My aim is to travel from the UK to Brisbane for one of my best friends' wedding. Plane travel is so environmentally damaging so I am looking for another way. I also think that by travelling over land and sea I will be able to understand our world better as I will connect with the people and landscapes and not just look at the departure board in the airport. Any tips gratefully received!! Departure date 1st September.

Monday, August 28, 2006

More about Carbon Calculations and Computers

Thanks for all your comments and tips. It is good to hear other people’s experiences and to know that I am not the only one who has tried this trip. I wish I could leave already as I am a bit worried that I have not got enough time to get to Singapore for the boat, but there are so many variables there is no point worrying and just hope that it was fated to work out!
Calculating the impact on climate change by various transport modes is a complicated business so there isn't one right answer. There are many variables including:


- Fuel used (eg diesel, petrol, electricity generated by various methods)
- Occupancy of vehicle
- Size and weight of vehicle and size of engine
- Quality and maintenance of engine
- Altitude (The IPCC (INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE) based in Switzerland concludes that emissions from aircraft at altitude result in the total warming effect that is in the range 2-5 times greater than that of CO2 alone. We used a conservative multiple of 2.7 for me)
- Speed of vehicle and route taken
- Road/Track/Weather conditions
- Idling times

So I have decided that it will be a good thing for me to get as much of this information as possible so we can make more accurate assessments when I return (or even whilst I am away what with modern technology). On that note I would just like to say, I hate using computers and the internet as well for the electricity they use and the chemicals used in the processing and leached in the dismantling. When I am at CAT (work) I use the computers there which are all run on renewable resources (sun, wind, water) if I am not at work I use the computer in the community telecentre or library. These are fast computers which mean you can do loads more in the time you use and it means less computers are purchased by individuals in the area. I have no idea where there energy comes from but it is a great community resource. On the journey I will try to use computers as little as possible but I will try and update this blog as much as I can. Oh it is all a balance. Oh yes and just to confirm, I do not have a laptop in my caravan or anywhere else! Nor do I want one.

However the figures are calculated, we know that to live sustainably (i.e for us all to have a hope in hell of there being a planet for our grand-kids to live on!) we have an allowance of 2.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide to emit as we chose each year (see CAT’s Carbon Gym). It is quite hard to hit this target if you fly.

For information on where you can recycle computers once they are knackered look at this good webpage (UK only);

http://www.wasteonline.org.uk/resources/InformationSheets

For info. on rail travel in Europe see;

www.raileurope.co.uk

For info. on coach travel in Europe see;

www.eurolines.com

For more informed information about the debate see what George Monbiot wrote earlier this year;

http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2006/02/28/we-are-all-killers/#more-977

I really need to get some photos to make this all look a bit more interesting, sorry about that, I’m working on it………(This photos (thanks to Tab) reminds me of a lovely day in the snow at home earlier this year)

10 Comments:

At 9:35 pm, August 29, 2006, Blogger McKinley said...

Altitude (The IPCC (INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE) based in Switzerland concludes that emissions from aircraft at altitude result in the total warming effect that is in the range 2-5 times greater than that of CO2 alone. We used a conservative multiple of 2.7 for me)

Though it should be noted that high altitude effects are transient as they are mainly through the formation of cirrus clouds due to contrail conglomeration.

That being said, recent studies indicate that contrails have little impact on global climate change instead having a greater impact on temporary regional warming. Such evidence was found when all planes were grounded during September 11-13th 2001 in the USA, at this time diurnal temperatures increased nearly 1.8ºC. Thus providing evidence that planes produce a postivie and negative effect on climate heating.

 
At 8:42 pm, August 30, 2006, Blogger Sarah Brush said...

Hey there!

I'm just finalling getting round to blogging about your trip and discover you've started blogging too! Hurrah!

Good to be able to hear all your news.

All the best and bon voyage!

 
At 1:33 am, September 01, 2006, Blogger LimePulp said...

Hi Babs

Today is the day that you finally get to start your amazing trip, so I doubt that you will get to read this message for sometime but just wanted to say one last fair well and wish you loads and loads of good luck

Hope you catch all you buses, trains and cargo ships on time, hope they all run on time and get you to where you need to go in time to make your next connect and of course to thw wedding on time

Take great care of yourself and know that loads of people all over the world are wishing you well

Keep us all posted when ever you can and look forward to meeting up with and hear all your great stories about the trip when you finally get back to England, and back to Wales

Have fun and travel safe

Lots of Love & Luck

Steve XXX

 
At 1:36 am, September 01, 2006, Blogger cc said...

hi Barbara

Congrats on your great endeavour!
I work for the Australian Conservation Foundation (www.acfonline.org.au), a green pressure group in Australia. Our magazine Habitat contains environmental news and green tips. We're including an item on your journey in our next edition and we were wondering if you had a photo of yourself we could use to illustrate it? if you could contact me on c.coote@acfonline.org.au that would be amazing! Thanks mate

 
At 8:40 am, September 01, 2006, Blogger Bride-to-be said...

I believe today is the day that you set off? Good luck mate and I look forward to seeing you in sunny Brissy in 7 weeks! Take care of yourself x

 
At 5:05 pm, September 01, 2006, Blogger Christian said...

mckinley wrote...

"...it should be noted that high altitude effects are transient as they are mainly through the formation of cirrus clouds due to contrail conglomeration."

"That being said, recent studies indicate that contrails have little impact on global climate change instead having a greater impact on temporary regional warming. Such evidence was found when all planes were grounded during September 11-13th 2001 in the USA, at this time diurnal temperatures increased nearly 1.8ºC. Thus providing evidence that planes produce a poistive and negative effect on climate heating."

Paragraph 2 of mckinley’s comment is assuming that contrails are all that's involved. Not so. Nitrogen oxides, water vapour and CO2 are all more potent greenhouse gases in the upper atmosphere than at ground level. Third paragraph - this is 'global dimming' and was the subject of a documentary a couple of years ago. It suggests that global warming would be even worse without contrails, and the reason is that the contrails reflect sunlight back out of the atmosphere.

 
At 1:41 pm, September 03, 2006, Blogger Marg B said...

Just letting you know that there is an article about you, your trip and the blog in The Australian national newspaper.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20330364-601,00.html

Good luck with your trip. It sounds like the adventure of a lifetime.

 
At 9:11 pm, September 03, 2006, Blogger Phil said...

Hi Babs,

Hope you haven't been too put off by some of the comments regarding the emissions. It seems everyone becomes a climate change expert when they don't want to accept responsibility for their own actions!

Enjoy the journey! I'm particularly jealous of any sailing you might get in on the return trip...

Take care,

Phil
x

 
At 12:58 pm, September 04, 2006, Blogger Neep! said...

Wishing you all the best with your journey!!

Bon voyage from the neeps! in north east Scotland www.neeps.co.uk

 
At 10:38 am, March 19, 2007, Blogger Panpipe This and Panpipe That said...

The plains still go if they're not full.

 

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