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Port of Seattle Carbon Quagmire
September 27, 2022
by William P. Meyers

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Close SeaTac Airport Now

Today I made a public comment at the Port of Seattle Commission meeting. They have physical meetings now, but I joined online. The meeting started at noon, but I was told I had to be on at 11:30 AM to be put in the queue to speak. I knew I would have 2 minutes. I figured I would not be the first person ever to say the Port of Seattle enables vast production of carbon dioxide, mainly from jet planes, but also by hosting cruise ships. To my surprise I was second in line to speak. I said I had first heard dire predictions about global warming from scientists around 1989 when I was working on the campaign to save the ozone layer. There was already too much flying back in 1989, but here we are 33 years later, and there is much more jet fuel consumption now. I said I was not up on specifics of the Port of Seattle, but would be doing research. I was a paragon of reasonableness.

Then other people spoke, most to the same issue, most associated with Seattle Cruise Control. They said everything I had not been able to squeeze into my 2 minutes, and more. About people dying in Pakistan because of global warming, and how few of them have added to global warming by flying. How 80% of the world's people never fly, but are impacted by global warming. How Cruise Ships hurt the planet. And how instead of addressing the problem, the Port of Seattle makes tiny green tweaks in its operations while steadily expanding its airport and cruise line capacity.

How do you stop the airline industry? How do you stop people from flying to England or France or Japan for a weekend? Why when it is common knowledge how particularly destructive flying is, do people insist on flying long distances with astounding frequency, including people I know personally who say they are environmentalists? And the particular contradiction of environmental tourism, including the mainstay of Seattle, cruises to Alaska?

I realized I already knew four of the five port commissioners, and they all think of themselves as progressives and environmentalists. Sam Cho once related to me how he made some sort of killing shipping some sort of agricultural product to Europe, but he also works to save the Orcas. I have met and talked to Toshiko Hasegawa and her father, State Senator Bob Hasegawa. I attended an online campaign event for Hamdi Mohamed. And I have had more than one conversation with Fred Felleman at local Dem meetings.

I know if they just voted to close the airport, or something like "Move to reduce airport flights by 90% within 5 years," there would be a backlash from the business community, the unions, and both frequent flyers and those who aspire to someday be able to have their first holiday in Hawaii or Italy. They would be voted out of office. Or some greater government entity would somehow seize control of the airport.

Seattle Tacoma Airport (SEA, SeaTac) should be closed to most air traffic as soon as possible. Every other airport in the world too. We are in a bloody emergency. We should act like it. Of course it isn't just jet planes and cruise ships that need to be shut down. We should also make sure that every worker is taken care off by getting them new, constructive jobs.

Could you environmentalists stop kidding yourselves? How about actually stopping the destruction, rather than just adding a solar panel here and there?

I have a plan, but of course it depends on cooperation. I suspect capitalist (and state-capitalist) pigs can still hire one half of the environmental movement to attack the other half. Stay tuned. And yes, I am planning to put the airlines and aircraft makers out of business. Buck up, we are playing by Apocalypse rules now.

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