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Germans Urged To Give Foreign Travel A Rest To Curb Global Warming

China to build 37 airports in remote west: report
Beijing (AFP) Mar 10 - China plans to invest 52 billion yuan (6.7 billion dollars) in building 37 new airports and expanding 31 others in the west of the country over the next four years, the People's Daily said Saturday. Citing China's civil aviation authorities, the newspaper said that western areas of the country had only 38 percent of the nation's airports, and the need for more access to aviation was growing along with economic development. The remote northwestern parts of the country were particularly deprived, it said, adding the construction plan would redress the balance with more affluent eastern areas of the country.

One of the new airports, to be built in Tibet, would be the highest in the world at over 4,000 metres (13,200 feet) above sea level, the newspaper said. The Tibetan autonomous region has only two airports at present -- one near the capital, Lhasa, and the other in Qamdo prefecture. The airport construction plan was agreed at talks last year between the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) and officials representing western province, the newspaper said. They agreed to implement the plan during the current 2006-2010 state development plan, it added.

by Arnaud Bouvier
Berlin (AFP) Mar 13, 2007
As the global warming debate heats up, Germans are being urged to swap their holidays on faraway tropical islands for trips to less glamorous Baltic beaches to help save the planet. "In the near future, people are going to become increasingly aware that aircraft emit vast amounts of greenhouse gases, far more than cars or trains," said Manfred Stock, a researcher at the climate research centre in Potsdam outside Berlin.

"If we add to that the fact that in coming decades our summers are going to get warmer and warmer, holiday-makers would do better to head for Sylt, in the Baltic Sea, than to fly to the Seychelles," he added.

Germans are the world leaders in expenditure on foreign travel, with 2006 figures showing they accounted for 11 percent of global spending on trips abroad, but they do not seem opposed to the suggestion.

A poll published by the news channel N24 on Wednesday showed that 68 percent of the nation that has embraced organic food and other "green" causes would be happy to stay at home for the sake of fighting climate change.

Another 45 percent said they would be ready to pay more tax on low-cost plane tickets.

The impact of the global warming scare on tourism clearly worried industry players attending the ITB tourism trade fair in Berlin last week.

Stephen Bakan, a researcher at the Max Planck institute who attended a round table discussion on the subject, predicted that the weather changes wrought by global warming would dramatically change people's preferred holiday travel destinations.

"Travellers are in for a change of scene," he said. "The Alps will see less and less snow in the winter, so people will go skiing in Scandinavia instead, and the Mediterranean will have to compete with beach resorts in the north."

Most German holidays are in fact already spent at domestic destinations, but hordes of German tourists hit islands like the Maldives, Mallorca and Corfu every year.

Poll statistics aside, it is not clear how many of them will really be prepared to give up their break in the sun when skies turn grey at home.

Stock believes that the authorities should apply pressure by making air travel more expensive.

"Plane tickets are way too cheap and this situation is not tenable in the long term," he said, adding that the heavier taxes and limits on carbon dioxide emissions should be imposed on the airline industry.

The airlines have joined the debate.

National carrier Lufthansa recently announced that it was introducing a voluntary supplement that would be paid into a fund for projects fighting the impact of greenhouse gases.

Unsurprisingly, low-cost airlines disagree. The boom in cheap flying largely accounts for Europe's air traffic explosion and their entire business model risks being turned upside down if prices are forced up.

Peter Hauptvogel, a spokesman for Air Berlin, said the debate about travellers staying closer to home was "absurd and completely hysterical."

"Power plants that burn fossil fuels emit more greenhouse gases than we do, and besides, our planes are becoming cleaner and cleaner."

Travel agents who specialise in long-distance flights are not too worried, figuring that those who have their sights set on exotic getaways will not be easily dissuaded.

"People are not going to give up on their dream trips, even if they have to pay a little more," said Taina Opura, from Tahiti's tourism bureau in Germany.

The popular press does not see why Germans should set the example on staying at home to save on emissions.

"They want to take away our right to fly while other nations carry on polluting the atmosphere," the tabloid-style Bild newspaper said.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Raytheon Team Proposes Single International Standard In ADS-B Pursuit
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 06, 2007
Raytheon is proposing an innovative solution for the Federal Aviation Administration's Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast program that reduces equipment costs and improves safety by adopting a single international standard for locating aircraft. ADS-B is the first step in the FAA's next generation air transportation system, known as NextGen. Aircraft equipped with the ADS-B technology continuously broadcast location, airspeed and identification information to air traffic controllers.







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