As eco warriors descend on Parliament this afternoon to protest against the expansion of Heathrow, an obscure counter demonstration will be taking place. It's quite unusual: Modern Movement will be demonstrating in favour of something, not against it: cheap travel. "What we want to counter is the small number of green …
Flying is 3% of world carbon emissions but 6% of ours.
The point still stands though...
It's not just the total CO2 that matters
Aeroplanes release pollutants at high altitude that do more damage (I think) than the same stuff released at ground level.
Also, call me a snob, but I don't think chavs get their minds broadened very much through cheap package holidays abroad.
I bet this demonstration is sponsored by the airlines. I remember the fake-grass-roots petition they had against abolishing the ridiculous tradition of "duty-free".
Would never happen
"we decided to build a Maglev train service linking British cities. What a wonderful thing that would be."
Would never happen. It would be a maglev through the tunnel from London, and feck the rest of you. Like usual.
Kind of agree
It's not often that I agree with A. O. when it comes to climate science, but in this case he is spot on.
Unfortunately for the green movement it is too dominated by soft-headed Panda huggers with overly poetic and short-sighted concepts of what environmental protection is really about. They are obsessed with fantastical concepts of "mother earth" and sh*t like that, and forget that the earth is our life support system, that's what's important.
That's why we spend a fortune saving cute and furry evolutionary dead ends like the Panda, and nothing on researching why bees, amphibians and lots of species of insect all appear to be dying out. The latter has a much bigger impact on the environment we live in.
It's also the reason that we won't get any significant nuclear build any time soon, and what will get built won't be the best types of reactors available lest we end up with a bit of plutonium (shock!).
When James Lovelock came out in favour of nuclear, the rest of the environmental movement pounced on him like a pack of hyenas. All this environmental orthodoxy is as bad as the anti-environmental crap spouted by the oil industry, and will do as much damage in the long run.
We need a bit more realism and cold-hard maths, and a bit less druidic clap-trap about living in teepees and keeping warm through our smugness.
It all reminds me of the South Park episode where the town gets engulfed in a cloud of smug from all the Prius drivers.
More timely please
The problem is that some of us can't afford to fly down to join them. In fact even if I left now and could afford it I couldn't fly down there fast enough to join in.
So either El Reg is slow on this issue, or they're not really advertising very well. I'd have driven down if I had time, but now it's too late *grumbles* :(
What we need is the gov't to give each person a certian number of CO2 credits each year that we can either use, sell on to other people, or sell back to the gov't.
Then if these enviro nutjobs are so in favour of cutting CO2 emissions they would just let their credits go to waste thus helping to save the plant. Lets see how long before they join the line to sell thier credits.
Right - and wrong
I don't really like the idea of Heathrow expansion, but mainly as I believe the other airports should see serious improvement ahead of the West London terminals. The infrastructure in the area surrounding Heathrow already suffers regular choking; I worked in Southall for a while and getting to and from work was a nightmare, nearly all due to the nearby airport.
The Government should have been braver and and directed that the other three airports take up the heavy burden placed on Heathrow. Longer term it would prove to be a much better strategy. As for the plebs being allowed the freedom to travel, history shows how reluctant those with money, power and influence are in allowing the citizen to have any determination over their own lives.
I'm Pro Heathrow
And not affiliated/connected with/sponsered by any airline/airport related company.
I like the fact you can get a plane to anywhere major without having to change if you go via heathrow, if the main european hubs were france or belgium it would add £100 and 3 Hours to flights. I say sod it , make the place more useful lets have another runway and another terminal. then we can have more planes per day and we'll be able to travel at more convienent hours.
Studies have shown....
That aircraft con trails help to reduce global warming by increasing high level cloud that reflects heat.... but then again studies can show anything you want the to.
I think this is just short-sightedness.
Okay: Let's ignore the CO output of a cheap flight.
1) Planes don't just magic out of nowhere. From design to development to production they take an enormous amount of energy and resource. And ignoring the carbon, that fuel isn't cheap and quantities are running low.
2) See 1: Replace plane with airport
3) Sipson - once a nice village a mile from the airport, now to be wiped off the map.
4) When did we get asked if we wanted it? Something as major as this should have required at least a local vote.
5) In answer to your question: Probably the airlines.
6) A cheap flight to Barbados to get ratted all weekend is not horizon broadening. Those flights still cost >£500 each way.
I think the point also is that 3% is larger than zero. It's unlikely that any single activity we undertake would make a material difference if we eliminated it - hence we have to look at all of the things we do, some of which are more optional than others, to see where we can make a difference.
Flying is more of an optional activity than heating your house or cooking food.
My wife and I only fly every other year for our holidays and I no longer take domestic flights for business and use the train instead.
Back to the future
This would be the 'modernity and progress' that had me awake at 4am this morning and which is going to remove my few nights break from noise when the Cranford Agreement goes to allow for the new runway, would it? Lets try some phrases more out for size: 'white heat of technology'. 'Radiant future'. Nope, sorry, they're the ones living in the past .
A pleb of Hounslow
"Suppose for the sake of argument that cheap flights are bad, and many internal flights are unnecessary, and instead we decided to build a Maglev train service linking British cities. What a wonderful thing that would be. Who do you think would be the first to object to it?"
Not me. Yeah, I have taken a few flights in my time, even some internal ones, but I'm not proud of it and I would really like to see some good alternatives made available. A Maglev? I'd be first in line for that.
From the vocal student on the Modern Movement's site...
"Modern Movement is unequivocally on the side of more for all."
Let us know when you've found more cheap oil to fuel those "stag nights in Prague". Oh, is that misrepresenting your argument, a bit like how you've taken everyone with an environmental interest (or just an interest in not having yet another runway at Heathrow) and tarred them with the same brush?
Apparently "Alex gets angry and misanthropic on his overcrowded daily commute in London and curses the state and business for eliciting those emotions from him." Given the London-fixated civil service and idiotic planning policy of the Britards, perhaps the last thing Alex should be advocating is more congestion down south.
It's laughable that after arriving at a London airport, you can spend hours getting anywhere using surface travel, moving distances on the map that seem tiny to a lot of foreigners. But with "more for all" - more cars, more road, more cars, more road... - we have a solution! Or maybe we just have someone who wants "more for all" without considering where all the resources need to come from to make it happen.
Good for them
Tis good to see both sides of the argument being supported.
As for 3% or 6%; has anyone found the current stats for UK's CO2 output? They seem oddly hard to find- I did find some that showed transport at 18% but gave no breakdown of the other 82%. I also found some that, interestingly, showed our total CO2 output was much higher in the 1950s than it is now. Facts please! Oh, got any water vapour stats while you're at it?
To the anonymous coward
Rather demeaning and elitists to call Britons chavs for travelling abroad. They are nearly all young middle class holidayers whose disposable income has done a lot for the economies of numerous foreign towns.
As for your idea that any demonstration against environmental activists must be paid for by industry, here is some news: the activist group Plane Stupid is funded by numerous businessmen including the charlatan owner of Lush, Mark Constantine - a man who used to peddle unscientific herbal treatments and now has a global chain selling quack medicine. Peanut butter soap anyone while people around the world go without food?
Is Lord Hunt's . . .
first name Mike??
so would the "pro"-testors like their houses bulldozed, too?
Putting aside the whole CO2 thing, there are two other sides to the story. The people who will lose their homes and the people who's lives will be blighted by the noise from the extra capacity. Surely it's time to recognise that Heathrow is in a bloody stupid location and far from squeezing more flights into a location that has so many disadvantages, we should be thinking about expanding somewhere more suitable instead?
 Apparently, if we all stopped eating so much meat, the CO2 reduction would far outweigh the contribution from air travel. Source: New Scientist, 14-Feb-09 p6
The important figures
Really, only two figures are important here. Firstly, how much fossil fuel is actually left in the ground? And secondly, how much damage is it going to have done by the time it's all been burned up?
Because by the time there is no more fossil fuel left anywhere, things will stop getting any worse all by themselves.
Good to have some balance with all this environment nonsense - It has become a replacement for religion with the middle class and a tax raising blessing for governments.
Questioning the validity of man-made global warming seems to be treated on a par with holocaust denial these days.
Clean limitless energy is in all our interests, but it will not be achieved by limiting development and progress, that will just slow down the pace where humans either get to a place where we sort ourselves out, or implode. I'd rather get it over with either way. Ideally with a few overseas holidays thrown in en-route.
Also being forced to beg for carrier bags like an animal in the supermarket is surely a human rights violation?
More runways please.
Agree, but I think you need to look past Heathrow. Manchester used to have a fairly good selection of direct flights with BA, including a I think daily direct flight to New York, cancelled in Oct 2008, which when I tried to book in Aug 2008 was sold out upto when it was cancelled.
Now you can fly to Heathrow and Gatwick to get a connecting flight. And I think all of the other regional airports are now the same. They really should just rebrand to London Airways and be done with it.
How much of the traffic going through Heathow is actually just from the rest of the country being forced into that route?
Heathrow is just wrong...
I've flown hundreds of times and I will do my utmost to avoid any connection through Heathrow. We need a proper, purpose designed, big fuck off airport North West of London. Somewhere along the M40 would be just peachy. Some where like High Wycombe. It needs to be designed to serve the projected traffic for at least a hundred years. And by then we'll have run out of oil so it will be redundant and Top Gear can race electric bath chairs around the apron and drag race Prius mk 12's down the runways, all 10 of them. It can be a the hub of a high speed rail network too. It'll be great! And in the meantime, all the Swampy's and their poxy girlfriends can fuck off on the bandwagon they rode in on.
I am most saddened..
I am most saddened by a glaring spelling mistake in your article. Indeed "bourgeoise" should not have a trailing "e".
Hang your head in shame..
Never understood the mindset of someone who moves beside an airport, then whinges and gurns about airport expansion plans.
Good point. The UK should probably be looking to make a large, efficient, easy to reach, international airplort rather than gridlocking the environs of Heat Row -- but that would be forward thinking and logical...
Methinks we need a Ship Hole.
... should never have been made London's primary airport.
Boris Johnson might be a bit of an upper-class twit, but the notion of relocating Heathrow to somewhere a bit more open -- and far less constrained by urbanisation -- is a sound one. I live in North Kent, where there's an awful lot of flat, open, brown-field land from the area's industrial past. (Grain, for example, is a steaming huge lump of bugger all, perfectly situated for an airport. Granted, there are bound to be some protests against such a move because it's practically a British tradition that nothing ever be allowed to actually *happen*, but a four-runway airport there would fit easily. It's close to two rail routes too -- via Gravesend in Kent, and with the LTS line just across the river in Essex. You could then close Heathrow entirely, and possibly Stansted or Gatwick too.)
(Incidentally, I'd rather see TGV replaced by Maglev technology. Yes, it's new and expensive, but they said that about railways once too. TGV is only a little bit faster than our ECML and WCML routes, at 200mph. Maglev can do 450 mph! Sod Paris! Imagine travelling from London to *Rome* in well under three hours, by train!)
Aren't we trialling biofuel based planes? i.e. non-fossil carbon fuels - that eliminates the argument over limited oil supplies, even if we have to give the planet over to the triffids to produce enough oil.
I can understand why Tristam's so angry at the plebs - wouldn't you be if your name sounded like a piece of rhyming slang.
But generally speaking, I'm against further expansion of Heathrow vs expanding Birmingham or Manchester, and creating a better set of direct travel links between these airports and the capital.
"Clean limitless energy is in all our interests, but it will not be achieved by limiting development and progress,"
How does airport expansion further the objective of clean limitless energy, exactly? This is just the kind of stereotyping that our student acquaintance in the Modern Movement likes to indulge in: all environmental activists are somehow luddites or new-agers.
"that will just slow down the pace where humans either get to a place where we sort ourselves out, or implode. I'd rather get it over with either way. Ideally with a few overseas holidays thrown in en-route."
Get what over with? Watch large populations in the developing world suffer from the comfort of your living room? (Provided it isn't flooded because of those wonderful planning policies at work in Britain.)
"Also being forced to beg for carrier bags like an animal in the supermarket is surely a human rights violation?"
This is quite some sarcasm, unless you really think there's a factory out there producing these things at no cost. In other countries, including those still actually producing noticeable amounts of oil, you have to pay for carrier bags. I suppose they realise the value of such resources before they've sucked it all up and burnt it off.
Meanwhile, the Britards will presumably be stripping down their public parks and gardens and burning anything that takes a flame, indignant that anyone criticise their actions, before a coherent energy policy emerges from the political masters of the realm.
At time of reading....
....around 1530H this article is full of typing/spelling errors.
Tidy it up El Reg!
"Also, call me a snob, but I don't think chavs get their minds broadened very much through cheap package holidays abroad."
Heaven forbid that they go on holiday for something as base, trivial and unneccesary as 'enjoyment'.
philistines clearly. Open the pits again, etc.
Aviation CO2 and NOx emissions
AC 15:24 is correct, aeroplanes (and cars) don't just emit CO2, they also emit NOx (NO which reacts to form NO2, which breaks down in sunlight to form NO and other noxious nasties. The steady state of NO and NO2 is referred to as NOx). At high altitudes NOx is a more effective greenhouse gas (because there isn't usually very much up there).
Still, even including for this effect, the total effect of aviation emissions is small compared to domestic/industrial energy supply and ground transport.
It's very true that aviation emissions will be a problem, but they're a problem only when we've got our non-CO2-emitting nuclear power stations (or tidal barrages and wind/solar power farms totally covering the land) which generate enough CO2 free electricity for domestic/industrial use and supply electric/hydrogen cars instead of that pesky internal combustion engine. As that starts to happen then we'll need to get serious about reducing aviation emissions... By that time the aviation industry will probably have devised a technical solution to the problem by have much more efficient aircraft and/or novel fuel sources.
Until then, we need to get our priorites straight and concentrate on on where most of our emissions actually come from. Energy supply.
This obsession against cheap flights does have a whiff of snobbery to me... it's also a dangerous displacement activity, by not flying people think they're eco-angels... but they still drive to work when they could cycle or take the train... and both at work and at home they're using electricity and heating mostly from fossil fuels, but they think they've done their bit...
There are alternatives to internal flights! The rail system, from my point of view works fine. But the cost is extortionate. When I have to go to London from my Glasgow base, even if I try to book a flight at short notice, is never any more than half the price of a train ticket booked a month ahead.
I'm sorry, but I won't pay at least £126 for a London-Glasgow return. I'd like to go by train because it's much easier and comfortable (flying is tedious with all these security measures in place), I actually get the bus, if I have the time, but unfortunately this is rarer and rarer.
If they reduce the train fares, the punters will start rolling in. But they won't do that, will they?
And it isn't just about CO2 emissions. Noise pollution ain't rock 'n' roll, and I certainly wouldn't want to have those damn planes flying over my home at all hours.
Stinking elitists, the lot of them...
Starting from that dirtbag Tolkien, it seems that passive-aggressive elitist luddites have really detested the "common person's" ascent into somewhat noble achievements. Technology has enabled an ordinary guy like me to travel across the world at an affordable price, the automobile has enabled me to be where I want to be without being at the whims of some inefficient "public transport", and the using the Internet has enabled information and "entertainment". Now, air travel is evil, carbon generation is evil, and apparently doing a Google search is like boiling two kettles. Just admit it, you people, you hate anyone who wasn't born into wealth and riches - you dream of the fine old days when the poor old serfs knew their place. You stink.
Re: It's not just the total CO2 that matters
"I bet this demonstration is sponsored by the airlines. "
Yeah of course it must be so. Anything that doesn't agree with the anthropogenic global warming religion must be sponsored by one of those nasty CO2 producing industries..
Yay, someone said what I suspect/want to be true, so I'll jump on it and fuck the hundreds of actual proper climate scientists and believe what some unqualified 'tard said instead. </sarcasm>
Just bear in mind that several of the most popular routes from Heathrow are to Paris, Manchester, Edinburgh etc. Do this by train and leave Heathrow for long hall.
The report into the new runway at Heathrow mentioned the new channel tunnel high speed rail link exactly zero times.
You try living under LHR, you won't find any Modern Movement members there, or toffs for that matter. But fuck them, eh, toff!
@ Anonymous Coward
'That aircraft con trails help to reduce global warming by increasing high level cloud that reflects heat.... but then again studies can show anything you want the to.'
Ummm no they don't. Contrails actually trap more heat than they reflect.
Ponater, M.; S. Marquart, R. Sausen and U. Schumann (2005). "On contrail climate sensitivity". Geophysical Research Letters 32 (10)
The railways and airlines are both public transport, as are the coaches. Why is taking Eurostar to Paris good thing but flying there isn't? Both are privately owned people movers. The government burdens the airlines with taxes but subsidises rail, and still airlines compete and are often cheaper. Coaches are cheaper still. Greens sneer at financial success, but money is a measure of efficiency in the use of resources. The high cost of Rail tickets is a good indication of the railway's high cost to the environment.
"You try living under LHR, you won't find any Modern Movement members there, or toffs"
Or anyone else. You might find badgers living under LHR, or worms.
I live under the flight path myself.
TGV just a little faster than ECML and WCML? You are kidding right? The InterCity 225 (currently the fastest UK locomotive) has a design maximum speed of 140MPH and a service maximum of 125MPH. The TGV has a demonstrated top speed of 356MPH and a normal service maximum of 200MPH. That works out at about 50 minutes off of the 2hrs 10 from London to Manchester for example.
MagLev needs a lot of very expensive track. The Shanghai system cost $1.33 billion to build just 19 miles of track, and has a service maximum speed of about 268MPH. On that basis a line from London to Rome would cost about $62 billion to build (ignoring any tunnels and/or viaducts needed) and the trip would take nearly 8 hours (you don't get to go flat out all of the time). In todays money the Channel Tunnel cost about $15 billion to build and is struggling to pay for it's self. Who pays for this line?
Why can't they argue that heat-row might buy some carbon credits to offset the expansion ? (I know buying carbon credits could be a sham; but it's a start. And possibly a detractor).
Personally, I feel that instead of expanding heathrow, opening a new one closer to Outskirts reading might be a better idea - imagine the taxi-traffic it would save; as well as create more jobs...
Paris, coz she causes some local warming while taking off.
my 2p (if it has not been given to the banks?)
"How does airport expansion further the objective of clean limitless energy, exactly? "
because it is all part of a system scince and development dose not happen in a vacume the more developed the country as a hole is the more progres is made or to put it anotehr way having eppol more free to moev around incrouges more exchange of views and that incruages more thinking withc will give us more creative idars and it is thouse we need for invention
for pepol looking into energy costs of various activities try this
because as he says the global warming debate is relay a energy debate
on public transport the most telling thing I have ever seen is a top gear program where they bought cheap cars and drove them to Manchester and back and even including tax insurance and petrol it was les than the cost of the train tickets
What's going on, the reg allowing comments on its environmental articles? Careful, you might get some reasoned discussion as opposed to the usual orlowski tosh
Modern Movement is missing the point
I think this group is getting off track here a little? By setting up a protest for more aviation because you want cheap flights and saying this a counter demo to the anti-Heathrow group, I'd suggest Modern Movement are missing the point of the anti-aviaiton expansion lobby in this country. Cheap flights are only cheap because airline owners let them be: for competition, for profit. Flying wasn't always as cheap as it is today.
The wide campaign against increasing aviation in the UK is just that: against an increase in aviation. Not about flying per se. No-one is demanding Heathrow is shut down, just that it is not expanded any further. No-one is demanding Stansted is closed, just that it is not expanded any further. There are already loads of airports on this island, enough to let us all fly wherever we want to and enjoy travelling. The wide campaign against increasing aviation is about the fact that what is here already is enough to enable anyone who wants to fly, fly, and that our planes need to be less noisy and harmful, that our airlines need to be managed better and airports to be more suitably dispersed across the country, not stuffed in already over-populated areas. One of the reasons that Heathrow is so busy is because of the amount of domestic flights clogging it up! It's also unfair to make the assumption that the same anti-Heathrow campaigners would be against rail alternatives; cheaper more efficient rail within the UK would be a much more welcome option.
In-fighting is not the solution. I know the green movement can be pretty doom and gloom sometimes, but that's because as people get educated about what the consequences are of actions like these it's pretty depressing. And I don't just mean climate change - the deeper problems brought up by this example include corporate monopolies; weak policy-making; priority for money over the envrionment; short-termism in government; corrupt planning systems...
The point is there are other travel options that are less polluting, more sustainable and could be just as accessible - if the profit making companies that own most of them weren't so greedy. The relentless push for more passenger numbers and bigger runways at airports are only benefitting the owners of that airport. There is lots more info and guidance at www.airportwatch.org.uk.
The cause that Modern Movement should be adding their weight to is the campaign to get cheap travel in committed policy, and respond to the Government's Transport plan - like this http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/take_action/dasts
Sounds to me like this group just wants to pi** on someone's fireworks for the sake of it.
can all environmentalists ...
please fuck off and die? All the hot air you are pointlessly producing is harming my oh so precious environment.
I can't stand global warming/climate change morons, when history looks back at them they will be thought of in the same category as those that thought the sun revolved around the Earth and those that think the Earth is flat. How stupid do you consider those people historically? Pretty fucking stupid. Exactly.
CO2 is 0.0384% of the atmosphere around us. 0.0384%!!!. For those of a curious nature, the other atmospheric gases are nitrogen (78.0842%), oxygen (20.9463%), argon (0.9342%) and 'other' (0.0020%). Of that 0.0384% which is CO2, 90% of it occurs naturally. 10% is man-made. So the man-made percentage of CO2 is 0.00384%. That's GLOBAL CO2 EMMISSIONS. If you could somehow magically remove EVERYTHING that spits out CO2 you would make exactly FUCK ALL difference.
Why are simple facts never presented in such cases? Ah, of course, because the morons don't want to listen to simple science and facts, they just want to fuck everything up for everyone else. My car tax has unnecessarily gone up just because it emits 224g. Thanks environMENTALISTS, you just cost me my money and that makes this war personal.
From the comments one would think that trains don't consume any power! Doesn't anyone realise that they consume electricity at around 12-15% efficiency compared with a modern car at between 38 and (for a diesel) 47%?
Remember that 400 tons of train can take up to about 400 people. But it still has to go even if it has only one person. It has to have a regular service whether needed or not. 400 tons of cars will take at least 400 people and up to 1600. But, most important, if only one person wants to go to say Birmingham from London, then only one ton or so has to be moved. There is also the ancillary travel to the actual destination. Unless you live in Euston and want to go no further than New Street, Birmingham, there is significantly more energy used than going straight from departure to destination by the quickest route.
Regarding the question of Co2 figures, no-one wants them published because they demonstrate the misinfomation, disinformation and downright lies that come from official sources, In around 2003 an independant survey gave the figures for all parts of the total Co2 production of the U.K. Among other things, Co2 from cars was a mere 0.5% of the total. The ridiculous figures being quoted by government and the greens Is after all major sources other than cars have been deducted, leaving 22% of a tiny part of the total. No doubt there will be screams of denial from the anti car brigade but that's par for the course.
It's not just about CO2 levels is it?
Even if you dismiss the fact that the airline industry "only" causes 3-6% of global carbon dioxide emissions, there are a raft of other arguments against this development - noise and ground pollution in West London, safety risks, government corruption, flawed economics, etc.
In 2020, people are still going to be able to fly and won't miss out on the chance to see places like Machu Picchu, or any other overcrowded tourist destination for that matter. They will, it's just going to get increasingly expensive as fuel costs spiral again, so 'plebs' will be priced out anyway.
The class argument is back to front
Cheap flights don't benefit the working classes that much. Ryanair and the other low cost carriers target their advertising towards the upper middle classes, who can afford second homes in the med, and take many more overseas holidays.
See, for example