Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Flying in the ointment

A couple of days ago the media praised Gordon Brown for his vision for a low carbon economy. He warned of hard choices and the need to achieve severe reductions in CO2 emissions. So if Gordon is so worried about climate change, why did it take him four months to mention it?

Yet on the ground and in the air - it's business as usual. Brown wants to build more roads and runways, effectively encouraging growth in CO2 emissions in the transport sector, and today his low carbon vision crashed further with Ruth Kelly's backing of the expansion of Heathrow airport. In one undemocratic swoop, Kelly has prejudged the outcome of any public inquiry, as at the end of it all it will be her final decision that counts. Like the nuclear consultation, it seems to be in the bag, no doubt helped along by the fact that airport's owner, BAA, will be effectively managing the data going into the consultation.

They will ignore the environment, the climate change, the thousands of people slowly losing their sanity and health due to aircraft noise. The excuse, as ever, is that "it's the economy, stupid." To counter the environmental argument that the plans should be shelved, Kelly said:

"All it will do is shift capacity over the Channel. It will make us feel pure, but with no benefit to the rest of the planet."

This is a piss poor excuse as well as a morally corrupt argument - it's the same argument crack dealers and arms sellers use - if we don't do it, someone else will.

We need to replace the "it's the economy, stupid" with something like "if we don't sort climate change we're all fucked, stupid." I know, it's not as snappy as Clinton's quote, but you get my drift.

Anyway, so instead of trying to engineer mechanisms to start to limit flying, something we need to do to reduce our CO2 emissions, the government is actively encouraging the growth in aviation and increasing the likelihood of disaster. Carbon offsetting, trading or any other fairyland gimmick they can think of to try and avoid actually reducing emissions will not work. There's no magic technological solution around the corner. Reductions must be the aim.

The British Government - the environmental equivalent of crack dealers.


punkscience said...

"The British Government - the environmental equivalent of crack dealers."

This made me laugh!

Ruth Kelly is a fucking idiot and every time I see her or read about her I want to cry.

Bryan said...

Excellent blog! The environmental record of new labour falls well short of their rhetoric.

PETER SHAW said...

Now, now – Ruth Kelly is merely an “idiot”, but continue crying!

Michael said...

I dunno, Peter, I think that extra adjective works pretty well!