Responses to TU/e participation in aviation coalition: "It is an attempt at greenwashing"

The TU/e's participation in the aviation coalition is subject to different viewpoints. Therefore, Cursor called on readers: share and explain your opinion! Below are the responses.

photo iStock | Chalabala

The aviation coalition consists of a number of major parties from the aviation sector.Technical universities, including TU/e, participate in it. In the the manifesto '‘toekomstbestendige luchtvaart voor Nederland’ (future-proof aviation for the Netherlands), the coalition advocates measures to accelerate the sustainability of the aviation sector. 

But at TU/e there are different opinions about the participation (read an earlier article here), because the manifesto serves as a lobbying document for the aviation sector.

Cursor asked readers to send in their substantiated thoughts. Check out the responses below.

Shouldn't TU/e be more ambitious? 

"Interesting article about TU/e's collaboration with the aviation industry by signing a lobbying document. On the one hand, we should promote research on sustainability, even in this highly polluting sector. On the other hand, we have to look at a post-growth society and accept that we cannot keep flying more and more, as the lobby wants society to do. I don't think the aviation industry has our best interests in mind. The fact that Schiphol Airport is absent from the coalition - because they think the coalition shows a lack of ambition - is telling. Shouldn't TU/e be more ambitious and critical than our largest airport? 

As a researcher one can do a small and easy thing to make the aviation industry more sustainable. Choose to visit conferences by train. And participate conferences on other continents online, which luckily TU/e supports more and more."

Laurens Bliek, assistant professor Information Systems  


We cannot continue business as usual 

"As a TU/e alumnus, I think it is a bad idea for TU/e to support the aviation coalition’s manifesto. The manifesto is full of vague statements, requests to politicians or weak promises which can be further postponed when stated deadlines arrive. This manifesto is a clear attempt of green washing by the aviation industry and for this to work, they need credible names in the contributor’s section. TU/e should not be part of this game. We cannot continue business as usual anymore! We need to decrease the demand. That means less flights and more trains. The best alternative for aviation is railway transport which is not getting enough attention in the European Union. We need to focus on increasing the connectivity and comfort of railway transport, not greenwashing the weak claims of the aviation industry."

Erdem Cerit, alumnus TU/e 


Stop believing in techno-fix  

"The TU/e has let its reputation be misused for the aviation industry lobby. The manifesto starts with its goals: a “cleaner, quieter and stronger” aviation, then some green-washing arguments (well-known from the fossil fuel industry) are flown in. Cleaner flying is to be achieved by not yet existent, “innovative technologies”. These companies specifically don’t want to reduce the demand, despite this being deemed the only realistic short-term option to reduce emissions. Quieter aviation is, again, ‘solved’ by a techno-fix: quieter planes. Even then, 50% reduction still leaves 85 dB, louder than a train rushing by. Every. Single. Minute. Nevertheless, fewer flights, even at night, is not seen as an option. The techno-optimistic fixation on a stronger industry goes against actually achieving a reduced environmental footprint. Apparently, our executive board is more inclined to side with an expert on automotive growth than an expert on sustainability. Not surprising, but disappointing nonetheless."

With love and rage,  

Thomas van den Doel, student, University Rebellion TU/e 

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