Of course these planes can play a role in peacekeeping but this celebration is about showcasing weapons in all their 'glory'. Whether or not any deals are closed on the weekend is not relevant - this is about selling and making the use of force more acceptable. Add to that CO2 and we surely should be asking if this event should be taking place in this form at all.
It was then with a smile that I came across this link today:
Of course sadly on closer reading it must be a spoof but hey for a moment I could hope! The links include 'depleted uranium', 'ocean acidification' and 'climate wars'. I've enclosed the letter that is on the front page as I can't imagine it will stay there long - it surely must be a spoof? Comments welcomed from Mr Prince. Update July 2010: Yes the website was a spoof and the letter below cannot be attributed to Mr Prince! As if there was a doubt!
About the Air Tattoo
Important message from the Airshow Chief Executive - Tim Prince OBE
Dear Airshow Visitor and Supporter,
It is with great regret that I must announce that this will be the last airshow we will be running.
The science is now clear and the evidence before us is equally clear - runaway climate change has all but started. Latest scientific evidence demonstrates that we must reduce our atmospheric CO2 to 350 ppm, yet at present we are at 450 ppm (CO2 equivalent) and the CO2 level is rising at an increasing rate. With the current rate of increase, by the end of this century we will face global average temperature rises of potentially 10 deg C. This will lead to the loss of all life on the planet.
We have reluctantly accepted that this airshow and others like it create unacceptably large amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. This is especially unacceptable when they serve no useful purpose. Furthermore, they give the impression that we can tackle climate change whilst maintaining business as usual - this is wrong and we will not support this falsehood.
We are also unhappy with some airplane manufacturers that will be at our show, such as Airbus. Airbus have claimed to be working to reduce greenhouse gases, but have taken orders to supply A380 Super Jumbos to Middle East customers for use as private jets. As a responsible organization, we can not support duplicitous companies such as this and we will not allow ourselves to support their Greenwash.
You are all being urged to cut your own emissions and you face rising electricity costs to tackle climate change. Many of you will face unprecedented economic hardships in the years ahead due to peak oil and climate change. We thus recognize in these circumstances it is morally unacceptable to continue this event, especially when it is largely tax payer funded.
The recent disaster of the Copenhagen agreement shows how the planet's future is dependent on international cooperation on a scale that we have never seen before. This is already difficult, but will be made impossible if we continue to point guns towards each other.
The American Department of Defense recognizes the immediate and pressing danger posed by climate change. They forecast large scale wars and social unrest due to resource shortages, drought, famine and mass migration in the near future. They also acknowledge the vital importance of taking a lead in making massive CO2 cuts. We aim to help them by eliminating the need for their planes to fly over here.
The only hope for planetary survival is an immediate move towards a zero carbon economy. This is a challenge that is unlike any other and we will rise to it by canceling all future shows and working with other organizations around the world for similar cancellations.
If your find this information disturbing and you conclude that you no can not longer support this years airshow we will be delighted to offer you a full refund if you have already bought a ticket.
I trust that you will support us with this difficult but necessary decision.
Tim Prince OBC
Chief Executive Fairford Air Tattoo