Andrew Allison

Are you going carbon neutral?

In Uncategorized on January 9, 2007 at 6:54 pm

So Tony Blair isn’t going to give up his long-haul flights, but is going to make himself ‘carbon neutral’ by planting a few trees or something.

If the PM wants to holiday with his family in the US, Seychelles, or Baghdad, he is entitled to, and good on him. Of course, I would prefer it was a one-way ticket.

Why then has he bowed to the pressure of trying to make himself carbon neutral? Only 3% of greenhouse gas emissions come from air travel. Yes, that is not a typo; 3%! The vast majority of emissions come from households and industry. Switching to low-energy lightbulbs is going to do more for the enviroment than boycotting British Airways.

Recently I visited some friends in Normandy. I had two options for my travel arrangements

1. Drive from Hull to Poole. I would have to allow myself 8 hours for that journey, just in case there were motorway hold-ups. Then around 6 hours on a ferry. Then a one hour drive to my friends’ place. At least 15 hours door-to-door.

2. Drive from Hull to East Midlands Airport. 1 hour 45 minutes. Wait for flight, 2 hours. Land and get through French immigration, 1 hour 30 minutes. Get picked up by my friends and travel to their home, 2 hours. I make that 7 hours 15 minutes.

You can guess which option I went for. Not only did I not fancy crossing the channel for six hours in December, I did not have a long drive to get to the ferry port, so I was more relaxed when I arrived.

If I am being selfish, then so be it, but considering the flight was full, how many greenhouse gas emissions would there have been if everyone on that flight had driven from the North and the Midlands to France? I am sure there is someone out there who can tell me.

Hat Tip: Bel

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