Saturday, April 14, 2007

Air Travel

I posted the folowing on Irish Election. And as predicted people have come out against Air Travel.

I am sure that much will be written about Michael O’Leary announcing €10 flights to America and how it is terrible and how we should not fly due to climate change and all that. But what people miss is that we need to maintain and grow Air travel.

Looking at existing technologies air travel is about the only thing we cannot do renewable. We can have power from windmills and wave power backed up with flow batteries. We can burn wood pellets and geothermal for home heating etc. Trains for transports. But planes are not likely to replaced anytime soon. Indeed if we really really wanted to I am not sure we could. The power needed to lift a 747 off the ground is probably not deliverable by anything but kerosene.

Despite being probably the only use of fossil fuels that does not have a decent replacement Air travel seems to be one of the main focus of climate change emissions lobby. While only accounting for 3% of global emissions (might be more damaging as higher up but still but lower down the scale).

The reason the air travel is targeted is two fold.

  1. It is deemed elitist
  2. It is deemed unnecessary

The elitist attitude is a left over of the days when a flight to London was 500 punts. But now times are changing and travel is opened to a lot more people then it was. While lets be frank it is not the people from Ballymun who are from flying on weekend breaks. But it is certainly the case that air travel is open to more people then SUV driving and probably less elitist then organic food.

The second idea is that it is unnecessary. In the ever globalised world it is very much necessary for business to be conducted on a worldwide scale. For people to be able to move and integrate with the world, for people to learn about the world. For simple tourism jobs. It is vital. I doubt we would be where we are without it.

Michael O’Leary offering flights for €10 to America should be celebrated as a great investment in the our future economic stability. But of course the editorials will be about how it is bad for the environment and all that. Because it is an easy target it makes good press. If people really want to deal with climate change they should deal with the big causes, cars and power stations. Things we can actually deal with. Every time people pick on the lefts favourite target in Ireland Michael O’Leary is one less time when the opportunity to push the real issue is lost. And the real solutions

Cars and power stations, Cars and power stations, Cars and power stations, Cars and power stations. I have written about those some time ago.


CK said...

Dam airlines have turned 9/11 into an excuse for self-pitying and decisions to charge us for services they already provide - its getting old.

Bring on the 10euro flights, though I do worry that we will have 5 hours flights worrying that the RyanAir plane will fall apart and that we will be dropped off somewhere along the Mexian border and have to figure our own way to New York but lets at least give the man a chance and see what happens.

Plus air travel is essential, what other way are my supposed to go on holidays?

JL Pagano said...

My objection to Ryanair has nothing to do with the environment.

I'm just sick of O'Leary getting free plugs for his airline with a claim that he can't actually deliver.

The only way you will get a flight for ten euros ANYwhere is if you bring no bags, starve yourself for the duration and cheat on your taxes.

Godwhacker said...

Great post Simon, but the space shuttle flies (partially) on oxygen and hydrogen and is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.

Anyway, when I visit Ireland, it wont be by boat :)