Saturday, 20 September 2014

Two things you won't hear discussed at this weeks Climate Change Summit

As the 4x4s, SUVs and big jets roll in to New York for a Climate Change summit on Tuesday, two things will be placed firmly off the table as the biggest brains in the world decide how best to tackle the fact that Earth's climate changes.

1) Air travel - In the EU Directive 2009/28/EC, it stated that :
Some Member States have a large share of aviation in their gross final consumption of energy. In view of the current technological and regulatory constraints that prevent the commercial use of biofuels in aviation, it is appropriate to provide a partial exemption for such Member States, by excluding from the calculation of their gross final consumption of energy in national air transport, the amount by which they exceed one-and-a-half times the Community average gross final consumption of energy in aviation in 2005, as assessed by Eurostat, i.e. 6,18 %. Cyprus and Malta, due to their insular and peripheral character, rely on aviation as a mode of transport, which is essential for their citizens and their economy. As a result, Cyprus and Malta have a gross final consumption of energy in national air transport which is disproportionally high, i.e. more than three times the Community average in 2005, and are thus disproportionately affected by the current technological and regulatory constraints. For those Member States it is therefore appropriate to provide that the exemption should cover the amount by which they exceed the Community average gross final consumption of energy in aviation in 2005 as assessed by Eurostat, i.e. 4,12 %.

Apart from another statement about developing biofuels for use in airplanes, there is no other mention of the aviation industry and it's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. It is the classic case of "business as usual" as Mary Robinson is so fond of saying. Last Sunday, I was in Malahide, Co.Dublin and counted 4 jumbo jets every 6 minutes flying over my head from about 5-6pm. Whatever savings have been made in our electricity systems may well be more than offset by this level of air traffic every day and night in Ireland.

Just because the EU exclude air travel from Member States energy consumption, doesn't actually mean that in reality this pollution disappears. While every excuse is made for the aviation industry, a simple suggestion could be made if climate change parties were genuinely interested in saving the planet :

An air traffic free day every week around Europe

We lived for thousands of years without any airplanes. Are we now that dependent on them that we cant do without them for one day a week? But of course the EU bureaucrats and the O'Learys and the Walshes of this world will cry "Economic devestation" and "job losses", but the simple fact is that renewable energy policies have and are crippling economies this very minute. Ireland has the 4th highest energy prices in Europe and UK are not far behind. Industry in Germany are on the brink of "jumping ship" and what is left of the manufacturing industry in the UK and Ireland are facing financial meltdown directly due to the cost of renewables and green taxes (See for example: € 250,000 hike in energy costs crippling Westmeath Employer As the Academy of Engineers pointed out recently, fossil fuels only make up 22% of electricity bills in Ireland and as renewables, like wind, have a low capacity credit, they will always and ever be an additional cost on energy bills, as thermal plant must still be paid for as normal. These energy policies are simply a transfer of wealth from householders and normal industry and businesses to "green" industry and shareholders / investors. So there are no gains to be made from green energy policies, just transfers.

So it's quite simple, if the planet is on the brink of armageddon, let's see an air traffic free day. What is so wrong with Mary Robinson travelling on a ferry one day a week?

2) A ban on high engine capacity motor vehicles. One big change in my lifetime occurred in about the early 2000s. Anyone in Ireland with extra disposable income, when faced with a choice between a normal family car and a 4x4 or high engine capacity vehicle began choosing the latter more frequently. Previously, 4x4s at any rate were used exclusively by farmers and horse breeders. It is now impossible to drive on any road in Ireland without meeting a high polluting vehicle. Again, one wonders, are all these juggernauts really necessary ? You need to follow the money trail, and it leads mostly back to Germany, where car companies and manufacturers are big donators to the political parties. 

Just like with wind energy, electric cars have basically expanded the car market, as opposed to displacing existing car models. And let's face it, consumer enthusiasm has been small. Its quite simple, if you want a product to really work, you must be able to compete effectively with the other products out there, and this has not really happened. And if the government is serious about pushing one product over another, then it should be helping to bring about the withdrawal of the other product from the marketplace. Why not restrict high engine capacity vehicles to those who really need them? This way, the economy can still function i.e farmers and horsebreeders can still go about their business, while everyone else will have to choose between a normal car or an electric car. So the other plus side of this (apart from the reduction in carbon dioxide) would be an increase in the uptake of electric cars as product variety diminishes. 

So one must ask themselves - are politicians and climate change disciples really serious about what they say or are they just hypocrites preaching and advocating a form of dark age medievalism for everyone while taking advantage of all the latest modern comforts themselves ?

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