Opinion | What if All That Flying Is Good for the Planet? – By Costas Christ – The New York Times

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Mr. Christ is the founder of Beyond Green Travel.

Credit…Hannah Mckay/Reuters

“A growing movement known as “flight shame” and popularized by well-meaning climate activists is gaining momentum around the world. Its premise: Flying is bad for the climate, so if you care about life on Earth, don’t fly. The movement, which began in Scandinavia, has ballooned into protests to disrupt flights at London’s Heathrow Airport and social media campaigns outing celebrities and others for planning long-haul trips.

With the holiday season fast approaching, many climate-conscious people may be wondering: Is my planned vacation for the other side of the world ethically indefensible? But let’s try another question: If we really did all stop flying, would that save the planet?

The counterintuitive answer is that it might actually do the opposite.

The tourism industry depends on air travel, and increasingly, saving nature is directly linked to tourism’s economic clout. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, one in 10 people are employed in the travel and tourism industry, representing more than 10 percent of the global economy. In many countries, nature-based tourism is a top foreign exchange earner.

At the same time, aviation accounts for approximately 2.5 percent of human-induced C0₂ emissions. By contrast, deforestation, according to some estimates, contributes nearly 20 percent, about as much as all forms of transportation combined. If we want to truly take a clean sweep at reducing global greenhouse gases, then we must stop clear-cutting the world’s forests.

Don’t get me wrong. As a conservationist and sustainable tourism expert, I am an advocate for a more responsible approach to tourism. Although I began my career as a wildlife ecologist, my work in the tourism industry is focused on transforming travel to be more environmentally friendly. While I recognize that flying is harmful to the climate, I also know what will happen if, in their understandable concern for climate change, travelers stop booking trips to go on a wildlife safari to Africa or decide to forgo that bucket list vacation to South America. Conservation and poverty alleviation will suffer twin blows.

By 2030, tourism to Africa is projected to generate more than $260 billion annually. Subtract that from Africa’s economy and not only will it plunge an entire continent into more poverty (millions of Africans rely on tourism as their economic lifeline), but it will also undermine hard-won efforts to protect some of the world’s most endangered species. Save the elephants? Forget about it. Rhinos, ditto.”

‘Worse Than Anyone Expected’: Air Travel Emissions Vastly Outpace Predictions – By Hiroko Tabuchi – The New York Times

Credit…Steve Parsons/PA Images, via Getty Images

“Greenhouse gas emissions from commercial air travel are growing at a faster clip than predicted in previous, already dire, projections, according to new research — putting pressure on airline regulators to take stronger action as they prepare for a summit next week.

The United Nations aviation body forecasts that airplane emissions of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, will reach just over 900 million metric tons in 2018, and then triple by 2050.

But the new research, from the International Council on Clean Transportation, found that emissions from global air travel may be increasing more than 1.5 times as fast as the U.N. estimate. The researchers analyzed nearly 40 million flights around the world last year.

“Airlines, for all intents and purposes, are becoming more fuel efficient. But we’re seeing demand outstrip any of that,” said Brandon Graver, who led the new study. “The climate challenge for aviation is worse than anyone expected.”

Airlines in recent years have invested in lighter, more fuel-efficient aircraft, and have explored powering their planes with biofuel.

Over all, air travel accounts for about 2.5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions — a far smaller share than emissions from passenger cars or power plants. Still, one study found that the rapid growth in plane emissions could mean that by 2050, aviation could take up a quarter of the world’s “carbon budget,” or the amount of carbon dioxide emissions permitted to keep global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.”

Automakers, Rejecting Trump Pollution Rule, Strike a Deal With California – By Coral Davenport and Hiroko Tabuchi – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — Four of the world’s largest automakers, including the Ford Motor Company, have struck a deal with California to reduce tailpipe pollution, in a setback to the Trump administration as it prepares to weaken national emissions standards and revoke states’ rights to set their own such rules.

While Trump administration officials in the White House and Environmental Protection Agency have been working on a plan to drastically weaken Obama-era rules on planet-warming vehicle pollution, four automakers — Ford, Honda, Volkswagen Group of America and BMW of North America — have been holding secretive talks in Sacramento on a plan to move forward with the standards in California, the nation’s largest auto market. And on Thursday, Gavin Newsom, the governor of California said he was “very confident” that more automakers would join the deal in the coming days.

The move is another blow in the battle between Mr. Trump and California, a state he seems to relish antagonizing and which has filed more than 50 lawsuits against his administration. “We in California see these regulations as a good thing. The Trump administration is hellbent on rolling back them back,” Mr. Newsom said. “They are in complete denialism about climate change.” “

Moving Forward: A Path To Net Zero Emissions By 2070 (Paid Post by Shell From The New York Times)

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CHANGING HOW TOMORROW’S TRANSPORT IS FUELED COULD HELP THE WORLD HIT THAT GOAL. EXPLORE THE POSSIBILITIES, IN 3-D AND AUGMENTED REALITY.
Getting a new TV delivered to your doorstep can seem like magic. With a few taps on your smartphone, a global delivery process is set into motion: Trucks, trains, jets and even ships all have a role in whisking your order from factory to warehouse to your front door — and in making and moving raw materials and parts to be assembled in the first place. Yet this impressive feat comes with a catch: Currently, the vast majority of vehicles involved run on fossil fuel, releasing CO2 and other gases that feed climate change.

SEE A 3-D VIEW OF WHAT SOME OF TOMORROW’S TECHNOLOGIES COULD LOOK LIKE BELOW
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via Moving Forward: A Path To Net Zero Emissions By 2070 (Paid Post by Shell From The New York Times)

Opinion | Trump Is Wrong About the General Motors Bailout – By Steven Rattner – The New York Times

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By Steven Rattner
Mr. Rattner was counselor to the Treasury secretary and head of the White House Auto Task Force in the Obama administration.

Nov. 28, 2018,    149


The empty parking lot at the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, during what used to be the second shift. G.M. announced Monday that it would completely shut down the factory, which produces the Chevy Cruze sedan, in March.
Credit    Allison Farrand for The New York Times

In 2016, as he crisscrossed the country for his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised repeatedly that he would make American factories great again. “My plan includes a pledge to restore manufacturing in the United States,” he told a cheering crowd in the nation’s automobile capital, Detroit.

In truth, Mr. Trump’s promise was false hope, a cynical campaign pledge divorced from economic reality. That was illustrated vividly this week when General Motors announced that it would cut about 14,000 jobs.

Mr. Trump promptly attacked the company, but he is tilting at the wrong windmill: Rather than some arbitrary downsizing, the company’s decision was a rational response to many worrisome factors.

Its sales have begun to soften. Consumers have shown little interest in small cars, and G.M. lacks a strong line of crossover vehicles. Like many of its competitors, the company continues to increase production at less costly Mexican plants. Moves toward electric vehicles, in particular, will vastly change the types of factories and workers that G.M. needs. What’s more, the whole industry faces disruption by the sudden rise of ride-sharing apps and other innovations that will discourage vehicle sales.

via Opinion | Trump Is Wrong About the General Motors Bailout – The New York Times

5 Cheap(ish) Things for Bike Commuting Bliss – The New York Times

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By AC Shilton
June 18, 2018

Let’s set one thing straight right now: It’s a myth that you need a lot of gear for cycling.

I blame this fallacy on the M.A.M.I.L.s (that’s middle-aged men in Lycra), and their endless obsession with carbon-fiber whirligigs and aerodynamic thingamabobs.

You don’t need any of that stuff. Really. (Especially the Lycra.) And thanks to bike-share programs, in many cities you don’t even need to own a bike. But having your own bike is a lot of fun, and it allows you to dial everything in exactly how you like it. (My favorite is the apartment-friendly Brompton, which folds up in 30 seconds but rides as well as any other bike on the market.)

What you do need though, are wet wipes. Smelling like a swamp cabbage in a 9 a.m. meeting isn’t a power play (ask me how I know). Personally, I keep a pack of Combat Wipes in my pack. I like that they’re biodegradable, and they have just enough scent to mask any ripeness brewing in my armpits.

In collaboration with Wirecutter, a New York Times company that reviews and recommends products, here are five cheap(ish) things to make your ride more comfortable and enjoyable.

via 5 Cheap(ish) Things for Bike Commuting Bliss – The New York Times

Opinion | Cars Are Ruining Our Cities – By Justin Gillis and Hal Harvey – NYT

SAN FRANCISCO — We might be living through a new age of miracles. Last month, Los Angeles decided against adding lanes to a freeway, an unexpected move in a city that has mistakenly thought for years that more lanes mean fewer traffic jams.

Shortly before that, Germany’s highest court ruled that diesel cars could be banned from city centers to clean up the air. Mind you, Germany is the land where diesel technology was invented — and Volkswagen, the world’s largest automobile maker, invested heavily in pushing the cars before it was caught lying about their emissions. After the court ruling, Volkswagen sputtered that it was “unable to comprehend” the decision.

These events occurred nearly 6,000 miles apart, in different political contexts, but they are connected. Both the public and a few of our bolder political leaders are waking up to the reality that we simply cannot keep jamming more cars into our cities.

A century of experience has taught us the folly of it. Three pathologies emerge. First, every car becomes the enemy of every other. The car you hate most is the one that’s right in front of you not moving. As cars pile in, journey times and pollution rise.

via Opinion | Cars Are Ruining Our Cities – The New York Times