Friday, May 25, 2007

Thanks, Ethical Man!

Malcolm involved himself, again, in the mud-wrestle that is Slugger O'Toole's comments.

This should be regarded as a mistake, because it is as inevitable as an English team losing on penalties that the "discussion" will come down to a slanging match. Usually it is orange versus green, and everybody knows for which side to shout.

One of today's side-dishes (the main course being the Irish General Election: two submissions, a knock-out or a twelfth recount to win) was City of Derry Airport. Much of Malcolm's submission has already appeared here. Later, he found himself defending the City Council's involvement in fostering Eglinton thus:
  • Private enterprise has not been much in evidence in the Province in recent decades.
  • The notion that the whole of Ulster (yes, Ulster) can be properly served, now and for the future, through Aldergrove and Dublin seems fallacious. That's not in the local, provincial, national or European interest.
  • Demand is increasing at at astounding rate, passenger traffic at regional airports doubles every 15 years (at Eglinton that has happened, albeit from a low base-line, in just two years).

Malcolm also knows there are many, and good arguments against airport expansion: they all receive endless publicity. Nevertheless, people, however much they intellectually are convinced by those arguments and publicity, still emotionally want to fly. Malcolm's essential liberalism means he finds distasteful all the Green nay-saying which amounts to arguing that someone, somewhere must stop this Gardarene rush, deny ordinary folk their wish to holiday in Spain, inconvenience them, force them to conform, deny them occasional pleasures.

Malcolm felt just a trifle sweaty maintaining this, knowing the pressures of global warming and the consequent death of his beloved beech tree were somehow involved.

So, hooray for Justin Rowlatt, the BBC's Ethical Man! He writes a delightful (and informative) blog at the Newsnight site:
here’s the good news: when you look at the numbers, modern jet aeroplanes are actually a very efficient form of transport.

Indeed, the jet engine is one of the most effective ways to convert the energy from fuel into thrust. The best jets are 37 per cent efficient. By contrast it seems modern petrol engines are around 25 per cent efficient while a finely tuned diesel will achieve, at best, 32 per cent efficiency...

The average jet plane now uses around 4.8 l/100 km per passenger – just a little worse than a Prius with no passengers. But the manufacturers say that modern jets are much more efficient.

Collooh! Callay! Malcolm chortled in his joy.

Now, of course, that does not mean we should belt around the planet for the sheer hell of it (a couple of hours as hostage of Ryanair would cure that affliction, anyway). Nor does it means we need Heathrow Terminal 19. It does mean that a bit of balance might, just might be reasserting itself. Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Today's Economist has an ad by Boeing (page 59 in the UK edition).

It claims the "New 747-8 Intercontinental" uses "less than 3 litres of fuel per 100 passenger km" and "produces less than 75 grams of CO2 per passenger km."

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