April 24, 2016

Did the NYT intentionally make this article — guilt-tripping readers for traveling by plane instead of cars — unsearchable on its website?

Lying in bed, browsing on my iPhone, I encountered a NYT article — with the innocuous, soothing title "How to Travel the Earth And Protect It, Too" — that went surprisingly strongly in the direction of condemning all air travel. I've added the boldface:
Simply going on a trip makes you something of a carbon hog... [W]e have bypassed the thicket of greenwashing prevalent in travel marketing, and instead asked experts at leading environmental groups how they approach travel....

Where to go.... The environmental purists’ answer is that it’s ideal to go nowhere.... The second-best thing to staying home... is venturing just a few hours away...

How to get there. Getting to and from your destination will almost certainly account for the biggest carbon chunk of your entire vacation, especially if you fly far away....

Driving will usually be better than flying, particularly if there is more than one person in the car, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation, a nonprofit organization that helped uncover the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Planes burn an enormous amount of fuel, especially during takeoff and landing.

Thus, according to the council’s analysis, which covered trips of 300 to 500 miles, an S.U.V. with two or more people is better, carbon wise, than flying....

If you’re traveling beyond 500 miles, you will most likely fly, which is an extremely carbon-intense activity. An economy-class round-trip flight between New York and Paris, for example, can generate one or more metric tons of carbon emissions (depending on the calculator), whereas a resident of the United States generates annual carbon emissions of 17 metric tons on average....
That's some strong anti-flying information, the strongest I can remember seeing in the NYT. I was eager to blog that. Switching to my desktop computer, I went to the NYT website and did a search and then another and another, using some of the obvious keywords: carbon hog, greenwashing, enormous. The search engine treats the article as nonexistent. Did the NYT do that intentionally?

65 comments:

robother said...

Tricks of the journalist trade. I've noticed over the last 20 years that the NYTimes dumps stories inconvenient to the Democrat narrative of the moment in the Saturday edition, which its core audience (including the international travelers) hardly ever reads. They preserve their Newspaper of Record status, but without disturbing their reader's liberal cocoon.

Tommy Duncan said...

I'll confess that I feel a morale boost every time I am able to prove I'm not a robot by picking the 3 images that contain "juice". However, I also feel somewhat ashamed because the images feature table settings and meals that reek of white privilege. That leaves me conflicted. Is there a safe space available?

I digress.

The Times may be hiding the article because it contains a whiff of facts, science and math. As such, it doesn't fit their global warming narrative, which avoids such content. Also, publishing an article that provides a (however small) endorsement of motor vehicle travel is way off their narrative. It also is hurtful to their Francophile readership who treasure their regular flights to Paris.

Sean Gleeson said...

You are right, the NYT search doesn’t show that article for me either. They certainly have a motive for hiding this story (it would make their travel industry advertisers uncomfortable), but I suspect it was an accident. I think this because of the Hanlon’s Razor principle, but also because the paper did not take other steps that would have naturally been a part of any hide-from-search plan. They did not keep it from appearing in Google searches, for instance (which is easy to do). And they did not refrain from linking to it in their various navigation elements. I think some lackey just accidentally checked — or failed to check — some obscure checkbox on a long form in their content management interface.

Laslo Spatula said...

The gist of the NYT article made me think sideways to the title "Swimming to Cambodia". Would seem to be relatively innocuous, carbon-wise. Everyone, swim.

Made me look up Spalding Gray.

His suicide was by jumping off the Staten Island Ferry. Not sure of the ferry's carbon footprint.

Then: thinking of warming and oil, I got sidetracked into the internet discussions of whether Gray was in 1976's "Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks." It was the second Ilsa movie, following the more famous one where she is the concentration camp Nazi Warden. Oh, boy.

Even though Inga dies at the end of the first movie she comes back in the second as the titular "Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks."

Yes, 'Titular' is an intentional joke regarding Ilsa.

Anyway some say Spalding was the Sheik, some say he wasn't.

I am Laslo.

Michael McClain said...

I plan to do the majority of my traveling via automobile to states that honor my concealed carry license. I can listen to the media I choose. I'm not crowded into cattle car-like conditions and I'm not felt up by uniformed strangers prior to embarkation.

Birkel said...

Imagine how terrible all this would be if Anthropogenic Global Warming was actually going to happen and be as bad as predicted...

John Fucking Lennon cannot imagine that.

Paco Wové said...

Well, darn. Will the NYT approve my choice if I switch to the Queen Mary II instead of flying to Europe this fall?

Paco Wové said...

"The environmental purists’ answer is that it’s ideal to go nowhere"

I suppose the platonic ideal in this case is non-existence.

MayBee said...

Bernie Sanders on Jake Tapper's show just told us "Scientists are warning us" about how awful climate change is going to be.
He actually said "Scientists" as if that is a group of people with one voice, and we must understand it and respect it.

Politicians tell us we need to elect Bernie.
Economists tell us Socialism is the best.
Governments tell us they need to regulate more.
Scientists tell us about global warming.
Am I the only one to whom that sounds ridiculous? Incredulous?

rhhardin said...

Freight train is very carbon efficient.

rhhardin said...

Free range cattle get bigger rooms in cattle cars.

Rusty said...

I'm just curious. How much energy does it take to charge up a Tesla S as opposed to how many watts are in a gallon of gas? Regular, not premium.

virgil xenophon said...

My man Paco Wove hits it square in the nuts. 'Cept it's always "non-existence for thee but not for me." To para an ins company ad: "That's just what totalitarians do."

Hagar said...

In other news, the dear queen told Obama he could have three helicopters with him when he came for dinner, but not six. However, it was not so much about the carbon footprint as that on his previous visit they scorched her lawn and put sank wheelmarks into it that took a lot of time and effort to repair.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

An economy-class round-trip flight between New York and Paris, for example, can generate one or more metric tons of carbon emissions

Anyone good at math out there? Is it really possible for one ticket to be responsible for producing 2,200 pounds (of what?) CO2?

I'm horrible at math but my BS meter just pegged.

Ambrose said...

Maybe the search feature uses too much CO2 - so they are selectively cutting back on it?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Planes burn an enormous amount of fuel, especially during takeoff and landing.

If your plane is burning an enormous amount of fuel during landing you are doing something very wrong.

Hagar said...

delete "put."

Sean Gleeson said...

I love a road trip as much as anyone, and I have no reason to defend air travel, but something seems wrong with their premise, that driving is more carbon-efficient (and ergo more planet-friendly) than flying. A few logical snares are apparent.

First, at least if it is a commercial flight and not chartered specially for you, that airplane is going to make the journey whether you are on it or not. So putting your butt in the seat will not in fact add appreciably to its hydrocarbon consumption.

And second, by only considering the one factor of carbon dioxide in the vehicle exhaust, the authors are failing to consider all of the many other factors which would have an impact on efficiency. Wouldn’t adding four days to your trip (to allow for driving instead of flying) cost extra labor (of hotel workers and busboys and various others) and generate carbon dioxide from all the extra cooking and laundry and other services you will require? Very myopic.

MayBee said...

Even Bernie Sanders has a private campaign jet, though.

Because unlike regular people, he has important reasons to travel by air.

Michael K said...

I contribute to green principles by never going to New York City. Even by accident.

PB said...

We should wall off Manhattan and keep those idiots imprisoned in their wonderland. See how they like it.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

My next plane has about 225 economy class seats. That means the plane generates at leadt 495,000 pounds of carbon emissions.

Sounds fishy to me.

ddh said...

The environmental ideal is to live like a Tahitian in Tahiti, and the New York Times doesn't want anything to pop that bubble. It especially doesn't want the readership to realize that living like a Tahitian in Tahiti is not much different from living like a Haitian in Haiti.

Rusty said...

OK
About 33.7 kw in a gallon of gas and about 33.0 kw per hundred miles in a Tesla.Of course that falls off rapidly as soon as you turn on the radio, lights and or air conditioner or heater. So if you like your comforts while you drive it's basically a wash. You're better off environmentally with a Prius.

Paco Wové said...

"Is it really possible for one ticket to be responsible for producing 2,200 pounds (of what?) CO2?"

Sounds plausible to me. I don't have time to do the math right now, but a gallon of gasoline will create about 20 pounds of CO₂ when burned. When gas burns, it combines with oxygen in the air, and more that two-thirds of that 20 pounds of CO₂ is the weight of the oxygen "consumed" from the air.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

It is bullshit!

In a 10 hour flight a 747 will burn 150,000 liters of jet fuel. That will be less than 150 metric tons of fuel for the entire flight and all the passengers.

If the plane is mostly full, the plane burns 0.01 gallons per person per mile.

Michael said...

Happily the only people who will take this article to heart are those who will ignore the airline bit but stick to the suffering on the other end by limiting their travel to Namibia and its splendid record with poachers. LOL. Oh, and because the poachers don't mess with them the lions are particularly tame. Pet one, please.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Thanks Paco

I told you I was bad at math!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Michael McCain said: "......I'm not crowded into cattle car-like conditions and I'm not felt up by uniformed strangers prior to embarkation."

AND your luggage arrives with you without anyone rifling through your personal things it or stealing items. If you lose your luggage on a car trip...that is on you.

Traveling by car is freedom defined. You can stop when you want and where you want. Take side trips. Visit interesting places, scenery, restaurants off the main highway, meet interesting people, find unique stores, perhaps stumble upon a small town festival or craft fair. The people with you in the car are not rude strangers impeding upon your personal space. Maybe they are your family, and rude and unpleasant, but that is your problem and a choice you make to ride with them Take as long as you like or just iron-butt it to your destination. The choice is YOURS. Freedom.

Traveling by air is restrictive, regimented, unpleasant, uncomfortable, tedious and expensive. Travel by car! much better.

Although it is rather difficult to drive to Hawaii or to Paris. And who has time to take a boat?

Gahrie said...

@Rusty:

I'm close to yanking your man card.... comparing a Tesla to a Prius? And having the Prius win?

That's like comparing a VW and a Porsche and having the VW win....

Heresy.

Ann Althouse said...

"In a 10 hour flight a 747 will burn 150,000 liters of jet fuel. That will be less than 150 metric tons of fuel for the entire flight and all the passengers. If the plane is mostly full, the plane burns 0.01 gallons per person per mile."

You made it a 10-hour flight. The article says "Planes burn an enormous amount of fuel, especially during takeoff and landing."

Did that 10-hour flight involve a stop and a change of planes or just someone conveniently using a non-stop from one big international hub to another?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

a gallon of gasoline will create about 20 pounds of CO₂ when burned.

We have a friend who is a retired Calif CHP officer. He rode motorcycles in the 60's and until retirement in Los Angeles. He tells this story about those days making a point about global warming.

The State was frantically trying to beautify the ever expanding freeway system in LA and had planted shrubs and vines along the way. It came to their attention that in some areas the plants were doing so much better than others. The watering was the same as were most other conditions. SO why were those plants thriving so well? Here's where my friend plays a part. CHP had been doing studies of the flow and traffic on the freeways to help in design and remodeling of the system. Turns out those were the areas of traffic congestion where cars were often backed up or slowed way down.

The additional CO2 from the congested traffic was helping the plants grow. Plants LOVE CO2. It is what they breathe in utilize the carbon and they then return O2 to the atmosphere. It is their life blood and they greatly appreciated the extra CO2. In addition, the plants needed less watering. Thanks they say! CO2 is not a poison or a pollutant.

Gahrie said...

I'll confess that I feel a morale boost every time I am able to prove I'm not a robot by picking the 3 images that contain "juice".

Am I the only one that ignores that box and still gets posted?

AReasonableMan said...

Gahrie said...
Am I the only one that ignores that box and still gets posted?


No.

MayBee said...

I'm an ignorer.

AReasonableMan said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...
The additional CO2 from the congested traffic was helping the plants grow. Plants LOVE CO2.


And if I were a plant I probably would have found this a more uplifting story.

robinintn said...

In the comments over there, no one appears to have noticed the air travel part. It's all, why, oh why can't everyone be made to see the looming danger and take STEPS like the fabulous hotels which require us to turn on our power only when we really need it. With a side of "humans, the earth's biggest predators".

Paco Wové said...

"oh why can't everyone be made to see the looming danger and take STEPS"

Serious steps, like nuclear power. Otherwise it's just virtue-signaling to the choir.

Nuclear or GTFO.

Paco Wové said...

Wikipedia has this handy formula for the combustion of kerosene, which is pretty much what jet fuel is:

2 C₁₂H₂₆ + 37 O₂ → 24 CO₂ + 26 H₂O

that is, 2 molecules of dodecane (a major component of kerosene) plus 37 molecules of diatomic oxygen yields 24 molecules of CO₂ plus 26 molecules of water. Converting that equation into weights, you get, approximately,

340.6 grams of fuel + 1184 grams of oxygen = 1056 grams of CO₂ + 468 grams of water

a ratio of approximately 3.1 parts CO₂ for every 1 part fuel burned.

So how much fuel is burned? Looking at this page, we get 48,000 kg for a 777 flying from Paris to Montreal.
48000 * 3.1 = 148800 kg CO₂, or 327360 lbs.

How many seats on a 777? Wikip. says 315 - 451, so let's say 350. So if you divvied up CO₂ produced on a per-seat basis (which itself is problematic, as noted above), you're talking 935 pounds. Round trip, approximately double that, so 1870 pounds.

Skipper said...

All travel must be done on pixie dust and happy thoughts.

Bruce Hayden said...

I plan to do the majority of my traveling via automobile to states that honor my concealed carry license.

This is a problem for me. A bit. Which is why I may trade in a CO permit for one from AZ or maybe MT. The issue for me here is Washington state. It is easy to stay out of the other left coast states for me, but we are right across the ID panhandle from WA, and they have the closest Costco, Barnes and Noble, etc. Plus the only airport nearby that has Southwest Airlines. The thing about WA though is that they haven't completely gone off the deep end with their gun laws - yet, which is why they still recognize the permits from more states than the rest of the gun-phobic states.

When I was practicing law by Lake Tahoe, I lived and worked maybe 10 miles (as the crow flies) from the border. I routinely drove into CA, and even skied into there on a somewhat regular basis (Heavenly Valley straddles to border), and that would have been an issue. But don't live anywhere close to CA anymore, and no reason to go there. Which mostly leaves the mid Atlantic states centered around NY. Why would anyone travel to any of those states? One outlier is IL, which doesn't recognize a lot of states' permits, which you have to drive across to get a lot of places back east. But, as long as you are driving across the state (which is relatively narrow), guns should be safe in the car, under federal law. You can just fill up your tank before you enter the state, and not stop on the way across.

Bruce Hayden said...

I do find it interesting that we are told here to drive instead of fly, even when we are packed tightly together like sardines in large, fuel efficient, planes. The important people can get away with flying wherever they want, for whatever reasons, on typically much smaller much less fuel efficient private jets. Unless, they are really important, in which case they can fly their own private jumbo jet a fraction of the people aboard, in comparison to commercial jets. The worst, of course, being the President, who not only flies in a 747, his other 747 often being kept close, and has an entourage that flies his cars, helicopters, minions, and press in additional cargo planes. Often, with this President, just to play golf somewhere.

As is said, I will start believing in AGC/AGW/AGCC, etc. when the proponents start acting like they believe in it too.

Yancey Ward said...

"First, at least if it is a commercial flight and not chartered specially for you, that airplane is going to make the journey whether you are on it or not. So putting your butt in the seat will not in fact add appreciably to its hydrocarbon consumption."

Well, it isn't a completely fallacious argument- if everyone didn't fly at all, the plane wouldn't even exist. If half the people didn't fly, then the plane would fly only half as often. Of course, it is a collective action problem.

n.n said...

Carbon-based reduction and sequestration seems to be a traditional theme of left-wing ideologues.

Paco Wové said...

Hmmm, maybe I'll have to re-think the Queen Mary II...

"On average, ships use 140-150 tons of fuel per day, which works out to roughly 30 to 50 gallons per mile."

Given the distance to Southampton from New York, I think that works out to almost 3 million pounds of CO₂, which even if divided up among 2000 passengers, is more than 50% greater CO₂ generation than air travel.

Time to sit quietly at home until I die.

Michael said...

We should all realize that these calculations are setting the table for the day when you will not be able to travel for the sake of the environment. Oh, if you work in Govt. you will be able to go to the right-think conferences all over the world, but the rest will have to stay home.

Original Mike said...

We got back last night from a business-class trip to New Zealand. The Sydney to Dallas leg alone is a 17-hr flight on an A380.

I must be on the NYT Top 10 Enemies of the Planet list.

David said...

"carbon hog, greenwashing, enormous.'

short version: enormous hogwash

Doug said...

Professor Althouse, a 747 can fly about 7,500 miles fully loaded and they are typically used for long flights (trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific flying in the case of the airline I work for). A ten-hour flight is not untypical for that kind of aircraft. For example Detroit to Tokyo is just over a 13 hour flight.

kentuckyliz said...

Makes me remember the article about the British woman who had an abortion as a carbon offset for her international flights for holidays.

I don't have kids, so it ends with me. I can be a carbon hog. I earned it with my nulliparity.

So I leave all the lights on and the front door standing open and I fly wherever and whenever I want to.

I do what I want! Bitches!

Rusty said...

Yancey Ward said...
"First, at least if it is a commercial flight and not chartered specially for you, that airplane is going to make the journey whether you are on it or not. So putting your butt in the seat will not in fact add appreciably to its hydrocarbon consumption."

Well, it isn't a completely fallacious argument- if everyone didn't fly at all, the plane wouldn't even exist. If half the people didn't fly, then the plane would fly only half as often. Of course, it is a collective action problem.

Except you're not taking into consideration cargo flights.
Not long ago a cargo ship went down with a load of Sony Electronics. Sony chartered a fleet of 747s to fly big screen TVs from Japan to the USA.

Howard said...

It's common knowledge that air travel is more efficient. The tricky part about environment is that it obeys math, chemistry and physics like everything else.

NY-Paris=3,625-miles each way, RT=7,250-miles
1-metric ton of carbon emissions (as stated in the OP) = 2,205-lbs of carbon

Jet fuel can be simulated using dodecane with a molecular weight of 170grams/Mole, of which the 12 carbons have a MW of 144g/M. One mole of dodecane creates 12 moles of CO2 (Carbon MW=12g/M, CO2 MW=44g/M). 1000 Kilograms of C in CO2 = 83,332 moles CO2= 6,944 moles of dodecane= 1,181Kilos = 2,603-pounds of fuel at 6.25-lbs/gallon = 417-gallons of fuel per person. That works out to 17-miles per gallon of fuel per person. However, the industry average is 60-miles per gallon of fuel per person.

Therefore, it is not 1-tonne carbon emission as stated in the OP, it's 1-tonne carbon dioxide. 17*(44/12)=62miles per gallon per person. QED

Airline Fuel Mileage

On top of all this, the land foot print of air travel is minimal compared with auto and train. Also, aircraft have a lifespan roughly 3-times that of automobiles.

Howard said...

Ships burn high sulfur bunker oil and produce way, way more NOx, SOx and particulate air pollution than any other transport source.

tim in vermont said...

Aside from the fact that if fewer people flew, there would be fewer flights, independent of air cargo demand, services consumed along the way don't use that much more carbon than staying home. You could pack your meals and stop at supermarkets if you liked.
Accelerating a plane to 500 MPH and lifting it seven miles uses a lot of energy.

tim in vermont said...

That WSJ article was an eye opener.

Ann Althouse said...

"Professor Althouse, a 747 can fly about 7,500 miles fully loaded and they are typically used for long flights (trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific flying in the case of the airline I work for). A ten-hour flight is not untypical for that kind of aircraft. For example Detroit to Tokyo is just over a 13 hour flight."

I wasn't talking about the capacity of the plane but the lack of nonstop flights between mist points.

cubanbob said...

When is the NYT eliminating it's travel section?
Or is air travel only for the bien-pensant New Yorkers?

Deirdre Mundy said...

This weekend, we went to Indianapolis for the State History Day competition. We took 10 people in a 12 passenger van. Perhaps we can work out some exchange where you guilty flyers give me money in exchange for the 'enviro cred' we generated in our efficient use of carbon to transport humans! I'll make up certificates of carbon savings exchanged and everything! And I'll give you a MUCH better deal than all these other 'carbon trading' schemes!

MadisonMan said...

The Sydney to Dallas leg alone is a 17-hr flight

Oof. The Detroit to Narita flight I took in November -- 13+ hours, bucking a horrible jet stream -- almost killed me. I don't know what I'd've done on a 17-hour flight. (I did have another 4-h flight after Narita).

Original Mike said...

"I don't know what I'd've done on a 17-hour flight."

Fly business class. I've been to Australia three times in the last two years (and I'm going back in 6 months). The first time I flew economy. It was rough. My 60 year old body did not like it one bit. Since then, I've flown business. It's expensive, but IMO, economy is a health risk. On two of my now 6 flights, the paramedics boarded the plane on landing and hauled a passenger off.

In business class there is a decent amount of space and the seat flattens out so you can get some sleep. At times it can actually be pleasant. I watched 4 movies this trip I never would have watched at home. Of course, you can probably put 3 economy passengers in the same space, so my carbon footprint is that much bigger. Fortunately, I don't believe the planet is in mortal danger.

Rusty said...

Howard said...
Ships burn high sulfur bunker oil and produce way, way more NOx, SOx and particulate air pollution than any other transport source.

Called "Bunker C fuel" The sulfur content depends on what crude it's sourced from, but it's basically one step up from asphalt.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Also unfindable is one particular William Safire Sunday "On Language" column from I think 2001 about I think the fake Edmund Burke quote "All that is necessary for the riump of evil is for good men to do nothing" It is cited in places but cannot be found at the New York Times.

Some things are removed because of copyright considerations, and maybe somehow that was the case with that Safire column but what you refeernced now is actually still there.

It is a good mystery.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Maybe that Safire column is from 1981 - I checked

http://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/12/04/good-men-do/

He did it twice. It is the April 5, 1981 “On Language; Standing Corrected” by William Safire, column that can't be found on the New York Times website (or couldn't whenever it was that I tried, which could be two or three years ago or more now.

The first column dealing with this is cited as being March 9, 1980. That is before everything is online, whch is from 1981, but it should be seen as an abstract and if you log in. it maybe was available through ProQuest, The 1981 should be avalable electronically, but searching for it on the New York Times website you won't find it.

Sammy Finkelman said...

The Edmund Burke quote was popularized by the League of Women Voters in 1944, when iit encouraging people to vote (you'll have trouble verifying this fact but I read it once) This was probably not teh sort of thing the originator of the quite had in mind.

It feels like it's referring to Nazi Germany and Munich and probably originated in 1938.