Drawing the Line: saying ‘NO’ to Tar Sands

Here is a graph showing sea ice extent for ANTARCTICA: And, here is a series of graphs/maps relating to sea ice in the ARCTIC OCEAN. Note that the maps are not necessarily aligned identically; look for Greenland to aid in correlating different maps.

Arctic Sea Ice Extent, 4-17-2014:

Arctic Sea Ice Concentration, 4-18-2014:

Arctic Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly, 4-19-2014:

Arctic Sea Surface Temperatures, 4-20-2014:

Aviation is a very energy-intensive activity. There may be no other activity a person can engage in that creates more carbon-impact per hour.

As a rule of thumb, commercial flight consumes roughly the same energy per mile as is spent in daily commute driving. Thus, 10,000-miles per year wasted driving one’s own car on a daily work commute from suburbia has essentially the same carbon impact as a single 10,000-mile airline vacation. So, all of the benefit gained by an individual who lives in town, uses his/her bike or walks (owns no car!), and proudly minimizes their consumption … all of this good may be wiped out in a single air-travel vacation.

Aviation is certainly not the leading source of atmospheric carbon, but it is arguably the most discretionary source. And it is intensive. And, it is growing. As such, aviation is a ripe target for carbon-reduction regulation.

There are many who believe we have a new set of problems emerging related to our practice of excessive energy consumption and generation of CO2. They are saying that these problems will have enormous repercussions in the coming decades. Logically, if FAA and our elected officials want to lead in preventing this set of problems, they will waste no more time and implement a few changes, which might include:

  • a large carbon tax (appropriately offset by reductions in other taxes)
  • incentives for airlines to provide direct flights (and strong disincentives to stop the waste of routes via remote super-hubs, which FAA’s policies have actually been encouraging)
  • a degree of ‘re-regulation’ that will focus aviation infrastructure investment so we are not adding to the present system of overbuilt and underutilized airports
  • substantial restructuring of airport funding programs (EAS, AIP, PFC, etc.) that provide ‘pork-barrel’ projects, commonly used to aid in the reelection of incumbents.
  • …and (doubtless) many other constructive changes.