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New Ice Age or New Runway?

July 2, 2017

By Paul Homewood


h/t Patsy Lacey



Austria’s constitutional court on Thursday overturned a landmark ruling that had blocked Vienna airport’s plans to build a third runway because of climate change worries.


Judges found that the earlier verdict had violated the constitution, noting that the environment did not hold “absolute priority” over other factors.

In February, the Federal Administrative Court (FAC) had argued that the project would result in a “significant” rise in greenhouse gas output, contravening domestic and international undertakings to reduce pollution.

Vienna airport appealed against the decision, which was also heavily criticised by Austrian businesses and a number of senior politicians.

The constitutional court said Thursday that the FAC had committed several gross errors, including miscalculating the carbon dioxide emissions connected with the new runway.

The FAC must now issue a new ruling that takes into account these findings.

While Vienna’s chamber of commerce and senior political figures welcomed the decision, environmental group Global 2000 warned that “the unrestrained growth of air traffic is not compatible with the goal of averting a climate catastrophe”.

A key travel hub between western and eastern Europe, Vienna airport handled 23 million passengers last year and has been wanting to construct the runway for a decade.


Thank God for a bit of common sense.

I somehow doubt whether most Austrians would have enjoyed the thought of  glaciers returning down their valleys, just as they did 400 years ago:

In fact, just as historian Brian Fagan described in his book, “The Little Ice Age”:.

In the 16th Century the occasional traveller would remark on the poverty and suffering of those who lived on the marginal lands in the glacier’s shadow. At that time Chamonix was an obscure poverty stricken parish in “a poor country of barren mountains never free of glaciers and frosts…half the year there is no sun…the corn is gathered in the snow…and is so mouldy it has to be heated in the oven”. Even animals were said to refuse bread made from Chamonix wheat. Avalanches caused by low temperatures and deep snowfall were a constant hazard. In 1575 a visitor described the village as “a place covered with glaciers…often the fields are entirely swept away and the wheat blown into the woods and onto the glaciers”.

In 1589 the Allalin glacier in Switzerland descended so low that it blocked the Saas valley, forming a lake. The moraine broke a few months later, sending floods downstream. Seven years later 70 people died when similar floods from the Gietroz glacier submerged the town of Martigny.

As the glaciers relentlessly pushed downslope thousands of acres of farm land were ruined and many villages were left uninhabitable such as La Bois where a government official noted “where there are still six houses. all uninhabited save two, in which live some wretched women and children…Above and adjoining the village there is a great and horrible glacier of great and incalculable volume which can promise nothing but the destruction of the houses and lands which still remain”. Eventually the village was completely abandoned.

The same official visited the hamlet of La Rosiere in 1616 and found” “The great glacier of La Rosiere every now and then goes bounding and thrashing or descending…There have been destroyed 43 journaux of land with nothing but stones and 8 houses, 7 barns and 5 little granges have been entirely ruined and destroyed”.

Alpine glaciers, which had already advanced steadily between 1546 and 1590, moved aggressively forward again between 1600 and 1616. Villages that had flourished since medieval times were in danger or already destroyed. During the long period of glacial retreat and relative quiet in earlier times, opportunistic farmers had cleared land within a kilometer of what seemed to them to be stationary ice sheets. Now their descendants paid the price with their villages and livelihoods threatened.

Between 1627 and 1633 Chamonix lost a third if its land through avalanches, snow, glaciers and flooding, and the remaining hectares were under constant threat. In 1642 the Des Bois glacier advanced “over a musket shot every day, even in August”.

By this time people near the ice front were planting only oats and a little barley in fields that were under snow for most of the year. Their forefathers had paid their tithes in wheat. Now they obtained but one harvest in three and even the grain rotted after harvesting. “The people here are so badly fed they are dark and wretched and seem only half alive”.


If only the Austrian Emperors had known about airplanes in the 15thC, how many lives would they have saved?

  1. Adrian permalink
    July 2, 2017 10:00 pm

    I’d recommend sticking a thermometer on it.

    They can fly planes AND prove climate change. Voila.

  2. July 2, 2017 10:37 pm

    Common sense from an EU country??

    • dave permalink
      July 3, 2017 7:33 am

      “Common sense…”

      I will believe it when I see it built. But people underestimate, at their peril, the lobbying power of the civil engineering lot (my son is one). Britain has a lot of unnecessary projects like HS2 as a result as well as good stuff like CrossRail 1.

  3. July 3, 2017 7:11 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  4. tom0mason permalink
    July 3, 2017 2:13 pm

    Britain should lodge a formal complaint with the EU courts!

    Diplomatic process surely demands a tit-for-tat response from the UK.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      July 3, 2017 5:46 pm

      I think the Austrians would be doing us a big favour by stopping our ridiculous nuclear plans.

  5. Malcolm Bell permalink
    July 3, 2017 5:14 pm

    If only a certain Austrian corporal had worried more about climate-change how many more lives might that have saved?

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