Long Haul Flights Immoral?

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  • Wed, Jul 03, 2019 - 06:38pm



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    Long Haul Flights Immoral?

Inconvenient Flight Math

Total Carbon budget for 2.0 C warming                            1,107,000,000,000     1.11E+12        Co2 Tons

% of all human-induced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the global aviation industry    2%   2.00E-02

Total Carbon budget for Aviation (tons) A*B         22,140,000,000   2.21E+10 Tons

Human population          7,715,000,000  7.72E+09  Humans

Per Person  Aviation Budget  C/D            2.87   Tons

Co2 from a round trip Denver to London   2.8  Tons


Just and Equitable Trans Atlantic flights per person on earth E/F        1.02 Flights/Person



1 trans Atlantic flight, per person, per life, per IPCC…..




  • This topic was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by poaec.
  • This topic was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by poaec.
  • This topic was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by poaec.
  • Thu, Jul 04, 2019 - 06:21pm



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    Long Hell Flights

poaec-  You stay killin’ me brah! (‘lil pidgin for you there…).  Immoral?  Maybe just…..hand me my blinders there, will ya?   Living in Hawaii, but with family and other interests on the Mainland, I certainly feel the guilt of those 5-6 hour flights averaging twice a year.  Love the travel, hate the flight- like most of you, I’d guess.  I’d love to have a transport option- sailing ships, like of old, or a berth on a freighter.  I could afford the extra time spent, most of the time.  The barges and ships arrive here packed, and return mostly empty.  Perhaps a dismountable passenger module (of course, how to keep them staged where the demand is?)?  And, in the scheme of things, would make a tiny dent in our predicament, but, bumbye (eventually)…..Happy Independence Day Americans!  Aloha, Steve.

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by thatchmo.
  • Fri, Jul 05, 2019 - 09:07am



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    Voluntary self-grounding

Recently there’s been a number of stories in The Guardian (here’s one) about people voluntarily giving up on flying and resorting to ground transport. Here’s another very good one.

Here’s a 2013 article by a meteorologist who stopped flying to cut down on his family’s carbon footprint. He tells us that air travel accounts for 3% of the average American family’s carbon footprint.

I am uneasy about all flying. I am told that modern aircraft inject CO2 and other gases into the atmosphere at precisely the right height to do the most damage. I haven’t verified this claim.

In my case flying is easy to give up. I don’t need it for work, being retired, nor for personal reasons, such as visiting remote relatives. Australia is large and varied and offers plenty to see and do, accessible by car or even by public ground transport. I am happy to take the extra time to travel long distancess, and I see more and experience more on the ground.

Unless and until the security circus extends itself to trains and coaches… I think this will eventually happen. If for no other reason, the security industry needs new markets, so let’s start whispering in government’s ear about all the endless risks that all modes of public transport are heir to.

As someone said somewhere, if God had meant us to fly, he would have bought us tickets.

But living in Australia means that no flying makes it very hard for me to travel outside my country. At the moment that does not bother me; Australia has not yet descended into fascism. Passenger shipping these days seems to be mainly expen$ive cruise ships. No longer can I take a P&O passenger ship from Sydney to Hobart for a long weekend, as I did once. By air New Zealand is 2 hours away, the US is 15 hours of writhing boredom in a sardine can. I’ve done that trip too many times and have no desire to resume. By sea England is 2 weeks away. Maybe we should travel more on the ground: it would let us see what we’re doing to the planet and help restore our sense of respect for it.

Lastly, I detest the ritual humiliation inflicted upon air travellers by the security circus that air travel entails. The whole air travel system has gradually come to resemble a travelling prison, with the passengers carefully caged the entire way. The tragedy is that young people think this is entirely normal. I am old and experienced enough to regard it as entirely abnormal. My first international air trip in 1971 entailed no security, no metal detectors, no X-rays, no guns, no obnoxious guards, no cages, no dire warnngs, no wandering police, no nothing. It was no different to boarding a suburban bus. On the way from Sydney to London we stopped off in San Francisco among other places and were given the run of the airport building for the 3 or 4 hours we were there. I found myself outside at the taxi rank and could easily have gone for a jaunt. Too bad I had no local currency. Or maybe it was just as well; who knows where I might have ended up!

On balance and for the good of the planet I am happy to ground myself.

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by ezlxq1949. Reason: typo
  • Mon, Jul 08, 2019 - 08:23pm



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    Other things you can do might have bigger impact….

This study suggests veganism is more powerful: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29853680

The study, published in the journal Science, created a huge dataset based on almost 40,000 farms in 119 countries and covering 40 food products that represent 90% of all that is eaten. It assessed the full impact of these foods, from farm to fork, on land use, climate change emissions, freshwater use and water pollution (eutrophication) and air pollution (acidification).

“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said Joseph Poore, at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the research. “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car.”

I think grazing animals play a beneficial part in carbon sequestration, but I also think the planet is too small for everyone on it currently to eat non-CAFO meat and dairy every day.  Even being a vegan 75% of the time would be a huge help.  Plus planting trees where they are needed most: the Amazon, China, Australia, US and Canada.



Meanwhile, I keep formally asking my professsional association to stop asking its members to fly to attend conferences when webinar technology exists.  I personally try to fly only once a year to visit my elderly parents, but since I am mostly vegan/whole foods plant based (which cured my asthma!) I won’t beat myself up any longer if I want to go to Mexico this winter.

  • Mon, Jul 29, 2019 - 07:50am



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    Totally agree BUT . . . .

Thank you for the discussion topic, I have some thoughts on this that may interest. The “BUT” part in the heading arises from the science related to the “masking effect” that aircraft vapor trails have provided. I saw a YouTube documentary about aerosol masking from vapour trails, i.e. the water vapour emitted at altitude by aircraft combining with cloud formations which increase the ‘reflectivity’ and prevent the sun’s rays from heating the planet, thereby REDUCING global warming.

Particulate matter from burning coal, wood, diesel/shipping emissions have a visible brown haze which also reflects heat away from the earth’s surface but produce severe health problems. As global efforts to “clean the air” are slowly introduced, scientists such as Michael Mann point to the increased heating which will results as the reflection is reduced.

The importance of the “masking effect” or “global dimming” was proved in the days after 9/11 when a total flight ban was imposed over the United States and temperatures increased over those 3 days by 0.6C !! I have seen recent estimates that as soon as the masking effect is removed, (pollution/vapour trails) expect as much as 1.0C heating, again within a very short time span.

“Tourism” is now a big emissions player, accounting for 8% of global emissions, (about 6 billion tCO2 – includes food) and scheduled to grow @ 5% per year. It appears that there will be a necessity for some form of geoengineering to “replace” this masking effect when the “limp” measures to challenge climate change are unveiled and prove inadequate.

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