This page provides live links for webpages cited in Hell and High Water, as explained below. I am profoundly grateful to my copy editor at Birlinn, Nancy E.M. Bailey, for having helped to compile and check them for me. To return to the main Hell & High Water page click "Up" (above left).

At the foot of the page is an erratum. It is inevitable that a book of this range and complexity will contain some technical errors (as distinct from mere outdatedness). I would be much obliged if readers would care to notify me of factual matters that might require correction and I will promptly post corrections. As of December 2008 I have also included (below) a particularly useful update on the climate change science and some stats on carbon emissions from different transport types. Click here for my email contact details.


Websites referenced in Hell and High Water: Climate Change, Hope and the Human Condition, by Alastair McIntosh, June 2008, Birlinn, Edinburgh

Live Links for Chapter:  Introduction   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   Afterword

Why I have provided web references in this way:

In writing this book, many of my sources were from the web as befits up-to-date scientific material. On p.251 I therefore prefaced the endnotes with a comment to the effect that rather than print long strings of URLs that are unsightly and highly prone to transcription errors, I would provide this page of endnote extensions where readers can click the URLs directly and thereby get straight to my sources. I hope this will make things easy for people.

The links given here were all valid when the book went to press in March 2008 and were checked for site presence (but not for content) again on 6 June 2008. Unfortunately, I cannot undertake to run an updating service. The science in my book will inevitably go out of date, but the implications of it, which is the book's main thrust, is likely to endure. Where websites migrate it should often be possible to relocate the material by Googling the source that I have given in the book. Where available, the source material that I have provided states the webpage author(s), article and (where appropriate) journal title, and the date of original posting. The time of my having accessed the site may be presumed as March 2008 unless otherwise stated.

Where the word, "Text", appears below, this means the reference is to a conventional hard copy source that is given in the endnotes in the book, and therefore usually not given as a web link.

Do note that many of the books cited in my endnotes simply as "Text" can actually be checked online for research purposes at or . I find that often Amazon has items in a searchable format on its .com site that are not searchable (or only present as "look inside") on other sites. Several of my own books can be consulted via Amazon and it's worth saying that while I cannot over-ride publishers' legal rights, I am personally always very happy for people to copy any of my material for non-profit purposes.

 Where journal articles have to be paid for I have made the assumption that many of my readers will not have Athens access, and so I have provided links to free abstracts or press release pages, from which the full article can be sourced if required.



1. Text

2.  New Orleans recovery could take 25 years, Bush administration’, USA Today (30 Mar. 2006).

3. Joel K. Bourne, ‘New Orleans’ Rebuilt Levees “Riddled With Flaws”’, National Geographic (6 May 2007).

4. Spencer Weart, ‘The Discovery of Global Warming’ (Jan. 2008).

5. The National Center for Atmospheric Research, ‘Frequency of Atlantic hurricanes doubled over last century, climate change suspected‘ (29 Jul 2007). 

6. Scotland and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research (SNIFFER), ‘An online handbook of climate trends across Scotland – temperature related variables’ (Met Office, 2006).

7. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Fourth Assessment Report, AR4 SYR Summary for Policy Makers, ‘Observed changes in climate and their effects’ (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007). (NB: AR4 = Assessment Report 4; SYR = Synthesis Report).  [Nb. This report has now been finalised and the link just given has gone dead. It has migrated to and the quote in my text may be found there.]

8. Text

9. Manchester University Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, ‘Living within a carbon budget’ (July 2006), 

 10, 11 & 12 - Text


Chapter 1: Nullius in Verba

1. The original link referred to in the text was no longer available by the time this book went to press. However, the Royal Society website is a very useful starting point for the discussion of climate change. The Climate Change page under the Science Issues link is:

2 & 3 - Text

4. See (This website dedicated to his space tourism venture is a fascinating insight into the mind - a narcissistic mind? - of the billionaire who funds Richard Dawkins' chair.)

5. Text

6. The Royal Society, ‘A guide to facts and fictions about climate change’ (March 2005). Also, ‘Climate Change Controversies: a simple guide’ (April 2007),

7. Channel 4 TV, ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’, broadcast 8 March 2007, 9 pm. The quoted material was here on 30 April 2007 but has since been changed. See

8. Text

9. J.R. Petit, J. Jouzel, D. Raynaud et al., ‘Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica’, Nature 399, pp. 429–36. Press Release (3 June 1999):

10. NOAA, ‘Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide – Mauna Loa’ (2007).

11 & 12 - Text

13. ‘Christopher Booker’s Notebook’, The Sunday Telegraph (11 Mar 2007),

14. George Monbiot, ‘The Revolution has been Televised’ The Guardian (18 Dec 1997).

15. Joanne Oatts, ‘Global Warming Swindle’ sparks debate’, Digital Spy (15 Mar 2007).

16. One of the first scientific critiques of the programme was to be found, with commentary, at Real Climate, William Connolley and Gavin Schmidt, ‘Swindled’ (9 Mar 2007),

17. Steve Connor,The real global warming swindle’, The Independent (14 Mar 2007).

18. Chris Merchant, ‘Why the C4 documentary “The Great Global Warming Swindle” is wrong’ (31 May 2007).

19. Richard Black, ‘“No sun link” to climate change’, BBC online (10 Jul 2007).

20. Crisis Forum email list posting of 9 Mar 2007, also on 3 May 2007.

21. Letter from Bob Ward, Senior Manager, Policy Communication for The Royal Society to Nick Thomas, Esso/ExxonMobil’s UK Director of Corporate Affairs (4 Sep 2006). The Guardian image file,

22. Geoffrey Lean, ‘Climate change: An inconvenient truth... for C4’, The Independent (11 Mar 2007); ; See also Carl Wunsch, ‘Swindled: Carl Wunsch responds’ (12 Mar 2007)

23. George Monbiot, ‘There is climate change censorship – and it’s the deniers who dish it out’, The Guardian (10 Apr 2007).

24. Brendan O’Neill, ‘Apocalypse my Arse’, Spiked (9 Mar 2007),

25. Armand Leroi, ‘Correspondence with Armand Leroi, Martin Durkin and others’ (9 Mar 2007). NB. I emailed Martin Durkin on 30 April 2007.

26. Paul Driessen, Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death (Academic Foundation, 2006). Quote can be found at

27. Paul Driessen, ‘Eco-Imperialism chapter excerpts’, 2006.


Chapter 2 Beyond Tipping Point

1 & 2 - Text

3. Shaoni Bhattacharya, ‘European heatwave caused 35,000 deaths’, New Scientist (10 Oct 2003).

4. David Adam, ‘Does global warming kill 150,000 people a year?’, The Guardian (19 May 2005).

5. John A. Church and Neil J. White, ‘A 20th century acceleration in global sea-level rise’, Geophysical Research Letters 33 LO1602 (2006).

6. Catherine Brahic, ‘Sea level rise outpacing key predictions’, New Scientist (1 Feb 2007).

7. ‘Survey: Glaciers in west China shrink 7 to 18% in five years’, Xinhua (14 Dec 2007).

8. J. Hansen, Mki. Sato, P. Kharecha, G. Russell, D.W. Lea, M. Siddall, ‘Climate change and trace gases’, Phil. Trans. Royal Soc. A, 365, pp. 1925-1954 (2007)

9 & 10 - Text

11. ‘Humans “affect global rainfall”’, BBC online (23 Jul 2007).

12. J.R. Minkel, ‘Darfur Dead Much Higher than Commonly Reported’, Scientific American (15 Sep 2006).

13. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Sudan: Post Conflict Environmental Assessment (UNEP, 2007).

14. Karlheinz Erb et al, ‘Global Human Appropriation of the Products of Photosynthesis in 2000’, University of Vienna (Oct 2006).

15. Dave Favis-Mortlock, (accessed May 2007).

16 & 17 - Text

18. Kenneth F. Drinkwater, ‘The Response of Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua) to Future Climate Change’, ICES Journal of Marine Science, 62, pp. 1327–1337 (2005).

19. HM Treasury, ‘Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change’ (0 Oct 2006).

20. Although an argument can be made that the Stern Review inadvertently does just that: George Monbiot, ‘Juggle a few of these numbers, and it makes economic sense to kill people’, The Guardian (19 Feb 2008).

21. Text

22. Camille Parmesan and Gary Yohe, ‘A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems’, Nature 421, pp. 37–42 (2003).

23. Text

24. Gabriel J. Bowen et al., ‘A humid climate state during the Palaeocene/Eocene thermal maximum’, Nature 432, pp. 495–99 (2004).

25 & 26 - Text

27. Walter C. Oechel et al., ‘Recent change of Arctic tundra ecosystems from a net carbon dioxide sink to a source’, Nature 361, pp. 520–523 (1993).

28. William Dillon, ‘Gas (Methane) Hydrates – A New Frontier’, US Geological Survey (Sep 1992).

29. ‘Russia plants flag under N[orth] Pole’, BBC online (2 Aug 2007).

30. ‘Russia schemes to claim North Pole oil, gas, gold’, Xinhua News Agency (2 Aug 2007).

31. ‘Canada to strengthen Arctic claim’, BBC online (10 Aug 2007).

32. Scottish Government, ‘Scotland’s Climate Change Programme: Annual Report 2007’ (Mar 2007).

33. Andrew Kerr, Simon Shackley, Ronnie Milne and Simon Allen, Climate Change: Scottish Implications Scoping Study, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit (HMSO, Edinburgh, 1999).

34. SEPA, State of Scotland’s Environment 2006.

35. Ibid.

36. ‘Extinction threat to Scots bird’, BBC online (15 Jan 2008).

37, 38 & 39 - Text

40. Scottish Government, ‘The Dancing Ladies of Gigha’ (18 Sep 2007).

41. Text

42. ‘“Zero carbon” homes plan unveiled’, BBC online (13 Dec 2006).

 43. Ibid.


Chapter 3: Devil’s Dilemmas

1. Proponents include Jeremy Leggett, C.J. Campbell, Paul Mobbs and Richard Heinberg – see, for example, Richard Heinberg, ‘The View from Oil’s Peak’ (Aug 2007).

2. ‘UK Fuel Tax: the Facts’, BBC online (21 Sep 2000).

3 & 4 - Text

5. National Petroleum Council, Facing the Hard Truths About Energy: A comprehensive view to 2030 of global oil and natural gas, (NPC, Washington, DC, 2007).

6. Text

7. ‘easyJet supports green air taxes’, BBC online (18 Sep 2007).

8. Danish Energy Authority, Energy Statistics 2006 (DEA, Copenhagen, 2007).

9. ‘Natural Gas and the Environment’, (2004). This data is taken from EIA – Natural Gas Issues and Trends (1998) found at

10. Alice Bows et al, Living within a carbon budget (Manchester University Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, 2006), p. 162.

11. See the Scoraig website: and

12. Wikipedia, ‘Freetown Christiania‘ (18 Sep 2007).

13. Alastair McIntosh and Michel Picard, ‘Who is Your Enemy? Lafarge, NGOs and the Harris Superquarry Campaign’ in It’s All Our Business: Corporate Responsibility in a Global World, INSEAD Alumni Roundtable (2008).

14. Sustainable Development Commission, ‘Tidal Power’ (2007).

15. ‘Climate Alarmists Consider “The Geritol Solution”’, (16 Mar 2007).

16. Text

17. Energy Strategy and International Unit, Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), Energy Trends, (National Statistics publication, Jan 2008). . Generation of Electricity by Fuel in Scotland and the UK, 2005 and 2005. Source: also BERR, January 2008,

18. Posiva, ‘Nuclear Waste Management’ (4 Feb 2008).

19. Michael Settle, ‘Total cost of closing down nuclear sites rises to £73bn’, The Herald (30 January 2008) ; DTI and BERR, Energy Consumption in the UK (National Statistics, 2002).

21. Masdar Media Centre, ‘Masdar Announces Major Progress on Future Energy Strategy’ (22 Jan 2008). See the URL below, where the BBC quotes the cost at $22 billion, which appears to be an update on the $15 billion shown on Masdar’s website.

22. ‘Work starts on Gulf “green city”’, BBC online (10 Feb 2008).


Chapter 4: Spirit of the Blitz

1. Text

2. Ipsos Mori, Tipping Point or Turning Point? Social Marketing and Climate Change (Aug 2007), pp. 9, 42. Also, Chris Rose et al., ‘Research Into Motivating Prospectors, Settlers and Pioneers To Change Behaviours That Affect Climate Emissions’ (2007).

3. (1 Jul 2007).

4. National Statistics, 'Domestic energy consumption per household', accessed 5 Feb 2008.

5. Joint Committee on the Draft Climate Change Bill, Draft Climate Change Bill, (HMSO, London, 2007).

6. Stop Climate Change Scotland, ‘SCCS Response to Climate Bill Consultation Launch’ (5 Feb 2008).

7. Scottish Government, ‘Scotland’s Climate Change Programme: Annual Report 2007’ (Mar 2007).

8. Roger Bate and Julian Morris, ‘Global Warming: Apocalypse or Hot Air?’ (Institute of Economic Affairs, 1994).

9. ‘Blair green views “muddle headed”’, BBC online (9 Jan 2007).

10. ‘Have Your Say: Can aircraft be environmentally friendly?’ BBC (9 July 2007). See here for entire online thread:

11. ‘Have Your Say: ‘Have your say: Would you be willing to pay green taxes on short-haul flights?’ BBC (13 September 2007). See here for the entire online thread:

12. Artyom Liss, ‘Global warming leaves Russians cold’, BBC (4 Sep 2007).

13. David Ross, ‘Why Scotland can be a top wine-maker. . . in 80 years’, The Herald (27 Aug 2007).

14. Brian Donnelly, ‘Nairn: thank climate change for Scots food’, The Herald (12 Feb 2008), my emphasis,

15.  Iain MacWhirter, ‘Scotland could play lead role on global warming’, Sunday Herald (4 Feb 2007)

16. Richard Sadler, ‘Roads to Ruin’, The Guardian (13 Dec 2006),

17. David Millward, ‘Bus and train fares zoom past car costs’, The Telegraph (4 Dec 2007),

18. David Prest, ‘Evacuees in World War Two – the True Story’, BBC online (5 Feb 2008).

19. Jon Kelly, ‘You’ve got to show the blitz spirit’, BBC online (22 Jul 2007).

20. Evan Davis, ‘Cost of the floods’, BBC (25 Jul 2007).

21 & 22 - Text

23. Tuvalu TIDC, ‘Tuvalu and global warming’ (8 Dec 2007).


Chapter 5: Pride and Ecocide

Agricola online …. Teicher etc.  David OWEN  p. 114.

1. Text and also, Agricola is online at and his illustrations at

2 & 3 - Text. Nb. the David Owen article in the Sunday Times cited between notes 3 and 4 on p. 115 appeared too late in the production of this book to be endnoted. However, the source is David Owen, 'Lord Owen analyses Tony Blair's psyche' (16 Mar 2008) available on the link below. I note that Owen invents the term "hubris syndrome", but actually, there is a perfectly good existing clinical term for all that he describes - narcissistic personality disorder. One wonders why Owen invented a new term, and whether it might be to avoid using an existing clinical definition that, being pre-defined, could have caused him problems in its application to Blair and Bush. For an excellent therapeutic perspective on personality disorders see Character Styles by Stephen M. Johnson, W.W. Norton & Co., USA, 1994. Owen's Sunday Times link is:

4. Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews,  Part I, chapter iv, 2, (, 7 Oct 2007).

5 & 6 - Text

7. Smithonian Institution Human Origins Program, ‘Homo Sapiens’, March 2006.  

8, 9, 10 & 11 - Text

12. Martin Teicher, ‘Scars that won’t heal: the neurobiology of child abuse’, Scientific American online edition (Mar 2002), p. 20.

13-21 - Text

22. Gordon Campbell, ‘Empedocles (of Acragas)’, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2006). and also Text.

23. Text

24. Campbell, ‘Empedocles’, as per note 22 above.

25 & 26 Text

27. Vivien Gornitz, ‘Sea Level Rise, After the Ice Melted and Today’, Science Briefing, NASA – Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Jan 2007).

28. James Hansen, ‘Huge sea level rises are coming – unless we act now’, New Scientist 2614 (25 Jul 2007), pp. 30–34.

29. Text, and abstract of Werner Nutzel, 'On the Geographical Position of as Yet Unexplored Early Mesopotamian Cultures' with purchase option at

30. K. Lambeck, P. Johnston et al, ‘Late Pleistocene and Holocene sea-level change’, Geodynamics – Extract from RSES Annual Report, Australian National University (1995). . Also ‘Persian Gulf Once Dry, Green, and Inhabited by Humans: Implications’, SEMP Biot Report 422 (15 May 2007).

31 & 32 - Text

33. Harsh K. Gupta, ‘Artificial water reservoir-triggered earthquakes with special emphasis at Koyna’, Current Science, 88:10, pp. 1628–31 (25 May 2005).

34. See Michael Le Page's footnote to Hansen on link to note 28 in this chapter.

35. William F. Ruddiman, ‘How did Humans first alter Global Climate?’, Scientific American, 292:3 (March 2005), pp. 46–53.  (revised link consulted 23-9-10)

 36. Text


Chapter 6: Dissociation of Sensibility

1-8 - Text

9. Edward H. Thompson, ‘Bothwell and the North Berwick Witches: A Chronology’ (accessed 26 Feb 2008).


11. ‘The Survey of Scottish Witchcraft’, Department of Scottish History, Edinburgh University (2005).

12-15 - Text

16. Alastair McIntosh, ‘Faerie Faith in Scotland’ in J. Kaplan and B. Taylor, eds., Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (2 vols., Continuum International Publishing, New York, 2005).

17 & 18 - Text

19. Text, and T. S. Eliot, 'The Metaphysical Poets'. . There's also a rather messy  version but with the juicy bits usefully highlighted at 

20-22 - Text

23. Thomas Gray, ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ (1751).

24. T.S. Eliot, ‘The Hollow Men’ (1925).

 25-29 - Text


Chapter 7: Colonised by Death

1 & 2 - Text

3. TIME, ‘Associated Advertising Clubs of the World’ (25 May 1925).,9171,927731,00.html

4-10 Text

11. See  Ernest Dichter, ‘Why Do We Smoke Cigarettes?’, The Psychology of Everyday Living (Barnes & Noble Inc., New York, 1947)

12-14 - Text

15. On Bernays, see Michael E. Jones, ‘The Torches of Freedom Campaign: Behaviorism, Advertising, and the Rise of the American Empire’ (1999) ; on Dichter, see note 11 above.

16. Text, and see also Richard Rohr's website at He's going to be at the Greenbelt Festival in Chelenham in 2009 - and in the shop section there you can download his stunning talks from 2006 where he set out his ideas about the first and second halves of life - something that Verene and I make use of all the time.

17. The Beatles, ‘Let it Be’ from the album of the same name (Apple, 1970), quoting Luke 1:38 as in the English Standard Version.

18. Text

19. Vanessa Thorpe, ‘Culture Vulture’, The Observer (2 Dec 2001).,,926610,00.html

20. Stuart Jeffries, ‘What Charles did next’ The Guardian (6 Sep 2006).,,1865902,00.html

21. ‘Transcript of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Address’, (17 Jan 1961).


Chapter 8: Journey into the Soul

1. Text

2. Land Rover, ‘Introduction to the Range Rover’, accessed 24 Jan 2008.

3. Arthur Deikman, ‘Deautomatization and the Mystic Experience’, Psychiatry 29 (1966).

4. Text, and Audre Lorde's 'Uses of the Erotic' is also at

5-7 - Text

8. IUCN, ‘Red List of Threatened Species’, accessed 28 Feb 2008.

9. Text, but this IPCC report, AR4 SYR, is now online at (accessed June 2008).

10. US Census Bureau, ‘Historical estimates of world population’ (16 Jul 2007).

11. Text

12. Wikipedia, ‘Extreme weather events of 535–536’, accessed 26 Jan 2008.

13. Text

14. World Health Organisation ‘Cumulative Number of Confirmed Human Cases of Avian Influenza A/(H5N1) Reported to WHO’ (24 Jan 2008).

15. Robert G. Webster and Elizabeth Jane Walker, ‘Influenza – The world is teetering on the edge of a pandemic that could kill a large fraction of the human population’, American Scientist 91, Mar–Apr 2003.

16. Asian Development Bank, Asian Development Outlook, ‘Assessing the Impact and Cost of SARS in Developing Asia’ (2003).

17. World Health Organisation, ‘WHO checklist for influenza pandemic preparedness planning’, (2005).

18. T.S. Eliot, ‘Four Quartets – (East Coker)’, 1935–42.

19. Text

20. Joanna Macy, ‘The Great Turning’ (2007).

21. Oswald Chambers, ‘The Discipline of Disillusionment’, SingleVision Ministries (2008).

22. Tyndall Centre, ‘Made in China: Who is responsible for China’s rapidly rising CO2 emissions. . .’ (19 Oct 2007).

23. ‘Robert Burns’ and ‘James Hutton’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online:

24. SCRAN, Print entitled 'Burns' first meeting with Scott'.

25. Keith Stewart Thomson, 'Vestiges of James Hutton', American Scientist Online 89 (May-Jun 2001).

26. James Hutton, Theory of the Earth (1795), Book 1, Chapter 1. Accessed from

27-32 Text

33. Deep Purple, ‘Child in Time’, Deep Purple in Rock (1970).


Chapter 9: Towards Cultural Psychotherapy

1-11 - Text

12. Camara’s full text is in PDF at

13. Text

14. Text, but I've since put Manfred Max-Neef's 'Development and Human Needs' online at

15. Text, but see also ; See also Jane Kendall and Tom Crompton, ‘All you need is love to protect the natural world’, The Guardian (27 Feb 2008)

16. See Tom Crompton's groundbreaking 'Weathercocks and Signposts: the environment movement at a crossroads' report (2007) at ; also WWF-UK's website at . Tom and I worked closely together as he researched his report and me, this book. The meetings at Saatchi and Saatchi to which I refer were tied in with this collaboration. For a disturbing and yet ambiguous perspective from Saatchi's Kevin Roberts on Lovemarks and the US military in Iraq that I came across after writing this book, see

17. Fairtrade Foundation, ‘Seven million farming families worldwide benefit as global Fairtrade sales increase by 40% and UK awareness of the Fairtrade Mark rises to 57%’, Press release (10 Aug 2007).

18. Text

19. Text, but Ernest Renan's 1882 essentialist lecture, 'What is a Nation?' is also at

20. Text

21. 500 groups across Scotland that participated in the ‘People and Parliament’ process, 1999. The full technical report is linked from

22. See . This book was launched from the GalGael premises on 25 June 2008.

23. Iain Crichton Smith, ‘Real People in a Real Place’ in idem., Towards the Human: Selected Essays (Macdonald Publishers, Loanhead, 1986)

24. Text

25. Nikolai Berdyaev, The Paradox of the Lie (1939), trans. Fr. S. Janos (2000), The Berdyaev Online Bibliotek Library,, accessed 3 Mar 2008.

 26. Text



1. European Space Agency, ‘Satellites witness lowest Arctic ice coverage in history’ (14 Sep 2007)

2. Text


Update on the science and politics of climate change, April 2009

While it is not my intention to run regular updates, the following report on the possibilities of abrupt climate change from the US Geological Survey is of particular and authoritative interest.

In April 2009 I was heartened to read the report of the UK Government's Sustainable Development Commission, Prosperity Without Growth, which focuses on growth and consumerism as the driver of climate change - . It is great that his government Commission has tacked consumerism head on - and ironically issuing their report in the same week as the G20 in London called for "sustainable global growth"!

Carbon emissions for different types of transport  (March 09)

I got a Trainline train ticket for London the other day that had on it the following stats:
Plane    0.13kg CO2 per km - short haul
Car        0.20kg C02 per km - average petrol car
Train    0.06 kg CO2 per km
As the source was given as Defra, I checked this out. I'd been struck by the closeness to a 1:2:3 ratio that it suggests for rail:air:car, but quickly hit on a confusing picture. You google, and it brings up Defra's 2005 figures. Dig further, and the most recent figures I found were for 2008 which are somewhat different. Defra have recalculated using new methodologies. These shed a worse light on domestic air travel, though for European and intercontinental air travel the picture improves if you disaggregate economy from more spacious seating patterns. Yet again we see that the Earth really cannot afford the rich. 
The full Defra report makes fascinating reading. Its website implies that it is the most current set of figures - though you never quite know. What makes the report especially valuable is its transparency in exploring  how complicated it is to work out these figures. For example, most passenger planes also carry freight. Older evaluations worked out their emissions on a weight-for-weight basis and produced a lower passenger per kilometre greenhouse gas impact, but the latest figures recognise that a kilo of a passenger's rump takes up disproportionately more of the plane's infrastructure (trolleys, safety equipment, and toilets upon which to seat that rump) than does a kilo of Peruvian asparagus tips.
Load factors also have to be weighted in - for example, is your bus packed to standing room only, or is it an "essential service" provision that's basically over-grown private taxi service to keep alive rural communities beloved of the likes of myself? (Apropos that, there have been 2 recent studies of the Isle of Skye's carbon footprint - one on Staffin and the other on Sleat. The Sleat one if I remember right from a report in the West Highland Free Press showed that while the Scottish average emissions footprint was 12 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per person, Sleat was pumping out 18 tonnes. A similar study by students from Flensburg University mentioned in the Spring 09 issue of Sgleat Glan (A Clean Sleat) shows that community's emission to be 17 tonnes. The traditional good life only works if you don't try urbanising it!)
Back to the Defra report - it is hedged round with caveats such as "... at the moment there is no agreed methodology for..." The biggest gap that I see here is the embodied energy of infrastructure of differing transport types. On the surface of it, UK rail appears to be better than UK coach travel. But what is the embodied energy of maintaining the rail system - not just the lines, but also all the people taken to run it? What about Eurostar's embodied energy of the Channel Tunnel, complete with all the rock it took out of Glensanda superquarry?  Should these  be factored in to future methodologies? If so, would the low infrastructure requirements of ferries and planes (because they don't need roads and rails to run on) improve their relative performance? And yet, while on the matter of ferries which is the area where data is most lacking - whenever I'm on a hi-speed passenger ferry like the Seacats going to Ireland as distinct from Calmac's steamers to the Hebrides, I can't help wondering if their engine capacity generating up to 30 megawatts (5% of of one Torness-style nuclear reactor's output) just to thrust all that metal through water at 40 knots (46 mph) can be more efficient than flying.
Lastly, what strikes me most is that to decarbonise we need to cut emissions by an order of tenfold. However, the difference between most of the options is not that great. Even that between taking the bus and going by is only twofold. If we remain fixated on supply side solutions we'll never get anywhere. Short of nuclear fusion coming on stream, our energy consumption is just so high that shifting from car to train or whatever helps but it is still pissing on the roses while the house burns down. I just don't see how the sums add up - even the more optimistic renewable sums - to maintain our present way of living. That is why it puzzles me that we don't hear more about demand-side solutions - cutting what it is that drives our unsettledness; our consumerism. Perhaps that's just too hard a psychological and vested-interest nut to feature on the political Richter scale.
Anyway, this Defra data is really useful. I've pulled it together today for possible inclusion in an impending  book reprint. As some of you too may have been confused by the statistical shifting sands as I've been, I hope you'll find it useful and that I've read the data accurately.

2008 UK Government data - grams of CO2 per passenger kilometre

Source: 2008 Guidelines to Defra’s GHG Conversion Factors: Methodology Paper for Transport Emission Factors, July 2008: Below, “source” relates to which Table in:


This data has been extracted from the tangle of public domain statistics for use as a readers’ resource online and for the reprint edition of Alastair McIntosh’s Hell and High Water: Climate Change, Hope and the Human Condition (Birlinn, 2008/2009). Below is the latest UK Government data I’ve found as of March 2009. As methodology improves, some figures change significantly, though Google searches often point confusingly to older sources as these are the most linked to and accessed.


Type of Transport








Air domestic (UK)

Table 3


Long haul average is dragged down by non-economy spacious seating – see below

Air short haul (Europe)

Table 3


Air long haul (World)

Table 3






Air short haul economy

Table 4


Passenger share of aircraft weight is x3 their weight/bags – so more business/first seating has huge inefficiency

Air short haul first class

Table 4


Air long haul economy

Table 4


Air long haul first class

Table 4






Average car/fuel

Table 11


Defra use a “real world” basis – manufacturers’ claims are for idealised conditions

Average motorbike

Table 18


Average bus/coach

Table 17






Passenger/freight ferry

Table 23


Minimal infrastructure





National Rail UK

Table 21


Infrastructure energy embodied not included: Eurostar electricity mix includes French (nuclear)

Eurostar continental rail

Table 21



Table 26






Erratum/additions to Hell & High Water's 1st Edn for the 2nd edn, which came out in June 2009)

The following listing contains both trivial items to attend to in any future editions and any  items of substance to which I wish to alert readers.

  1. In the first edition there is some unevenness of print density on a few of the pages. The publisher is aware of this problem and it has been raised with the printer - our apologies.

  2. Print size of Chapter 8 & 9 headings is oversize compared with other chapters - pp. 180 & 210.

  3. p. 14, line 2, change "come" to "become".

  4. p. 23 - this item is in red as it was not picked up in time for the 2nd edn. But thanks to Billy Fox of Shetland, the only technical error to be identified so far ... what I've shown as ppmv for methane concentrations in the atmosphere should, of course, be ppbv (parts per billion by volume).

  5. p. 24, line 7, add missing word "to" to read "like to do".

  6. p. 59, line 4, add missing "a" before "challenge".

  7. p. 78 - to clarify the sequence of thought at foot of page. Where it says, "The definition of an unacceptable risk..." change to, "But Chernobyl reminded us that one definition of an unacceptable risk..." In the sentence that follows, insert "therefore" to read: "The trouble with the once-powerful insurance argument is that it therefore puts us in a cleft stick."

  8. p. 95 - repair broken line at end of first para. (Mind that this doesn't mess up remainder of chapter formatting and indexing.)

  9. p. 99, third line from bottom, start with "While" instead of "As."

  10. p. 110, 4th line from bottom, for "mere autistic" substitute "morose".

  11. p. 137, first line of para 3, comma after "Vostock ice core".

  12. p. 142, 6th line from bottom, "focused" in place of "focussed".

  13. pp. 176 & 186 - standardise spelling to "pedlar".

  14. p. 193, para 2, in line that repeats "consciousness" twice, change last word to "awareness".

  15. p. 208 - insert missing colon between Ruairi and "Hell...."

  16. p. 244 Where I have, "... scything, reaping and threshing..." change to "sowing, scything and threshing" (as scything and reaping more or less repeat one another).

  17. Pp. 155 and index on p. 272 ... correct misspelling of Hannah Arendt's surname - I've got "Ardent" ... should be "Arendt".

  18. The following update will be added to the existing Introduction at p. 10:

Credit Crunch Postscript to the Second Edition: And as this book goes to reprint within its first year, the science requires no significant revision. Suffice to cite the Copenhagen Climate Change Congress of March 2009. Here 2,500 scientists concluded: ‘Recent observations confirm that, given high rates of observed emissions, the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised.’  

Meanwhile, in London in April 2009, the G20 sought to re-inflate the same old economy with ‘sustainable global growth.’ But as the UK Government’s Sustainable Development Commission said the same week, ‘The myth of growth has failed us.’ To raise 9 billion people up to OECD levels by 2050, according to its Prosperity Without Growth report, would require a 15-fold economic expansion. While economists dream on, the ecology unravels.

 Everything said about ancient hubris here in Part 2 applies directly to the economic crisis. Both the credit crunch and the climate crunch have the same origin. Our resultant predicament is like a tangled ball of string. Pull on any end, and all connects – far and wide, outer and inner, ever tighter. It’s grim, but it’s exciting: for what it demands of us collectively today is nothing less than visionary depth - the courage of getting more real; of becoming more fully alive.






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