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Fuel, flying and GW

A few thoughts on fuel, flying and GW (Global Warming)

All fuels, including aviation fuel and of course both inland and other marine and agricultural diesel, should be taxed the same. If the international nature of aviation prevents this, then just stop building new runways and cut back the flight start time out of Heathrow from 04:30 to 10:00, the hugely reduced number of landing slots at market would push up the price of flights nicely and achieve the same effects.

I always find the argument that "aviation is essential for business" in the age of the video phone, rather dodgy, and anyway, not all aviation, not even most of it, is business-related at all. At 35 miles per gallon per passenger, or 18 miles per gallon per passenger after allowing for the carbon at height equivalence multiplier, aviation is a disgrace in carbon terms. It's like each person travelling around in their own Ferrari, in fact ten times worse because average road speeds are just 50 mph, so even if you could drive to Australia, the time taken would preclude it, but aviation makes it feasible - 2 tonnes of fuel per passenger on a long-haul return flight. If AGW is real, or if we think there's some chance it might be and that the effects would be bad, it is ludicrous to have a government that says it cares about climate change, says we should cut all CO2 by 80% by 2050, and then bizarrely lobbies for new runways. How are aviation emissions to be cut by 80% by 2050 if we build new runways, instead of withdrawing existing landing slots ? Is aviation exempt, or something ? I really wish someone would explain government policy on aviation to me; it just doesn't make any sense at all.

I suppose in the end it is also us that are the problem : when I challenge people who claim to be deeply concerned about GW, about their excessive personal flying, including leisure (not business) medium and long-haul flights more than once a year in some cases, they just won't discuss it at all (apart from one person, who said he does feel very bad about it and would gladly holiday in the UK or places reachable by train/plane - but blamed his wife, who he judged might leave him if he did not provide a "foreign" holiday via jet aircraft). It's as if it's some kind of blind spot to them, as if they think they have the RIGHT to be hedonistic in that area. If they don't believe in GW, then one can't argue of course, but for those that DO, it is a very significant anomaly in the way that they live, as compared to their professed beliefs. Me, I've not flown for 10 years so I can be smug.