Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Wishful thinking will save the world

Following yesterday's letter in the Times from a collection of business leaders arguing that we do not need a third Heathrow runway, BAA chairman Nigel Rudd comes out fighting, assisted no doubt by spin doctor Tom Kelly. His weapon - optimism.
Senior figures from aviation and other interested groups will gather tomorrow in London to explain how the industry can work effectively at the heart of a global low-carbon economy.
So the purpose of the conference is not so much to confer, as to explain. It's a PR stunt.
At tomorrow's conference, we expect to hear a refreshingly optimistic note from the aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing, whose new generation aircraft are making a substantial impact on the industry's carbon footprint.
Going along with the theme of optimism, aircraft manufacturers are looking on the bright side. But if optimism - not to mention self-interest - colours their claims, why should we take them seriously?
Rolls-Royce is developing an open rotor engine that can reduce carbon emissions by 30 per cent, raising the prospect of substantial reductions in CO2, and further advances could reduce engine noise by as much as 20 decibels and nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere by 60 per cent.
Can and could, not will. The whole article is an overt plea to think wishfully. Given BAA's input in permeating the Heathrow consultation with wishful thinking, it's hardly surprising.

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