Please don’t fly!

It started in Sweden, where the term flygskam (flight shame) was coined in 2018 to describe the unease about flying experienced by environmentally conscious travellers. The hashtag #jagstannarpåmarken (which translates as #stayontheground) came into use around the same time, as groups sprang up to share tips.

Other wealthy countries are not immune from such trends: a recent survey of 6,000 people in Germany, France, the UK and the US found 21% had cut back. Such a shift in attitudes makes it all the more disturbing that members of the current government, including the health secretary, Matt Hancock, have yet to catch up. Asked twice on the radio this week whether people should reduce the number of flights they take, the minister said they should not.

The Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has probably done more than anyone else to promote the idea that flying should, wherever possible, be avoided. In August she went to New York on a zero-emissions sailing boat. In Sweden last year, air passenger numbers fell by 5% as rail numbers went up. The German Green party (which topped 20% and doubled its seats in last year’s European elections) aims to make domestic flights obsolete.

With new research showing 2019 was the second-hottest year on record on the planet’s surface, and the hottest-ever for the oceans, it is increasingly difficult to understand why any rational person would not be behind all and any measures designed to reduce carbon emissions. Evidence of the growing danger extends from the devastation caused by the Australian bushfires to this week’s report that up to 1 million seabirds were killed in less than a year by a “hot blob” in the Pacific Ocean.
Sign up to the Green Light email to get the planet’s most important stories
Read more

This context made it particularly troubling to hear a senior UK government minister, and one generally considered to be on the moderate wing of his party, blithely deny that reducing flights is a good idea. Just as bad was the fact that his remarks came only hours after the announcement of a tax holiday and review of air passenger duty as part of a rescue deal to save the regional airline Flybe. Mr Hancock’s comment that “we should use technology to reduce carbon emissions” could be dismissed as naive if it was not so irresponsible.

Electric flight is in its infancy and, while there have been significant gains in fuel efficiency, zero-carbon flight remains a remote prospect. Projections of future emissions consistently expect aviation to be responsible for an increasing share of the total, although the industry complains that it is unfairly singled out given that the current figure is 2.5%.

The UK, however, is a special case. Aviation is responsible for 7% of emissions now and is expected to overtake all other sources by 2050. Britons are the most frequent flyers to international destinations in the world, although a small minority are responsible for the vast majority of flights.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/17/the-guardian-view-on-flight-shaming-face-it-life-must-change

Climate emergency – oh but we have a new coal mine!!!

Britain’s first new deep coalmine in 30 years is unnecessary and incompatible with UK climate ambitions, according to a report.The £165m Woodhouse colliery in Cumbria was given cross party-backing in March 2019, leading to protests from climate campaigners who said the mine would harm the UK’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.Now a report by the independent thinktank the Green Alliance has found the colliery, along the coast from Whitehaven, will hold back the development of low-carbon steelmaking.

The report, authored by two university professors who specialise in environmental issues, claims that opening a new coalmine would hinder this strategy by ensuring the continued availability of cheap coal. It also refutes Cumbria county council’s claim that the mine, which aims to process 2.5m tonnes of coking coal a year for the UK and European steel industry, replacing imports from the US, Canada, Russia and Colombia, will be carbon neutral.

Prof Rebecca Willis and Mike Berners-Lee from Lancaster University, say the mine would produce 8.4m tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to the emissions from more than 1 million households.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/15/new-cumbria-coalmine-incompatible-with-climate-crisis-goals

If you work in Luxembourg you should live there!

There is it appears an entitlement culture when it comes to flying. A small minority seem to think its perfectly ok to live in Cornwall and fly off to work. It is unacceptable with the current climate crisis that people either fly within the UK or travel abroad on a monthly let alone a weekly basis.

Its no good extolling the virtues of walking and cycling when a small minority carry on flying regardless!

Flybe passengers dependent on the airline to get around the UK and Europe have warned of the impact on their lives if the regional carrier collapses. At Exeter airport, where Flybe is based, customers expressed concern on Monday that a collapse would leave holes in flight schedules. The airline carries more than 8 million passengers a year and is a key operator at regional airports around the UK, with a network covering 56 airports across Britain and Europe.

Gary Whitham, who uses Flybe to commute to Exeter for work from his home in the Netherlands, said: “I am on a project in Exeter until April and have been since October. I have heard nothing at all about Flybe’s problems. If they do go, then I would have to fly to Bristol, which is much more inconvenient for me.” On the arrivals board, nine of the 10 flights displayed were operated by Flybe, from destinations including Belfast, Newcastle, Amsterdam and Dublin. Flybe flies to 14 destinations from Exeter.A man waiting to pick up his daughter-in-law and grandchildren from the airport said: “My son travels every week to Luxembourg from Cornwall for work”.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jan/13/passengers-flybe-troubles-no-other-way-can-get-to-work

The oceans are warming up – its bad news!

The news report by amian Carrington, the Guardian Environment editor makes for sober reading!

The heat in the world’s oceans reached a new record level in 2019, showing “irrefutable and accelerating” heating of the planet. The world’s oceans are the clearest measure of the climate emergency because they absorb more than 90% of the heat trapped by the greenhouse gases emitted by fossil fuel burning, forest destruction and other human activities.

The new analysis shows the past five years are the top five warmest years recorded in the ocean and the past 10 years are also the top 10 years on record. The amount of heat being added to the oceans is equivalent to every person on the planet running 100 microwave ovens all day and all night. Hotter oceans lead to more severe storms and disrupt the water cycle, meaning more floods, droughts and wildfires, as well as an inexorable rise in sea level. Higher temperatures are also harming life in the seas, with the number of marine heatwaves increasing sharply.

The most common measure of global heating is the average surface air temperature, as this is where people live. But natural climate phenomena such as El Niño events mean this can be quite variable from year to year. “The oceans are really what tells you how fast the Earth is warming,” said Prof John Abraham at the University of St Thomas, in Minnesota, US, and one of the team behind the new analysis. “Using the oceans, we see a continued, uninterrupted and accelerating warming rate of planet Earth. This is dire news.” “We found that 2019 was not only the warmest year on record, it displayed the largest single-year increase of the entire decade, a sobering reminder that human-caused heating of our planet continues unabated,” said Prof Michael Mann, at Penn State University, US, and another team member.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/13/ocean-temperatures-hit-record-high-as-rate-of-heating-accelerates

Residents of new housing will be walking rather than using a car – is this a joke?

According to the travel plan associated with the planning application referred to below, it will be relatively easy for people to walk (or cycle) to local facilities including supermarkets.

Mind you with 2 car parking spaces per house it is more likely that residents will use one of their two cars to make the trip!

[No reference to greenhouse gas emissions from the new development – how odd!].

Bernard Deacon@bernarddeacon Another 138 houses planned for Falmouth. All on farmland. This time from Barratt Homes (Exeter). 283 car spaces for 138 houses seems a mite excessive, given the Council’s ‘climate emergency’. Not to worry though; it’s a ‘concept plan’. (PA19/10381)

2.5.2 ‘How far do people walk?’, published in 2015 by WYG set out appropriate walking and cycling distances to a range of facilities, including schools, shops and bus stops following a review of walking records from the National Travel Survey (NTS). According to WYG, in the South West, the average distance people are willing to travel on foot for a variety of purposes is 1.2 kilometres, however the 85th percentile shows that people are willing to walk up to 2.25 kilometres, although the distance people are willing to travel on foot varies depending on the trip purpose.

2.5.3 On this basis, the proposed development is deemed to be within walking and cycling distance of a range of facilities. As Penryn is the closest town to the site, it is likely that many of the needs of residents will be met here, although Falmouth town centre is also close by and will be able to fulfil the remainder of resident’s daily requirements.

2.5.4 In terms of residents’ access to local retail facilities, Lidl and Sainsbury’s supermarkets are located 1.4 kilometres and 1.9 kilometres from the site respectively. Although these distances are considered appropriate for walking and cycling, many residents would likely be discouraged, especially when carrying shopping. However, a number of larger supermarkets offer a home delivery service to the area and shoppers arriving by foot could also arrange for a taxi home if required.

Walking and cycling from St Agnes to Truro?

How many people might want to walk or cycle?

Bernard Deacon@bernarddeacon Cornwall Council’s dream world. It wants a bridge over the Chiverton Cross roundabout which ‘currently acts as a major barrier to walking and cycling between communities on the north coast of Cornwall and in Truro.’ So folk can walk to the fastfood outlets?