plane stupid

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I recently read an article in the New York Times that Britain is cancelling plans to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport, as well as new ones at two other metro airports.

“The government decided that enabling more flying was incompatible with Britain’s oft-stated goal of curbing emissions.”  There’s speculation that air travel contributes 2%-3% of global emissions, but could rise to 25% of emissions in Britain by 2030.  Goodness me.

Most ire is directed towards “binge flying” folks who travel for weekend getaways (“weekend homes in Spain and bachelor parties in Prague,”) apparently inconsiderate of the billions of people that might die any day now due to climate change.

In fairness, while recognizing Britain is setting itself apart from its economic peers in their emissions reduction commitment, the article points out that travelers will likely have to drive further to get to other area airports, and airplanes circling Heathrow must remain aloft longer due to runway congestion. 

But, two things are clear.  The rallying cry for climate change is ultimately a challenge to individual freedoms, impossibly weighed against the greater good in the speculative mathematics involved.  The “down with the spoiled rich” shout appeals to those who prefer a socialist State, and it’s not hard to read between the lines that the end goal is a State authority that must approve the purpose of an individual’s travel against the societal impact of their (selfishly) proposed growing carbon footprint.  Unless you’re a pop celebrity or tithe to the Party in power, stay at home.

Secondly, and really the only reason I bothered writing this, is the closing paragraph.

“Leo Murray, a spokesman for Plane Stupid, an environmental group that has fought new runways, called the British government’s decision “a turning point for aviation” although he added, “It is uncomfortable to have the coup de grace delivered by the Conservative government.”

If ever there was an apt name for a group…

1 comment :

  1. That story is just plain scary. To think that the UK falls to such a thought process makes me wish we could ban such thinking from traveling.

    And they will travel. I keep remember watching the global warming crew jet all over the globe to dispense their message.