7 Reasons to #VoteSNP – No. 6: A Greener Scotland

In Scotland, we are lucky to have the spectacular scenery, beaches, mountains, forests and wildlife that make our country truly unique. From the lush, green, rolling hills of the lowlands to the rugged moorland and mountains of our highlands, Scotland’s environment is stunning. It’s little wonder, then, that we work so hard to preserve that environment with efforts to look after our countryside as well as doing our bit to tackle climate change.

As a country, we have recognised that climate change affects us all and it’s up to all of us to do our bit to keep our planet, and our own wee corner of it, greener. By working with renewables to cut greenhouse gas emissions, to recycling more to help prevent pollution in our countryside, rivers, lochs and seas, Scotland is doing its bit to tidy up.

Leading the charge has been the SNP government, with funding and incentives across the board to help companies and individuals do their bit.

Campaigns to save electricity and so on have seen the targets for energy consumption reduction of 12% by 2020 already surpassed, with an overall reduction in usage of 13.3% between 2006 and 2013. More of this energy than ever before is now coming from renewable sources, with renewables being the largest source of electricity contribution in Scotland – this is due to renewable output more than doubling since 2007.

The SNP has remained committed to reducing the impact of fossil fuels too, with the Scottish Government on set to reach its ambitions and world leading targets of a 42% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. As well as this, the Scottish Government is safeguarding our countryside and holding off further dependence on fossil fuels with its moratorium on underground liquid coal gasification and hydraulic fracturing.

As a result of SNP policies, we are now managing our waste better. In Scotland, recycling levels are at an all-time high and climbing, with 43% of household waste being recycled in 2014. As more councils roll out easier ways to recycle too, this number will only increase, decreasing the size of landfill sites and our pollution to our environment. Disposable arrier bags, the bane of the environment, have been seeing a decline lately, since the SNP introduced a 5p bag levy in Scotland. The 5p carrier bag charge as seen usage of disposable carrier bags fall and more people opting for reusable bags. As another result of this charge, over £7 million has been raised by shops and supermarkets for numerous good causes. This model has since been used by the Westminster Government and rolled out across England.

Our waterside communities are now safer from flooding than ever before, with the Scottish Government brining investment for new flood defences and counter flooding measures as well as the new measures to be implemented under the Flooding Act. Floods are becoming more and more of a regular occurrence as a result of climate change and have the power to destroy homes and livelihoods, devastating families and wreaking havoc on the local economy; the SNP are committed to doing everything possible to mitigating these disasters.

These policies and other besides them are just part of the SNP’s record on making Scotland greener and helping Scotland to become a global leader on issues of climate change and environmental protection. In Scotland, our environment is truly dear to us; the idea of living in a rugged environment, braving the rain and wintry weather (be it December of July) is part of our national identity, our natural environment brings tourists from all across the world and brings millions to our economy.

It truly is worth protecting.

And it’s the SNP who’ve been doing that for the past nine years. So, if you want to see a greener Scotland, a Scotland paving the way for international action and standards on saving the planet, it has to be Both Votes SNP.

Chemtrail Crack-Pot Conspiracies

Hello once again, I know after weeks of complete inactivity, you’re now getting two posts in one day! Aren’t you lucky, eh? I write this post mostly as a response to a small group of people with whom I’ve been having a debate on the subject of “chemtrails”, but also as a general response to the, frankly crazy, conspiracy as a whole. Now, hopefully, this won’t be quite as long as this morning’s article, but it should outline the main reasons why the very notion of the chemtrail is a ludicrous one without any real basis. So, here we go:

How the Jet Engine Works:

A jet engine is a surprisingly simple piece of kit that relies on Newton’s Third Law of Motion to propel an aircraft forward, the famous ” To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts.” (from Newton’s Principia).

Essentially what happens is that a vast volume of cold air is sucked into the jet engine and compressed by an array of fans until it heats up to a temperature hot enough to sustain the combustion of the jet fuel. This superheated air is passed into the “hot section” of the engine, where it is mixed with the jet fuel and ignited by an electric spark (much the same as the spark plug in your car’s internal combustion engine). The burning fuel and hot air are thrust backwards out of the turbine, and this is where Newton’s Third Law of Motion comes into effect; the force of the fuel and air being thrust backwards generates a force equal in magnitude in the opposite direction which is responsible for driving the aircraft forwards.

So then, what’s coming out the back of this engine? Well, a couple of things, firstly the Carbon Dioxide and other by-products of hydrocarbon fuel burning. One of these by-products is something quite harmless and very simple, and this is the one that we see; it is, of course, water. Nothing more sinister than that makes up the trail.

When the water, now exceedingly hot, is ejected from the rear of the turbine it cools and condenses, forming tiny ice crystals resulting in the white haze we see. This is very close, in fact, to the process by which clouds are formed, simple condensation; which is where we get the correct name for this phenomenon the “contrail” or “vapour trail”. These trails should only appear at altitudes of roughly 26’000 feet or above, where the temperature is below about -40°C, or in regions where it is very cold at altitudes below 26’000 feet. This is consistent with observations.

So Why Can’t There Be Harmful Chemicals in There Too?:

Well, apart from the fuel by-products which, of course, contribute to climate change, there are a couple of reasons, some physical/chemical, others political and some quite simply logistical.

Let’s look at a picture of a contrail… in fact, in order to remain reasonable neutral for now, let’s call them cirrus aviaticus. So, yeah, let’s look a a quick snap of a plan and cirrus aviaticus being projected behind it.

Boeing 747-400 seen emitting Cirrus Aviaticus

So, let’s examine this picture a little, shall we? The first thing we notice is that the trails appear to start several dozens of feet from the exhaust port of the engine, and this is for a very simple physical reason; a heated substance requires time to cool. What you are seeing here is the time it takes the superheated moisture being ejected from the engine to cool and condense to form the clouds behind the jet. Chemicals being sprayed downwards would not necessarily require this time; look for example at the Red Arrows (the world-famous RAF display team) who eject a coloured smoke out of the rear of their planes during displays. This smoke, much like any other gaseous or smoke based chemical, appears right at the port from where it is being ejected, unlike the Cirrus Aviaticus.

But suppose the chemicals are coming from the engine itself, they would then require time to cool, and may in that case, much like the water, require time to become visible. This is a valid point, however it does require messing with the chemistry of the aviation fuel in order to inject the chemicals (what ever they may be) into the fuel to be ejected. This would have a number of effects, not least of all messing with the combustibility of the fuel used, something that is very precisely calculated for modern aircraft. It would also require fiddling with the already very high precision piece of equipment that is the modern jet engine. Adding more pipes and lines into a jet engine is more easily said than done.

But supposing that the chemicals can appear in much the same way as the water and behave in the same physical and chemical manners, and suppose that the chemicals can easily be injected into the fuel stream and into the engine without affecting the performance of the plane. We now have the question of “where does it go?” We’ll we’ve already established that any chemicals being mixed with the fuel is a bad idea, so where would one put a tank of chemicals?

The simple fact here is that there isn’t room. A modern jet is built so that there is very little spare room left. Empty fuselage space is wasted space which is added weight for no reason, which wastes fuel and in turn wastes money. The simple answer here is that there is no space for any extra chemical tanks on a plane.

And my final point is this; why? Quite simply why would airline companies or governments bother to poison us from the air? Forget for a second why they would bother in the first place, but why from altitudes of more than 25’000 feet? The fact is that such a practice would be hideously inaccurate, inefficient and expensive; think about crop dusting, it’s only ever really done from heights of less that about 100 feet. Above heights of about 100 feet winds begin to carry chemicals far off of their intended course, which of course, means more of the chemical is required, which costs much more too.

Not only that but it would require world governments who are generally opposed to one and other to agree to mass poisoning of their peoples. There are much easier, cheaper and diplomatic solutions to mass poisoning, such as water supply contamination, crop contamination, etc.

Now I’m not saying that aviation is as clean as a whistle, there are still harsh chemicals associated with the exhaust fumes that contribute to climate change and there is still a lot that needs to be done. However, the idea that Cirrus Aviaticus is down to “Chemtrails” is quite simply a ludicrous conspiracy theory designed to scare the common layman who knows no better, and that is something I cannot stand.

As usual, feel free to chime in via comments etc, and I do apologise for the length of this article, I tried to keep it as short as I could. Thanks for reading.