June 10, 2014

"In reality, airplanes not only spew far more greenhouse gases per passenger than any other mode of transport..."

"... but they do so high in the atmosphere, magnifying the ill effects....
A recent study by Stewart Barr, a geographer at the UK's University of Exeter, found that people who identified as committed environmentalists actually flew more than those who didn't. Some of these "bleeding-heart jet setters" insisted they'd earned their flights through green behavior at home. "People tell themselves they can justify a flight of 5,000 miles because they've recycled all year," Barr told me.
But look at this chart:


cubanbob said...

I for one don't give a crap about greenhouse gasses. Let the proponents of controlling carbon emissions live their lives as if they actually believe what they claim and maybe then they could be taken seriously.

Original Mike said...

I have a cousin who's a true believer. She confided in me once (after a couple drinks) that the movement knew that people's life style will have to change drastically, but it was too soon to be honest about that.

Alex said...

Of course the travelists will come in and say how it's all bullshit.

broomhandle said...

Cubanbob beat me to it. If I absolutely do not give a shit ,I'll laugh at their scolding and their hypocritical moralizing. Liberalism really has become one giant comical douche canoe.

Gahrie said...

The only person i will actually listen to on conservation and environmental issues is Ed begley....he at least tries to live the life. The rest of them are con man, rent seekers and grifters.

Stephen said...

Carbon tax! If you price it to reflect the damage it causes, demand will go down!

traditionalguy said...

The billion dollar fake science of CO2 energy elimination to control weather announced its next meeting in Paris, where they expect 50,000 attendees from all over the earth getting their semi annual suck on the Rulers of the World tit.

jimbino said...

How much does the breeding woman increase CO2?

Answer: she will more than double the burden she alone places on the planet, measured in water, energy, pollution, species extinction and lebensraum.

Non-breeders should have a license to fly around in jet airplanes all they want, as does the famous flying breeder Al Gore.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

If they truly believed, they would stop breathing. That would solve a lot of problems right there.

John Lynch said...

This is why global warming hysteria has very little to do with science.

We have the technology to use zero-emission power for all of our energy needs.

But we don't, because it's not about fixing the problem. It's about fixing us. It's always about control of our daily lives, not solving the problem in the least intrusive way.

I don't want to be fixed. Stop trying to change my behavior and find a technological (nuclear) solution.

Anonymous said...

Hope to see that chart on a poster on a wall in a workplace somewhere, somewhere in a land of grey, bureaucratic misery.

Paul Mac said...

So the past 17 years + there has been no warming worldwide. That being said, it wouldn't be unwise to pursue cleaner, more efficient, and more dense power if people actually cared about that and not the policies as a tool to confer and maintain power by fear.

The US has been reducing emissions by replacing coal with natural gas, and if we did so at an accelerated paced and added nuclear which is a much cleaner, safer, more dense power source than any other known to man, while we developed liquid fluoride thorium reactors, we could have a cleaner environment, less carbon, more power and a host of other benefits. And we have the technology to do all these things and maybe even skip a few steps, along the way.

BTW, once you get to thorium reactors you get desalination with the waste heat, can consume existing nuclear waste, can separate invaluable medical and other scientific fission products from the system, and fuel generation systems that can replace first automotive and likely eventually air fossil fuels.

Again all technology that is known to exist today, engineering challenges but the real roadblocks are political and regulatory.



Bruce Hayden said...

That is why Hopenhagen (Copenhagen) was so hilarious. So many people flew in to the AGW confab by private jet, that some of the jets had to be parked a country or two away.

As many have pointed out, I will start taking the CO2 based AGC/AGW/AGCC/AGCD scares as credible when those pushing such act like they actually believed in such themselves. Right now they don't, and I act accordingly.

Bob R said...

If you believe the climate models quantitative predictions (a HUGE if) then the cost of keeping the temperature increase under 2 degrees C is enormous, and the benefit relatively small. Reason TV has good 30 minute segment with Bjorn Lomborg. He plays the dirty trick of actually taking the warmist's predictions at face value.

lgv said...

1) ban all non-essential air travel
2) EPA defines rules for term "essential"
3) Huge new agency is formed to process requests
4) Connected people still get to fly
5) Government bails our or subsidizes airline industry.

See, it all works out.

tim in vermont said...

This just goes to show how little the true believers understand science. Lifting your body and the percentage of the airplane and crew that goes with it 40,000 feet in the air is going to take a fair bit of energy, accelerating that same mass to 500 MPH, another fair load, overcoming the drag, which is proportional to to the cube of the speed for several hours while keeping the whole load airborne?

This is another reason why the climategate emails hurt them so much:

"[Michael Mann]: [...] looking forward to seeing you in Tahiti, we can enjoy some nice tropical drinks w/ umbrellas in them."


If somebody told me they didn't travel because of global warming and asked me not to, at least I would respect them.

The Drill SGT said...

Don't remember who said it:

"I'll start believing it is a crisis when then people telling me that, act like it's a crisis"

tim in vermont said...

Ed Begley Jr?



damikesc said...

Reynolds still has the best take.

I will believe this is a crisis when the people claiming it is one acts like it is a crisis.

PB Reader said...

Those "environmentalists" and do-gooders justify it because they think they're saving the world.

The ends justify the means, baby. Even if the ends never come.

Bill Peschel said...

Original Mike, you're right. Reading the various sites devoted to sustainability, Peak Oil and a resource-depleted future all discuss this. The overall goal is to reduce your carbon footprint by 90%, which basically means crashing the economy as it stands now.

This is not a heavily guarded secret, BTW, but it takes a journalist to spend time reading the sites to understand that and not be writing 40 click-bait posts.

tim maguire said...

This isn't news. Environmentalists are bad for the environment.

I once actually witnessed a discussion on this topic: is it ok to use disposable diapers while on vacation in Italy? The woman was concerned that it was too difficult to use her regular recyclables.

EDH said...

I'm not sure any of these self-appointed "committed environmentalists" ever intended to pay for their sins against the climate through self-sacrifice.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Maybe the whole 'Carbon Footprint" thing is more about social signaling than the environment.

"Look, I'm wealthy and educated enough to drive a Prius and wear organic bamboo while installing expensive solar and geothermal systems in my home." The flying to Aspen for a ski vacation is also social signaling.

So is the spending free time/superfluous cash to 'raise awareness' so that your personal politicians make the lives of cash-strapped people in the midwest more unpleasant.

"Look! Conspicuous consumption is considered gauche these days, so Daddy went out and bought me my own congressman! Now he obeys MY commands instead of the will of those pesky voters!"

My per person carbon footprint (8 people in an 1800 squarefoot house, staycations, only drive the car full, cheap food sourced locally or regionally because that makes it cheaper)is already lower than anything they can hope to achieve, but their haranguing is a mark of social status- my betters and masters who can 'altruistically' boss me around because they have more money.

Brennan said...

Can't we just go back to the Greek times and use the word "actor" to describe hypocrites?

Rusty said...

Alex said...
Of course the travelists will come in and say how it's all bullshit.

Mostly it is.Science and all that shit.

Brennan said...

Carbon tax! If you price it to reflect the damage it causes, demand will go down!

Won't we have to conclude the increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are bad before we just decide to tax it or are we jumping to conclusions that carbon is a sin?

Rusty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

I am skeptical that recycling reduces one's carbon footprint.

SJ said...

Totally separate from the discussion of greenhouse gases, Anthropogenic Global Warming, and climate modeling...

This is no surprise to me at all.

Moving a person from point A to point B involves expending energy.

If the person moves themselves by walking or bicycling, most of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere came from their own breathing.

If the person mounts motorcycle powered by an internal-combustion engine, the motorcycle has to burn petroleum to move the person from A to B. But the motorcycle also needs to use energy to move the motorcycle the same distance. More energy emitted, more carbon used.

Cars require more carbon to travel the same distance, but also allow more people. Which may (or may not) reduce the carbon-emitted-per-mile-traveled-per-person.

Buses require more carbon emissions than cars, but probably produce less carbon-emission-per-mile-per-person. Because buses are built to move large groups of people.

Airplanes are another kettle of fish entirely.

Airplanes require huge amounts of energy to rise from the ground to 30000-ft altitude. And huge amounts of energy to maintain the speed required to generate lift.

Thus, it is no surprise that airplanes have a much higher number of carbon emissions per-mile-per-person.

Airplanes are used to travel long distances because it is much faster to fly from Denver to Boston than to drive.

Why doesn't Al Gore encourage all the environmental people to telecommute to a virtual conference on the environment, rather than fly to one? I don't know.

Except that virtual conferences don't let politicans and NGO leaders chat in high-priced restaurants. While congratulating each other about "doing something."

John Pickens said...

Ed Begley was caught on video accepting the concept of funding for an anti-fracking film by middle eastern oil interests. NIMBY fool...


tim in vermont said...

The US, which never approved Kyoto has nonetheless met the targets, last I checked, which was a couple of years back, due to fracking, etc.

Lots of countries that did sign on never met those targets. IIRC, none of them did. George W Bush or no George W Bush.

Tank said...

Nonetheless, I'm not driving to Texas.

I like flying.

Even now.


dbp said...

It is all about keeping up appearances: So many libs I know, they drive around in their hybrids, "Yay! We care about the environment". They travel to far-flung destinations twice/year.

They want to be seen as caring and they probably actually do care. But they are hypocritical idiots.

gerry said...

Liberals are hypocrites, too, you know.

It's just that they create burdens for everyone else and then excuse themselves from that crap.

It pisses me off.

James Pawlak said...

Especially "Air Force One"!

GRW3 said...

Interesting except for the fact that it's not true.

A Boeing 737-800, the kind of plane Southwest flies from Denver to Boston, will burn 4.18 gph/seat. Typical route time is 4.15 hours. That totals to 81 gallons of fuel for the family of four.

An Embraer 145, a 50 seat commuter you would likely fly from Grand Junction to Denver, on 6et about 7.2 gph/seat. Not surprising as it spends more time going up and down and taxing than the bigger plane. The time listed for that flight (always inflated to help insure "on-time" performance) is one hour, so that 28.8 gallons for our family of four.

That's a total of 109.8 gallons for our family of four from Grand Junction to Denver.

The official CO2 per gallon of jet rate is 21.1 (US EIA).

21.1 lb/gal x 109.8 gal/leg x 2 leg/trip = 4,633.6 lb/trip

Just about a third of that inflated number. An Airbus 320 class on the long leg or a Canadair on the short might change it a little, but not much. Taxi and hold time on the ground might increase it too, but not 3X.

Modern jets are incredibly fuel efficient per seat. If you've flown lately, you know the seats are pretty much always full.

Peter said...

"Buses require more carbon emissions than cars, but probably produce less carbon-emission-per-mile-per-person. Because buses are built to move large groups of people."

A back-of-the-envelope calculation:
diesel bus, about 4mpg and seats about 40 people in reasonable comfort.
Small car: about 40mpg, and seats 4 adults in reasonable comfort.

Conclusion: The bus will only use less fuel per passenger-mile if its average load factor is reasonably high.

Observation: This is mostly true for inter-city buses, but not so true for urban and suburban ones. Urban/suburban buses may be crowded during rush hour, but they run all day- and they often run with few if any passengers.

It's surely true that cars often contain only the driver. But (unlike a bus) a car only goes somewhere when someone wants to go.

[And commuter rail isn't so good either: unlike a car, trains expend relatively little power per passenger-seat to overcome air friction (drag), BUT rail cars are very heavy (~10,000 lbs per seat is typical), commuter trains make frequent stops, and trains (unlike hybrid cars) don't use regenerative braking.]

And, BTW, people who use urban/suburban buses tend to perceive them as mostly full most of the time even when that's not the case. Why? Well, most passengers perceive the buses as crowded because they're only in them during rush hour- they just don't see all the times when they're practically empty.

tim in vermont said...

"I am skeptical that recycling reduces one's carbon footprint"

Aluminum does. It takes a huge amount of energy to process the ore compared to melting a used aluminum can, for example.

That is the only thing I recycle.

Original Mike said...

"I am skeptical that recycling reduces one's carbon footprint."

Some metals probably do (especially Al, which takes lots of energy to smelt), but I thought the rest of it was about reducing landfill needs.

Unknown said...

There may be an application here for the statement:

"I am pervasively skeptical that people actually believe the religion they profess to believe"

with the word "religion" either replaced or more broadly defined.

TosaGuy said...

No problem living a bit more simply, but she is a preening asshole. A less self-centered person does not do such ridiculous moral calculus before deciding to see one's aged grandmother. Using it to get out going to your cousin's wedding is a different story. ;)

dbp said...

"I am skeptical that recycling reduces one's carbon footprint."

Metals certainly take a lot of energy to make but paper and cardboard have the opposite effect. If you bury these things, you take their carbon out of circulation. OTOH, to the extent that recycled fiber displaces virgin fiber, more trees are left standing, so it could be a wash.

Anonymous said...

Being poor trumps eco-consciousness as far as effect on the planet - except for Walmart shopping.

(What happens to a Tesla's batteries?)

Still, eco-consciousness is an aesthetic also. Humans solve problems. The solution becomes part of the next cultural tableau. Priuses not only have the personal benefit of better mileage, but were at the vanguard of an improved approach. Start using a reusable, washable bag to shop and pretty soon plastic will gross you out. (Maybe hygiene is a better comparison.)

My main complaint with 'the future' is lighting. I vastly prefer incandescent bulbs to fluorescent, and candlelight to electric for that matter. Low flow is pretty awful as well.

Birkel said...

Trees are very easy to grow. Growing trees are carbon sinks. There is no evidence paper recycling does anything for the environment, especially when one considers the chemicals needed to recycle paper.

Aluminum, copper and many other metals are valuable and relatively cheaper to reuse. Ask any meth head stripping an abandoned building if you don't believe a random internet commenter.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

If the environmentalists don't know they're not offsetting their carbon expenditures with small changes at home they're ignorant of the basic facts and really shouldn't lecture others. If they know and don't care they're baldly hypocritical.

Stupidity or Fen's Law in action, folks.

Michael said...

I spent a couple of years of my life immersed in these feel good "technologies." Solar, wind, composting toilets. Most of the companies selling these gadgets and most of the people promoting the use of them were interested in changing lifestyles. And why? Because these "technologies" do not work unless you do radically change the way you live. We may get there but it is not an easy road to replace carbon fuels with alternative energies that work on an equivalent basis. Otherwise the windmill and the solar panel are pretty armbands showing solidarity with goodness.

Rusty said...

tim in vermont said...
"I am skeptical that recycling reduces one's carbon footprint"

Aluminum does. It takes a huge amount of energy to process the ore compared to melting a used aluminum can, for example.

That is the only thing I recycle.

Just as an aside;
Beer cans are recycled seperately because the alloy to make the cans is a special "deep draw" formula.
Some products can't be made out of recycled metal and have to be made with new virgin materail.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Rusty said...
Aluminum does. It takes a huge amount of energy to process the ore compared to melting a used aluminum can, for example

Correct. The easy way to tell if it's worth recycling something (from a financial cost-benefit standpoint) is to see if there is an unsubsidized (non-gov) market for that item. If there's value in recycling it's likely a company is trying to extract that value for a profit.

ALP said...

Deirdre Mundy:

Maybe the whole 'Carbon Footprint" thing is more about social signaling than the environment.

"Look, I'm wealthy and educated enough to drive a Prius and wear organic bamboo while installing expensive solar and geothermal systems in my home." The flying to Aspen for a ski vacation is also social signaling.
Food for thought. I was struck by how the author never even considered a train or bus, and was puzzled by the omission. Now I know: buses and Amtrak are considered too low class and not the appropriate "signal".

ALP said...

Our household recycles, composts and we have a worm bin. But its for selfish reasons: this allows us to have garbage pickup every OTHER week and it saves us a few hundred bucks a year. And we still have to scrounge our property for stuff to toss to fill it up even then, so we save even more not taking truckloads to the landfill (we inherited my SO's boyhood home...40+ years of crap and nearly an acre).

Oh dear, but am I in trouble for doing it for SELFISH reasons???