Imagining Aviation: Caps and Limits on Overconsumption

The April 2024 Funders for Sustainable Living (F4SL) Network gathering centred around an exploration of caps and limits on unnecessary overconsumption. Aviation is one of the more controversial sectors, so we wanted to highlight success stories and share learnings from the field; if it’s possible with aviation, what else could be possible? What do caps and limits look like in Europe, and abroad? Who is already working on this?

This blog post will share some of the highlights of our session, including recent developments like successful flight caps at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, mass mobilisations in France, the implementation of a CO2 ceiling in the Netherlands, and recent progress on citizen-led airport closure campaigning in Santa Monica, California.

Stay Grounded


Lounes Dupeux and Charlène Fleury from Stay Grounded / Rester sur Terre highlighted recent movements towards aviation reduction, including the potentially precedent-setting case of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport — one of the busiest airline hubs in Europe. Schiphol Airport is on track to reduce the total number of flights per year, set a cap on private jets, and limit night flights.

Charlène shared about a successful Stay Grounded campaign to bring awareness to the joint problem of climate and health concerns caused by aviation in France. In mid-March 2024, Stay Grounded coordinated 29 local mobilisations, bringing 100 groups and 1500 engaged citizens together to call for caps and limits.



Natuur & Milieu


Koenrad Backers spoke on behalf of Natuur & Milieu, an organisation which works towards a climate-neutral society and restored biodiversity through lobbying, innovation, and public campaigns. Koenrad shared how the recent political shift towards the far right in the Netherlands has impacted Natuur & Milieu’s approach as the urgency of fighting climate change right now is lower. Focusing on framing aviation impacts that affect stakeholders across the political spectrum, such as noise, air pollution, nitrogen caps, housing, and recreation, can help to bring about caps and limits in a shifting political landscape.

He also shared about the very recent innovation of a CO2 ceiling for the aviation sector, which was brought forward in just 2020. If things continue as planned, CO2 ceilings on airports could be legally binding as early as 2025. It is inspiring that such valuable caps and limits policy can be developed and implemented in as little as five years.



No Jets SMO

Alan Levenson from No Jets SMO shared his personal story of working to limit the use of Santa Monica Airport (SMO) as well as lessons learned in his 12-year-long journey as a community organiser fighting for the closure of the airport.

He raised a clear call for funders to support the development of legal and scientific grounds for airport closures and spoke to the need for knowledge sharing and cooperation amongst airports and environmental activists in the US and internationally.

There is still much needed to bring the aviation sector within planetary boundaries. The steps toward progress presented in our April F4SL session showcase meaningful points of intervention that funders can support in this regard. The legal process towards the implementation of caps and limits is often a long road with many twists and turns — but it was very valuable to see that there is momentum building towards caps and limits on aviation.

I am noticing that this is important work that can be applicable as a model for change in other sectors in how it links both the structural change (through policy, laws, and lobbying) as well as the behavioural change needed in the population (through demanding changes, foregrounding the values they most care about, and reducing flying; ‘the power in people’).”
– Workshop participant

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