Says Helen Clark, no stranger to nonsense, "With growing worldwide awareness of climate change ... many nations are looking at rail as a central component of their economic infrastructure – and so must New Zealand. A modern and well resourced rail system will lessen the carbon footprint of our transport network, and therefore of our whole economy."
Says Sue Kedgeley, a complete stranger to sanity, "We must encourage people to use the bus and train services... Getting people off the roads has to be a priority for any society that understands the basic reality of peak oil and climate change."
Really? Both Labour and the Greens have peddled the line "we need rail to reduce carbon emissions," and it's a line that the media has bought ("With petrol prices high and climate change haunting public policy, rail's renationalisation is timely" said the Herald yesterday, for example), and commentators have peddled ("rail infrastructure" is needed "to reduce transport-related greenhouse gas emissions" says Idiot/Savant) but it's a story that has fewer legs than Heather Mills McCartney.
Just to deal with a couple of untruths at once, I wonder if you could, for a moment, view these three modes of transport below and tell me which produces the least carbon emissions per passenger kilometre. On the left is the eco-weenie, 'planet-saving' girly car, the Toyota Prius ('Save the Whales' stickers not included); on the right is a modern diesel 'Virgin Voyager' (the very latest in diesel trains, and a few generations newer from the government's Soviet-era diesel units); and in the middle is a big mother-hugging earth-destroying Jeep Patriot.
Which of the three do you think is the biggest carbon belcher per passenger kilometre, and which the smallest?
Any idea which of them produces the least carbon emissions per passenger kilometre?
No, you're wrong. First of all, it's not the train. A British rail industry study reveals that "Modern diesel-powered trains are so polluting that a family of three or more would be responsible for at least double the carbon dioxide emissions on many routes when travelling by rail compared with driving in a typical medium-sized car." In other words, as the Times' Transport correspondent summarises:
"It can be greener to drive than catch the train."Can you hear that, Helen? Do you understand English, Sue? "It can be greener to drive than catch the train." If this is true for modern diesels on the well-patronised British rail system, then how much truer is it for FailRail's antediluvian and poorly patronised infrastructure. The fact is, your ancient and poory managed rail system would not "lessen the carbon footprint of our transport network", even if it were modern, well-used and well-resourced -- which it's never likely to be.
So that's one contestant out of the way, and one myth destroyed with it. Rail is not 'green.' Time to 'fess up and sell the system off for scrap.
Now listen to another inconvenient truth, as you would have on Morning Report last week -- the Prius is not green either:
The hybrid Toyota Prius car has been exposed as being less economical than a diesel SUV.In fact, Environmental website Clean Green Cars has released figures showing "current hybrid cars offer no significant CO2 advantage over an equivalent diesel of similar performance."
So that's another myth destroyed -- hybrid cars might offer posing value at Green Party meetings, but they offer "no significant CO2 advantage over an equivalent diesel of similar performance."
Inconvenient truth for a modern age.
UPDATE 1: Note that the above discussion only looks at passenger travel. Another inconvenient truth for FailRail enthusiasts to get their heads around is that much the same news emerges for long-distance freight. The most recent comprehensive New Zealand study directly comparing rail and road freight environment costs is quoted by Liberty Scott:
What did it say? Well it compared the environmental impacts of freight between Wellington and Auckland, Napier and Gisborne and Kinleith and Tauranga. The comparison is as follows:As Scott concludes yesterday, "So if it's not economically efficient, if the environmental advantages are dubious and sometimes illusory, then why buy the railway at all?" Why indeed? Are even socialists that blind?.Environmental costs per net tonne km in NZ$Wellington-Auckland rail NZ$0.008, road NZ$0.006Napier-Gisborne rail NZ$0.002, road NZ$0.002Kinleith-Tauranga rail NZ$0.001, road NZ$0.004.So in other words, on average it is more environmentally friendly to send freight by road between Wellington and Auckland than by rail, but the opposite between Kinleith and Tauranga
UPDATE 2: Another point most of the morons regularly miss when spouting their warmist nonsense about rail reducing greenhouse emissions is that if taxpayers need to subsidise FailRail to the tune of $80 to $100 million per year, then taxpaying industries will need to produce billions of dollars more to pay for this unsustainable white elephant -- with all the emissions that extra production implies.