Plane Truth is a critique of the aviation industry, taking an international perspective and addressing the social, economic and environmental impacts. Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions which cause climate change. Minimal improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency are outpaced by growth, and use of biofuels, made from plants, feeds edible crops to planes, exacerbating world hunger.
The book also considers local environmental impacts from health damaging air pollutants, de-icing fluid leaking into waterways and programmes to deter birds in order to prevent collisions with aircraft. Air cargo, carried in the bellyhold of passenger planes and dedicated freighters supports the globalisation of manufacturing, and extreme oil projects. Citizens of Africa fly the least, but the accident rate is appalling, and carriers awarded contracts for humanitarian aid have also delivered illicit weapons.
Expansion meets with vigorous opposition from host communities, concerned over high levels of health damaging pollutants and paving over farmland and wildlife habitats. The purported economic benefits, in particular for host communities, are doubtful. Continued aviation expansion, in the face of rising oil prices and the global economic downturn, is enabled by an extraordinary level of subsidy.