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Neil

Reduce your carbon footprint - let the train take the strain

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My eye was caught by this article in Sunday's Observer comparing the levels of CO2 generated by plane, train and car to typical holiday destinations on the continent. I suspect that over the coming years we'll see more international travel by rail; it would fit well with the current aim of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero by 2050. On our recent visit to Hamburg by rail Mrs R and I chatted to a Swedish Journalist and his partner returning home after a three week grand tour. They deliberately chose rail over flying because of the lower ecological impact. Perhaps a good time to sell your shares in BA and invest in Eurostar instead.

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I think the trouble with this idea as applied to holiday destinations on the Med coast accessed from the UK it the time spent travelling.  Most holidays are for 2 weeks or less and it'll take 2 days, 3 in some cases, to do the journey overland especially from parts of the UK beyond the South East of England and proximity to the tunnel.  This is a major eating in to the holiday time, and sleeping on the train will be a bit onerous unless you can afford couchettes where they are available.  Cost will be a factor as you have to eat meals for those two days as well.  Most people just want to get to an airport and be taken where they're going within a few hours, and find that the most stressful part of the procedure.

 

I'd respectfully suggest that, if you are concerned about the environment to the extent that it affects your holiday choices, it is better to choose a holiday that requires less travelling in the first place.  This is not to say that better international rail services in the future may not change things; I recall when the tunnel first opened there was some talk of overnight sleeper services from provincial UK cities to various destinations on the mainland of Europe, and when these did not materialise (precisely because air travel was cheaper and quicker) thought it was a missed opportunity.  Fuel surcharges and other factors are going to make major changes to the world of very cheap holiday charter air travel we have all become used to in the next decade or so and the game may yet change considerably.  If charter trains are able to run directly from places in the UK and the holiday destinations, your idea may well become a reality.

 

But holidaymakers are not going to put up with anything less than through travel; changing trains with families and suitcases is a no-no.

 

 

 

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I can travel door to door by train in about 12 hours. It can be done by air in 6 - 8 hours.

 

I would happily take the extra 6 hours each way. My problem is that the rail journey is about three/four times the price.

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14 minutes ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

...

My problem is that the rail journey is about three/four times the price.

 

That’s usually a problem in capitalism where what economists call “externalities” are allowed without cost to the end-user. It means companies can happily pollute for free, avoiding the costs of their actions, and passing on

the savings to you. 

 

It makes perfect economic sense on an individual and company level. Not too sure about the morality of it all, though. It’s “the problem

of the commons”.

 

Equally, simple regulatory changes can make a huge difference: in one example, factories extracting fresh water from a river and returning the polluted waste water downstream were required to change their systems; they were only allowed to extract *downstream* from their own waste outlets. Remarkably quickly, pollution levels in the whole river system fell. 

 

Paul

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Neil said:

My eye was caught by this article in Sunday's Observer comparing the levels of CO2 generated by plane, train and car to typical holiday destinations on the continent. I suspect that over the coming years we'll see more international travel by rail; it would fit well with the current aim of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero by 2050. On our recent visit to Hamburg by rail Mrs R and I chatted to a Swedish Journalist and his partner returning home after a three week grand tour. They deliberately chose rail over flying because of the lower ecological impact. Perhaps a good time to sell your shares in BA and invest in Eurostar instead.

 

 

Sunday observer is wrong,

England-Corfu and back for four is roughly 16000seat-km and a modern aircraft (319neo) eats about 16 gram jetfuel for each.

320 kg Jetfuel cannot make 2.6 tons CO2

Edited by Niels
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57 minutes ago, The Johnster said:

 

But holidaymakers are not going to put up with anything less than through travel; changing trains with families and suitcases is a no-no.

 

 

The double standards involved are amazing!

 

Park car in Airport long term expensive.

Get from car park to terminal

check in

get to security check

get to departure gate

if lucky you get strait on aircraft or get a bus to other side of airport

get on aircraft and go to destination

if lucky you are put off at terminal or catch a bus again

find luggage reclaim and wait for it

passport control

find transfer coach to hotel

 

However the same people can't change trains as its too confusing!

 

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19 minutes ago, Niels said:

 

 

Sunday observer is wrong,

England-Corfu and back for four is roughly 16000seat-km and a modern aircraft (319neo) eats about 16 gram jetfuel for each.

320 kg Jetfuel cannot make 2.6 tons CO2

That is a good example of media exaggerating things. You are one of the few who have researched their story to verify it...then found out it is full of rubbish.

It makes me wonder how much of what you read from 'trusted' sources is complete nonsense.

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Slightly off topic here.
I live in Grantham, but the transport yard that I'm based at is in South Lynn, the journey can take me between an hour to an hour and a half, and I'm normally taking enough kit to spend the week away from base, I would happily go by train but I feel that the journey will take considerably longer by rail (and bus).
The other issue to consider with reducing our carbon footprint is how the commercial supply chains have become less "local" and more "globalised", for example I take malting Barley from Norfolk to Burton Upon Trent, and can then be tasked to take the malt to Manchester, or I'll take Oilseed Rape to Erith (kent) for milling!!

 

It will take a lot more than not flying overseas on european holidays to greatly reduce peoples carbon footprints.

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Maybe it would, but you could probably argue any single change would create an insignificant benefit, but try to apply as many as possible & they soon add up.

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44 minutes ago, Niels said:

 

 

Sunday observer is wrong,

England-Corfu and back for four is roughly 16000seat-km and a modern aircraft (319neo) eats about 16 gram jetfuel for each.

320 kg Jetfuel cannot make 2.6 tons CO2

 

Well you can get more CO2 out than the original mass of the fuel. At its simplest if you burn pure carbon to get CO2 you end up with a greater mass of CO2 than the carbon you started with due to it combining with oxygen from the atmosphere, but I can't get it to add up to anywhere near 320 kg into 2.6 tonnes (1.2 is what I've come up with).

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27 minutes ago, Reorte said:

 

Well you can get more CO2 out than the original mass of the fuel. At its simplest if you burn pure carbon to get CO2 you end up with a greater mass of CO2 than the carbon you started with due to it combining with oxygen from the atmosphere, but I can't get it to add up to anywhere near 320 kg into 2.6 tonnes (1.2 is what I've come up with).

 

Indeed, even with allowances for take off (and taking the advertised consumption rates as optimistic) and using the approved standard calculation (as exemplified here - https://www.verifavia.com/greenhouse-gas-verification/fq-how-are-aircraft-co2-emissions-calculated-11.php ), I come to about the same number. I can only assume the Observer was using an out of date set of graphics, from some years ago, when fuel consumption was certainly significantly higher, but double? Some error there surely.

 

However, it really misses the point. The fact is that, despite improved fuel efficiency over the past several years, CO2 emissions across Europe by aircraft have still increased by 27% over the past 5 years, and look to continue that way. It is the sheer increase in volumes of flights that are causing the problem.

 

There is now momentum to seriously look at imposing fuel duty on to airlines, who have been exempted ever since 1944 (Chicago), which has been erroneously used as an excuse. (That agreement only concerned the importation tax on fuel on an inbound aircraft that was already on board.) Bi-lateral agreements have governed the application of fuel duty for international flights. EU legislation has allowed for fuel duty to be applied to any domestic flights, but no EU member has done so. Whereas, the USA, Australia and others have been imposing fuel duty on their domestic flights for some time, but are the very countries, along with China, resisting any fuel taxation on international flights. This is going to be complicated.....

 

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Off to Thailand next week - one hell of a train journey (Wigan North Western to Manchester Airport) !!

 

Greeta would be pleased we're not using a Taxi !!

 

I'm getting a bit fed up with all this zero emissions lark - it will never happen, yet here in the UK we are to be taxed for it and suffer ahead no end of problems because of it -  the politicos haven't got a clue, meanwhile the USA, China, India etc do sweet FA. (yes China is improving - a bit).

 

Brit15 - over 40 years in the gas industry - which according to the powers that be is doomed in the UK. I'd better sell my National Grid shares & buy shares in the Edinburgh Woollen Mill , Clarks shoes & Linda McCartney's soya burgers !!!!!

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Actually 'Is your journey using powered transport remotely necessary?' is what is truly required. Along with:

Don't heat your home, until it's below freezing outside.

Walk or ride your bike to the shops to buy food grown within a few miles.

You can have a bike, but one will have to last your lifetime so take good care of it.

Employment will generally have to be within walking or cycling distance of where you live.

Powered transport restricted to essential users. (The competition for those employment opportunities that qualify is going to be very intense.)

You get the idea; water consumption, clothing, footwear it's all going to go 'on the ration'.

 

That's the ethical approach of giving everyone globally equal access to a net planetary sustainable energy supply. We cannot contemplate 'locking in' the consumption advantage of the developed world permanently can we?

 

If all the above is done right there may be a surplus, and we can all have a share allocated as 'personal luxury allowance' to be used as the owner desires. Perhaps a fillet steak annually, one return trip to the Med. in your lifetime, or a small trainset.

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, 34theletterbetweenB&D said:

 

Walk or ride your bike to the shops to buy food grown within a few miles.

 

 

 

Britain hasn't been able to feed lfself since well before  WW2,

The latest carbon reduction idea is to plant more trees.

Which means less fields to grow local food. 

The greens like restoring marshland,  which means less fields to grow food

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6 minutes ago, TheQ said:

Britain hasn't been able to feed lfself since well before  WW2,

The latest carbon reduction idea is to plant more trees.

Which means less fields to grow local food. 

The greens like restoring marshland,  which means less fields to grow food

 

All good stuff; I'd add stepping back from intensive agriculture too, so we need a reducing population as well (and I'm being very serious). The big problem is finding an ethical way of achieving that, and even if that exists the timescales it would have to happen over to not cause serious problems are long. Still, no children and no intention of having any here and that'll help rather more than not getting on a plane occasionally.

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1 minute ago, TheQ said:

Britain hasn't been able to feed itself since well before  WW2...

There will necessarily be 'local adjustments' to the global scheme, but they will have to be paid for in terms of the extra energy required to move the required fodder from production site to crowded locations unable to grow sufficient food locally.

Just now, Reorte said:

... we need a reducing population as well (and I'm being very serious)...

 

Still, no children and no intention of having any here and that'll help rather more than not getting on a plane occasionally.

That's just too difficult politically!

 

But you get two fillet steaks per annum for your (significant) contribution: or alternatively, the 'Super' train set.

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6 hours ago, Niels said:

 

 

Sunday observer is wrong,

England-Corfu and back for four is roughly 16000seat-km and a modern aircraft (319neo) eats about 16 gram jetfuel for each.

320 kg Jetfuel cannot make 2.6 tons CO2

Also worth bearing in mind the aircraft will be depositing its pollution high up in the atmosphere where it is most damaging.

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19 minutes ago, 34theletterbetweenB&D said:

But you get two fillet steaks per annum for your (significant) contribution: or alternatively, the 'Super' train set.

Hmm, I'll have to think about that. What prototype and gauge is it?

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2 hours ago, TheQ said:

Britain hasn't been able to feed lfself since well before  WW2,

The latest carbon reduction idea is to plant more trees.

Which means less fields to grow local food. 

The greens like restoring marshland,  which means less fields to grow food

 

Er, less marshland means more flooding. Which is exactly what has happened, as the weather gets more extreme. It also means fewer insects with which to pollinate plants.

 

Most "food" grown in the UK is for animal fodder, and that is true of many parts of the world. Eating less meat actually increases the amount of human food available. The evidence is that vegetarianism, or at least, eating less meat (my preference, and my action, as I bleeding well like meat), is growing fast - people are becoming aware, somehow.

 

More trees, especially saplings, produce far more oxygen at the expense of CO2 (and CO), without which eating is pretty academic.

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, APOLLO said:

Off to Thailand next week - one hell of a train journey (Wigan North Western to Manchester Airport) !!

 

Greeta would be pleased we're not using a Taxi !!

 

I'm getting a bit fed up with all this zero emissions lark - it will never happen, yet here in the UK we are to be taxed for it and suffer ahead no end of problems because of it -  the politicos haven't got a clue, meanwhile the USA, China, India etc do sweet FA. (yes China is improving - a bit).

 

Brit15 - over 40 years in the gas industry - which according to the powers that be is doomed in the UK. I'd better sell my National Grid shares & buy shares in the Edinburgh Woollen Mill , Clarks shoes & Linda McCartney's soya burgers !!!!!

 

Net Zero Emissions, strictly speaking, is probably too ambitious a target, but a target it should be. But isn't it strange then that China and to some extent, Germany, are now world leaders in solar and wind energy. Several individual States in the USA are also world leaders in their adoption of green energy sources, and are emerging as world leaders in energy capture and storage solutions, the one thing that green energy needs to be more successful, despite their oil-financed President. We are some way behind, although doing better than many (hydro in Scotland and Wales anyone?) - we should be world leaders in wave energy with our coastlines, but you don't get govt subsidies for that. Even that denizen of capitalist swine, Switzerland, has greener policies than us, but then their taxes, along with most western European countries, are far higher than the UK.

 

I guess electric cars, hydrogen buses and trains, heat-pump domestic heating, days when green energy supplies more to the National Grid than carbon-based power, major modal shift to public transport, and so on, will never happen........

 

Keep your shares in the NG, and buy BP, Shell and perhaps a few other energy supply companies - they appear to be seeing which way the wind is blowing, unlike the big firms who actually extract the oil, coal, and gas.

 

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Well D1041 at it's best could not be classed as carbon neutral 

picd1041-6.jpg

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33 minutes ago, Mike Storey said:

Keep your shares in the NG, and buy BP, Shell and perhaps a few other energy supply companies - they appear to be seeing which way the wind is blowing, unlike the big firms who actually extract the oil, coal, and gas.

 

 

My old BG shares were replaced by Shell shares when they bought BG a few years ago. Shell, BP and perhaps NGrid are good shares to hold. Shell especially looking at their projects etc.

 

I agree that going forward green energy is the way - but perhaps we will always need a % of fossil / nuclear to provide base load when the sun don't shine / wind don't blow. Tidal barrages could be a way forward here for us in the UK. I don't actively "reduce my carbon footprint" but I do conserve energy  (same thing ain't it) - Energy these days is too damn expensive to waste. Sod smart meters though - we all know what the intention for installing those is. (Peak time use tariffs).

 

I doubt if ever I'll ever have an electric car - too expensive etc and I only do around 3000 miles a year these days. Anyway I agree they are the future if we can sort out the many problems (cost, charging leads for those who live in terraced houses, peak lithium (batteries), grid supply, local street cable electrical load capacity etc etc. Perhaps Hybrids with small engines will fill / bridge the gap. Time will tell.

 

I wonder how long I'll be able / allowed to run my old Rover 3.5 P5B V8 (18mpg !!!). Off to a museum someday. 200 miles last year so not too polluting (cough splutter !!).

 

I wish the Greens would get real though. Walk / Cycle to work ?, most folks I know (many with old cars) HAVE to drive to work and can't afford new efficient or electric vehicles. Public transport is not viable for many, and is a joke in many places (Northern Rail up here for one).

 

Then we have the useless government (all parties) with regard to transport policy. Recently cancelling many electrification projects (and actually scrapping  brand new unused infrastructure purchased for it (O/H masts etc), new trains not fit for purpose, Our railways are a joke and they're getting worse - and bl**dy expensive also. Thank god for my GMPTE bus / rail / tram pass.

 

I'm not a climate change / global warming denier - the zillions of tons of crap we have / are pumping into the atmosphere the last couple of hundred years MUST have an affect - but I'm mightily sick of it being rammed down my throat / lugholes by the "politically correct" etc.

 

In a way I'm glad I'm 67 & retired - though I tell my kids though I've had a good time, it may not be a hunky dory future for them. I'll not print there reply to me here !!!!!!

 

Brit15

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Mike Storey said:

 

 

I guess electric cars, hydrogen buses and trains, heat-pump domestic heating, days when green energy supplies more to the National Grid than carbon-based power, major modal shift to public transport, and so on, will never happen........

 

 

 

 

 

A day in the UK when green energy supplied more to the NG than carbon-based power has already happened. One example was last week (as long as nuclear is counted as 'green' energy) on a sunny but windy day; when coal was contributing 0%, and gas was about 45%. The other 55% was made up by nuclear, wind and solar, with a small contribution from hydro. 

 

And remember that half of our nuclear stations are currently offline for maintenance. Had the full number been available, the % contribution of fossil fuels would have been 4GW (about 10% of daytime demand at this time of year) lower. 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, jonny777 said:

 

 

A day in the UK when green energy supplied more to the NG than carbon-based power has already happened. One example was last week (as long as nuclear is counted as 'green' energy) on a sunny but windy day; when coal was contributing 0%, and gas was about 45%. The other 55% was made up by nuclear, wind and solar, with a small contribution from hydro. 

 

And remember that half of our nuclear stations are currently offline for maintenance. Had the full number been available, the % contribution of fossil fuels would have been 4GW (about 10% of daytime demand at this time of year) lower. 

 

Er, yes. I was being satirical, or something. All the other things I listed have happened too, and we would not have expected them perhaps 10/15 years ago.

 

Edited by Mike Storey

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