Something bothering me about the likes of 'Plane Stupid'

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Tacks's picture
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Oct 27 2006 10:13

woah - not saying PS are 'how we get there' or even a particularly good way to combat climate change. I repeat - I do not really support activism like this in general, but its is not actually counterproductive unless it detracts from community work and workplace organising - this does not.

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Oct 27 2006 10:13

communism will be awesome - it will even retsospectively fix the flooded lowlands, put the ice back on north and south pole, it will stop spread of tropical diseases, it will reverse loss of biodiversity and habitats, it somehow cools down the sea levels and even reverses desertification!

No need to worry about the climate change now, communism will fix it afterwards.

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Oct 27 2006 10:16
Tacks wrote:
oh fuck off they clearly ere not a halfwit - the criticisms have been genuine but plenty of them have been tired shit, and you know it. I'd rather that PS had not kicked off with such a tired respose themself, but i can understand.

Has anybody ever told you that you can be a bit literal sometimes?

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Loads oif people have said calling for a reduction in flying is anti working class cos its only now that people can afford them - its fucking implicit. Its fucking explicit all over other forums too anyway.

I've not seen anybody say that, I've seen people say things that could be misinterpretted as that, but that's not the same thing at all.

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as for a few 'lefties' cycling to work, oh come the FUCK on - lets see some fucking quotes to THAT effect? Who said that?

It's just another part of this whole "Come on, we're all in this together, let's tighten our belts!" culture that surrounds groups like this, the ludicrous notion that if individuals minimise their impact, they can eliminate climate change. Whereas the reality is that the number of people who are actually going to change their behaviour as a result of this sort of activism is miniscule to the point of insignifigance.

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who HAS?!

The Hungarians, circa 1956 tongue

Quote:
I do not really support activism like this in general, but its is not actually counterproductive unless it detracts from community work and workplace organising - this does not.

The thing is that action without a clear purpose is always counterproductive, people end up going round and round in circles wearing themselves out until they've completely lost momentum.

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Oct 27 2006 10:18

Whoa!

The last post in the thread is starting to look seriously weird.

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Oct 27 2006 10:21
Tacks wrote:
not true at all - as trade unionists and radical workers, the left has almnopst always been involved in some way. I don't know whay ppl insist on repeating this.

Probably best left to another thread.

Will start one in a mo.

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Oct 27 2006 10:21

A mate at the DEFRA just said this

Quote:
However, you may be interested
to know that aviation constitutes 25% of all UK emissions, and this figure
is broadly true for most industrialised countries. a large number of these
flights are travel that could either be replaced by a well structured
integrated transport system (e.g. pan-European high speed train links) or
long haul flights that could be replaced by greater use of video
conferencing (instead of exec flying to NY just so they can have a few days
in the Hilton charged to the company expense account).

As such, making efforts to reduce this use is a quick win from a climate
change point of view and could buy some time for more useful changes to take
place.

However, one interesting point I learned recently was that there are three
plants currently being built in China, to convert coal into liquid (diesel)
fuel. These plants, once operational, will be producing as much CO2 by
themselves as all of the UK's aviation emissions.

I had no idea that aviation constituted 25% of total emissions...

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Oct 27 2006 10:28
Jack wrote:
Well, won't it do *some* of those things?

the point kinda was that they are all irreversable, and communism would be really shit if it all took place beforehand...

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Oct 27 2006 10:29
madashell wrote:
Tacks wrote:
not true at all - as trade unionists and radical workers, the left has almnopst always been involved in some way. I don't know whay ppl insist on repeating this.

Probably best left to another thread.

Will start one in a mo.

i include anarchists and all strains of left in that BTW.

ticking_fool
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Oct 27 2006 11:10
Tacks wrote:
I do not really support activism like this in general, but its is not actually counterproductive unless it detracts from community work and workplace organising - this does not.

Unfortunately, it is counterproductive because it completely misunderstands the ruling class's relationship to climate change at the moment. As Plane Stupid writes:

Quote:
The point was awareness raising, economic damage on the industry and movement building

The fact is that this is a battle from fifteen years ago at least. There's no problem with awareness anymore - there's at least one major climate change related story every week is the MSM, often more. There have been major government advertising campaigns about energy saving which have used climate change as a motif. The Plane Stupid actions seem to assume that the 'corporations' are covering up and we just need to make sure that people realise what the problem is and take action for themselves against these destructive profiteering companies only out for a quick buck and incapable of looking beyond the next quarterly return.

This is complete bollocks though - it's just not how capital works and it certainly isn't the current state of play with regard to climate change. At the moment we've got two factions in the ruling class. One close to the oil industry which is pursuing energy dominance and looking to use military power to assure its ascendecy in any warming world. For this group the future looks like New Orleans and Iraq. The other faction doesn't see this as feasible, although it might find it desirable, and is in the overwhelming majority. They see climate change as an existential threat to capitalism and are committed to ameliorating its worst effects. Their main priority, however, is to make sure that the bulk of the consequences of this reallignment are felt by the working class. One of the main strategies for doing this is to focus on cutting CO2 produced in consumption not production. So called 'green' taxes, individual responsibility and all that crap, what madashell referred to correctly 'let's tighten out belts' shit. These are strategies for making sure that we feel the pinch and not the people doing the real fucking damage.

If Plane Stupid and groups like it didn't exist it would be necessary to invent them to provide a grass roots smokescreen for what is essentially another attack on the working class. This kind of activoid vanguardism plays right into the hands of our fucking enemies at the moment. It's completely coopted and twisted round to serve a factional agenda of part of the ruling class.

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Oct 27 2006 11:21

Good post ticking_fool.

I just checked DEFRAs website, and the latest press release (2005, but
referring to stats from 2003) says that

* Overall, 44 per cent of the emissions assigned to local authority
areas are attributed to 'industrial and commercial' sources, 29
per cent to the domestic sector, and 23 per cent to transport.

http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2005/051021a.htm

Which suggests that aviation is substantially less than 25% of emissions
(unless there has been *massive* sectional expansion of aviation
relative to all other sectors in the last 3 years), as *total*
transport emissions are 23%...

Plane Stupid
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Oct 27 2006 11:31
ticking_fool wrote:
If Plane Stupid and groups like it didn't exist it would be necessary to invent them to provide a grass roots smokescreen for what is essentially another attack on the working class.

As I explained at length in my first post, flying for leisure and business is essentially a luxury afforded by the rich. 11% taking 50% of the flights?

SUVs and other above-averagely polluting cars are not being owned by the working classes. 27% of households do not even have access to a car. Taxing cars according to emissions would not hit the poor to the same extent as the rich - and the money raised could be used to reduce the tax paid by people on minimum wage.

Similarly, a tax on aviation would hit the people who fly the hardest. This is mostly the better off (75% of flights are taken by people in social groups ABC).

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Oct 27 2006 11:31

ticking_fool, nice theory and would be lovely if it was so simple. Before criticising it though, could i ask what is meant by production? And how it is separated from consumption, or culture of waste, or commuting habits or whatever.

Plane Stupid
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Oct 27 2006 11:36
pingtiao wrote:
Which suggests that aviation is substantially less than 25% of emissions (unless there has been *massive* sectional expansion of aviation relative to all other sectors in the last 3 years), as *total* transport emissions are 23%...

Currently aviation emissions account for approximately 6% of the UK's emissions. The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research worked out two 'safe' levels for CO2 - 450PPM (parts per million) and 550PPM.

They assumed a growth of 50% of the growth experienced in 2004. Given that growth, and the need to keep CO2 PPM below either 450 and 550PPM, they found that by 2030 aviation would either account for the entire output (for the 450PPM value) or 50% of the output (550PPM value).

ftony
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Oct 27 2006 11:52

i'm sorry, but i'm not even going to get involved in this...

but as someone who sympathises with both sides of this argument, i'd like to have it on record that it is utterly depressing. in the extreme. this thread illustrates beautifully why there is no half-decent revolutionary movement in britain. both sides are as dogmatic and one-dimensional as each other.

[ps. except JDMF, he seems to be the only glimmer of hope here]

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Oct 27 2006 12:08

Not to downplay the seriousness of climate change, or of the ridiculously out of proportion output of aviation, but

Quote:
They assumed a growth of 50% of the growth experienced in 2004. Given that growth, and the need to keep CO2 PPM below either 450 and 550PPM, they found that by 2030 aviation would either account for the entire output (for the 450PPM value) or 50% of the output (550PPM value).

is a ridiculous assumption, if true. You are saying that they assumed constant growth of short haul flights at 50% the 2004 rate...for 24 years??!
I mean, fair play for doing the analysis, but that will be a far higher industry growth rate than even the airlines dream of!

Plane Stupid
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Oct 27 2006 13:43
pingtiao wrote:
That will be a far higher industry growth rate than even the airlines dream of!

Not if the industry's plans to expand every single UK airport are met. We saw two or three weekends ago the launch of Zoom - £80 flights to Canada.

What it indicates is the need to slow aviation growth. At present, the current growth rates are too high. We need to reduce the demand for flying, because if things continue at even half the current growth rate, aviation will account for either 50% or 100% of our recommended CO2 emissions.

The industry may not grow at that rate, but if it grows at anything like that rate, the effect will be catastrophic.

The study was not an attempt to model aviation growth, but to examine what would happen to the climate if it kept growing at a constant rate. Its findings clearly indicate the need to prevent that happening.

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Oct 27 2006 14:44
ftony wrote:
i'm sorry, but i'm not even going to get involved in this... {{yes u are}}
[ps. except JDMF, he seems to be the only glimmer of hope here]

er and me.

i think its well OTT to say both sides are dogmatic, PS has been very even handed - with the exception of 2 ppl it hasn't gone that badly anyway. Ping has been fairly measured, Madas has been a bit out of line, but they are right - its a critique, ppl need to be able to deal with them.

Which i think PS is doing - very well. I would say they may even be winning, not the whole argument abt activism, but this particular argument.

Sayinjg that this one fairly measured exchange is why there is no revulotionary movement in the uk, is like, totally bogus man.

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Oct 27 2006 14:49
Tacks wrote:
ftony wrote:
i'm sorry, but i'm not even going to get involved in this... {{yes u are}}
[ps. except JDMF, he seems to be the only glimmer of hope here]

er and me.

i think its well OTT to say both sides are dogmatic, PS has been very even handed - with the exception of 2 ppl it hasn't gone that badly anyway. Ping has been fairly measured, Madas has been a bit out of line, but they are right - its a critique, ppl need to be able to deal with them.

Which i think PS is doing - very well. I would say they may even be winning, not the whole argument abt activism, but this particular argument.

Sayinjg that this one fairly measured exchange is why there is no revulotionary movement in the uk, is like, totally bogus man.

hey tacks i agree with your assesment, but can symphatise with ftony, if you come to this thread and skim through it it must be depressing for someone who is both lib communist and has a strong green side as well.

Hey should we styart discussing about class based/lib communist/class struggle anarchist organising tips and methods, plus argumentation which ideally would be used when discussing climate change?

I mean there is nothing easier in the world that to criticise, but to come up with viable strategies and ideas thats another story.

(first one to say "organise at workplaces and communities" will be hunted down and ground to mince)

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Oct 27 2006 14:59

I just don't think that this sort of activism is the way forward- in terms of realism.
If it is based on forcing governments to legislateto remove the subsidies that allow cheap flights, that is one thing- to be honest I think that that is the most likely mechanism that will work.

If it is activism aimed at getting people to forego cheap flights out of an environmental concern, it is doomed to failure: you quite simply are not going to get large enough swathes of people to do that. I am a case in point- I will not be abandoning my use of cheap flights in the light of this information, nor do I think would the vast majority of the population.

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Oct 27 2006 15:00
JDMF wrote:
I mean there is nothing easier in the world that to criticise, but to come up with viable strategies and ideas thats another story.

(first one to say "organise at workplaces and communities" will be hunted down and ground to mince)

As much as I'd hate to die in such a disgustingly ironic way (being ground into mince by an angry vegan), if you look at groups like the Common Ground Collective (ticking_fool linked to their website earlier on), they've done exactly that. Faced with a problem that essentially comes down to the way in which capital is dealing with climate change (as a business opportunity), they've organised in their own community, started gutting houses that have been rendered uninhabitable and set up a health clinic. A really fascinating organisation.

It's this sort of stuff, organising to protect ourselves as a class from climate change and the reaction of the bourgeoisie to it, where we have a chance of success under capitalism. That's where we should be focussing our energy, IMO, and it often does come down to a matter of workplace and community organisation.

Things like food co-ops could play a role here. I seem to remember tacks mentioning the idea of "electricity co-ops" once, which could be a very interesting way of getting around any increased taxation on electricity.

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Oct 27 2006 15:24
JDMF wrote:
(first one to say "organise at workplaces and communities" will be hunted down and ground to mince)

which you won't eat grin

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Oct 27 2006 15:28

argh it had been done angry

ftony
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Oct 27 2006 15:31
Tacks wrote:
ftony wrote:
i'm sorry, but i'm not even going to get involved in this... {{yes u are}}
[ps. except JDMF, he seems to be the only glimmer of hope here]

er and me.

i think its well OTT to say both sides are dogmatic, PS has been very even handed - with the exception of 2 ppl it hasn't gone that badly anyway. Ping has been fairly measured, Madas has been a bit out of line, but they are right - its a critique, ppl need to be able to deal with them.

Which i think PS is doing - very well. I would say they may even be winning, not the whole argument abt activism, but this particular argument.

Sayinjg that this one fairly measured exchange is why there is no revulotionary movement in the uk, is like, totally bogus man.

okay tacks maybe i was a little unfair, but it's still depressing as hell. there's also a fine line beetween critique and argument, and this thread is (or at least was the last time i looked) teetering precariously. i just think that it's time for people at the extremes to allow people straddling both camps like yourself and jdmf and me to take over the world. red n black star star green black wink

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Oct 27 2006 15:32
Jack wrote:
JDMF - Do you not think it's somewhat telling that you (and this is totally not a dig), one of the most committed fuckers in the country to this (complete with a Scandanvian ethos wink) is still hopping in planes about the world?

...i make mine carbon neutral (where is that blushing emoticon?), and i think that is not a viable strategy unless it is included in the ticket price to start with.

yeah one of the main reasons why i am so interested in this issue is that i have half family in south africa, and half in finland and i live in UK, so i am fucked basically. And thats why i am so eager and keen on finding ways to work on this issue, rather than just saying fuck it.

I actually refuse to fly quite often (it is criminally cheap, cheaper to go to finland than to london often) and for instance dont visit my family in finland very often because of that (about or less than once a year sad )

I agree with jack about the canada thing - shit that is a sweet deal (getting tempted?).

I think ping is right about the legistlation and taxation, if they would tax kerosine like normal fuel, the prices would be something quite different. This would of course hurt the "poor" the most, but that would not be any different situation that it was just maybe 15 years ago when i never could afford to fly. no big deal.

Thora
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Oct 27 2006 15:44

Personally, I though Joss was ace on Newsnight.

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Oct 27 2006 15:45
revol68 wrote:
I suppouse we should heap tax on water then too. I mean yeah it would hurt the poor the most but it'd not be any different from the situation maybe 100 years ago when they had to drink and wash in contaminated water.

As much as that's an extreme example, the point is that your not going to get much momentum for such a step backwards amongst the working class. I mean I could easily have swapped cars for water in my example and in truth it would have more effect on carbon emissions but would be a ludricous suggestion.

sure and that is a valid point. The problem is that if we need to cut the emissions from flying by big percentages anyway, and people here talk about how it would be sorted in a libertarian communist utopia, you would need to cut it anyway.

So, no matter how you look at it it would need to be cut.

I think quotas would be the next best thing if we are allowed to come up with off the wall non realistic plans which wont hurt anyone. Every mofo gets a quota of flights per year smile

You see, the problem with your attitude is that we need to achieve 90% reduction in carbon emissions, but you think it should not hurt anyone, cause inconvenience or raise any prises of anything. Thats of course sweet thought, but please offer couple good counterexamples since we are doing this "blue sky thinking" here (to use management term).

Thora
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Oct 27 2006 15:48
revol68 wrote:
hahah he's called Josh, he's definately a posh one!

p.s. liked the subtle name dropping there Thora, very cool tongue ;)

Thanks revol cool

It's Joss, not Josh btw...

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Oct 27 2006 15:54
revol68 wrote:
If we want to actually combat global warming we are going to have to do it in ways which empower us (proles) and force the cost onto capital.

yeah, we all agree that would be the best way. Any concrete suggestions?

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Oct 27 2006 15:57

Okay, so since I fucked up the link when I tried to post it earlier, I am posting this again.

So what do people think about this "alternative"? Apparently it is as climate neutral as carbon trading. It seems like the only solutions there are are using the free market.

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Oct 27 2006 15:57

edit: doh! posted it twice (I am a bit hungover...)