American blog “Love and long-distance travel in the time of climate change”

In a thoughtful, soul-searching article by an American climate campaigner, Eve, she sets out her dilemma about flights across the States to visit her family several times each year. About a year earlier, a meteorologist in the US, Eric Holthaus, vowed not to fly again – after he understood just how serious the issue of climate change had become, and how large a part of his personal carbon footprint flying had become. With thousands of other Americans, Eve was influenced by Eric Holthaus. She writes of her difficulties in having lived a typical American life, involving studying and working in places far from home,  yet wanting to keep in regular contact with parents and family. She describes the sadness of choosing not going home to visit parents. “It is very, very strange to be in a position now — and I don’t think I’m alone — where I find myself weighing seeing the people I love against my own complicity in the global climate crisis.” And  “Never before has our economy been so effortlessly globalized that jobs pull people back and forth across countries and oceans, and never before have we had so much evidence that the systems and habits we’ve created to actually live in that economy are quite literally destroying the planet.”
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I just broke down in tears in boarding area at SFO while on phone with my wife. I’ve never cried because of a science report before.

Love and long-distance travel in the time of climate change

By Eve Andrews  (Grist – USA)

24 Dec 2014

This is the first time in my life that I’ve spent the holidays in a fairly unfamiliar place, surrounded by fairly unfamiliar people. For Jews, Christmastime can always be a little weird – it’s readily acknowledged that Christmas is a holiday that everyone observes to some extent, simply by nature of everything being closed, but my family really does not. We’ve always celebrated Hanukkah, which is even more awkwardly placed than Christmas relative to Thanksgiving, and yet I’ve always been able to be with family for at least part of it, because I’ve never lived 2,500 miles away from home before.

Since moving to Seattle, it takes me about seven hours (there are no direct flights) to fly to my hometown of Pittsburgh — the city in which I was born and raised, where my parents and sister and brother-in-law live, and that will always, always hold a not-insignificant piece of my heart. I know some people who dread returning to the cities that have known them as bratty children and awkward adolescents, and I am not one of them. For all of my (admittedly brief) adult life, I have cried through each takeoff from the PIT tarmac, bound for whichever city I called home at the time.

When talking with my parents about travel plans to come home this year around the holidays, I figured I had to choose between Christmastime and Thanksgiving. Since, as stated above, we don’t really do Christmas, the choice seemed obvious.

“But we’ll pay for you to fly home whenever you want because we want to see you,” said the very loving and generous people whom I am incredibly privileged to call my parents. “If it’s a matter of money, it’s not an issue!”

But it’s not just a matter of money. I don’t know whether or not to be embarrassed by this, but I am still haunted by an article written by Slate meteorologist Eric Holthaus detailing how he was brought to tears by the IPCC’s report on climate change.

“…[L]ater that day, I was on the phone with my wife, getting ready to board a plane in San Francisco and thinking about the report more existentially. Any hope for a healthy planet seemed to be dwindling, a death warrant written in stark, black-and-white data. It came as a shock.

“This was our chance,” I told her, crying. “And it’s gone.”

Holthaus evaluated his own carbon footprint, and realized that flying regularly was his single largest contribution to the emissions that are warming our world.

I remember, vividly, reading Holthaus’ essay for the first time from the comfort of the couch in my cozy apartment in Chicago, which I shared with my then-boyfriend, in the midst of putting together my application for the Grist fellowship. I didn’t have a particularly strong background in environmental issues at the time, and was attempting to get a better grasp on the things I would hopefully be writing about. Well, I thought, after finishing the last sentence, fuck.

Not two hours after reading that, we had a conversation about what would happen if I were offered the fellowship.

“It’s not that long of a flight,” he said. “We could probably visit each other once a month!”

I racked up in my head how many flights that would be, and thought about rising sea levels, and terrible heat waves, and hurricanes in New York and New Orleans. And then I thought about our relationship of 3+ years and how much I loved him, and felt – ironically enough – so, so selfish for thinking about those other things.

Instead of flying to Seattle for the job, I bought a car and we drove from Chicago together. It was something I wanted to do for two reasons: Practically, to be able to schlep all my stuff across the country, and theoretically, to be able to comprehend the distance. With each of the days and hundreds of miles of snow-covered plains and mountains that passed, the air in the car between us seemed to grow heavier. We spent my 25th birthday driving across western Montana in long periods of silence, and I thought about the glaciers to our north receding.

Somewhere in western Montana.Somewhere on I-90 in western Montana. Eve Andrews
Humans are causing climate change. Contrary to what some politicians head-scratchingly argue, this is a matter of fact. And the onus of putting the brakes on what has become a runaway train of carbon emissions lies squarely on governments and major corporations.

But the single biggest change that I can make, as just one individual human, is to cut down on the amount of times I get on a plane. Upon realizing that, the extent to which all the people I love are scattered across the country has never been more apparent.

All the while I was growing up in Pittsburgh, the narrative of what it meant to be successful always seemed to include going far away. Leave the state for college (I did). Travel internationally (I did). Find a job in a bigger, more “exciting” city (I did – twice). “Maybe don’t put 2-3 time zones in between you and the people you love” was never really a part of that. When my best friends and I were in middle school and high school, we would talk about how excited we were to grow up and live far away from home. Now, we talk about how we can’t wait to live somewhere where we can walk to see each other instead of boarding a 747.

It is very, very strange to be in a position now — and I don’t think I’m alone — where I find myself weighing seeing the people I love against my own complicity in the global climate crisis.

I don’t know if this particular point of tension has ever existed before in our cultural consciousness: Never before has our economy been so effortlessly globalized that jobs pull people back and forth across countries and oceans, and never before have we had so much evidence that the systems and habits we’ve created to actually live in that economy are quite literally destroying the planet.

I chose not to go home for the holidays. How absurd and hypocritical would it be of me, I thought, to spend so much time writing about saving the climate and making green choices and then take two cross-country flights to the same place in one month? Especially, while we’re playing the real talk game, after flying to Bali this summer for a summit on climate change?

Instead, after staring at a blank Word document literally all day long, I am writing this at my dining room table at 11:30 p.m. on December 23 in an empty house as it pours rain outside, because this is Seattle. In the time that I should have spent writing this, I’ve talked with my dad, my mom, my sister, my brother, and my ex-boyfriend over a litany of forms of long-distance communication.

Am I pleased with my decision to remove one flight from some arbitrary yearly allotment? Do I feel that this gesture to reduce my carbon footprint for 2014 was worth it? What do you think?

In one of the half-dozen conversations I had tonight with people I very much wish I were seeing face-to-face, I said, half-jokingly, to my dad, “Being an adult is hard.”

“Yes, honey,” he agreed, emphatically. “It really just means doing a lot of things that you don’t want to do!”

I suppose that responsibility and happiness have always, throughout human history, tended to be at odds with each other — but god damn, it sucks when that hits home. Or, as the case may be, keeps you from getting home when you most want to be there.

http://grist.org/living/love-and-long-distance-travel-in-the-time-of-climate-change/

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Meteorologist Eric Holthaus’ vow to never to fly again draws praise, criticism

By Jason Samenow  (Washington Post)

October 1, 2013

Meteorologist and science writer Eric Holthaus lit up Twitter last Friday when he announced he was never flying again due to the perils of climate change. Strongly motivated to reduce his carbon footprint, the decision was especially significant as Holthaus is a frequent flyer and owns a pilot license.

Holthaus, who formerly wrote a weather column for the Wall Street Journal and now covers weather and climate issues for the Atlantic’s new online Web initiative Quartz, said the sobering conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change motivated the decision.

Andrew Freedman, a science writer for Climate Central, says Holthaus’ emotion-filled reaction to the report compromises his objectivity in writing about the issue.

But Holthaus says his “walk the walk” response to the dire consequences of climate change strengthens rather than weakens his credibility when writing about the issue.

Holthaus’ actions earned the respect of Dave Tolleris, a Richmond-based meteorologist skeptical of catastrophic climate change scenarios.

“Eric is willing to make that commitment and take the steps to change his lifestyle and not be a hypocrite,” Tolleris said. “While I do not agree with his pessimistic view [on climate change], I do think that earns some points from me.”

On the other hand, Fox News commentator Greg Gutfeld questioned Holthaus’ motives. “I’m calling BS on this drama queen,” Gutfeld said. “This is what dooms environmentalism – dishonest hysterics who put drama before data.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/10/01/meteorologist-eric-holthaus-vow-to-never-to-fly-again-draws-praise-criticism/


Why I’m never flying again

By Eric Holthaus
@EricHolthaus

1.10.2013

Last week, when a panel of the world’s best scientists issued a new report on climate change (pdf), I did my best to read it like a meteorologist. The facts led to a simple conclusion: Humans cause global warming. And without an immediate and dramatic cut in carbon emissions, the problem could become irreversible.

That was easy enough to convey. But later that day, I was on the phone with my wife, getting ready to board a plane in San Francisco and thinking about the report more existentially. Any hope for a healthy planet seemed to be dwindling, a death warrant written in stark, black-and-white data. It came as a shock.

“This was our chance,” I told her, crying. “And it’s gone.”

My wife and I realized that the “substantial and sustained reductions” called for by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had to start with us. World governments will never agree in time to coordinate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. If anything is to change, it will have to come from individuals taking ownership of the problem themselves.
And that’s why my wife and I suddenly knew we could never fly again.

Now, I’m just an average guy, trying to do my best. I already do a lot to reduce my impact on the environment: I recycle. My wife and I share a car. I’m a vegetarian. I turn out the lights when I leave the room. I take those fancy reusable bags with me when I go food shopping.
But I also fly a lot—about 75,000 miles last year. A lot of that is travel to Africa and the Caribbean, where I work on projects to reduce the impact of climate change. This year, I also started flying on behalf of the startup I work for, Weathermob. I have gold status on Delta, and my wife and I were planning trips to Hawaii and Europe, all for free with frequent flyer miles.

Still, I didn’t comprehend quite how big an impact all those flights were having on the climate until I crunched the numbers with UC Berkeley’s excellent carbon footprint calculator. I was shocked to discover that air travel comprised almost half of my household’s emissions last year, or 33.5 metric tons of CO2.

The average American household, as you can see in the chart above, flies much less than I do, and should probably focus more effort on reducing emissions from car travel (or other things) rather than planes. But for a lot of us frequent fliers, the environmental harm is dramatic and adds up fast. A one-way flight from New York to San Francisco (2.23 tons of CO2) has nearly the same impact as driving a Hummer the same distance (2.81 tons).
By vowing not to fly, I went from having more than double the carbon footprint as the average American to about 30% less than average.

I don’t take the decision lightly or imagine that it won’t have a big impact on my life. But my wife and I are lucky enough to live in a stunningly beautiful part of the country. Most of our immediate family lives within a day’s drive. I’m excited to spend future vacation days exploring the local area.

I’ll still have to travel a lot (by car and train), and I’ll use videoconferencing for meetings I can’t miss. But by removing my single biggest impact on the climate in one swoop, I can rest a bit easier knowing I’ve begun to heed the IPCC’s call to action. Individual gestures, repeated by millions of people, could make a huge difference.

That humans cause climate change was not a new finding last week, but scientists are now more confident about it (95%) than they are that smoking causes cancer or that vitamins are good for you. Also, for the first time, the IPCC report cast doubt on the efficacy of geoengineering, previously considered a possible last-ditch technical solution.

So I guess last week’s report hit me harder than I expected. My profession is meteorology, which is all about data, but my heart is drawn to people and how we interact with the planet. Together, we can reverse the damage that we have already caused. We can all do something.
My first big step is staying on the ground.

http://qz.com/129477/why-im-never-flying-again/

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Slate Meteorologist Eric Holthaus Stops Flying for A Year to Fight Climate Change

By Zain Haidar
Published Oct 3 2014

Eric Holthaus made national headlines and was branded a “sniveling beta male” by Fox News for a decision he made one year ago.

Holthaus, a meteorologist and climate writer for Slate, is used to approaching data with an objective lens, but a 2013 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – a “death warrant written in stark, black-and-white data” – brought him to tears. The IPCC made it clear that humans are negatively influencing the climate and that greenhouse gas emissions will continue to affect the Earth’s climate for centuries.

By his own estimates, Holthaus normally flew 75,000 miles a year on trips related to climate change projects and work for a startup. After some calculations, Holthaus discovered air travel comprised nearly half of his household’s emissions for a year.

After realizing the implications of the report and “taking ownership of the problem,” Holthaus and his wife made a decision to never fly again.

Holthaus reached that decision in 2013, and since then his arguments for individual responsibility toward climate change have made significant waves in the media. The Washington Post and other major outlets carried the story; Rolling Stone labeled Holthaus the “Rebel Nerd of Meteorology.” On Fox News’ immensely popular talk show The Five, co-host Greg Gutfeld criticized Holthaus’ manhood and said he was “calling B.S. on this drama queen.”

In a recent perspective piece Holthaus published in Slate, he wrote “There’s no way you can be on the fence after seeing the data the way I’ve seen it.”

But how was a year without flying for a professional who’s used to taking to the skies for both work and leisure?

Not terrible, according to Holthaus.

In his article, Holthaus says there are obvious drawbacks: bus rides that take longer than a day to get from one major city to the next and canceled speaking opportunities that could have taken the meteorologist to the United Nations and across the country.

But Holthaus says taking a year off from flying “opened my mind more to enjoying the journey than just rushing to get to the destination.”

Holthaus wrote that his experience has motivated him to adopt new goals for the next year: micro changes that can have an impact when considered on the macro scale like moving into a smaller house.

Holthaus is not the only one dedicated to avoiding airplanes to help the planet. Kevin Anderson, a professor at the University of Manchester, has gone 11 years without flying and wrote recently on the benefits of slow travel.

Decisions by writers and thinkers like Holthaus and Anderson may be controversial, but they could also help reduce carbon emissions if adopted on a larger scale.

http://www.weather.com/science/environment/news/year-without-flying-carbon-footprint-20141003

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Kevin Anderson blog on decisions of academics and climate community about personal travel

In a blog in June 2014, Professor Kevin Anderson writes about the need for people to consider their own behaviour in relation to flying. He is personally highly conscious of his own energy use.  He looks in particular at academics and those in the climate change community, and their justification for the use of high carbon travel. These are some quotes: “Amongst academics, NGOs, green-business gurus and climate change policy makers, there is little collective sense of either the urgency of change needed or of our being complicit in the grim situation we now face.”  And on the desire to fly to save time to spend with our families: “When we’re dead and buried our children will likely still be here dealing with the legacy of our inaction today; do we discount their futures at such a rate as to always favour those family activities that we can join in with?”  And “Surely if humankind is to respond to the unprecedented challenges posed by soaring emissions, we, as a community, should be a catalyst for change – behaving as if we believe in our own research, campaign objectives etc. – rather than simply acting as a bellwether of society’s complacency.”
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Does Greenpeace’s sanctioning of short-haul flights mirror wider hypocrisy amongst the climate change community?

By Professor Kevin Anderson
June 2014.
The following article is in response to a  report in the Guardian  in which the head of Greenpeace UK defends the need for one of its top executives to make regular flights between his home and work (Amsterdam and Luxembourg).
The recent suite of reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) underline the rapidly dwindling global carbon budget into which we have to squeeze twenty first century carbon emissions. This transition from society’s ill-informed focus on 2050 (or some other conveniently far off date) to scientifically credible carbon budgets, reframes the mitigation challenge in terms of deep reductions in emissions delivered over the coming decade.
It is within this context of urgency and in the pivotal run up to the climate negotiations in Paris 2015, that Greenpeace’s sanctioning of regular short-haul flights, needs to be considered.
Defending their international programme director’s regular Luxembourg to Amsterdam flights on the basis of “needs of his family”, resonates with my experience as an academic working within the climate change community. Amongst academics, NGOs, green-business gurus and climate change policy makers, there is little collective sense of either the urgency of change needed or of our being complicit in the grim situation we now face.
Since the first IPCC report in 1990, even the rate of emissions growth has risen – to a point where emissions today, a quarter of a century later, are some 60% higher. If such emission trends continue, then we’re heading for enormous changes for many families even in the short term.
These families may not be our own – much more likely they’ll be those who have not contributed to the problem, have little income and live in areas geographically more vulnerable to climate impacts.
We choose to fly to be with our family as quickly as possible – so as not to be away for more than a few days. But the repercussions (ok, not on a 1-to-1 basis perhaps) are for another family in another place to lose their home, suffer food and water shortages, social and community pressures and wider conflicts – to put at risk the very fabric of their families and communities.
Moreover, using fast and high carbon transport to reduce the time we spend away from our families also has longer-term repercussions for our own children. Are we rushing back for the sake of our families or for our own individual engagement with our families? This is a subtle but important distinction.
Are we concerned about our families only whilst we’re around to enjoy and benefit from them, or are we more altruistically concerned regardless of our own immediate returns? When we’re dead and buried our children will likely still be here dealing with the legacy of our inaction today; do we discount their futures at such a rate as to always favour those family activities that we can join in with?
Flying is emblematic of a modern and thriving society. Regardless of evidence the aviation industry is touted as central to future prosperity – a view deeply embedded in the culture and internationalisation agenda of both universities and many NGOs.
But such a framing of contemporary society is categorically at odds with the carbon budgets accompanying the global community’s pledge to hold the rise in temperature below 2°C – i.e. to avoid “dangerous climate change”.
Aviation, as with virtually every sector, makes all the right noises about becoming more efficient and reducing carbon intensity. But this misunderstands the science and challenge of climate change. All that really matters are absolute emissions – not how efficient we are.
This ultimately is the rub – we have left it far too late for technology alone to deliver the necessary rates of mitigation.
Those of us intimately engaged on climate change know this. Whether academics, NGOs, business leaders, policy makers or journalists, we cannot hide behind a lack of knowledge of our emissions or a poor understanding of the impacts of climate change.
Despite this, the frequency of our flying to ‘essential’ meetings, conferences etc., mirrors the rapid rise in global emissions – all salved with a repeated suite of trite excuses. Surely if humankind is to respond to the unprecedented challenges posed by soaring emissions, we, as a community, should be a catalyst for change – behaving as if we believe in our own research, campaign objectives etc. – rather than simply acting as a bellwether of society’s complacency.
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The above response borrows from previous articles, particularly Hypocrites in the air and Evangelising from 32 thousand feet.

A further exchange, unhelpfully titled “Is flying still beyond the pale”, was published in the New Internationalist.

With a specific focus on the UK see:
– Aviation & shipping privileged again?  – published as a Tyndall Centre Briefing Note 47
– A one-way ticket to high carbon lock-in please – published in Carbon Management

In addition, the following papers address issues on aviation at the EU, UK and regional levels (these were written several years ago, but the arguments remain broadly valid today – 2014):
– Aviation in turbulent times
– Air transport, climate change and tourism
– Policy clash: Can aviation growth be reconciled with the UK 60% carbon-reduction target?
– Apportioning aviation CO2 emissions to regional administrations

For discussion on aviation in relation to 2°C carbon budgets, see 2013 book chapter: Carbon budgets for aviation or gamble with our future

For similar arguments made in relation to the shipping industry (another sector exempt from the Kyoto protocol and often neglected in national carbon inventories) see: Executing a Scharnow turn: reconciling shipping emissions with international commitments on climate change

http://kevinanderson.info/blog/failing-by-example-greenpeace-sanction-short-haul-flights-for-its-executives/
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About Kevin Anderson:

Kevin Anderson is professor of energy and climate change in the School of Mechanical, Aeronautical and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester. He was previously director of the Tyndall Centre, the UK’s leading academic climate change research organisation, during which time he held a joint post with the University of East Anglia. Kevin now leads Tyndall Manchester’s energy and climate change research programme and is deputy director of the Tyndall Centre. He is research active with recent publications in Royal Society journals, Nature and Energy Policy, and engages widely across all tiers of government.  

With his colleague Alice Bows, Kevin’s work on carbon budgets has been pivotal in revealing the widening gulf between political rhetoric on climate change and the reality of rapidly escalating emissions. His work makes clear that there is now little to no chance of maintaining the rise in global mean surface temperature at below 2°C, despite repeated high-level statements to the contrary. Moreover, Kevin’s research demonstrates how avoiding even a 4°C rise demands a radical reframing of both the climate change agenda and the economic characterisation of contemporary society.  

Kevin has a decade’s industrial experience, principally in the petrochemical industry. He sits as commissioner on the Welsh Governments climate change commission and is a director of Greenstone Carbon Management – a London-based company providing emission-related advice to private and public sector organisations. Kevin is a chartered engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

His website is  Kevinanderson.info  comment on climate at http://kevinanderson.info/

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Political taboos leave politicians unwilling to take steps to cut transport emissions

An interesting, thought provoking article in The Conversation, looks at the way in which issues to do with reducing our desire for travel could be seen as “taboo.”  For the EU, CO2 emissions from transport make up about 30% of the total. However, while the automotive and aviation industries try to convince us that technology will cut emissions, the growth in demand will far outweigh these small improvements. If politicians challenge our desire for ever more travel, they can be punished by powerful lobby groups, by peers, or at the ballot box. On air travel, a high proportion is done by the most wealthy. But the political classes and opinion formers are themselves in this category, of hypermobile people with a “distinct unwillingness among this section of society to fly less.”   Increasing the cost of flying disproportionally affects lower income groups, yet does not seriously impede the mobility patterns of frequent-flying elite, who enjoy flights “subsidised through the exemption of international air travel from VAT.”  The airline industry and its lobbyists work hard to instil the idea that “mobility is freedom”, and that to restrict such mobility through regulation is nothing short of an infringement of that liberty; another taboo.
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Political taboos leave politicians unwilling to take steps to cut transport emissions

14.8.2014 (The Conversation)

Transportation continues to generate a large proportion of emissions worldwide, even as emissions from other areas of the economy fall. In the EU, transport accounts for around 30%  of CO2 emissions, and is rising. It’s the transport sector that is set to derail the EU’s overall emission reduction objectives.

Globally, the number of cars is expected to double by 2035, and the air travel industry is expecting its passenger volumes to triple by 2050, yet there has been little political acknowledgement of this issue.

In the meantime, the airline and automobile industries go to great lengths  to convince politicians and the public that technology alone can solve this problem, while the weight of scientific evidence suggests technology cannot rein in transport emissions sufficiently. There’s growing evidence  to suggest we need tougher regulation on planes and cars, but there’s no political willingness to introduce restrictive policies.

Our research suggests  policies that would support sustainable transport have been largely ignored by European policymakers because of a number of “transport taboos”. These are issues that constitute a fundamental barrier to implementing any significant transport-related climate policy, ignored because of their political risk. If politicians violate a norm by grappling with one of these hot potatoes – even if the science clearly supports it – they can be punished by powerful lobby groups, by peers, or at the ballot box.

In our paper , published in the Journal of Transport Geography, we identify a series of transport taboos. Aircraft and cars are the most important from an emissions perspective.

Speed limits

One example is from Germany: even though opinion polls are in favour of a speed limit on the autobahn, and the importance of speed limits for reducing carbon emissions is well documented, no party is willing to touch the issue because of the outrage that would ensue  from car associations, manufacturers and some drivers.

High fliers

Another taboo is the matter of who contributes to the volume of transport on our roads and in our skies. This is skewed heavily towards a small number of people, mostly from higher income classes, who are responsible for a large share of the overall distances travelled. This is particularly evident in the context of air travel. The travel patterns of the highly mobile need addressing, yet those from the political classes in power tend themselves to be included in this hypermobile group. Paradoxically the most environmentally aware are also among the most mobile, yet there is a distinct unwillingness among this section of society to fly less.

Tax the rich

A further taboo is that most measures to reduce transport emissions in the EU are market-based, and so will disproportionally affect the less wealthy. For instance, car taxes are based on the CO2 performance of individual models, but this does not take account of income inequalities. A SUV might use twice the amount of fuel as a small car and be taxed twice as much, but its driver is likely to earn several times the average income. Lower income groups will shoulder a heavier relative burden. Tackling this taboo carries the same kind of political risk as increasing income tax rates in the higher tax bands.

Similar issues apply in the context of flying, where taxes disproportionally affect lower income groups, yet are not high enough to seriously impede the mobility patterns of frequent-flying elite. These continue to enjoy the effects of market distortions, where their flights are subsidised through the exemption of international air travel from VAT. And so the costs of flying, one the most environmentally harmful modes of transport, remain largely externalised. The airline industry and its lobbyists work hard to instil the idea that “mobility is freedom”, and that to restrict such mobility through regulation is nothing short of an infringement of that liberty; another taboo.

If we are to have any chance of slowing the rise of transport emissions in the EU and worldwide, these and many more transport taboos need to be confronted and overcome. We need more research on these taboos and how they operate, so that strong supporting evidence can be put before political leaders. Even then, any change will need to be publicly palatable, and building that support will be hard. After all, for a great number of people this will still be an inconvenient truth.

http://theconversation.com/political-taboos-leave-politicians-unwilling-to-take-steps-to-cut-transport-emissions-30537

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Paper:

Title: Why sustainable transport policies will fail: EU climate policy in the light of transport taboos
Author: Stefan Gössling, Scott Cohen
Publication: Journal of Transport Geography
Publisher: Elsevier
Date: July 2014

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Baffling world of airport retail; cheapest possible tickets, most expensive possible terminal shopping

A frequent flier writes in a blog how he is baffled by airport retail policy and why “shops that you find in airports succeed or how this market is designed. If you consider that a large percentage of the folks wandering around the terminal spent a disproportionate amount of time online searching for the cheapest possible deal, then surely you wouldn’t expect them to walk into this terminal-come-shopping mall and spend £495 on a pair of socks? Ok, maybe not £495 but you get the point. It doesn’t make sense.” Heathrow Terminal 5 looks more like Rodeo Drive, except for maybe Dixons and Boots, which are the only visible high street options.  Even at Stansted, where ” 90% of the passengers spent more on their McDonald’s breakfast than they did on their tickets” though it has sensible shops landside, but after security, only up market shops.  Yet the airports make immense  profits from their retail sales.  So much for the need for cheap flights and complaints about paying APD.  In 2012 Heathrow was 3rd in the world for the amount of airport retail spending ( £831.7m – $1.34 bn –  by 70 million passengers);  Incheon Airport in Seoul was in 1st  place $1.73 bn by 38.4 million); and Dubai in 2nd place ($1.6bn by 57.6 million passengers).  Hong Kong, Singapore Changi, Bangkok, Paris, Frankfurt, Schiphol came next.
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Industry blog

Retail Therapy
By: Jeremy Clark | INFLAIR |
January 2014

There are quite a few things in this world I simply don’t understand: the Euro-zone fiscal policy, IKEA assembly instructions, camping holidays, how to manage my social media accounts, and people who choose Ryanair, these are amongst the things that totally baffle me. But fairly high up on this list is airport retail policy.

For the life of me I cannot understand how the shops that you find in airports succeed or how this market is designed. If you consider that a large percentage of the folks wandering around the terminal spent a disproportionate amount of time online searching for the cheapest possible deal, then surely you wouldn’t expect them to walk into this terminal-come-shopping mall and spend £495 on a pair of socks? Ok, maybe not £495 but you get the point. It doesn’t make sense.

Heathrow Terminal 5 looks more like Rodeo Drive, except for maybe Dixons and Boots, which are the only visible high street options. The other shops here don’t feature on most high streets.

I live in a moderately affluent area of leafy England, but even we don’t boast a Gucci, Cartier or Louis Vuitton nestled between Poundland and Oxfam.

Perhaps passengers go though some mental metamorphosis when they are given a boarding pass, or maybe there’s something in those security scanners that rids us of all traces of fiscal sense.

Surely, airports can’t think we’re all first class passengers?

Terminal 5 retail departure lounge

Terminal 5 retail departure lounge. Images courtesy of Heathrow Airport’s Media Library

 

It’s very annoying for those of us for whom the airport terminal is almost a second home, especially when you actually need something. I recently needed an extra shirt while in transit. My options were Paul Smith – who had nothing under £1,000 – Pink, Gucci, Salvatore Ferregano or Harrods. What I really needed was Marks & Spencer, T.K. Maxx or British Home Stores. Even Tesco would have done.

And at airports serving mostly low-cost carriers, where 90% of the passengers spent more on their McDonald’s breakfast than they did on their tickets, retailers such as Asda/Walmart, Tesco and Primark are more likely to make decent profits.

Take London Stansted, for example: landside, in the terminal, there are a variety of shops like Accessorize (affordable bling), Monsoon (affordable clobber for girls), Coral (for a flutter on the gee-gees), Claire’s Accessories (more affordable bling), and Clarks (sensible shoes). As you pass security, like Judy Garland into Oz, your choices are Hackett (huntin’ shootin’ and fishin’ wear for the gentry), Hamleys (toys for spoilt brats), Mulberry (like Burberry, only with bags), Swarovski (Stansted’s answer to Cartier), and Ted Baker (pricy jeans).

Food-wise it’s much the same story. Landside it’s usually Burger King and Pizza Hut for the masses and M&S food for the gymkhana set. Go airside and it’s Caviar House Oyster Bar (fish ‘n’ chips for the rich), Gordon Ramsey’s Plane Food (plain, but not cheap), and Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar (for those who missed the Caviar at the Oyster Bar).

My thinking now is that as the airlines have trained us into such frugalness, they should be the ones to run the retail operation, and then we should get Aquascutum and Burberry to run the airlines – that way we can all fly first class!

http://www.airtransportpubs.com/airports/blog/post/airport-retail-therapy

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London Heathrow Airport airport served  around 70m passengers in 2012 and took £831.7m ($1.34bn) from airport retail in that time.   Link 
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Highest Grossing Airports in Duty Free and Travel Retail Announced

International duty free and travel retail publication, The Travel Retail Business (TRBusiness), has published a list of the world’s leading global airports with the highest retail sales turnover in 2012.

31.7.2013 (PR web)

Louis Vuitton, Incheon International Airport, Seoul, Number One Travel Retail Airport 2012

This Louis Vuitton store generated $92m in sales at Incheon International Airport in 2012. It was bought in by the airport’s management specifically to attract Chinese Mainland shoppers.

The Top 10 Airports Report, compiled by The Travel Retail Business (TRBusiness) from official statistics and exclusively obtained data, shows that travelling consumers increased their average spend by between 3-12%, with the top ten global airports accounting for combined takings of $9.2bn. This figure represents almost 1/5th of the $49.4bn (1) global travel retail sales total in 2012.

The report reveals that Incheon International Airport in Seoul takes the number one position, with passenger traffic totaling 38.4m, and a 15% increase in spending bringing in an impressive $1.73bn. The increase in the mix of Asian nationalities travelling to South Korea has had a huge effect on the purchasing levels at Incheon, with 2.84m (+28%) Mainland Chinese, and 3.52m (+7%) Japanese passengers passing through in the last year.

TRBusiness announced that Dubai International Airport was in close second place, with 57.6m passengers spending $1.6bn in 2012 – a 10% increase on 2011 figures. Dubai International has also moved ahead of Paris Charles de Gaulle to become the world’s second busiest international facility, according to Airports Council International.

London Heathrow Airport is in third place, having provided TRBusiness with exclusive access to a breakdown of ‘pure retail’ sales figures for the first time. The airport served 70m passengers and took £831.7m ($1.34bn) in the twelve-month period.

Hong Kong, Singapore Changi, Bangkok, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam Schiphol, and Sao Paolo Guarulhos make up the rest of the list.

The Top 10 Airports saw a combined total of 502.9m passengers pass through their doors in 2012. This represents a growth of 66.9m passengers across all of the facilities since 2010.

TRBusiness Executive Editor, Doug Newhouse, spoke of the positive response to the report.

“The travel retail industry has come to view The Top 10 Airports Report as a league table and guide of sorts, and it is still important that we try and encourage airports to provide us with transparent retail sales figures – although huge advances have been made in this direction in recent years. If we can form a better understanding of how traveller numbers and regional or global pressures can affect profits in airport retail environments, then it is obviously beneficial to the industry as a whole.”

Note for editors: (1) $49.4bn global duty free and travel retail sales total in 2012 = source: Generation Research figures announced by Tax Free World Association at TFAP 2013.

About: Since October 1997 The Travel Retail Business magazine (TRBusiness) has been a provider of news, statistics and analytical commentary to business leaders and decision makers in the duty free/travel retail industry

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/7/prweb10978149.htm

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Earlier:

Consumerism gone mad: Dubai Duty Free smashes all records with 30th anniversary sales of US$30.65 million

Date added: December 24, 2013

To mark its 30th anniversary, on 20th December, Dubai International and Dubai World Central airports set about beating their sales records for their anniversary day. Dubai Duty Free (DDF) set an all-time daily sales record with turnover of US $ 30.65 million. That is 40% more than on 20th December in 2012. They gave their customers up to 30% discounts, to get them to buy more and more. Dubai boasts that some of their customers even”book their flights in order to shop on that day.” By 6pm, DDF sales reached US $23.2 million and an amazing 158,931 transactions. By the end of the day it was US $30.65 million with 208,000 transactions. Sickening. Consumerism out of any reasonable scale. Perfume was the highest selling category with sales of US $8.5 million and representing 27.9% of the total daily sales. Watches & clocks was the second most popular category with sales of US$7 million. Cosmetics in 3rd place, category wise, with sales of US$3.9 million. Alcohol in 4th position followed by cigarettes. Other notable increases were seen in confectionery, which rose by 33% to US$1.2 million and delicatessen, which recorded US$619,000. That’s airports and mindless, rampant consumerism for you.

Click here to view full story…

 

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Airport retail now altering ad displays according to the sort of customers passing through

Date added: September 9, 2013

In the departure lounge of Heathrow’s Terminal 5, passengers buy over $450 million per year of perfumes, clothing, scarves, sunglasses, jewellery, watches, bags and small leather goods from top expensive brands. A similar scene plays out each day at a plethora of major international airports across the world and the last 20 years, airside retail has undergone a radical transformation.The passengers at airports constitute a captive audience, passing “the magic hour,” between clearing security and boarding their planes. Airports have a lot of information on passengers — who they are, where they are going, on what airline, at what time, in what class. Now by digitising product displays, retailers may soon be able to more rapidly adjust their merchandising strategies, in real-time, to reflect the profiles of much larger numbers of customers currently passing through the airport. eg. if you have got the English going through in the morning and they like their Johnny Walker Black you will put it on the advertising screens, and if later there is a Chinese plane coming through, you advertise something else that they like buying.

Click here to view full story…

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Airports and airlines eyeing up passengers to increase their retail spend

Date added: April 24, 2013

If the airlines can’t make enough profit from flying their passengers from A to B, then they want to extract every bit of cash they can from them, in the airport shops. An anna-aero article discusses how airports and airlines might work more effectively together, to get passengers to buy more stuff. The airlines have more personal data about the passengers, and the airports want this data in order to maximise the retail earnings in their shops. But the airlines don’t want to share the chance of profit with the airports. The Chief Commercial Officer at Manchester Airports Group said – “airport retail is vital precisely because airport charges paid by airlines are already well below the cost of the infrastructure they use.” The airports and airlines don’t see eye to eye on this. There is a problem for retailers, with the low cost airlines that limit baggage, and the ‘one-bag rule’, which is a disincentive to buy a lot at the airport. An ACI conference next spring will look at actual practical solutions to enhance “Airline-Airport Cooperation to Increase Passenger Spend.”

Click here to view full story…

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Heathrow award for top airport for shopping for 3rd year. Net Retail Income per passenger £6.21 in 2012 (£5.64 in 2010)

Date added: April 18, 2013

For the third year, Heathrow got the award (within the airports industry) for the top airport for shopping. Heathrow has over 52,000 square metres of retail space and more than 340 retail and catering outlets. Heathrow overtook Dubai International to win the title of “World’s Best Airport for Shopping” for 2012. Heathrow has the highest retail sales of any airport in the world ahead of Incheon airport in South Korea. Figures from the Moodie Report in February 2013 said that Net Retail Income per passenger at Heathrow was £6.21 (up 4.4% on 2011, partly due to the Olympics) in 2012 and £5.95 in 2011, while it was £5.64 in 2010. (By comparison the Net Retail Income at Stansted in 2012 was £4.27 per passenger). At Heathrow in 2012 the gross retail income increased +5.7% to £460.1 million

Click here to view full story…

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Airport retail: rise and rise of the shopping centre, with an airport attached

Date added: April 15, 2012

A huge, and growing, proportion of the money made by airports is from retail. It seems that the industry expects significant increases in this spending over the coming years, and airports do all they can to get passengers to spend as much time as possible in retail, put retail outlets in arrivals, etc etc and devise means for them to buy goods for collection on their return, to avoid baggage problems. The industry expects most growth in the Far East, where women tend to spend a lot of designer brands. The airport retail industry finds passengers buy less when they are stressed by airport security waits and queues, and they buy more when calm and happy. Airports need a ticket as proof of identity, so they can monitor the types of travellers, and the routes, which generate the most cash. Seems the Chinese, the Russians and the Nigerians tend to spend the most. At Heathrow, the average passenger spends £4.35. But for fashion, the average BRIC passenger spends £45.50. No wonder BAA wants more.

Click here to view full story…

How much profit do airports make from their retail activities, rather than flying?

Date added: February 13, 2012

Heathrow got 21.3% of its income from retail in 2010, compared to 53% from aeronautical. On average each Heathrow passenger spent about £5.70 (maybe £5.90) at the airport, with women spending more than men (!). BAA data say frequent fliers spend more than infrequent fliers. In the year 2010/2011 Gatwick airport made £115.6m from retail, and another £51.7m from car parking, with an average of £5.80 spent on retail per passenger. Stansted retail spending per passenger is about £4.00 to £4.20. In the year 2010/2011 Heathrow made about £380 million per year on retail, Gatwick about £115, and Stansted net retail income fell from £79.8m in 2010 to £73.9m. Manchester made about £70 million on retail, with about £3 per passenger.

Click here to view full story…

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Tourism board drive to lure visitors away from London – half never venture outside the capital

In summer 2013 the UK nation’s tourism authority, “Visit Britain” launched a drive to get more overseas visitors to visit the rest of the country. Research for Visit Britain showed that of the 31 million who visited the UK in 2012 – a record number – half went to London only, never venturing outside the M25. The rest of England welcomed 13 million tourists, Scotland 2.2 million and Wales 0.9 million.  The Visit Britain “GREAT Britain” initiative hoped to use the delights of country pubs, Stonehenge and cathedral cities such as Winchester and Lincoln promoted in campaigns abroad.  Also that Britain is a comparatively small country and relatively easy to get around – and that they should not worry about driving on the left side of the road. It seems that many potential visitors just don’t know what there is to see outside London, or how to get there. Visit Britain offices abroad are being given a “Beyond London” dossier of suggestions for destinations to promote. Visit Britain is to step up efforts to exploit opportunities presented by low-cost airlines which use regional airports for direct flights to Europe. Although most passengers are British tourists, the airports have already seen an increase in Europeans coming to UK destinations.  An international survey showed 75% believed the UK has plenty of interesting places to visit outside of London (22% strongly).
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Tourism board to launch drive to lure visitors away from London

From castles and cathedrals to country pubs and canals, there can be no doubting the charms of Britain beyond the borders of the capital. But it seems that too few foreigners are finding them.

Britain’s tourism board wants overseas visitors to consider other parts of the UK during their visit, such as: (from top left, clockwise) Glen Coe, Suffolk pubs, Lincoln Cathedral and Chester.  Photo: ALAMY

By , Consumer correspondent (Telegraph)

4 Aug 2013

The nation’s tourism authorities are to launch a drive to get more overseas visitors to visit the rest of the country, amid fears that the industry has become unbalanced in favour of London.

New research for Visit Britain has shown that of the 31 million who visited these shores last year – a record number – half went to the capital alone, never venturing outside the M25.

The rest of England welcomed 13 million tourists, Scotland 2.2 million and Wales 0.9 million, prompting the organisation to make attracting visitors beyond the capital’s draws of Buckingham Palace and the West End its new priority.

The initiative will see the delights of country pubs, Stonehenge and cathedral cities such as Winchester and Lincoln promoted in campaigns abroad.

It will also attempt to convey to potential visitors that Britain is a comparatively small country and relatively easy to get around – and that they should not worry about driving on the left hand side of the road.

Research conducted among holidaymakers from US, France, Norway and Germany found there was a “general lack of knowledge” about other destinations outside of London, confusion as to which nations made up the British Isles, and “nerves” about driving on Britain’s roads.

A quarter said it was “too expensive” to travel across Britain, but nearly 30 per cent said they simply did not what it was like elsewhere in the UK or what was on offer. One more traditional foreign view of Britain appears to have faded, however, as only one in ten said the food was “poor”.

Sandie Dawe, the chief executive of Visit Britain, said London’s place on the world stage had been a huge draw, but that the rest of the country had huge potential to benefit.

“London is so popular and so dominant that when people think about Britain it’s such a strong draw. It’s a huge benefit, but also a challenge.

“The Olympics increased the interest in Britain around the world. We just have to make sure that some of our other fantastic assets are not put into the shade by the brilliance of London’s light.”

She added: “We have got some fantastic heritage, history and culture outside of London. When tourists think about romance, luxury, relaxation, France and Italy will pop into their heads before they think about Britain. But we have got some beautiful cathedral towns, such as Winchester, Salisbury, York, Chester or Lincoln.”

Visit Britain offices abroad are to be given a “Beyond London” dossier of suggestions for destinations to promote. Among the “hidden gems” which will be highlighted are Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, which was used as Hogwarts in parts of the Harry Potter series of films, the more than 2,000 miles of navigable canals and rivers, and the country pubs of Suffolk, which Visit Britain hopes will become a “foodie” destination.

The tourist authority is also likely to step up its work with the English Premier League. Shinji Kagawa, Manchester United’s Japanese footballer, has already extolled the virtues of Britain in a video for Visit Britain and the popularity of the league is already bringing in football fans from countries such as Norway and Belgium.

Visit Britain is also to step up efforts to exploit opportunities presented by low-cost airlines which use regional airports for direct flights to Europe. Although most passengers are British tourists, the airports have already seen an increase in Europeans coming to new destinations, with examples including Liverpool proving a hit for Spanish visitors.

Ms Dawe said far more could be achieved with the right strategy. “With places like Italy, people around the world would know Rome, Florence, Pisa, Venice, Naples,” she said.

“But when it comes to Britain they may say Windsor or Bath but that would be it. If you look at places such as the north-east there are beautiful castles and coastal walks. Suffolk is absolutely beautiful – there are places like Lavenham and Long Melford – and there is great potential in East Anglia as tourists often tell us they are interested in country pubs, and the British way of life.”

She added: “A large part of it is simply educational. When I speak to people in Brazil, India or China, you are talking to people from huge countries who cannot quite gather how small our country is. I tell Brazilians you can fit most of Great Britain in between Rio and Sao Paulo, and that it would take the same time to get to Scotland and the Highlands as it would to fly between the two cities. They have no idea.”

Edinburgh is Britain’s most popular single destination outside London, with 1.3 million foreign visitors last year. Other leading destinations include Manchester, which had 932,000; Cambridge, 398,000; York, 199,000; and Windsor, which had 182,000.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/tourism/10220711/Tourism-board-to-launch-drive-to-lure-visitors-away-from-London.html

 Quiz: How well do you know Britain?

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63% of respondents now want to visit Britain with 75% looking beyond London

January 2013 ?    (Visit Britain website)

Great campaign

A new study commissioned by VisitBritain and its partners in the* suggests that global perceptions of ‘Welcome’, Britain’s ‘Overall Nation Brand’ and the UK’s sporting and cultural credentials have significantly improved thanks to the hosting of the London 2012 Games.

The Nations Brands Index (NBI) research** rates 50 of the world’s leading nations around six core categories. Research was carried out in July 2012 and then repeated post Games. The study sets out to reveal how the international image of a country can change before and after hosting a major sporting event.

According to the new research Britain’s ‘Welcome’ has seen the biggest jump by moving from twelfth place pre-Games to ninth – putting Britain in the top 10 for the very first time.

Britain’s ‘Overall Nation Brand’ and ‘Culture’ ranking moved up one place. ‘Tourism’ held its position in fourth place, with ‘People’ remaining fifth overall. Fourteen of the total 15 panel countries rank the UK within the top 10 on the overall NBI. Nine of the 15 panel countries – including key source markets USA, China, Japan, Russia and India – put the UK in the top three post Games, a marked improvement on previous years.
More key findings include:

• 63 per cent said the Olympics had increased their interest of visiting for a holiday
• 75 per cent of those who saw coverage agreed they wanted to see more than London
• 73 per cent agreed that Britain offered outstanding venues for watching live sport
• 70 per cent said Britain has lovely countryside
• 58 per cent agreed that Britain has a wide variety of world cuisines on offer

Perceptions of British sport see it move two places into the top five in the overall rankings (5th). The UK will continue to host major sporting events in the coming years with a Champions league Final, Tour de France, Rugby Union and Rugby League World Cups, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014, followed by the World Athletics Championships to be held in London in 2017.

Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain said: “London’s hosting of the Games, the amazing opening and closing ceremonies and the warmth of welcome shown to our international visitors have combined to boost our global image.

“With our partners we have taken every opportunity to promote Britain to overseas audiences through our GREAT marketing campaign, our digital activity on Facebook and Twitter and by inviting foreign travel journalists to write about Britain. This work is now paying off with post Games visitor figures significantly up on last year, and prospects for 2013 looking strong.

“Britain is already an established visitor destination and our tourism ranking is high. The goal this year was to maintain rankings in culture and heritage where we are strong, and improve in areas such as the warmth of our welcome where we had room for improvement. We intend to build on these encouraging results to ensure we turn that increased goodwill into visitors and deliver a growth in tourism that will deliver jobs across the country.”

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “The summer of 2012 put the UK firmly in the global spotlight, allowing us to shape international perceptions and show the best of Britain. These results are very encouraging, and show that the UK’s sporting and cultural credentials have significantly improved thanks to London 2012.  We are determined to deliver a lasting economic legacy for the whole country, boosting tourism and growth.”

To maximise the promotion of Britain overseas before, during and after the Games, VisitBritain together with UKTI, British Council and FCO mounted a major marketing campaign under the banner GREAT Britain. The campaign showcases the very best of Britain in a highly impactful campaign promoting culture, heritage, countryside and sport, and also education and business.

Notes to editors

* GREAT Partners include: VisitBritain; Cabinet Office, UKTI; FCO and British Council

** NBI research conducted by Anholt-GfK Roper. The post-Games NBI wave was undertaken in 15 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, UAE and USA. Respondents rated 50 nations on questions in six categories: Exports, Governance, Culture, People, Tourism and Immigration/Investment.

Read the full analysis of the study here.  January 2013

 

http://www.visitbritain.org/mediaroom/pressreleases/postgamesnbi.aspx

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The GREAT Britain campaign:

http://www.visitbritain.org/marketing/marketingprogramme.aspx

The GREAT campaign logo

Spice girls flash mob in Canada

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‘Yes, London is GREAT, now explore the rest of the country’, declares Visit Britain

By SARAH GORDON

5 August 2013 (Daily Mail)

Of the 31 million people who visited Britain last year, half spent at least one night in London, while of the 12 million holidaymakers who came to these shores, two-thirds based themselves in the capital for at least a night.

Now Visit Britain is looking at how it can shift holidaymakers’ focus and encourage them to explore the UK’s other delights, with new tourism campaigns and extra information supplied to its tourist offices abroad.

Visit Britain offices around the world are going to be given special packs to help them better ‘sell’ the delights of Britain, from Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, which appeared in the Harry Potter films, to Stonehenge and experiences like our country pubs and canal network.

Great campaign

These will tie in with an extension of Visit Britain’s hugely successful ‘GREAT’ campaign, which has targeted key cities in key markets with films and image-led print adverts showcasing what makes Britain great.

Two problems the tourist board faces are convincing the rest of the world how small and easy-to-navigate the UK is and how driving on the left is not as daunting as it seems.
While Edinburgh remains the second most popular tourist destination after London, many tourists miss cathedral cities such as Lincoln, York, Winchester and Salisbury. However, Bath and Windsor often feature on itineraries for their heritage and royal links.

And while regional airports have encouraged visitors to other cities such as Liverpool, few explore rural spots, despite the abundance of picturesque villages, traditional pubs and verdant landscapes.

Visit Britain is keen to highlight that it is not trying to encourage visitors to avoid London, but that it has spotted an opportunity for ‘London Plus’ tourism, with visitors combining the capital with other experiences.

Heritage: Tourists could be encouraged to visit Cathedral cities like Lincoln
The latest research by Visit Britain found that London remains the key draw for visitors, but the majority of those questioned would like to combine it with trips to destinations up to two or three hours away.

However, knowledge about what else to see in Britain can be scant in some markets, with holidaymakers concentrating more on ticking off the top sights in the capital.

On a more positive note, the reasons cited for wanting to travel beyond London include wanting to explore more heritage sites, to add variety to their itineraries, to find unique places to stay and see the countryside and to see how British people live.

Visit Britain’s aim is to approach tourism to the UK much as they do in countries like Italy, where visitors are keen to explore cities like Venice and Florence as much as Rome.

In Italy, visitors spent just 13 per cent of their stay in Rome, while in France, tourists spent just 26 per cent of overnight stays in Paris. However, in the UK, 41 per cent of overnight stays are spent in London.

A spokesperson for Visit Britain confirmed: “We compete against a number of other destinations where overseas visitors tend to visit a wider range of locations. We want visitors to enjoy brilliant London but then extend their stay by visiting other parts of Britain, something our research proves they are keen to do.”

But tourism figures for the UK so far this year are positive, showing a 2 per cent rise in visitors during the first five months of the year and a a 10 per cent spike in cash generated.
The £25 million ‘GREAT’ image tourism campaign – which has targeted 14 major cities in nine countries – is also performing well on the international stage, especially when compared to competitor tourist boards with substantially larger budgets.

Nearly three-quarters of the audience in target cities recall seeing the ‘GREAT’ campaign and 23 per cent of those who recall the campaign plan to visit in the next year.

Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain said: “In 2012 Britain became the first Olympic host since Sydney to see an increase in inbound tourism in the year of the Games.

“The GREAT campaign is playing a major role in our efforts to attract a greater number of overseas visitors, with those seeing our images increasingly likely to visit the UK in the next few years. It is essential that we continue to deliver this campaign in our high value tourism markets and the growth markets of the future if we are to enhance overseas perceptions of Britain as a must see destination.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2384808/Best-British-tourism-Visit-Britain-tempts-visitors-London-new-tourism-campaign.html

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Branson’s plans for “space travel” progress – for the privileged mega-rich

The plan to take tourists up on joy-rides virtually into space must be one of the most environmentally irresponsible around. Perhaps indicative of a society that has lost sight of the concept of living within environmental limits, using resources wisely, and not flaunting excessive wealth. But space travel is what Branson plans.  It is reported that Virgin’s “Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo,” VSS Enterprise, has just completed its third test flight. It has now reached the altitude of 13.5 miles or 71,000ft, but in order to be considered to be at the edge of the earth’s atmosphere, it needs to get up to 62 miles or 328,084ft above the earth  (called the Kármán line). These trips planned by Richard Branson are purely for “space tourists” and only those with exceptional wealth would be able to afford them, so it will be rich celebrities and rich business people only. The price is likely to be around £152,000 for a return ticket to the edge of space.  Conspicuous consumption gone mad. This is a Branson PR statement: “2014 will be the year when we will finally put our beautiful spaceship in her natural environment of space.” They hope to reach the Kármán line this spring, and begin commercial operations later in 2014.
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Will space travel become a reality for anyone but the privileged few?

 

Space tourism could now be just months away after Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo reached an all-time high of 71,000 ft

Richard Branson passes a SpaceShipTwo rocket under its mother ship

Richard Branson passes a SpaceShipTwo rocket under its mother ship

Within decades of the Wright brothers taking to the air for the first time in December 1903 commercial aviation was linking Auckland to Amsterdam and Zurich to Zanzibar as the jet age took off.

Now barely five decades after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin wrote his name into the history books commercial space travel will be linking earth to the ether.

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, VSS Enterprise, the craft entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson is hoping will soon herald a new age of pleasure trips around the cosmos, has just completed its third test flight.

But Sir Richard and his team still have some way to go to reach the Kármán line – the border where earth’s atmosphere ends and outerspace begins.

This lies 62 miles or 328,084ft above the earth – more than ten times higher than the flight path of the average passenger jet. SpaceShipTwo flew 13.5 miles or 71,000ft into the air recently – less than a quarter of the way to the Kármán line.

But Sir Richard has no doubt that before this year ends he, his adult children, Holly and Sam, and stars like Katy Perry and Justin Bieber will become the world’s first space tourists.

He said: “2014 will be the year when we will finally put our beautiful spaceship in her natural environment of space.”

And Jay Tate, director of Knighton’s Spaceguard Centre & Observatory, in Powys, has no doubt SpaceShipTwo will journey the remaining 48.5 miles to realise Sir Richard’s dream.

He said: “There is no reason why it shouldn’t – technically it’s not that terribly hard.”

Physically, the obstacles may be just a formality of running enough test flights to ensure everything is safe and ready to go. But financially space tourism is unlikely to see many of us enjoying the curve of the earth from the comfort of one of SpaceShipTwo’s seats any time soon.

At around £152,000 a return ticket to the edge of space is worth more than the average house in Wales.

But what of the future? Will anyone over 40 live to see the emergence of budget spacelines offering cut-price deals to the Kármán line? Trips where your soul-achingly beautiful view of the earth from 328,000ft is blocked by a morbidly obese man from Blackburn.

And where inspiration at a once-in-a lifetime experience enjoyed battles with relief that now you’re back on terra firma you can use the toilet.

Mr Tate believes it will be decades before competition sees space tourism become something other than a privilege only celebrities and the super rich can enjoy.

He said: “If commercial companies take it up then within a couple of decades or so we should be able to do that (go into space).”

Sir Richard is promising the craft will allow an “out-of-the-seat, zero-gravity experience with astounding views of the planet from the black sky of space for tourist astronauts and a unique microgravity platform for researchers”.

Since 2005 the company has accepted more than £42m in deposits from around 580 people, which is about 10% more than the total number who have ever gone to space.

Sir Richard, who owns Virgin Galactic with Abu Dhabi firm aabar Investments PJS, is v passengers five minutes floating around in space before they will return to earth.

Dr Xing Li, an Aberystwyth University expert on astrophysics and cosmology, said as a scientist it would be “beautiful” to be one of SpaceShipTwo’s privileged passengers.

But SpaceShipTwo travels at a super-sonic 2,500mph – more than four times faster than a passenger jet – and Dr Li believes it’s difficult to imagine anything that goes at that speed becoming affordable.

He said: “Now we don’t have supersonic flights because of the cost issue. At the moment I don’t see that it will be possible even in 30 or 40 years. It will only happen if we have some technological advance that would bring down the cost.”

Once operational Virgin Galactic believes it may fly up to 500 people in the first year to 18 months and 30,000 over 10 years. The firm plans to use a fleet of five models of SpaceShipTwo – with VSS Enterprise, named in honour of Star Trek, being the first.

Virgin Galactic say they would ultimately like to fly every day and even from the outset will journey into the heavens many more times than NASA’s Space Shuttle programme. But that shouldn’t be too difficult as in its 30 year history the shuttle programme ventured into space on average fewer than five times per year.

A spokesman said: “We should have flown as many passengers as every other space programme combined within a year or two of starting service.”

The firm hopes to reach the Kármán line by the spring, and begin commercial operations in the second half of the year.

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/space-travel-become-reality-anyone-6539978

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Consumerism gone mad: Dubai Duty Free smashes all records with 30th anniversary sales of US$30.65 million

To mark its 30th anniversary, on 20th December, Dubai International and Dubai World Central airports set about beating their sales records for their anniversary day.  Dubai Duty Free (DDF) set an all-time daily sales record with turnover of US $ 30.65 million. That is 40% more than on 20th December in 2012.   They gave their customers up to 30% discounts, to get them to buy more and more.  Dubai boasts that some of their customers even”book their flights in order to shop on that day.”  By 6pm, DDF sales reached US $23.2 million and an amazing 158,931 transactions. By the end of the day it was US $30.65 million with 208,000 transactions. Sickening. Consumerism out of any reasonable scale. Perfume was the highest selling category with sales of US $8.5 million and representing 27.9% of the total daily sales. Watches & clocks was the second most popular category with sales of US$7 million. Cosmetics in 3rd place, category wise, with sales of US$3.9 million.  Alcohol in 4th position followed by cigarettes. Other notable increases were seen in confectionery, which rose by 33% to US$1.2 million and delicatessen, which recorded US$619,000. That’s airports and mindless, rampant consumerism for you. 
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Dubai Duty Free smashes all records with 30th anniversary sales of US$30.65 million

Published: 21/12/13

Source: ©The Moodie Report

By Martin Moodie in Dubai

UAE. Dubai Duty Free yesterday set an all-time daily sales record with turnover of US$30.65 million on its 30th anniversary day, 20 December.

The figure represents an astonishing +40% increase over the previous record, set on 20 December 2012, of US$21 million.

Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman Colm McLoughlin said: “We had a fantastic day on our anniversary with a huge surge of sales. Extending a -30% discount to our customers was our way of saying thank you for three decades of support. I join our Chairman, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum in congratulating all of our staff, suppliers and partners on the occasion of this milestone anniversary.

“We began introducing a discount offer across a wide range of merchandise on our 20th anniversary in 2003 and it has become a popular day with travellers, some of whom book their flights in order to shop on that day,” added McLoughlin.

The statistics highlight the huge volume of sales that passed through the cash points within the 24- hour period.

At 10.00am, the preliminary sales figure was recorded at US$12.5 million accounting for 86,550 sales transactions. As at 6pm, DDF sales reached US$23.2 million and an amazing 158,931 transactions and broke its anniversary sales of US$21 million in 2012. By 10pm, the cash registers had recorded 193,163 transactions and sales reached US$27.3 million, while the final figure when the anniversary day sale ended reached an incredible US$30.65 million. Some 208,000 transactions were completed on the day.

From a category point of view, perfumes was the highest selling category with sales of US$8.5 million and representing 27.9% of the total daily sales. Watches & clocks was the second most popular category on the anniversary day with sales of US$7 million. Cosmetics came in at third place, category wise, with sales of US$3.9 million.

Liquor came in fourth position followed by cigarettes. Other notable increases were seen in confectionery, which rose by 33% to US$1.2 million and delicatessen, which recorded US$619,000. Departure sales recorded US$28.3 million, representing 92.3% of total anniversary sales.

The announcement of the record capped an amazing day for Dubai Duty Free, which unleashed a party atmosphere for shoppers and staff alike at Dubai International and Dubai World Central airports.

Several product lines were offered at 1983 prices, while many others (as noted above) were available at a -30% discount, helping to drive a near shopping frenzy.

As the day drew to a close last evening, a congratulatory message featuring Dubai Duty Free’s 30th anniversary logo was beamed onto the world-famous Burj Al Arab hotel (click on The Moodie Live icon above to see all images).

In a travel retail publishing first, The Moodie Report covered the whole day in real time, streaming a series of reports, videos, podcasts and photos to its website via the new Moodie Live service. This allowed us to capture events as they unfolded on iPhone, transmitted directly to readers worldwide. The service was in association with William Grant & Sons.

The retailer’s anniversary was marked by a series of high-profile activities across both Dubai International and Dubai World Central airports

 

http://www.moodiereport.com/document.php?c_id=6&doc_id=37823

 

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More news stories on  Air Travel and Consumerism:

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Airport retail now altering ad displays according to the sort of customers passing through

5 SEPTEMBER, 2013In the departure lounge of Heathrow’s Terminal 5, passengers buy over $450 million per year of perfumes, clothing, scarves, sunglasses, jewellery, watches, bags and small leather goods from  top expensive brands.  A similar scene plays out each day at a plethora of major international airports across the world and the last 20 years, airside retail has undergone a radical transformation.The passengers at airports constitute a captive audience, passing “the magic hour,” between clearing security and boarding their planes. Airports have a lot of information on passengers —  who they are, where they are going, on what airline, at what time, in what class. Now by digitising product displays, retailers may soon be able to more rapidly adjust their merchandising strategies, in real-time, to reflect the profiles of much larger numbers of customers currently passing through the airport. eg. if you have got the English going through in the morning and they like their Johnny Walker Black you will put it on the advertising screens, and if later there is a Chinese plane coming through, you advertise something else that they like buying. .

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=17283

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Airlines selling expensive meal upgrades to economy class passengers, for foie gras, duck confit etc, to boost profits

Date added: June 9, 2013

Airlines are always keen to find new ways to extract money from their customers. Now several airlines have begun selling gourmet food to the passengers in the cheap seats, for a price. In February Air France has started tempting economy-class customers with paid-for meal upgrades featuring foie gras terrine. eg. duck confit with mushrooms and sauteed potatoes, followed by Opera cake for dessert, costing €18. So-called ancillary sales ranging from food to overhead-bin space have jumped more than tenfold to $36 billion since 2007, amounting to 5% of the total $680 billion earned by airlines in 2012. They are expected to rise to $50 billion per year by 2019 or so. “The low-cost carriers have taken ancillary revenue from a normal way of doing business and turned it almost into an art form.” Revenue streams that remain untapped — in-flight entertainment, wireless access and shopping — could be worth $5 billion. “When people get on board an aircraft, they’re actually in a great retail mindset. About an hour into the flight, they start to relax and their mind opens.Opening their wallets, too, has become a major ambition of airlines”. So much for the fake concern about the odd few $$s or €€s in aviation taxes on their “hard working family” passengers.

Click here to view full story…

Airports and airlines eyeing up passengers to increase their retail spend

Date added: April 24, 2013

If the airlines can’t make enough profit from flying their passengers from A to B, then they want to extract every bit of cash they can from them, in the airport shops. An anna-aero article discusses how airports and airlines might work more effectively together, to get passengers to buy more stuff. The airlines have more personal data about the passengers, and the airports want this data in order to maximise the retail earnings in their shops. But the airlines don’t want to share the chance of profit with the airports. The Chief Commercial Officer at Manchester Airports Group said – “airport retail is vital precisely because airport charges paid by airlines are already well below the cost of the infrastructure they use.” The airports and airlines don’t see eye to eye on this. There is a problem for retailers, with the low cost airlines that limit baggage, and the ‘one-bag rule’, which is a disincentive to buy a lot at the airport. An ACI conference next spring will look at actual practical solutions to enhance “Airline-Airport Cooperation to Increase Passenger Spend.”

Click here to view full story…

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Heathrow award for top airport for shopping for 3rd year. Net Retail Income per passenger £6.21 in 2012 (£5.64 in 2010)

Date added: April 18, 2013

For the third year, Heathrow got the award (within the airports industry) for the top airport for shopping. Heathrow has over 52,000 square metres of retail space and more than 340 retail and catering outlets. Heathrow overtook Dubai International to win the title of “World’s Best Airport for Shopping” for 2012. Heathrow has the highest retail sales of any airport in the world ahead of Incheon airport in South Korea. Figures from the Moodie Report in February 2013 said that Net Retail Income per passenger at Heathrow was £6.21 (up 4.4% on 2011, partly due to the Olympics) in 2012 and £5.95 in 2011, while it was £5.64 in 2010. (By comparison the Net Retail Income at Stansted in 2012 was £4.27 per passenger). At Heathrow in 2012 the gross retail income increased +5.7% to £460.1 million

Click here to view full story…

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How much profit do airports make from their retail activities, rather than flying?

13.2.2013
Heathrow got 21.3% of its income from retail in 2010, compared to 53% from aeronautical. On average each Heathrow passenger spent about £5.70 (maybe £5.90) at the airport, with women spending more than men (!). BAA data say frequent fliers spend more than infrequent fliers. In the year 2010/2011 Gatwick airport made £115.6m from retail, and another £51.7m  from car parking, with an average of £5.80 spent on retail per passenger. Stansted retail spending per passenger is about £4.00 to £4.20.  In the year 2010/2011 Heathrow made about £380 million per year on retail, Gatwick about £115, and Stansted net retail income fell from £79.8m in 2010 to £73.9m.  Manchester made about £70 million on retail, with about £3 per passenger.

 

 

 

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Chiswick group says new hi-tech BA ‘Magic of Flying’ adverts may become ‘tragic roundabout’ if drivers distracted

BA hopes it has hit upon a dramatic new form of advertising, with massive ad billboards, near roads, which can detect the presence of a BA plane overhead. When one is detected, it plays a film of a child looking up excitedly at the plane, and then shows which flight it is, and where from. BA hope this will make viewers “.. dream of an amazing holiday or warm destination.” and “We hope it will create a real ‘wow’ and people will be reminded how amazing flying is and how accessible the world can be” (and get them to buy flights, of course). A bit of slick marketing. They have put one of the massive billboards at the Chiswick Roundabout, which is several hundred yards north of the northern runway approach path and has exceptionally heavy traffic. The local West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society, which opposed the building of the advert towers originally, are very concerned the BA ads are a safety issue, distracting drivers. They say when the billboards were approved, the displays had to be “identical at all times and shall be static and two dimensional only with no moving or apparently moving images” etc,  Hounslow Council need to decide if the BA ads breach their planning condition.
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Residents’ Group Questions British Airway’s Ad Sign

‘Magic of Flying’ may become ‘tragic roundabout’ say WCGS

The advertising display on the A4 near Chiswick Roundabout [which is only a few hundred yards north of the Heathrow northern runway approach flightpath, an exceptionally busy road junction with very high traffic levels] which interacts with British Airways planes as they fly overhead is in breach of planning conditions according to a local residents’ group.

 

The West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society (WCGS), which opposed the building of the towers originally, point to the following stipulation in the document approving the signs:

“The displays on all panels shall be identical at all times and shall be static and two dimensional only with no moving or apparently moving images, devices, words or emblems and shall not depict any images that resemble road signs or traffic signals.”

Marie Rabouhans, Chairman of the WCGS said, ‘I did not see the ads and I am not a planning professional but I imagine that encouraging drivers to read the “small print” and/or look up to the sky as they drive over the Chiswick Flyover or negotiate the Chiswick roundabout might raise public safety issues with respect to such ads. The “magic of flying” might turn into the “Tragic Roundabout” in more ways than one. ‘

The digital display will has tracking devices which provide onscreen updates when a British Airways flight is overhead giving details of where the plane is coming from. A child points to the sky as the plane passes to emphasise the ‘magic of flying’.

British Airways denied that the advertising was in breach of planning conditions when we asked them about the signs.

We contacted Hounslow Council to ask if any enforcement action was being planned in relation to the signs but have yet to receive a response.

November 29, 2013

http://www.chiswickw4.com/default.asp?section=info&page=towerblocksigns004.htm

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British Airways’ plane detecting billboards showcase the magic of flying #lookup

by   (“Simpliflying”)

British Airways’ plane detecting billboards showcase the magic of flying #lookup
Once in a while, there comes a marketing campaign that takes your breath away. You wonder, “how did they do it?” This is one of them.

British Airways has put up a  billboards in Piccadilly Circus and Chiswick in London that respond to their planes flying overhead. When the billboard “detects” a BA flight flying below the clouds, visible to passers by, a child starts running, pointing up to the sky – chasing the airplane. The billboard then updates to reflect the flight details, like “BA flight 475 from Barcelona”, along with a URL ba.com/lookup. Onlookers can then go online and view destination details and ultimately make a booking.

British Airways has worked with the agency Ogilvy 112th Floor to custom-fit the billboards with surveillance that detects only when their flights pass overhead, and activates the billboard. Watch the billboard in action in the video (see link for the short video).

Abigail Comber, British Airways’ head of marketing, said: “This is a first, not just for British Airways but for UK advertising. We all know from conversations with friends and family that we wonder where the planes are going and dream of an amazing holiday or warm destination. The clever technology allows this advert to engage people there and then and answer that question for them.“We hope it will create a real ‘wow’ and people will be reminded how amazing flying is and how accessible the world can be.”   [Seem to have forgotten to say about the alleged vital nature of the business connections … most Heathrow flights are in fact for leisure trips. AW]. 

Well, it’s a great story, and it surely reminds me of my childhood, when I’d point up and run after an airplane. And brings out my inner #avgeek, when I still look up, and try to identify the airline and flight details.

While British Airways still needs to work on their social media strategy, they certainly have nailed their last few traditional marketing campaigns – first with Visit Mum, and now this #lookup campaign, to bring back the magic of flying. The latest campaign certainly seems to have caught the attention of Twittersphere.

http://simpliflying.com/2013/british-airways-plane-detecting-billboards-showcase-magic-flying-lookup/

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Monbiot on our relentless and unceasing consumerism – and its impacts on us

George Monbiot, writing on the damaging modern phenomenon of accelerating consumerism says that advertising and consumerism dull our capacity for empathy. The Greendex survey in 2012, indicates countries with the highest consumption levels often have some of the lowest levels of guilt about environmental harm done. That includes the UK.  Monbiot says the government’s programme for economic recovery depends on unceasing consumption: that if people start repairing things or doing without, the scheme collapses. “Christmas permits the global bullshit industry to recruit the values with which so many of us would like the festival to be invested – love, warmth, a community of spirit – to the sole end of selling things that no one needs or even wants.”  “Are we so bored, so affectless, that we need to receive this junk to ignite one last spark of hedonic satisfaction? Have people become so immune to fellow feeling that they are prepared to spend £46 on a jar for dog treats or £6.50 a bang on personalised crackers ….” Air travel is one particularly high carbon type of consumption; buying a trip by plane is just another product, albeit a particularly environmentally damaging one.
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Spend, Don’t Mend.

November 25, 2013
by George Monbiot
 

Advertising and consumerism dull our capacity for empathy.

Published in the Guardian 26th November 2013.

Guilt is good. It’s the feature that distinguishes the rest of the population from psychopaths. It’s the sensation you are able to feel when you possess a capacity for empathy.

But guilt inhibits consumption. So a global industry has developed to smother it with a 13-tog duvet of celebrities and cartoon characters and elevator music. It seeks to persuade us not to see and not to feel. It seems to work.

The 2012 Greendex survey found that people in poorer countries feel, on average, much guiltier about their impacts on the natural world than people in rich countries(1). The places in which people feel least guilt are, in this order, Germany, the US, Australia and Britain, while the people of India, China, Mexico and Brazil have the greatest concerns. Our guilt, the survey reported, exists in inverse proportion to the amount of damage our consumption does. This is the opposite of what a thousand editorials in the corporate press tell us: that people cannot afford to care until they become rich. The evidence suggests we cease to care only when we become rich.

Greendex graphGraph taken from the 2012 Greendex report

“Consumers in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, China and India,” the survey tells us, “tend to be most concerned about issues like climate change, air and water pollution, species loss, and shortages of fresh water … In contrast, the economy and the cost of energy and fuel elicit the most concern among American, French and British consumers.”(2) The more you have, the more important money becomes. My guess is that in poorer countries empathy has not been so dulled by decades of mindless consumption.

Watch the latest advertisement for Toys ‘R Us in the US(3). A man dressed up as a ranger herds children onto a green bus belonging to “the Meet the Trees Foundation”. “Today we’re taking the kids on the best field trip they could wish for,” he confides to us. “And they don’t even know it.”

On the bus he starts teaching them, badly, about leaves. The children yawn and shift in their seats. Suddenly he announces, “but we’re not going to the forest today …”. He strips off his ranger shirt. “We’re going to Toys ‘R Us guys!” The children go beserk. “We’re going to get to play with all the toys, and you’re going to get to choose any toy that you want!” The children run, in slow motion, down the aisles of the shop, then almost swoon as they caress their chosen toys.

Nature is tedious, plastic is thrilling. The inner-city children I took to the woods a few weeks ago would tell a different story(4), but hammer home the message often enough and it becomes true.

Christmas permits the global bullshit industry to recruit the values with which so many of us would like the festival to be invested – love, warmth, a community of spirit – to the sole end of selling things that no one needs or even wants. Sadly, like all newspapers, the Guardian participates in this orgy. Saturday’s magazine contained what looks like a shopping list for the last days of the Roman empire(5). There’s a smart cuckoo clock, for those whose dumb ones aren’t up to the mark; a remotely-operated kettle; a soap dispenser at £55; a mahogany skateboard (disgracefully, the provenance of the wood is mentioned by neither the Guardian nor the retailer(6)); a “papardelle rolling pin”, whatever the hell that is; £25 chocolate baubles; a £16 box of, er, garden twine.

Are we so bored, so affectless, that we need to receive this junk to ignite one last spark of hedonic satisfaction? Have people become so immune to fellow feeling that they are prepared to spend £46 on a jar for dog treats or £6.50 a bang on personalised crackers, rather than give the money to a better cause?(7) Or is this the Western world’s potlatch, spending ridiculous sums on conspicuously useless gifts to enhance our social status? If so, we must have forgotten that those who are impressed by money are not worth impressing.

To service this peculiar form of mental illness, we must wear down the knap of the Earth, ream the surface of the planet with great holes, fleetingly handle the products of that destruction then dump the materials into another hole. A report by the Gaia Foundation reveals an explosive growth in the pace of mining: cobalt production up 165% in ten years, iron ore by 180%, a 50% increase in non-ferrous metals exploration between 2010 and 2011(8).

The products of this destruction are in everything: electronics, plastics, ceramics, paints, dyes, the packaging in which our fatuities arrive. As the richest deposits are mined out, ever more land must be attacked to maintain production. Even the most precious and destructive materials are junked when a new dopamine hit is required: the UK government reports that a tonne of gold embedded in electronics is landfilled in this country every year(9).

In August a most instructive row ignited within the Conservative Party. The environment minister Lord de Mauley urged people to repair their gadgets rather than junking them(10). This, he argued, was necessary to reduce the amount of landfill, in line with the European waste directive. The Telegraph reported that “the proposals risk alarming businesses that are struggling to increase demand for their products.”(11) The Tory MP Douglas Carswell demanded to know “since when do we need government to tell us what to do with broken toasters? … having ruined our prospects of economic growth, the Eurocrats now seem to be giving us advice on how to make do and mend. The sooner we leave the European Union the better.”(12)

He understood that the government’s programme for economic recovery depends on unceasing consumption: that if people start repairing things, the scheme collapses; that mahogany skateboards and wifi kettles are necessary responses to a saturated market; that the iron god of growth to which we must bow demands that we spend the living world into oblivion.

“‘But old clothes are beastly,’ continued the untiring whisper. ‘We always throw away old clothes. Ending is better than mending, ending is better than mending.’”(13). Brave New World seems less fantastic every year.

www.monbiot.com

References:

1. http://images.nationalgeographic.com/wpf/media-content/file/GS_NGS_2012GreendexHighlights_10July-cb1341934186.pdf

2. http://images.nationalgeographic.com/wpf/media-content/file/GS_NGS_2012GreendexHighlights_10July-cb1341934186.pdf

3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5SXybm6bss

4. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/07/education-children-not-feral-enough

5. This feature isn’t online, but it covered 36 pages in the Saturday magazine.

6. http://shop.shipnduck.com/products/chris-craft-longboard-sting-ray

7. As above.

8. Philippe Sibaud, 2012. Opening Pandora’s Box: The New Wave of Land Grabbing by the Extractive Industries and the Devastating Impact on Earth. The Gaia Foundation. http://www.gaiafoundation.org/opening-pandoras-box

9. Defra, 21st November 2013. https://twitter.com/DefraWaste

10. https://consult.defra.gov.uk/waste/waste_prevention/

11. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/10229659/Householders-should-make-do-and-mend-to-cut-waste-says-Tory-minister.html

12. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/10229659/Householders-should-make-do-and-mend-to-cut-waste-says-Tory-minister.html

13. Aldous Huxley, 1932. Brave New World. Penguin edition, page 43.

 

http://www.monbiot.com/2013/11/25/spend-dont-mend/

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The Greendex survey:

“Greendex 2012: Consumer Choice and the Environment — A Worldwide Tracking Survey”
measures consumer behavior in areas relating to housing, transportation, food and consumer
goods. Greendex 2012 ranks average consumers in 17 countries according to the environmental impact of their consumption patterns and is the only survey of its kind.

First conducted in 2008, the Greendex survey was expanded in 2009, with the addition of
Argentina, South Korea and Sweden to Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain and the United States. Seventeen-thousand consumers were polled online (1,000 in each country). The same 17 countries were included in the 2012 survey.

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How high carbon is flying, compared to other forms of consumption?

Carbon footprints of products, and their life cycle carbon footprints, are not easy to measure – and there are a limited number of figures around. Calculations are complicated, and there are huge numbers of variables and imponderables.

But below are some comparisons from information available.

Taking data from the (excellent) book by Mike Berners-Lee “How Bad are Bananas?”:

(CO2 e = CO2 equivalents)

Some consumption examples:

A carpet – good quality. 4 x 4 metres.    290 kg CO2 e

100 loads of washing, at 40 degrees C dried in a vented drier. 240 kg CO2 e

100 baths, generously filled, heated by an efficient gas boiler. 260 kg CO2 e

100 loaves of bread, from a supermarket.   100 kg CO2 e

A Mac laptop –  its manufacture.  Between 200 – 700 kg CO2 e

A Mac laptop electricity consumption in use.   ? 20 – 50 grams CO2e per hour. Average ? 35 grams CO2 e                                                                                                              ie. using laptop for 8 hours per day that, per year, is 102 kg CO2 e

Expensive gold and diamond necklace.  Per £500 of cost.   400kg CO2e

Average UK Christmas (presents, extra food, trips, decorations, lights…) 280 kg CO2 e      per adult

300 pints of beer (local bottled beer from shop, or foreign beer in a pub) – 150 kg CO2 e

300 showers (3 minute shower, efficient gas heated, aerated showerhead) –  27 kg CO2 e

300 showers (6 minutes, typical electric shower) – 150 kg CO2 e

Leaving a 20 watt light bulb on all the time for a year   100 kg CO2 e

Lavatory paper use for a year (one person) – ? 200 – 300 kg CO2 e

Driving 5,000 miles (around half UK average annual car use) in a car that does around 35mpg  (about 15 km per litre – or 187 gCO2/km ).   Around 3,000 kg CO2 e

from  Mike Berners-Lee “How Bad are Bananas?”


 

Flying:

Flight London to Rome return (one person  – economy class)  – 280 kg CO2 e without including non-CO2 impacts (= radiative forcing), and 530 kg CO2 e including them.  see link for calculation

Flight London to Rome return (one person – First class) – 790 kg CO2 e including non-CO2 impacts    see link for calculation

Flight from Manchester to Barcelona return (one person, economy class) – including non-CO2 impacts  – 510 kg CO2 e

Flight. London to Glasgow return. (one person – economy class) – including non-CO2 impacts –  370 kg CO2 e   see link for calculation

Flight London to New York return (one person – economy class)  – including non-CO2 impacts –  1,840 kg CO2 e

Flight London to Thailand return (one person – economy class) – including non-CO2 impacts – 3,160 kg CO2 e

Flight London to Hong Kong return, in a 747. Economy class. 3,400 kg CO2e  (taken from “How Bad are Bananas”)


 

Annual gas and electricity consumption:

Average UK domestic use of gas  per year   (see link)  16,500 kWh  (Using DECC conversion figure of 0.20435 kg CO2 per kWh for natural gas)  – 3,370 kg CO2e per year

Average UK domestic use of electricity  per year   (see link)  3,300 kWh             (Using DECC conversion figure of around 0.58 kg CO2 per kWh for natural gas)  –  1,914 kg CO2 e per year

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Read more »

How high are the carbon emissions from flying, compared to other forms of consumption?

Carbon footprints of manufacture of products, and their life cycle carbon footprints, are not easy to measure – and there are a limited number of figures around. Calculations are complicated, and there are huge numbers of variables and imponderables. But it is illuminating to compare the carbon emissions of some of our regular consumption items.  For example, taking the emissions from one person flying, return (including the non-CO2 impacts) from London to Rome, economy class – that is approximately equivalent to leaving a 20 watt light bulb on, all the time, for over 5 years.  Or buying more than 500 loaves of bread.  Or buying around 500 pints on beer in the pub. Or buying a £600 gold and diamond necklace.  Or the manufacturing emissions of making a new laptop computer. Or about a quarter of the average UK household’s use of electricity for a year. One person flying return, economy class, to New York would be about the same emissions as 760 machine loads of clothes washed, and dried in a dryer. Or about the same as the electricity to power a modern laptop for 8 hours a day, for 18 years. Or getting on for half of the average UK home’s gas usage, or almost the average UK home’s electricity usage.
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How high carbon is flying, compared to other forms of consumption?

Carbon footprints of products, and their life cycle carbon footprints, are not easy to measure – and there are a limited number of figures around. Calculations are complicated, and there are huge numbers of variables and imponderables.

But below are some comparisons from information available.

Taking data from the (excellent) book by Mike Berners-Lee “How Bad are Bananas?”:

(CO2 e = CO2 equivalents)

 

Some consumption examples:

A carpet – good quality. 4 x 4 metres.    290 kg CO2 e

100 loads of washing, at 40 degrees C dried in a vented drier. 240 kg CO2 e

100 baths, generously filled, heated by an efficient gas boiler. 260 kg CO2 e

100 loaves of bread, from a supermarket.   100 kg CO2 e

A Mac laptop –  its manufacture.  Between 200 – 700 kg CO2 e

A Mac laptop – electricity consumption in use.   ? 20 – 50 grams CO2e per hour. Average ? 35 grams CO2 e                                                                                                              ie. using laptop for 8 hours per day that, per year, comes to perhaps about 102 kg CO2 e

Expensive gold and diamond necklace.  Per £500 of cost.   400kg CO2e

Average UK Christmas (presents, extra food, trips, decorations, lights…) 280 kg CO2 e      per adult

300 pints of beer (local bottled beer from shop, or foreign beer in a pub) – 150 kg CO2 e

300 showers (3 minute shower, efficient gas heated, aerated showerhead) –  27 kg CO2 e

300 showers (6 minutes, typical electric shower) – 150 kg CO2 e

Leaving a 20 watt light bulb on all the time for a year   100 kg CO2 e

Lavatory paper use for a year (one person) – ? 200 – 300 kg CO2 e

Driving 5,000 miles (around half UK average annual car use) in a car that does around 35mpg  (about 15 km per litre – or 187 gCO2/km ).   Around 3,000 kg CO2 e

from  Mike Berners-Lee “How Bad are Bananas?”


 

Flying:

Flight London to Rome return (one person  – economy class)  – 280 kg CO2 e without including non-CO2 impacts (= radiative forcing), and 530 kg CO2 e including them (multiplier of x 1.9).  see link for calculation

Flight London to Rome return (one person – First class) – 790 kg CO2 e including non-CO2 impacts    see link for calculation

Flight from Manchester to Barcelona return (one person, economy class) – including non-CO2 impacts  – 510 kg CO2 e

Flight. London to Glasgow return. (one person – economy class) – including non-CO2 impacts –  370 kg CO2 e   see link for calculation

Flight London to New York return (one person – economy class)  – including non-CO2 impacts –  1,840 kg CO2 e

Flight London to Thailand return (one person – economy class) – including non-CO2 impacts – 3,160 kg CO2 e

Flight London to Hong Kong return, in a 747. Economy class. 3,400 kg CO2e  (taken from “How Bad are Bananas”)


 

Annual gas and electricity consumption:

Average UK domestic use of gas  per year (per dwelling)   (see link)  16,500 kWh  (Using DECC conversion figure of 0.20435 kg CO2 per kWh for natural gas)                                         – 3,370 kg CO2e per year

Average UK domestic use of electricity  per year (per dwelling)  (see link)  3,300 kWh             (Using DECC conversion figure of around 0.58 kg CO2 per kWh for natural gas)                      –  1,914 kg CO2 e per year

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Calculations from Mike Berners-Lees book, and others done by AirportWatch using data from sources to which there are links above.

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