“A planeload of tourists flying from Los Angeles to Cairo to see the Great Pyramid, back when political conditions in Egypt allowed for that, used more energy in that one flight than it took to build the Great Pyramid in the first place.”
Icelandic ash is presently exposing the extent to which Europeans have permitted their transportation arrangements to be stupidly built. According to today’s New York Times, there are now about 28,000 daily airline flights in Europe. This, in the land of walkable/bikable cities, world-class trains, and supposedly relaxed time attitudes?
According to the Times, the volcano’s grounding of these airplanes has meant that “millions of…travelers were left with no realistic options, caught in a web of misery that reached across the globe.”
Meanwhile, according to Transport Revolutions, by Richard Gilbert and Anthony Perl, intercity electric rail is ten times more energy efficient than intercity air flight. (See page 240.)
Add to this the fact that because (despite their far superior welfare states) Europeans remain subordinate to corporate capitalism, they have also been allowing their elites to push cars on them. Germany, France, Italy, and Spain have even pursued their own versions of the monumentally corrupt and stupid “cash-for-clunkers” subsidy.
Conclusion? Europe has its own need for radical reconstruction to achieve anything resembling sustainable transportation.