I see the newly elected Representative from New York, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, has introduced a new resolution that has quickly become all the rage. She calls it a Green New Deal, basically calling for a “green revolution” in this country. The essence of the resolution is to do away with all fossil fuels and replace things like air travel with high-speed rail service across the country. The resolution also calls for converting all the nation’s homes and buildings to non-fossil fuel heating systems. She was joined in her effort by Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts and at least four of the Democrats who have entered the 2020 Presidential race have endorsed the effort.
I, and most others, are all for clean air and water and are willing to do our share to support those efforts. However, most people are unwilling to be so singly focused on that issue that we ignore or disregard all that is essential to our well-being as individuals or as a country. Let’s take a moment and give a little thought to one of the issues the representative may not have considered, dealing with elimination of the use in fossil fuels in air travel.
The thought of virtually eliminating air travel is overwhelming. Even if a high-speed rail system was in place connecting most major cities, it would still be necessary to use existing railroads to connect to them on both ends. The issue of time is not trivial. The longer it takes to go from one location to another the more costly and less efficient it is. Much of travel is for business reasons and the traveler’s presence is his/her biggest asset. The more time that is spent in travel, the less time that can be spent with customers or on other essential business or personal needs. And, we must also consider that to be “Green,” train travel would also need to be changed dramatically as trains that run on electricity, are essentially “locals,” not long haul, higher speed vehicles . . . those run on diesel fuel; Oops!.
Some aviation related issues. . .
— The United States has the world’s premier manufacturing providers of aircraft, aircraft engines, and aircraft related equipment. Those providers not only innovate and produce leading edge equipment for airline companies, they are essential resources for our military. Has anyone given thought to the impact on those stellar aircraft industry equipment suppliers if, by government dictate, airlines were essentially grounded and put out of business? Has the representative from New York given any thought to the fact that those industrial giants, world leaders in aviation technology, would become passé? Or would foreign governments who wish to dominate the world entice those individuals to relocate to their countries and bring their skills?
— While most people may not be aware of it, our commercial airliners have enormous cargo space below the seating areas; particularly the “jumbo” jets like the 747 and 777 models. They have cargo space somewhat like that of long-haul tractor-trailer trucks and they regularly haul fruits and vegetables not only from one domestic location to another in this country, during our winter seasons, they bring to us, substantial amounts of those necessities every day from countries below the equator. And, during our growing seasons, those same aircraft bring our fresh foodstuffs down to those countries; reciprocal transfer of healthy foods year-round. I wonder if the representative from New York has a plan to overcome the loss of our Divinely provide solar power during the winter so we can continue to have fresh fruits and veggies? Maybe our school systems can teach our young student how to “can” fruits and veggies just like our grandparents did.
— Locally, we have a nice airport that accommodates many private piston engine and jet engine aircraft. The airport gets particularly busy when there is a NASCAR race down in Loudon as a large number of the participant owners and drivers fly in for the week. However, this may be a minor issue as I doubt the NASCAR vehicles will be powered by solar panels and, as of yet, electric autos generally need recharging after about 200 miles (at lower speeds, of course). I wonder how many people at the airport and at the race track will also be out of work? I wonder too, about how many of those residents who fly in each weekend to enjoy the beauty and serenity of our surroundings — will there be any high-speed rail service to get them to Wolfeboro or Meredith Bay? Any thought on how lack of easy accessibility will impact the shore-front tax structure?
Is it too much to ask or expect that our elected representatives, in this case Ocasio-Cortez and Markey, exhibit a slight bit of common sense? Is it too much to ask that our press/media stop fawning over non-sense and ask some probing questions? And is it too much to ask that academia lead the way in teaching our students about action and reaction; that there is a penalty/consequence for poor judgement?
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident. He may be reached at email@example.com)