Friday, July 07, 2006

Eat my dust

Don't really like the Economist online stuff as much as the others, as they make you go through hoops (and possibly end up paying), but I got enough from the intro to So much hot air Jul 4th 2006  From The Economist Global Agenda

Europe’s carbon-trading scheme has started awkwardly but could be a useful model

IMAGINE a world in which the driver of a small, fuel-efficient car, or even a cyclist, can sell his quota of pollution credits to the owner of a gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicle. The seller is rewarded for doing his bit to keep the planet green, the buyer pays a bit more for the privilege of warming the earth on his way to the supermarket. 

I pop this in because it is similar to the recent aviation debate. I say similar rather than identical because I think car travel in some form or other is a simple necessity that it's hard to imagine society being able to manage without, where a lot of air travel is more of a luxury that we probably can reduce more easily (anguished cries from the travel industry).

I'm still trying to get my head around this. On balance getting rewarded for getting from A to B in the most eco manner is to be lauded, but I can't quite see giving free rein to rich petrolheads is the way to go either. But then this is pretty much what I was advocating for air travel between an eskimo and a frequent flyer, so hey-ho.

A fair point was made in the debate instigated by MEP Dr. Lucas (recent blog), where she was rather held to account for how her air travel came across as slightly more 'necessary' than others, which is a bit of pedestal posing on the part of the pols I have raised before, when the haves decide who keeps and who has not in future. 

But we do rather get to a pretty draconian level of mandatory maximums on personal travel. It reminds me a bit of a very funny piece (well, they all were) in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where visitors to a planet have to account for their bodily impact during their stay, so getting a receipt at the loo is pretty vital to avoid painful consequences in the departure lounge

I guess it's a case of two legs good.