Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Thursday, May 17, 2007

How To Save The World

I keep meaning to update with more of what I do all day, and I will, probably, but one thing I have been doing is getting involved with some environmental causes. Most of the focus within the environmental community right now is on climate change, and rightly so because this is an absolutely key period.

Now, let me clarify where I'm coming from here. If you think it's all a big scam, or that a 5 degree temperature rise would be great, time to catch some rays, then fine. Don't let me take up any more of your time. I'm not interested in discussing it and you can read whatever you like into that, I don't care.

If, on the other hand, you do think it's a problem but you're kind of "yes, but what can I do about it", that's where this post comes in. What you can do about it is respond to the Draft Climate Change Bill Consultation. Click here, download the consultation response form and have at it. I'm all for people doing their own research [1] and writing their own comments, but the key points that need to be made IMO are as follows :

- 2% annual cuts leading to a 60% reduction in CO2 emission by 2050 is not sufficient. These figures are based on research that's 5 or 6 years old. Current research indicates that these cuts will not only fail to keep the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere to 550 parts per million (ppm) (it's currently 359 ppm by the way), but also that even at 550 ppm, temperature rises and climate effects would be more severe than anticipated in the original research. 3% cuts leading to an 80% reduction in CO2 emission by 2050 is a minimum, and some organisations are pushing for even more than that.

- 5-year budget periods would not work. As soon as there's a change of controlling party in the middle of a period, it falls apart. Outgoing Government does fuck all about it because they're not accountable when the budget period ends. Incoming government shrugs and says "it's not our fault, it was them". Annual budgets are required to make these weasels do what they're told.

- Current plans do not include emissions from aviation and shipping. To use that most favoured tool of the political columnist, the fatuous analogy, this would be like going on a calorie controlled diet where chocolate doesn't count. However transport emissions are regulated, they can't just be ignored.

I think those are the three most important points. Apart from that, don't be too cynical about whether this makes a difference. I saw a great clip at the weekend from 2003, where Margaret Beckett is saying "Well the fact that there's an open discussion about climate change can only be a good thing". What her body language and exact choice of words is really saying though is "Yeah right, good luck with that". But due to weight of public pressure, this is now happening. But it's vital to make the bill strong enough. Basically, it's not much odds to me. Come 2050 if I'm still here I'll be sitting in a rocking chair on a porch toting a shotgun and laughing a gap-toothed laugh. If you have kids though, and you want their kids to have a world to grow up in, do it now. These consultation responses have to be in by 12th June. And what the hell, if the sceptics are still reading, fill out your own response saying "I don't care because what's really important to me is that the people running energy companies become billionaires instead of just hundred millionaires". Either use the democratic process or don't moan about it after the fact.

[1] A couple of suggested Links and resources to start you off :

Friends Of The Earth Briefings and Resources

Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change


Anonymous John Lupien said...

Hi Andy,
I'm working on this problem in
a more personal way. I'm designing
a high-efficiency vehicle. Current
minimum target: 500mpg. That's
US gal, not the Imperial version
more appropriate to measurement of
-John Lupien

ps. - send me an e-mail if you
get the chance. I'm still working
on poker strategy algorithms, too.
And I still play UKP daily.

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And so on.


5:38 PM  
Anonymous peter b said...

I'm not one of the head-in-the-sand types whom I meet quite often who blandly deny the existence of global warming. It seems clear to me that what humanity is doing is set to drastically change the world.

But "change" is the key word here. You talk about "How to save the world". This is the normal line from environmentalists. But it betrays lazy thinking and bad science. What is implied is: how to save the world for humanity. Indeed, it's even more conservative than that. Because the key is "sustainability". That is to say, "no change".

Now, one could argue that this is a good thing. That all depends on whether you think that humanity is worth saving. Personally, I don't think that it is. We've screwed up the earth quite royally ever since we've been here, and I don't see why we should bother trying to "sustain" ourselves and what we see as a modest standard of living(by reducing carbon footprints to zero) for future generations. Fuck it. Let's destroy everything, just like we have been for the past few millennia. we won't destroy the world. We will destroy humanity. The earth and the animal kingdom will survive. Sure, the species might well be different. But the world will survive.

So, go ahead, talk about "saving humanity", but don't talk about saving the earth. That's just selfishness and self-centredness on the part of humanity. The earth would be a better off place without us, and half-hearted ecological "soundness" is a merely selfish and, to be honest, quaint attitude that there is some kind of noble rustic paradise that the earth could be turned into. Humanity sucks, and the sooner we kill ourselves off, the better it will be for the planet. If we want to save the world, the best thing that we could do would be to blow ourselves off the face of it. That way the insects (radiation proof, aren't they?) could carry on running the place.


10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Pete,

I sympathise with a lot of what you say. In my defence, I think my use of "Save The World" is more down to bad English than bad science :-). You are of course correct that I'm really saying "Save Humanity" or the equivalent.

As for us, Cro-Magnon oiks that we are [1], it is possible (if not probable) that the very traits of selfishness and willingness to exploit everything around us that have enabled us to thrive
will, in the end, prove to be our downfall. Global karma.

It's my suspicion that if global warming doesn't get us, then something else will, most likely triggered by the warfare which is the almost inevitable result of overpopulation. Nonetheless I think we should try. Because basically, we in the UK are among the fattest bastards of all.

So this is my way of trying. I know when we switch on the TV it's easy to think that we are a worthless bunch of cunts who should be put out of our misery but much of this is as a result of the relentless pressure people are put under by advertisers and the media (as Pauly points out in his excellent recent post). I'm rambling. I don't think people are so bad deep down, it's just that the people we see on TV and in the papers are, almost by definition, the most selfish and grasping of the lot.

[1] Don't start me off on this btw. The two most misunderstood groups in history, the Luddites (who I've covered before) and the Neanderthals. Thuggish behaviour is often described as "Neanderthal" when in fact, by great irony, the Neanderthals were basically a gentler people who were (not surprisingly) overrun by the more aggressive and, in fact, thuggish Cro-Magnons that eventually became us.

Either that or Douglas Adams had it right with the Golgafrinchans.


9:32 PM  

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