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Anti-flying campaign grows in Sweden

Celebrities have added publicity to an initiative launched by two women trying to get 100,000 people not to fly in 2019.

Two Swedish mothers have organised a pledge that 10,000 people so far have signed up for. The pledge commits them to not taking any flights in 2019, BBC Monitoring reports.

The social media campaign of Maja Rosen and her neighbour Lotta Hammar, called Flygfritt 2019 (No-Fly 2019), is now aiming to get ten times that number, 100,000. Participants should also state their reasons for signing up.

The two women say they began the initiative earlier this year to show politicians “what needs to be done” to halt climate change. They were also encouraged by the increasing debate in Sweden about air travel and carbon emissions. Rosen says she “gave up flying about ten years ago for climate reasons”.

Emissions from aviation account for about 3% of the European Union’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the European Commission, which adds that if global aviation was a country it would rank in the top ten in Europe.

Aviation saw more than four billion passengers last year – a number that is predicted to double by 2036.

In April, after months of debate in Sweden, a controversial new tax on air travel started, ostensibly to limit the impact on the environment.

“The petition is all about changing people’s habits,” explains Hammar.

Rosen adds: “While people realise that climate change is severe, everywhere around us there are all these commercials about flying and vacations.”

Criticism too
Among the 10,000 people who have committed to not flying next year are many celebrities, adding publicity to fuel the campaign.

But there has been criticism too. Johan Norberg, a senior fellow at the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute, says: “Even if 100,000 Swedes never fly again, aviation in Asia increased by three times as many passengers only yesterday.”

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