Guy Finkill

Course coordinator - Uppsala University
Uppsala University
Guy Finkill

I had been working and studying in Uppsala, Sweden, away from my native Newcastle, England, for 18 months. Time had come to pay a visit back to the homeland, but a flight? A flight within Europe? Surely there was a better way.

Research into alternatives ensued and I found that not only was travel over land/sea vastly more inconvenient – it was more than double the price of hopping on a plane. Nevertheless, if we want to demonstrate leadership on climate change we have to display a vote of no confidence in the ever-expanding aviation industry. So, my girlfriend and I embraced the inconvenience and set about our slow travel expedition. A combination of trains, ferries, buses and a heavy amount of walking took us through the streets of Copenhagen, Amsterdam and watching the sunrise over Tynemouth Harbour in the UK as our ferry glided into bay. A 3-day journey that was a mini-adventure across Western Europe and much more rewarding than a high-emitting whizz through the air.

Throughout our research into the best route possible, it became apparent that an efficient train network simply doesn’t exist for extensive journeys. A train from Copenhagen to Amsterdam included at least 4 changes, 3 of which were in the middle of the night and had layovers that ranged from 4 minutes to 4 hours, ending up being the same amount of time as an arduous Flixbus journey that was a fraction of the train ticket prices.
It is clear that alternatives to flying do exist but it requires extensive research, time and financial capital in order to pursue them. The false economy of subsidies and tax breaks props up the aviation industry as our transport/tourism infrastructure caters to their every whim while simultaneously ripping the heart out of the other forms of transport that charge heavily for convoluted trips spanning many borders.

My research focuses on the legitimacy of the use of BECCS in RCP2.6 of the Paris Accord, with particular reference to the disconnection between climate modelling and practical climate policy implementation.