Time to End Cheap Flights 450


African cities generally use less electricity than their European equivalents, as people own fewer appliances and have greater need for thrift. Jet engines are essentially the same as turbines used for electricity generation, and the engines on a single jumbo would power a small African city had they generators attached. Remember that next time you fly.

Worldwide aviation emissions pump slightly more pollution into the atmosphere than the entire United Kingdom economy, and aviation emissions continue relentlessly to increase year after year. Air transport is simply far too cheap for the damage it causes and the resources it consumes. You cannot cause more damage to the Earth’s atmosphere with £30 worth of resources, than by buying a £30 Ryanair ticket to Barcelona. If you spend that £30 on fuel for your diesel car, or on coal and burn it in your garden, you will not come close to the damage caused by your share of emissions on that Ryanair flight.

The fundamental reason air travel has expanded to be so harmful is the international understanding that tax and duty is not charged on aviation fuel – unlike vehicle, train or maritime fuel. Even citizens of Saudi Arabia or Venezuela no longer can access fuel as cheaply as you do in effect when you fly.

The notion that it is impossible to tax aviation fuel, as a plane could fly off and fill up elsewhere, is nonsense. There would be a cost to that flight scheduling, and in any event countries could tax planes on untaxed fuel landed in their fuel tanks, not to mention the scope for international agreement on enforcing fuel levies.

The fact that aviation fuel is not taxed is indeed not the sole reason why it is, ludicrously, cheaper for me to fly from Edinburgh to Bristol or London than get the extremely more fuel-efficient train – for which fuel is taxed. The farce and greed of rail privatisation is also a large part of it. But the fuel tax question undoubtedly is a very major factor, and the sole reason you can fly to Barcelona for £30.

The question has become mixed with notions of democratisation of leisure. This should be tackled head on. There is no human right to go by air and have a sun soaked holiday on the Med dirt cheap. The Earth cannot afford to indulge the pollution caused by massive air tourism. The unpopularity of saying this means that few people in politics ever do, but it is nonetheless true. In view of climate change, for the public to expect Ryanair fare levels is obscene.

Mass air travel for leisure needs to be stopped. Maritime, rail and other more eco-friendly means of international communication need to be encouraged. As mankind has not even the political will to tackle these most straightforward of measures on climate change, I really do begin to despair for the future.


450 thoughts on “Time to End Cheap Flights

1 2 3 4
  • Ishmael

    This should really have been “Time to End Cheap Flights ?*”

    It just occurred to me this is a similar issue to meat production. Do I think they should just stop subsidising it? An incredibly polluting & recorse intensive industry? Wrong question/angle.

    A lot of people can’t afford the available alternatives to a dairy industry. They should be promoted more. Excessive meat consumption is really not healthy & if we had an industry (like in india for instance) where meat is rare & local produce plentiful, I certainly wouldn’t bother.

    The actual cost of meat vs veg etc, I estimate about 5-1 (that’s not including health care costs) ..As it is vegetables are really not that cheap & meat is a way to get cheap sustenance. I wish it wasn’t so because it makes me feel awful, not morally (though I do think it matters) but physically. Really slows you down & not easy to digest.

    • Cesca

      I’m a lacto-veggie Ishmael, meaning i use ethically resourced milk products on occasion, no eggs let alone flesh tho. Don’t judge what other ppl eat or shove my eating habits in their face despite being an ethical veggie, what happens to animals seriously grieve me, know we need to sort our disgusting treatment of our fellow humans first tho. And like you said, it ain’t cheap being veggie, which is pretty crazy, also it’s more time consuming than meat eating when so many have precious li’l free time, due to so many having to live to work instead of working to live.

      • Ishmael

        Yea, totally different lifestyle to many places, & to what it was here before the revolution forced people off the land into factories etc.

        “know we need to sort our disgusting treatment of our fellow humans first tho”

        Think this goes hand in hand. But yes, rights to life for humans would be something. As it is “benefits” are only given on condition of selling yourself to those factories on demand.

    • N_

      Where does this idea come from that it costs more to an individual to be vegetarian than to eat dead animal? It doesn’t.

      • Cesca

        Depends on where you live N, in many parts of the UK, fresh fruit/veggies etc work out more expensive than cheap manufactured crap. Which is just so wrong

      • Ishmael

        It does. Meat & dairy is heavily subsidised & to cook healthily alternatives takes time. Iv tried over & again. I joined a vegan group once, they where all basically middle class…

        Utterly sick of people telling me what’s what.

        • Cesca

          They would be Ishmael, i’m what you would call bourgeois too, we’re the ones with the resources and time to find being veggie easy. Marxist myself, think he was the greatest economist ever whose theories about how capitalism would be abused and the harm it would bring to ordinary ppl have been totally proved.

          Disagree with aspects of his philosophy, undoubtedly i have had opportunities many don’t have, due to my parents being better of than many financially but nothing like rich. Personally think there’s really only a Worker class and an elite class who don’t need to work tho, think the standard of living i have had/have should be a right for all. It’s easily achievable if ppl aren’t greedy, also think so called working class and bourgeois should unite, not look for differences between each other. Our enemy is the greedy/psychopathic elite, not each other.

          • Ishmael

            Marx sure added a lot to understanding. But though I’m not an “ist” kropotkin speaks to me more.

            More & more (now you mention it) I think our enemy is the system that creates the greedy/psychopathic elite, and they are more victimes. I really feel lucky.

            “working class and bourgeois should unite” lol …Our interests are not the same.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GENCkkXmqoo

        • N_

          Ah, middle class people in vegan groups 🙂 I don’t spend much on food. I’m vegetarian, though, not vegan. Kefir is full of probiotics and can be made with soya milk. Tesco vegetarian Lincolnshire sausages cost about the same (£1.75 for 264g) as Tesco pork sausages (£2.50 for 400g). Can you give a specific example of what you are comparing with what?

      • Ishmael

        Example, I got a steak the other day, cost me £4.00

        Papers cost over a quid, Then add beans, tomatoes (not cheap either, especially if you don’t want crap ones), onions etc. Then energy to prep etc.

        Just two avocados is £2.20

        Or I can spend £5 (less for chicken) fry some chips & throw a steak in the pan, & get an easy meal.

        I take it you don’t have a family to take care of also? I don’t but no way is it a practical alternative for many. I don’t do it often but I’m lucky iv the time to cook a good veg meals regular. But no, it’s not cheaper.

        • N_

          Ah – sorry – I hadn’t read your example.

          Is the vegetarian meal you describe costing much more than £4-£5?

          Avocados? Posh food! (Just kidding.)

          I often have home-made kefir with banana for breakfast. I’m not really sure how much it would cost to make a dead animal breakfast instead.

    • Tom Welsh

      I’m sorry if this makes me seem rude, Ishmael, but I have devoted a lot of time and effort over decades to studying nutrition (although I have no formal qualification) – and I disagree with most of your assertions. I believe them to be emotionally based; perhaps wishful thinking.

      1. “Incredibly polluting and resource-intensive”. Yes, certainly, the way it is mostly done nowadays in “the West” and countries under its control. See the brilliant but depressing book “Farmageddon” for details that will leave you wishing you could rinse your brain out. But for thousands of years livestock were raised in an efficient, ecologically-friendly way. Much land is unsuitable for crops, but perfect for grazing. Such land can support vast herds of cows, sheep, bison, etc. Woodlands, meadows, orchards and the like are ideal for pigs and chickens, which can also be fed food scraps and leftovers. Instead, “modern farming” puts the miserable creatures into vast soulless sheds where they never see the light of day, and feeds them vile slurry made up of soy, the scrapings of the seabed, etc. Get good organic meat, fish and poultry and you will thrive – and do the animals a favour.

      2. Some people are indeed allergic, or whatever, to some dairy products. That’s bad luck for them, as cream cheese and especially butter are among the most nourishing and healthy foods you can get.

      3. “Excessive” consumption of anything is unhealthy, by definition. The best meat consumption (for those who like meat or are prepared to eat it for their health) is about half a pound of red meat, fish or poultry per person per day – although a pound or so is fine occasionally. That corresponds to most of the 400 calories of protein a healthy adult needs – not much more or less. Meat also ensures that you get about the right amount of healthy natural animal fat along with your protein – as long as you always go for the fattest cuts.

      4. Meat certainly is relatively expensive, like many of the good things in life. (So is wine, which goes well with it). So what? Few things in life are more important than good nutrition, so it’s logical to find out what foods are healthiest and draw up your budget accordingly.

      5. Many regular meat-eaters would strongly disagree that it “slows you down”. Indeed, for thousands of years it was common knowledge that meat eaters were stronger, faster and healthier than those who could only get grain and vegetables. (That’s why the colourful British guards are traditionally known as “Beefeaters”). A lot of scientists think that eating meat (perhaps especially cooked meat) allowed human beings to evolve from apes, because of the far greater energy it provides. (Apes have huge bellies because, like cows, they have to ferment large amounts of vegetation to extract enough energy to live).

      6. And it has been known to science for 200 years that meat is the quickest and easiest major food to digest. One hour in the stomach turns it to the consistency of yoghurt, which then drips easily through the pyloric sphincter and is rapidly absorbed by the small intestine. It is actually vegetables and fruit that take a lot longer to digest, and are more likely to cause indigestion.

      • Ishmael

        Well firstly I’m not going to deny my own experience. & I don’t know where you get your “science”, but evidence suggests humans are not made to digest meat.

        I can eat a good veg meal & feel instantly energised, not like I have to sit and digest it for the next two hours or so. Also I think you’ll find the major development was cooking/heating in so called “hunter gatherer” societies, (Seems it was largely just gathering. Fright, veg, seeds nuts & pulses).

        I also think meat makes people unnaturally aggressive & that why it’s promoted e.g. for British “guards” etc. In fact I think most of what you posted is nonsense. & it’s not more expensive.

        “2. Some people are indeed allergic, or whatever, to some dairy products”

        As I assume you’d know, it’s not allergic, it’s that the majority of people don’t have the enzymes to digest milk. After taking a break form the bad habit I now don’t really try. Realising it was a lot like meat.

        • Cesca

          Totally right Ishmael, we’re not natural carnivores, early communities were definitely WAAAY more gatherer than hunter and there is considerable evidence to show aggression has increased as meat has become a major food source for us. You know your stuff bro, kudos! =)

          • Cesca

            PS Gatherer/hunter communities today still vastly gather more than hunt, interestingly, they often have a more relaxed lifestyle with more free time, than we do in our increasingly frenetic culture.

          • Ishmael

            Thanks. I think I’m pretty layman, but compared to above? …Does seem I’m well clued up.

        • SO.

          Actually Ish, humans have biologically evolved to digest pretty much everything except cellulose and a few other things.

          Animals which have evolved to digest plant fibre have completely different digestive systems to omnivores like ourselves. (Humans are very good dietary opportunists ~ we can eat lots of things).

          Basically you got Herbivores/Ruminants = complex slow digestion. (can digest cellulose)

          Omnivores = humans ~ human digestion (eats most things but NOT cellulose)

          Carnivores = mostly meat.

          True/obligate carnivore = meat’s mandatory or they die. (short rapid digestion)

          Easiest way to think of them is: Cows are specialist, Humans are generalist, Cat’s are specialist.

          Good examples of the Carnivore/True carnivore thing are probably derping about your sitting room.

          Dogs and wolves are carnivores. Their biology is meat orientated but they’ll cheerfully gobble down and digest some veg.

          Fluffy little kittens are (psychotic little serial killers) obligate carnivores. They NEED meat to live at all.

          • Ishmael

            Yea, I CAN “digest” cardboard.

            But like with meat I’m probably going to get sick as a result. And thats exactly what happens to the kings & queens diet most are on in the west. & as recorded back then, they where not healthy.

            “Actually”

            ….God people on this blog are patronising.

          • ADHD

            Meat eaters don’t like vegetarians/vegans making the choice to forgo meat. They feel threatened by it for some reason.

            I’m a vegetarian and as far as I can tell if humans do need to eat some meat then they require far less than 400g a day (perhaps, 400g or less a week).

          • Alex Westlake

            The only thing meat eaters object to about vegans is the fact that they never bloody shut up about the fact that they’re vegans.

      • Andyoldlabour

        @Tom Welsh, an excellent, informative, factual post. Life is a balance, and food choice is a balance as well. We eat around 200 grams of meat/fish a day, the meat is usually chicken (free range from a local butcher as is the steak), but we treat ourselves to one ribeye steak a week, also line caught tuna and local mackerel.
        Our local farm shops sell excellent eggs, vegetables and fruit, which is not much more expensive than the supermarkets.
        Eat less, but eat better quality. Eat well and live well.

      • Jon

        I appreciate this answer Tom, and the time it must have taken to set out. Thanks!

        I’m a meat-eater, but from time to time I have reduced my meat consumption, mainly for environmental reasons. I acknowledge the ethical questions of eating meat too. I wonder whether all of your points could be correct (that humans have evolved to be meat-eaters) while a person also comes to the conclusion that it is immoral to deprive an animal of its life in order to eat it.

        Does this mean that morality is a question of popularity? That does not sound right, since something is either ethical or not ethical regardless of the popularity of that view. And yet I think I would find it much easier to give it meat if the practice was widely reviled.

      • N_

        The best meat consumption (for those who like meat or are prepared to eat it for their health) is about half a pound of red meat, fish or poultry per person per day – although a pound or so is fine occasionally. (…) Meat also ensures that you get about the right amount of healthy natural animal fat along with your protein – as long as you always go for the fattest cuts.

        And so long as you don’t mind the increased risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, not to mention losing your soul so you can stuff your face and feel the blood of your fellow animals, who have done no harm to you, running down your chin.

  • JImmy

    As flights have got cheaper, airports have become shopping centres. So they lure you in to the “airport” with cheap flights then milk you with 5 pound coffees, tell you it takes 3 hours to pass thru security when it takes 15 mins and you are stuck in the secure area spending money on totally overpriced guff. The cost of the ticket is only part of the problem.

  • Stu

    Any sort of system which prices working people out of flying while allowing the rich to continue to build huge homes, fly as much as they want and travel in huge ships which are massive polluters is never going to work.

    What’s the C02 contribution of a music festival? I’m reminded of private jet and super yacht enthusiast Leonardo Di Caprio talking about climate change at the Oscars.

    Green policies need to be introduced but an austerity style enforcement will only build resentment without any guarantee of an improvement. The only effective way to deal with these kind of issues is on the level of production not consumption.

    • Hatuey

      This inane point has been made a few times. The carbon footprint of the richest 5% doesn’t come close to that of say the poorest 50%. That’s true of the UK as a whole and the world as a whole. It’s ridiculous that I need to point this out.

      I have no problem with comparatively rich people buying yachts. I have problems with the hypocrisy of comparatively rich people preaching to the poor about climate change.

      I know people who have made careers in the climate change industry. They live in huge houses and drive impressive cars. They also fly around the world a lot preaching to the poor.

      The hypocrisy sticks in my craw even if the theory of man made climate change falls flat in its face, which it probably will at some point. Although, to their credit, from a rhetorical standpoint, they do seem to have come up with a theory that isn’t falsifiable.

      How, I ask, is it possible to prove the theory wrong? It’s reasonable to ask that but when you do they screw the lid tightly back on the brandy bottle and ask you to leave.

      One of my friends is also a geneticist of sorts and he informs me that we could quite harmlessly and easily modify human genes so that we were all about 80% smaller in a matter of 3 or 4 generations. I don’t think we’d need to do it with rich people but it’d certainly help keep the running costs of the poor down and cut mankind’s carbon requirements massively.

      • SA

        Hatuey
        You very well know that statistics can be used selectively. So the riches 5%, say a few million individuals say need to hire three thousand jets to do all the travel and the rest 7 billions use 30000 jets (figures for illustration purposes only), of course they will have a bigger carbon footprint. Plus also many of those 5% will also benefit much m from the flights, in terms of business and so from those 95% who merely spend the money for cheap holidays.

        • Hatuey

          Your argument here and grasp of numbers is ridiculously bad. Try and imagine the material needs of half the planet on one hand, that’s about 4 billion people, compared to the material needs of say 1 million of the richest people.

          As for the requirement to use planes amongst the rich, well, the fact is they are the ones who manage the global economy. They’re the defacto management of the world. They need to travel.

          You might not like that, I don’t either, but that’s the world we live in.

          • SA

            Hat
            My answer was a reduction as absurd I’m of the non point you are trying to make. 4 billion people will of course create a lot of consumption and your point is redundant.

          • ADHD

            Based on UN estates as of 2018 European, US & Canadian population counts for about 14.6% of the world’s population.

            In their 2015 report, Extreme Carbon Inequality, Oxfam said that the richest 10% of the world’s population care responsible for 49% of CO2 emissions, whereas the poorest 50% are only responsible for the 10% of CO2 emissions.

            This seems plausible to me but the richest 10% of the world’s population will obviously include a huge proportion of the European, US & Canadian population (i.e of the ordinary western population). But I can’t see that the extremes (outlined above) would hold within a single country (like the UK).

      • Stu

        “The carbon footprint of the richest 5% doesn’t come close to that of say the poorest 50%.”

        Per person?

        • Hatuey

          No, in total. Do you think I’m so stupid as to suggest a poor person in Africa uses as much material as a rich person in California?

  • Cesca

    Was a li’l surprised at this article from Craig, my original thought on seeing the title was that ain’t fair on poorer ppl. Once again, he’s totally right tho, provides all the evidence needed to prove cheap flights are a massive wrong, there is no benefit to them.

  • frankywiggles

    Regarding another flying menace, I see the Guardian of British MSM’s leftmost boundary is headlining the death of arch warmonger and imperialist John McCain with Obama’s tribute:

    “We are all in his debt”

    • Ingwe

      Yes, and it brought other war criminals out of their cesspit. Blair saying what a wonderful guy he was. Can’t wait for the bullsh*t when that bastard Kissinger finally loosens his grip on this life.

  • John A

    I often go to Hérault in the south of France. I can fly with Ryanair from Luton/Stansted to Beziers or take the Eurostar and TGV to Paris and then Agde. The train takes about 7.5 hours which sounds a lot more than the just under 2 hours by air. However, when I factor in the time it takes to get to Luton/Stansted, the time it takes to go through security, official advice arrived at airport 2 hours before departure, and then additional travel time from Beziers Airport compared to Agde railway station, there is only about 1 hour or so difference. Plus it is more comfortable by train, apart from the 3 stop underground transfer from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon. And you can take more than tiny bottles of liquids – however not any sharp things like scissors or knives.
    As often as not, the train ticket to the airport costs more than the Ryanair flight which probably averages £20, although with more and more adds ons for hand luggage etc. there is not much difference price wise either.
    People automatically seem to assume the shorter flight times mean shorter journey times overall. Not always the case.
    If there is no deal Brexit and Britain is no longer compliant with EU air safety legislation and flights are stopped that would be one half of the stop cheap flights equation sorted. Then the EU could really push more high speed train services and claw some of the costs back from tax on aviation fuel, why shouldn’t the polluter pay? A win/win all round.

  • Bert.

    Nonsense.

    Unfortunately, while this eminently sensible the problem is that several other behaviours are far more problematic than air travel. While, for the most part, air travel is quite unnecessary – and therefore very attackable – animal farming, for example,is far more problematic from an environmental point of view.

    Cows exude methane from both ends. In the short term methane is several times worse than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. It may be arguable (though I am not entirely sure) that animal farming across the world is more problematic than all the fossil fuel burning in the world. And, as other parts of the world become richer they are demanding more and more meats for consumption.

    Several years ago I suggested a high-speed mag-lev train from Lisbon, Portugal to Buenos Aires in Argentina. No one took the idea very seriously. But, with sea levels threatening to rise by 10-15 metres, this will place most ports in the world beyond use. The towns and cities that have evolved around ports will be under water and many countries may not be able to afford to rebuild.

    Such a high-speed system could provide goods and passenger transport far more effectively than air and less polluting while taking somewhat longer to complete journeys: Berlin to Beijing – 18 hours; Lisbon to Buenos Aires 48 hours.

  • mog

    As pointed out by John Michael Greer (and others no doubt), the curbing of air travel could have been one of the more politically/ economically achievable ways to cut carbon gas emissions. Unfortunately, the liberal class who have been most politically active in addressing climate change, love to fly around the world to visit family and friends, and to explore nature and culture.

    A friend who works at a high level within the world of climate campaigning has recently been to Africa, South America and Indonesia to attend conferences and meetings in the NGO world, and she readily admits that people mostly waffle a load of rubbish at these gatherings.

    Burning fossil fuels is a bit like smoking crack. It’s hard to give up voluntarily.

    • MJ

      It’s not really like smoking crack. We are addicted to burning fossil fuels only because we are addicted to cooking our food, heating our homes and travelling around. These are not self-inflicted habits of recreational self-gratification, they are the necessities of day-to-day life..

      • mog

        People did all of that before fossil fuels were dug out the ground.
        The addictive quality is surely that we can now have processed food and exotic ingredients from around the world available in the corner shop; live in a steady state 22 degrees in our homes 365 days a year; and jet off to see friends at a whim. Quite a difference to keeping a humble life going, and that is before considering all the other life extending luxuries afforded by fossil fuel society.

        • Shatnersrug

          Mog, give over, people died young and diseased infant mortality was through the roof and we lived in a fudal system – I don’t mind excepting that fossil fuels are causing big problems, but be reasonable, it changed humanity, but like all new discoveries it came with disadvantages.

          My issue is that had these problems been seriously addressed 30 years ago, and government tech investment had been geared towards it it might be a different story now. But what happened? The oil companies bought up tech and shelved it, they bought politicians they basically ran a gangsters cartel. And until that is beaten there is almost no hope. Liberal lip service to banning air travel will only happen when elites decide they don’t want the plebs to travel anymore. It will be dressed up as environmental protection to keep the liberals happy in their delusions and oil will still be burned in large quantities by the military and whatever other racket they’ve got themselves into.

          When you are faced with an elite that are quite happy to see hospitals blown up and children murdered in busses for the sale of strategic engergy consumption how can anyone expect them to do something gracious for the planet. These people are maniacs. Trump is a maniac Netinyahu is a maniac. McCain was a maniac. The PnAC clowns – all maniacs.

          I’m sorry but al this jabber sounds like liberal fantasist stuff to me.

  • Soothmoother

    The MSM trots out “experts” to support the Skripal narrative, but doesn’t allow any questioning of the narrative. This is also the case for Russian interference, Syria Chemical attacks etc. The MSM trots out “experts” to support the Global Warming narrative, but doesn’t allow any questioning of the narrative. Why believe the likes of Blair for some things but not others. Selective Conspiracy Theorists!

    • mog

      What do you think are the reasons for someone like Blair supporting the ‘Global Warming narrative’ (even though he did basically nothing to curb emissions in the years as PM) ?
      Why do you think that oil companies researched effects of burning fossil fuels, buried the research from public view, then spent many millions promoting doubt about the science of climatologists ?

      • Dave

        Because oil companies have been co-opted to the scam, the cost of doing business, and they now profit from it too, with a further scam called carbon trading and so Blair as usual was just following the money. The point is with a growing and richer population, oil production will go up even though its percentage of overall energy market goes down, and that’s why they stopped questing the ‘evidence’, because no need to upset the 1% by doing so.

        • mog

          Dave,
          oil companies have been co-opted to the scam
          Who co-opted them, who are the beneficiaries of the ‘scam’?
          Investors in and owners of the fossil fuel industry, basically, are the 1% are they not?
          So the oligarchs who run the biggest extraction industry in the world, faked the original research which first established a scientific basis for AGW? Then suppressed that supposedly fake research – is that what you are saying?
          Regardless of arguments about evidence I do not get the logic of those who insist that climate science is fraudulent.

          • Dave

            As I said on another thread the scam is promoted by a range of interests for different reason and its a lucrative scam, except for British coal miners. There is a deep state but the establishment isn’t a monolith and as the motives for a particular policy are often hidden there is initial resistance from certain groups until they’re co-opted and recognise they can profit from it too.

            One reason for the scam is to provide a pretext for nuclear power and in the US and UK context to provide the skills to build and pay for Trident by including the costs in fuel bills. The oil companies have the evidence its an scam, because its elementary that a fraction of carbon dioxide generated by humans doesn’t determine climate, but they go along with it as the price of doing business.

          • ADHD

            Hi Dave,

            A key point you raised is that the “fraction of carbon dioxide generated by humans doesn’t determine climate” but the article (below) from the New Scientist is saying that’s a myth.

            https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11638-climate-myths-human-co2-emissions-are-too-tiny-to-matter/

            Basically, the the article states from 315ppm to 375pm at South Pole from 1958 to 2004 and from 316ppm to 380ppm a similar period at Hawaii. Basically, a 20% increase over 46 years.

            And the key point appears to be: ‘It is true that human emissions of CO2 are small compared with natural sources. But the fact that CO2 levels have remained steady until very recently shows that natural emissions are usually balanced by natural absorptions. Now slightly more CO2 must be entering the atmosphere than is being soaked up by carbon “sinks”.’ and they are sure that the reason for this increase in C02 is man-made not natural (reasons given in the article).

          • Dave

            Its estimated 0.38% of the atmosphere is carbon dioxide and the human emissions are a fraction of this. But carbon dioxide is naturally occurring and variable and so the human bit is easily eclipsed by natural variations, meaning trying to control the human bit is academic even if you thought carbon dioxide determined climate.

            Its role is irrelevant compared to the many other things that determine climate such as Sun, Moon, Oceans, volcanoes, gulf stream water vapour and other ‘greenhouse’ gases.

            The vast majority of carbon dioxide is trapped in the oceans which cover over 75% of the planet and the rest is trapped within vegetation including seaweed. When the Sun burns hotter the oceans evaporate releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and when it gets colder it sinks back into the oceans and general vegetation growth.

            There is a time lag, but it means increases in carbon dioxide follows rather than causes increases in temperature. Its a natural cycle that has been going on for millions of years and so a human snapshot in time regarding temperatures, bearing in mind life on earth prefers a warmer climate, is again hardly scientific, particularly when measured from ground based stations rather than satellites.

          • pretzelattack

            dave, a nuclear bomb is very small and can destroy a much larger city. the scam, dave, is the propaganda you have been spouting regularly on this thread.

          • ADHD

            It is true that the percentage of C02 in the atmosphere does appear to be small. But this may not be as important as you believe it to be.

            The reason appears to be that Nitrogen, Oxygen and Argon comprises more that 99 present of the atmosphere but these have no role in either the warming or cooling of the atmosphere; and can be regarded as irrelevant. It is the remaining gases (water vapour, CO2, methane and nitrous oxide) that matter and these are all increasing and causing warming.

            So CO2 forms a high percentage of the gasses that actually effect global warming.

            Your basic point, that something small cannot affect something big, just isn’t the case. If it was then the level of C02 as it increases (or reduces) would have no effect whatsoever on climate warming (or cooling) and no one believes that.

          • Dave

            And the Sun is very big, over a million times bigger than earth, and determines climate and temperatures. Carbon dioxide is essential to life on earth, we cannot even breathe without it, and its the food plants breathe to make them grow.

            Hence increases in carbon dioxide results in a greener planet. Carbon dioxide is vital like oxygen, but whereas everyone understands the importance of oxygen and would laugh at calls to reduce oxygen emissions, carbon dioxide’s importance is generally unknown, so its easier to fool the public.

          • Clark

            Dave, ADHD’s 21:16 comment is the critical response to your argument:

            “…the percentage of C02 in the atmosphere does appear to be small. But […] CO2 forms a high percentage of the gasses that actually effect global warming.”

            Thanks ADHD. That’s the piece I needed to make sense of this. Nitrogen N2 and oxygen O2 are just two atoms to a molecule making them (nearly?) transparent to heat radiation. CO2 and H2O are three-atom molecules, so they absorb heat radiation. Methane CH4 is five atoms, so it’s an even stronger greenhouse gas.

          • Clark

            Dave, there’s another piece you need.

            Food and water are necessities of life, but if someone is suffocating, neither food nor water can help.

            If you go to a forest you’ll see that not many plants are growing on the forest floor. That’s because the leaf canopy blocks out the light. Extra CO2 can’t help, ‘cos there’s only so much light, only so much sunlit area.

            The very fact that the atmospheric CO2 concentration is rising proves that the plants can’t take up all the excess. The deciduous leaf cover falls off and grows back once a year, so vegetation can grow plenty fast enough. If vegetation could take up the extra CO2 it would have done so years ago, but instead the CO2 just goes up and up.

            We gotta stop sucking that dark shit outa the ground and burning it.

          • Dave

            Even if you attach great importance on carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, human emissions are a fraction of naturally occurring and variable carbon dioxide, hence trying to control the human bit is academic.

            There were higher levels of carbon dioxide in the past before coal burning so its not scientific to assume there must be a correlation as it could just be the result of more volcano activity, most of which are under the seas that cover over 75% of the planet.

          • ADHD

            Hi Dave,

            I covered your first point in a post above but I’ll repeat it below.

            –oOo–

            A key point you raised is that the “fraction of carbon dioxide generated by humans doesn’t determine climate” but the article (below) from the New Scientist is saying that’s a myth.

            https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11638-climate-myths-human-co2-emissions-are-too-tiny-to-matter/

            Basically, the the article states from 315ppm to 375pm at South Pole from 1958 to 2004 and from 316ppm to 380ppm a similar period at Hawaii. Basically, a 20% increase over 46 years.

            And the key point appears to be: ‘It is true that human emissions of CO2 are small compared with natural sources. But the fact that CO2 levels have remained steady until very recently shows that natural emissions are usually balanced by natural absorptions. Now slightly more CO2 must be entering the atmosphere than is being soaked up by carbon “sinks”.’ and they are sure that the reason for this increase in C02 is man-made not natural (reasons given in the article).

            –oOo–

            The second point you raise about higher levels of carbon dioxide in the past (which seems to be directly related to the point Rhys made of the earth being hotter in the past) is something that I haven’t got an answer for. However, it does interests me and I will do some research and get back to you (but it is likely to take me sometime).

          • Dave

            And I’m saying use your common sense, if carbon dioxide is naturally occurring and variable, (higher levels in the past), then the tiny human bit is irrelevant.

          • ADHD

            Dave,

            You said you were open-minded. At least consider and address the point I’m making. I’m willing to listen.

            With regard to temperatures (and levels of CO2) being higher in the past. The issue is fears about the rates at which they are increasing and I guess the hockey stick relates to fears of an exponential type effect. I do want to look into this further but I’m probably not going to come back to this for sometime (because I want to focus of what is happening in Syrrian and Russian related issues).

            At present I feel that issues of concerns about measurements, levels, and the past are likely not to be valid. But, I’m open to any information you can add. I would be particularly, interested in your answer to the Clark’s question (just above).

            One issue that never seems to be addressed are the Climate Change Computer Models themselves.

            Essentially, you are taking the position of garbage in and garbage out. But, I’m inclined to believe that the data entered into the Climate Models is accurate (as reasonably can be) and that ‘if’ there are errors or mistakes (of calculation) they lie in the Computer Models themselves. (I wonder if any of the models are open source? If so the code can be examined.)

          • Clark

            The basic premise is that increased concentration of CO2 and other greenhouse gases will absorb more long-wavelength heat radiating away from the surface, reducing the rate at which it escapes into space, thereby retaining more heat energy near the surface in the form of increased temperature.

            The absorption is a measured property of CO2 and other greenhouse gases and therefore must be represented in any model. The temperature near the surface therefore must rise with greenhouse gas concentration. This increased temperature near the surface will then affect further things like water vapour concentration and cloud formation. These need to modelled based on the unavoidable temperature increase. Depending on the model, these secondary effects may accentuate or counteract the initial warming, but they can’t prevent it because it is what caused them.

            If the sum of these secondary effects counteract the initial warming very much more than the initial warming itself, the model will display negative feedback and will be self-stabilising. But there are many secondary effects, many of which would accentuate the initial warming. These display positive feedback which would lead to runaway temperature increase. Models differ in their balance of such negative and positive secondary effects, but all models must include the initial warming. If any of the positive secondary effects dominate, it is very much better to find out with a model than by triggering the process for real.

            Since real measured greenhouse gas concentration and real measured temperature are both rising, it is very likely that the real atmospheric system has insufficient negative feedback to be stabilised. At some higher temperature, negative feedback might increase sufficiently to halt further increase. And it might not. Most models say (1) surface temperature won’t stabilise and (2) various secondary effects could lock into runaway temperature increase. It would be stupid to bet on what the models say is an unlikely possibility, and find out for real that the models were right by baking ourselves and our environment to extinction.

          • ADHD

            Clark,

            Good stuff. I agree with all you say and your conclusion that it would be foolish to “bet on what the models say is an unlikely possibility, and find out for real that the models were right by baking ourselves and our environment to extinction”.

            I would guess that the climate change models are all very good and in agreement (within a limited range of variability). But the models can’t be 100% accurate (no model really can be) and should be subject to an on-going process and review.

            If there is any inaccuracy in climate change science it’s not going to be in the measurement or scientific understanding of the global warming mechanism; the inaccuracy will be in the computer models. I don’t think it likely that any such inaccuracies will be of significance but I am willing to listen to anyone who wishes to point out where the equations could be improved.

            The source equations (upon which all climate change models) appear extremely complex so I would guess the following would be a good start for those who are concerned about the veracity of the climate change models:

            https://www.carbonbrief.org/qa-how-do-climate-models-work

            I am quite interested in the models so I hope Dave (and others) have some points to make. I really hope they don’t rotate back to “CO2 being too small…”

    • charming

      If only Craig and the Skripals had stayed home all this energy wasted on’t internet would have been used for much more essential energy needs. Sorry to have wasted energy responding.

      Practically? Vote Green

      • Shatnersrug

        Voting green is a joke. They stand in areas where labour has a tiny majority with the hope of tipping the more thoughtful towards them, this invariably means that the Conservatives will take the seat. There is no way a third party that is left leaning can make any genuine headway in our useless system, and voting for third parties is the electoral rquivilant of banging a nail through your own hand.

        That why UKIP were an interesting development. For once a rightwing party were eroding the Conservative base, and you can see just how seriously they took it. They got their own way on Brexit, on immigration, on benefits even on planning. All that with zero MPs (well the fake carswell who jumped ship to save his own arse) leftwing parties are seen as annoying midges to be batted away, but they’re awfully useful for keeping labour out of power.

        This is why the democratic review and mandatory reselection is a vital party of our movement now, and it’s been treated as the crime of the century but those on the right. Why? Because for the first time in a very long time real democracy is about to break out. This is the time for environmental campaigners to get on board. We have to beat the labour right before we can even think about changing the established order. And to save humanity that is what’s required – a root and branch reconstruction of the established order that put humanity and – for Christ sake – reason and reasonability first.

        Flouncing off to a third leftwing party will put us back in the same place yet again.

        As Tony Benn said – it’s the same old fight and we have to keep fighting it, so toughen up.

        • Dave

          Hence why Labour should support voting reform, but I suppose this would be portrayed as giving up on a Labour majority, but ironically such a promise to change the system would secure a Labour victory, even if, admittedly it would lead to coalition governments in the future.

      • Clark

        I think it’s worth voting Green in very safe seats as the numbers “send a message”, but elsewhere, under the UK idiot voting system, it splits the vote just as Shatnersrug says, and “sending a message” should be secondary to electing a good MP.

    • James Charles

      “For climate change, there are many scientific organizations that study the climate. These alphabet soup of organizations include NASA, NOAA, JMA, WMO, NSIDC, IPCC, UK Met Office, and others. Click on the names for links to their climate-related sites. There are also climate research organizations associated with universities. These are all legitimate scientific sources.

      If you have to dismiss all of these scientific organizations to reach your opinion, then you are by definition denying the science. If you have to believe that all of these organizations, and all of the climate scientists around the world, and all of the hundred thousand published research papers, and physics, are all somehow part of a global, multigenerational conspiracy to defraud the people, then you are, again, a denier by definition. 

      So if you deny all the above scientific organizations there are a lot of un-scientific web sites out there that pretend to be science. Many of these are run by lobbyists (e.g.., Climate Depot, run by a libertarian political lobbyist, CFACT), or supported by lobbyists (e.g., JoannaNova, WUWT, both of whom have received funding and otherwise substantial support by lobbying organizations like the Heartland Institute), or are actually paid by lobbyists to write Op-Eds and other blog posts that intentionally misrepresent the science.”
      https://thedakepage.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/how-to-assess-climate-change.html

      • remember kronstadt

        Yes, we know and understand the problem but power has no will to change it until there is money to be made from it. The planetary damage and human health risks can be avoided if you are rich. The poor want and deserve a cheap holiday in the sun because it’s their turn so why should they be deprived by the upper and twittering classes? To badly quote ‘we see the better way but choose the worse’ twas ever so.

      • N_

        @James – You give an awful lot of weight to the word “science”. What basis does your belief have if you leave it out? Scientific research is funded. The promotion system and the journal system follow from that. Nobody makes money by giving it away.

        • pretzelattack

          yes science is funded, but that doesnt mean the scientists make money off grants, and it doesn’t mean that the science is wrong. the propaganda against the science is funded, too, and people make a lot of money off that; the fossil fuel companies have been some of the richest corporations around.

          • Clark

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect#History

            – The existence of the greenhouse effect was argued for by Joseph Fourier in 1824. The argument and the evidence were further strengthened by Claude Pouillet in 1827 and 1838 and reasoned from experimental observations by John Tyndall in 1859, who measured the radiative properties of specific greenhouse gases. The effect was more fully quantified by Svante Arrhenius in 1896, who made the first quantitative prediction of global warming due to a hypothetical doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, the term “greenhouse” was not used to refer to this effect by any of these scientists; the term was first used in this way by Nils Gustaf Ekholm in 1901.

  • nevermind

    Great musing, thanks Craig, the question of humanities sustainability, adaption to harsher climate events, whether high energy wars should be outlawed, sectors of engineering that are still unreformed, like ships of all makes burning the worst sulphurous oil, or heavy machinery for all building/excavation/transport that still run on diesel.

    Self sufficiency as a nation is a laudable goal, but short cuts and learned foibles will always steer us away from prioritising the local before the regional national or international supply option. Should we reduce our instant availabilities of foreign grown foods/drinks? Should we reduce our consumption of teas and coffees? For example.

    BDS for unsustainable goods? Not just for violators of human rights in Apartheid Palestine?

    How about asking air operators to build airships operated by electric/gas powered means of propulsion and give them 10 years to operate short haul and EU bound airtravel?

    I shall now go back and read 3 pages of, no doubt, excellent ideas.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Climate Change is the 21st century story of The Little Boy who Cried Wolf.

    Lis, lie, lie, lie, lie until one day armageddon actually comes.

    Why do I say this?

    Because the Left use Climate Change as cover for global redistribution of wealth.

    Let us be clear: climate changes.

    It changed far, far more radically over the past one hundred million years than it has over the past 250 years. Average global temperatures varied by over 10C the past 100 million years without any help from human beings. Over the past 5 million years, regular ice age cycles of c. 90,000 years of glacial cold followed by c. 10,000 of interglacial warmth have occurred, all without the help of humans. In case humans wonder otherwise, the descent into cold is preceded by a rapid warming….

    The great thermostat of planet earth is its ocean system. Oceans absorb and radiate heat just like a barrel of water does in your greenhouse. Any gardener will tell you you can moderate overnight cold by warming water in the day so it radiates heat into the cool air at night. Oceans do the same on a planetary level. So when great cyclical variations in oceanic patterns occur, be that El Ninos, Madden-Julian Oscillations, a change in the speed f the global conveyor belt recycling water around the globe etc etc, climate changes naturally but nerdy humans have to take responsibility to control the masses.

    No-one has the right to say anything climatic is unprecedented because we have barely been collecting data for a century, three climate data points. In 4000AD, with 2000 years of data, we could say more. Even then, predicting epochal changes would be difficult, we would would be nowhere near one ice age cycle’s worth of data.

    Idiots claim the NW passage has never opened throughout history. But even 200 years ago, the Royal Navy noted greater arctic melting in years when great cold reigned over Europe. What happens in Europe does not represent the globe. And we have zero data on ice melt at the poles prior to 1979, when satellite monitoring began.

    Few are aware of the Great Floods of the Sacramento Valley in 1861, before the days of dams and reservoirs, before human induced climate change. The whole Central Valley was under water for three months after rains more ferocious than the 2016/17 pineapple expresses. It is how groundwater used to be recharged in an area where interannual rainfall varied so significantly. It tells data-driven scientists that recent events were entirely within the envelope of normal variability. It tells journalists to suppress inconvenient truths to spout doomsday claptrap….

    In Britain, four years out of five in the 1870s brought torrential rains and flooding, conveniently airbrushed by the BBc, febrile politicians and journalists. Natural cycles associated with lunar and solar beats do not fit the IPCC/UN narrative…..

    I despair at mankind refusing to educate itself on natural history……

    • Ian

      You should despair of yourself, then. More armchair expert self-satisfied nonsense. If you really can’t be bothered to educate yourself about climate change, given the overwhelming and easily available evidence, then some cosy little platitudes won’t compensate. Like half the people here you would rather cry ‘conspiracy theory’ at every mention of something, ignoring the very real scientific evidence – which is being added to every day, confirming the diagnosis which has not been seriously refuted yet, despite all the half-baked denials and nonsense websites.

      • Anon1

        It’s all part of a natural cycle, Ian. The climate has always changed and will always change. No amount of taxation is going to change that. .

        • ron

          kill a cow-a-day and save the planet – then when all the cows have gone we could kill a manmade climate change expert-a-day – and when all of them have gone we will still have climate change – don’t you think the planet can look after itself – are you all so arrogant that you believe man can make a difference?? This is propaganda people – time to wake up and deal with the criminals.

          • Clark

            Oh here we go. “Kill the scientists! Down with study! Demolish the schools! Burn the books!”

            Would you make a start to your cultural revolution by cancelling your Internet connection and destroying your communication devices please?

          • Clark

            Ron, on reflection I think I probably misinterpreted your comment, though in my own defence I still find it somewhat ambiguous.

        • pretzelattack

          this time it’s changing because of things we are doing. no amount of propaganda from the fossil fuel industries is going to change that. it’s like saying that forest fires have always happened therefore human beings can’t start forest fires.

          • Dave

            Oil companies are not bothered by the scam because a growing and richer population means oil production will increase even if its percentage of the energy market goes down. They know its an elementary scam but have been co-opted and profit from it too.

        • Clark

          So, Anon1, natural migration of people due to natural population increase and the technological development of cheap travel is an evil to be curtailed by stronger border controls because it “destroys local cultures” and “imports the Third World”, but “a natural cycle” is welcome to destroy all the local cultures and civilisation itself, and we shouldn’t even bother addressing it. Cool.

      • N_

        @Ian – Rhys gave several examples to support his case. You sneer at him in practically every one of the clauses in your response, but you don’t comment on any of his examples, or on his logic, and whilst it’s clear you despise his conclusion and you don’t like it being expressed in public, you don’t give any of your own examples to support your own case.

        Evidence can’t be “scientific”. Science is a (faulty) method, or it’s an ideology or religion that is constructed to promote that method. It’s not a characteristic of a body of evidence. A body of evidence may have been collected using any method or idea system.

        There are Nike salesmen who can’t stop saying the word “Nike”.

        Anyone who thinks the rulers discovered the oh-so-objective-and-right attitude towards the world less than 500 years ago (Francis Bacon etc.), a true attitude based on what’s really what, an attitude which we the people need to take from them if we ever take back our world, needs their head tested.

    • nevermind

      Prepare yourself for colder winters and harsher summers, Rhys. As the Gulf stream slows down Ireland and Wales will get less heat distribution.

      Thermohaline oscillations are slowing down whilst those in the south Atlantoc increasingly carry warmet waters.

    • IMcK

      Interesting point of view. However, ignoring whether your references to the ‘known’ climate changes are factual (which they might be), on what practical basis can you dismiss that recent human activities do not superimpose additional climatic effects?

      I have no expert knowledge of climate matters and speak ‘off the top of my head’, but I see it as reasonable to believe that the burning of fossil fuels, coupled with deforestation are increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Given the thermal conductivity of carbon dioxide is much lower than that of air (about 35% less I think looking at a table on the internet), it seems reasonable that such atmospheric changes would result in global convective heat insulation; radiated heat from the sun being unaffected or, at least, not reduced in proportion to convective heat gains.

    • ADHD

      Hi Rhys,

      Most of the examples you have given don’t mean anything one way of the other. But you have made at least three relevant points:

      1. The earth has been hotter in the past.

      2. No-one has the right to comment on climate change because we haven’t been collecting data for even a century.

      3. The oceans absorb and radiate heat (and I suppose act as some kind of safety valve).

      Dealing with those points in reverse order:

      3. The oceans absorbing and radiating heat is neither here nor there. The average temperature of the oceans (whether it is rising or falling over time) would be of relevance but that would covered by overall climate temperatures.

      2. Scientists can measure temperatures over a period of 500 million using fossil records, ice cores, tree rings, ancient long lived plants. So you are just plain wrong here.

      1. However, you are right that temperatures have been higher in the past. This graph shows that you are right (and I can see that famous hockey stick projection that concerns so many people):

      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5f/All_palaeotemps.svg

      I don’t know what that means so I’ll have to look into. I’ll get back and let you know what I think sometime later (probably many days).

      In the meantime, let me know what you think and if I have misrepresented, misunderstood, or missed an important point that you were making.

    • Clark

      Rhys Jaggar, August 26, 12:51:

      “the descent into cold is preceded by a rapid warming….”

      Then surely we should be careful not to cause rapid warming with our greenhouse gas emissions, lest it provoke an ice age.

      “100 million years” is not a sensible timescale to consider, since it includes climactic regimes so radically different from the present state that Earth was effectively an alien world.

      “The past 5 million years” is the appropriate timescale to consider, and our current CO2 emissions have changed atmospheric conditions to a state that has never existed in that time. We have pushed our planet into unknown territory, and Rhys Jaggar’s list of extremes that follows does nothing to negate that fact.

  • Michael Ritchie

    You cannot fly to Barcelona for £30. You can however occupy a spare seat, one that the airline does not expect to sell at the true cost. That seat would otherwise fly to Barcelona without you. The low cost airlines have developed a highly efficient business model which allows such spare resources to be used and enjoyed, destroying the legacy airlines inefficient and antisocial model of rip-off fares and empty seats.

    • Anon1

      +1

      Most of the passengers will be paying a lot more than £30. It’ll still be affordable to the oiks though and Craig can’t bear to see that.

    • J

      Empty seats are a feature of the subsidies, not a fact of nature. Non of the seats are sold at the true cost because of the state fuel subsidy. The true cost is never features in the economic model either, many of the real costs are never included.

  • Silvio

    A retired insurance industry actuary from the USA, Gail Tverberg, has been tracking issues of resource depletion (mainly, but not exclusively, hydrocarbons) and economic performance for many years now. She writes on these issues on her blog OurFiniteWorld.com .

    Her calculations are that alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, tidal etc. are not concentrated or reliable enough to take over from hydrocarbon energy sources like oil, natural gas and coal. At the same time economies still need increasing inputs of energy for sustained growth and that energy still has to come mainly from hydrocarbons. However, hydrocarbons are in general becoming harder to extract and taking greater amounts of energy to extract and produce.

    The issue is one of EROEI – Energy Returned on Energy Invested. How much energy does it take to produce new energy and how much energy do we then have left over from energy production to use in other non-energy producing economic activities. At an EROEI of 1, it would mean that all new energy being produced in an economy is being used only to look for and produce more energy, leaving 0 amounts of energy available to use for all the other aspects of running an economy. Tverberg’s view would be that while we are not right this minute close to an EROEI of 1, that’s the direction in which we are inevitably heading with no practical way in the near future to reverse that trend. Alternative energy sources currently in use would either have an EROEI significantly closer to 1 than hydrocarbons and/or would be less reliable. So she does not see the present suite of alternative energy sources available as being a practical solution to the dilemma.

    The most easily accessible and cheapest sources have been developed already (i.e. we have picked the ” low hanging fruit”) and now we have to depend on more costly and energy intensive means to develop new sources of hydrocarbon energy (e.g. fracking, going further offshore to drill in deeper water, drilling in more remote, harder to access regions etc.) Her thesis is that we are at a tipping point with energy prices in that any sustained increase in energy prices will throw economies into depression, but we need higher prices to justify the development of new hydrocarbon sources to give us the energy we will need in the near future – a damned if you do, damned if you don’t type of situation. I should also mention that she has taken possible energy conservation methods into her calculations, and according to her, energy conservation policies will not be enough to avoid a need to continuously increase hydrocarbon supplies going forward.

    Here is a snip from her most recent post:

    Supplemental energy puts humans in charge
    August 2, 2018 by Gail Tverberg

    Humans have control of various types of energy supplies, in addition to food. These energy supplies make it easier to produce enough food for the overall population. People today are used to having things that wild animals do not have, such as clothing, education, climate controlled homes, transportation, medical care and retirement benefits. It should not be surprising that in our case, the first sign of reaching carrying capacity is something other than running out of food. In fact, the laws of physics suggest that reaching human carrying capacity is unlikely to be signaled by running out of any energy product, such as oil.

    Instead, the issue that tends to arise as humans reach carrying capacity is increasing wage disparity. This issue arose in the 1930s, and it seems to be rising again now. Increasing wage disparity is a way, within our economy, of squeezing out some members, if there are not enough energy supplies to go around. Providing climate-controlled homes, automobiles, paved roads and electricity transmission lines for people all over the world would take a huge amount of energy supplies–far more than we have available today. Wage disparity assures that some groups cannot afford these goods and services, thereby effectively holding down demand for these goods and services.

    Many people believe that oil prices are likely to rise very high, if there is a shortage. However, if wage disparity grows sufficiently large, any spike in prices is likely to be short lived. Instead, the energy limit that we are reaching may be prices that do not rise high enough to encourage adequate production of energy products. Without sufficient production of these energy products, there will be a shortfall of finished goods and services.

    Physicist François Roddier in Thermodynamique de l’évolution : Un essai de thermo-bio-sociologie explains that when there is inadequate energy for an economy, the situation is similar to some members of the economy being “frozen out” through low wages. The same forces allow a rising portion of the wages (and other wealth) to go to the very rich. This situation is like steam rising. These individuals do not use very much of their wages to purchase goods and services made with commodities. Instead, they tend to use their wages for services (such as tax avoidance) that are not very energy intensive. Also, they tend to use their wealth in ways that tends to drive up asset prices, without adding true value. For example, buying previously issued shares of stock can have this effect.

    Eventually, the poor are frozen out. In fact, in cases of extreme wage disparity, the problems can spread further as governments find it impossible to collect enough taxes to finance their spending.

    https://ourfiniteworld.com/2018/08/02/supplemental-energy-puts-humans-in-charge/

    Wage disparity? Anyone else heard that term being bandied around much lately?

    • Dungroanin

      Err..

      Consider that for most of human existence we did without fossil fuels.

      Great civilisations, culture, languages, cities all developed.

      The main power source?
      Duh – The Sun – without which all life on earth would not exist.

      Most people (that does not mean the likes of us here) could happily exist without the daily consumption of as much energy that we do. Turn off the telly. Use public transport. Etc.

      The reliance on fossil fuels is similar to the previous reliance on Whale hunting.
      The whaling industry bled the ‘resource’ to near extinction before moving on.
      They are doing the same with the petro-chem Industry.

  • Anon1

    Perhaps we should all increase our recurring donations to the blog to help get Craig that upgrade?

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Suggest you not take a cheap flight to Hawaii now. The shite-out from Hurricane Lane night end up killing you.

  • Charles Bostock

    I remember reading somewhere that the introduction by the French Popular Front government of the late 1930s of two weeks paid holidays for everyone, caused considerable anguish amoung the bourgeois classes who, for the first time, saw themselves obliged to share their favorite holiday spots (the Cote d’Azur, the Normandy and Brittany beaches, etc) with the hoi polloi.

    Of course, they got over it in time.

    As indeed have (most of) the British bourgeois after the advent of mass foreign tourism by the British hoi polloi, made possible by general improved living standards and increasingly cheap air travel.

  • Anon1

    We live in the golden age* of travel, folks.

    If you are not taking advantage of the era of cheap air travel to see the myriad wonders that the world has to offer before it is all homogenized into one globalized system then you are missing out, big style. You could be buying a return return flight m to India right now for less than £350.

    *ok that was the Victorian era but it was a luxury only available to the rich.

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      With man’s weather modification and earthquake making ability these days, no vacation spot is immune to disaster.,

      Look what is happening in Hawaii, Indonesia, the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, even the Arctic and Antarctic.

      • Charles Bostock

        Trow

        If people are running around creating earthquake and tsunamis with lasers and God knows what else, do you think the day of the non-polluting laser-powered airplane will ever dawn? That would address part of Craig’s concerns, wouldn’t it?

        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          Right Charles, but it’s not people, but governmwnrts, covert and overt.

          I think that lasefr-driven planes are being tested at secret bases, like Area 51, and will soon be in use, cutting down on climate change and global heating but there will be more surprise disasters too..

        • Shatnersrug

          Charles

          I think everyone should use my supper sprung power pogo stick to get around the world, it will leap you from country to country and will have a big stereo playing Journey’s greatest hits. Attached to it

          “Just a small time boy..
          Livin’ in a lonely world…”

          Gotta love it ?

    • J

      That post, better than many others, delineates the scale of your confusion. You have no grasp of causality.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        What man-made quakes in Hawaii could not have resulted in a white-out when a hurricane was led to crash into the cascading lava?

    • SA

      Anon1
      That is all very well but cheap air travel is indeed one of the other big factors this homogenized hell you describe that is awaiting all that will be globalised. I remember visiting St Gimignano in the 1980’s. It was a lovely place, tranquil and beautiful. Two years ago, you had to park a long distance and join thousands of people to walk in long crowds, buying bulk artifacts made in China, and eating globalised food that tasted of nothing special.

  • Charles Bostock

    There is little point in criticising Craig for occasionally flying to Accra (if he has to go there, it is difficult to see how else he might do so) since such a criticism does little to invalidate (or indeed validate) Craig’s argument/point of view.

    What Craig has perhaps forgotten though is that cheap air travel is probably the only way for the toiling masses to get two weeks away in a guaranteed sunny climate with pleasurable seas (compared to the UK seas anyway) for a price they can afford. One could argue that such a holiday has – in today’s world – almost become a basic human right of which they should not be deprived lightly.

    To which could be added the thought that there are many communities and individuals overseas who live off tourism to a greater or lesser extent. To take an example from quite near home – what price Greece without its mass tourism? And Greece is well off compared to quite few popular destinations further afield.

    • Anon1

      I think the point is that by regularly flying Business Class to Accra, Craig is being a bit of a hypocrite.

      • Charles Bostock

        Not really, because I didn’t understand him to want to ban all air travel. It seems rather that he would want the negative externalities to be priced into the cost of an air ticket (and a start would be to subject aviation fuel to VAT and excise duty. But perhaps I’ve misread him.

        • Clark

          No, you have read Craig correctly, but you probably didn’t pick up on the context, which is unsurprising because Craig didn’t directly mention it – though the clues are in Craig’s post if you look.

          Craig was speaking at the Beautiful Days festival in Devon and then had to travel to Edinburgh. No doubt he, like so many others, discovered that it is a fraction of the cost to fly rather than take a train.

  • david crawford

    shipping also contrubutes the same amount of pollution as the entire airline industry .
    want to do without bananas,avocados, laptops ,cheap clothes ? i could go on . the modern world refuse to accept the penaly of stopping global warming .

  • Republicofscotland

    Lets not forget the millions of jobs, that are supported by the flight industry, at any time of the day, there’s a city in the sky of people flying from one destination to another, who need catered for in all aspects.

  • Charles Bostock

    A lot of the world’s many problems – including the one highlighted by Craig here – could probably be solved in great or lesser measure if people were prepared to pay more, whether as individuals or societies. As simple as that – pay more for many, many things

    The problem is that the haves would probably not want to pay more – again, whether as individuals or as societies. The reactions when, for instance, the price of coffee or tea or bananas increases, or a rise in air passenger duty occurs is indicative of this. And the alibi usually used is “this price increase will not benefit the poor producers but only the US multinationals” or “the government has increased the tax to further increase the misery of the masses” – neither of which is necessarily true.

    • Republicofscotland

      “A lot of the world’s many problems – including the one highlighted by Craig here – could probably be solved in great or lesser measure if people were prepared to pay more, ”

      Charles.

      Yes, such as stock holders of multi-nationals, that are doing rather well. It wouldn’t be too difficult to write in a clause adding, that, say a small percentage of their returns are used for environmental purposes.

  • Hmmm

    Watch Cowspiracy. Anyone who eats meat and moans about climate change is a mahoosive hypocrite.

  • Anon1

    Looking at BA flights, travelling Economy Class takes up 0.66 sq metres per seat on-board a 747.

    Travelling Business Class takes up 2.3 sq metres per seat.

    It’s a huge waste of resources transporting Craig to Accra and back. Not to mention a huge waste if money at £3,700 a ticket.

    • Kempe

      If it’s for business it’s claimable as an expense and tax deductible but whatever happened to the tele-conferencing we’ve been told would make such journeys unnecessary?

      • Anon1

        They do make most of them unnecessary. But there is a culture of free “business” trips abroad, together with the expensive hotels, restaurants etc, being an expected part of the high salary package. Nobody wants to be stuck in the office when they could be at a “conference” in some exotic destination.

        • Anon1

          Basically your average essential business trip amounts to two days luxury transport sipping champagne in Business class, several nights in a luxury hotel enjoying high-class food (and possibly high-class escorts as well), a sightseeing tour, a lot of fine wine, and a meeting in the middle of it all.

  • P J Squeak

    The other thing is that jet fuel is not refined to remove sulphur and other nasties that cannot be emitted at street level.

    There could be a phase in of cleaner jet fuel that is not taxed with ‘dirty’ jet fuel being taxed appropriately. This could provide a mechanism for enabling international agreement and change.

  • ron

    Man made climate change was only invented in the 70’s
    Why is it that the self-same clever, analytical people who don’t believe all that is said about politics and the economy and want to question more wholeheartedly believe, take as gospel even, the rubbish spouted in the name of MMCC????? Don’t forget even the devil can present as a man of peace.

    • MJ

      I’d say that climate change began in 2007, around the time that the hockey stick was quietly discarded.

      • pretzelattack

        since the hockey stick has been replicated numerous times, not “quietly discarded”, i’d say you have fallen for some oil company propaganda.

    • pretzelattack

      horsecrap, the basic science was discovered in the 1800’s. where do you people come up with this stuff?

    • Clark

      “Man made climate change was only invented in the 70’s” – False.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect#History

      The existence of the greenhouse effect was argued for by Joseph Fourier in 1824. The argument and the evidence were further strengthened by Claude Pouillet in 1827 and 1838 and reasoned from experimental observations by John Tyndall in 1859, who measured the radiative properties of specific greenhouse gases. The effect was more fully quantified by Svante Arrhenius in 1896, who made the first quantitative prediction of global warming due to a hypothetical doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, the term “greenhouse” was not used to refer to this effect by any of these scientists; the term was first used in this way by Nils Gustaf Ekholm in 1901.

      Ron, I think you should look into the differences between politics, whose major communications appear in the corporate news media, and science, which is far more rigorously debated in academic articles within the scientific community. Science works on measurement, observation, disclosure and replication of results, whereas political agendas are pursued through spin, distraction, omission, propaganda and rhetoric.

  • Rob

    Unfortunately I’ve seen first hand how government complaints procedures can easily be misused against those who step out of line. Here are some of the tactics I have witnessed:

    * interpreting serious charges like “gross misconduct” or “bringing the organisation into disrepute” so broadly as to include very trivial matters;
    * using very inflammatory phrases like “sexual harassment”, “homophobic”, “racist”, “antisemitic” to describe vague or subjective incidents. Even if the charge doesn’t fit the crime no one will want to say so for fear of being accused themselves of tolerating such behaviour.
    * making very vague and subjective complaints such as “he invaded my personal space” or “I felt intimidated”, he “caused staff undue stress”, he was “aggressive” (without any details of the behaviour complained of). These type of complaints are very difficult to argue against especially if you are not allowed to interrogate the accusers or see the exact complaints.
    * completely false accusations often involving more than one similar incident, or more than one complainant making similar accusations to make them seem more credible or more serious;
    * an official complaint is lodged and acted on where later on it emerges the complainant never intended to raise a complaint.
    * a formal complaint is made full of hearsay or unparticularised, undated accusations with the promise that more detailed accusations will follow in the form of an attachment written by someone else. The attachment is only revealed later and is unsigned, undated and anonymous and preferably seemingly written by several people who have left the organisation such as temps.
    * the accused having to respond in an interview which is falsely transcribed as a confession. Even if this confession is disputed, it can make the accused look unreliable and his case messy. Normally they will ensure that the number of officials in the interview outnumbers those on the accused’s side so on balance of probabilities the official version must be accepted.
    * suspending the accused whilst dragging on proceedings for months or years. This can wear people down and even if the accused returns to work, his reputation is damaged in the eyes of colleagues .
    * using a temporary member of staff to front the investigation whilst a full time member of staff pulls the strings. At the end of the process the temp is let go so that she can take the blame, avoids questions and she can be blamed for records of the investigation being lost.
    * keeping very brief records or no records at all of key decisions, like disciplinary panels. This allows unreasonable decisions to be made without justification and it makes it difficult to pick apart the decisions afterwards. If challenged later on the panel can then fill in the blanks with their recollections as needed. The note take is often a temp who is let go afterwards.
    * the original evidence being lost of destroyed because it might undermine their case but the investigation continues regardless based on an selective extract or a recollection of the original evidence.

    There are many others and there does indeed seem to be a playbook sometimes where the same tactics are recycled. It is utterly soul destroying and that is sometimes the real purpose. Rather than removing someone it’s tidier to force them to quit or so damage his reputation that others will no longer listen to him.

  • Anon1

    0/T but we have at last reached peak 2018.

    A NASCAR driver in the US had his sponsorship pulled because his father was found to have used the N-word, ten years before he was even born!

  • Hatuey

    Question 1) I’m not sure how many of you, if any, are familiar with the scientific method, but can someone who believes in man made global warming tell me how it would be possible to disprove the theory?

    Question 2) Can someone guess at what all those climate scientists would be doing if they didn’t make careers in the climate change industry?

    Actually, I know a few people from social sciences backgrounds who dived head first into things like Sustainable Development in order to enhance their career prospects. Where would they be now if this theory was disproved?

    I can see why they’ve stopped picking on McDonalds so much recently…

    Footnote. When I was at school in the early 80s I was informed that we were heading for another ice age.

    • pretzelattack

      i’m sure the royal society is familiar with the scientific method. why don’t you ask them? i can guess that physicists and other scientists would be doing science, as they are doing when they study climate change. you must have gone to a bad school, perhaps at home? because that was never the scientific view.

    • ADHD

      The Scientific method is the observing, testing, measuring, adjusting and repeating of experiments. There is not enough planets and time to contact actual experiments. So (computer) models would have to be used.

      The key issues appear to be:

      1. Do increases in CO2 cause warming? This is accepted. It does unless you can prove it doesn’t!

      2. Is the amount of CO2 increasing? This is accepted. It is increasing unless you can prove it isn’t!

      3. Is the increase in CO2 man-made? This is accepted. It is man-made unless you can prove it isn’t!

      4. Does the above matter? The earth has been hotter in the past and it didn’t seem to effect humanity? This is something that I don’t know the answer to.

      Question 2 also applies to those people (including scientists) employed by ThinkTanks or otherwise making a living questioning the existence or seriousness of climate change. So it’s a null question with a null answer.

        • ADHD

          The question was about “the scientific method and how it would be possible to disprove man-made global warming”. I have fully answered Hautey’s question. You think that the answer is not satisfactory because you are imagining that a different question was asked.

          Points 1, 2 and 3 are just not disputed by anyone even the vast bulk of climate change deniers. A significant part of current global warming is man-made. If you seriously disagree with any of points 1, 2 or 3 then let me know which ones and I’ll respond.

          Point 4. isn’t really required by Hautey’s question I just included it to be fair to Hautey. If you or Hautey let me know why you think any of the points (1, 2 or 3) don’t matter let me know why and I’ll respond. Or you can search for responses I have already made on this under this (Craig’s) post.

          I am not at all confident about is the issue of “the earth appearing to been hotter in the past and it didn’t seem to effect humanity”; I really don’t know if this is the case or not and I really don’t know what it means if it is the case.

          In my response I was using the exclamation marks as an exclamationary question. A full stop would be imperative or declarative and hence (in the context of the question) both would conclusionary. The exclamation mark I used conveys surprise if you would choose to dispute the statement but also invites you do so if your so wish. The difference between: “Am I right or am I wrong?” or “Am I right or am I wrong!” or “I am right.”

          You really shouldn’t get upset about exclamation marks, if you look into them you’ll find they never did you any harm.

    • Ian

      there is no climate change ‘industry’. People do not ‘believe in it’ as if it were a religion or superstition. They accept the facts which support the theory in an overwhelming way, meticulous research corroborated by independent teams analysing each other’s results. Developments such as the Arctic and Antarctic ice melt, ocean currents, land temperatures etc only reinforce and elaborate existing theory, further deepening and confirming the analysis. On the other hand, people who deny it, have a faith based superstition that it is a conspiracy theory and a paucity of evidence or research, other than some selective data and tired old excuses like solar cycles and ‘the climate is always changing’ – as if scientists didn’t know that already.

      • Dave

        As we know we are all going to die, there has always been a deep pessimism within mankind about our future that religious preachers have exploited with their end of the world is nigh sermons. Religions change but this pessimism remains hence the popularity of man made climate change. But instead of repent your sins the end of the world is nigh, we now get recycle your waste the end of the world is nigh accompanied with the added ritual of deciding what item goes in what bin and just competes with the all the other religions on offer.

        I’m sure there are people who genuinely believe it, although I doubt they practice what they preach, and its mostly virtue signalling, but behind them are the money men ready to take advantage of the latest fad. For example, Martin Luther was sincere in his complaints against Rome about buying dispensation, but the German Princes saw it as an opportunity to break with Rome and stop paying their taxes. I.e. for the German Princes the Protestant Reformation was a tax revolt against Rome. And its the same with the climate scam, an opportunity for the money men, including supporters of nuclear proliferation, to make a killing under the guise of saving the plane.

        • glenn_nl

          So apart from your offering of some very dubious pop-psychology, which attempts to explain why some people might want to believe one way or the other, you have nothing.

          As stated before, just publish your case which proves anthropogenic climate change is non-existent, a hoax, or whatever you like – and fame and fortune will be yours.

          Instead, I fully expect you to come up with some weak rejoinder like “CO2 is not a poison!” as if the point had not been carefully explained to you dozens of times already.

          • Dave

            My point about carbon dioxide is elementary and debunks the rest, even if “nearly all the scientists agree”, which of course they don’t, particularly the one qualified to comment on the matter.

          • glenn_nl

            By “elementary”, you mean “simplistic in the extreme”. No serious scientist in the field doubts man-made climate change, that is not true – if you had one you’d be quoting him or her all the time.

            All you have is a dodgy weatherman and a bunch of comedians.

          • Clark

            Dave, please name a scientist who disagrees that increased atmospheric CO2 concentration will increase the temperature near Earth’s surface. This follows from a measured property of CO2; it is quite simply inevitable, unless the repeatedly confirmed measurements were wrong on every occasion, or our understanding of heat radiation is wrong.

        • Ian

          So all you can come up with is some feeble conspiracy theory claptrap. Your response has all the hallmarks of a creed, a cheap faith based dismissal of objective research and analysis. No doubt you think electricity is a magic trick, the earth is flat and alchemy is superior to chemistry. Asserting that science is some kind of religion would indicate that you don’t understand what either is.

  • Roderick Russell

    I am old enough to remember the days before cheap flights, and I am very supportive of cheaper travel. Both of my sons live and work several thousand miles away from Calgary, Canada where I live. Without todays cheaper flights I would never get to see them. Nor would I want to deny the right of working people to enjoy a holiday in the sun. Of course things are different for short haul flights and it is absurd that the fuel tax regime in the UK should penalize rail travel in this regard.

    • Andyoldlabour

      @Roderick,
      very well said. Criticising others for using services which you happily use yourself (because of some sense of entitlement) is the height of hypocrisy.
      It would be very regressive to see long distance air travel become a preserve of the rich once more.

1 2 3 4

Comments are closed.