I’ve always said that Extinction Rebellion and HS2Rebellion are anything but real environmentalists. Both organisations have jumped on the ‘green’ bandwagon to further a wider (anti-capitalist) agenda and nothing more – hence some of their mad tactics that do nothing to promote tackling climate change. Exactly the opposite in fact. One only has to look at the way XR have frequently disrupted public transport in the UK, even going as far as disrupting electric public transport by gluing themselves to trains on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) or standing on the roofs of Underground trains!
HS2Rebellion are doing the same with High-Speed 2, opposing a green railway that is the only way we’ll have the rail capacity to get modal shift from road air to rail to cut our biggest source of Co2 emissions (transport) and meet our international obligations to tackle Climate Change.
Today, HS2Rebellion let the cat out of the bag by showing they either don’t understand the issues – or just don’t care. Their target was the news that Malaysia has cancelled the proposed High-Speed rail project between Kuala-Lumpur and Singapore and they used this (superficial) report on the BBC from a freelance journo based in Singapore. In the report it mentions that there are 30,000 local flights between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur per annum – as well as a 24 hour bus service. Here’s what XRebellion have to say on their Facebook page.
Yet again we have supposed ‘environmentalists’ playing along to the right-wing libertarian narrative about costs. This is bizarre. After all, aren’t they the ones who’re always telling us that there is no ‘Planet B’ and that the environment is priceless? Not if you’re intending to build High-Speed rail it seems (roads? No problem – carry on!).
What is it that these ‘environmentalists’ are deliberately ignoring? Simple, just how much carbon those different modes of transport generate. Take a look at this and compare domestic flights, buses and high-speed rail (mentioned as ‘Eurostar’ on this chart).
Here you have the blatant hypocrisy of XR and HS2Rebeliion exposed in black and white in one simple chart.
Over in the UK there’s a similar picture. The biggest market for domestic aviation is between Scotland and London’s airports. HS2 (like HS1 before it with flights to Brussels and Paris) will make severe inroads into that market by speeding up Anglo-Scottish services, as Chris Ogilvie often points out.
I have to declare an interest here. I know Malaysia (and Singapore) well. I’ve been travelling there since 1992 and maintain a keen interest in the areas political, economic and transport issues. In the past, I interviewed the then head of Malaysian Railways for the International Railway Journal and I maintain contacts inside both countries, which is why I know the BBC story isn’t the full story by any means. Even so, for ‘environmentalists’ to gloat over the failure to building a carbon-neutral alternative to 30,000 horribly polluting domestic flights a year (never mind all those 24 hour, 5 hour coach trips) is mad – but then, these people aren’t real environmentalists. What’s depressing is the number of genuine ‘green’ groups and people who’ve been taken in by them. We’ve now gone from saving the planet by any means to saving the planet – just as long as the price is right! This is why I’ve long maintained that the the UKs ‘green’ movement (or what passes for it) simply isn’t fit for purpose as they’ve become just another limb of the libertarian right. You have to ask, how (and why) did ‘greens’ suddenly start celebrating the failure of plans for high-speed rail networks whenever and wherever in the world they happen, and how on Earth can they still call themselves greens?
I’ve a favour to ask…
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