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Published on Friday, July 20, 2007

Holidaymakers are sick of hearing about climate change

Comment by Jeremy Skidmore (www.jeremyskidmore.com)

If, like me, you will not give a second thought about the impact on the environment of your holiday, you are not alone.

Despite all the hype to the contrary, a new survey has shown that two thirds of Britons do not care about their carbon footprint.

Indeed, people aspire to long haul holidays to relax from their stressed lives and worry most about their accommodation not living up to scratch or that their luggage will go missing.

I recycle and use energy saving light bulbs (and would advise everyone to do so), but I"m certainly not going to stop flying to all parts of the world on business and pleasure.

Most people feel the same way, partly because we"re selfish and partly because we are unconvinced about the impact of aviation on the environment, or indeed "climate change" in general.

A few months ago, we were all told to expect the hottest summer on record, with the opportunity to grow cactus in our back gardens, and all because of climate change.

The experts also told us ski resorts were about to disappear, but now we are told to expect a bumper snowfall in the Alps this winter.

Frankly, these idiots don"t know what they"re talking about. And yet, what used to simply be called "a beautiful day" is now, they insist, "climate change".

But, for me, the main reason I refuse to radically change my behaviour is because I find it nauseating to be preached at by people who actually have the power to do something about climate change, if they really feel it is an issue.

The responsibility lies with government but what do they do? They raise Air Passenger Duty as part of their so-called commitment to the environment. This is a lie because the money does not go to any environmental cause.  Instead, it goes towards fighting wars which do more damage to the planet than you or I could do if we spent every minute of the rest of our lives jetting around. As the saying goes, you couldn"t make it up.

Then we had the dire "Live Earth" concert, supposedly to raise awareness of an issue that has been constantly rammed down our throats for the last few years. No, it was purely to raise awareness of the performers, who jet in by private aircraft and then sit back and enjoy the resulting increased album sales.

If I hear one more pop star (average assets: six houses, five cars and one Lear Jet) tell me how to live my life, I think I"m going to vomit.

The pressure on the average individual to make unrealistic sacrifices while the rich and powerful produce carbon until it"s going out of fashion, is a nonsense.

Ignore it and enjoy your holiday without worrying about the hypocrites.

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  • Tongue in cheek Jeremy?

    Actually I think most Brits would broadly agree with Jeremy's comments whilst acknowledging the need to tackle climate change. There is a great deal that Governments could do if they chose to, including spending the APD tax on tackling climate change as Jeremy rightly states instead of simply adding it to the Treasury coffers to boost public spending and pollute further. I think a bit more balance in the whole Green debate rather than simply harking on about flying, which contributes far less CO2 than power generation does would help. Seems the EC are more interested in maximising German industrial profits than incentivising us to use cheap low energy light bulbs imported from China as well. Let's not let Travel be the whipping boy for all the sins of the rest of the World!

    By William Burton, Wednesday, August 1, 2007

  • Frankly, these idiots don't know what they're talking about....

    Couldn't agree more Jeremy! What a great article, and very amusing too. Bring on the day when I can grow a cactus in my garden, I say, it's about the only thing I can keep alive!

    By Sarah Chambers, Thursday, July 26, 2007

  • Here, here Jeremy!

    You're spot on!

    By Justine Samouelle, Wednesday, July 25, 2007

  • Climate Change for the Perplexed

    I can understand people getting sick about the guilty pleasures of longhaul trips. But just as food for thought, maybe we will all get a personal carbon allowance in the future and we then have to decide how to spend it (being frugal at home and splurging on longhaul) or buy offsets. As for those who hopefully hold on to the last straws, I recommend getting a copy of a June 2007 New Scientist issue(www.newscientist.com) Climate Change Guide for the Perplexed which deals with the following laymens questions : Myth: Carbon dioxide levels only rose after the start of warm periods, so CO2 does not cause warming Half-truth: It has been warmer in the past, so what's the big deal? Half-truth: Human carbon dioxide emissions are tiny compared with natural sources Myth: It's too cold where I live. A bit of warming will be great Myth: It's all down to cosmic rays Myth: It was warmer during the Middle Ages than it is now, with vineyards in England

    By Ariane Janer, Monday, July 23, 2007

  • Encouraging

    I can agree with a little bit of every argument traded in this piece. (fence sitter or what?) Some of it is naive and some incisive & rational. I agree with jeremy's view that those with the power to make tangible changes have failed to do so for fear or upsetting the electoral 'Mob' and have essentially passed the buck. That's life and that's politics. What encourages me and give me some faith in the future (especially for the travel industry) is that travel industry professionals are having the debate, speaking from both the head and from the heart. Perhaps some of you can make a difference, not just with this issue but the many more which the future brings. Certainly more interesting than seeing pictures of many of our colleagues gurning at us from the pages of the travel papers during yet another golf tournament! Keep up the debates........

    By Franco Sessini, Monday, July 23, 2007

  • Hypocrisy

    Jeremy - Feeling guilty is not hypocritical, it is the recognition that what you do is wrong. However it is something that may eventually manifest itself in a change in behaviour or some mitigating action. Then again, it may not, but at least we can hope. With you it seems all hope is gone.

    By Talan Borkett, Monday, July 23, 2007

  • Enough of the hypocrits

    This is a very strong email, but I think its real aim is just to cut through the propaganda and get to the facts. He is right in saying enough of this popstar blurb, self-publicity and marketing, the "lets jump on the green bandwagon and make a few extra millions" positioning. I don't want to tar them all with the same brush, but we see a lot of them same stars down here where I live in Cannes, throughout the summer in fact, and i can promise you they are not running around in leanburn Peugeot 206 HDI,s . Oh no, replace that with a Hummer or a Merc 500 SLK, or why not a Bentley. That of course, after flying into the Mandelieu or St Tropez private jet airports in their learjets, and then of course jumping onto the personal yacht in ST TROP for a 3 week tour of the Med on boats that suck on a 1,000 litres of diesel a day (the residue of which is pumped into the Mediterranean that your families swim in when you come down on vacation!!!). Yes there is a climate challenge, the industrial era has contributed to that through greed and increased hedonism, yes many people think they own this earth and can control everything and do what they want too, but anyone with a brain knows that we don't own anything here, we borrow it and share it with many other animals and we have no right to abuse it, and no rights to disrespect them like we have...so yes WE ALL NEED TO TAKE MEASURES TO REDUCE THE ABUSE. Let's give more place to Scientists on the 9 o clock news, those that have the real facts and are desperately trying to raise awareness, often without much funding to do so. Let's also lobby so that cash taken in the context of "environmental preservation" is used justly for that, with the relevent tracebility as proof.

    By Thomas Morrison, Monday, July 23, 2007

  • Are you sure?

    I'm delighted that my comments have stirred up debate. I don't believe that I am irresponsible; I make small steps to improve the environment, but it's ridiculous for war-mongering governments and polluting popstars to expect us to forego pleasures such as flying. Ross: you continue to fly but dismiss me as ignorant. I'm just honest. Val: You could not be more wrong. My pet hate is the litter lout and I would vote for castration/public hanging for idiots who dump rubbish on the streets. It costs nothing to keep our streets clean and it's no sacrifice to put rubbish in the bin. Doug: I have got a 4x4, but it's a 2-litre, low emmission Hyundai. If you've got an average saloon, you will be burning more carbon than me. Talan: you say many people will not abandon luxuries but will at least feel guilty. Again, that's just hypocritical nonsense. Roger: Thanks for the back-handed compliment, but I fear you overestimate my influence! Jackie: Please! Do you really think these gas-guzzling, lear-jet owning popstars are leading the way because they pay a few quid to offset their carbon, while enjoying huge royalties from increased sales? These people are not interested in the planet, they're interested in me, me, me! Please keep the comments coming - I do love a good argument.

    By Jeremy Skidmore, Monday, July 23, 2007

  • Ross Calladine to Clarify

    Thank you for your reply. I must point out that I expect most of the UK population agree with climate change. After all the points in my previous article substantiate climate change has been continually evolving. All mostly before man interferred with the environment. All this substantiates the theory that man may not be wholly to blame. As a matter of interest I do practise recycling and try not to leave too big a footprint. Why? I do not like to contaminate and, I prefer to leave some of our necessary things for life to future generations!

    By Mr M. Buxton, Friday, July 20, 2007

  • Mr Buxton, I am compelled to reply..

    How much of a consensus do you require?? What percentage of scientists agreeing would sway your mind? Because although the Oil multinationals and American government would have you think otherwise we are as close to a consensus as conceivably possible. Why do you and many others think that climate change is exclusively global warming? Look closer at the research..greater extremes of weather...look outside now. Climate change is NOT uniform it is many changes in the Earth's climate some that conflict with your understanding of global warming being the only type of climate change. Anyway even if you don't agree with the undeniable consensus (speak to Al Gore - he has canvassed almost every scientist) common sense should prevail on this issue. Simple things like recycling, conserving energy etc etc just make sense..even if you don't buy the theories.

    By Ross Calladine, Friday, July 20, 2007

  • Is Science Infallible?

    Britain has in times of negligble population and no machines, suffered from tropical weather through to the ice age. In the early 1990's scientists were telling us that an ice age was approaching. Only a month or two ago we were being told that this summer we would be taking a step nearer to becoming a desert. So is the global warming theory just the new fashion ststement? It certainly aids government in raising extra tax! Note - NOT ALL SCIENTISTS AGREE WITH THIS LATEST THEORY!

    By Mr M. Buxton, Friday, July 20, 2007

  • Live Earth did what it was supposed to do

    As a commentator you seek reaction and you've achieved that so congratulations. But far from being dire, Live Earth was terrific. Most bands taking part already offset their carbon footprint for each year's activity, not just this one event. Another high profile performer was shamed into action because raising awareness is the name of the game. I can't bear the thought of our selfishness bringing polar bears to the edge of extinction simply through lack of habitat.The Al Gore documentary isn't called 'an inconvenient truth' for nothing.

    By Jackie Ellis, Friday, July 20, 2007

  • I am not sure about Gloabl Warming caused by man

    I am not at all convinced that global warming is solely or mostly caused by man. We were not here when the Dinosaur's roomed but it was a lot hotter then and there were more trees. However I feel we are all resposible to make sure that the earth's resources are used and re-used so that future generations have use of them too. I feel much of this was summed up when Boeing released details of its news airliner. It is 25% more fuel effient but those against aircraft made the comment but more planes will fly becaiuse it will be chaeper. For me more and better use of todays resources isthe way forward and we all must do our bit

    By Paul Johnston, Friday, July 20, 2007

  • Arrogant rant

    It's worrying when someone in a position of some influence in the travel industry is given a platform for a sub-tabloid arrogant rant like this. There are many opinions about climate change and everyone is entitled to their own, but whether you like it or not, you have to accept that it is the biggest challenge facing the travel industry. And a few facts from the predictions of "these idiots" - Alpine winter temperaturs are rising; there is increasingly less snow in the Alps, UK summer temperatures are rising, global temperatures are rising. So please act responsibly or get a job on the Sun.

    By Roger Gook, Friday, July 20, 2007

  • Oh dear, that's not really the right attitude is it....?

    It seems like you've seen the results of a survey and have felt that you've now got popular support to vent your very selfish and poorly educated spleen. Again, I agree that very few people will abandon their luxuries like holidays and cars. However many of them will at least have the decency to feel a little guilty over it if they are intelligent & educated enough to understand the issues. There are many things that you can do besides lightbulbs to lessen your impact without affecting your lifestyle. All it takes is just a little bit of thought and a touch of restraint. Many of them will even save you money. If you've got enough of that, give the savings to charity. Ignore the celebs, but don't ignore the problem.

    By Talan Borkett, Friday, July 20, 2007

  • Scientists don't agree

    At the risk of sounding politically incorrect I understand that actually scientists are not united in their acceptance of Global Warming theories. They can't even agree if the globe is still warming as some studies have shown that the increase in global temperatures has stalled in the past 8 years - it all depends on what you measure. In the 20 years after WW2 global temperatures actually dropped despite population growth and massive increases in CO2 emissions. How can that be if CO2 causes temperature increases? The truth is there are a lot more factors in play that scientists don't really understand yet but the one fact that is true is that global warming (assuming it still exists) is not exclusively caused by CO2 emissions.

    By Bob Fleming, Friday, July 20, 2007

  • out of touch

    this reminds me of a previous rant in which you said you had no intention of changing your gas guzzling 4x4 if I remember correctly. As a commentator I imagine you feel it your responsibility to put forwards the majority viewpoint? I think you've lost the plot on this one, you sounded like a spoilt kid who'd had his toys taken off him last time and the message hasn't changed - as a commentator you are seriously off mark.

    By andrews doug, Friday, July 20, 2007

  • 'Ignorance won't kill you,but it'll make you sweat' (a Spanish saying)

    You say 'I find it nauseating to be preached at by people who actually have the power to do something about climate change'. How sad to see that you don't realise this is EVERYBODY's responsiblity, that you (and me and everybody else, everywhere in the world) have a duty towards your kids (if you have any) or any other children to take care of natural resources and make sure they can enjoy them too. Indeed, as you say, your attitude is very selfish in my opinion too. I bet you are one of these tourists who leave litter on the beach they visit, for example, as 'It's not my job to keep it clean'.... This (and many other) problems exists - in my point of view - because people like you never take things personal, they choose the easy option of blaming others and wash their hands of responsibilities. Unfortunately, there is a lot of people like you. Common sense is the less common of all senses, so I don't expect you to change your mind, but I hope other readers do, and go to climatecare.org or any other organization like that, and offset their plane carbon emmissions. Don't stop travelling, do it responsibly!

    By Val Crowder, Friday, July 20, 2007

  • Me, too.

    Just like the tragedy in Iraq and the heartbreak in Darfur (and elsewhere), the media lust creates a mental immunity amongst simple-folk trying to get through the next day in this vale of tears!

    By Andrew Blair, Friday, July 20, 2007

  • Ignorance suits your lifestyle

    I was horrified after reading your dissmissive email regards climate change. I once doubted it too, but then I realised that scientists are united in the belief of human influences on the environment. Do not be so sceptical of thousands of studies by thousands of scientists worldwide which unanimously show..co2 levels are OFF the scale and can not be part of a natural mini cycle. I will continue to fly, but I will not show the dissmissive ignorance that people like yourself show.Population boom=co2 boom=climate change FACT.

    By Ross Calladine, Friday, July 20, 2007

  • I'm sure the polar bears will agree

    I agree with two of your arguments - firstly that no one will abandon their overseas holidays, and secondly, that the rich and the powerful (in all industries) are probably the most hypocritical when it comes to preaching to others about climate change. However, to say that there is no proof that air travel (and other forms of carbon transfer) contributes towards climate change is quite frankly, disturbing. Look up scientific research on "global dimming" and tell me then that you are not concerned ? And let's not forget the tons and tons of non-degrable plastics that the travel industry loves to use to ensure everything appears "fresh", from wrappings for cutlery, to bags for brochures. Yes, the world is heading towards another record year for global temperatures. It is just unfortunate that in the gardens of many little Englanders it is a tad overcast just now.

    By Andrew Longshot, Thursday, July 19, 2007

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