‘Climate sceptics” have been entertained by the extravagant coverage given by the BBC to the finding of a Reading University computer model that, thanks to climate change, airliners will take longer to cross the Atlantic. The computer found that a “doubling of atmospheric CO2” will increase the speed of the “jet stream”, adding an hour or two to flight times between Britain and America, thus requiring more fuel and thus causing air fares to rise.
Apart from the curious assumption that “atmospheric CO2” could double from its current 0.04 per cent, and the fact that airliners can drop out of the jet stream if it is against them, the model predicts that it would somehow be speeded up by the growing difference between heat at the tropics and cold at the poles.
But air temperatures in the Arctic have been rising faster than in the tropics, thus reducing the difference, not increasing it. The computer’s finding thus contradicts one of the basic tenets of global warming theory. What the BBC also failed to mention is that even its predicted rise in air fares would be very much less than that air passenger duty, designed to halt global warming, which currently adds between £73 and £438 to the price of a ticket.