Flight warning: Airline tickets could be given tobacco-style warnings – here’s why

The coronavirus pandemic has seen less people travelling abroad and more people being forced to enjoy local walks and their homes. Although coronavirus has been a huge inconvenience for most people who have cancelled their summer holiday plans, the virus has also had a positive impact on the environment.


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With millions around the world either out of a job or working from home, factories have been forced to close and people aren’t driving or flying as regularly.

All of this has led to a massive drop in air pollution which kills a shocking 4.2million people every year.

The last few months have seen a huge change in air quality, especially in places like Wuhan, northern Italy, London and parts of the US.

In the UK, the lockdown has seen toxic small particulate matter drop by as much as 50 percent.

Now, experts are urging that tobacco-style health warnings should be displayed on airline tickets, petrol pumps and fossil fuels.

Experts writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) have called for the warnings to be slapped on airline tickets to tell people that burning fossil fuels worsens the climate emergency which impacts people’s health.

The warning labels, like those on tobacco products, will be displayed at points of purchase such as at petrol stations, on energy bills, and on airline tickets.

The potential move is a low cost way to encourage people to change their behaviour as part of efforts to cut fossil fuel use and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions which are fuelling rising global temperatures.

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The group of experts has been led by Dr Mike Gill who is a former regional director of public health.

He helped create the health warnings that cigarettes and tobacco products have to carry today, which have helped make smoking less socially acceptable.

The experts have said that similar to smoking, fossil fuels harm others as well as the person using them.

But unlike cigarettes, fossil fuels harm future generations as well.

The experts suggest:”Warning labels connect the abstract threat of the climate emergency with the use of fossil fuels in the here and now.”

Like tobacco products, there would also be restrictions on advertising by fossil fuel companies.

The experts have said that the restricted adverting would prevent misleading claims about investments in renewables when this is only accounts for a fraction of their plans.

While fossil fuels are already on the forefront of most governments’ minds, more action is needed to keep global temperatures below 2C (F).

The UK has a target to cut emissions to net zero by 2050.

The Government is hoping that by being ambitious, it will encourage other nations to do the same in the run up to key “Cop26” UN climate talks due to take place in Glasgow in November.

The experts added: “There is an opportunity for national and local governments to implement labelling of fossil fuels in the run-up to Cop26 in Glasgow and in particular for the UK Government, as the host of the Cop, to show leadership, as part of a package of measures to accelerate progress on getting to ‘net zero’ emissions.

“When the Covid-19 pandemic eventually wanes labelling could play an important role in helping to reduce the risk of a rapid rebound in greenhouse gas emissions as the economy expands.”

It is likely that Covid-19 global cases will hit one million in the next few days.

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