I can’t argue with every anti-vaxxer and climate denialist, but I can debate a few on my timeline. And this xkcd is another useful thing to point towards when they talk about how climate change is nothing new…
Now that I’m not flying any more, I need to figure out ways to get to places where I’d usually travel by plane.
For example, I’m travelling to the Netherlands next month. Fortunately, instead of having to go down from the north of England, through London, and then across to Paris and then Amsterdam, I can take the ferry.
But what about the carbon emissions of ferries? Thankfully, for foot passengers they are, on average, even smaller than those of coaches.
Train virtually always comes out better than plane, often by a lot. A journey from London to Madrid would emit 43kg (95lb) of CO2 per passenger by train, but 118kg by plane (or 265kg if the non-CO2 emissions are included), according to EcoPassenger.
The [Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy] has also put a figure on ferry transport – 18g of CO2 per passenger kilometre for a foot passenger, which is less than a coach, or 128g for a driver and car, which is more like a long-haul flight.
‘Carbon offsetting’ is just a way of the western middle classes assuaging their climate guilt. We can do better by thinking holistically.
In one recent study in the journal Nature, for example, researchers examined long-term restoration efforts in northern India, a country that has invested huge amounts of money into planting over the last 50 years. The authors found “no evidence” that planting offered substantial climate benefits or supported the livelihoods of local communities.
The study is among the most comprehensive analyses of restoration projects to date, but it’s just one example in a litany of failed campaigns that call into question the value of big tree-planting initiatives. Often, the allure of bold targets obscures the challenges involved in seeing them through, and the underlying forces that destroy ecosystems in the first place.
Instead of focusing on planting huge numbers of trees, experts told Vox, we should focus on growing trees for the long haul, protecting and restoring ecosystems beyond just forests, and empowering the local communities that are best positioned to care for them.