Ever wonder why the media ceaselessly singles out the airline industry as a global warming pariah when it accounts for just 2% of worldwide emissions? In what might be the most irrelevant alarm call of the year, Britons have been singled out as the "world's biggest emitters of CO2 from air travel" while Great Britain itself leads the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and compliance with the Kyoto Protocol.
So why the focus on air travel? As usual, follow the money and you'll find the answer.
Far and away the single largest source of greenhouse gases is the combustion of fossil fuels, a stat being driven largely by automobile use. By no coincidence the automobile industry is also the single largest spender in media advertising, while the airline industry doesn't even make it onto the pie chart (page 7 for those checking).
By keeping attention on airline emissions, mass media has framed a convenient scapegoat that distracts public attention from the real problem and avoided a significant threat to their bottom line. The greatest irony, is that worldwide travel may be one of the most significant social forces capable of driving action on global warming.
A true solution to global warming will start with a genuine world centric awareness that encompasses the needs of all people and the limits of our biosphere. And there is little that can drive this awareness faster and more effectively than the individual decision to get on an airplane and discover something about the rest of the world.
So go ahead and book your next flight, just bike to work when you get home.