26 April 2010

Heathrow in Context

One of the issues being debated in the UK election is the potential expansion of Heathrow airport, and air travel in general in the UK as a part of "green" policies. On this issue Labor seems to have it right, as they argue that economic growth requires expanding air travel capacity. Looking at the graph above, it is easy to see why the debate over Heathrow (and air travel in the UK generally) is entirely of symbolic importance. Of course, the other parties have their own problems, the Lib Dems are adamantly opposed to nuclear power, the Conservatives are populated by "climate skeptics," while none of the three seems to understand the simple math of emissions reductions targets and timetables (while the Green party explains that good climate policy means being unpopular, enough said).

The UK election won't be decided on environmental issues. However, whatever government emerges from this most interesting of elections will face some real challenges related to climate policy. I suppose that the good news for the new government is that nobody else around the world has it figured out either.