Category: World News
A Flying Shame
In 2019 8% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions came from domestic and international flights.
The UK government have made a pledge to have net zero aviation in place by 2050.
Under the the Jet Zero plan commercial airlines will have to use a sustainable replacement for jet engines.
Reaching Jet Zero will be a challenge to say the least.
Electric engines are not a viable option due to the weight of the batteries needed to produce the power to get an aircraft off the ground.
So the sustainable options lie with non-fossil fuels, all of which are far from perfect.
A report on these alternatives has just been published by The Royal Society and it is sobering reading. The four non-fossil fuels outlined in the report are as follows:
- Bio fuels – these are made from crops such as rapeseed or poplar. However it “would require more than 50% of the UK’s available agricultural land to replace aviation fuels.”
- Hydrogen – Hydrogen gas can extracted from water using electric current. “Producing enough ‘green’ hydrogen to replace current fossil aviation fuel would require around 2.4 to 3.4 times the UK’s annual renewable electricity generation (2020)”
- Ammonia – ‘Green’ Ammonia production requires vast amounts of electricity – in fact “producing ‘green’ ammonia as a jet fuel would require 2.5 to 3.9 times the UK’s annual renewable electricity generation (2020).”
- Synthetic Fuels – “When done sustainably using renewable electricity, this would require 5 to 8 times the UK’s 2020 renewable electricity capacity.”
The report also points out that there is not a full understanding of the impact of non-CO2 emissions from jet engines, and the formation of contrails, which currently contribute significantly to warming by aviation globally.
This should worry us all.
Compare and Contrast.
A picture says more than 1000 words
Last week Rishi Sunak flew on a private jet to Leeds and back. He also did a quick trip to Scotland for lunch meeting with Nicola Sturgeon using the same method of transport. The taxpayer picked the tab for these two trips.
The “PM” clearly is doing his “green credentials” no good at all. Flying in private jets is not recommended by climate change experts
Meanwhile Greta Tuneberg was protesting in Germany against the expansion of a huge, lignite (brown coal), opencast mine.
Greta got arrested, but she was later released. Sunak got back in time for tea.
Update – The UK prime minister has continued to use a private jet at the taxpayer’s expense. Trips to Indonesia, Egypt, Latvia and Estonia have clocked up a bill over £500,000.
Meanwhile at the same time Sunak has been tearing round the globe his Government has halved Air Passenger Duty (APD) a decision which encouraged Ryanair to add an extra 9 domestic routes to its flight schedule.
It makes you want to weep.
It just goes on and on. Today the press is reporting that Sunak has used a private helicopter to fly from London to Southampton at tax payers expense. A journey that takes just over an hour by train and costs about 30 quid for a ticket.
My days, it cannot be happening, can it?
The press reports about Boris Johnson has been given summaries of sensitive material via WhatsApp for administrative ease raises the question as to what the prime minister uses his red boxes for.
Somewhere to keep his colouring book and crayons?
Do they double up as his lunch box, or maybe somewhere to stash his party snacks?
Boris Johnson gets summaries of sensitive government material via WhatsApp
Bike hero #7 Beth Shriever
There have been a few posts on this blog about my bike heroes. Only 6 have been chosen so far:
- Sheldon Brown the bike building oracle was the first on the list of heroes. He was a great inspiration, source of information and point of reference when I did my own build.
- Danny MacAskill has come a long way since he received my second nomination. The things that he can do on a bike still take your breath away.
- The come back kid, Mark Cavendish, has broken records in this year’s Tour de France and has always been a legend in my opinion.
- Mario Cipollini is a blast from the past. Bike Heroes #5 and #6 are more personal additions to the list. These last two inductees have with no links to competitive cycling. Nevertheless the latest bike hero is a true competitor. An olympic champion no less.
Beth Shriever take a bow – you are (BMX) bike hero #7.
Let’s face it. BMX racing is more fun to watch than archery.
BMX racing is more accessible to young people who want to try it out than Equestrian sports.
Despite a funding cut from UkSport and a double leg break in the lead up to the games, Beth Shriever won an Olympic gold in Tokyo after a thrilling final race. Her gold medal represents a better return for team GB than the entire rowing squad can muster.
This girl is a new sensation, yet she humbly points out that it was an achievement just to get to Tokyo in the first place.
Beth has had to self finance her training and travel to events through a crowdfunding website and working as a teaching assistant in a primary school for 2 days a week.
Meanwhile the lottery funding for the Olympic rowing team is £24.6 million
Equestrian team get £12.5 million from UkSport
Even Archery gets £1.1 million to fund the Olympic squad.
From what I can see Beth won her gold medal in spite of and not with the support from UkSport.
There are some other interesting totals in these funding figures
Bike Hero #3 Mark Cavendish returns.
Well now, who would have believed it.
The post race interview says so much. Mark Cavendish is lost for words after his 31st win at the Tour de France.
The legend lives on.
And two days later Tour de France stage win #32 is chalked up. Again the break away is foiled and the sprinters battle out the finish. The man in green wins with apparent ease.
It looks like he is in love with cycling again and his smile says that all is well with the World.
This is a rider who is still winning stages of the World’s greatest 3 week cycle race at the age of 36. This is unprecedented. This simply should not be happening.
The next hurdle to over come is the Alps. Mountain stages just need to be completed within certain time limits, if he gives up or does not get to the finish line his Tour is over. With the help of his team mates he survives.
Back on the flat Cavendish is in his element. Stage 10 is a textbook finish. His team mates work together and go flat out to deliver the man in green almost to the finish line. Cavendish does the rest, making it look so easy. Win #33 is reached – just one away from the all time record.
This is getting tougher – but there is no stopping the Manx Missile. A hot day in the South of France is where he draws level with Eddy Merckx.
The Upward Inflection.
Back in 2001 Stephen Fry appeared on the BBC tv panel show Room 101 and talked about his dislike of AQI or Australian Question Intonation.
This trait is when someone raises the pitch of their voice at the end of sentences as if they were questions, but in fact they are not. “Uptalk” is common amongst Australian and American accents and seems to prevail amongst younger people.
I understand that languages evolve, but listening to someone constantly use an upward inflection to finish every sentence makes the speaker appear whiny and insecure.
It is annoying, but what can you do?
Black Lives Matter
I only heard about these interviews today.
They took place last week.
Food for thought at the very least and worth watching whether you are a fan of cricket or not.
In the week that fires still rage in Australia. Matt Hancock comes out with this on Radio 5.
I must be dreaming, did the really say this when asked if we should all be flying less?
This was posted 3 years ago time before the current PM was using a private jet like an Uber.
Climate Conferences and Contrails
Another Climate Conference, this time in Madrid, made think today:
Recycle/use less plastic
Eat less meat
Avoid air travel
Try to live car free
These are some of the things one could do to help save the Planet for future generations.
According to Greenpeace one of the best ways to reduce carbon emissions and hence climate change is to “skip the airport” as air travel is so energy-intensive.
The UK is one of the biggest nations when it comes to consumption of aircraft flights. Admittedly we do live on an island, but Britons took 126.2 million flights in 2018. This figure is set to rise even further according to most forecasters.
Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Rachel Kennerley admits: “Some trips can only realistically be made by plane, but aviation plays a big part in contributing to climate change. So it is worrying if a significant proportion of the British public think that people should be able to travel by plane as much as they like.”
The Science is now out there. Check out for yourself and see what each flight produces using a Carbon Footprint calculator and remember it is not just carbon dioxide, but there are other pollutants produced by aircraft (contrails) that contribute to the greenhouse effect.
Having flown a lot in the past, in ignorance of the eco-mess I was creating, I cannot really sit in judgement and start flight-shaming those that choose to fly in the future. But in 2020 I am not going to fly anywhere and make things worse. #flightfree2020
12 months ago
A year ago I was recovering in a neurosurgical ward with strict orders to stay calm and relaxed, avoiding unnecessary stress at all costs.
Doing so would keep my systolic blood pressure as low as possible and minimise any post op-complications. Without being overdramatic about it, there was a risk of internal bleeding, which could cause a stroke or worse.
So what happens?
Donald Trump gets elected as President of the USA on that very same day,
I can laugh at it now and enjoy the irony of it all, but at the time it was not helpful to put it mildly.
Doug Stanhope made me laugh about the same time when I watched his take on Nationalism back on the ward and now this reminds of that stay in hospital rather than the Trump election.
Laughter always helps and heals.