Claim: Climate Activists Face an Ethical Dilemma Abandoning Air Tourism

Soi Cowboy, a red light district in Bangkok.
Soi Cowboy, a red light district in Bangkok. Source: Picture taken by flickr user moomoobloo in December 2005.

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to Professor Tom Baum of University of Strathclyde, our selfish desire to visit distant places has created a neo-colonial dependence, an implicit obligation to continue to take care of the economies of tourist hotspots after climate activists restrict global air travel.

Climate change and air travel: why we have a responsibility to countries dependent on tourism

July 23, 2019 2.23am AEST

Tom Baum Professor of Work, Employment and Organisation, University of Strathclyde

Few would deny the threat to our planet posed by climate change, or the role that humans have played in the degradation of the natural environment. These arguments have been highlighted by Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish activist whose single-minded determination forced the powers of Europe to pay attention.

Tourism and tradition

Research has not as yet addressed the implications of no fly for these developing countries, and such analysis will be a useful contribution to this debate. But if we no longer travel as much because of our commitment to the environment, what are the consequences for Phu Quoc and places like the Seychelles, St Lucia and Bali? Might they revert to their traditional way of life if tourism development disappeared? 

All are destinations where the traditional economy and culture have been side-lined or destroyed on the promise of tourism’s riches. That promise depended on the transformation of a landscape dominated by agriculture and fishing to a concrete infrastructure that curtails or even obliterates traditional activities. And all depend on air access, investing in infrastructure to accommodate jet loads of tourists at high volume.

What happens, then, when the planes stop coming? Arguably, in time, nature would reclaim the runways and resorts that would be abandoned. But that will take time, if indeed it happens at all. In the meantime, it may be too late to revert to the economies and lifestyles of the past. Many would say this is a price worth paying to save our planet. In other words, without tourists, Phu Quoc and similar destinations could become wastelands with no way back to prosperity. Which might be seen as their problem.

But it’s not that simple. Communities in LDCs and SIDS – or, rather governments on their behalf – were seduced by the promise of prosperity through tourism. There was an implicit commitment from market countries through aid and loans that the planes would keep flying and the tourists keep arriving. 

This form of neo-colonial dependence now places an obligation on countries and individual travellers whose demand created these destinations. However well-intentioned the no-fly campaign is, it is challenging from an ethical point of view to abandon these tourism destinations.

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There is an obvious solution. Hold more climate conferences. Nobody complains when greens fly to a climate conference, that kind of flying is good for the planet.

Climate scientists seem to require exotic holiday locations like Bangkok, Paris or Rio to properly disseminate their research, so if the number of climate conferences is increased to compensate for the fall in regular tourism, fly in tourist destinations can be assured of continued economic support from rich Westerners.

108 thoughts on “Claim: Climate Activists Face an Ethical Dilemma Abandoning Air Tourism

  1. “Might they revert to their traditional way of life if tourism development disappeared?” Am I smelling a little colonialist nostalgia for the imaginary days of the noble savage living in peace and harmony with nature while, naturally and in harmony with nature, dying in childbirth, starving during a drought, and being plagued by all kinds of illnesses and parasites no colonialist would dream of tolerating?

      • Hypocrisy galore.

        Not mentioned is that this Tom Baum is a supporter of the horrific Israeli / Zionist actions against the indigenous Palestinians.

        Baum supports Israeli immigration laws which specify JEWS ONLY, while he demands massive, unemployable, 3rd world immigration into the US & Europe.

        • What does his policy on Israel have to do with the issue at hand? I’ll tell you what. Nothing.

          If you’re going to stray from the topic, at least get your facts straight. About 7% of immigration to Israel is Arabic. A small amount is Christian. Of the balance, over half have Jewish ancestry, but are not Jewish according to Jewish law, and are not legally recognized as Jewish by Israel itself.

        • He mentions Phu Cock a phu to many times. It seems that his main motivation here is establish a “debate” so that he can continue travelling to exotic locations for a bit of 3rd world sex tourism during the long academic summer.

          But he’s right, if these countries stop providing under-age sex opportunities for ageing westerners what kind of future will they have? It’s real moral bind for these heavily committed SJW types.

        • What, the homeland created for the Jewish people only accepts Jews as immigrants? What a shock. And how are the Arabs “indigenous”? And “horrific”? You are giving far too much credence to propaganda -I wonder why?

      • That “lifestyle of the past” they reference was known as grinding, subsistence poverty replete with backbreaking work, inadequate diet, high infant mortality, and dying young from infections.

        Or would the crackpot who wrote this like to go back to living in a damp, freezing cave, wearing nothing but a stinky bearskin, eating dandelion roots and the remnants of a dead woodchuck?
        Party on, dude, if that’s your pleasure.

        Seriously, these “colleges” need to be defunded if this is the kind of absurdity they’re churning out.

    • Professor of Work, Employment and Organisation, University of Strathclyde

      Formerly a Foreman. What a university!

      • The good Professor should also write to The Guardian/Observer newspaper group and ask them when they intend to stop publishing a separate travel supplement at the weekend. It probably accounts for a significant fraction of their dwindling advertising revenues.

          • More than likely, the majority of their readership is traffic from articles discussed on WUWT that the readers here have clicked through to see the remainder of the articles.

      • “Professor of Work, Employment and Organisation” Who has never worked, employs nobody and couldn’t organize a circle-jerk.

    • Yes, I went to some not very touristy parts of Thailand in 1985 – not as bad as the villages I visited in southern Africa around the same time, but dirt poor with very high infant and maternal mortality rates. Very little education and almost everybody worked seven days a week 10 hours a day trying to grow enough food to survive.

      Why so many Western Progressives believe in theses fairyland before development is beyond me – except tat it’s necessary to believe in them to believe in all the other BS.

      • Yes. Socialism never works in the present, so the left have to project it into the past or future, and tell us it worked then.

        Otherwise they’d have to admit their entire ideology is a failure.

        Hence the massive corruption of anthropology, for example.

      • That’s why I keep saying that they need to spend a few weeks living in a colonial re-enactment. Experiencing a pre-industrial life-style would cure a lot of their romanticism.

      • Touché means touched. It is a term of recognition that an opponent has scored a point against you. Originally from fencing, it can be used figuratively in an argument to recognise that someone you are disagreeing with has a valid point.

        Are you an alarmist who has just realised that Climate insanity is the naked emperor ?

  2. “… revert to the economies and lifestyles of the past.” Which gave short, brutal lives. Tourism enriches locals where their only other alternative was subsistence survival; no modern medicine, communications, HVAC, etc. Bucolic only in the minds of rich Westerners.

    • Principles are inconvenient observable, reproducible standards for the Chamber, with a twilight faith, and Pro-Choice quasi-religion. So, the secular cult has invested its leverage to normalize ethical standards (i.e. selective, opportunistic, politically congruent, “living”) for diverse causes.

  3. Ethical or selective, opportunistic, relative. Losing their Pro-Choice religion? Probably not.

  4. “Morality is always dreadfully complicated to a man who has lost all his principles.” – G.K. Chesterton

  5. I see no reason that Pocatello, Idaho, is NOT a viable climate conference venue. The weather, this time of year, is absolutely stunning. Conferees should be BEGGING their governments to send them to Pocatallo.

    Am I missing something?

    • The should visit the first nuclear power plant while they’re visiting. Oh, and Craters of the Moon.

    • The Depraved and MOST Deplorable Vlad the Impaler

      I’m afraid you are missing something dear chap. It’s called taxation.

      You see the obvious solution is for all us feelthee reech westerners to pay a ‘lost tourism’ tax on top of carbon taxes to ensure these people are not deprived of the living standards we have forced them to adopt.

      See, easy when you get the hang of this climate change malarky.

    • Should surely be the place that is the “cheapest” to get in terms of carbon emissions. Get the list of delegates and get a computer to find the best location. Train for as many as possible and shortest flying for the rest. Probably somewhere like Warsaw.

  6. Climate Change and Global Warming are the fence posts and barbed wire that will enslave humanity

    • Yes and it’s all about them, relieving their own guilt, not the welfare of the people at the destination.

    • oh but but they “only do” the nice ecotourism venues and pay for carbon offests dontcha know?

      the hostility industry is a bloody waqste of a life running round serving n cleaning up after others, then the poor working stiffs usually women get to go home and do another 5 hrs at home.
      low wages and pressure to work harder ongoing.. tourisms NOT anything to be pleased about.

  7. Perhaps the likes of the UN and its offshoot the IPCC could ask
    what the people of these holiday resorts actually want.

    Are they the people worried about the planet coming to a end.?

    But no, we the wiser people know far more about such things than you lot.

    We have always had tourism, what changed was that the Western countries got richer because of our fossil fuel based way of life, and that same intelligent use of fossil fuel energy led to aircraft being developed which brought down the price of air travel.

    It all gets back to the use of fossil fuel, which is why the Greens are against it.


  8. The solution is simple. Bring back sailing ships. 🙂

    The last China clippers were acknowledged as the fastest sail vessels. When fully rigged and riding a tradewind, they had peak average speeds over 16 knots (30 km/h). The Great Tea Race of 1866 showcased their speed. China clippers are also the fastest commercial sailing vessels ever made. Their speeds have been exceeded many times by modern yachts, but never by a commercial sail vessel. Only the fastest windjammers could attain similar speeds. link

    An ocean voyage and a dream vacation every ten years or so. What could be better?

  9. Climatistas should all move to third world tourist spots so they may live in solidarity with their brothers and sisters. Travel problem solved.

  10. The travel hypocrisy will continue, its all about restrictions for thee not for me. The Gores and the Di Caprios of the world will continue to lecture us as they circle the world and get transfered to their 6 star accommodation in luxury SUVs. Even the saint status PM of New Zealand recently returned from a global virtue tour only to jet of for a bit of a family holiday in Raratonga. Anything to escape the tawdry conditions and scenery of NZ I guess.

  11. ‘Few would deny the threat to our planet posed by climate change, or the role that humans have played in the degradation of the natural environment. These arguments have been highlighted by Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish activist whose single-minded determination forced the powers of Europe to pay attention.’


  12. Western countries could pay for Environmentalists to fly to these places, and count it as “foreign aid”.

    I wonder if that will be his next proposal…?

    • The forerunner of “foreign aid” was Papal Indulgencies, whereby the wealthy could ease their conciences by making generous donatons to the “cause”, paving the way for their eternal salvation!

  13. Seriously!!!!???

    A full Professor at Clydesdale Univ. … cites a mentally and emotionally challenged CHILD … as “proof” of Climate Change?

    His must be the EASIEST classes at Clydesdale Univ.

    • The article is so ridiculous on so many levels it beggars belief. That this came from a professor deserves several exclamation marks.

      “Few would deny the threat to our planet posed by climate change” = wrong. Every poll of the populace says otherwise.

      “or the role that humans have played in the degradation of the natural environment” = mostly wrong; it’s a concern of most, but most don’t understand the real situation thanks to the media hype.

      “What happens, then, when the planes stop coming? Arguably, in time, nature would reclaim the runways and resorts”. What? Everybody just abandons the prime real estate and does nothing with it. This guy is so institutionalised I’m sure he doesn’t know what grass looks like. Utterly ridiculous.

  14. Wait until the ethical dilemma of no electricity, AC, heating, food, medical supplies, etc. rears its head.

  15. “…Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish activist whose single-minded determination…”

    Single minded.

    Remember all those motivational memes? Stuff like, “Your mind is like a parachute – it works best when it is open”?

    Remember, to a Left having an open mind is a Good Thing when you disagree with them and need to expand your world view, but once your world view has been corrected, narrow it down again to single-minded determination.

    Pretty much the same as Lefts and democratic process. If you agree with us, it is the voice of the public. If you allow (cough) Russian Bots to affect the outcome then sorry people, time for a bit of dictatorship for your own good.

  16. Well, the solution is obvious to any Green/Eco activist: we need to keep supporting them by sending them “welfare” payments every month. After all, it’s not their fault that they are now dependent on our tourist money.

  17. Air travel restricted … restricted to whom ?

    So says a Professor of Strathclyde’s Social Knitting.

    CAGW has moved way past vomitous.

    • Obviously well qualified to be counted as a Global Warming/ClimateChange/CAGW expert

      “Professor Tom Baum
      Head Of Department
      Work, Employment and Organisation
      My academic interests address the social and strategic contexts of low skills employment, with particular focus on hospitality and tourism.
      I hold BA(Hons) and MA degrees in Education from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, an MPhil in Training and Development obtained while working with Nottingham Trent University and a PhD in Tourism Labour Market Studies from the University of Strathclyde. I have recently completed my DLitt degree from the University of Strathclyde, based on my published work in the field of tourism and employment over a 30 year period.”

  18. Few would deny the threat to our planet posed by climate change, or the role that humans have played in the degradation of the natural environment.

    I more than question it- I say it is an outright lie. And judging by the numerous comments here and in other places, and the fact that most average people vote with their feet; and continue to drive pickups and fly to vacation spots etc., etc. etc. I would have to conclude that Mr. Tom Baum is out of touch and ill informed on what the people believe- oops know (belief is for warmists due to lack of facts).

  19. Some of these poorer, especially tropical countries that rely heavily on tourism for a good part of their GDP had best think twice about criticizing air travel. While they are probably only thinking about maximizing climate extortion monies for going along with the IPCC directives, they sure would look hypocritical if they start squawking about people flying to their neck of the jungle to have a holiday and leave behind a bunch of money for their economy.

    • Nobody has pulled them up on it yet, any sea level problems at say the Maldives is probably caused by the weight of all their new airports…

    • I took a Windjammer cruise in the Caribbean back in the early 90s. 240′ sailing ship, pretty awesome.

  20. And since these people are smarter than we, holier than thou and the “scientific experts” of fear-mongering climate change, the increase of the number of climate conferences and their wonton flights there will be totally justified.

  21. Maybe an intermediate solution would for the climate hysterics to travel to those tourist destinations on the off season i.e., schedule their conferences to the tropical locations in the hottest of summer months; to the temperate regions in the dead of winter. That way they could still signal their virtue while supporting those localities when they need it the most.

  22. There is no “implicit commitment” in tourist travel… unless the eco-tard is claiming that myself, as a tourist, owes that third-world country money for *not* traveling there.

    These totalitarian fascists can’t understand capitalism and freedom… the tourist traps freely engaged in commerce understanding the risks, tourists freely travel to those tourist destinations, and the climate alarmists are free to feck right off with their humanity-hating, socialist, we-will-force-you-to-bend-to-our-will claptrap.

    Freedom… ain’t it grand?

    • It won’t happen quickly They work in increments.

      Watch for “Mandatory Travel Restrictions” for certain naughty naysayer groups.

      • VR is going to make travel obsolete over the next couple of decades. I’m sure it won’t stop the Global Warmers from flying to fancy conferences, though.

        We were discussing this at work the other day. With a VR robot at customer sites, we could eliminate most of our business travel; for our company alone, that would cut millions of dollars from airline incomes.

  23. “Climate scientists seem to require exotic holiday locations like Bangkok, Paris or Rio to properly disseminate their research”

    Cherry picking. They go to not so exotic places too. Though I agree that their get-togethers are completely irrelevant as far as climate is concerned.

      • LOL…maybe I switch sides and get on that gravy train. All expenses paid, 5 star accommodation, lots of pretty girls, exotic locations or NYC will do. All paid for by stupid taxpayers. What isn’t there to like? I’ll say anything you like and vote however you like…

        • 3rd on the list:-
          36th meeting of the Least Developed Countries Expert Group

          They need disbanding if they’ve had 35 meetings already. I’m sure another one isn’t going to do any more than the last 35 did.

          How on God’s green Earth does one become an expert in Least Developed Countries?

          • “How on God’s green Earth does one become an expert in Least Developed Countries?”

            Backpacking and poverty tourism, oh and you really have to care as you jet towards your 35th meeting. I wonder what they list as there main achivements in recent years??

        • Yes, I think Eric blew his own argument with that link.

          Have you ever been to Bonn ? FFS. Hardly a tourist haven. UN Headquarters , well if you’ve never had the chance to smell the air in NY, I suppose that a must for the bucket list.

          Bonn, Abroad, TBC, Bonn, Abroad, TBC ….

          Hardly a tourist brochure , is it ?

          • The Rhine valley is quite pleasant, and some of the surrounding hills and castles are rather picturesque. At least they’ll have a decent hotel with a wine list to match. Better than staying at home and watching tv.

  24. The last thing these destinations need is a

    “Professor of Work, Employment and Organisation, University of Strathclyde”

    Even the Soviet Union didnt have such a faculty. What must his lectures be like? What must a researcher do in such a department to get her PhD? Lord, think of the enormous opportunity costs of the world’s universities bloated with information free useless “studies”. The weak minded, foolish output from a faculty named this is a measure of the intractable mess that has been made of higher education. No wonder there are worrying statistics that smart students are dropping out of highschool.

    Here’s the thing Tommy. The whole nutty business of which climate is the small part is going to collapse soon. The world’s biggest problem is really what are we going to do to clean up the infestation that has all but destroyed education from kindergarten to ersatz PhDs in nothingness and the zombielike legions of its products for which there is no use. Bali and the Seyshelles will be just fine.

  25. “Climate Activists Face an Ethical Dilemma Abandoning” everything that a modern industrialized nation has to offer, and move to a modern version of medieval feudalism with strong paganism beliefs, or understand that humans do NOT control the weather or climate.

  26. I’m old enough to remember when farmers got paid not not farm. Fast forward to present, and now they are paid to grow food in order to burn it.

    I suppose we’ll soon be paying airlines to not fly and hotels to not rent rooms. But we’ll pay aircraft companies to build plains and construction companies to build hotels in order to protect those jobs. Then we’ll burn the airplanes and the hotels because climate change.

    • We do that already by paying rent-seekers to produce unneeded “renewable” power and forcing utilities to take unneeded power.

    • Climate Crusaders will burn the planes and the hotels.
      Then the insurance will pay it out and, and workers (employment) will rebuilt them.
      Then they’ll be burned to the ground again, then the insurance….

  27. TheTimes newspaper ran a piece yesterday about a carbon tax on each flight. It is to be ‘voluntary ‘. Thirty quid to LA. Ho ho.

  28. This will put a dent in the plans of (mostly) left-wing students planning their gap year, visiting all the exotic countries on their bucket list. I guess they could all Brits have a walking trip around places like Accrington to see how the other half live.

    And what will the glitterati do now without their trips to the posh exotic places?

    Poor Emma

    • Hotel California or the Roach Motel. [I actually stayed at the No Tell Motel in Eugene, OR.]

    • Just reverse the flow, send the exotic locals back to live the boring eco-loon lifestyle.
      I’m sure they would love it.

  29. In a near future, there will be only climate clowns in each and every plane, going around the World all the year long, explaining to us that we shall NEVER AGAIN travel by air … because climate change.

    So, I wonder if apart the University of Strathclyde,
    there is any other University that offers a clown’s license for those who may have to travel for their business ?

    • Just ride Unicorns to the rainbow, climb up and slide down the other side. Its as realistic as anything they are talking about.

  30. ‘Few would deny the threat to our planet posed by climate change’
    Well, I’m one for a start.
    (And there are many more!)

  31. Every time I think I’ve read the most ridiculous claim about ‘climate change’, an article like this comes along!

    • They are still counting, Ed. Results to be published real soon now.

      Do you have any idea how hard it is to count angels? They keep fluttering about, up and down from Heaven to Earth and back again, messing up the count and causing a lot of restarts on the count.

      The Angel counters will need a lot more grant money if we’re ever to find out how many angels fit on the head of a pin.

  32. I can see the next step in this guilt driven drivel.

    We must stop flying to save the planet. But we must compensate 3rd countries for not going there and acting like ass-holes each year. Therefore we must forfeit the money we would have paid for a holiday in an exotic location and give it to the UN, who will scim 20% for ‘administrative overheads’ and use the rest bribe kleptocrats in small 3rd world countries to support further “climate” initiatives at the UN.

    So you’ll need to save all year and then pay to stay at home, feeling all warm and fuzzy in two separate places in your heart.

  33. Though I do think some places are degraded by overmuch tourism. Only the rich like me should be allowed – and checked for sexual exploitation before flying. But I’ve done nearly all the travelling I want anyway. Perhaps frequent short haul to France remains Not Ryanair .

  34. I smell white saviourism. How did these backwoods locations become so dependent on White Ecotourism? I know the usual arguments – globalism, capitalism, colonialism, etc. But why were they not able to stand up for themselves with their supposedly superior way of life?

  35. The world these nutters envision is so unpleasant and dull I cannot imagine people actually standing for it. No long haul travel, short trips only by train, water rationing (for us Brits), rolling blackouts, no cars, only local food…

    And the consequences will be mass unemployment and a huge drop in our wealth. Hopefully we all get so hungry we will have to resort to cannabilism – with idiot professors the first on the menu.

  36. Let’s hope the people would move off the islands before cannibalism.

    Think of all the trillions of dollars and tons of CO2 wasted on tourism. Let’s snap our fingers and end it all in a day.

    Come on man.

    I do not know who are more child like”

    1) The angry child like, cult of CAGW.

    The public will not support the shutdown of tourism worldwide

    2) Sleeping pubic, Fake news, Agenda Politicians

    We and the fake news reporters are clueless that countries and states are passing laws that will shutdown there economies, including tourism.

    here would also an end of trips from and to Europe. France has the highest number of tourist visits per year. .
    France, Spain, and then the US are the number one tourism destinations in the world.

    1 France
    86.9 million

    2 Spain
    81.8 million
    3 United States
    76.9 million

    4 China
    60.7 million

    5 Italy
    58.3 million

    6 Mexico
    39.3 million

    7 United Kingdom
    37.7 million

    8 Turkey
    37.6 million
    9 Germany
    37.5 million

    10 Thailand
    35.4 million

  37. It’s nice that activists acknowledge some of the economic havoc their policies will create, but they need to get a grip.

    Air travel and tourism are not going away. Of the proportion of sheeple who have been taken in by the delusion of preventable CAGW, how many are actually going to substantially change their behaviors? They’re not even eating bugs yet.

  38. From the article: “However well-intentioned the no-fly campaign is, it is challenging from an ethical point of view to abandon these tourism destinations.”

    It’s not going to happen. This no-fly campaign is a creation of the Loony Leftists in the Western Democracies. In the first place, the Western Democracies are not going to implement a no-fly campaign, and second of all, if they did, the rest of the world would ignore it and go about business as usual including flying as much as they desired.

    Lefties are SO delusional. They are disconnected from the Real World.

  39. Those that believe that the burning of fossil fuels is bad should stop making use of all goods and services that involve the use of fossil fuels. Of course most of us would die if we tried to do that. For example, in the town where I live, the food we eat is brought in by trucks that burn fossil fuels. Without that food, most of the people in the town where I live would have to move away or die of starvation. The next best thing would be to minimise our use of goods and services that involve the use of fossil fuels. That would involve staying at home as much as possible and consume the bare minimum of goods and services that involve the use of fossil fuels. I am sure that if we all did that, the effects on our economy would be devastating and billions would starve to death. Otherwise it is a good plan. Mankind, 200 or more years ago made virtually no use of fossil fuels but our economy of 200 years ago could not support the current world human population to going back to older economies would mean that billions would have to die.

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