Sunday, 1 February 2009

Getting climate change priorities right

A big setback to the anti-Heathrow expansion alliance of Tories and Labour left-wingers comes today from Jim Hansen, director of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, according to today's Observer. Aside from those opposing the extra runway for fear of residents' objections, there has been an unfortunate whiff of self-righteous sanctimony from those who want to limit flying to those who can afford business class to get to awards ceremonies but don't want ordinary people flying off on holiday.

Now, Hansen, a strong critic of George Bush's disinterest in the climate change issue, has rejected efforts from Heathrow campaigners to sign him up to the anti-runway cause. According to the Observer, he said:

"The number of runways you need for your airports depends on their traffic. You don't want to be so restrictive that you end up burning more fuel because planes are having to circle and wait to land because of lack of runway space. Coal is 80% of the planet's problem. You have to keep your eye on the ball and not waste your efforts. The number one enemy is coal and we should never forget that."

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