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Thu, May 25, 2023

Climate Protesters Disrupt EBACE

An Argument Poorly Made

For purpose of demanding sweeping governmental bans on private jet ownership and operation, a mob of some one-hundred militant climate activists converged upon Switzerland’s International Airport of Geneva (GVA), blocking the main entry to 2023’s European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE)—one of business aviation’s principal yearly events and a key forum in which aircraft OEMs showcase their wares to prospective buyers.

The 23 May fiasco saw protesters adorned in bright-yellow vests and carrying signs emblazoned with facile slogans the likes of #BanPrivateJets and WARNING: Private Jets Drown Our Hope storm a GVA ramp upon which Gulfstream, Bombardier, Embraer, Airbus, and Boeing business aircraft were then displayed. Several protesters seated themselves beneath show aircraft, barring legitimate event attendees from closely viewing or boarding such.

Acting at the behest of the environmental group, actif-trafiC, another three-dozen protesters took up positions in front of GVA’s Palexpo Hall—EBACE’s primary venue—brandishing banners reading Private Aviation Kills.

Notwithstanding the presence of security—which ensured a number of protesters were treated for injuries—the fracas compelled the Geneva Airport Authority to suspend flight operations for an hour, thereby occasioning numerous delays and gate conflicts throughout the remainder of the day.

Climate activists have long taken issue with business aircraft, decrying the machines and the lifestyles connoted by ownership or utilization of such. Activist groups such as Extinction Rebellion, Scientist Rebellion, Greenpeace, and Guardian Rebellion regularly descend upon airport terminals under the pretext of righteous indignation, terrorizing innocents, damaging multi-million-dollar aircraft, and disrupting airport operations.

On 10 November 2022, members of the aforementioned groups staged organized, global protests, blocking the entrances to private jet terminals in the U.K. Italy, Sweden, and the United states. The worldwide protest’s targeting of private jets was ascribed by its organizers to the culpability of the ultra-rich and their lifestyles vis-à-vis global greenhouse gas emissions.

Rationalizing her participation in the protests, Greenpeace’s Klara Maria Schenk declared” "In one hour alone, a private jet can emit up to one ton of CO2—that is double the average yearly consumption of one human being living in Africa,"

The business jet sector has committed to aggressive decarbonization, predicating the designs of new aircraft and engines largely upon sustainability. In addition to consuming only a fraction of the fuel burned by their forebears, the engines by which contemporary business jets are powered are engineered to run on Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), clean-burning bio-fuels deriving of renewable feedstocks such as grains, composted vegetation, used cooking fats, and municipal waste.

Speaking at a pre-EBACE sustainability conference, Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier set forth: "We need to work a little bit more here in Europe, because European bodies are not totally convinced…[they are] really a little bit against business aviation.”

Mr. Trappier added: "We need to collectively try to explain to them the use of the business and the importance of it in the resurgence of the economy."

William Livernois, who took part in the November 2022 protests, stated he expected to be arrested for partaking in the action. Lapsing hyperbolic, Livernois yowled: “The planet is on fire and people are still flying private jets. Our action is calling for a ban. … We are stuck in this system where the most wealthy and most powerful are the biggest contributors to the climate crisis while the people with the least wealth and power suffer the biggest consequences. We want to draw attention to that.”

Mr. Livernois, Ms. Schenk, and their contemporaries consistently fail to draw attention to the stone-cold fact that vast quantities of the CO2 currently being released into the Earth’s atmosphere are produced by the world’s poorest countries and people. As the West’s industrialized nations work to curtail their CO2 emissions, India, China, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Venezuela, Somalia, Niger, Nicaragua, Uzbekistan, Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, and numerous other rapidly-developing nations are not only producing unprecedented masses of pollutants, but deforesting their territories at alarming rates.

That the environmental impact of business aircraft may be yet further mitigated is clear—as is the fallaciousness of the notion that such machines are leading causes of environmental exigencies.



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