Monday, March 12, 2007
Ghost in the machine
The 124-seat British Airways Airbuses, under contract to BMed, have flown the 240-mile round trip six times a week since last October, (daily flight times vary) with each flight producing more than five tonnes of carbon dioxide.
They are estimated to have produced the same level of emissions as 36,000 cars undertaking the journey on the M4, despite not transporting any passengers.This story is put into the context of the plans by the Conservative Party to give every person in the country an annual carbon allowance, designed to encourage greater personal environmental responsibility among frequent flyers.
Their problem though is that such taxation would not have impacted on British Airways' irresponsible 'ghost flights' because there were no passengers involved. In this regard I would refer any Conservative reading this to the Liberal Democrat stance of taxing the aircraft not the passenger.
Our policy may or may not have prevented the practice of flying empty planes between Cardiff and Heathrow but it would have significantly added to the cost for the airline. As such it would be a far more effective environmental tax.
Yes, flying an empty 124 seat plane is pretty dummy and the dummy is too big to put in the baby’s mouth. But come on, some perspective here. Look around your house, your office, the clothes you wear, the electronics you buy, the “one hundred and one things” that make up your life. Yes you! How often did you bother to look at the label? Not very often or if you did you just shrugged your shoulders and bought it anyway. The UK increasingly imports what it used to manufacture locally. There is no technical reason why buy so much imported stuff, but we do. Think of the carbon footprint of all that imported stuff you buy. Thousands of tons of heavy fuel oil combusted in the largest engined cargo vessels per ocean going trip creating thousands upon thousands of tons CO2. Our appetite for imports is so huge the biggest container ships in the world now sail the earth’s oceans from China and the Far East to satisfy our selfish desire for imported goods. Then we are aghast at five tons of CO2 per trip to Heathrow. Get the plank out of your own eye.
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:1-5)