"Then it is dark; a night where kings in golden suits ride elephants over the mountains." - John Cheever

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Stopping flying

I'm going to give up unnecessary personal air travel. Don't think it can be justified in the light of what we know about C02 emmissions.

When I challenge my friends about their planned weekend in Rome or their holiday in Florida, they respond with a strange, distant smile and avert their eyes. They just want to enjoy themselves. Who am I to spoil their fun? The moral dissonance is deafening.

13 comments:

john said...

link to a Monbiot article with an offputting headline and strident tone, natch. good quote though.

Colin said...

This is the problem with this stuff - the majority of people still believe nobody has a right to tell them to change their lifestyle, which is viewed as some kind of fundamental human right. Or they do some good stuff - recycling, use a 'green' energy supplier - but still jet off to New York to do the christmas shopping. But flying is clearly something we should do less of. Even though train fares seem to be shooting up, and it costs me more on the train than to fly to Scotland, which seems mad. Everything else gets complicated. Some guy from New Zealand was on the radio this morning saying that we don't have a right to moan about importing kiwi fruits (which are shipped, incidentally, not flown), as producing and importing NZ lamb or dairy products still produces about half the carbon emissions of producing it in the UK. I thought this piece by John Humphreys in the Sunday Times was quite good the other day. Bit rambling this post, I'm afraid.

john said...

More measured, Grauniad version of Monbiot's article here.

Tom said...

I read the Monbiot one when it came out, and the Humphreys one (though too long) is absolutely excellent. He puts his finger on how impossibly difficult it is. I like to think of myself as pretty green, but relative to my grandparents or pretty much anyone living in the developing world, I am an ecological disaster. Yet there is no way, despite all my anxieties about global warming, that I'm going to reduce my standard of living that drastically.

john said...

Air travel is the elephant in the room isn't it? Not much point having a cold larder and switching your fridge off in winter if you're regularly flying out to your second home in the Peloponese (for flip's sake).

Opting out of air travel and thus making an economic vote against this wasteful form of transport isn't going to hamper economic growth or technological advance.

phaemon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
phaemon said...

I quite like the idea of the carbon offsets like at . What's good about them is that they can promote good sustainable projects (such as reforesting in developing countries) that wouldn't otherwise be economically viable. What you reckon?

phaemon said...

Blog is acting weirdly again. Post looks fine on preview, but screws up when posted. You know what I mean anyway.

john said...

link should be to http://www.climatecare.org/, yeah?

phaemon said...

Hah, yes, was so annoyed with the coding not working that I forgot to check the link! Anyway, what do you think of such things? On the one hand they feel a bit like cheating, but on the other, if they work and are benefiting struggling economies, surely they're all good?

john said...

I think carbon offsetting is good, and we should all consider doing it.

I have read some criticisms of it (a while ago). Some of the criticism related to the science of the measures taken to offset CO2 emmissions (not had a chance to look at the climate care site in any depth yet so can't really comment on that specificially).

The other criticism - I think on RealClimate - said that offsetting was currently effective but that if its use increased it would become proportionately more and more expensive to offset a given output of CO2. Current offsetting is nice and cheap but once the "low hanging fruit" offsets get utilised prices will ramp up.

Not sure if there's a counter argument that can be made on the basis of economies of scale kicking in. It's an interesting one.

Colin said...

This article by Anatole Kaletsky in The Times was quoted in The Week this week. He interprets the Stern report as saying that we as individuals can carry on doing what we want, because its government and industrial action that will make the real difference, not individuals. Not sure I buy the idea that the need for one excuses the other, but perhaps there's a grain of truth in the idea that we don't have to become completely neurotic and stressed out about our individual carbon footprints. Nice idea, anyway.

Colin said...

Actually, having read Kaletsky in full now, I don't buy it. As I think Humphreys says too.