So why did those words pop into my head? I was at the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Zero Emissions Transport Group last week. Consultants had brought us scenarios of how transport in the Leeds City Region could play its part in reaching our 2038 Zero Emissions target. They showed us all about 'modal shift', getting people out of cars and onto public transport, or into low emission vehicles, or bikes, or walking and how that might occur with different levels of policy commitment. They even mentioned our regional Leeds Bradford Airport and talked about the emissions being generated from all those planes BUT they only were obliged to measure domestic not international flights.
This is a global issue and has been sort of, but not convincingly addressed in the 2016 International Civil Aviation Organization agreement. This is a largely voluntary agreement whereby the carbon emissions for flights are supposedly offset by tree planting. This is a case of the aviation industry regulating itself. The scheme doesn't start till 2021 and it is voluntary till 2027. It doesn't comply with the Paris Climate Agreement targets and even if it works as described it will take till 2050 to reduce emissions by 50%. While all this aviation emissions reduction is not really going on, airports like Leeds Bradford have big expansion plans and West Yorkshire Combined Authority are assisting them.
So yes, truly, the engines of death do ride the skies unimpeded and assisted by public money.