Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Damned if you do, damned if you don't

As both regular readers of this blog know, I do care about the environment. I think that people should fly less, drive less and consume less. But I also think that it would be impossible to expect people to immediately stop flying, driving and consuming altogether, and therefore I'm happy to see new products (be they planes, cars or light bulbs) that are more energy-efficient or environmentally friendly than the previous generation they are replacing.

And this is why I couldn't quite understand the comments "some environmentalists" have made about the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the cutting edge passenger plane that was unveiled last Sunday (07-08-07, according to the US fashion of dates). They were interviewed in the news as well, but I don't recall who they were and what the organisation was. But they refused to be happy about the major cuts in fuel consumption and noise that the new plane would bring. They said it would only make flying cheaper thus encouraging even more people to fly even more, thus making things worse.

I thought that making things more efficient and thus cheaper was the whole idea. This gives people (manufacturers, businesses and consumers) the incentive to replace their old, polluting machinery with newer, greener ones, as they can factor the future savings as part of the costs of switching.

Luckily at least some environmental groups, like the National Environmental Trust, were more understanding and admitted to the benefits of a greener plane. Of course it will not solve the major problem of us flying too much, but surely making those flights with less emissions is a step to the right direction? And with the promised 20% cut in CO2 emissions per plane and so far 677 orders in the pocket, in my opinion this is a major one.

(Pic: Boeing)

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