The Modern Movement vs. the Miserable Moment

by | Feb 12, 2009



Modern Movement, who are mounting a stand to the bleak language of the environmentalists, are planning a demonstration in favour of the Heathrow Airport expansion, to counter a demo planned by opponents of the scheme.

Support Airport Expansion: Thursday 19 February, 17.30 -19.30 on Parliament Square, East Footway

The extension of flying to millions of people has been a liberation. Most of us can now afford to go on holiday and welcome the cheapening of air travel allowing us to fly abroad. The development of aviation infrastructure is crucial to allow ever more people to fly.

This is why Modern Movement will be holding a counter-demonstration at the same time as the anti-aviation groups to show our support for airport expansion and urge on the building of the third runway at Heathrow.

Join us in front of Parliament to argue for guilt-free travel, for ever-cheaper flights and for freedom of movement.

Modern Movement – Faster, Cheaper, Better Transport for All!

Banners, flags and posters welcome but not essential. Look out for the large Modern Movement banner. This demonstration has been authorised by the Metropolitan Police.

This comes in the wake of what seemed to be a call for movement to be rationed from the Climate Change Committee chair, Lord Adair Turner, who gave evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee last week,

If there has to be demand constraint, we will then bring in the analysis I mentioned earlier of where are these flights, and one of the questions we will ask is, “How many of the flights which occur are of sufficiently short distances either because they are domestic or they are London to the south of France, London to the skiing resorts, et cetera”, that there is a believable story that they do not have to be flights, they can be high-speed rail, or are quite a lot of them things where, realistically, it is never going to be competed by high-speed rail and, therefore, you actually have to say that we have got to constrain demand in an absolute sense and people just will not be able to make as many journeys as they would want to in an unconstrained fashion. That is the analysis that we are going to do.

If you’re near enough to London to be able to make it to the demo on the 19th Feb, please do.


  1. George Carty

    I’m not convinced on Heathrow expansion – isn’t there a fair amount of unused capacity at various provincial British airports?

    Why does everything have to be so London-centric in this country?

  2. Sir Montgomery Cecil

    You Modern people are heaven sent.
    Save us from the winging tofu mafia.
    To hell with the climate.
    To hell with Africa.
    To hell with the polar bears.
    Sod them all, let’s fly!

    Sir Montgomery Cecil

  3. Alex Cull

    I thought Boris Johnson’s Thames Estuary airport idea had some merit. At some point this century, it could be argued that we have to bite the bullet and build an airports where capacity can be added without needing to bulldoze too many people’s homes. I’m just wondering whether Heathrow Airport will be added, before very long, to the list of things that have been (or should have been) outgrown but are tiresome and expensive to replace, e.g., narrow-gauge railways, Victorian sewers, QWERTY keyboards, etc.

    I just read Lord Adair Turner’s words again. he says “…we have got to constrain demand in an absolute sense…” Doesn’t he mean “constrain supply”? Constraining demand would surely mean changing people’s desires and wants, and I don’t think that’s what he’s getting at.

  4. Dave Robins

    Don’t waste your time on this pointless demonstration;the third runway will never get built.

  5. Geoff Courtenay

    Do you people not have any conscience at all?

    2,000 people being thrown out of their homes because of your short sited views,

    destruction of of many fine historic buildings.

    even more kids dependent on inhalers & there lifespan shortened

  6. linda mccutcheon

    The fact that the government has yes ( well passed the buck to Ferrovial ) and that you feel you STILL have to demonstrate gives us great hope. WE ARE WINNING !!!!

  7. Bob Barton

    This is a very selfish approach, i.e. “Let’s ruin the planet, we don’t mind as long as we can fly faster, cheaper and better. Who cares what we do to the planet and who cares about future generations as the sea level rises and London drowns.”

  8. Editors

    George – ‘isn’t there a fair amount of unused capacity at various provincial British airports?’

    Of course, but the same arguments are being made against expansion at those sites. The point about London-centric development is that Heathrow is a hub airport. In order to continue to be one, it needs to expand. Modern Movement aren’t against development elsewhere, nor of public transport being developed. They are in favour of it.

    Geoff. People have always been displaced by development of infrastructure: by roads, railways, hospitals, schools, factories, airports, ports, and so on. As have ‘historic buildings’.

    The point about kids on inhalers is just silly. Life expectantcy in the UK has increased during the years that air transport became possible – so we might just as reasonably link longevity to air travel, and be no more silly.

    Of course we have consciences – we happy to think that mass transport is a moral good. One which happens to be negotiated with people who will be displaced, of course, but a good worth keeping, nonetheless.

    We’d like to point out to visitors from another site that we aren’t the organisers of this event, as is implied by the page which links here.

  9. Editors

    Bob – ‘This is a very selfish approach, i.e. “Let’s ruin the planet…’

    That’s a ridiculous thing to say. Nobody is making that argument.

  10. John Halladay

    In all this, first and foremost, thank goodness for the right to free speech and the right to protest.
    Having said that, it is clear that if a 3rd runway is built it will shoot a big hole in the UK’s target to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.
    The consequences will be that the UK government is seen as not serious on wanting to tackle climage change and no more effort will be made by anyone else.
    If we don’t reduce our CO2 emissions then the consequence is runaway climate change.
    The consequence of runaway climate change will be death on a massive scale.
    Is it really worth a 3rd runway if death is the consequence.
    Please think beyond your narrow concerns. You can always take a train to your stag parties in Zagreb.

  11. Robert Wood

    Alex Cull,

    “Doesn’t he mean “constrain supply”? Constraining demand would surely mean changing people’s desires and wants…”

    That’s exactly what he means. He wants to control peoples desires and wants. Only the enviro apparatchiks will be allowed to fly; the mere sqawking masses will just have to walk.

  12. Dominic Gilham


    Geoff’s Inhaler point is not ‘just silly’ He is right the % of YOUNG children affected by air pollution around airports is greater than in other areas and more children suffer from asthma
    because of your wish for a cheaper holiday

  13. Editors


    John’s point is as silly as driving bottled water, imported from France, to homes in exclusive parts of West London.

  14. Rosie

    I am an environmentalist whose language is not bleak. Taste the JOY of staying a bit stiller. Yes, air travel is a wonderful invention. Nothing to feel guilty about. But travel is more special if one does less of it, saves up for one big trip every so often. Everybody’s circumstances are different, and some people have to fly more than others. But, overall, we can fly less, not more.
    Look forward to the freedom of the post-oil world: freedom from stress, freedom from the need for everything to get bigger and faster all the time.
    But – really – orthodoxy? No, those of us who have understood that we really cannot go on like this forever, and that we must start planning now for a post-fossil fuel world we can enjoy are, unfortunately, still in a minority. All the orthodoxy, my friend, is on your side – you are the ones who want things to stay as they are. Come and share our vision instead. It is much more adventurous.

  15. Dominic Gilham


    Silly? why is it silly to deliver to doorsteps milk in recycled glass bottles thus saving hundreds of small distance car journeys??

    but moreover you state life expectancy has increased? well Geoff Hoon has admitted that this will decrease in west london

    The Transport Secretary accepted in a letter a bigger Heathrow would have an impact on health as MPs began debating the expansion. Government whips were trying to defuse a backbench revolt ahead of voting on the proposals today, though rebels were not hopeful of a victory.

    In his letter to shadow London minister Justine Greening, Mr Hoon insisted that research, partly using government methods for assessing air quality changes, had found “marginal physical health impacts of an expanded airport in 2020”.

    They include very slightly lower life expectancy and a small number of extra hospital admissions.

  16. Editors

    Dominic, you will be well aware that milk is from cows, which are widely cited as one of the most carbon intensive agricultural products.

    You assume that the residents of West London would drive if you weren’t there to furnish them with their pinta.

    Geoff Hoon is also the man who thought there were WMDs in Iraq. His views on what the future holds for the young of W. London is no more reliable, unless he’s planning it.

  17. Editors

    Rosie – ‘Taste the JOY of staying a bit stiller’

    No thanks. If that’s what you enjoy, great. It’s not our cup of tea.

    We think you’re in denial about orthodoxies though.

  18. Dominic Gilham

    Really from cows? wow in the twenty years I have been delivering the stuff i never knew!

    I would rather argue the toss over the plight of west london than where my goat,soya or bovine milk comes from!

    so do you know accept that life expectancy will reduce as a result of runway 3?

    do you now accept that childhood asthma cases will increase?

    as both sides of the argument have already done so?

    and as for a need of a hub airport can i ask how many hub airports are there in america? where well over 50% of all airflight takes place (internal and international)

    we (london) are served by 5 runways already

  19. Editors

    Dominic – ‘I would rather argue the toss over the plight of west london than where my goat,soya or bovine milk comes from!’

    Soya?! Soya?! Do you know how environmentally destructive soya plantations are?

    So let’s get this straight…

    You drive around the expensive bits of London, delivering imported mineral water which people could just get from a tap. And milk stolen from the swollen udders of CO2-producing cattle that have had their babies taken away to make burgers, from fields that have had their trees ripped down. And soya-‘milk’, which has been shipped into the UK from far away, where virgin rainforest has been stripped away.

    … And you lecture other people about responsibility?

  20. corneliusmilan

    With respect to the editor(s?) your responses are exposing a clear absence of sensible argument against many of the points raised on this blog.

    Whenever a point is made by a contributor, you pick a minor aspect of that point on which to respond, rather than addressing the substantive issue raised. I would consider myself a relatively impartial observer and your approach only convinces me that you have no answer to the substantive points raised.

    I’m pretty ambivalent about the heathrow expansion – I think there are bigger environmental issues out there that we should be concerned about, such as the government’s plan to build coal-fired power stations. But I will be going on the anti-expansion demo because I resent the way in which our government has shot a hole through its climate commitments by saying it will expand heathrow.

  21. Scot Bradley

    You can already get cheap flights… some of them are almost free – it costs more to get to Gatwick than from there to Europe. So the claim that the runway is needed for cheaper flights doesn’t hold up.

    The economic case for the runway was made at the top of the banking bubble. Do you expect those figures to ever regain any credibility?
    The risks are not there just for the banks. There’s too much taxpayers’ money sloshing round the banking industry for the commercial viability to be ignored by government. There are too many risks in funding this project; the oil price being one, or an international agreement to tax avaiation fuel.

    Have a nice evening at home on Thursday – don’t hang around in the rain just to encourage others to spend billions on this risky and unworthy white elephant.

  22. Editors

    corneliusmilan – ‘your responses are exposing a clear absence of sensible argument against many of the points raised on this blog’

    Our post doesn’t do anything other than inform people about the event that the Modern Movement are planning. It’s not an argument. It’s not the starting point for debate. And there isn’t really anything resembling a coherent debate by way of comments here. What there are are people dropping by from the CACC to state their objection, or to tell us that we’re destroying the planet, or giving kids asthma.

    Guess what – we think Heathrow Expansion is a good idea. And we’re not surprised that our visitors from CACC don’t.

    But if our visitors want to know why we think it’s a good idea, they will have to look around the site a bit, beyond this page. And if they want sensible answers to their objections to those ideas – which they are most welcome to post – they’ve got to do more than accuse us of damning Africa to hell, killing polar bears, and destroying the planet. Such blunt moral weapons reflect the intellectual paucity of the eco-warriors wielding them. So you’ll understand if we find the comments here simply funny. They so typical of tabloid activism – the comments are caricatures of themselves: cartoonish, polarised, and shrill.

  23. jo

    I think you young people should stop wanting to travel and just stay at home and play at violent computer games until you feel so tense you want to kill small animals. That should use up your excess energy, brought on my eating too many hormone-laden burgers and drumsticks. What’s the point in demanding the right to travel ? It’s like demanding the right to play Mozart. You either can, or you can’t, and that depends on how much you’re prepared to pay for it.

  24. Chris Walker

    You are a hideously sad and irresponsible group of people. I can only hope views such as yours die out when our government finally wakes up to the need to take real action to stop the destruction of our planet.


  25. Ian Wilson


    I disagree with the objective of this demonstration, but I don’t disagree with the sentiment. Its plainly obvious and clear that putting a 3rd runway in Heathrow is a stupid idea.

    The point is again, that environmentalists have hijacked (no pun intended) the argument about airport expansion. The issue should be about WHERE to site the runways, not WHETHER another one should be built, as clearly extra capacity is required. So anti-green groups have to come to the defense of a project that leaves a bad taste in the mouth of this climate sceptic.

    I personally very rarely fly, but that is my choice, and in no way do I think that because I choose not to fly, other people should not.

    Its clear that a much more practical and longer term solution to airport expansion should be properly thought through away from the green tree hugging idiots. The Thames Estuary is a surely a better way forward.

    That sort of article by the Editors discussing these options would perhaps be less of a blunt instrument with which to bash the carbon crazy greens.

  26. George Carty

    Well said, Ian Wilson!

    However, I think a Thames Estuary airport would be worse than an extra runway at Heathrow. The area to the east of London is too prone to flooding and is too awkward to get to from the rest of the UK. You’d probably need to build a couple of new motorways just to access an airport there – the idea was proposed back in the optimistic, pro-development 1960s, and even back then it was shot down in flames!

    Why do we need a huge “hub” airport anyway? Aren’t a lot of the passengers passing through Heathrow ultimately going from one non-UK location to another non-UK location. How do such passengers benefit the British economy (as opposed to Spanish-owned BAA)?

    If the South East needs more airport capacity, why not a second runway at Gatwick or Stansted instead? Much less destructive.

  27. George Carty

    Oh, and the biggest thing that makes me suspicious about climate alarmism is this:

    We already have a good way of massively reducing our CO2 emissions (far more than even banning aviation altogether would achieve) – namely replacing coal- and gas-fired power stations with nuclear ones.

    If the climate situation really was as dire as the alarmists suggest, why hasn’t the government declared a state of emergency and started building new nuclear reactors as quickly as possible (cause a few Chernobyls a year would be an acceptable price to stop climate catastrophe), with any anti-nuclear protesters who try to stop them being simply gunned down?

  28. Editors


    A hub airport, even if it is managed by a Spanish company, creates many jobs and opportunities in the UK.

    Expansion is resisted at all airports – there will still be environmentalists complaining about climate change, and people will still get displaced. The re-opening of the runway at Stanstead was the site of the Plane Stupid protest last year.

    There is certainly a discussion to be had about the problems that airports and their development/expansion have. But that can’t happen when, as you point out, the issue is hijacked by environmentalists.

    The curious thing is that while protesters claim to be friends of people who will be moved by these kind of developments, it actually puts their interests second to Mother Nature’s.

    A productive discussion about how to manage these things would begin with people recognising that freedom of movement is a moral good.

  29. in protest

    How can you call yourself the modern movement? You are proposing a world with no future for our children. How you can even look your children in the eyes the morning you go out to protest for the destruction of their futures, for the detriment of their education, and for the worsening of their physical health?
    It makes me sick to the stomach to think that there are people in this world who are not just in denial, but are wilfully self destructive.

    No one is saying that aviation does not have it’s merits, but Britains fly for than anyone else in the WORLD, and that 25% of these flights are transferrable to high speed rail. Any anyone who talks about flying as being of benefit to the poor needs to do their research. It is people with second homes who are taking on average 6 return flights a year. The 25% poorest in the country take only 6% of flights.

    The fact is even if runaway Climate Change is triggered, ‘Mother Nature’ as you put it, or the world, will still be here. Our future is less certain. So yes there is a propensity to put the lives of billions, ahead of the homes of the two villages. But the homes of these people are also very important and I am sure your protest will find no support amongst the residents of Sipson and Harmondsworth.

  30. Editors

    in protest – ‘How can you call yourself the modern movement?’

    We don’t. We’re called Climate Resistance. We are a blog written by two writers. That is all. If you look at the top of this page, in big red letters, we point out that we are not Modern Movement. Did you miss them?

    Like many of your comrades, you seem to have trouble reading, even when the words are bold, capitalised, and red. This is perhaps why you say things like this:

    You are proposing a world with no future for our children

    … which is just bloody stupid. Nobody is proposing such a thing. If the only way you can make a moral argument is by grotesquely reducing a complex and nuanced debate into binary axioms, then the intellectual failure is yours. You have invented the argument you are responding to.

  31. in protest

    In addition,
    Heathrow is the biggest international airport full stop.
    Doctors in the locale of airports note that there is a greater increase in lung related diseases, ESPECIALLY amongst children. The Environmental agency, one of the most conservative body on climate change, admitted expansion at Heathrow “will result in increased morbidity and mortality impacts”. Is this what you’re fighting for?

    Air pollution levels in London are already up to four times the legal limit.

    The situation at Heathrow is miserable. But there is a chance of a bright future if we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about those already suffering because of climate change and those generations to come who are in danger.

    If anyone doesn’t believe me, answer with facts, not the rhetoric of denial.

  32. Editors

    It is more than a bit rich for people to demand that we reply to them not the rhetoric of denial, when they have claimed that You are proposing a world with no future for our children.

  33. in protest

    In response to you, I do realize you are not the modern movement, but by broadcasting their views and their protest on your website you have to accept that people are going to assume, quite rightly, that you are united in your aims. My attack was levelled at the modern movement and sympathizers, but i just found the irony in their name too much to ignore

  34. George Carty

    The situation at Heathrow is miserable. But there is a chance of a bright future if we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about those already suffering because of climate change and those generations to come who are in danger.

    Without tourism income (made possible by air travel), wouldn’t most of the Caribbean (for example) be as dirt-poor as Haiti?

    So much for concern for the poor in the Third World…

  35. Editors

    In protest – ‘you have to accept that people are going to assume, quite rightly, that you are united in your aims’.

    All that can be safely assumed is that the visitors here have problems understanding written language. Few commenters here have attempted to locate our arguments, let alone visit the actual home of the group organising the protest. Like you, they aren’t responding to the arguments actually being made.

    EG, What have we been accused of:

    * Damning Africa to hell.
    * Wanting to inflict lung diseases on children, and reduce their lifespan.
    * Wanting to destroy polar bears.
    * Wanting to force people from their homes.
    * Wanting to destroy the planet.
    * Wanting to destroy historic buildings.
    * Having no conscience.
    * Having no regard for future generations.
    * Being ‘irresponsible’.

    What were you saying about ‘rhetoric’?

  36. John Sinha

    Can you tell me who are the so-called “Modern Movement”? The link you provided only points back to your site

  37. Roy Easson

    The notion that “The development of aviation infrastructure is crucial to allow ever more people to fly” overlooks the principle of “no harm” to others. Apart from anything else, airports in the south of England (and elsewhere) aleady cause severe noise pollution, stressful to many. Noise pollution should be reduced, not increased.

  38. in protest

    The Editors not only criticize others for not answering question but have a total inability to write an answer that responds to any questions asked, failing to provide any kind of argument. I have not seen one clear, reliable argument on this blog site. Before you stand up for something, maybe you should do some research so you know what it is you’re defending. There is a clear link between aviation expansion and climate change with aviation potentially quadrupling by 2050 and pushing us into runaway climate change, and the science on climate change is very clear, with siberian ice caps melting 80 years ahead of schedule.

    From reading the modern movement’s website I would say to the modern movement that an increasing number of people believe that flying should be limited because of the global environmental situation – 81%. One half of the public believe airfares should reflect environmental impact with only 28% opposing this view. The Modern movement are not up to date with public opinion surrounding aviation and climate change.

    In addition, no one thinks we should stop flying altogether, only that viable alternatives (both in terms of infrastructure and price) should be offered; if there was a train journey to manchester from london that cost 1 pound, I imagine everyone would take it. If you think seriously about this, there is no reason why rail should be more expensive that air travel. Similarly no one asks you to get the train to china, only to take the train when possible and to hold conferences by videophone rather than emmitting the equivalent of 3 months electricity for a home. The government needs to be ensuring these developments but to have an anti-anti-climate change group is very regressive. I think it is unfair for aviation expansion to come at the cost of life. And that isn’t rhetoric, 160,000 people die each year from climate change

  39. Stefan

    Rosie wrote:
    “Look forward to the freedom of the post-oil world: freedom from stress, freedom from the need for everything to get bigger and faster all the time.”

    I’ve lived in Africa and places where there are few cars, few shops, few if any luxury goods, and so on. And whilst the pace of life is slower, so is the culture. A slow culture is a place where people have slow views about equality and justice. There is less education and stimulus. See, it is no accident that the truly rural areas, are the parts of the world where they still practice barbaric female circumcision. It was in Old Europe that they had witch burnings and inquisitions. Even today, the Church, of all institutions, is concerned that in East Africa people are still believing in witchcraft. And witchcraft believers kill people suspected of being witches.

    So this is all going to sound preposterous, but maybe I’ve just been there and have a feel for what different cultures are really like. Not on holiday mind you, but lived there. And it is easy to imagine given that we were once just like that.

    So, maybe you think that today we are sufficiently mechanised and sufficiently egalitarian that we can afford to stop “progress”. However, looking at the way America has been attacking other countries, the way the Middle East keeps acting like losers who can’t stop fighting each other, the way that China keeps mandating draconian state control, the way that Russia wants to turn back into a ham-fisted superpower, and China is even dictating how many children couples can have, and is building coal stations faster than anyone, and the way that most of Africa has remained in the Dark Ages of barbaric tribal power struggles, I think that we are still a very long way from any kind of utopia. Come back in a thousand years; maybe then we will be at peace. In the meantime we will continue to be a barbaric and war like race of humans, just like Nature made us. Sure, a few like you are egalitarian and sensitive, but we live in one of the most materially prosperous countries in the world.

    I envision a future where we have access to thousands of times the energy we consume today, are 20 billion people, and have finally started to make real medical advances, so that disease is eradicated and we all live 500 to 1000 years as a normal lifespan (the body repairs itself naturally, but as we age this seems to stop working–just nudge it to keep reparing itself and lifespan can dramatically increase). Only a long lifespan will create individuals who are wise enough to know how to manage the ecosystems, as nobody seems able to learn that wisdom in just 70 years. We are still like children. We need people who are very old and very wise, and we need that kind of wisdom distributed throughout the entire planet, not just in a few small rich centers. And the only way we will get there is by rapid progress which has always been supported by rapid material advancement. In principle we have to have more and we have to have more progress.
    You or I are just not smart enough as human beings to run the world. Humanity has a long way to go.

  40. Editors

    In protest – ‘I have not seen one clear, reliable argument on this blog site.’

    Well that’s very easy to explain. You haven’t looked. We can see that you haven’t looked.

    Your objections are incoherent, and shrill. You accuse us of baby-killing before you attempt to understand what our argument is. To answer your objections, if we are to take them seriously, they need to be expressed coherently. They aren’t. You aren’t responding to anything we’ve written.

  41. inprotest

    Well, I double checked all of your comments and no, I cannot find one clear reliable argument. You mainly stick on criticizing other people’s arguments for being ‘shrill’ or ‘moralistic’ without actually addressing there points, such as the one i put forth about The Environmental Agency acknowledging that a third runway at heathrow would bring increasing morbidity and mortality. I dont believe facts and figures are ‘incoherent’, I believe that when we are talking about the catastrophic destabalization of our global climate, it is neccesary to back up my argument with fact, and to educate you. After asking you for an answer based upon fact not fiction, which you have failed to do (i never said anything about baby killing- maybe you’re referring to the 160, 000 people who die because of climate change every year- and no I didn’t accuse YOU or anyone else of that. And you’re accusing me of not responding to anything you say?)I am going to assume that you are not answering with cogent and rational answers because you have none, because you wish there were some, but that the facts are stacked against you. My argument is clear: Aviation is the fastest growing contributor to greenhouse gases in the UK, currently contributing 13% to our emissions impact. Science dictates that we much slash our emissions within as little as 7 years to avoid runaway clmate change. Runaway climate change is the point at which ecosystems such as the seas and forests will not only stop absorbing CO2 but also begin to release it, to the extent that our planet will be subject to a ‘dangerous’ level of warming. Dangerous climate change involves not only the vast increase in extreme weather conditions examples of which are already evident in floods, hurricanes and of course the large amount of taxpayers money that cleans up after these events; but also mass displacement of people, food and water shortages etc etc (I’ll avoid the worst of predictions because I’m likely to be accused of being ‘miserable’ but I encourage anyone to watch The 11th hour, An inconvenient truth, or to read some of the growing literature on the subject, for instead George Monbiot’s Heat). Building a third runway in light of this, in light of the thousands of people who will be immediately displaced from their homes, in light of the recent DOWNTURN in demand for flights is irresponsible. As are the proposed expansions of 34 airports nationally and the creation of 4 new ones.

    My next point is levelled solely at the Modern Movement, and in particular Alex Hochuli. First off, Environmentalists are not opposed to freedom of movement, and if the Modern Movement take some classes in geography perhaps we can team up in campaigning for integrated, cheaper, high speed rail. Yet I do have these following issues with it:
    Modern movement prioritizes freedom to fly and freedom of movement (it seems they are particularly arguing for this in richer western countries)over the freedom of others in poorer parts of the world to live. This is a fact. Respected studies have shown that people are suffering TODAY for our polluting habits.
    Modern movement puts aviation emissions in the UK at 3 %. This is just wrong. The government admit that aviation accounts for 13% of our emissions impact and other studies suggest this figure is flawed given it only accounts for flights departing the UK. Globally the figure is between 4 and 9%. They are perhaps liasing with aviation groups who consistently use a figure from 1990 despite the abundance of more up to date information.
    He also argues that by preventing airport expansion in the UK we are also preventing 3rd world countries from developing. I don’t see the link.

  42. Editors

    In protest,

    What we could determine from your rant was that you’re angry with us for not replying to the shrill and hollow arguments that have been offered here. But our point was that none of the points raised here relate to anything we’ve said. You seem to have trouble understanding this.

  43. Ian Wilson

    Dear ‘inprotest’

    Unfortunately, rather than making sensible and coherent arguments yourself, you are simply fulfilling the obvious stereotype of a green raving lunatic.

    If you spend some time actually reading the blog entries on this site, you will find, as I did, that the site authors are concerned with (amongst other things) exposing the use of bad science by people looking to get press headlines and make alarmist points. Caroline Lucas and George Monbiot to name but two favourites – and since you ask us to read his book, its quite clear you haven’t bothered to read this site.

    ‘inprotest’ also says that the studies are with them, people believe that we shouldn’t fly as much etc. Ok, well perhaps you’ve heard of another basic tenent of the world – supply and demand. If you truly believe that, then even if extra airports are built, people simply won’t use them to fly and therefore air travel will go down.

    Who knows, we might even get a couple more years before those pesky ice caps melt.

    Oh and by the way ‘inprotest’, the disgraceful rant in comment #29 about “How you can even look your children in the eyes the morning…” is unworthy, and a very emotive statement.

    I teach my children to respect the views of others, to think for themselves and to understand the difference between good science and bad science. I’m guessing you don’t (or won’t).

  44. Mark

    It’s obvious that the “editors” know it all and can correct anyone against this expansion in a few comanding sentences.

    Their “stand-to-attention and listen to the me, I’m always right” stance remind me of the Headmasters in my schooldays
    (They were always supposed to right)

    Being pro-expansion they will justify their opinion at any cost and it’s just sad to see some of the excuses they’ve used to justify their “cause”

    We only have to look at media reports over the past 30 months to realize how a powerful Aviation industry have used every trick in the book to bend the rules and statistics in their favor.That seems more telling of their desperation to win at all costs.
    Parliament has had to use the Freedom of Information act over and over again to access their lies and deceit proving how much evidence really exists against expansion but the industry is too scared to admit the truth
    Keep on reading the media and learn how to become more professional “Editors”

  45. Editors

    Oh, Mark.

    It seems that Ethan Greenhart isn’t a parody, but a rather charitable understatement.

  46. Alex Cull

    Wow, over 45 comments so far, that can’t be bad!

    My point of view is probably similar to Ian Wilson’s re the 3rd runway. To remain a thriving, modern economy I accept we need good airports, as well as good rail networks and good roads. Yes, it’s possible to expand Heathrow and there would be some benefits to a new runway. Less stacking, for example, and queuing on the runways (which will save many tonnes of CO2, for those people concerned about this.) Also we have Geoff Hoon’s commitments re “green slots” and limits to noise and emissions (whether or not these will be – or can be – enforced is another question.) But I think that at some point this century we are likely to outgrow Heathrow.

    I also take on board George Carty’s comments re the difficulties of building a large airport to the east of London. Yes, the area is prone to flooding, although the situation could be improved with better defences and the effective management of wetlands. However, we are already committed to developing the East End, in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, so eventually a new airport (with good transport links) might be a fitting extension of these current works.

    An island airport would definitely bring its own engineering challenges with it, though, as they have found when building the Kansai International Airport in Osaka Bay, Japan. Reclaimed land can sink, also there’s the fact that south-eastern England is descending by a few millimetres a year due to post-glacial rebound. Add to that, a continuation of the slow rise of the oceans, which has been taking place over the last few millennia. I think it would be a tough but interesting proposition, and we could learn from the successes and mistakes made at KIX.

    No easy answers, really. But that’s also the fun of it. Without challenges, life would be dull indeed.

    Also it would be dull if we all thought alike on these issues! I hope some of the new visitors to this site stick around for some lively debates to come.

  47. Stuart

    I live in Richmond on Thames and suffer badly from Heathrow take-off noise and night flights.

    You may be climate change sceptics (and you are totally mistaken in your views in my opinion) but your support for Heathrow Expansion is misguided and cruel.

    As your friend George Bush would say: if your not with us your agin’ us!

  48. Editors

    Stuart – ‘As your friend George Bush would say: if your not with us your agin’ us!’

    You say it’s Bush who is our friend, but it’s his rhetoric that you are using.

    We often point to parallels between the War on Terror and demands for political action to mitigate climate change. Both are expressions of the ‘politics of fear’.

  49. John Wilding

    Yes, to hell with the future of the earth and our grandchildren, just so long as we can have our beach holidays and stag parties on the cheap.
    What a very responsible philosophy of life you people have.

  50. Stefan

    Inprotest, you write: “we are talking about the catastrophic destabalization of our global climate”.

    I for one am open to the possibility of such a scenario. I do believe that “s**t happens” and we only need to look to human history for many many instances of massive disasters of all kinds. If a planet-killing asteroid hit the planet next year, or a new killer plague appeared, or nuclear war broke out in the next 10 years, I for one would NOT be surprised. Quite simply, s**t happens. Always has, always will. And climate change may indeed be one of those things.

    However, I have tried and tried and I have not as yet found anything convincing in a practical way to support the view that we WILL kill our children through CO2 emissions. I am not a scientist by training, but I am technically minded, and I can follow logical arguments and question assumptions. I am also very interested in social dynamics, therapy, and unconscious motivations. I take a general interest in science and culture. And most of what I see about AGW is a cultural movement, with not enough science to justify it. The computer models have never been proven right. They can’t even be shown to be vaguely trustable. Only those scientists who are in love with their models will claim that they are the very best on offer. And if you read carefully what they themselves say about the models, there is a subtle distinction between “suing what we know” and basing policy on them.

    Well, using what we know, most models about anything and everything are most likely wrong. That much we know from looking at the history of what does and does not work in modeling. But if the climate scientists took that on board, they would be left with NOTHING. They certainly would not enjoy the attention and importance bestowed on them by caring people like you. I mean that seriously. You care, they model scenarios, but your trust in them is not warranted. Really, you need to question whom you trust.

    I expect in years to come we will see other scientific fields clamor for attention. Geneticists and epidemiologists will start asking for more research, warming that infections diseases are on the rise, and we could be facing major plague outbreaks. Astronomers will warn that risks from asteroids are far greater than previously thought, and will need to form groups to get the funding to put massive defenses into place, with massive engineering projects required to build means of diverting planet killing asteroids. And that is just the stuff that we can think of.

    Much bigger s**t can happen than we could possibly imagine, and we as humans do well to not let our arrogance get the better of us. We have to think beyond one simple issue or problem. Climate change, one runway? That’s a tiny thing in the big scheme of planetary threats.

  51. Editors

    John’s point about a ‘responsible philosophy of life’ seems to be coming up regularly. Maybe it’s worth a look.

    John doesn’t know what our ‘philosophy of life’ is. All he can see is that we seem to be in favour of the Heathrow development.

    The problem is, John, that we aren’t convinced by the premises of the arguments that environmentalists put forward in their objections to the development. Therefore, you could only truly call us ‘irresponsible’ if we agreed that a third runway would send ‘the future of the earth and our grandchildren’ to hell.

    We don’t buy the catastrophism, you see. And there are plenty of good reasons not to.

    For instance, if you’d taken the trouble to investigate the site properly – which you clearly haven’t – you would have found us criticising the idea that science produces moral imperatives. And you would see that we explain the need for apocalyptic and catastrophic scenarios to generate legitimacy for political ideas. And you would find many cases where we demonstrate disparity between ‘the science’ and what people say ‘the science’ says.

    That is not to say that climate change isn’t a problem. Nor even that the proposal to build the new runway doesn’t have problems which need addressing and debating. What it is to say is that your measure of what the terms of the debate are is polarised by some unhelpful binary categories and axioms (eg, ‘sides’, and Stuart’s ‘with us or against us rhetoric).

    In fact, we started this blog because we were concerned that environmentalism and anxieties about ‘sustainability’ threatened to deprive this generation and future generations of the possibilities that development can create. We saw a deeply retrogressive tendency within the arguments being made by environmentalists and politicians. We thought that they were dangerous and ill-conceived.

    It would be irresponsible not to challenge what we perceived as dangerous, wouldn’t it?

  52. xj550

    Now this is a rational comment from a sane green is it?.

    “You are a hideously sad and irresponsible group of people. I can only hope views such as yours die out when our government finally wakes up to the need to take real action to stop the destruction of our planet.

    So how does that move on the argument on this site ?.


    Keep up the good work editors .

  53. jjcharlesworth

    What’s amazing about this heated discussion is that the real contribution of aviation to carbon emmissions – 3%? 5%? 13%? – is in practice really quite minor. And yet everyone is foaming at the mouth as if anyone who’s into cheaper, more plentiful air travel must clearly be some sort of baby-killing denial-junkie. get a grip, folks. So it’s 3%. Or 13%. Either way, it’s not really the biggest CO2 contributor in town, is it? You’d be better off standing outside Downing Street railing against central heating and radiators, wouldn’t you?
    No. all the sound and fury is directed at aviation as a symbol of the supposed excesses of modern society, and all those beastly stag do’s that the Chavs now get to go on. 3%? 13%? get a life…

  54. George Carty

    If you really want to do something about climate change, wouldn’t cogenerating nuclear power stations be the best way to start?

    The single biggest contribution to CO2 emissions comes from fossil-fuel-fired power stations, while fossil fuel burning for the heating of buildings (which cogeneration would remove the need for) is responsible for CO2 emissions that are almost as high as those from cars, and more than those from trains, planes and ships put together?

    No – environmentalism isn’t about the environment, it’s about middle class control-freak so-called “leftists” (who actually despise the working class).


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