Say what you like about climate change, it takes a lot of hard work. Wilfully destroying the planet, triggering climate breakdown and bringing on irreversible mass extinction takes effort and sticktoitiveness. It takes constant vigilance, lest we accidentally find ourselves reducing our kamikaze carbon emissions. Fortunately, humans are always working, always innovating. Always coming up with new ways to wipe ourselves out.
This week, genocidal capitalists Easyjet stepped in to help, announcing 12 new short-haul routes to take us closer to the apocalypse that we very definitely seem to want.
Airlines have long done more than their share, offering the most polluting transport per mile this side of shoving billionaires into space, and contributing a solid 2% of global emissions. As an industry they’re the equivalent of about half a Russia. Short haul domestic flights are the most polluting journeys per mile thanks to the efforts of taking off and landing, and should be the easiest for us to avoid given the availability of alternatives. But we don’t want to avoid them, which is why Easyjet announced routes as unnecessary as Birmingham to Newquay, Liverpool to Bournemouth, and my house to the corner shop, all of which are well under 300 miles each. This as the climate crisis accelerates. It’s a bold move.
Most domestic flights in the UK cover journeys short enough they could be done instead by train, one of our least polluting methods of mass transportation. But go too far with that kind of thing, we risk not obliterating our species. Luckily we’ve worked hard to discourage it, ensuring train journeys are unfathomably shit. They’re unreasonably slow, ridiculously expensive and, thanks to privatisation and decades of profit gouging, fantastically unreliable. As a bonus, their toilets come pre-installed with week-old piss from T in the Park portaloos.
The government’s been pitching in here, refusing to renationalise the trains in case it improves service or reduces prices, while cutting air passenger duty to make domestic flights even cheaper. And when the Covid crisis hit billionaire airlines, the government was sure to bail them out without asking for any new environmental standards in return.
And we’re pitching in ourselves, booking tens of millions of short-haul domestic flights every year because we like bargains, time efficiency and existential threats. I did it myself for years, flying from Bristol to Glasgow in a quarter of the time and cash it would have taken by train. We’ve really worked all the angles here.
There are some naysayers of course, environmental do-gooders who’ve spent decades sounding the alarm. But they’ve been doing it so long we’ve been able to block them out, like when you live near a busy road and get so used to the roar of traffic you can sleep through it. Environmentalists have been staggeringly ineffective. As David Wallace-Wells pointed out recently, almost a third of all human-made carbon emissions have been crapped out since Al Gore started knocking about with his pissing slideshow. They are simply no match for “Me wantee” consumerism.
It’s through these kinds of innovations we’ll stay on course for a 4º rise in global temperature; enough to trigger every tipping point we should be avoiding and dooming us all to short lives of hellish misery amid climate breakdown and the accompanying droughts, floods, famines, wars and general collapses of societies. Just think of the world we’re building together. When our grandchildren sit round sputtering campfires, playing the skulls of their tribal enemies like bongos, they’ll be able to tell each other how their ancestors once got an absolute belter of a deal. Good work, everyone!