Uncharted Territory

February 2, 2009

Jim & Tim

Filed under: Aviation, Global warming — Tim Joslin @ 5:47 pm

Me & Big Jim Hansen, we’re like that {written with a crossed finger gesture, even though it probably means something unfortunate in some parts of the world}.

I refer of course to my stand – so good I made it not just twice, but three times – against the ill-judged campaign against the third runway at Heathrow Airport.  The alternative that some were asking us to buy into was to build an airport in the Thames Estuary.  And a few weeks later a bird-strike brought down a plane on the other side of the pond.  Maybe the Estuary plan is viable, and maybe it’s not, but it turns out that the risk of overcooked game induced engine failure would be even greater over the Thames. You couldn’t make it up.

There always was less support for the Heathrow protestors than they thought.  Personally I don’t think you win people over to your cause if you simply create an an unholy alliance with groups who would otherwise cross the road to avoid you – in this case the dreaded nimbys of West London.

And it turns out that even among the concerneds about climate change it isn’t just me who has serious doubts.  Yeap, Big Jim has spoken.  What I particularly liked about the Observer report was its concluding comment that Jim:

“…would not fly to the help of those who disrupted airports and flights…”

Well that’s something anyway!

I don’t want to harp on, but even the problem of carbon emissions just from transport is not going to be solved by attempting to reduce network capacity.  It just might be solvable by technological change, though.  As I said before, campaigning for something – improved train services powered by renewable electricity somehow springs to mind – might garner a little more public support.  (Though having said that, I do understand that this is the UK, the world’s most negative country.  Probably.)

Using up public goodwill on a campaign that would be ineffective even if it succeeded strikes me as just a little bit dull.  Maybe the “environmental movement” will someday come up with just one campaign idea that doesn’t fall foul of the Displacement Fallacy.

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