Skepticism

Chemtrail Win? EPA Says Planes Hurt People

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Sorta transcript:

The EPA has announced that jet exhaust endangers the health of humans and of the planet as a whole. Oh god, everyone get your spray bottles of vinegar because chemtrails are real!

You can tell they’re real because articles about this story are helpfully illustrated with photos of airplane chemtrails, or “contrails” as they are known amongst non-conspiracy theorists.

For those who haven’t watched my previous videos on this subject, “contrails” are those white lines you sometimes see in the sky after an airplane flies over. It’s short for “condensation trails” and is the result of water vapor from the engine. “Chemtrails” are the name given to contrails by people who think those lines are proof the government is dropping chemicals into the atmosphere to poison and possibly mind control civilians.

So now the EPA is saying that airplanes ARE poisoning us, so are chemtrails real? No. Here’s what’s going on: planes, just like cars and trucks and boats and trains, emit greenhouse gases all the time, invisibly. Contrails only show up when the conditions are right for the water vapor to freeze.

Think of it this way: every day, including right this very instant, YOU are emitting greenhouse gases. Just by breathing! Every time you inhale, you take in about .04% carbon dioxide. When you exhale, you release 4-5%, so about 100 times more. Carbon dioxide is one of the primary greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.

This happens all day, every day, but you don’t see it happening. When it’s very cold out, your damp, warm breath creates a cloud of condensation. When it’s -40 degrees or colder (Fahrenheit or Celsius, as at that point it doesn’t matter), your condensation breath will freeze and hang in the air, exactly like contrails do.

Just like an airplane, you’re pumping out greenhouse gases all the time, but it only shows up sometimes. That doesn’t mean that on very cold days, the government is using you to release mind control chemicals on those around you.

Ultimately, it’s good that the EPA is cracking down on these emissions, but it’s worth noting that air travel is responsible for only about 2% of greenhouse gas emissions. To really have an impact, the US government could build the infrastructure necessary to allow high speed trains to carry more people, since trains have the lowest emissions of all our current transportation options. Or, the EPA could encourage everyone to consume less, since 21% of emissions come from the production of material goods and another 9% come from agriculture.

I guess that’s one of the benefits of living in an age where we’re screwing up the planet in dozens of different ways — we have plenty of options for how we’d like to start to screw it up less.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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1 Comment

  1. July 31, 2016 at 5:13 pm —

    Interesting, while watching QI, there was a question about the (unpronounceable) volcano eruption, in Iceland. They detailed the amount of ash/carbon released into the air. They then detailed the amount of carbon that had not been released into the air, during the time that flights had been grounded all over Europe. The latter was a multiple of the former.

    Why would we be surprised that the EPA says that jet fuel emissions are dangerous?

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