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Ryanair boss blasts green lobby as 'nutters'
The boss of Europe's largest budget airline has blasted the pollution lobby for blaming global warming on cheap air travel.
Ryanair's Michael O'Leary criticised what he termed `middle class angst' about air travel.
In a characteristically blunt attack, he rounded on politicians and `environmental nutters' for `persecuting' the aviation industry by raising concerns about its effect on the planet.
The outburst comes days after environment minister Ian Pearson branded Ryanair the `irresponsible face of capitalism' for opposing an EU carbon emissions scheme.
Mr O'Leary, who expects his airline to overtake Lufthansa as the biggest carrier in Europe by the end of this year, said figures show that air travel compares favourably with other polluters.
He said: "There's a lot of bull**** being peddled, mainly by a couple of environmental nutters, that aviation is the cause of global warming, climate change and everything else. Air transport isn't. Every statistical record confirms air transport generates just 1.6 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions - that's if you believe the Stern Report.
"If you believe EU environmental agency figures it's 1.8 per cent. Either way it's less than two per cent."
The airline boss, who recently bought 167 new aircraft, said Ryanair was going to increase its passengers in Europe to more than 50 million by March 2008 and double its traffic by 2012.
He insisted that the way to reduce the carbon footprint from flights was to push airlines to upgrade their planes to new models that create 50 per cent less emissions per seat, 45 per cent lower fuel burn and 45 per cent less noise.
He added: "We believe that governments can take sensible measures to reduce the impact on the environment of aviation, but that means actually targeting the polluters and rewarding the people who are environmentally friendly, such as Ryanair."
Referring to EU statistics, Mr O'Leary claimed that marine travel was a bigger CO2 polluter than aviation, yet didn't attract any of the controversy.
He said: "I have yet to see articles all over the press that we should do something about the ships and the ferries - not a peep out of them.
"For some reason it's always the airlines and aviation that seem to be the target for these nutbags."And a nutbag from Dudley too by the looks of things ...! Mr Pearson - wind your neck in! Even your Boss Mr Milliband distanced himself from your comments and gave the impression that you may have made a grave error of judgement by choosing to single out Ryanair - why isolate when you could have gathered far more kudos and respect by lumping every carrier and passenger into the same bargain bag ?
My carbon footprint for 2006 was HUGE - however I'm sure that the measures that will be installed via EnergySmart during 2007 will more than redress the balance!
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From Your Friend The Energy Angel