Calculating Social Cost of Travelling

Travelling is an essential part of many people today, me being no exception. Well, that is what I thought.

“Around 10% of the global population account for 80% of total motorized passenger‐kilometres (pkm) with much of the world’s population hardly travelling at all.” IPCC Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, Chapter 8, p. 9

While I took the luxury in the past to nearly always take the train or the bus, now I am  working fulltime. Uhm, more difficult – therefore I have been thinking about faster means of transport. For that I felt it would help to understand the impacts better. One way of calculating that is the Social Cost of Carbon related of travelling.

This fits quite well with SCI now running a worldwide campaign on climate justice – “Create a Climate for Peace”.

 


 

Here the calculator:

[CP_CALCULATED_FIELDS id=”7″]

 


 

And here the explanation:

What are these Social Costs

Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) are a way to measure and approximate the impact of travelling related emissions onto society, including environmental impacts backlashing at us.

“When a polluter makes the decision of whether to emit, s/he does not take into account the cost their actions will have on the environment. The social cost of carbon (SCC) is a monetary estimate of the cost imposed upon society by GHG emissions.” Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs – The Social Cost of Carbon,  p. 12

This can be done by expressing all kinds of impacts, especially different greenhouse gases (GHG) caused by travelling expressed as damage-equivalent amount of CO²: The Carbon Dioxide Equivalent.

“The SCC matters because it signals what society should, in theory, be willing to pay now to avoid the future damage caused by incremental carbon emissions.” same as above, p. 2

The United Kingdoms have published a lot of data on this, which we can use to create a basic calculator for social shadow costs. A basic introduction into the relation of social shadow costs and climate change can be found here. Furthermore, the famous Stern review offers an indepth official review regarding nature and impact of climate change. Note that the Stern review is criticised by many as being too pessimistic – I take that as a sign that at least it is not too optimistic and does not try to downplay the effects of climate change too much.

“As noted above, the SCC varies depending on which emissions and concentration trajectory the world is on: the higher the concentration, the higher the SCC, since there will be more damage from climate change.” same as above, p. 4

From the numbers in this report, again by the UK government http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/files/pb13625-emission-factor-methodology-paper-110905.pdf. a rudimentary cost calculator can be created that takes into account the average passenger load of the different vehicles or in case of cars offers a very basic way to adjust the number of passengers.

Explaining the numbers

The combination of all greenhouse gases emitted is expressed in the equivalent of grams of CO² per kilometer per passenger – gCO²e / km.

For cars, this leads to 204.6 gCO²e / km per car (p. 27). Since the used dataset did not take into account the number of travellers in one car (p. 22), I added a very basic way to adjust by dividing the resulting car emissions total by the indicated number of passengers. The additional weight of passengers cannot be taken into account that way.

Local buses in the UK emit around 147.5 gCO2e per passenger km while long distance buses (coaches) are much more efficient with 30 gCO²e per passenger and km (p. 31).

Trains (p. 35) in the dataset emitted 15.1 gCO²e (international trains, though in this case that only meant the EuroStar from Brussels to London) up to 56.5 gCO²e per passenger and kilometer (the average for trains operating within Great Britain). For the calculator I took the average between the two – 35.8 gCO²e

Airplanes emissions (p. 57) are between 164.8 gCO²e / p * km for short distances and 111.5 gCO²e / p *km for long distance flights of more than about 6-7 hours. For calculations I chose the average of about 133 gCO²e / p *km. Since the impact on the atmosphere is much higher because the emission occurs partly directly in the atmosphere, generally there seems to be agreement of applying an uplift – so I multiply that number with 1.9 (see this DEFRA paper, Methodology Paper for Emission Factors, 2011, p. 59).

Essential now is the actual monetary value used to estimate the costs.

“Uncertainty is an argument for setting a more demanding long-term policy, not less, because of the asymmetry between unexpectedly fortunate outcomes and unexpectedly bad ones.” Stern Review, p. 291

According to the Stern Review, a rise in temperature of about 2° would lead to worst-case costs of about 4% of the gross world product to mitigate the impacts. However, we are already at more than 400 ppm of CO² (http://co2now.org/Current-CO2/CO2-Now/) – a number that brings us closer to exceed 3° and at that we face a possible amount of 9.1% of the gross world product to be needed to mitigate climate change effects (see Stern Review Chapter 13 p. 295).

“It is very likely that globally aggregated figures underestimate the damage costs because they cannot include many non-quantifiableimpacts.” CCPC Climate Change 2007:
Synthesis Report – p. 69

For that reason I assume that choosing the highest estimate of the social costs of carbon is a viable and more realistic choice than choosing the mean. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides recent numbers for the SCC trying to take into account higher-than-expected impacts and estimates the SCC in 2015: ~116$ per tonne CO² ~ 82€

“The SCC increases over time because future emissions are expected to produce larger incremental damages as physical and economic systems become more stressed in response to greater climatic change.”  U.S. Government Technical Support Document: Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis, p. 28

Alright, so I have the costs of a tonne of carbon in Dollar, the CO² equivalent emissions of the travel vehicles in gram per kilometer and passenger and want to get transform that into €, so I divide the grams by 1000 to get the amount in tonnes and then multiply the result by 82€. Done.

My very own Summary

Expressing the damage that travel does to the environment using monetary value does not imply that money can redeem anyone. The damage remains, with some reagents according to estimations for several decades at least until they vanish again. Aviation does impact the livelihood of this planet in negative ways and therefore should be avoided. All sources agree that buses and trains are much better alternatives for traveling than flying. Does this mean we have to change from fast to a bit slower in life? Probably.

Can you “repay” a sunken island, an extinct living form, dead and suffering humans? Is this an ethical issue? Sure yes. Does it mean people who fly are doing something immoral? Who knows… I am not going to say something like that. Moral decisions are up to the individual in my believe – there is no way to take into account individual circumstances. One thing is certain though, travelling is more expensive than usual thought of – and it is necessary to think about it. Is the personal solution to travel less, donate more money and time? Probably all of the above.

Therefore, instead of passing judgement I believe it is more important to inform people and maybe this post can help a bit in that direction. Mankind should not self-destruct  together with our home planet. On the other hand I strongly believe and hope that by gaining understanding (admittedly very fast since climate change does not leave us much time) we can together reach consensus and save this damn planet of ours.

I am not sure what the impact of all this is going to have on SCI. Is travelling less a good option? Can we argue for avoiding planes when we are promoting long distance travels? Is it necessary for us to fly to reach our organisations aims? Regarding our work and aims it can only bring us further to know about social cost of travelling and take them into account. The direct effect of travelling is counterproductive as it damages environment and strains society (and usually those parts of society already under pressure will have to carry an unproportional part of that burden). So we will have to be sure that the indirect effects of our activities outweigh the direct effects – otherwise we are working against our goals. Finding measures for that is going to be difficult but I believe it will be necessary to reflect on this in order to stay to true to our vision of a world of peace.

Lech Wałęsa strikes again. ‘Exclusionary solidarity’: LGBTIAPQ* rights and silencing over Sochi.

Whilst exaggeration of realities and the hypocrisy of individuals and governments has been unhelpful in the condemnation of Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ law, the Olympic games is playing host to ever–familiar silencing techniques. What is more, they are being deployed in the name of ‘peace, solidarity and dialogue’, contradictory appeals to emotion and cultural compartmentalisation.

Poland’s second president and unionist, Lech Wałęsa writes,

‘[a]thletes, who have been working hard since childhood and making numerous sacrifices to win an Olympic medal, should not be made to bare the brunt of political conflicts.’
Source: http://issuu.com/lotpolishairlines/docs/kaleidoscope_1402_popr/7?e=0

Here a fiction of victimisation is created to persuade readers to empathise with imaginary athletes held hostage by political issues which could not possibly concern them. There are certainly some athletes who have anti-gay opinions or who are indifferent to these issues but pressure will not bow to bigots or the ambivalence of the privileged. The battleground is everywhere. Oppression does not pause for the pole vault.

Besides, who was expecting Lech Wałęsa to fight for gay rights anyway? Despite the insulting fact that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, this is a man who has said, ‘I believe those [gay] people need medical treatment … imagine if all people were like that. We wouldn’t have any descendants.’ Wałęsa’s contribution to the trampling of human rights (his literal gay propaganda) greets passengers of Poland’s LOT Airlines, for the in-flight magazine, Kaleidoscope. Perhaps more fittingly, in 2013 he remarked that ‘they [people who are gay] have to know that they are a minority and adjust to smaller things, and not rise to the greatest heights’. Sense a sinister ulterior motive to his wish to ‘just get on with the games’?

Pussy DogThe standard ‘oh, please keep quiet and respect the athletes’ method of silencing relies on convincing people that there are two worlds; ‘the sports world’ (of good, wholesome [read: straight] ‘fun’ and ‘unity’) and ‘everything else’, including the lives of legally, materially and symbolically less valuable people.

Of course, Wałęsa does not bother to back up his characterisation of ‘[a]thletes, who have been working hard since childhood’. It is a pity-seeking allusion to innocence and determination that homogenises athletes and assumes their (his) heterosexual prioritising of ‘sports before rights’.

What those spouting similar bile to Wałęsa want us to forget is: everything is political. Things are only hidden when you are privileged enough to overlook the rights of some to maintain your personal contentment.

We can call it ‘exclusive solidarity’. Basically, the ship’s full, the drinks are flowing and the voices of people drowning are spoiling the atmosphere. Therefore, to keep the party rocking ‘we’ need to ignore the disruption, trot out some us/them victim cards and tug on the emotions – ‘cause you know, we’re all in this together!

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for them [athletes] and leave anything not related to sports out of it’, writes Wałęsa.

This is a false reality. The self-serving division between a ‘sports world’ and a ‘political world’ fails to address the intersectionality of the lives and opinions of LGBTQ* athletes and allies. Evidently Wałęsa does not care for the actual thoughts of athletes; he speaks for them:  ‘They want to represent their countries with pride, break records and stretch the limits of human endurance.’ And that’s it, I guess? If I were to speak for someone, I would say that Wałęsa aims to stretch the limits of human ignorance, marginalising the lives of millions of Russians in the process.

Former NBA player, turned psychologist and broadcaster, John Amaechi says,

‘I’m so tired of the Olympics being able to hide behind this ‘we are not political’ banner at the same time as being intensely political, within their internal politics or the way they manoeuvre within politics’,
as quoted in The Guardian (Source: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/feb/05/john-amaechi-sochi-winter-olympics).

Meanwhile Wałęsa, who remains a prominent public figure, is just one example of those working to shutdown the conversation as his remarks typify the bulk of those attempting to minimise LGBTQ* issues, because hey, sport makes ‘me’ feel globally connected. As an argument it probably sounds quite appealing, unless you have more compassion for the lives of ‘others’ than you do for an illusion that the world is a finished project. What is more is that, whilst Lech Wałęsa is notorious in Poland, and beyond, for such remarks, the wider concern is the brevity of this easily digestible logic; how thoroughly infectious it is to claim that people pushing a gay rights agenda ought to shut up because sports are more important. Indeed, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) has been playing the same card, stating that the Olympics are not the place for ‘proactive political or religious demonstration’. Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/olympic-committee-threatens-punish-athletes-who-fight-gay-russians120813

The childhoods’ of LGBTQ* youth, and all lives compromised by cultures of heteronormativity, simply do not factor into the distractionary, undermining rhetoric being played out on a global scale. Why would they? Nationalism + sport = protests-on-hold, right? 

The heterospectacle must be reinforced, is the message, or else ‘they’ will ruin ‘our’ games. The term ‘heterospectacle’ refers to the centering as well as aggrandising of heterosexuality via media and culture more broadly, of which the Olympics Games is used as a powerful vehicle for those who wish to silence ‘others’. 

Instead, how about people whose biggest worry is that they keep hearing about gay rights issues at Sochi let people get on with it. I mean, if resistance is bothersome, attack the roots – oppression. Otherwise all you are saying is, ‘this is more important than your lives’. And people have been hearing that all their lives.

Perhaps it is they, Wałęsa et al, who should ‘keep out of it’.

-Steven Clarity

Report on the Study Session “reACTING to extreme right hate speech online”

 “The study session “reACTING to extreme right hate speech online” took place in Budapest from the 2nd to the 9th of February. It was an initiative of the No More War Team, paired up with the No Hate Speech Movement of the Council of Europe.

Its main objective was to reflect on what hate speech entails, how it relates with freedom of speech, how we can deconstruct it and stand up against it, both online and offline.

As an EVS volunteer at the offices of SCI Greece, I will be involved in the 2014 project Budapest Study Session 2014Citizens Beyond Walls, which will raise awareness on the rise of extreme right groups across Europe and canvass how these movements act and the threats they pose. My attendance to this study session was; then; aimed at gaining new knowledge about the topic, especially when so many countries and organizations would be represented, to then share it with my team and shape our concretion of the project.

There were some intense debates about the various national realities of extreme right groups and parties, and which communities do they target the most and label as the major sources of economical and social problems in each country. Racist and xenophobic movements are probably the most common (often targeting the Roma, Jewish and Muslim communities, for example) but hate propaganda against LGBT rights, gender equality and African/Asian immigrants were also found to be prevalent among many countries. We analyzed a lot of hate messages, trying to break each down to pieces, so the response can be more effective. We discussed what sort of actions would be the most appropriate for each case and which have low effectiveness, like embarking on one-to-one argumentation with hate promoters.

I can say that it was very inspirational being around people who take active steps towards a culture of peace; I learnt how to adopt a more analytic approach to these speeches and groups and also understand better what underlies them. It was definitely a call for action, and one I shall run in my EVS in Athens.”

Tiago Filipe Vivo Bento Lila

“The study session “reACTING to extreme right hate speech online” took place in Budapest from the 2nd to the 9th of February. It was an initiative of the No More War Team, paired up with the No Hate Speech Movement of the Council of Europe.

Its main objective was to reflect on what hate speech entails, how it relates with freedom of speech, how we can deconstruct it and stand up against it, both online and offline.

As an EVS volunteer at the offices of SCI Greece, I will be involved in the 2014 project Citizens Beyond Walls, which will raise awareness on the rise of extreme right groups across Europe and canvass how these movements act and the threats they pose. My attendance to this study session was; then; aimed at gaining new knowledge about the topic, especially when so many countries and organizations would be represented, to then share it with my team and shape our concretion of the project.

There were some intense debates about the various national realities of extreme right groups and parties, and which communities do they target the most and label as the major sources of economical and social problems in each country. Racist and xenophobic movements are probably the most common (often targeting the Roma, Jewish and Muslim communities, for example) but hate propaganda against LGBT rights, gender equality and African/Asian immigrants were also found to be prevalent among many countries. We analyzed a lot of hate messages, trying to break each down to pieces, so the response can be more effective. We discussed what sort of actions would be the most appropriate for each case and which have low effectiveness, like embarking on one-to-one argumentation with hate promoters.

I can say that it was very inspirational being around people who take active steps towards a culture of peace; I learnt how to adopt a more analytic approach to these speeches and groups and also understand better what underlies them. It was definitely a call for action, and one I shall run in my EVS in Athens.”

Tiago Filipe Vivo Bento Lila

Peace Caravan 2012 – The Final Report

Here you can finally find the report of the Peace Caravan 2012:

Peace Caravan Report

The Peace Caravan took a lot of hours and energy, but it was worth every step of the way and we are very content with the outcome and look forward to future projects hopefully with the partners, supporters and volunteers involved in the Peace Caravan. Without the contributions of these people the Caravan would not have been possible!

We thank especially Sylvie Gosme for the fantastic coordination of the PC in many months of the preparation, which later Matteo Testino from the team took over. Also we thank the office of SCI Germany which gave John Myers from the team the space and support to apply for the funding of the PC and coordinate a great part of the project from there.

We thank the interns hosted by SCI Germany who supported with logistics – Andrea Haas, Rebecca Grübel and Marina Orlova. We also thank all branches and partners of SCI mentioned in the route for their excellent hosting of the volunteers. Also we wish to thank Eeva Lindstrom and Lulzim Bucolli for each stepping in as trainers in trainings.

And finally we thank all 27 volunteers for travelling with the PC and spreading the message of the NMW team, which became their own message as well – being creative, organized, motivating and working together as teams. Two of these volunteers also thankfully wrote this report together with Valerie Weidinger and Matteo Testino from the team – thank you Tomasz Pyszko and Amanda Ní Ghabhann.


Training for Route 1
Route 1 on rails
Peace discussions of Orthodox and Catholic priest
Step by step the banner is created by volunteers and locals.
Peace Caravan in Kuterevo, Croatia
Peace Caravan participants holding the banner in Novi Sad
Karavan Mira - The last day of route 1 - Sunny Novi Sad
The volunteers of route 2
Workshop with children in Novi Sad
Volunteers of Route 2 collect signatures
Route 2 visits Plementina where coal plants pollute the more high above EU health limits
The Peace Caravan reached the Alps
Route 2 enjoys Austria
Route 3 volunteers help at workcamp
Route 3 in Hungary
Route 3 Invitation at the One World Festival in Great Britain
Route 3 in Antwerp
Route 3 collects signatures for the Peace Manifesto
The Peace Caravan Route 4 people meet John
Route 4 visits a workcamp in Germany
Peace Caravan in Cologne
Route 4 participants talk with refugees in Rome
Peace Caravan Route 4 embarked to Barcelona
Route 4 in Girona
Route 4 and Peace Caravan have a blast at the end in Barcelona

 

 

 

 

 

Call for Participants: Studysession reACTING to extreme right hate speech online

Dear friends,

SCI and the No More War Team in cooperation with the European Youth Foundation are excited to introduce the study-session“reACTING to extreme right hate speech online”.

We see online hate speech as one of the global issues that are threatening a culture of peace and non-violence and consider it an important aim in our long-term plan to find non-violent ways to answer and deconstruct online hate speech. Participants will be encouraged to discuss the issue of the rise of extreme right wing movements, share knowledge and skills to analyse their discourse and deconstruct it, as well as getting to know the advantages, possibilities, risks and challenges of online communication and safety online. We will then promote the messages and tools that we develop together on a national level and support participants sending organisations in finding a place in the campaign on hate speech run by the Council of Europe.

The study session will take place at the European Youth Centre in Budapest from 02/02/2014 to 09/02/2014.  The deadline for applications is the 29th of November 2013, 23.59 pm.

If you would like more information about the Study Session “reACTING to extreme right hate speech online”, please click on the link below which also includes the application form. To apply please fill in the application form and send it to: studysession@no-more-war.net

Call and application form: https://db.tt/pfr54ptn

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

All the best,

The Study Session Prep Team

Valerie Weidinger
Steffi Koch
Milosh Ristovski
Jenny Kuhn
Ela Suleymangil

No-More-War Summer University in Catalonia 02.-08. Sept. 2013

Hey there,

as  a follow-up project to last years peace caravan project we want to bring peace education even further by giving you the chance to learn, exchange skills and practice:

The aim of this planned event is to bring a group of volunteers together, in order to further educate, train & empower them to take on the role of junior trainers within their respective organizations, thus building on & enhancing their previously gained skills and increasing the multiplying impact of their work. Besides that, the training will also provide the opportunity to exchange ideas & elaborate new projects in the field of peace & human rights’ education.

So, who are we looking for?

You should

  • be 18 years old or older

  • be able to work in English language

  • preferably be active in the organisation, know the capacity of the organisation and have the opportunity to be active in the future;

  • be interested in the training topics and have strong motivation to act as multiplier in the field of promoting peace work;

  • preferably have nomination and support (and if possible have been prepared for the project) of the eligible SCI branch or Partner organisation;

  • preferably have participated in a No More War project

  • commit to implement the learned knowledge and skills in practice back home;

  • commit to report thoroughly the content of the project to other activists of sending organisation (if any);

  • commit to actively participate

How to apply?

Application forms for the NMW Summer University 2013, in which you can also find further information, should be sent by e-mail to the following address: john.myers@sci-d.de until May 7th, 2013. Another round of applications will be accepted until June 5th, 2013 in case all places are not yet filled. A week after each deadline the decisions will be announced to the applicants.

Where is the place?

Thanks to the efforts of the people from SCI Catalunia, we are going to be at a very inspiring place that is deeply compatible with our SCI core values: http://www.masfranch.org.

Here a quote of what we heard about it so far:

Mas Franch is a very nice house in which a family and a group of volunteers live and produce ecological vegetables. They hold some trainings about permaculture, eco-construction and sustainability, so… the place is interesting itself, and they’re used to host people for trainings.

In addition, the place is in the north-west of Girona, where the peace caravan people visited a workcamp at the end of the peace caravan 2012 :)

Financial aspects?

All essential costs of the programme (including food, accommodation, and training) will be covered by SCI. 75% of international travel costs will be reimbursed for those not using planes, otherwise 60%. The travel reimbursement for those from other Continents is 80%.

Registration fee: 80 Euros for “old Europe”, 50 Euros for the rest (to be deducted from the travel reimbursement).

Additionally, there is a small fund available for those who for financial reasons cannot afford the required own contribution. Requests to this fund should be submitted on an extra paper together with the application form.

Easier community

Dear people of the NMW-Community,

after two days of tweaking and testing, the community now looks quite different to you. What has changed is not only the looks (and I do hope everything is easy to find), but also the structure.

To make the community easier to use for you, there are now only two main structures: General Forums and Project Groups.

General Forums allow you all to share and discuss anything related to SCI, NMW and their topics. You do not have to become part of a group anymore just to access those general forums. Now you can immediately start discussing 🙂

Groups are now called Project Groups, indicating their primary purpose of being used for planning and discussing specific projects, you are working on. The NMW team is using those for exactly that purpose and they work quite well in that regard 🙂

If you need more help, now there is a general and brief help page, introducing you to the community. If you have more questions, you can also find the help-mail address for asking more questions there.

I do believe that everybody can use this site after five minutes of looking at the help page and using the community. If you have any feedback, please leave a comment below this post, write in the forum or mail me!

Warm regards,
Georg

The Peace Caravan started!

Dear all,

the peace caravan is on its way! To celebrate this two and a half months ongoing project start, we are finally making a special caravan blog available to the public! Join the peace caravan participants over at

caravan.no-more-war.net

where they will hopefully give us as much insight and updates on where they are and what they are doing as possible in the next days ;)

How about some community?

Hey all,

bin some time. We have been preparing something special for some of you (actually for all, but it may be interesting to some more than to others). We created a new community page for all of us to exchange ideas, news and points of views around No More War, SCI and peace / nonviolence stuff. It is also the community we use together with volunteers and hopefully also soon with the branches to prepare and do the peace caravan. So if you want to join in on stuff related to any of that, please feel welcome to join us by registering here:

http://www.no-more-war.net/register

There is small introduction articles once you are registered, so you don’t get lost. If you have any problems or other feedback, please write a comment! The most important thing to know – everything happens in groups, so first thing – join groups. Second thing, add friends, since for some groups you need friends to invite you :)

Hope this works out and you will find good use for it! We are still at the beginning and hope to see this grow into a vibrant community of people enriching each other via opinion, news, research, discussions or just encouraging others to walk the path of peace :)

Warm hugs to all,

Georg

P.S.: The new community will not replace this blog. It serves a more directly connecting instead of informing purpose :) So you won’t miss anything big of No More War if you don’t join. But you will probably miss out on discussing with us about topics, project ideas and stuff :)

Peace Caravan – What is it about?

Peace Caravan is a project that gives the opportunity to its participants to lead, together with local SCI branches and their volunteers, peace related activities. The participants, split in 4 consecutive teams, will travel during the summer of 2012 from Finland to Catalonia, while passing through Easter Europe.