Friday, 3 July 2009

All hot air

Yesterday's Telegraph carried an amazingly naive interview with Sir Nigel Rudd, chairman of airport owner BAA. Rudd's claim to be concerned about climate change/global warming is pretty transparent:
Like many bosses of consumer-led businesses, he recognises that mitigating climate change is becoming very important to customers, and that companies need to act on the issue to preserve their reputations and brands.
"Combating climate change is very important to us,” he says. “Clearly as far as our customers, the travelling public, are concerned, I think people want to see that we are environmentally aware."
So we'll believe him when he says he's worried about climate change, even when he says he only says it to keep his customers happy. The article is full of naive assertions about what Rudd believes or is worried about:
If, on the other hand, environmental concerns prevent the development of a third runway at Heathrow, he is worried that interconnecting flights that currently go via London will be routed to overseas airports instead. “Frankfurt flies to six cities in China now, because that’s where the economy of the world is going to grow, in the Far East,” says Sir Nigel.
Never mind that Heathrow is chock full of transatlantic flights because those are the most profitable, lets blame the lack of flights to China on a lack of capacity. Reading the article, it's clear that Rudd doesn't give a stuff about global warming. He comes close to outing himself as a climate change denier:
"Sometimes there isn’t a hugely open debate about this. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who believes that human activity is not affecting the planet, but there are a lot of people who will not speak out about the real issues, because they’re concerned they will be branded as Luddite."
An honest debate would be great. But tacked onto the interview is an even more naive piece about what BAA is doing that looks as if it was written by BAA's press office:
BAA’s approach is to lead the airport industry in managing emissions, where it has direct control over them. Where it does not have direct control, such as over emissions from flights, it seeks to encourage the airline industry and policymakers to tackle climate change.
Question for the Telegraph: do you call this journalism or are you having a laugh?

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