The Good News: No Carbon Emissions From Europe and Ingenuity Triumphs

twitter results photo

Image from twitter #getmehome

There is some good news about the grounding of 63,000 flights due to the volcanic eruptions in Iceland. It has saved 1.3M tons of carbon dioxide so far. And the ban is scheduled to continue until some time today--maybe.

On a normal day, flights in the European airspace emit about a third of the world's aviation emissions. Europe's emissions are usually quite high because there are so many frequent fliers; on weekend city breaks and business trips.

HM ocean photo

Image from HMS Ocean

Aircraft from Britain alone are responsible for more than 6% of Britain's CO2 emissions. According to the Aviation Environment Federation, the 28,000 flights in European airspace emit about 560,000 tons of CO" every day: a third of the world's aviation emissions. This massive CO2 savings is greater than the annual emissions of some small towns and developing countries.

By rough estimate there are 100,000 British currently stranded abroad, There are some very sad stories as a result of this shutdown: frightened and stranded travellers, economic disasters, and ill people awaiting medical assistance.

But there have also been many pluses. The use of trains, buses and ferries has increased dramatically: the companies cannot put on extra trips fast enough. Eurostar (Paris to London) plans to run at least 28 additional trains. The Royal Navy is sending 3 ships to Santander, Spain and French channel ports to rescue stranded tourists. One is being used for military personnel and the other two can accommodate about 1,000 people between them.

Video conferencing has taken off, which may cause many companies to reconsider the necessity of business trips.

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Image from the Guardian

Social networking has exploded as a way of connecting up with available rides. Carpool Europe has been set up by the Swedish car-pool movement, and has lots of messages offering or seeking the chance to hitch a ride. Another, called When Volcanoes Erupt, A Survival Guide for Stranded Travelers has set up Italy, UK, and Scandinavian groups as well as showing housing offers. Twitter has two movements: the #getmehome hashtag, and the #putmeup, which is being used to put stranded travellers in touch with people offering accommodation.

Local tourism is on the rise, as many take trips around the countryside instead of hopping on a plane. Neighbours took a bus to Rye this weekend when their trip to Pompeii (ironically) went up in smoke. More people are aware of our food chain and how it works as some supposedly-necessary foods disappear from the supermarket shelves.

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