatari Jet Fuel From Supply Chains

Sun, 12/18/2022 - 04:24

Amidst worldwide scrutiny of Qatar’s poor human rights record during the football World Cup, a Stay Grounded briefing paper exposes European airlines’ deep financial connections to Qatar and other jet fuel exporting countries that still criminalise homosexuality, alongside other human rights violations and treatment of migrant workers.

Stay Grounded combined jet fuel import data from the IEA, Eurostat, Joint Oil Data Initiative (JODI) and specialist industry publications, cross-referencing the country-of-origin of Europe’s jet fuel against the ILGA World State Sponsored Homophobia Report tracking national law in these jurisdictions.


The results suggest that European airlines have a major human rights problem in their supply chain:

  • 62% of Europe’s jet fuel imports come from countries that still criminalise homosexuality – whether by imprisonment, the death penalty, or other sanctions
  • In many of these countries, jet fuel revenues are received by a state-owned oil company under the beneficial control of the government or its ruling family that also shape and enforce national laws
  • All major European airlines bought jet fuel from Qatar last year. However, it only makes up a small percentage of each airline’s total procurement, so they could easily halt purchases on human rights grounds if they wished and they should do so immediately
  • 5 of the top 10 country suppliers of jet fuel to Europe still criminalise homosexuality
  • Air France/KLM was the top buyer of Qatari jet fuel in Europe last year, with an estimated consumption of 274 barrels per day (spending around $7.7 million in the year as a whole)
  • IAG (owner of British Airways) was the 2nd largest buyer of Qatari jet fuel in Europe in 2021



“We need to kick out oil bought from states that violate human rights! Autocratic states like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates supply fuel to European airlines, who tacitly accept the homophobic and misogynist practices in these countries. This shows again that the climate crisis and social injustices are closely linked. Europe must now show the red card to oil from authoritarian states – and set a clear goal for airlines by when they must stop using oil.”

“We urge AirFrance KLM, and all other airlines, to live up to these commitments and apply rigorous human rights standards to its jet fuel sourcing. Policymakers must introduce mandatory country-of-origin labelling of jet fuel used on flights from European airports, so that passengers have the information they need to make informed decisions. Travellers concerned about human rights, including LGBT+ rights, should stick to other transport modes and stay away from airlines, given the lack of transparency to date.”

– Stay Grounded aviation expert and co-founder Magdalena Heuwieser

Read the whole briefing paper here

Der Beitrag European Airlines Must Remove Qatari Jet Fuel From Supply Chains erschien zuerst auf Stay Grounded.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Solidarity against repression in San Gregorio Atlapulco, Xochimilco, Mexico

Sat, 12/03/2022 - 12:16

From the Annual Global Meeting of the Stay Grounded Network, the Coordinadora de Pueblos y Organizaciones del Oriente del Estado de México en Defensa de la Tierra, el Agua y su Cultura (CPOOEM) organizational effort member of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and international organizations, we express our indignation and condemn the repression yesterday Friday, December 2, 2022 by the federal government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the Mexico City government of Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo through military and paramilitary shock groups to the original people of San Gregorio Atlapulco, Xochimilco that like Milpa Alta, Tláhuac, Xoco, Contreras and other communal settlements in the south of the Valley of Mexico Basin, oppose the destruction of their inherited ancestral natural wealth, the advance of chaotic urbanization and the plundering of sacred water for capitalist real estate projects and foreign companies, through the imposition of false consultations such as the one they intend to carry out today to simulate the supposed approval in a short time of a Land Use Plan for Mexico City contrary to Life and to the global efforts against the Climate Emergency, bypassing the law and the legal protections won by the peoples. We call for international solidarity to widely disseminate that in Mexico, the war of extermination against the peoples, does not cease.





⚠️ #Alerta

Policías encapsulan a habitantes de San Gregorio que defienden el agua del pueblo. Pedimos máxima difusión. #Xochimilco #CDMX

— Coordinación de Pueblos de Xochimilco. (@CPByCXochimilco) December 2, 2022

Der Beitrag Solidarity against repression in San Gregorio Atlapulco, Xochimilco, Mexico erschien zuerst auf Stay Grounded.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

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