Published November 12, 2021 - Last Update November 13, 2023 -

When you work in aviation, as I did for almost forty years, you have every reason to be immensely proud. Aviation connects the whole world and, despite its complexity, does so with an extremely high level of safety. On top of that aviation is almost miraculously energy efficient. In almost all of the cases where we do fly that turns out to be the best choice from a climate point of view as well.

The latter is not common knowledge. Quite a few people see aviation as the Big Bad Wolf in the world of climate change. However, that perception is based on framing, not on facts. The framing started in the late nineties and continues relentlessly. Which is not surprising, as it is effective. When you don’t care about facts, you can make whatever statement you want and when it is juicy enough you are bound to get media coverage.

Unfortunately, the framing does seem to influence policymakers. Take for instance the calls to replace all European flights shorter than 750 km with high-speed rail. As a policy that would be expensive as well as ineffective, if not worse. Not a great combination and an illustration of the dangers of unchallenged perceptions.

Perceptions and emotions are important, but not a solid foundation for policy making. To vent my concern, I started a website in March 2021. Initially in Dutch only, see the menu item above, but in November that year I added the site you are on now, as some posts appeared to be of interest to people outside the Netherlands. Little will change but it feels good to get it off my chest.

Benno Baksteen

For a summary of the analyses visit the page Summary

Multiple images, including all header images, are supplied by Visual Approach, for which many thanks.

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