Climate Progress ran an article about future fuel efficient aircraft from a study by M.I.T. Below is my response to their article. By the way Climate Progress is a great blog dealing with the issues of climate change. Check it out at www.climateprogress.org
I am surprised Climate Progress would give voice to aviation’s future. The aviation industry maintains a hold on the imagination of the modern public. The term ‘jet setter’ will cause most people to become glassy eyed. A very powerful addiction indeed.
Our addiction to the aviation industry is very similar to tobacco addiction in the 1950 - 60’s. We wanted to believe in the goodness of participation. Smart and good people believed in the merits of tobacco, supported of course by high quality tobacco industry PR. Medical doctors advertised their choice of smokes. This Climate Progress piece is aviation PR. Sierra Club and Metropolis magazines have recently fallen for the same PR [aka BS]. How many ways will aviation meet the challenges of global climate change? Biofuels? Lighter weight? These are subject to debate. Should we be air shipping flowers half way around the globe? Does aviation really contribute to the loss of Arctic ice? These are questions that need scientific answers before promotion of future comforts.
Aviation is a very dirty industry. Jets are blast furnaces over our collective heads burning a low grade kerosene in tremendous quantities. General aviation still runs on highly leaded fuels.
The flying public is a very small group within the Human community. Big carbon footprint / small population. This small community reaps the benefits while the rest of the world suffers from the results of this ‘special’ benefit.
While some express concern about the carbon footprint they leave by flying, they attempt to assuage their respective consciences by offering to plant trees to compensate. While a nice gesture, planting trees in no way reverses the damage to millions of people’s health and happiness.
There are many industries contributing to the destruction of our environment for profit. Time is short. Environmentalists and Scientists everywhere must be clear and stand up to these threats, no matter how important to our lifestyle.