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clv101

Aviation White Paper Disaster

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I've recently written an article (Aviation White Paper Disaster) on the government's aviation white paper which contains the key forecast that air travel will double by 2030. This forecast is the key justification for a whole raft of airport expansion projects with costs running into billions.

My issue is that the forecast is based on flights getting cheaper, GDP growth averaging 2.25% both unlikely and the real clanger, that oil price will stabilise at $25 (2000 dollars).

Since the forecast growth is wrong, the justification for airport expansion is gone. How can we get this message out and in so doing avoid the country misallocating billions on completely unnecessary construction?

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I've recently written an article (Aviation White Paper Disaster) on the government's aviation white paper which contains the key forecast that air travel will double by 2030. This forecast is the key justification for a whole raft of airport expansion projects with costs running into billions.

My issue is that the forecast is based on flights getting cheaper, GDP growth averaging 2.25% both unlikely and the real clanger, that oil price will stabilise at $25 (2000 dollars).

Since the forecast growth is wrong, the justification for airport expansion is gone. How can we get this message out and in so doing avoid the country misallocating billions on completely unnecessary construction?

This weeks' Economist points out that the simple expedient of levying VAT and normal fuel tax on aviation fuel would drop future demand very considerably.

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How can we get this message out and in so doing avoid the country misallocating billions on completely unnecessary construction?

There are already several groups protesting against the massive planned airport extensions:

http://www.stopstanstedexpansion.com/

http://www.hacan.org.uk/about_us/

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/

http://www.uecna.org/

I suggest you contact them with this information. The prediction for the oil price seems particularly bizzarre given that even the big oil groups are talking about Peak Oil no later than 2025.

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How can we get this message out and in so doing avoid the country misallocating billions on completely unnecessary construction?

Why bother? Misallocating vast amounts of our money is what government is there for: almost anything government does is misallocation pretty much by definition, since if it wasn't then people would pay for it voluntarily.

Does seem stupid to me for them to be expecting big growth in aviation while fuel prices are exploding, but then governments have never been very smart.

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An interesting topic - basically the Government's approach seems to be "predict and provide" rather than actually do any proper analysis.

The present expansion plans would mean the equivalent of 6 new airports the size of Heathrow by 2030 as well as making a total mockery of any plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Why should aviation get a free ride re: climate change when no other industry or individual will?

And there's some evidence to show that airports are actually bad for regional economies:

http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/transport/n..._economies.html

Edited by greencat

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This weeks' Economist points out that the simple expedient of levying VAT and normal fuel tax on aviation fuel would drop future demand very considerably.

But airlines would have the option of buying their fuel in countries where it isn't taxed so it would destroy the aviation fuel business in Britain while not really having the desired effect. This sort of purchasing decision already happens to some extent, lots of cargo flights to Africa do a technical stop for fuel in Tripoli because fuel is so cheap in Libya.

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Yes, well said. But how many civil servants actually know about Peak Oil? I work in the energy industry and very few of my colleagues have a clue about it. Because the issue does not have any "critical mass" of opinion, nor has it been patronised by authority, the only people taking notice of it are those alert and who can step outside the box.

What about amongst the political class? A major obstacle seems to be the inability to grasp the paradox that the problems start when we have more oil than we've ever had. I must confess I simply never stopped to think about how the world would actually "run out of oil".... unless you actually stop to think about how it will happen, you just vaguely assume "Oh we've still got 40 years' supply, nothing to worry about until 2025, we'll start to prepare then..."

It's the kind of decision made by folk who either don't understand the issue or simply aren't interested in doing other than what they are told until it's pension time. Bureaucrats are not motivated by any devotion to the truth, but by keeping their desk clear and their **** covered. Also, the government probably would come under attack from the aviation industry if it failed to give upbeat messages about the future. Just like the IEA. It restricts the chance of an effective response to Peak Oil until we are actually in the crisis. Sad but true. I have absolutely no faith in these people to negotiate the crisis competently.

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But airlines would have the option of buying their fuel in countries where it isn't taxed so it would destroy the aviation fuel business in Britain while not really having the desired effect. This sort of purchasing decision already happens to some extent, lots of cargo flights to Africa do a technical stop for fuel in Tripoli because fuel is so cheap in Libya.

Yes, I know, global action is needed.

And it would certainly be possible for intra-Europe aviation taxation to be standardised.

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There are already several groups protesting against the massive planned airport extensions:

http://www.stopstanstedexpansion.com/

http://www.hacan.org.uk/about_us/

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/

http://www.uecna.org/

I suggest you contact them with this information. The prediction for the oil price seems particularly bizzarre given that even the big oil groups are talking about Peak Oil no later than 2025.

Thanks, I have sent the article to about a dozen organisations including those you've listed. As far as I'm aware none of the anti-airport expansion groups have picked up on the point I'm making here.

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Yes, I know, global action is needed.

And it would certainly be possible for intra-Europe aviation taxation to be standardised.

The EC has no tax raising powers. Also, significantly raising the cost of airline tickets is a vote loser so nobody is going do it. People like being able to fly to Prague for 12 quid or whatever.

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The EC has no tax raising powers. Also, significantly raising the cost of airline tickets is a vote loser so nobody is going do it. People like being able to fly to Prague for 12 quid or whatever.

I am not unaware of these facts.

1: While the EU does not raise taxes, it does provide a framework for a standard approach to taxation, for instance via progressive harmonisation of VAT and duties. There is absolutely no reason why the EU should not do this within current laws but revenue raised would flow to national governments

2: In the years to come not doing anything about either unlimited airport expansion or global warming is also going to be a vote loser

It will be done in the end, probably 20 years later than was necessary. Let's call it democratic lag.

Edited by BoredTrainBuilder

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I am not unaware of these facts.

1: While the EU does not raise taxes, it does provide a framework for a standard approach to taxation, for instance via progressive harmonisation of VAT and duties. There is absolutely no reason why the EU should not do this within current laws but revenue raised would flow to national governments

2: In the years to come not doing anything about either unlimited airport expansion or global warming is also going to be a vote loser

It will be done in the end, probably 20 years later than was necessary. Let's call it democratic lag.

1. I don't think it would ever be possible to get agreement from all 25 members with the EU in its current bloated, disconnected, corrupt and ineffecient form.

2. Why do anything about global warming? Will people be horrified by the prospect of Southern England having a Mediterranean climate? The Earth's climate has always varied widely, only now we are better technologically equipped to deal with it. Don't worry about it!

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2. Why do anything about global warming? Will people be horrified by the prospect of Southern England having a Mediterranean climate? The Earth's climate has always varied widely, only now we are better technologically equipped to deal with it. Don't worry about it!

A common misconception. The climate is predicted to change as the result of global warming. Some places may get colder and wetter, others hotter and dryer. Sure we could see a Mediterranean climate in the South of England - or it could get even colder and more rainy. Opinions vary on what direction the climate in the UK will take.

Current predictions also suggest that freak extreme weather events - like the 2003 heatwave which killed 1000s of people across Europe and hurricaines - will probably get more frequent and intense as the result of global warming.

How exactly do we plan for adaption when we don't actually know for sure what will happen?

Even if we were sure - adaptive technology will only take us so far and won't be a terrific amount of use to non-human species which can't migrate (like trees). Of course, we might decide they aren't essential to us but nature provides an awful lot of services for free which would be expensive to replicate.

Edited by greencat

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A common misconception. The climate is predicted to change as the result of global warming. Some places may get colder and wetter, others hotter and dryer. Sure we could see a Mediterranean climate in the South of England - or it could get even colder and more rainy. Opinions vary on what direction the climate in the UK will take.

This is why I think 'climate change' (and its associated industry of experts and NGOs) is such ********. Meteoroligists can't tell me with any degree of confidence whether or not it will rain tomorrow. So why should we believe them when they say something bad, but we can't tell what, is going to happen in 20/30/40 years.

1,000 years ago Greenland was viable farming land and it will be probably be so again in the future whether or not we drive Range Rovers and fly to the Gold Coast on holiday or not.

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This is why I think 'climate change' (and its associated industry of experts and NGOs) is such ********. Meteoroligists can't tell me with any degree of confidence whether or not it will rain tomorrow. So why should we believe them when they say something bad, but we can't tell what, is going to happen in 20/30/40 years.

1,000 years ago Greenland was viable farming land and it will be probably be so again in the future whether or not we drive Range Rovers and fly to the Gold Coast on holiday or not.

Whatever you think, and you are entitled to your opinion, the world is beginning to respond to this self-inflicted problem.

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This is why I think 'climate change' (and its associated industry of experts and NGOs) is such ********. Meteoroligists can't tell me with any degree of confidence whether or not it will rain tomorrow. So why should we believe them when they say something bad, but we can't tell what, is going to happen in 20/30/40 years.

This argument is incorrect.

Climate change is fundamentally easier to predict than next months weather. Weather is chaotic, infinitely small perturbations in the initial conditions (measurements) propagate into completely different weather conditions a few days later. Since we can never make very accurate measurements of the initial conditions it is fundamentally impossible to predict weather with any accuracy.

Climate change is different; the climate over decades is not chaotic. Sure it's complicated, with many variables and non-linearity’s but it is fundamentally deterministic. If we just understood all the relationships and their magnitudes we could accurately predict climate change.

A system being complicated is completely different to it being chaotic, one is predictable the other isn't.

Edited by clv101

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This is why I think 'climate change' (and its associated industry of experts and NGOs) is such ********. Meteoroligists can't tell me with any degree of confidence whether or not it will rain tomorrow. So why should we believe them when they say something bad, but we can't tell what, is going to happen in 20/30/40 years.

I'm afraid you're mixing weather with climate. Climate is the pattern of weather in a location over a period of time.

Climatologists can't say exactly what the weather at a certain time will be in a certain location in the future.

But they can say, as the result of climate change, extreme weather events are likely to be more frequent and more damaging around the globe. And that patterns of weather are likely to change quickly enough to make adaption for many species difficult if not impossible.

As for an industry of vested interests - well they generally exist on both sides of any politically and economically important argument. Housing seems to be one of the exceptions as nobody with any real clout seems to have much interest in talking price inflation down.

Edited by greencat

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Just a point, but you can't really have both a shortage of aviation fuel and rising emissions from using that fuel at the same time since the two are mutually exclusive.

I think the supply of fuel will become a problem before there is any serious action to curb global warming. That said, a fuel shortage is the ultimate way to force greenhouse gas emission lower...

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Just a point, but you can't really have both a shortage of aviation fuel and rising emissions from using that fuel at the same time since the two are mutually exclusive.

Indeed, which is why I don't talk about emissions at all in the article. The environmental argument against airports is often cited with people unhappy about the noise or emissions... I’d say that the environmentalists are also barking up the wrong tree since they too seem to think that the doubling forecast in the white paper is going to happen unless something is done. I don't think the forecast traffic growth can happen so we don't need to build new infrastructure (point in the article) and the environmentalists can channel their energies elsewhere.

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That said, a fuel shortage is the ultimate way to force greenhouse gas emission lower...

The guys in Dubai know this. I can see in 30 years time, all planes will have to go through the middle east in order to get aviation fuel. Who else will be able to afford to buy the fuel from them? (or us, if our invasion is successful)

£250k flat in Dubai anyone?

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1,000 years ago Greenland was viable farming land

No it wasn't. Only a tiny fraction of Greenland's land area was suitable for growing arable crops (then as now). The name "Greenland" was made up by Erik the Red to entice his Viking compatriots to make the arduous sea journey from Iceland to Greenland in order to found a settlement there (he was banished from Iceland).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_the_Red

According to The Saga of Eric the Red, he spent his three years of exile exploring the coast of this land. When Erik returned to Iceland after his term of banishment, he brought with him stories of "Groenland" (Greenland). Erik purposely gave the land a more appealing name than Iceland to lure potential settlers. He explained, "men would be much more eager to go there if the land had an attractive name." His salesmanship proved successful as many people (especially "those Vikings living on poor land in Iceland" and those that had suffered a "recent famine") were convinced that Greenland held great opportunity. In 985, after spending a winter back in Iceland, Erik returned to Greenland with a large number of colonists and established two colonies on its west coast: the Eastern Settlement, which he named Eystribyggð, and the Western Settlement, Vestribyggð (around Nuuk). The Eastern and Western Settlements, which were actually situated in the north and the south, proved to be the only two areas suitable for farming.

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No it wasn't. Only a tiny fraction of Greenland's land area was suitable for growing arable crops (then as now). The name "Greenland" was made up by Erik the Red to entice his Viking compatriots to make the arduous sea journey from Iceland to Greenland in order to found a settlement there (he was banished from Iceland).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_the_Red

I stand corrected, thanks. I'll try to use more petrol and and sort it out for them.

Edited by jackalope

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Climate may or may not be chaotic. It is, as yet, unproven. However, since climate is governed by a coupled non-linear integrated system, as shown by Lorenz, it would be wise to assume it is chaotic until proven otherwise.

To stress: as yet it has not been proven otherwise.

For a technical discussion, with scientific references, see here. This is a response to a statement on RealClimate.org claiming climate is not chaotic; the author started a debate over the former post, during which an expert in chaos theory was called in. This resulted in an embarrassing climbdown by the author of the RealClimate.org post that can be viewed here.

Edited by Rapid Descent

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Additional point: if you follow that wiki Eric the Red article, and click on "Greenland" in that article, you get to the Greenland page which includes:

The name Greenland comes from those Scandinavian settlers. In the Norse sagas, it is said that Eiríkur Rauði (Erik the Red) was exiled from Iceland for murder. He, along with his extended family and slaves, set out in ships to find the land that was rumored to be to the northwest. After settling there, he named the land Greenland in order to attract more people to settle there. The fjords of the Southern part of the island were lush and had a warmer climate at that time, possibly due to what was called the Medieval Warm Period. These remote communities thrived and lived off farming, hunting and trading with the motherland, and when the Scandinavian monarchs converted their domains to Christianity, a bishop was installed in Greenland as well. The settlements seem to have coexisted relatively peacefully with the Inuit, who had migrated southwards from the Arctic islands of North America around 1200. In 1261, Greenland became part of the Kingdom of Norway, which was part of the Kalmar Union and later of the dual monarchy of Denmark-Norway.

After almost five hundred years, the settlements simply vanished, possibly due to famine during the 15th century in the Little Ice Age, when climatic conditions deteriorated, and contact with Europe was lost. Bones from this late period were found to be in a condition consistent with malnutrition.

So it is true that Erik the Red was banished to Greenland, and named it as such to encourage people to come with him, but it is also true that it was lush and warm then, prior to becoming very cold indeed during the "Little Ice Age". It is, today, returning to the warm levels of 1000 years ago.

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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      • down 5% +
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