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which travel is more environmentally friendly?

which travel is more environmentally friendly?

Dec 1st, 2002, 10:09 AM
  #1  
sven
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which travel is more environmentally friendly?

I am considering travel between Paris and London and I want to select the most environmentally-friendly mode of travel.

If I take the train, it seems to pollute less because I can't see the smoke and steam. But, it takes 5 times longer, requiring fuel the entire time of journey.

The jet exhaust makes everyone think it is polluting a lot more than trains, because jets leave trails of water vapor in the sky that most people believe is really nasty smoke pollution. However, the trip time is 1/5 as long as the train.

So my question is... do modern jets, like a 757 with 180 passengers, burn more fuel per hour than a modern passenger train also with 180 passengers over the same distance? Is preference for train travel over jets the next feel-good, fashionable position that will be cycle back to jets in another 5 years?

Which should I choose to love Mother Earth more?
 
Dec 1st, 2002, 10:23 AM
  #2  
Ira
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Hi Sven,
You wrote
>..the train ..seems to pollute less because I can't see the smoke and steam<

Steam engines went out some decades ago. Modern trains are electric or diesel/electric.

>do modern jets..with 180 passengers, burn more fuel per hour than a modern passenger train also with 180 passengers ...?

Yes. Trains are the most energy efficient mode of travel.
 
Dec 1st, 2002, 10:23 AM
  #3  
Belinda
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Sven, I think you must factor in the method and time taken to get to your chosen transportation mode. Additionally, you may want to consider which puts more dollars into the local economy and whether those dollars are likely to be spent in an environmentally friendly manner.

Finally, if a train leaves the station at 5:02 and Sven has seven apples, but on the way to Paris he gives away three apples to a poor person ......
 
Dec 1st, 2002, 10:33 AM
  #4  
Ira
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I forgot to mention:
You seem to be under a misapprehension regarding the travel time between London and Paris. The chunnel train takes only 3 hours compared to two hours by air.
 
Dec 1st, 2002, 10:59 AM
  #5  
marty
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<< jets leave trails of water vapor in the sky that most people believe is really nasty smoke pollution >>

Most people? In my experience, only blithering idiots would think that.
 
Dec 1st, 2002, 11:19 AM
  #6  
jj
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Trains. Without doubt. Re:Amount of use of energy and amount of pollution on a per-passenger basis, far and away the best use of energy for transportation.

Someone should tell the US that.

 
Dec 1st, 2002, 11:21 AM
  #7  
Ben Haines
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If you travel rail sea rail you give employment to workers in the two ports. But they might put their income into hamburgers and industrially made beer.
If you took hand-built horse drawn carts in each country and a hand-built sailing ship over the channel you might have little environmental impact. Or perhaps cycle Kent and France and swim the channel.

Ben Haines, London
 
Dec 1st, 2002, 11:23 AM
  #8  
Patrick
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I'm no expert, but I wouldn't be surprised if the amount of pollution caused by a car or taxi ride at each end of the London/Paris flight surpassed the amount of pollution caused by the plane itself (at least if divided by the total number of passengers).

And that one comment was funny. Are there really people who think that vapor trails are actually smoke?
 
Dec 1st, 2002, 11:29 AM
  #9  
While we
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...correcting people, that is...

<<You seem to be under a misapprehension regarding the travel time between London and Paris. The chunnel train takes only 3 hours compared to two hours by air.>>

That's ONE hour by air, not two.
 
Dec 1st, 2002, 11:37 AM
  #10  
John
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Most trains (depending on the motive power - diesel/electric worse than all-electric, etc.) use roughly one-third the energy per passenger mile/km as jet aircraft.

Remember, though, that even the electric rail systems (Eurostar et al) get their electricity from some generating plant that may be coal-fired, oil-fired, gas-fired, or nuclear, each with its own environmental and atmospheric impact. If it's hydroelectric power, the energy budget may appear more beneficial, but dam-building has its own impact matrix.

Not an easy issue at the end of the day.

Ben, have you ever seen the article bemoaning traffic safety, congestion and environmental pollution in London? The one prepared in 1880-something? Think of the methane and manure that was commonplace 125 years ago.
 
Dec 1st, 2002, 11:38 AM
  #11  
y
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What about all the disruption to the natural environment by rail lines that run through the country side? Doesn't that harm the environment? Not to mention the rail cars that flush human waste directly onto the tracks.
 
Dec 1st, 2002, 11:49 AM
  #12  
Ira
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marty wrote in response to

<< jets leave trails of water vapor in the sky that most people believe is really nasty smoke pollution >>

Most people? In my experience, only blithering idiots would think that.

Dear colleague,
As one who had the mixed pleasure of living on an approach path to an airport, I can assure you that those vapor trails are not only water, but contain large quantities of oily, black soot that have an unpleasant affect on the finish of automobiles.
 
Dec 1st, 2002, 11:49 AM
  #13  
Karen J
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What a co-inky-dink -- this environmental topic pops up a lot.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessages.jsp?fid=2&tid=34383412

I'm siding with "my bud" A. Gore. Let's do away with the internal combustion engine within 25 yrs. That's where the lion's share of transportation-related pollution comes from.
 
Dec 1st, 2002, 11:51 AM
  #14  
Ira
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While we ([email protected])wrote
>That's ONE hour by air, not two.<

You are correct. I forgot about the time difference. That will teach me not to change my initial answer.

 
Dec 1st, 2002, 11:55 AM
  #15  
Ira
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Karen J wrote
>Let's do away with the internal combustion engine within 25 yrs. That's where the lion's share of transportation-related pollution comes from.<

As a person who supports mass transit, I am all in favor of reducing pollution. What would you like to replace the IC engine with?

Please remember that hydrogen fuel cells are not an energy source, because there is no natural hydrogen on Earth. They only convert energy derived from fossil fuels.
 
Dec 1st, 2002, 12:54 PM
  #16  
hal
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One person does not make a difference. The flight or train will operate no matter which ticket you buy. Your added weight, even if you weigh 30 stones (over 400 lbs., about 200 kg.), the plane will not consume more fuel.

If you are travelling with a large group, this may matter only a bit.

Jets surprisingly use less fuel than a car for a long distance. I saw a calculation once that a long distance car trip was more efficient only with 4 passengers.
 
Dec 1st, 2002, 01:11 PM
  #17  
Greenie
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I would suggest you swim the channel, nude. That would be the greenest way to go, and no resources would have been expended making a bathing suit.
 
Dec 1st, 2002, 01:21 PM
  #18  
uncle sam
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Try swimming and then walk or ride your bike. You conserve, so I'll have enough gas for my SUV!

US
 
Dec 1st, 2002, 01:26 PM
  #19  
Mother Earth
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Which should you choose, train or plain, to love me more? Hah! That's like saying which should I choose, stabbing or shooting, to show someone I love them more?

I would prefer it if you walked, or rode a bike.
 
Dec 2nd, 2002, 03:37 AM
  #20  
Maira
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As an environmental professional (engineer) my answer would have to be to favor those modes of transportation that use less of earth’s limited petroleum resources and/or minimizes environmental impacts to air, land, or water medias. If that is the criteria, train is by far, NOT the most environmentally-friendly mode of transport. I have witnessed many times the horrendous impacts of poorly planned railtrack beds on environmentally sensitive areas all over the US and Europe. Like a poster noted earlier, this damage is further sustained by air emissions with harmful diffusion, frequent unattended spills, unauthorized discharges, and oftentimes the whole railtrack bed is left behind to be clean up as it often becomes an active source of groundwater and soil contamination (historical fuel leaks)...and let's not forget the past practice of coating rail logs with creosote, a suspected carcinogen. I could go on and on. Sven, there are a lot of bright environmentally friendly prospects in the transportation sector. Unfortunately, most are for short term transport. A plane ride is not a bad option.
 

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