Tuesday, December 25, 2007

How green is your airline industry?

I'm not quite getting it. Richard Branson is a great environmentalist for buying A380s? Is this "green" marketing spin? Encouraging people to consumer more and generate more green-house gases/environmental damage but less per unit of consumption? And feel good about it?

"A 380s is the most eco-friendly airliner in the skies" Can any airliner be eco-friendly? Given that on any of the calculators that work out your impact on the environment, air travel is right at the top. According to Airbus passenger traffic is expected to increase by 4.8% by 2025 - the next 18 yrs The A380 is lighter as more of it is made of carbon fibre and carries more people. "The A380 consumes 2.9 litres of fuel per 100km which is equal to that of a small car. (But most people don't drive a small car to London.) Today's fleet on average 5.5 litres per 100km.

Does airline fuel generate more greenhouse gas per litre than car fuel? Does it make a difference that that it is released so far up in the atmosphere?

Monday, December 24, 2007


When I was in my late teens I read The Greening of America, later I read Catherine Caufield's In the Rainforest, both siren calls to protect our environment but the trends has been in the opposite direction. Reading today's paper the reticulated giraffe has been reduced from 27,000 in the 1990s to 3000 today. Even the big inconographic animals of Africa are disappearing There has been inevitable and rapid growth in consumption and in population.

I was surprised to discover that major contributor to global warming is land clearance, the quarter of remaining forests are being reduced further. This is a larger contributor or close to equal that of the use of fossil fuels there seems to be so much of a fuss about.

Even in first world Australia, and looking at just one of the states, 6000 sq km of bushland are cleared in Queensland every year. But Australia's land clearance is a pittance as a contributor to global warming.

When I started looking at these figures I was shocked that the graph of all indicators of world environmental health were so sharply down since I was a teen and there had been such eloquent defences written.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

green confusion

I'm getting a lot of detail about the politics of greenhouse warming but not much actual detail. Everybody disagrees. Which is hardly surprising. What have managed to distill is that the biggest contributor is deforestation and secondly fossil fuels. Which fossil fuels and how they are being used. Guessing: coal and power plants.

I'm looking for something that will get all the big solid facts in one place.