back to article Pro-Heathrow demo challenges Carbon Cult killjoys

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 …

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  1. Tom
    Coat

    Actually...

    Flying is 3% of world carbon emissions but 6% of ours.

    The point still stands though...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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".

  3. Dave Edmondston
    Unhappy

    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.

  4. Paul

    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.

    Paul

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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* :(

  6. Jamie
    Linux

    CO2 credits

    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.

  7. Pete James

    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.

  8. jeffrey
    Thumb Up

    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.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    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.

  10. Xander
    Thumb Down

    Snobbery?

    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.

  11. Terry Barnes

    Three Percent

    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.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    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 .

    Signed

    A pleb of Hounslow

  13. James Le Cuirot

    Not me

    "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.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    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.

  15. Tim

    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?

    Tim#3

  16. Aron
    Flame

    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?

  17. Goatan
    Joke

    Is Lord Hunt's . . .

    first name Mike??

  18. Pete

    so would the "pro"-testors like their houses bulldozed, too?

    Putting aside the whole CO2 thing[1], 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?

    [1] 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

  19. A J Stiles
    Paris Hilton

    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.

  20. Luke
    Thumb Up

    Nice

    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.

  21. Andy Nugent

    @Pete James

    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?

  22. PaulK

    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.

  23. Hate2Register
    Happy

    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..

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    NIMBYS

    Never understood the mindset of someone who moves beside an airport, then whinges and gurns about airport expansion plans.

  25. Cameron Colley

    @Pete

    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.

  26. Sean Baggaley
    Boffin

    Heathrow...

    ... 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!)

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fossils?

    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.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Re: Nice

    "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.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    At time of reading....

    ....around 1530H this article is full of typing/spelling errors.

    Tidy it up El Reg!

  30. stu
    Alert

    @AC

    "Also, call me a snob, but I don't think chavs get their minds broadened very much through cheap package holidays abroad."

    hear hear.

    Heaven forbid that they go on holiday for something as base, trivial and unneccesary as 'enjoyment'.

    philistines clearly. Open the pits again, etc.

  31. malcolmus_rex
    Go

    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...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternatives

    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.

  33. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    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.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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..

  36. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    err...

    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.

  38. b166er

    Andrew

    You try living under LHR, you won't find any Modern Movement members there, or toffs for that matter. But fuck them, eh, toff!

  39. Mike Richards

    @ 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)

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Public transport

    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.

  41. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Andrew

    Mr B166er:

    "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.

  42. Steve Todd
    Stop

    @Sean Baggaley

    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?

  43. al
    Paris Hilton

    win-win

    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.

  44. michael

    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

    www.withouthotair.com

    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

  45. cupperty

    Comments?

    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

  46. kaye brennan

    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.

  47. AC
    Flame

    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.

  48. David Robinson

    Trains!!

    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.

    Dave.

  49. Troink

    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.

  50. Richie
    Unhappy

    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

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2009/01/13/flying-over-the-cuckoos-nest/

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Re: 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"

    I'll look past the spelling in this response and remark that, as far as I understand the intended meaning of the response, this is mere hand-waving. No-one (apart from the new-agers, who don't represent everyone, of course) is advocating shutting down airports and preventing people from moving around, and as we're experiencing here, the Internet and communications networks provide opportunities for an exchange of views without us all jetting off for pointless meetings in remote locations.

    "because as he says the global warming debate is relay a energy debate"

    The issues are related, but they do not overlap entirely. You can claim that global warming isn't happening or that mankind has nothing to do with it, which would put you in opposition to the prevailing scientific view, but you might still hopefully see the need for improvements in access to reliable sources of energy. Some people would, on that basis, argue that burning coal is a "solution" since there's still a fair amount of coal around, but the effects of doing so would merely contribute to global warming. So, merely solving the energy problem won't necessarily address the global warming problem, although I'll accept that the better energy solutions probably do mitigate global warming.

    "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"

    Well, that says more about the financial incentives than whether public transport is a bad thing, although I'm sure the Top Gear team postured a lot in their usual tired way and insisted that only "more cars on the road", "bigger roads" and "no railways" were solutions to Britain's problems while braying punters cheered in the background.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Re: can all environmentalists ...

    "My car tax has unnecessarily gone up just because it emits 224g."

    Is this the real reason for dusting off that encyclopedia and having a tantrum?

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC

    I never realised the environment was so simple, can you let me know where you got your PhD in environmental sciences, I'd like to get a copy your Doctoral thesis as you are obviously very well read.

    You should probably also get in touch with the Stern review people and IPCC to let them know that they are mislead.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Uncomfortable truth

    Greenhouse gases raise Earth's surface Temp by between 20 and 30 °C, Royal Society figures

    Some Green and other sources say greenhouse effect raises planet's temperature by 33°C

    CO2 accounts for 3% of the Greenhouse effect, the major greenhouse gas is water vapour (95% of the effect)

    Some Green sources say CO2 = 20% of greenhouse effect, water 60% (IPCC 1990 said 60-90%), other gases 20%

    Anthropogenic CO2 is approximately 3% of the CO2 emitted annually, the rest is from natural sources

    UK is responsible for 3% of World anthropogenic CO2 emissions

    Air travel is 3%-6% of UK anthropogenic CO2 emmissions

    So

    Using non-Green data

    25 °C Global warming effect of greenhouse gases

    x 3% = 0.75000 °C Global warming effect of CO2

    x 3% = 0.02250 °C Global warming effect of Anthropogenic CO2 emissions

    x 3% = 0.00068 °C Global warming effect due to UK's Anthropogenic CO2 emissions

    x 3% = 0.00002 °C Global warming effect due to UK's Air travel

    Using Green biased data

    33 °C Global warming effect of greenhouse gases

    x 20% = 6.60000 °C Global warming effect of CO2

    x 3% = 0.19800 °C Global warming effect of Anthropogenic CO2 emissions

    x 3% = 0.00594 °C Global warming effect due to UK's Anthropogenic CO2 emissions

    x 6% = 0.00036 °C Global warming effect due to UK's Air travel.

    Can someone check the maths? I'm too busy looking for a cheap flight to somewhere with a sunny beach.

    PS, it would still be a good thing if regional airports got more of the pie though, nobody wants to spend the best part of a day traveling down from Newcastle because all the international flights are from London.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Eco mentalists..pah!

    I think you have all missed the point. Our betters, MP's Mininsters Royalty etc can travel by private jet simply everywhere even to the bog and back. That causes no pollution whatsoever.

    It's only when oiks like yourself travel that suddenly it become a bad thing. Geddit?

    IMO we need lots more runways but not at Heathrow. I support Boris Island myself -- build a dozen runways there and high speed rail links and huge motorways too.

    Eat the rich!

  56. Danny Silver badge

    Cut the fat

    The trouble with eating the rich is there are so few of them to go around we'd soon run out and be relying on veganism. You'd need to keep some rich people as breeding stock, and that is expensive. Unless you intend just eating people who are richer than you which would certainly lower wage demands.

    There is a Californian plastic surgeon who runs two cars using the body fat of his patients as fuel. The UK is not short of it's own obese resources. We could forcably suck the fat out of fatties and use that for fuel. That would cut CO2 as lighter people would be travelling, it would slash the health budget plus it would just be easy on the eyes.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Sick of people accusing planes of being inefficient

    The Boeing 747-400 in an all-economy configuration (engine type makes a diference too) is using 1.9 litres of fuel per passenger 100km. That is while it is cruising at 900km/h.

    I really think those that believe TGV or Maglev are more efficient should look again at their figures.

    Airbus *claims* higher efficiency for the A380, however it has not been in service with enough carriers yet over a long-engough period of time to get *real* industry figures back.

    Even the venerable concorde used 17 litres per passenger 100km. (but a rotton taxiway consumption :-) )

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    how awfully nice of you...

    ...to stand up for those poor working class persons. How very altruistic.

    The biggest polluters are not people taking an annual summer holiday, but middle class people, who are able to afford to jet off on multiple 'weekend breaks' a year.

    The opinion piece's, and some comments, sweeping stereotypes of the 'green movement' are ridiculous. On what evidence do you base your opinions - have you ever even met any climate activists? The people most concerned about the environment, are not the middle classes, looking down on the 'plebs'.

    Quite the reverse. We're for travel equality, would be delighted with high speed trains cutting down on internal flights, and are desperate for more investment and development of alternative power generation.

    But how does simply allowing an airport to expand with existing technology create any market impetus for these?

    It is YOUR snobbery of those with social conscience, which really shines through. This is simply a way of creating an excuse so you don't have to feel bad about polluting. Not any 'sympathy' with the masses.

  59. Dr Stephen Jones

    @Fraser

    "I never realised the environment was so simple, can you let me know where you got your PhD ... You should probably also get in touch with the Stern review people and IPCC to let them know that they are mislead."

    Stern is not a scientist, he's an economist.

    As for the IPCC, the lead author William Schlesinger admitted that only "something on the order of 20 per cent have had some dealing with climate".

    Your willingness to believe non-scientists is reflected in your careless use of English.

  60. Roger Heathcote
    Flame

    @Paul

    You come across as an utter c---rag although I must agree that the world would be a far richer place without "High Wycombe".

  61. Alexander
    Stop

    science from a crystal ball

    mm bit of a problem here , the warmest 2 days on record in the USA was the two days directly after 9/11 when all aircraft where grounded, studies done to follow up this found aircraft actually contribute more to an effect called global dimming, which cools the earth and not the other way about.

    Agian it seems the vast majority of the green brigade pulling hairs out their arses and call it fact , but even the langauge has changed in mainstream media from global warmming to climate change, and climate change is something that has been happening since a cloud of dust and gas mereged to create this planet over 4 billion years ago.

    Ice ages come and go now every 50 000 odd years because south america crashed into north america and split the worlds oceans in half cupple that with the intermittent failure of the atlantic convyeur and we have an ice age , so should blow up panama and mexico to stop this ............

    The green brigade dont like change..well tuff shit beacuse it is here to stay .

    Here in scotland i once heard two rather foolish greenies on telly go on about how the beauty of the highlands would be spoiled by global warming, both where siblings and the children of a lord like the story above, what amazed me is the highlands today are a waste land created by greedy lairds and landowners during the 18th and 19th centruies that stripped the land of it's people and wildlife so more proiftable sheep could graze, 100 yrs of sheep have devastated the highlands and left the majority a bleak shadow of a once alive part of britain much like the welsh valleys.

    the greenies want us to save the picture postcard view of the world and lock us uncooth and stupid masses into a reguritated victorian ideology , i am pro nuclear ,pro transport and pro people ...the planet can look after itself and any time humans intervene it usually is pointless.

    The planet will survive us , but we wont survive it.

  62. Tim Shears
    IT Angle

    I always wanted to visit

    I understand the world is a large place full of wonder if we think about it a 100 years ago, flight across the oceans were just a dream, instead they used tons and tons of coal to get across. Still less then 50 years ago it was still cheaper to go by boat across the pond but by now they were more modern burning oil not fit for any other consumption. About 30 years ago or the wild and wacky 70's the 747 was born and flights across the Atlantic were affordable. More people in the last 30 years have been to places our grandparents only thought of.

    As far as classes, they have the concorde...oops that is right that haughty piece was rightly retired.

    I sure wish that information was put in the hands of people that understood what it means. Instead we have the very "knowledgeable" Al Gore flying all over the world in a Big jet to talk to the masses that we are into global warming. The real truth is that it is a way to get rich and stay rich by keeping the working class scared. I would love to know how much carbon old Al put into the air.

    Today though the most important thing is that we have a way to get the information to the masses that not one generation has Facebook...no the internet. I sure wish some of those great inventions of WWII which has stayed buried within GM for fuel economy was allowed to see the light of day. I have heard rumors of gas and water mix that works wonders but of course they have yet to go belly up.

    Maybe one day I will make a trip to europe and see the world. but I am sure Al will see to it that it will be on a rubber band powered airplane....

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