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« The compliant media and the scary stories | Main | Why science is not enough »
Wednesday
Jul012015

The two Ds and their killer plan

Many of the metropolitan chatterati are getting their knickers in a twist this morning over the expansion of London airport capacity. Deep-green Tory MP Zac Goldsmith is threatening to resign his seat in protest over the official Airports Commission decision to go with a third runway at Heathrow.

While the commission has been working away, its chairman Howard Davies has engaged in some interesting correspondence with Lord Deben. I was particularly struck by this letter from Lord D in which he specifies the level of carbon emissions that the aviation industry will be permitted to make:

For this assessment you should continue to work on the basis that demand growth is limited to around 60% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels...

...going on to suggest that this should be put in place alongside "fuel and operational efficiency improvements [and] use of sustainable biofuels".

This is odd, because the CCC itself pointed out back in 2009 that there were a few issues with biofuels, principally that they used up agricultural land that is actually required to feed people, although Lord D and his team managed to skirt round the distasteful implications, namely mass hunger. It is fair to say that prefixing the word "sustainable" does not change this one iota. We should also mention that Lord D also neglected to point out that biofuels actually generate more carbon emissions than they save, something that was certainly recognised at the time and which has been confirmed since.

With all this oversight, it is perhaps possible to forgive Howard Davies for what has ended up in his plans:

For the Gatwick option, the changes required are modest, an increase in the carbon price (to around £330 per tonne in 2050) and a level of biofuels usage below the GGG baseline are sufficient to constrain emissions to 37.5MtG02. For the two Heathrow schemes, a more significant package of measures would be needed, for example including the same carbon price and significantly higher biofuels usage, plus a range of operational efficiency improvements.

In passing, we should mention that £330/t is way beyond any reasonable stab at the cost of global warming. This paper cites a figure of £43 as the mean of peer-reviewed estimates. But more importantly "significantly higher" biofuels use could be a killer policy, quite literally.

The joys of the planned economy eh?

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Reader Comments (55)

Economic efficiency would also recommend the same carbon price of £330/tCO2 in all other areas of the economy as well. But remember this is for 2050, so it's not really fair to compare it to estimates of the SCCO2 for today. The SCCO2 is projected to grow at about 2.5% per year. Unless climate change turns out to be a mirage of course.
@cwhope

Jul 1, 2015 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hope

Chris

Why would the SCCO2 grow at 2.5% per year when the effects are expected to be broadly neutral for another degree or so of warming?

Jul 1, 2015 at 10:19 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

It's a tax Bish, why are you looking for logic?

Jul 1, 2015 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder

I suppose the real question is 'why is Gummer sticking his oar in'. Does he have shares in some biofuel companies?

Jul 1, 2015 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterivan

The global commercial air fleet is somewhat sort of 20,000 craft. It will about double over the next two decades. Most of the demand comes from developing nations since their population continue to gradually grow wealthier and want to engage the rest of the world. All of which is good news for everyone except Deben and his ilk.

It's perverse.

Jul 1, 2015 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

Zac threatening to resign has just become my primary argument in favour of the scheme.

Jul 1, 2015 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Try living near Heathrow.

Jul 1, 2015 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

If the carbon price (Gatwick) is £330/tonne and the emissions are 37.5Mt that makes nearly £12.5B in 2050. Am I missing something here? Is that amount of tax going to be collected from travellers? Really?

Jul 1, 2015 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Greens still go by air, then? I suppose there's always solar power, which will soon get one person across the Pacific nearly as fast as a boat...

Jul 1, 2015 at 11:41 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

"biofuels actually generate more carbon emissions than they save".
This is pretty easy to work out for crops because the necessary information is in the public realm, but I strongly suspect that if you could get hold of the information, that all "gullibles" produce more carbon than they save.

The reason for this, is that energy and monetary value are closely linked. And if a source of energy makes money, it is a net producer of energy and if an energy source makes no profit and is only used because it has a subsidy, this is a strong indicator that more energy goes into the system than comes out.

So gullible sources don't produce energy so much as greenwash (sorry gullible-wash) other forms of energy to make it palatable to gullible people.

Jul 1, 2015 at 11:54 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Steve,

Unless I'm mistaken Heathrow didn't just pop up over night and most likely has been there longer than the vast majority of those now living around it.

Mailman

Jul 1, 2015 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Try living near Heathrow.

Jul 1, 2015 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Try living where it's grim up north and where there are fewer global international air hubs to provide employment. OK, it's great for Londoners who may own a second home...

Jul 1, 2015 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

jamesp
which will soon get one person across the Pacific nearly as fast as a sailing boat...

Jul 1, 2015 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Jul 1, 2015 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hope

It's not exactly 'fair' to force through a total change in economic model based on something for which there is no meaningful evidence whatsoever (CAGW). But that's of no concern to eco-loons.

Jul 1, 2015 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Jewish American New York Times journalist Jonathan Freedland recognises eco fascism when he sees it.

"It came apart again when it emerged that Zac Goldsmith, a Green & Blacks organic chocolate bar in human form, had been a non-dom"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/09/smoothies-party-rich-tories-brand?showallcomments=true#end-of-comments


George Monbiot uses a very similar metaphor to describe Zac's hero, his Uncle Edward


Black Shirts in Green Trousers

The far right is moving in, and greens and globalisation campaigners must do more to shut it out.


The previous editorial team split with its founder Teddy Goldsmith after he addressed a meeting of the hard right Groupement de Recherche et d’Etudes pour la Civilisation Europeene. Goldsmith, whose politics are a curious mixture of radical and reactionary, has advocated the enforced separation of Tutsis and Hutus in Rwanda and Protestants and Catholics in Ulster, on the grounds that they constitute “distinct ethnic groups” and are thus culturally incapable of co-habitation.

http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2002/04/30/black-shirts-in-green-trousers/

Jul 1, 2015 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Zac threatening to resign has just become my primary argument in favour of the scheme.

+1

The days when he could throw his teddies out of the pram and inconvenience only his nanny are past. Go for it Zac!

Jul 1, 2015 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

Pointman, I also recall a story from the 1980's regarding Canvey Island (or maybe Isle of Sheppey, but somewhere Thames estuary. Down south). I think it was about ICI, complaining about a property developer who wanted to build a new housing estate on what had previously been considered god-forsaken adjacent land. Not sure how it turned out, but working in the chemical industry, I could understand ICI's point of view. One of the several reasons why such employers moved to India, China etc, or went bust.

Jul 1, 2015 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

I have thrown together a page of articles about the Goldsmith family and their 'deep green' past, their connections to Nazis like Lord Lucan and John Aspinall, the European extreme right and their part in trying to overthrow the Wilson government (Guardian article).

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/sealed/gw/goldsmith.htm


Zac worshiped his ecofascist Uncle Edward.

Jul 1, 2015 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

mailman, not pointman. Sorry.

Jul 1, 2015 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

We need another runway somewhere. Probably two.
It's not just the jet-set passengers and their freedom of movement.
It’s not just the ease of business leaders making decisions face to face.
Much small, high skilled and value, manufacturing uses passenger flights to distribute their goods. Without the planes the jobs go away.

So build it somewhere. No-one’s going to like it wherever it goes.
Heathrow has the supporting companies already there so that makes sense.

The only rational alternative o somewhere that needs investment e.g. not near London.
They could build it at Chepstow with a high speed rail link to Paddington. Brunel made the tunnels wide enough. He planned ahead with broad gauge.

But if you want it near London it will always make someone unhappy.

Jul 1, 2015 at 12:59 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Using Heathrow is already pretty close to hell on earth - God help the people who live there..!

Jul 1, 2015 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

...Aviation emissions at 2005 levels could be achieved with fuel and operational
efficiency improvements, use of sustainable biofuels and by limiting demand
growth to around 60% by 2050 compared to 2005.
 Higher aviation emissions than 2005 levels in 2050 should not be planned for, ...

Yeah. Good luck with that.

I support Boris Island - loads of space for expansion and little disruption to existing houses. Add a rapid transit tunnel down the bed of the Thames, and you have a Central London Hub. And it's loads of work for Western Hi-Tech engineering...

Jul 1, 2015 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

To be fair to Goldsmith perhaps he is worried how the work at Heathrow will affect his use of the familiars private jet , used to fly to the familiars private Island for holidays .

And in case your wondering daddy Goldsmith made the money to pay for these has a 'asset stripper' in the days before hedged fund managers, these guys went into a company they bought cheap, stripped it for all it was worth , brand , workers pension etc , then left the shell to die knowing full well the workers would get nothing has anything of value had gone . Think of the type of person who would pick the pocket of a road accident victim . and laugh in the faces has they are draw their last breath , and you get a good impression of the type of behaviour daddy Goldsmith made his money by .

Man of people Zac BS, son of privilege gained through the misery of others , and yet a hero of the 'greens' , truly there is nothing 'green wash' cannot make clean.

Jul 1, 2015 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Boris's plan for one out in the estuary seemed a good idea to me, like the Hong Kong version. But no doubt it would end up costing way over budget and years late once the Greens got their teeth into the lesser spotted mud whatever habitat being disturbed.

Jul 1, 2015 at 1:56 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

knr - excellent post.


This Adam Curtis documentary shines a spotlight on Goldsmith and his parasite ilk.


"The Mayfair Set is a series of programmes produced by Adam Curtis for the BBC, first broadcast in four parts from 18 July 1999. The programme looked at how buccaneer capitalists of hot money were allowed to shape the climate of the Thatcher years, focusing on the rise of Colonel David Stirling, Jim Slater, James Goldsmith, and Tiny Rowland, all members of London's Clermont Club in the 1960s".

The Mayfair Set episode 1- Who Pays Wins

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=234H8X1-JiA

Jul 1, 2015 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

We do not need to worry about Debsy because as others have hinted at, none of these CO2 restrictions apply to Heathrow. Dedsbebs kindly points out that his advice applies only to demand growth in a carbon-constrained world,

Jul 1, 2015 at 3:06 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Andrew, the SCCO2 goes up over time for two reasons. One reason is that we will be richer in the future and so any given amount of climate change damage will be equal in utility losses to giving up a bit more of our wealth in absolute terms. The second reason is that more of the CO2 emitted in 2050 than in 2015 will still be around and causing extra impacts in the latter half of this century and beyond, when temperatures are likely to be 2 degC or more higher than pre-industrial (unlerss climate change turns out to be a mirage).
@cwhope

Jul 1, 2015 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hope

We need another runway to evacuate the climate refugees.

Jul 1, 2015 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Chris Hope

Jul 1, 2015 at 10:01 AM -

"......Unless climate change turns out to be a mirage of course. "

Jul 1, 2015 at 3:28 PM -

"......(unlerss climate change turns out to be a mirage)."

So good, so good, it had to be said twice? (well nearly). You really must harbour some serious doubts.

Jul 1, 2015 at 3:49 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Chris
At the risk of derailing this discussion, your comment about temperatures in the latter half of the century being "likely to be 2c higher than pre-industrial forms no part of a case for emissions control. The first 0.5c was rebound from the Little Ice Age (are you really saying that was ideal?), the next 0.5c was the 1970-2000 warming, and the last degree is model-driven speculation. It's a shocking foundation for actions that demonstrably reduce the likelihood of continued economic growth, and through the use of biofuels reverse the benefits of increased CO2 in global food production.

Jul 1, 2015 at 3:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

jamesp
which will soon get one person across the Pacific nearly as fast as a sailing boat...
Jul 1, 2015 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

A sailing boat, although at the mercy of wind & tides, is far more able to adapt to changing weather conditions at sea than that white elephant! My sparring mate on FB was extolling its virtues this morning upon the announcement of its final take off. I pointed out that so far all it seems to have demonstrated, is its inability to adapt to changing weather conditions due to its vulnerability, it can only carry one person very slowly, it cannot deliver the necessary power to permit maneouvrability to deal with said changing weather conditions. essentially, if the weather is calm, had a moderate wind in the right direction, it it works. All other conditions is a fail!

Jul 1, 2015 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Couldn't we have a special Green airport in the south? It could be built on Green fields, sown with wildflowers, and the runway markings could be set out with contrasting white flowers. The airfield, will be able to support vegetarian cattle, and all the solar panels necessary to get a hang glider off the ground.

It will be utterly useless, and a waste of money, but will give the Green Blob something to be proud of, without wrecking anything else.

Jul 1, 2015 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

What has biofuel got do with a decision to build another runway at Heathrow. The environmental lobby has added vehicular emissions to the noise pollution to their objections.
The calculation of aircraft emissions is a bit of living in cloud cuckoo land and rather indeterminate.
A positive for an additional runway is a greater landing frequency and reduced holding time.
The environmentalists can really be quite stupid, they wanted aircraft to be towed from the Gate to runway holding point before starting engines. Within 10minutes the airport would become gridlocked with aircraft taxiing-in, towed-aircraft and tractors.

Jul 1, 2015 at 4:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterShieldsman

Chris Hope: "more of the CO2 emitted in 2050 than in 2015 will still be around"

I read this as predicting an increase in airborne fraction (please correct if this is an incorrect inference). Last I saw, the airborne fraction was pretty much constant. Why do you state that it will increase?

Jul 1, 2015 at 5:15 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Chris Hope: a few flaws in your argument, there – few people doubt that climate change is real, and is not a mirage; your implication is that it is something that is driven by the CO2 in the atmosphere, and that this mythical 2°C is a factor in it (at least you do specify the rise to be since pre-industrial, a point that many ignore, leaving one wondering, “2°C higher than when, exactly?”)

You are chasing myths built upon fallacies, supported by fables constructed by some seriously delusional people. (At least, I assume that the likes of Lord Dreben at al are delusional; if not then they are charlatans and fraudsters, intent on making themselves extremely wealthy at the expense of the poor, with no other benefit being given to anyone else, and that would make them very dishonest and dishonourable.)

Jul 1, 2015 at 5:25 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

@lorddeben "On way to Vatican for conference on taking Encyclical on to next stage. Urgent action vital if dangerous climate change is to be averted."

Jul 1, 2015 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterClive Best

Chris Hope 3:28, how will we all be richer?

Is this another Green fantasy, based on smug satisfaction as millions more die of avoidable diseases, thirst and famine, leaving the richness of the planet to be divided up between fewer people?

Are you basing your assumption on the value of carbon credits, now demonstrably the Green economies biggest con, after Debens Mad CO2 Disease?

Unidentified Flying Rhetoric doesn't go unnoticed. What truth are you hiding from the public?

Jul 1, 2015 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Deben is no sane man's Lord, but anyone's Mistress, if they pay enough.

Jul 1, 2015 at 5:51 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Try living near Heathrow

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices/Heathrow.html

Try buying a house there.

Jul 1, 2015 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Chris

Why would the SCCO2 grow at 2.5% per year when the effects are expected to be broadly neutral for another degree or so of warming?

Because the proliferation of 21st century wets in will raise atmospheric water vapor, exacerbating CO2 forcing and thus inflating its tax.

Jul 1, 2015 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

"Is that amount of tax [£12.5B] going to be collected from travellers? Really?" --Harry Passfield

No tax is too much for those who intend to get their tentacles on it, rather than pay it.

"...about ICI, complaining about a property developer who wanted to build a new housing estate on what had previously been considered god-forsaken adjacent land...I could understand ICI's point of view. One of the several reasons why such employers moved to India, China etc, or went bust." --michael hart

I've seen this scenario many times. Inhabitants of the new development complain about noise and whatnot. Local authorities add more and more restrictions. The company ultimately is forced to move away. Employment drops. It was adjacent land that resulted in the Bhopal tragedy.

Jul 1, 2015 at 7:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Green Sand: I was simply trying to acknowledge a view that many people on here seem to hold. Perhaps I should have said 'unless climate change caused by humans turns out to be a mirage'.

Harold W: No, it's not that. Just the simple physics that by 2100, say, much of the CO2 emitted in 2015 will have disappeared from the atmosphere, while a lot of the CO2 emitted in 2050 will still be around.

golf charlie: I didn't mean that we would be richer because of green policies, just that we would be richer full stop. Much as we are richer in 2015 than we were in 1965. This is a pretty standard assumption, which I think most people on here would agree with, although I accept it is not inevitable.

@cwhope

Jul 1, 2015 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hope

Chris Hope: "more of the CO2 emitted in 2050 than in 2015 will still be around"

I read this as predicting an increase in airborne fraction (please correct if this is an incorrect inference). Last I saw, the airborne fraction was pretty much constant. Why do you state that it will increase?

Jul 1, 2015 at 5:15 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW


HaroldW, you don't even have to go as far as Murry Salby to find someone saying that the airborne fraction is actually going down.

"...it is the dependence of the airborne fraction [of CO2] on fossil fuel emission rate that makes the post-2000 downturn of the airborne fraction particularly striking."

Yes, it's the man with the hat, James Hansen. There's more: "Remarkably, and we will argue importantly, the airborne fraction has declined since 2000 (figure 3) during a period without any large volcanic eruptions." So no volcanoes allowed either in the excuses column.

Jul 1, 2015 at 8:39 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

David S

The first 0.5c was rebound from the Little Ice Age (are you really saying that was ideal?)

I've always thought that that's what politicians mean by the phrase reversing Climate Change

Jul 1, 2015 at 9:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Chris Hope many thanks for your reply:-

" Green Sand: I was simply trying to acknowledge a view that many people on here seem to hold. Perhaps I should have said 'unless climate change caused by humans turns out to be a mirage'. "

Apart from nobody knowing for sure whether or not anybody 'on here' holds either ' view' you have chosen to visit upon them, why the need to 'acknowledge' - in duplicate? Maybe you have a need to acknowledge your own 'view' of 'some on here'?

Anyhow, and if I am wrong I apologise, but I can assure you this particular concerned citizen saw it as a typical example of the condescending attitude that is fed down on a regular basis. An attitude that IMHO is not just unnecessary but appears to be actually designed to perpetuate 'the divide'.

Don't need names/titles or acknowledgement of what you percieve is someone's 'view' - just need respectful answers to respectful questions.

Once again thanks for your reply.

Jul 1, 2015 at 9:38 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Radical Rodent - +1!!

Jul 1, 2015 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

@Steve Jul 1, 2015 at 11:34 AM

Try living near Heathrow.

I did - lived in Fletham and then Heston until a few years ago and like "The Fonz"* the aircraft noise rarely bothered me. I was sad when Concorde was withdrawn as the crackle it made on take-off was distinctive. The only other aircraft I could identify from sound was the 747 due its lengthy take-off.

My belief is that all airports that want another runway should be allowed to build them.

Much better for the UK economy than government (ie tax) funded white elephants like HS2, devolution etc. If HS2 made economic sense a private company would already be building it at their own expense.

Regarding "Boris Island" with aircraft landing from Thames Estuary and North Sea: CAA and NATS have both said it is not viable as the airspace is mostly full with Dutch and French aircraft movements.

imho if you don't want aircraft noise don't live near an airport.

For the trolls: I do not work in the aviation sector. I work for an IT business.

* The Fonz

Jul 1, 2015 at 9:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterPcar

Chris Hope:

2.5% per year seems awful tidy.

Since the baseline impact of carbon dioxide on temperature is believed to be logarithmic, are you suggesting that the cost per unit of temperature increase is exponential? That is what would be required to have the cost per dollar increase at something like a constant inflation percent.

James

Jul 1, 2015 at 11:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames

The Queen has property at either end of Heathrow. Stupid places to build a Castle and Palace.

Jul 1, 2015 at 11:19 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Jamesp: "will soon get one person across the Pacific nearly as fast as a boat..."

I'll see your "will" and raise it to a "may".

Jul 2, 2015 at 12:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

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