The sudden rise of Dubai as one of the world's most important cities surely must be accounted a symbol of the current era of world history. It has become the de facto New York and Miami Beach of the Arab world -- a business and tourist hub featuring outsized skyscrapers (built by imported laborers working for foreign contractors) plopped down on land that was barren desert only a decade ago. Offering amusements unavailable elsewhere in the Arab world, and featuring a very conducive environment for business, it has been stuffed with money as oil prices leaped. Now that they have fallen, the future may be less secure for those who profit from the surplus funds flowing from oil.
But those chickens have yet to come home to roost in Dubai. Two PR items emanating from Dubai yesterday tell an odd story of Dubai's attitude toward the warmist movement claiming that carbon dioxide, a substance essential to life, is a pollutant.
Item: Luxury hotel in Dubai to refrigerate its beach.
Jonathan Leake of the UK Times reported that the new Palazzo Versace ultra-luxury hotel in Dubai will pump refrigerant in pipes through its private beach, to cool the sand to bearable levels. The problem with Dubai as a pleasant resort is that temperatures there are close to those in hell: 120 degrees is not that comfortable, and it can get even higher. My one brief stopover in Dubai long ago exposed me to the air temperature there, and I have never bothered going back. I'll take Bali, Hawaii, and many other vacation spots any day over a place so hot that it is hard to breathe.
Still, as a matter of insouciance, this energy-squandering measure is a giant single digit salute to the warmists.
Item: Emirates Airlines nods toward greenies as it started service to San Francisco yesterday.
Dubai's airline Emirates has rapidly become a major factor in world air travel, capitalizing on seemingly unlimited access to capital and a host airport willing to spend lavishly on new facilities to accommodate its growth, as well as shrewd strategies emphasizing operational efficiencies and good cabin service. Emirates is a very smart airline, though the oil price drop must be giving its executives heartburn, as it is taking delivery of a huge order for A380 superjumbo jets that will need filling in an era of declining world economy, and therefore declining airline traffic.
Now that it is inaugurating service to San Francisco nonstop from Dubai, Emirates is making a symbolic genuflection toward green dogma.
Keep in mind that a 16 hour ultra-long flight uses a lot of fuel hauling its own fuel around. It is much more fuel efficient to take off lighter and stop to pick up fuel in, say, Brussels. But instead of actually saving fuel (and emissions), Emirates says:
The new 777-200LR will be specially washed beforehand to minimize drag. (Sounds good. Why only this flight? Does it cost more than the fuel savings? What kind of detergent will be used? Does it contain any toxins?)
- The aircraft will use electrical power on the ground in Dubai rather than running its auxiliary power unit. (Is the electricity generated by burning fuel?)
- Dubai Air Traffic Control will give the aircraft priority clearance for both taxiing and departure. (Therefore other airplanes will burn fuel instead.)
- A pre-planned priority departure route out of Dubai will provide an unimpeded climb through to cruise altitude, allowing the aircraft to reach its optimum cruise altitude as quickly and efficiently as possible. (Apparently other planes will burn more fuel getting out of its way?)
- Recent Emirates negotiations with the Russian government will allow for a preferred route over Russian and Canadian airspace for the most efficient path, taking into account prevailing winds and the aircraft's weight. (Good idea. I hope they do this for all flights that could benefit.)
- Real-time updates of current weather and wind conditions will allow the flight crew to modify their flight path on route. (Should be standard operating procedure. Do other flights not get these updates?)
- The aircraft will track close to the North Pole following extensive work by Emirates and aircraft manufacturers to open this new routing. (I remember when SAS began "polar route" service from Copenhagen to Los Angeles in the 1950s. The shorter route, the less fuel burned, saving money. Nothing new here.)
A lot more symbolism than substance here. Fuel saving is a good idea, and it saves money. This obeisance to greenie platitudes shows that even Dubai will pretend to agree, at least when trying to sell tickets in San Francisco. And if the greenies buys this symbolism over substance, it will be nothing new.